• Top of the Morning: Pope Francis Extends Priests' Power to Forgive Abortion

    Plus, see the stunning Jodi Sta. Maria at the Emmy’s red carpet, a welcome party for Paula Peralejo's Baby Pablo, and more!
    by Rachel Perez .
  • 1. Pope Francis gives priests power to forgive abortion

    The Pope has extended indefinitely the power of Catholic priests to forgive women who have had abortions though the Year of Mercy has officially ended. Last year and for the duration of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis granted all priests the power to absolve the sin of abortion, instead of just the bishops and specially designated confessors. The announcement, which came in the form of an apostolic letter on November 21, remains true to the Holy See's papacy: to open the doors of the Church, just as God's forgiveness and mercy extend to all those who repent for their sins. However, the Church is not changing its firm stance against abortion. "I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," the Pope's letter states. "In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father," the letter said. "May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation." (cnn.com)


    2. Look: Jodi Sta. Maria at the Emmy's red carpet

    The actress and single mom is a beacon of Filipino pride at the 44th International Emmy Awards. A Best Actress nominee for her role as Amor Powers in the 2015 remake of ABS-CBN's Pangako Sa'Yo teleserye, Jodi donned an elegant long white gown by Filipino designer Mark Bumgarner. Her makeup was by Lala Flores, hair by Jay Wee, and she was styled by Patricia Coronado, all taking inspiration from the character she played in the teleserye. "Hindi naman every day na nakakatisod tayo ng isang nomination from the Emmys. Maganda naman na maipresenta natin ng maayos ang sarili natin at siyempre pupunta ako doon na hindi lang naman sarili ko ang nire-represent ko, pati ang Philippines din," Jodi said in a previous interview. Jodi is up against U.K.'s Judi Dench (Roald Dahl's Esio Trot), Brazil's Grazi Massafera (Verdades Secretas) and Germany's Christiane Paul (Unterm Radar). (abs-cbn.com)


    3. Look: Baby Pablo's welcome party!

    "It was supposed to be a baby shower by some of our brand partners but was planned too close to my due date," wrote new mom Paula in the caption of the party main setup. "Super lovely setup today - all thanks to Passion Cooks, our caterer and stylist for today," she added. During the welcome party, her friend wanted to take a shot at the viral Mannequin Challenge. "I asked her what's that... of course her reply was, 'Nanganak ka lang, di ka na updated?' Hahaha. Uhmm yes, that's what newborns do to you," Paula shared. See if you can spot Pablo and his kuya Philip, Rica Peralejo Bonifacio's son.


    4. Watch Scarlet Snow singing the theme song of Annie!

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    It looks like the adorable toddler will be vying for the role in the coming years. On Instagram, a video that was posted yesterday showed her with her dad Hayden Kho, singing the theme song "Tomorrow" from Annie the musical -- and she knows at least part of the chorus. "How can I sing daddy if I am still eating? Daddy talaga o," the caption read. Scarlet, together with her dad and mom Vicki Belo, are in Paris and probably would like to share good vibes all around. The caption also read, "Anyway, if you're feeling down today, don't worry because the sun will come out tomorrow!"


    5. Watch the first teaser for Disney's Cars 3

    The first look at the third installment for the talking cars Disney franchise seems to take a turn from the happy, bright-colored tone of the previous films to a pretty serious one. The Cars 3 teaser shows a look at American car racing with Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) having an unfortunate and realistic accident. "From this moment everything will change," the screen reads. According to the film's official synopsis, McQueen finds himself past his prime as new generation cars take the spotlight. To get back into the game, he needs the help of a young race technician: Cruz Ramirez who has her (yes, it's a she!) own winning plan, taking inspiration from the late Hudson Hornet, and more. Returning voice actors are fan-favorites such as Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt) and Ramone (Cheech Marin), among others. Cars 3 is set to open in theaters in 2017. (eonline.com)

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