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Cuba's relations with Catholic Church hit high point

Golden rays of tropical sunlight slant through the caved-in roof of Saint Thomas de Villanueva chapel. Vandals shattered the stained-glass windows and scrawled their names on the thick walls during... Read more »

Published Dec. 24, 2014

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Pope celebrates Christmas Eve Mass and calls Iraqi refugees

Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve with a late-night Mass Wednesday in St. Peter's Basilica and a phone call to some Iraqi refugees forced to flee their homes by Muslim militants. Read more »

Published Dec. 24, 2014

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Planning for first U.S. visit of Pope Francis already underway

Pope Francis' scheduled trip to Philadelphia is still nine months away, but planning for his first U.S. visit began months ago. Preparing for the event, predicted to draw more than 1 million people... Read more »

Published Dec. 24, 2014

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Women excised from public life, abused by IS

The gunmen came to the all-girls' elementary school in the Iraqi city of Fallujah at midday with a special delivery: piles of long black robes with gloves and face veils, now required dress code... Read more »

Published Dec. 23, 2014

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Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats

To the Catholic Church's "seven deadly sins," Pope Francis has added the "15 ailments of the Curia." Read more »

Published Dec. 22, 2014

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Church members each get $500 to do good for world

On a very memorable Sunday, Pastor Laura Truax surprised her congregation with a bold announcement: She was about to hand out money to everyone. Read more »

Published Dec. 22, 2014

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Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats

Pope Francis issued a blistering critique Monday of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from... Read more »

Published Dec. 22, 2014

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Pope's role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock

The key role Pope Francis played encouraging talks between Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro left fractures among his flock in South Florida, where many older Roman Catholics equate the... Read more »

Published Dec. 21, 2014

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Christmas 1914: The day even WWI showed humanity

With British and German forces separated only by a no-man's land littered with fallen comrades, sounds of a German Christmas carol suddenly drifted across the frigid air: "Stille Nacht, Heilige... Read more »

Published Dec. 20, 2014

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Idaho's new Catholic leader meets followers

The Rev. Peter F. Christensen, Idaho's next Catholic bishop, has set an assignment for himself even before he assumes his office: Learn Spanish. Read more »

Published Dec. 18, 2014

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Analysis: New focus on how Pakistan will address militancy

Many wonder if the attack that killed 148 people at a Pakistani school will be a watershed in the country's long, conflicted history with Islamic militancy. Read more »

Published Dec. 18, 2014

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Biden marks start of Hanukkah at national menorah

The smell of latkes — fresh potato pancakes — wafted over the National Mall on Tuesday as Vice President Joe Biden marked the first night of Hanukkah. Read more »

Published Dec. 16, 2014

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Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns in sweeping investigation

The Vatican went out of its way Tuesday to mend fences with American nuns, thanking them for their selfless work caring for the poor and promising to value their "feminine genius" more, while... Read more »

Published Dec. 16, 2014

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5 people escape from Sydney cafe in hostage crisis

Five people escaped from a Sydney cafe where a gunman took an unknown number of hostages during Monday morning rush hour. Two people inside the cafe earlier held up a flag with an Islamic... Read more »

Published Dec. 15, 2014

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3 flee from Sydney cafe at heart of hostage drama

Three people ran out a fire exit of a Sydney cafe where a gunman took an unknown number of people hostage at the height of Monday morning rush hour. Two people inside the cafe were seen holding up... Read more »

Published Dec. 14, 2014

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Black churches pray in protest of police slayings

Congregants in African-American churches across the country wore black to Sunday services and prayed over the men in attendance in a symbolic stand against fatal police shootings of unarmed black men. Read more »

Published Dec. 14, 2014

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Pope marks Latin America feast with Argentine folk hymns

Pope Francis is calling for Latin America to care for its poorest and most marginalized, those who have been "enslaved" and exploited by an economic system that he said treats them as useless. Read more »

Published Dec. 12, 2014

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Vatican: Bishops should move forward on family

The Vatican set the stage Tuesday for Pope Francis' next church meeting on the family, urging bishops to be guided not just by doctrine but by Francis' message of mercy and the "turning point" of... Read more »

Published Dec. 9, 2014

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Lawsuit over $60M gift to Catholic order in court

Rhode Island Supreme Court justices on Tuesday raised questions about the conduct of a disgraced Roman Catholic order, but they also expressed doubts about whether lawsuits can move forward over... Read more »

Published Dec. 9, 2014

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Pope notes resistance to reform but moves ahead

Pope Francis convened his cardinal advisers to chart the reform of the Vatican bureaucracy Tuesday after acknowledging resistance to his changes but saying he welcomes the debate and is... Read more »

Published Dec. 9, 2014

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Religious nonprofits that object to covering birth control in health plans challenge federal law

In the latest religious challenge to the federal health care law, faith-based organizations that object to covering birth control in their employee health plans argued in federal appeals court... Read more »

Published Dec. 8, 2014

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Religious nonprofits challenge health law

A group of faith-based religious organizations that object to covering birth control in their employee health plans told a panel of federal judges that they should be treated like religions and not... Read more »

Published Dec. 8, 2014

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Syrian Jewish bibles could spark ownership dispute

Two decades after Israeli spies helped Syrian Jews whisk ancient Hebrew bibles from Damascus to Jerusalem, Israel's national library asked an Israeli court on Monday to grant it custodianship over... Read more »

Published Dec. 8, 2014

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Some Sri Lankans want pope's visit postponed

Some Roman Catholic priests and laypeople in Sri Lanka are seeking the postponement of Pope Francis' trip to the island nation next month, citing the visit's closeness to the country's presidential... Read more »

Published Dec. 6, 2014

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Pope says truth must prevail in Dominican sex case

Pope Francis assured Dominican authorities on Wednesday that the truth must prevail in the case of his former ambassador to the Caribbean country who is accused of sexually abusing young boys. Read more »

Published Dec. 3, 2014

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