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Top News: Religion

Pope defends marriage, hetero couples after gay priest bombshell

Vatican City - Pope Francis on Sunday defended marriage and heterosexual couples as he opened a synod on the family overshadowed by a challenge to Vatican orthodoxy by a gay priest.

Pope Francis defends appointment of bishop accused of protecting priest

Santiago - Pope Francis called critics protesting the appointment of a new bishop in Chile, who has been accused of covering up sexual abuse crimes committed by priests, "lefties" in a video message Saturday.

Catholic bishops poised to clash over divorce and gays at synod

Vatican City - Catholic bishops are congregating in Rome for three weeks of debate on the family that could radically reshape the Church's approach to the divisive issues of divorce and homosexuality.

Church says Russia fighting 'holy battle' in Syria

Moscow - Russia's powerful Orthodox Church on Wednesday voiced support for Moscow's decision to carry out air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State group, calling it a "holy battle".

Pope met with anti-gay marriage county clerk in U.S.: Report

Washington - Pope Francis met secretly while in the United States with a Kentucky county clerk who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing her lawyer.

Pope shows no mercy as he blasts Rome mayor as a 'pretend Catholic'

Rome - Pope Francis raised eyebrows in Italy on Tuesday by slapping down the left-leaning mayor of Rome as someone who "pretends to be Catholic".

Ahead of synod on family, pope rules out divorce

Divorce will not be on the agenda at an upcoming synod on the family, Pope Francis said Monday three weeks after he streamlined the process for Catholic couples to obtain annulments.

Pope concludes triumphal US tour galvanizing church

Philadelphia - Pope Francis celebrated an open-air mass at the culmination Sunday of an historic tour of the United States that electrified Americans with a message to respect immigrants, protect the environment and help those in need.

Pope Francis crowns New York visit with public mass

New York - Pope Francis crowned a packed tour of New York by celebrating mass at Madison Square Garden, after greeting crowds in Central Park and praying for world peace at the 9/11 Memorial.

Pope Francis gets rapturous welcome in New York

New York - Pope Francis received a rapturous welcome to New York, where adoring crowds cheered the head of the Catholic church gliding down Fifth Avenue in his popemobile before being counselled against greed at evening prayers.

Pope declares Junípero Serra, who enslaved Indians, a saint

Washington - The Pope's canonization of 18th century Spanish missionary Father Junípero Serra has outraged indigenous Californians, who point to the forced labor, beatings and forced religious conversions of their ancestors as proof that he is no saint.

Pope urges U.S. bishops to end Church sex abuse

Washington - Pope Francis told US bishops on Wednesday to work to ensure the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church never happens again.

Putin opens huge new mosque in Russian capital

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday opened one of the biggest mosques in Europe, warning against the lure of jihadists as the government frets over its citizens fighting for the Islamic State group.

Santeria welcomes pope to Cuba with open arms

Havana - Dancing to the throbbing beat of sacred drums, the congregation circles a man lying face-down on the floor paying thanks to Babalu Aye, a deity in Cuba's Santeria religion.

Argentina looms large at pope's Havana mass

Havana - Between President Cristina Kirchner's presence and a towering sculpture of Che Guevara gazing down at him, Pope Francis's native Argentina will loom large Sunday when he gives mass in Havana.

Muslims flock to hajj despite deadly crane collapse

Mecca - Pilgrims from around the world have begun massing in Saudi Arabia for the hajj, one of the biggest gatherings on the planet, undeterred by a crane collapse that killed 108 people at Islam's holiest site.More than 1.

Church incense could be banned as a ‘legal high’

London - Incense, used by some churches in services, could be banned as part of the U.K.’s crackdown on so-called "legal highs." These are psychoactive drug substances currently escaping drug enforcement measures.

Catholic hospital denies life-saving operation to pregnant woman

Grand Blanc - Jessica Mann is in the third trimester of her third pregnancy, but instead of resting and preparing for her baby, she's locked in a battle with her Catholic hospital which refuses to grant the 33-year-old social worker a potentially life-saving operation.

Pope's 'Church for the poor' alive and well in Cuba

Havana - At 78, Father Lusarreta has lived through the bad times and the good in the Catholic Church's relations with the Cuban government, from the days of state atheism to the eager preparations for the pope's upcoming visit.
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