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Religion News

Pope Francis expected to visit Auschwitz in 2016

Varsovia - Pope Francis will likely visit the former Nazi-German death camp Auschwitz when he comes to Poland next year for a major Catholic festival, an archbishop from the devout country said Friday.

Vatican official investigated for embezzlement: reports

Rome - Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, a Vatican official, is under investigation by Italian prosecutors on suspicion of embezzlement and price fixing during the sale of an historic castle, according to media reports Wednesday.

Syria readies offensive against Islamic State without U.S. help

Damascus - Syria does not expect help from the United States in battling Islamic State insurgents or in retaking the ancient city of Palmyra, officials said Wednesday.

Pope's finance chief ready to appear at Australia child abuse inquiry

Sydney - Pope Francis' finance chief Wednesday said he was ready to give evidence at a child abuse inquiry in his native Australia, as the nation's most notorious paedophile priest insisted the pair had little to do with each other.

Ireland's gay marriage vote was 'a defeat': Vatican daily

- The Irish vote in favour of gay marriage constitutes "a defeat" that highlights a gap between the Church and modern society, the Vatican newspaper said Monday.

Colombia's Santos to visit Pope Francis in June: report

Estanzuela - President Juan Manuel Santos will meet Pope Francis in mid-June as part of a European tour, Colombia's foreign minister said in comments reported Sunday.

Kenyan Catholics celebrate beatification of Italian nun

Nyeri - Tens of thousands of Catholics gathered in the Kenyan town of Nyeri on Saturday for the beatification ceremony of an Italian nun, a key step towards sainthood.

Thousands rejoice as El Salvador's Romero beatified

Sansalvador - Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980 and whose defense of the poor divided his nation and the Church, was beatified Saturday at a ceremony attended by vast crowds.

Dutch cabinet backs partial Islamic burqa ban

Den Haag - The Dutch cabinet on Friday approved a partial ban on wearing the face-covering Islamic veil, including in schools, hospitals and on public transport.

'China's Jerusalem' targets party members of faith

Shanghai - The city known as China's centre of Christianity, Wenzhou, has launched a crackdown on Communist Party members with religious beliefs, the local government said, following tighter regulation of church buildings.

Church of Scotland decision on married gay clergy delayed

London - A Church of Scotland decision on whether to allow the ordination of married gay ministers was delayed on Thursday to allow wider consultation.The Church's presbyteries, or local areas, will now be asked to vote on the issue before it can be approved.

Vatican high-flyer denies trying to bribe abuse victim

Sydney - Australia's former top Catholic cleric, now Pope Francis' finance chief, on Thursday denied trying to bribe a victim of a paedophile priest to keep quiet as an inquiry heard of horrifying abuse.

El Salvador's beatified Romero symbol of new Church

Sansalvador - Thirty-five years after he was gunned down while saying mass, controversial Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified Saturday, held up by Pope Francis as a symbol of a Catholic Church dedicated to the poor.

Pope urges Chinese Catholics' allegiance to Rome

- Pope Francis called Wednesday on Chinese Catholics to remain attached to the "rock" on which the Church in Rome is built, in a move expected to rile Beijing."Ask Mary to help Catholics in China...

Australia child sex abuse inquiry told cardinal tried to bribe victim

Sydney - An Australian inquiry into child sex abuse heard Wednesday that the nation's former top Catholic cleric, now Pope Francis' finance chief, tried to bribe a victim of a paedophile priest to keep him quiet.

Irish gay marriage vote reflects Church in decline

Dublin - Friday's vote on legalising same-sex marriage in Ireland is a further sign of the waning influence of the once-dominant Catholic Church, experts said.

Pope creates first Palestinian saints at Vatican mass

- Two 19th-century nuns on Sunday became the first Palestinians to gain sainthood during an open-air mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St Peter's Square attended by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

U.S. rabbi jailed for secretly filming women

Washington - A Washington rabbi who admitted setting up cameras to spy on women as they prepared for Jewish ritual baths was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison, the Justice Department said.

John Paul II's blood-stained cassock on display

Varsovia - The blood-stained cassock worn by the late pope John Paul II on the day of a failed assassination bid on May 13, 1981 at the Vatican went on display Wednesday in the Polish city of Krakow.

Turkish leader inaugurates grand Tirana mosque construction

Tirana - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Albanian counterpart Bujar Nishani inaugurated on Wednesday the construction project of a grand mosque which Turkey is financing.

Pope says environmental sinners will answer to God

- Pope Francis on Tuesday warned "the powerful of the Earth" they will answer to God if they fail to protect the environment to ensure the world can feed its population.

Study finds fewer Christians, more unaffiliated in U.S.

Washington - The United States is becoming a little less Christian, and a little more unaffiliated to any faith, a major study on the nation's changing religious landscape suggested Tuesday.

Turkey's religious body publishes Koran in Armenian

Ankara - Overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey's top religious authority Diyanet said it has published thousands of copies of the Koran translated into Armenian for the first time, as it seeks to reach out to minority communities.

Vatican's warming ties with Cuba helped thaw U.S. relations

- The Catholic Church was key in helping to broker the historic reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba, but its role in the communist island has not always been so easy.

Castro at Vatican thanks pope for mediating thaw with US

- Cuban President Raul Castro met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Sunday, thanking the pontiff for his role in brokering an historic rapprochement between Havana and Washington, a papal spokesman said.

Erdogan plays religion card in tight Turkey polls

Ankara - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has controversially turned religion into a campaign issue in the officially secular country's upcoming polls, which promise to be the biggest election challenge yet for the ruling party.

Pope Francis to visit Chile in 2016

Santiago - Pope Francis will visit Chile in 2016, the South American country confirmed, after a meeting in Rome between its foreign minister and his Vatican counterpart.

Tunisia hosts Jewish pilgrimage under tight security

Djerba - The Jewish pilgrimage to Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba is to take place Wednesday under extra security after the Bardo museum massacre and Israel's warning of terror threats.

Irish priest jailed for hiring IRA to intimidate nephew

Dublin - An Irish priest was jailed on Thursday for hiring men who said they were IRA paramilitaries to issue death threats and intimidate his nephew into dropping legal action.

Vatican gave out 1.5 million euros in charity in 2014

- The Vatican under Pope Francis gave out aid worth 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in 2014, an increase of 25 percent over the previous year, an official said on Thursday.
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A fetus doll that was given to 3rd, 4th, 5th graders as part of a religious teaching on anti-abortion and the pro-life movement at a public school in Virginia.
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A mock-up of a CFI "skepticism" ad to be placed in Toronto subways
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