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Salvadoran priest Oscar Romero to be declared saint by Pope Francis

The canonisation of the assassinated archbishop will take place on Sunday in Rome Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran priest who championed social justice for the poor and dispossessed, will be proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis in a canonisation ceremony in Rome on Sunday, almost four decades after he was assassinated by a rightwing death squad. The former archbishop of San Salvador, who was closely associated with the Latin American liberation theology movement of the 1960s and 70s, will be canonised along with six others at the ceremony in St Peters…

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US cardinal accused of concealing abuse pulls out of Dublin event

Donald Wuerl was to speak at World Meeting of Families, which pope is attending A US cardinal has pulled out of a keynote speech at the World Meeting of Families, a global event being hosted by the Roman Catholic church in Dublin, after he was criticised for his handling of child sexual abuse in a damning report. Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, concealed abuse and moved known child molesters to new posts when he was bishop of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania from 1988 to 2006, according to the grand jury…

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Recognition at last for Gentleman Jack, Britains first modern lesbian

Anne Lister has been honoured in the church where she wed, and her tales of passionate affairs are now the subject of a TV drama She was a 19th-century pioneer in many fields: business, travel, mountaineering. But 178 years after her death, Anne Lister is best known for her string of female lovers, with their erotic encounters explicitly chronicled in a coded diary stretching to 27 volumes. Last week, the woman often referred to as the first modern lesbian was honoured with a blue plaque at Holy Trinity church in…

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Pope Francis tells gay man: ‘God made you like this’

Juan Carlos Cruz, who was sexually abused, says pontiff told him God did not mind that he was gay A survivor of clerical sexual abuse has said Pope Francis told him that God had made him gay and loved him, in arguably the most strikingly accepting comments about homosexuality to be uttered by the leader of the Roman Catholic church. Juan Carlos Cruz, who spoke privately with the pope two weeks ago about the abuse he suffered at the hands of one of Chiles most notorious paedophiles, said the issue…

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Atheists who bring logic to the Easter story are missing the point | Julian Baggini

Having faith is a complex business. To assume that religious people are either crazy or stupid is lazy, says philosopher Julian Baggini Many years ago, I had to recount the life of Jesus to a young Taiwanese student who knew nothing about Christianity. As I told him about the virgin birth, the miracles, crucifixion and resurrection, he responded with incredulous laughter. Most nonbelievers in traditionally Christian cultures would show a bit more respect. But inside, our reaction is often pretty much the same: how can people really believe this stuff?…

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Odds and Ends 

Youre Santa! Can You Master The Sleigh And Deliver Gifts To All The Good Boys And Girls?

This feature requires JavaScript to function. This is you. You’re Santa Claus. I’m definitely Santa Claus, but unfortunately, I need to explode right away. You’ve been lying unconscious on the frigid tundra of the North Pole since last Christmas. In order to make sure you didn’t starve during your year-long slumber, arctic pelicans have been coming up to you and laying eggs into your mouth 24/7 since last Christmas. Every pelican lays about 200 eggs at a time, and they’ve just been squirting them right down Santa’s sleeping throat all…

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Pope calls for two-state solution in Israel and Palestine

Pope Francis uses traditional Christmas Day message to address damage done by controversial Trump speech two weeks ago The pope has reinforced calls for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in his traditional Christmas Day message delivered just over two weeks after the US president, Donald Trump, inflamed tensions in the region. Speaking before the faithful in St Peters Square in Rome, Francis said the children of the Middle East continued to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. This month, Trump…

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The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness review a tale of betrayal by the church

Graham Caveneys defiant, important memoir details how the Catholic establishment fails abuse victims Pope Francis has taken great strides in challenging all sorts of entrenched attitudes and prejudices in the Vatican that have given the Catholic church such a bad name of late. Progress has been disappointingly slow, however, on the commission he appointed in 2014 to tackle the appalling scandal of clerical sexual abuse. In March of this year bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99…

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Pope Francis creates fourth pathway to becoming a saint

Candidates for beatification, which was previously limited to those involved in miracles, can now include Christians who lay down their lives to save others Christians who lay down their life to save others, following in the footsteps and teaching of Jesus, will now be eligible for beatification, Pope Francis has said. Beatification is the first step on the path toward

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Gluten-free bread for Holy Communion is toast, says Vatican

Unleavened bread used for communion during Catholic masses can be genetically modified but not entirely gluten-free, church rules The unleavened bread used to celebrate the holy communion during Catholic masses can be made with genetically modified organisms, the Vatican said Saturday, but they cannot be entirely gluten-free. Low-gluten bread is allowed but there must be enough protein in the wheat to make it without additives. Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vaticans Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said the guidance was needed now that Eucharistic bread…

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US judge halts deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians

Attorneys argued the mostly Chaldean Christians, who were picked up during a series of raids in Detroit, would face death or persecution if they returned to Iraq A federal district judge on Thursday temporarily blocked the deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians who attorneys said would face death or persecution if returned to their birth country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) Trump issued a travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries including Iraq. That ban was struck down by a federal court and the revised ban, which does not include…

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Trudeau asks Pope Francis to apologise to indigenous people for church’s abuses

President invites the pope to travel to Canada to say sorry to thousands placed in residential Catholic schools where they were abused Justin Trudeau has urged Pope Francis to visit Canada to apologise tomet the pope last week, Trudeau and Francis agree that climate change is caused by human activity. We talked about how important it is to highlight the scientific basis of protecting our planet and the moral and ethical obligations to lead, to build a better future for all people on this earth, Trudeau said. At last weeks…

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Remains of five archbishops found near Lambeth Palace

Builders find 30 lead coffins in crypt of former church next to archbishop of Canterburys official residence The remains of five archbishops of Canterbury have been found beneath a medieval church next to the current archbishops official London residence, it has been revealed, much to the delight of Christians celebrating Easter. The discovery at the deconsecrated church of St Mary-at-Lambeth was made during the refurbishment of Lambeth Palaces a mobile phone attached to a stick and were able to have the first glimpse of what lay beneath: a hidden crypt…

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Outcry as Utah judge calls Mormon bishop who raped girl a good man

Judge Thomas Low let Keith Robert Vallejo out of custody after jury convicted him of 10 counts of forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape Complaints are pouring against a Utah judge who called a former Mormon bishop convicted of rape an extraordinary, good man who did something wrong, a Utah judicial oversight organization said on Friday. About 40 emails, six voicemails and some Facebook messages complaining about Judge Thomas Low have come in since late March, said Jennifer Yim, executive director of the Utah judicial performance evaluation…

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