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Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window, at the Vatican, December 17, 2023.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Catholic priests can now bless same-sex couples, with a big caveat

The Vatican on Monday announced that Pope Francis has granted formal approval for Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples – but it must be clear that such blessings are not part of the ritual of marriage or in connection with a civil union.

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Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, waves from a balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican after being elected by the conclave of cardinals, April 19, 2005.

Pope Benedict, who shocked the world by resigning, dies at 95

Pope Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to retire in six centuries, died early Saturday at the age of 95. Benedict surprised the world in 2013 by announcing he was stepping down from the papacy due to his advanced age. The first German pope in 1,000 years, Benedict took up the mantle of his close friend and predecessor, Pope John Paul II, and is credited with starting to reform Vatican finances and disciplining priests in Latin America who promoted Marxist ideology. Along the way, his strict adherence to church doctrine earned him the nickname “God’s Rottweiler.” Benedict’s papacy was plagued by global clerical sexual misconduct charges, and he charted a course for stricter discipline and defrocking of priests. But he’s also remembered for the 2012 “Vatileaks” controversy in which his brother leaked secret files revealing corruption and infighting at the Vatican. His reputation was further damaged by this year’s Munich diocese report, which alleged he mishandled sexual abuse allegations when he was an archbishop decades ago, prompting him to publicly apologize. Pope Benedict wasn’t always great at interfaith work. He managed to upset Muslims by suggesting Islam was inherently violent, and Jews by lifting the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. While leaving a mixed legacy, Benedict will perhaps be remembered most for making a daring choice to resign when he felt he could no longer fully serve the papacy.

Contempt charges dropped against three editors in ex-Vatican treasurer Pell conviction reporting trial

November 12, 2020 9:24 AM

Prosecutor Lisa De Ferrari gave no reason for the sudden move, more than 18 months after the charges were first laid.

Cardinal Pell to return to Rome nearly six months after sex abuse aquittal

September 29, 2020 2:44 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Cardinal George Pell will return to Rome Tuesday (Sept 29) for the first time since being acquitted of child sexual abuse charges, and just days after a Vatican rival was ousted.

China backs new Vatican Hacking, cyber firm Recorded Future says

September 15, 2020 10:58 PM

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Hackers alleged to be backed by China have renewed efforts to penetrate a Vatican e-mail server even after the attacks became public, in a push to spy on sensitive negotiations between the two states, a new cyber security report says.

What We're Watching: Turkey censors social media, Jordanians set to vote, China hacks the Vatican

Turkey suppresses social media: Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, likes to dominate the conversation. In power since 2003, he and his Justice and Development party have succeeded in tightening their grip on the media in recent years. More than 90 percent of the country's traditional media outlets are now controlled by companies with ties to the government. Turkey has also become one of the world's leading jailers of journalists. This media-control mission now extends into cyberspace. Since nationwide protests in 2013 and a coup attempt in 2016 threatened his hold on power, Erdogan has unleashed an army of trolls to attack critics and journalists. This week, Turkey's parliament passed legislation that forces social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to remove content the government doesn't like. To enforce the law, which takes effect on October 1, these companies are required to open offices, and store user data, inside Turkey. Failure to comply could lead to bandwidth cuts of up to 95 percent that slow their speed and make them unusable inside Turkey's borders.

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Former Vatican treasurer George Pell appeals against abuse convictions

June 05, 2019 10:25 AM

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell appeared in an Australian court on Wednesday (June 5) for an appeal hearing against his convictions for sexually abusing two choir boys in the 1990s.

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