The news that the Vatican and the Chinese government extended their ground-breaking but controversial 2018 provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops was met with a mixture of skepticism, hope and dismay.

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VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican and the Chinese government will extend an agreement signed in 2018 regarding the appointment of bishops.

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VATICAN CITY - The Swiss Guard reported an additional seven men have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the current number of cases among the 113 guardsmen to 11.

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VATICAN CITY - As the world's attention is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its dire economic consequences, the Vatican urged nations not to forget the people of Syria, who are still living in a situation of violence and extreme need.

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VATICAN CITY - Dressed in a black polo shirt with a sweater draped around his shoulders, Father Gabriele Martinelli, 28, heard a Vatican criminal court accuse him of repeatedly sexually abusing a younger student at a minor seminary inside the Vatican.

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VATICAN CITY - Two priests connected to a minor seminary located at the Vatican will appear before a Vatican criminal court Oct. 14 on charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of students at the seminary.

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VATICAN CITY - Four years after the Pontifical Council for Culture instituted a Permanent Women's Consultation Group to bring women's experiences and voices to the council's deliberations, Pope Francis noted that they represent a "novelty" at the Holy See.

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VATICAN CITY -- Professing faith in God as the creator of all human beings, or even simply recognizing that all people possess an inherent dignity, has concrete consequences for how people should treat one another and make decisions in politics, economics and social life, Pope Francis wrote.

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VATICAN CITY -- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, thanked experts from Moneyval -- the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism -- for helping the Holy See in its efforts to ensure transparency and international cooperation in its financial dealings.

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WASHINGTON -- A new casting of a 3.5-ton bronze sculpture commissioned by the Vatican has made a temporary stop in Washington before it eventually finds a permanent home there.

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VATICAN CITY -- With the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia in many countries, and questions concerning what is morally permissible regarding end-of-life care, the Vatican's doctrinal office released a 25-page letter offering "a moral and practical clarification" on the care of vulnerable patients.

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VATICAN CITY -- About 10 days before he was expected in Rome, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that the Vatican "endangers its moral authority" by considering an extension of its 2018 agreement with China on the nomination of bishops.

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VATICAN CITY -- As the expiration of a provisional agreement signed between the Vatican and China approached, the Vatican secretary of state said he hopes it will be extended.

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China has been accused of hacking Vatican computers as well as those in the Diocese of Hong Kong and other Catholic organizations in May.

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VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican distanced itself again from any involvement in the Spanish government's decision to exhume the remains of the country's late dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.

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