FUZHOU, China – As the Catholic Church in China journeys toward a normalized relationship with the Holy See, one priest in dialogue with Chinese bishops has seen vast improvement in openness and dialogue on the part of leaders, both in the patriotic and underground Churches.

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VATICAN CITY – Two former top Vatican hospital officials appeared before a Vatican court for a pretrial hearing on allegations of embezzlement.

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WASHINGTON – The Vatican recently published a circular letter, "On the bread and wine for the Eucharist," sent to diocesan bishops at the request of Pope Francis. Dated June 15 – the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ – the letter was made public by the Vatican July 8.

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VATICAN CITY – In a new letter to bishops, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments denounced abuses against the Eucharist and "lack of respect in the sacred sphere," and reiterated existing norms regarding the Eucharist at Mass.

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VATICAN CITY – Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who spent 22 years as director of the Vatican press office, died at home in Rome July 5 at age 80 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

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VATICAN – In a brief interview given just hours after hearing that he would no longer be heading the Vatican's doctrine office, Cardinal Gerhard Muller said the decision was normal, and was not the result of conflict between him and Pope Francis.

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Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping came into their present roles within a day of each other in 2013 – Pope Francis was elected March 13 and Xi became president March 14. However, they have each followed a completely different path in governing immense and cumbersome entities – the People's Republic of China and the universal church.

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VATICAN CITY Proclaiming his innocence after being charged with sexual abuse, Australian Cardinal George Pell said, "I'm looking forward finally to having my day in court."

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VATICAN CITY – The Vatican expressed "grave concern" over the situation of a bishop in mainland China who has been in government custody for almost 10 months and moved repeatedly in an apparent attempt to prevent him from assuming leadership of his diocese.

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VATICAN CITY – While some countries continue to debate the legalization of marijuana, its effects and impact on possible dependency need to be further understood, said the head of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

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WASHINGTON – Days after rebels in Colombia announced turning in the last of their cache of weapons over to international observers, the Vatican announced June 23 details of Pope Francis' September trip to the war-torn South American country.

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VATICAN CITY – Just two years after being hired to help with the Vatican's efforts in finance reform, Libero Milone – the Vatican's first independent auditor who answered only to the Pope – handed a request for his resignation to Pope Francis.

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RUTENG, Indonesia – A group of priests in Indonesia's Ruteng Diocese appealed to the Vatican to intervene and resolve a dispute with their bishop, whom they accuse of misappropriating more than $100,000 in church funds.

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VATICAN CITY – Negotiations between government and opposition groups in Venezuela, followed by free and fair elections, are needed to put an end to violence and bring relief to the suffering people, a Vatican official said.

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VATICAN CITY – Philosopher Nigel Biggar, who backs legal abortion, is among the 45 new appointments to the Pontifical Academy for Life, according to a statement on the Vatican website.

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