ROME – Faith-based volunteers are joining civil protection teams sifting through the collapsed buildings and debris of a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that hit central Italy this week as the search for survivors continues.

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VATICAN CITY – An agreement between the Holy See and France handed responsibility for the church that towers above Rome's Spanish Steps to the French-founded Emmanuel Community.

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ROME – A Catholic school in northern Italy has been found guilty of discriminating against a gay teacher in a case sparked when a nun quizzed the employee on her sexual orientation.

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ROME – An Italian archbishop who served as the first apostolic nuncio to Mexico died May 27 at the age of 94.

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ROME – The Italian government's approval of a controversial bill that grants legal recognition to non-married heterosexual and homosexual couples is a defeat for democracy and family life, an Italian bishop said.

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VATICAN CITY – Italian journalist and author Gianluigi Nuzzi did not plot the release of leaked Vatican financial documents with another journalist and was well within his rights to publish the information he received from a Spanish monsignor, a defense witness told a Vatican court.

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VATICAN CITY – The first witnesses called by the Vatican prosecution in a case involving leaked documents testified about suspicious secret meetings and excessive photocopying of sensitive documents.

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VATICAN CITY – Dive into the world's problems with courage and help people turn their lives of desolation into abundance and hope, Pope Francis said.

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ROME – The same day Pope Francis brought 12 Syrian refugees to Rome from Greece, a merchant ship rescued 41 refugees, including a three-year-old child. They told human rights workers they saw as many as 500 others drown when the refugees' boat sank.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis blessed the eyes of an American girl who suffers from a genetic condition that will make her blind, in a visit to the Vatican described as a “miracle” by her father.

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ROME - Italy may be the spiritual home of 1.2 billion members of the Catholic Church around the world, but a new poll shows only 50 per cent of Italians consider themselves Catholic.

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ROME - After months of public debate and protests, the Italian Senate passed a controversial bill that grants legal recognition to non-married heterosexual and homosexual couples.

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BRESCIA, Italy - Italian State Police in Brescia, working with their counterparts in Kosovo, announced Dec. 1 that they had taken action against four Kosovars they believed to be terrorist risks and who, police said, made threats on social media against Pope Francis.

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FLORENCE, Italy - If God and his word are to help people, Christians have to be in touch with what is really happening in people's lives, Pope Francis said during an afternoon Mass.

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FLORENCE, Italy - Meeting workers and addressing a major gathering of the Catholic Church in Italy, Pope Francis demanded an end to economic exploitation, to clerics "obsessed" with power, to apathy among youth and to a cold, fearful church that forgets Christ is always by its side.

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