A lesbian author whose children’s books on gay families have been banned in Italy said she received a letter from Pope Francis that included a “blessing” of her work and relationship, but the Vatican says it’s being misinterpreted.

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ROME - The Vatican has given its backing to a central Rome square being named after Martin Luther, a church reformer excommunicated by the pope nearly 500 years ago.

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VATICAN CITY - The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums has released a smartphone app to help culture enthusiasts learn about the works owned by the Holy See — and as a novel way of encouraging art lovers to help fund restoration.

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HONG KONG - When Fr. Joseph Zhang Yinlin was ordained coadjutor bishop of Anyang Diocese, he became the first publicly ordained Chinese bishop in three years and the first since the Vatican and China restarted its dialogue in June 2014.

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VATICAN CITY - After decades of world leaders trying to set global goals to address climate change and extreme poverty, city mayors gathered at the Vatican to pledge they will take real action and lead the fight on their streets.

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VATICAN CITY - The Holy See is more than a billion dollars richer than previously known and the Vatican turned a 2014 profit of CDN $53.4 million, according to figures released on July 16.

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VATICAN CITY - The Holy See welcomed Iran's historic nuclear deal and expressed hopes that more future breakthroughs be on the horizon on other issues.

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Let it never be said that the Vatican under Pope Francis is predictable. The latest case in point is a Vatican invitation extended to Canadian feminist and environmental activist Naomi Klein.

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican signed a historic agreement recognizing the state of Palestine June 26 and calling for a two-state solution with Israel, a move criticized by the Israeli government as damaging the peace process.

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The most anticipated papal encyclical in history has anticipated itself. What an angry Vatican spokesman called an “intermediate draft” of the letter from Pope Francis on the environment was leaked by an Italian magazine three days before its official launch.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis said planning for a possible visit to Colombia would be accelerated by a peace agreement in the country, said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, following his meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican June 15.

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VATICAN CITY - A former Vatican nuncio will stand trial in a Vatican court on charges of the sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography.

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WARSAW, Poland - Poland's Catholic bishops pledged to resist changes to Catholic teaching on marriage and family life at October's synod on the family at the Vatican and rejected demands for reform by German-speaking Catholics.

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VATICAN CITY - A charity for youth established by Pope Francis has suspended a donations agreement with a South American soccer federation, following the corruption scandal that erupted last month with the worldwide soccer federation, FIFA.

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has released a new Arabic-language guidebook, the first of its kind, which aims to bring the culture of the Catholic Church to a new audience.

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