The Vatican is investigating a Jesuit theologian from India for allegedly espousing unorthodox beliefs, raising new questions about whether Pope Francis — the first Jesuit pope — is in fact moving the Catholic Church in a new direction.

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The American nuns who were publicly scolded by the Vatican’s top doctrinal official for disobedience and promoting unorthodox beliefs have rejected the criticisms, and say their “attempts to clarify misperceptions have led to deeper misunderstandings” between Rome and the organization representing most of the 50,000 sisters in the U.S.

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VATICAN CITY - Appearing before a U.N. committee monitoring adherence to an international treaty designed to fight torture, a Vatican official insisted that, over the past 10 years, the Catholic Church has "in a systematic, constructive and effective way," worked to prevent clerical sexual abuse of minors and assist victims.

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican could face a wave of new sexual abuse claims dating back decades if a United Nations inquiry finds that the Roman Catholic Church has violated an international treaty against torture and inhuman treatment.

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VATICAN CITY - Appearing before a UN committee monitoring adherence to an international treaty designed to fight torture, Vatican officials repeatedly were asked about efforts to investigate allegations of clerical sexual abuse, punish offenders and co-operate with civil authorities in prosecuting the perpetrators.

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VATICAN CITY - The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests, permanent deacons and religious men all increased in 2012, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.

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VATICAN CITY - As Vatican representatives prepare to testify before a United Nations inquiry into torture next week, a senior official warned investigators that it would be “deceptive” to link torture with the pedophilia scandals that have swept the Catholic Church.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis told his new economic oversight council that it must be "courageous and determined" in its critical role of helping the Church not waver from its real mission of bringing the Gospel to the world and helping those most in need.

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ROME - Getting into St. Peter’s Square for the canonization Mass of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II was not for the faint of heart.

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VATICAN CITY - As Pope Francis prepares to address the new Vatican panel charged with tackling the clergy sexual abuse scandal, victims are demanding the Catholic Church take immediate action to expose perpetrators and punish the bishops who protected them.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis and his council of eight cardinals are unlikely to complete a radical shakeup of the Holy See’s administration, or Curia, before 2015, the Vatican said Tuesday (April 29).

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VATICAN CITY - Reports that Pope Francis told an Argentine woman civilly married to a divorced man that she can receive Communion "cannot be confirmed as reliable," said Jesuit Father Federico, the Vatican spokesman.

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RIO DE JANEIRO - The cancellation of a scheduled Popemobile ride through a working-class neighborhood suggests that, despite official assurances, Pope Francis' chaotic entrance into the city July 22 may have raised concerns among those responsible for his safety during his first international trip as Pope.

Published in World Youth Day 2013

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, began a briefing about the election of the Pope Francis, a Jesuit, by apologizing that he was a bit in "shock."

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VATICAN CITY - The Sistine Chapel's transformation from a world-famous tourist site to the prayer-filled space where cardinal electors will choose the next pope is under way.

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