VATICAN CITY – If the Catholic Church recognizes as "worthy of belief" only the initial alleged apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje, it would be the first time the church distinguished between phases of a single event, but it also would acknowledge that human beings and a host of complicating factors are involved, said a theological expert in Mariology.

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SYDNEY – As an Australian government commission heard testimony on how the Catholic Church responded to decades of child abuse in its institutions, church leaders were asking the same questions as the government: How could this have happened? How can we keep it from happening again?

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VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis told the heads of women's religious orders from around the world that he would set up a commission to study the New Testament deaconesses and he also insisted more can and should be done to involve lay and consecrated women in church decision-making at every level.

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican commission on clerical sexual abuse has wrapped up a turbulent week-long meeting during which one of two victims on the panel was effectively ousted and Chilean Catholics upset that Pope Francis has not sacked a controversial bishop delivered protest letters.

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VATICAN CITY - The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors received temporary approval of its first set of statutes.

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VATICAN CITY - Bishops who do not comply with the child protection norms adopted by their bishops' conferences and approved by the Vatican must face real consequences, said Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

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VATICAN CITY - Two weeks before the start of an extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, the Vatican announced the formation of a special commission to reform the process of granting marriage annulments.

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