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Arsonists sought in connection with fires at three Australian parishes

Australian police are searching for an arsonist following suspicious fires at three Melbourne area churches with links to clerical sexual abuse.

Three blazes broke out in as many days, beginning in the suburb of Brighton with St. James Church, which was almost destroyed Monday. The church is included on the Australian National Heritage List.

St. Mary Church in St. Kilda East sustained minor damage from a fire believed to have been deliberately set around the same time.

Legionaries apologize for video featuring students from elite academy

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Officials at an elite academy operated by the Legionaries of Christ apologized for a viral video starring students in its graduating class who critics accused of sexism and showing off insensitivity and privilege.

The professionally produced video shows male students in suits, sipping drinks, tending to a jaguar on a leash and carrying out a casting call in which young women attempt to win their affection. The women dance, strip, chase the students and even wash their feet. The young men feign fatigue with it all.

Cardinal says bishops' conferences cannot go it alone on doctrine

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised bishops' conferences not to take "doctrinal and disciplinary decisions" on issues that rightly fall under the magisterium of the church.

Cardinal Gerhard Muller said while bishops' conferences have authority on some matters, "they don't constitute a magisterium within the magisterium, independently of the pope and out of communion with other bishops."

Church of England loses no time, appoints third woman bishop and first to oversee a diocese

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The Church of England's commitment to advance the cause of women took another step forward Thursday with the appointment of Rachel Treweek, 52, as the next bishop of Gloucester in the southwest region of England.

That makes three women bishops in the space of three months since the church overcame its long-standing opposition to women bishops late last year. On Wednesday, the church appointed its second woman bishop, Alison White, 58, as suffragan bishop of Hull.

Laicized Polish priest gets seven years in jail for child sexual abuse

The Polish bishops' conference defended its handling of sexual abuse by clergy after a former priest was jailed in connection with the case of Jozef Wesolowski, the laicized former nuncio to the Dominican Republic.

"The Catholic Church is the only entity in Poland to have adopted guidelines on pedophilia," Fr. Jozef Kloch, conference spokesman, told Catholic News Service.

English cardinal urges debate on family synod to stay out of the press

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster urged priests to end debating the upcoming synod on the family in the press after more than 450 priests published a letter calling on the Catholic church to retain the prohibition on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving holy Communion.

Philippine lawmakers pledge to block proposed divorce law

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Lawmakers said a proposed law to legalize divorce in the Philippines would face stiff opposition in Congress despite growing public support for the measure.

"The proposal to legalize divorce will not pass under my watch," said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., reported the Asian Catholic news portal ucanews.com.

Marriage "should be saved and should guarantee the proper guidance of children," he said.

Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, deputy speaker, said there was little support for the measure among legislators.

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