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Top Anglican calls for lifting seal of confessional in child abuse cases

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Anglican priests should no longer be bound by the centuries-old principle of confidentiality in confessions when they are told of sexual crimes committed against children, the Church of England's No. 2 official said.

Speaking at the end of an internal inquiry on whether senior church officials ignored abuse allegations involving children, Archbishop of York John Sentamu said that "what happened was shameful, terrible, bad, bad, bad."

Italian priest, unfazed by death threats, goes after the Mafia

Half a dozen men stand nonchalantly in front of a grubby building on one of Rome's busiest streets as cars whizz past. They stiffen whenever a stranger approaches.

But few would guess they're undercover cops protecting Italy's most endangered man.

Inside is Fr. Luigi Ciotti, a 69-year-old priest with soft brown eyes and silver hair who has spent the past 20 years fighting the Italian Mafia.

UN nuncio decries growing violence against children around world

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Millions of the world's children today are victims of armed conflict, pornography and sexual trafficking, and still more "are denied the most fundamental right to life," said the Vatican's nuncio to the United Nations.

"Prenatal selection eliminates babies suspected to have disabilities and female children simply because of their sex," Archbishop Berardito Auza said Oct. 17 in a statement to the U.N. Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, which was discussing the rights of children.

He is the Vatican's permanent representative at the U.N. in New York.

Pakistani Catholic: Church to appeal death penalty for blasphemy charge

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Catholic leaders in Pakistan will appeal to their country's Supreme Court after a lower court upheld the death penalty for a blasphemy ruling against a Christian mother of five children.

"Like it or not, we have to accept the court order," Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, director of the National (Catholic) Commission for Justice and Peace, told Catholic News Service on Monday from his office in Lahore, Pakistan.

Four days earlier, the Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence handed to Asia Bibi in 2010.

As Brazilians drift away from Catholicism, Virgin Mary procession as popular as ever

More than 2 million worshippers, pilgrims and onlookers poured around an 11-inch wooden figure of the Virgin Mary as it made its way through the streets. A crush of the faithful heaved and hauled away at a rope that stretched over a thousand feet from the cart that bore the beloved statue, dragging it inch by inch through the sweat-soaked crowd. Bursts of fireworks marked its passage.

Cirio de Nazare is Brazil's largest religious event of the year, and it takes place at the mouth of the Amazon in the northern state of Para.

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May 22-June 4, 2015

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