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German church official says plan for electing bishops follows tradition

The election of Bishop Heiner Koch of Dresden-Meissen, Germany, as archbishop of Berlin follows tradition and stems from good church-state relations, said a church official.

"One can never tell how well this system works, since the voting is secret and there's no public consultation like in Germany's Protestant churches," said Stefan Forner, spokesman for the Berlin archdiocese.

Ruling makes Guam first US territory to legalize same-sex marriage

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Guam's archbishop said a judge's June 5 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S. territory was "a defeat" not only "for Christian principles" but "for our island and the whole of humanity."

"The recognition of a same-sex union, as marriage, destroys the basic fabric of society, and will destroy human beings in the process," Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron of Agana said in a statement.

Climate encyclical expected to send strong moral message to the world

Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on ecology and climate is expected to send a strong moral message -- one message that could make some readers uncomfortable, some observers say.

"The encyclical will address the issue of inequality in the distribution of resources and topics such as the wasting of food and the irresponsible exploitation of nature and the consequences for people's life and health," Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, Peru, told Catholic News Service.

Philippine bishops urge voters to reject 'corrupt' politicians in 2016

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The country's Catholic bishops urged voters to reject "notoriously corrupt" politicians running in next year's national elections in a pastoral letter sent to parishes.

The bishops, in the letter read at Masses Sunday, also sought to remind the voters that voting was not merely a political right, but "a moral obligation," reported the Asian Catholic news portal ucanews.com.

French Catholics want countries to quit buying oil from Islamic State

French Catholics have urged church support for a campaign to stop Western companies from buying oil from the Islamic State group, in effect funding the mass killing of Christians.

"Our brothers and sisters are being massacred, women and children taken into slavery -- and while Christians are suffering most, so are Muslims and other minorities," said Joseph Thouvenel, vice president of the French Confederation of Christian Workers.

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