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Jamie Coots, co-star of 'Snake Salvation,' dies of a snakebite

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The Rev. Jamie Coots, a serpent-handling pastor and co-star of the "Snake Salvation" reality television show, died Saturday after a snakebite during a church service. He was 42.

Coots, pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky., was found dead at his house around 10 p.m.

Coots had been bitten at the church, Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe told WBIR television in Knoxville. Sharpe said emergency workers went to the church and to Coots' home but he refused medical care.

New York bishops urge 'love, respect' for people with mental illness

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The Catholic bishops of New York urged compassion and acceptance for people suffering from mental illness in a new pastoral statement, and the state Catholic conference, their public policy arm, issued specific policy recommendations related to those with mental illness.

The bishops' statement, " 'For I Am Lonely and Afflicted': Toward a Just Response to the Needs of Mentally Ill Persons," cited the example of Jesus in the Gospels in demonstrating how society should respond to those with mental illness.

Fr. Reese is back on board

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I have to remind myself that I first met Jesuit Fr. Tom Reese just last year. I mean, I had talked to him countless times over the years -- his name is ubiquitous as a source for journalists trying to understand this crazy organization we call the church -- and I had read his books and articles. But the first time I was in the same room with him to shake his hand and offer him a cup of tea was in late February 2013.

Preview: Monks' age-old link to ink hits high-tech age

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Throughout history, monks have been linked to ink, penning beautiful calligraphy in books and illuminating manuscripts.

The Benedictine monks at St. Andrew's Abbey in Valyermo, located in California's Mojave Desert 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, have updated the ink connection for today's digital age with their new venture, Monks-Ink, an online ink and toner business.

Preview: Understanding Franciscan identity key to US friars' restructuring

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For the first time in their centuries-long history, the leaders of the seven separate provinces of the major group of Franciscan friars in United States met together in Milwaukee in December 2012.

Joined by the international head of the order founded by the 13th-century St. Francis of Assisi, the leaders had made the historic summit to answer a decidedly uncomfortable question faced by religious orders across the globe: What to do in an era of steeply declining numbers?

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April 11-24, 2014

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