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Italian women seek freedom to marry the priests they love

Anna Ferretti has been married for more than 40 years, and she and her husband are the proud parents of four children. There's only one catch: Her husband is a Catholic priest.

"At first we had to do everything to keep our love secret," said Ferretti, who lives in Naples. "But it was impossible to hide such strong feelings, and we decided to make our relationship public."

Ferretti met her husband, Natale Mele, when she was a student and he was a priest running youth programs in the city's archdiocese.

Italy's Catholic bishops denounce court ruling that OK'd sperm donors

Italy's Catholic bishops have condemned a court ruling that lifts a ban on married couples using sperm donors for artificial insemination, likening the move to playing God.

"None of us are the masters of anyone else, not even parents with respect to their own children," the secretary-general of the Italian bishops' conference, Msgr. Nunzio Galantino, said Wednesday.

"There is a glaring contradiction between those who proclaim freedom, respect, rights and then do not clearly recognize the rights of those who do not have the chance to express it for themselves."

The Benedict protégé in Francis' Vatican

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Cardinal Gerhard Müller enjoys recounting a humorous episode that occurred some months ago when Pope Francis stopped into the office Müller heads, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The pope immediately noted a small statue in the entrance hall, which depicts a bishop in full regalia sitting on a horse and holding aloft the Blessed Sacrament in a gold monstrance.

Antonio Banderas may be cast as Pope Francis in biopic

Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas may be cast in the role of Pope Francis in the first feature film to be made on the life of the Argentine pontiff.

Italian director Daniele Luchetti plans to make the $12 million Spanish language film, titled "Call Me Francesco," with producer Pietro Valsecchi, who has made some of Italy's highest-grossing movies.

Valsecchi's Rome-based production house, Taodue Film, confirmed the news Wednesday, and a spokeswoman said the company was looking to shoot the film in various locations, including Argentina and Italy.

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