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British traditionalist bishop is excommunicated for illicit ordination

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A traditionalist bishop who has denied the Holocaust has been automatically excommunicated along with the priest he illicitly ordained a bishop.

British Bishop Richard Williamson violated church law when he ordained Fr. Jean-Michel Faure, 73, a bishop without papal approval during a ceremony in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, on Thursday, the feast of St. Joseph.

While the Vatican did not comment immediately, canon law provides automatic excommunication for the newly ordained bishop and for the bishop ordaining him in cases where the ordination goes against the will of the pope.

Filipino Cardinal Tagle named head of Catholic Biblical Federation

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Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, has been named the new president of the Catholic Biblical Federation.

While Tagle was elected unanimously as head of the federation at an Oct. 24-25 meeting in Rome of its executive committee, Pope Francis confirmed his election March 5.

He will assume his office at the federation's plenary assembly, to take place June 18-23 in Nemi, Italy. Tagle will succeed Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who has been president of the Catholic Biblical Federation since 2002.

Cardinal: Vatican diplomats have mission to save souls, build peace

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Over the centuries, the international community has developed criteria for determining whether a war is just and for regulating conduct in combat; now it needs clearer guidelines for "humanitarian intervention" and for post-conflict reconciliation, said the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis' top aide and chief coordinator of the Vatican diplomatic corps, also warned against indifference toward situations of conflict around the world.

Pope Francis: Mass in vernacular helps people understand God, live the faith

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Allowing priests to celebrate Mass in the language of the local congregation rather than in Latin allowed the faithful to understand and be encouraged by the word of God, Pope Francis said.

"You cannot turn back. We have to always go forward, always forward and who goes back is making a mistake," he told parishioners after commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first time a pope celebrated Mass in the vernacular following the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis is helping church reach world's 'seekers,' speakers say

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As the second anniversary of Pope Francis' election approached, an international group of philosophers, sociologists and theologians gathered to discuss how to renew the church in a secular age; many said that is exactly what Pope Francis is doing.

"I think the church had gotten into the stance of defending itself against its critics and trying to convince them, but that's not a stance of dialogue. Pope Francis is going out and reaching out," said Charles Taylor, professor emeritus of philosophy at Canada's McGill University.

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