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Science still can't explain Shroud of Turin, researcher says

Even with modern scientific technology, the Shroud of Turin continues to baffle researchers.

Barrie Schwortz was the documenting photographer for the Shroud of Turin research project in 1978, an in-depth examination of what many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus.

Raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, "it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I'm a Jew and involved with probably the most important relic of Christianity," Schwortz told Catholic News Service.

"Isn't it funny how God always picks a Jew to be the messenger," he said.

Pope calls on Venezuelan leaders to resolve political crisis peacefully

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Pope Francis called on Venezuela's political leaders to resolve their differences through respectful dialogue and he urged the nation's people to reject all forms of violence as the country seeks to move ahead.

Venezuelans went to the polls April 14 to elect a successor to President Hugo Chavez, the socialist who died of complications from cancer March 5.

Adult stem cells offer ethical, effective cures, speakers say

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Finding safe and effective cures to disease and illness does not have to go against moral and ethical principles; that was the message of a three-day conference at the Vatican on adult stem-cell therapies.

"To address global suffering, one does not have to choose between faith and science. ... These two ideas fit together symbiotically," said Dr. Robin Smith, chairman and CEO of the for-profit NeoStem biopharmaceutical company and president of its nonprofit Stem for Life Foundation.

Vatican office looks at challenges facing couples from different faiths

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Catholics need to know that marrying someone from a different Christian community or, even more so, from a different religion will create extra challenges in their marriage, but church leaders also must learn how to help people in mixed marriages meet those challenges, a Vatican official said.

"We can express a positive judgment only when the conditions are met for a family life where the values and purposes of marriage are respected, and where a common faith in God helps the spouses to weave together an authentic communion of life and love," said Bishop Jean Laffitte.

Being Christian means acting, loving like Christ, pope says at audience

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A Christian isn't a person who simply follows some commandments, but is a person who tries to think like Christ, "act like him, love like him," Pope Francis said at his weekly general audience.

More than 30,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the audience Wednesday; the crowd included a group whose presence Pope Francis described -- with a smile -- as "very important": directors of Argentina's San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team, which has been his favorite team since he was a child.

Vatican seeks expanded Moneyval review to show compliance efforts

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A major European regulator will conduct an expanded evaluation of the Vatican's latest efforts to prevent money laundering and the funding of terrorism.

Moneyval, the monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe, agreed Tuesday to expand its next scheduled review of Vatican policies and procedures. The decision came in response to a request from the Vatican.

Cardinal Antonetti, Vatican diplomat, finance manager, dies at 90

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Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Antonetti, who died Wednesday at the age of 90, dedicated many years as a "diligent colleague" at the Holy See, Pope Francis said.

The cardinal had spent more than 35 years at the service of the Vatican as a diplomat and a financial manager, and he'd been the papal delegate for the basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, Italy.

The pope said everywhere the cardinal worked "he expressed valued testimony of fervent priestly zeal and fidelity to the Gospel."

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April 11-24, 2014

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