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Vatican City

Israeli president invites pope to visit Israel, 'the sooner the better'

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Israeli President Shimon Peres officially invited Pope Francis to Israel, telling the pope "the sooner you visit the better, as in these days a new opportunity is being created for peace, and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace."

The Israeli president's remarks were reported in a statement released by the Israeli Embassy to the Vatican after Peres met Pope Francis on Tuesday.

Cardinal ordains U.S. archbishop, two others for diplomatic service

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With ambassadors from around the world in attendance, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone ordained as archbishops three members of the Vatican diplomatic corps -- including U.S. Archbishop Michael Banach -- who will serve as nuncios.

Banach, 50, a priest of the diocese of Worcester, Mass., was named nuncio to Papua New Guinea; he had been the Vatican's representative to several international agencies based in Vienna.

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.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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