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Use 'weapons' of love, prayer in cultural war, participants say

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In the battle to defeat the culture of death and preserve Christian values throughout the Americas, Christians need to adopt the "unconventional weapons" of Our Lady of Guadalupe: love and prayer, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore told participants at a Vatican congress.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver, who led a small group discussion Monday at the congress marking the 15th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops for America, told the same participants that an encounter with Christ, through Mary, is essential for ensuring a "transformation of culture."

Church must highlight women's vital role in ministry, says US speaker

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To counteract the widespread perception that women don't have a vital role in the church, Catholics need to learn more about the historical importance of women in ministry and retell those stories to younger generations, said a prominent U.S. Catholic speaker.

Catholics need "to take these young people, sometimes adults, under our wing and talk about these things and share our own life story of ministry," said Vicki Thorn.

Pope Benedict XVI promotes personal secretary to head of household

Pope Benedict XVI on Friday promoted his personal secretary to head of the papal household, giving Msgr. Georg Gaenswein even larger influence in organizing the aging pontiff's schedule and meetings.

Gaenswein has been Benedict's closest aide since his election in 2005, and also served as secretary when then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Vatican's doctrinal office.

The German-born Gaenswein was appointed prefect of the papal household, replacing American Archbishop James Harvey, who was recently made a cardinal.

With @Pontifex, pope reaches out to new kind of followers

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To celebrate the launch of his new Twitter account, Pope Benedict XVI will tweet the answers to a handful of questions from his followers.

The pope's rare question-and-answer exchange on the social media site shows the church doesn't just want to teach the truth, but also to listen to others, said Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The archbishop and other Vatican officials spoke at a news conference Monday to reveal the pope's new Twitter account @Pontifex.

Vatican blasts media coverage of pope's latest book

The Vatican on Thursday blasted the press for focusing too narrowly on whether animals were present when Jesus was born, saying media coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's new book on Jesus' childhood missed the book's key message.

Writing on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper, Spanish theologian Jose Maria Gil Tamayo labeled the "media confusion" as another "symptom" of the "widespread and silent marginalization of God" in contemporary society.

Vatican says it hasn't lost the gay marriage fight

Despite recent setbacks in the United States and Europe, the Catholic church is not losing the fight on gay marriage, the Vatican semiofficial newspaper claimed Friday.

On the contrary, according to an article in L'Osservatore Romano by historian Lucetta Scaraffia, the church has emerged in recent years as the only institution on the global stage that's capable of resisting the forces that threaten to "break up ... human society."

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September 12-25, 2014

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