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US bishops' spring assembly opens with rapid start to communications

A few hours before the U.S. bishops' spring general assembly opened Wednesday in St. Louis, the meeting already had begun.

Tweets were trickling out from bishops, media and observers using the hashtag #usccb15. Among their first items to share: a link to the live stream of the proceedings, bishops making their presence known and media types encouraging followers to watch their live coverage.

Are Christian hashtags rallying the faithful or just luring trolls?

Standing on the sidewalk outside an imposing downtown church, Michael Corral carried a portable loudspeaker and a handmade wooden cross with an old-fashioned message: "REPENT & BELIEVE."

"They're twisting Scripture to see through their sins," he said, as a group of pro-LGBT evangelicals met inside.

Meanwhile, halfway across the country, conservative activist Eric Teetsel was monitoring the same conference from his home in Kansas, firing off 140-character tweets using the conference hashtag, #TRPinDC.

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