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Vatican seeks a more 'welcoming home' for LGBT people, but clings to old doctrines

Is this the modern family according to Francis? From gay relationships to extramarital sex, from divorce and remarriage to civil unions, the Roman Catholic church has signalled it is ready to adopt what some see as a markedly more conciliatory tone towards those in “irregular” familial setups.

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Pope Francis revisits 'punishing' Catholics who get divorced

Millions of devotees remain banned from receiving communion – but meeting of bishops raises hopes of ban being loosened

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Catholic church prepares for conflict on allowing holy communion for divorcees

The leadership of the Roman Catholic church is bracing for open conflict over its treatment of remarried divorcees as powerful conservatives mobilise ahead of a highly anticipated summit called by Pope Francis for next month.

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Pope Francis: Catholic sex abuse 'like a sacrilegious cult' that sacrifice boys and girls

Leaders of the Roman Catholic church who failed to respond adequately to reports of child sex abuse by paedophile priests caused even greater suffering to their victims and will in future be held accountable, Pope Francis has said, in a clear rebuke to bishops who helped cover up the scandal and shield abusers.

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Pope Francis attacks the 'culture of wellbeing': Married couples should have kids, not pets

Pope Francis has warned married couples who choose not to have children that they are heading for an old age blighted by "the bitterness of loneliness".

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New species of yellow jellyfish spotted in North Adriatic last year has since disappeared: scientists

Scientists in Italy say they have discovered a new species of jellyfish in the Gulf of Venice.

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Amanda Knox caused fatal wound to Meredith Kercher, Italian court rules

Florence appeals court rules UK student killed by group, driven by desire to bully and humiliate her, not solely by Rudy Guede

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Venetians fight to save historical, 'haunted' Poveglia island from luxury developers

Andrea Barina, the owner of a no-frills restaurant on the Giudecca canal, serves up mouth-watering plates of seafood antipasti and exquisitely fresh fish to a loyal clientele. But, one night earlier this month, the genial 50-year-old was confronted with an idea that was profoundly indigestible: the potential transformation of his beloved teenage playground into yet another luxury resort in the Venetian Lagoon.

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Europe's first openly transgender lawmaker arrested for holding 'Gay is OK' banner in Sochi

A prominent Italian gay rights campaigner and former MP has been arrested in Sochi while watching the Winter Olympics with a banner reading "Gay Is Ok" in Russian, two activists have said.

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Swiss Guard veteran: Gay 'secret society' in the Vatican a security problem for Pope Francis

A former commander of the Swiss Guard, the small force of men whose job it is to protect the pope, has said there is "a network of homosexuals" within the Vatican, the latest in a series of claims about gay priests working at the heart of the Roman Catholic church.

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Vatican gives 'a slap in the face' to sex abuse victims by stonewalling UN panel

The Vatican has refused to give a United Nations panel information it requested on clerical sex abuse, in a move that it said was part of its confidentiality policy but which was criticised as "a slap in the face" for victims.

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90-year-old former Nazi soldier handed life sentence for role in wartime massacre

A 90-year-old former Nazi soldier has been handed a life sentence for his role in a wartime massacre on the Greek island of Cephalonia, the setting for the bestselling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

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Pope Francis to meet cardinals for historic talks on church reforms

The eight cardinals picked by Pope Francis to advise him on reform of the Roman curia and the governance of the Catholic church are preparing to meet the pontiff for the first time on Tuesday, in an unprecedented three-day meeting likened to a "papal G8".

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Italy turns to German nanotech to preserve ruins of Pompeii

German archaeologists to use nanotechnology as Italians come under pressure from Unesco over vandalism

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Rightwing Italian senator says first black minister has 'features of orangutan'

The Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta, has condemned as unacceptable comments made by a senior rightwing senator in which he suggested the country's first black government minister had "the features of an orangutan".

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