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Faith

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    VATICAN CITY – Catholic bishops have scrapped their landmark welcome to gays, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.
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  • Conservative bishops move away from gay overture
    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Conservative Catholic bishops distanced themselves Tuesday from a document showing an unprecedented opening toward gays and divorced people, saying it doesn't reflect their views and vowing to make changes to
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Associated Press
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his Christmas Day address from St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Tuesday.

Pope decries slaughter of 'defenseless' Syrians

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has wished Christmas peace to the world, decrying the slaughter of the "defenseless" in Syria and urging Israelis and Palestinians to find the courage to negotiate.

Delivering the Vatican's traditional Christmas Day message from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, a weary-looking and hoarse-sounding Benedict on Tuesday also encouraged Arab Spring countries, especially Egypt, to build just and respectful societies.

He said Egypt was the land `'blessed by the childhood of Jesus."

He also prayed that China's new leaders respect religion, a reference to persecution Chinese Roman Catholics have at times endured under communism.

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