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German bishops' plenary assembly begins with appeals on church reform


FULDA, Germany (CNS) -- The German bishops' plenary assembly began with urgent appeals for church reform and a reminder to heed admonitions from Pope Francis. Bishop Georg Bätzing, conference president, called on all bishops to embrace radical change, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA. He said visible changes were needed soon in the Synodal Path German church reform project, which could be a "door opener" for the worldwide synodal process launched by the pope.

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Pro-lifers gather for Virginia March for Life to show support for unborn


RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- Around 1,500 pro-lifers from around the state gathered at the Capitol in Richmond for the annual Virginia March for Life Sept. 17. Attendees sported pro-life T-shirts and carried homemade signs proclaiming the goodness of life and urging the protection of the unborn. The crowd listened to speakers before marching through the streets of the capital.

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Pope: Christ's cross an invitation to set aside divisive agendas


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Jesus' death on the cross calls Christians to focus on helping the vulnerable rather than defending contentious agendas, Pope Francis said. In a letter to participants at a congress hosted by the Passionist Fathers, the pope said the saving power "unleashed by the weakness of the cross reveals to theology the importance of an approach that knows how to combine the loftiness of reason with the humility of the heart."

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