Nov 19, 12:11 PM EST

Religion news in brief

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Religion news in brief

Pope condemns 'unacceptable' synagogue attack

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Israel, Palestinians react to deadly attack on Jerusalem synagogue

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel is retaliating for the deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue that killed three Americans and a Briton.

Tuesday's attack, carried out by two Palestinians with meat cleavers and a gun, happened in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood that has a large population of English-speaking immigrants. The attackers were then killed by police.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the homes of the attackers to be demolished, along with the homes of Palestinians who carried out other recent attacks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. But Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, praised it. And dozens of people took to the streets of Gaza to celebrate.

Meanwhile, thousands of people attended a joint funeral for three of the victims outside the synagogue where the attack took place.

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Evangelical pastor addresses Vatican conference

VATICAN CITY (AP) - An American evangelical leader has urged his fellow clerics at a Vatican conference to be true to the Bible's teachings on sex and marriage.

The Rev. Rick Warren is among representatives of 14 religions at the conference on the "complementarity" of men and women in marriage and the family. Participants at the gathering believe men and woman have different God-given roles in marriage and the family.

Warren, who pastors one of America's largest Protestant churches, said the Bible defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He added, "When God's word is clear, we must not, we cannot, back up, back down, back off, backslide or just give in."

Warren encouraged religious leaders to celebrate traditional marriage and its benefits to men, women and children.

Pope Francis opened the three-day conference on Monday, declaring that children have the right to grow up with a mother and father.

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Pope Francis confirms trip to the United States

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says next year's visit by Pope Francis will be the largest event in the city's modern history.

The pontiff confirmed Monday that he will make his first papal visit to the United States with the trip to Philadelphia in September for the World Meeting of Families. It's a conference held in a different city every three years to celebrate the importance of family.

Officials have said the meeting could attract more than 1 million people. Hotels within a 10-mile radius of center city Philadelphia have already sold out.

It will be the first papal visit to the United States in eight years.

Francis is also expected to visit New York City and Washington D.C., but Vatican officials aren't yet confirming those legs of the trip.

President Barack Obama has extended an invitation, as have the U.N. secretary-general and leaders of Congress.

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1st same-sex marriage licenses issued in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A judge has issued the first same-sex marriage licenses in South Carolina, ahead of a planned move by the state's attorney general to block such unions.

Early Wednesday, the office of Probate Judge Irvin Condon in Charleston said that he had issued six licenses to same-sex couples.

The judge's attorney, John Nichols, says the way was cleared for issuing the licenses by a decision in a case in Columbia. On Tuesday, the judge in that case ruled that South Carolina must recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple performed in Washington, D.C.

Last month, the South Carolina Supreme Court told probate judges not to issue any marriage licenses until there was a decision in that case. Nichols says Tuesday's ruling was that decision, so Condon is issuing licenses.

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Cupich becomes archbishop of Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) - Blase Cupich (blayz SOO'-pihch) has succeeded Cardinal Francis George as the Archbishop of Chicago.

In an afternoon Mass on Tuesday, the 65-year-old Cupich became archbishop of the nation's third-largest diocese at Holy Name Cathedral.

The succession process began Monday night when Cupich knocked on the cathedral door and symbolically asked to be admitted for what's called a Rite of Reception.

Cupich was named by Pope Francis in September to succeed George, who is retiring as he battles cancer. It marks the first time that a new archbishop will assume leadership of the Chicago archdiocese while his predecessor is alive.

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