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Jul 21, 3:59 PM EDT

Religion news in brief

Mass. Catholics hold vigil in endangered churches
Convent shuts after helping generations 'overcome'
Inside a Voodoo Gede ceremony
Religion News
Civil rights activists are opposing parole for the last surviving Ku Klux Klan member convicted of murdering four black girls in a 1963 church bombing in Alabama

Muslims and Christians joined in Friday prayer at the mosque in the Normandy town where an elderly priest was slain this week at the altar, with one imam chastising the extremists as non-Muslims who are "not part of civilization" or "humanity."

The father of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq has a question for Trump: Have you read the Constitution

A federal judge has declined to include parishes and other church properties among assets in the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

The hardline branch of the Corsican separatist movement FLNC is warning any Islamist extemists on the French Mediterranean island that it will respond "without hesitation" to any attacks in Corsica

The Ukrainian president has called on an Orthodox Christian leader to recognize the independence of his country's splinter church

Thousands of Russian Orthodox Christian pilgrims reached the center of Ukraine's capital on Wednesday, finishing a procession to the city's most revered monastery after their march was disrupted a day earlier

Three Georgia men face up to life in prison after being found guilty following a federal trial in the Florida Panhandle on several conspiracy charges connected to six jewelry store robberies across the southeastern United States

Pope Francis has condemned "deplorable acts of terrorism and violence" in Munich and Kabul that have left dozens dead in recent days

Emails disclosed in a lawsuit over a blocked Mississippi law that protects religious objections to same-sex marriage show a Christian legal group asked Gov. Phil Bryant to institute the protections through an executive order in 2015

US reviews Turkish extradition request for Muslim cleric

ISTANBUL (AP) - The White House is reviewing material from Turkey to determine whether it amounts to a formal extradition request for a U.S.-based Muslim cleric.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) blames the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, for Friday's attempted coup and has asked for his extradition.

Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who lives in exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, espouses a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with democracy.

Erdogan has often accused Gulen of trying to overthrow the government. Gulen strongly denies the charges and has suggested that the attempted coup could have been staged as a pretext for Erdogan to seize even more power.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said the U.S. would entertain an extradition request if the Turks provide evidence of wrongdoing.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the Turkish materials were presented Tuesday as President Barack Obama spoke with Erdogan by telephone.


Former priest who served third of abuse sentence gets parole

CORNER BROOK, Newfoundland (AP) - A retired Roman Catholic priest who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex offences involving young boys in eastern Canada has been granted full parole after serving a third of his sentence.

George Ansel Smith was sentenced in March 2013 after he pleaded guilty to more than three dozen charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and assault with intent. The offences occurred from 1969 to 1989 in several Newfoundland communities.

Smith was sentenced to 11 years. The term was reduced to nine years and 11 months for time already served in pre-trial custody.

The Parole Board of Canada said Tuesday that his conditions of being released include avoiding males under 18 and any place they might gather, unless accompanied by an approved adult who knows his criminal history.


Catholic priest resentenced to prison time in charity theft

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit-area Catholic priest will spend three to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to run a criminal enterprise in connection with the theft of money from a charity that helps poor people.

The Rev. Timothy Kane was resentenced Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Kane had been sentenced in December 2014 to jail only during the months of December and June over five years and two additional months. That would have totaled one year. Prosecutors appealed that sentence.

Kane said Tuesday that he has "been punished already" and that God has him "in the palm of his hand."

Kane also was found guilty in 2014 of embezzling between $1,000 and $20,000 from the Angel Fund and other crimes.

He must continue paying about $129,000 in restitution.


Mormon missionaries will be called 'volunteers' in Russia

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Mormon missionaries in Russia will now be known as "volunteers" to comply with a new anti-terrorism law that puts restrictions on religious practices.

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said Tuesday that the change is the first step as leaders determine how to keep several hundred missionaries there while obeying a law Russian President Vladimir Putin signed earlier this month.

Hawkins says an email is being sent to parents and relatives of missionaries in Russia informing them of the change.

The rules, which take effect Wednesday, dictate that religious work can only be done in houses of worship and other related religious sites.

Missionaries worldwide for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often share their faith online or in a home to which they have been invited.


Russian Jewish group OK with "Pokemon Go"

MOSCOW (AP) - The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia says it does not mind people playing the smartphone game "Pokemon Go" around synagogues and other cultural buildings.

The Jewish community's governing body said in a statement Tuesday that it is not against the game as long as it is not disturbing the congregation.

The game has had a mixed reaction from other denominations and Russian politicians.

While Russian airports and banks have endorsed the game, the Russian Orthodox Church and some Duma deputies have angrily complained that the Western-developed app has harmed Russia.

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