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May 25, 12:18 PM EDT

Religion news in brief


Multimedia
Mass. Catholics hold vigil in endangered churches
Convent shuts after helping generations 'overcome'
Inside a Voodoo Gede ceremony
Religion News
Parishioners hold last service at church after 11-year vigil

The Latest: Final service held in church after long protest

Pope rules out retiring like his predecessor

Polish Church leader appeals for end to political conflict

Churchgoer charged in Sunday service slaying headed to trial

Chile police say 2 churches burned in Mapuche conflict zone

Under high security, Jewish pilgrims gather on Tun

St. Paul archdiocese plan offers over $65M to creditors

Court: New Jersey can't give $11M to religious schools

UN decries church worship limit in Cyprus' breakaway north

Justice Department seeking death penalty in Charleston, SC, church shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department says it intends to seek the death penalty against Dylann Roof, the white man charged with killing nine black parishioners last year in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The victims included the pastor of Emmanuel African-Methodist Episcopal Church. Authorities say Roof opened fire during a June 17 Bible study.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the decision in a brief statement. It read: "The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision." Roof is awaiting trial on federal hate crime charges. He also faces state murder charges

Though the Justice Department says it's committed to seeking the death penalty, federal executions are exceedingly rare. The last time a federal defendant was put to death was in 2003. And President Barack Obama has said he's "deeply concerned" about the death penalty's implementation. At the time of the massacre, some relatives of the victims expressed forgiveness.

Because Roof had posed in photographs with the Confederate flag, a growing debate was sparked on the display of the banner in public buildings.

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Creditors: Minnesota archdiocese sitting on $1.7 billion

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Attorneys have accused a Minnesota archdiocese of sheltering more than $1 billion in assets to avoid big payouts to abuse survivors.

They say the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has some $1.7 billion in assets - far more than the $49 million it lists in a filing this week. In court papers, they accuse the archdiocese of undervaluing assets and tucking money away in corporations to shield it from creditors.

Jeff Anderson, an attorney for hundreds of people claiming sexual abuse by priests, said the church had schemed to defraud creditors and deny fair resolution of claims.

The archdiocese filed bankruptcy in January 2015 as it faced an onslaught of new abuse claims after Minnesota lawmakers opened a three-year window for claims that had previously been barred by a statute of limitations.

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Priest abuse victim sentenced for child pornography

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky newspaper reports a man who was abused by a Catholic priest in Louisville as a child has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using two boys to produce child pornography.

The Courier-Journal reports 47-year-old Michael Mudd, of Bullitt County near Louisville, was sentenced to the 30 years sought by prosecutors.

Mudd pleaded guilty in June to two counts of producing child pornography. His attorney had requested a 15-year sentence, saying Mudd's case "justifies a degree of mercy not otherwise warranted."

Mudd says he was molested at age 11 by the Rev. Daniel C. Clark. Clark pleaded guilty in 1988 to abusing Mudd and another boy.

Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell said that while Mudd's own abuse was unfortunate, the public still must be protected.

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French president in anti-extremism talks with Al-Azhar imam

PARIS (AP) - The French president has met with the grand imam of the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning Al-Azhar to share views on the fight against extremism.

The presidency said Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND') detailed France's priorities on the issue and that French authorities welcomed Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib efforts to combat radicalism.

Earlier Tuesday, the Cairo-based grand imam went to the Bataclan (bah-tah-KLAHN') concert hall to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks carried out by Islamic extremists that left 130 dead on Nov. 13.

A French government plan presented this month includes the creation of de-radicalization facilities in every region by 2017.

El-Tayyib came to Paris to open a Muslim-Catholic conference on East-West relations, after a meeting with Pope Francis on Monday that reopened an important channel for inter-religious dialogue.

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Hundreds attend funeral for slain boy

HOUSTON (AP) - About 500 mourners filled a Houston church to capacity Tuesday for the funeral for an 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death as he walked home from school.

Josue Flores' slaying a week ago remains unsolved.

The Rev. Anil Thomas of Holy Name Catholic Church called the death "a wound that's still left open."

Some of Josue's classmates from Marshall Middle School were among those attending services. A high school mariachi band provided music.

The sixth-grader was walking home from a science club meeting after school May 17 when he was attacked on a sidewalk a couple of blocks from his home in a neighborhood just north of downtown Houston.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has urged anyone with information about the slaying to come forward. A $15,000 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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Dover church to host ceremony ahead of its demolition

DOVER, N.H. (AP) - An 83-year-old New Hampshire church will hold a closing ceremony this weekend ahead of its upcoming demolition to make room for a housing development.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports the ceremony on Sunday will celebrate the history of St. Charles Church and allow the Dover community to say goodbye.

The church and its rectory will be torn down this summer to make room for a housing development dubbed Bradley Commons. The church was built in 1933 following a fire that destroyed the previous house of worship a year earlier.

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