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Jul 22, 12:10 PM EDT

Religion news in brief

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AP Photo/Laurie Skrivan

Mass. Catholics hold vigil in endangered churches
Convent shuts after helping generations 'overcome'
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Religion News
Official says Christian retreat heartbroken over stabbings

Pope signs himself up for World Youth Day using tablet

China sentences 5 on charges of spreading cult teachings

Philippine church accusing Chris Brown faces own legal probe

Philippines investigates alleged abductions in powerful sect

Philippines to check alleged abductions in religious sect

Appeals court hears arguments in 11-year church occupation

Mayors endorse UN sustainability goals at Vatican

Religion news in brief

Israeli government clashes with liberal Jewish streams

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A 2nd covert video targets Planned Parenthood on fetal parts

NEW YORK (AP) - Anti-abortion activists have released a second undercover video seeking to discredit Planned Parenthood's procedures for providing researchers with intact organs retrieved from abortions.

The video shows a woman identified as Dr. Mary Gatter, a Planned Parenthood medical director in California, meeting with people posing as potential buyers of fetal body parts. Much of the conversation on the video deals with how much money the buyers should pay.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, says the new video, and one released last week, make it clear that "Planned Parenthood is involved in the selling of baby body parts."

Federal law prohibits the commercial sale of fetal tissue, but allows not-for-profit donation if the women who undergo abortions give their consent. Planned Parenthood contends that the payments discussed in the videos involve the legal reimbursement of costs.


World mayors at Vatican seek `bold climate agreement'

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis has told political leaders gathered at the Vatican that they're "the conscience of humanity" on issues of climate change and human trafficking.

Dozens of mayors from around the world demanded Tuesday that their national leaders take bold steps at the Paris climate talks this year, saying it could be the last chance to keep the Earth's warming at levels safe for humanity.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, denounced what he called "troglodytes and other deniers of the obvious science."

Pope Francis told the gathering that while he has high hopes about the Paris climate negotiations, he also wants the United Nations to focus more on human trafficking, saying both are scourges that harm and exploit the world's poor.


Infidelity dating site suffers cyberattack, exposure threat

NEW YORK (AP) - The Bible warns that "your sin will find you out."

A website for married people seeking affairs says it suffered a cyberattack after hackers claimed to have stolen confidential customer information and threatened to publish it unless the company is shut down.

Ashley Madison, whose slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair," says its customers are anonymous.

But online security blog posted what appeared to be a screenshot of the site's home page on Sunday bearing a message from hackers, who said Ashley Madison lied about a service allowing members to erase their profile information. The hackers say the data don't go away.

But Ashley Madison's owners say they've taken steps to secure would-be adulterers' personal profiles.


Va. faith-based school drops same-sex marriage hiring ban

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - Eastern Mennonite University says it will no longer discriminate against job prospects who are in same-sex marriages.

Previously, the private liberal arts university in Harrisonburg, Virginia, said that people in same-sex relationships violated the faith-based principles of the university.

The Daily News Record newspaper reports that the school announced Monday that its decision followed a "listening process" that began in the 2013-14 academic year. The process included students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors.

The new policy was approved last week by a majority vote of the university's board trustees. It states that Eastern Mennonite does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or any legally protected status.

Board chairwoman Kay Brenneman Nussbaum said in a statement that Eastern Mennonite's education "is grounded in Mennonite/Anabaptist values, and we believe people in same-sex covenanted relationships are valued members of our learning community with equal rights to standard benefits."


Ga. church with gay pastor vandalized with spray paint

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - A Georgia church with a gay pastor who plans to get married has been vandalized with spray paint.

The Augusta Chronicle reports that vandals spray painted references to Bible verses and the words "You'll Burn" on the front doors and steps of the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer, near Augusta's City Hall.

Vandals spray painted a reference to Leviticus 18:22 on the church's doors. The Bible verse says "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

The newspaper reports that the Rev. Rick Sosbe and his fiance were the first gay couple in Richmond County, Georgia, to apply for a marriage license after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Weeks ago, a rainbow flay flying outside the church was also stolen.


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