Many Germans hoped a German pope would bring an end to the schism between catholics and protestants that began here, centuries ago. But those hopes were dashed.
Pope Francis is in Albania on a visit intended to promote interfaith harmony. He is to meet with heads of a number of religious communities during his 11-hour stay.
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki has taken over the Cologne archdiocese, one of the richest in the world. He is determined to spread Pope Francis' message of charity and the importance of sharing.
Germany's traditional state churches see that they need to make changes if they want to stop shrinking. Some are looking to the non-state churches for inspiration with practices like small group Bible studies.
Spain's conservative government has abandoned plans for more restrictive laws on abortion. The proposal's champion, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, has resigned in protest.
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