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Bishop Donal Murrayof Limerick resigned on Dec. 17 over his handling of clerical sexual abuse when he served in the Dublin Archdiocese. • The convicted killer of Sister Dorothy Stang, a missionary to Brazil from the United States, withdrew his request for a new trial on Dec. 9, hours before he was expected to appear before the courts in the northern Brazilian city of Belem. • Germany’s Catholic Church reported on Nov. 30 a continuing decline in priestly vocations, with 25 percent fewer seminarians than five years ago. • More than 500 people have filed claims of abuse against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus before the filing deadline of Nov. 30 set because of the province’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. • Thirteen human embryonic stem-cell lines have been approved for use in federally funded research and approval of more lines is expected, the head of the National Institutes of Health announced on Dec. 2. • On Dec. 19 Pope Benedict XVI formally recognized the miracle needed for the canonization of Australia’s Blessed Mary MacKillop and advanced the causes of Pope John Paul II and Pope Pius XII, declaring that both had lived lives of “heroic virtues.”

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