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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is going ahead with his plan to allow more churches to use the old Latin Mass, a concession to traditionalists that has caused concern among those fearing a rollback of one of the Vatican's key liberalizing reforms.

The pope explained his plans to a group of prelates from Europe and the United States, the Vatican said Thursday, in what was considered an unusual meeting underlining the resistance created by his proposal.

The statement said the meeting was called to ''illustrate the content and the spirit'' of the document, which will be sent to all bishops, accompanied by a personal letter from the pope, and be made public in the next few days.

Overseas Anglican conservatives move to counter U.S. liberals

NEW YORK - More conservative Anglican leaders from overseas are building up a presence in the United States to counter the liberal-leaning U.S. Episcopal Church on its home turf.

The Anglican Church of Uganda plans to appoint a former Episcopal priest as an assistant bishop to oversee its American congregations. The Rev. John Guernsey of Virginia will be consecrated Sept. 2 in Uganda.

Separately, the Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi of the Anglican Church of Kenya plans an Aug. 30 consecration of Canon Bill Atwood to oversee breakaway U.S. parishes that have affiliated with the Kenyan church.

And last May, Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola installed Bishop Martyn Minns, a former Episcopal priest, to lead the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a group of breakaway U.S. parishes aligned with the Nigerian church.

Episcopal leaders have protested the moves, saying the incursions violate a long-standing Anglican tradition that leaders manage parishes only in their own provinces.

But theological conservatives say desperate measures are needed because of the liberal drift of the Episcopal Church, including the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Catholic teacher won't have to pay union dues

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A Roman Catholic teacher whose religious beliefs conflict with the political positions of her labor union cannot be forced to pay dues, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost's ruling broadens the category of employees who may opt out of unions because of religious beliefs beyond Seventh-day Adventists and Mennonites.

In his ruling last week, Frost struck down the Ohio law that held only members of religions that ''historically held conscientious objections'' to union membership could opt out. The law discriminated among religions, the judge said.

The teacher, Carol Katter, refused to pay dues to the National Education Association, claiming she opposes abortion rights and that view is conflict with the union's position on the issue.

Torah dedicated on U.S. Navy carrier

NORFOLK, Va. - A Torah rescued from Lithuania has a home on the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman.

The carrier is one of the few Navy vessels to have its own Torah. Few ships are large enough to need one, said Sam Werbel, an organizer of a dedication ceremony attended by a crowd of 500, including some Holocaust survivors.

About 5 percent or less of Lithuania's Jewish population survived the Holocaust. No religious artifacts, other than this Torah, are thought to remain of that country's Jewish population, organizers said.

On May 14, 1948, President Truman gave diplomatic recognition to Israel.

Girl takes fight over school ban on chastity ring to high court

LONDON - A teenage girl banned from wearing a chastity ring in class has taken her case to Britain's High Court, arguing that her school had violated her religious freedom.

Lydia Playfoot, 16, a pupil at the Millais School in Horsham, about 40 miles south of London, wears a ring as a sign of her commitment to abstinence from sex until marriage. The school said the ring fell outside its uniform policy, which makes exceptions for Muslims wearing head scarves and Sikhs wearing steel bracelets.

The chastity rings do not form an integral part of the Christian faith, Headmaster Leon Nettley said.

The ring ''is not a Christian symbol, and is not required to be worn by any branch within Christianity,'' he said in a written statement.

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