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By AP

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Updated: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 07:20:43 EST

BILLY GRAHAM DAUGHTER-HEAVEN

Graham's daughter updates book on heaven

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Rev. Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, says her father's advanced age and her husband's failing health moved her to update and re-release her 2001 book "Heaven: My Father's House."

Lotz says her 95-year-old father hasn't had any medical crises lately and remains alert, especially when she reads to him from the Bible.

Her book analyzes what the Bible says about heaven, describing a real place of transcendent personal awareness and bodily health with no tears or pain. Lotz says, "Heaven is going to be the home we've always dreamed of."

She says the book's title — "Heaven: My Father's House" — has a double meaning, referring to her childhood as one of Billy Graham's children but especially to Jesus's description of heaven as his father's house and his followers' future home.

Sound: (3:06 a.m. audio feed)

275-w-27-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham)--The Reverend Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, says her father's advanced age and her husband's failing health moved her to update and re-release her 2001 book "Heaven: My Father's House." AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *275 (07/10/14)££ 00:27

276-a-18-(Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, in AP interview)-"I've learned that"-Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, says she updated and re-released her book "Heaven: My Father's House" for several reasons. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *276 (07/10/14)££ 00:18 "I've learned that"

277-a-14-(Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, in AP interview)-"is very strong"-Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, says her 95-year-old father is reasonably well. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *277 (07/10/14)££ 00:14 "is very strong"

278-a-12-(Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, in AP interview)-"in his voice"-Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, says she reads the Bible to her father whenever they're together. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *278 (07/10/14)££ 00:12 "in his voice"

279-a-13-(Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, in AP interview)-"you won't fail (laughter fades)"-Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, says her book analyzes what the Bible teaches about heaven. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *279 (07/10/14)££ 00:13 "you won't fail (laughter fades)"

280-a-10-(Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, in AP interview)-"through that door"-Anne Graham Lotz, author and daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, says the Bible describes heaven as a cube measuring 1,500 miles on every side. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *280 (07/10/14)££ 00:10 "through that door"

WCUP-TWO POPES

Vatican casts doubt on papal World Cup party

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says the Argentine Pope Francis and his German predecessor, Benedict XVI, probably won't get together to watch their home teams in the World Cup final on Sunday.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Thursday that the game time is late for Pope Francis's routine, and acknowledged with a chuckle that Benedict wasn't known as an avid sports fan. Still, he didn't rule anything out, saying, "we'll see in the coming days."

Pope Francis has already given his word that there won't be any papal intervention in Argentina's favor, promising he won't pray for any team. The German-born Benedict's interests are known to lean more toward intellectual than athletic pursuits.

Lombardi insisted that "both would want the better team to win, without taking sides."

Sound: (3:06 a.m. audio feed)

234-w-30-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with Vatican tourist Gabriel Perarnau, from Argentina)--The Vatican says the Argentine Pope Francis and his German predecessor, Benedict XVI, probably won't get together to watch their home teams in the World Cup final on Sunday. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *234 (07/10/14)££ 00:30

235-a-07-(Vatican tourist Wolfgang Haas, from Germany, in AP interview)-"team should win"-Vatican tourist Wolfgang Haas, from Germany, says he wouldn't expect the Argentine pope and his German predecessor to have an intense rivalry over the World Cup. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *235 (07/10/14)££ 00:07 "team should win"

236-a-06-(Vatican tourist Wolfgang Haas, from Germany, in AP interview)-"will make it"-Vatican tourist Wolfgang Haas, from Germany, says Argentina's team won't be easy to beat. (10 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *236 (07/10/14)££ 00:06 "will make it"

GAY MARRIAGE-METHODISTS

Gay wedding complaint filed vs. Methodist pastors

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A complaint has been filed against 36 United Methodist ministers who blessed a same-sex wedding in defiance of church law.

The pastors blessed the Nov. 9 ceremony at Philadelphia's Arch Street United Methodist Church to show support for a colleague who faced church discipline for presiding over his gay son's wedding. The Rev. Frank Schaefer was defrocked following a church trial, but his ordination was reinstated by an appeals panel last month.

Bishop Peggy Johnson of the church's eastern Pennsylvania conference said in a statement that she is following the church's disciplinary process.

About 50 church members from the Philadelphia area, most of them clergy, were behind the complaint, according to John Lomperis, director of the United Methodist Action Program at The Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative think tank.

The United Methodist Church accepts gay members but bans "practicing homosexuals" from becoming clergy and forbids ministers from performing same-sex weddings.

PRIEST TESTIMONY

Louisiana ruling on confession rankles Catholics

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Catholics are decrying a recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision that reaches into the most sanctified of church places, the confessional booth.

The ruling revives a 2009 lawsuit that contends a priest should have reported allegations of sexual abuse disclosed to him during private confessions. It also opens the door for a judge to call the priest to testify about what he was told.

The lawsuit was filed by parents of a teen who says she told the priest about being kissed and fondled by a church parishioner.

If the priest is called to testify, Catholic groups say it could leave him choosing between prison and excommunication.

The Catholic diocese of Baton Rouge says the ruling violates constitutional separations between church and state and it will seek U.S. Supreme Court intervention.

BIDEN-PA

Biden, in Philly, says Greek economy improving

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says the religious rights of Greek Orthodox Christians should be respected in Turkey.

Biden addressed more than 1,000 clergy and laity attending the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America congress Wednesday evening in Philadelphia.

The vice president drew a standing ovation when he spoke of the importance of religious freedom and urged the reopening of a long-closed Orthodox seminary on the Turkish island of Halki. Turkish officials have demanded that Greece reciprocate by improving the conditions for Muslims there.

Biden said, "The protection of holy places and heritage sites in Turkey is absolutely necessary." But he added, "It's a two-way street. Muslims deserve the same freedom in Greece."

GEORGE CARLIN WAY

No joke: NYC church is on George Carlin Way

NEW YORK (AP) — A bureaucratic error has put a Catholic church on a New York City street named after comedian George Carlin.

Carlin skewered the church in his act and gained fame with his foul-mouthed "seven dirty words" routine.

After he died in 2008, fellow comedians proposed naming the stretch of 121st Street where he grew up George Carlin Way. The New York Times reports that priests at Corpus Christi Church objected because Carlin used to mock the church and crack jokes about the parish priests.

Under a compromise, one div was to be named after Carlin — not the div where the church is.

George Carlin Way became official Wednesday. Due to a clerical error it's two divs long and includes the church.

City officials say the mistake will be corrected.

GERMANY-TORAH ROBOT

Robot writes Torah at Berlin's Jewish Museum

BERLIN (AP) — The robot's quill runs across the paper scroll, from right to left, scribbling down ancient Hebrew letters with black ink. It is penning down the Torah, the Jews' holy scripture, and it is doing it much faster than a rabbi could because it doesn't need to take breaks.

The Torah-writing robot was developed by the German artists' group robotlab and was presented for the first time Thursday at Berlin's Jewish Museum.

While it takes the machine about three months to complete the 260-foot-long scroll, a rabbi or Jewish scribe needs nearly a year, but the robot's Torah can't be used in a synagogue. Rabbi Reuven Yaacofov says, "In order for the Torah to be holy, it has to be written with a goose feather on parchment, the process has to be filled with meaning and I'm saying prayers while I'm writing it."

ASIA-MERS-VIRUS

WHO: Basic hygiene can help prevent MERS spread

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A World Health Organization official is reminding millions of Muslims making a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to exercise basic hygiene as mass gatherings pose risks of spreading the Middle East respiratory syndrome.

The U.N. agency has recorded 827 cases of MERS and 287 deaths, mostly in Saudi Arabia. The virus is believed primarily acquired through contact with camels and is spread among humans through body fluids and droplets.

Mecca sees a constant stream of pilgrims throughout the year from around the world, and their numbers swell during Islam's holy month of Ramadan, which began in late June. The hajj pilgrimage, which Islam says is a duty of all able-bodied Muslims to perform once in their lives, brings even more gigantic crowds.

Since the coronavirus was first discovered in 2012, there have been two annual hajj pilgrimages to the city, and neither saw instances of pilgrims being infected.

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