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Cardinal Pell distributes ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass in Sydney (CNS photo/Kerry Myers, Catholic Weekly)

But two bishops refuse to sign statement, saying that an attack on a particular party is not the most ‘effective’ kind of political intervention

A crucifix hangs in a school classroom in Rome (CNS photo/Reuters)

Cardinal Ravasi says crucifixes highlight Christianity’s key contribution to European culture

Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda pictured at the press conference in London (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Ancient Christian community may soon disappear, senior Iraqi churchman says

The three former Anglican bishops at their ordination to the priesthood in January (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

The three first clerical members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham have been granted the title of monsignor

Ann Widdecombe onstage at the 2011 National Television Awards (Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Former government minister and star of Strictly Come Dancing has been named envoy of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need

A British rescue team begin their search for trapped people as snow falls in Kamaishi, Japan (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Japanese bishops announce the establishment of an emergency centre to co-ordinate humanitarian aid

Mgr Michael Schmitz carries a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament during a procession to conclude Forty Hours devotion at the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Chicago (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Bishop enters ‘exploratory negotiations’ with the Institute of Christ the King over future of huge church closed almost three years ago

Protesters hold up a picture of Mumtaz Qadri, suspected murderer of Salmaan Taseer, at a rally against reforming the blasphemy laws (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)

Prison authorities claim Qamar David died of a heart attack but his family have disputed this, saying he was fit and healthy

Fr Keith Newton, who leads the ordinariate, at Westminster Cathedral during the Rite of Election (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Over 4,700 took part in Rite of Election ceremonies in dioceses around England and Wales, including about 800 members of the ordinariate

A Japan civil defence officer holds a four-month-old girl who was rescued along with her family from their home in Ishimaki, northern Japan (CNS photo/Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI said after his Angelus yesterday that images of the earthquake and tsunami have ‘left us all horrified’