Religion Briefs

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Pope tells elderly it's beautiful to be old

Associated Press

ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI told a group of elderly Romans that it's "beautiful to be old" and that they still have much to offer society despite their limitations.

The 85-year-old pontiff said recently that he knows well the difficulties that come with age: He started using a cane occasionally earlier this year, and he has slowed down. But his health remains robust and his schedule full. Monday, for example, took him out of the Vatican to a nearby residential home to mark Europe's year of solidarity with the elderly.

Benedict urged the residents not to look back sadly on their youth but to enjoy their age now.

"The quality of a society, I'd say of a civilization, is judged by how well it treats its elderly," he said.

Teen sentenced to church attendance

MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- A 17-year-old from Muskogee has been sentenced to attend church for 10 years as part of his probation for a manslaughter conviction. Tyler Alred was sentenced this month in Muskogee County District Court after pleading guilty in August to first-degree manslaughter in the December 2011 auto accident that killed 16-year-old John Luke Dum.

Alred cried while apologizing to Dum's family in court and hugged Dum's father as both began to sob.

Authorities say Alred registered 0.06 and 0.07 blood-alcohol content after the crash. The legal limit is 0.08 -- but Alred's amount is considered under state law to be driving under the influence of alcohol because he's underage.

Defense attorney Donn Baker said he won't challenge the sentence.

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