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U.S. priest in Rome is new nuncio to Ireland

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Msgr. Charles J. Brown, a longtime official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as the new apostolic nuncio to Ireland.With the appointment, he was named archbishop of the titular see of Aquileia.

The appointment, announced by the Vatican Nov. 26, comes at a delicate moment in Vatican-Irish relations. In July, the Vatican recalled its previous nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and others sharply criticized the Vatican’s handling of clerical abuse.

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In Benin, pope asks church to care for ‘the poor, the weak, the outcast’

November 21st, 2011 Posted in Featured, International News Tags: , , , ,

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COTONOU, Benin — On a three-day visit to Benin, Pope Benedict XVI urged African Catholics to witness the hope of the Gospel in their daily lives and make the church a model of reconciliation for the entire continent.

In a particular way, the church must be “attentive to the cry of the poor, the weak, the outcast,” the pope said at a Mass Nov. 20 for more than 50,000 people who filled a stadium in Cotonou.

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Cardinal Law turns 80, replaced at Rome basilica

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinal Bernard F. Law, former archbishop of Boston, has been replaced as archpriest of the Rome Basilica of St. Mary Major, the Vatican announced.

In a regular bulletin listing church appointments and resignations Nov. 21, the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had named Spanish Archbishop Santos Abril Castello, the Vatican’s vice chamberlain, to the post.

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Fear silences Christians in Pakistan, archbishop says

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TORONTO — Fear has silenced the voice of Pakistani Christians since the political murder of Shahbaz Bhatti last spring, said the retired archbishop of Lahore, Pakistan.

“People are very sad, very bitter. They said, ‘If that happens to him what happens to us?'” Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha said in mid-November.

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In Benin, pope urges Africans to uphold family values

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COTONOU, Benin — Arriving in Benin for a three-day visit, Pope Benedict XVI urged the African continent to protect its ancient values in the face of spiritual and ethical erosion.

“The transition to modernity must be guided by sure criteria based on recognized virtues … firmly rooted in the dignity of the person, the importance of the family and respect for life,” the pope said after arriving Nov. 18 at Cardinal Bernardin Gantin International Airport in Cotonou.

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Church leaders wary of ‘World Heritage’ status for Bethlehem church

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JERUSALEM — Palestinians are hopeful that UNESCO will recognize the city of Bethlehem as the first Palestinian World Heritage Site, but Franciscans in charge of the city’s holy places say they do not want them included in the classification.

“We don’t want the (UNESCO) recognition for the holy places,” said a Franciscan source who asked not to be named. “We fear it could lead to nationalization of the shrines. The shrines are not tourist places, but are places of prayer and worship.”

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Priest describes being attacked in Haiti

November 18th, 2011 Posted in International News Tags: , ,

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MONTREAL — A Quebec priest, Franciscan Father Raymond Mailhiot, has published a harrowing account of an armed holdup that he survived in Haiti.

In a long letter published on Facebook and sent to Catholic News Service, the Franciscan missionary wrote that the group of four or five heavily armed thieves in the Cite Soleil slum even cried, “Let’s kill the priest!” when they discovered that the Franciscans had no money.

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Nun who worked for tribal rights killed in India

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NEW DELHI — A 53-year-old nun from Kerala who led campaigns to defend tribal rights was shot dead in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand.

Sister Valsa John, who belonged to the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, was killed early Nov. 15 near her home near the city of Dumka, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

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Prevalence of rape destroying Congo, says church official

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The high incidence of rape in Congo is not just destroying women, but is destroying the nation’s society, said the general secretary of the church’s national justice and peace commission.

In Africa, the woman is “the central and most important guardian of values in society,” said the general secretary, Sister Marie-Bernard Alima, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Kalemie.

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2012 papal trip to Mexico, Cuba being studied seriously, spokesman says

November 10th, 2011 Posted in International News

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Vatican officials are at an advanced stage in studying the possibility of a papal trip to Mexico and Cuba in the spring of 2012, the Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, told reporters Nov. 10 that the nuncios to Mexico and Cuba have been told to inform those governments that “the pope is studying a concrete plan to visit the two countries, responding to the invitations received” from them.

Father Lombardi said a definite decision regarding a trip in the spring should be made within a few weeks. The fact that the nuncios were asked to inform the governments demonstrates the advanced nature of the planning, he said. Read more »

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