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Priest shot dead in Philippines

October 18th, 2011 Posted in International News

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By Catholic News Service

ARAKAN, Philippines — An Italian priest doing mission work in a remote area of the southern Philippines was gunned down inside the compound of Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Arakan, said a local official.

Father Fausto Tentorio, 59, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was shot dead by a lone gunman Oct. 17 as he was about to board his pickup truck at around 7:30 a.m., said town councilor Leonardo Reovoca. An autopsy report said he was shot eight times.

The Asian church news agency UCA News reported that Reovoca said Father Tentorio had been an active law and order campaigner in Arakan and recently was appointed as head of a civilian anti-crime task force in the town.

“I am a witness to Father Tentorio’s strong stance against mining and other projects which are not sustainable and would harm and affect the indigenous peoples, in particular,” he said.

UCA News reported the murder was immediately condemned by the Diocese of Kidapawan, church groups and environmental organizations in the country.

“This is really heinous. We’re so sad and shocked that this killing happened in broad daylight,” said Kidapawan Bishop Romulo de la Cruz.

The suspect was wearing a crash helmet and made his escape by walking away casually from the scene to a nearby motorcycle, Reovoca said.

Father Giovanni Re, PIME Philippines regional superior, said Father Tentorio had escaped attempts on his life by paramilitary groups in the past, “but this is a bit of a surprise for us because the situation here has been quiet for some time.”

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front also condemned the killing, calling it a sign of degeneration of morality and spirituality in the country.

“This is brutality and savagery that no civilized men or groups could possibly do,” said Muhammad Ameen, chairman of the MILF Secretariat.

“What we really want is for authorities to act swiftly so that justice for Father Tentorio’s death would be achieved,” Bishop de la Cruz said.

Father Tentorio first arrived in the Philippines in 1978 and served in Zamboanga Archdiocese.

PIME Father Tullio Favali was killed in 1985 while serving as parish priest in the same province, North Cotabato.

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Freedom from hunger essential, pope says

October 17th, 2011 Posted in International News, Vatican News

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI appealed for immediate and long-term relief for the world’s hungry, saying the right to adequate nourishment is a fundamental part of the right to life.

The hunger crisis that affects millions of people today is a sign of the deep gulf between the haves and the have-nots of the world and calls for changes in lifestyle and in global economic mechanisms, the pope said in a message marking World Food Day Oct. 16. The text was addressed to Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Citing the famine and refugee crisis in the Horn of Africa, the pope said the “painful images” of starving people underline the need for both emergency aid and long-term intervention to support agricultural production and distribution.

“Freedom from the yoke of hunger is the first concrete manifestation of that right to life which, although solemnly proclaimed, often remains far from being effectively implemented,” he said.

The theme of this year’s World Food Day focused on food prices, and the pope said current pricing volatility reflected the tendency toward speculation on food commodities. He said a new global attitude is needed.

“There are clear signs of the profound division between those who lack daily sustenance and those who have huge resources at their disposal,” he said. Given the dramatic nature of the problem, reflection and analysis are not enough — action must be taken, he said.

The pope said it was easy but mistaken to “reduce every consideration to the food demands of a growing population.” Demographic experts have predicted that the earth’s population will reach 7 billion by Oct. 31.

The real solution to food imbalances, the pope said, lies in modifying behavior and changing structures so that “every person, today and not tomorrow, has access to the necessary food resources” and so that agricultural production has stability.

He said the major challenges include lifestyle changes to promote moderation in consumption and the protection of natural resources, as well as new investments in agricultural infrastructure.

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Famine in Africa risks ‘lost generation’

October 13th, 2011 Posted in Featured, International News

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Not only are millions of lives at risk in the Horn of Africa due to hunger and drought, those who escape the famine then risk becoming a lost generation due to a severe lack of stability, education and resources, said a top Vatican official.

“The millions of displaced people on the move now in an effort to survive will tomorrow become refugees, illegal immigrants, without a nation, without a home, work and a community,” said Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

“A whole generation risks being lost,” he said during a Vatican news conference Oct. 7. Read more »

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