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Church must reach out to young non-Catholics
VATICAN (CNS): The Catholic Church must help not only its own young people but also non-Catholics to become active members in society and true disciples in a chaotic world, a Venezuelan observer told the Synod of Bishops on October 17. 
 
Maria Jose Rojas, executive director of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference youth office, told synod members that, unfortunately, young Catholics working to ease the suffering of their fellow Venezuelans “are doing it alone.”
 
Under the administration of the president, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has suffered an economic meltdown due to hyperinflation that has driven up the cost of basic necessities and forced many citizens to search the garbage for food or starve. 
 
Nevertheless, the dire situation has mobilised young people in the Church to join forces with non-ecclesial volunteer programs in universities and organisations to feed the hungry, visit the sick and collect clothes and medicine, Rojas told synod members.
 
“We are betting on solidarity, fraternity and peace, but we are doing it alone, separated from other young people who, although they are not Catholics like us, also feel the desire to build a better world,” Rojas said. 
 
Indian diocese near China border sees faith increase
WASHINGTON (CNS): In the Diocese of Miao, in a remote corner of India, a nation where Hindu nationalists who control the government and have been accused of stoking intolerance and violence against religious minorities, the Catholic Church is faring quite well. 
 
The Catholic faith is growing in Miao, located in Arunachal Pradesh state, near the Chinese border, said Bishop George Pallipparambil. 
 
Catholics make up about 20 per cent of the relatively new diocese’s population, said the bishop, who was in Washington on October 17 on the second week of a trip the United States to raise funds to support the diocese and to thank donors. 
 
Bishop Pallipparambil said that bolstering education and the economy, decreasing violence and giving greater dignity to girls and women have proven key and that trends show continued growth within the diocese. 
 
The 65-year-old bishop, who was ordained a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco, had one of his first assignments in Miao. It was a five-day journey just to get to Miao, whose current population is about 25,000. 
 
“There were tribes. There were headhunters. There was much violence throughout,” he said. “India and China fought a border war over the land, and the (Indian) military runs it as a state within a state,” he said.
 
Washington state’s Supreme Court strikes down death penalty
SEATTLE (CNS): The Catholic bishops of Washington state, the United States of America, applauded the unanimous decision of the state Supreme Court striking down the death penalty as unconstitutional on October 11. 
 
The court ruled its use is arbitrary and racially biased and converted the sentences for the state’s eight death-row inmates to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 
 
Executions have been rare in Washington. Five prisoners have been put to death in recent decades. In 2014, the governor imposed a moratorium blocking its use. 
 
“The bishops have long been on record as opposing capital punishment,” said a statement issued by the Washington State Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the bishops. 
 
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court indicates a move toward greater justice and greater respect for life at all stages,” the statement said. 
 
 
Lack of progress fighting hunger is shameful pope says
ROME (CNS): At a time of technological and scientific progress, “we ought to feel shame” for not having advanced in “humanity and solidarity” enough to feed the world’s poor, Pope Francis said in a message to world leaders attending a meeting of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome. 
 
“Neither can we console ourselves simply for having faced emergencies and desperate situations of those most in need. We are all called to go further. We can and we must do better for the helpless,” the pope said.
 
The World Food Day ceremony on October 16 marks the date the organisation was founded in 1945 to address the causes of world hunger. The theme for 2018 is: Our actions are our future: A zero hunger world by 2030  is possible. 
 
The 2030 agenda seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. 
 
Local programmes are just as important as global commitments to ending hunger, Pope Francis said in his message.

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