CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 1 December 2018

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Drug related killings prompt rights awareness drive 
Koronadal City (UCAN): The Diocese of Marbel, in the Soccsksargen region in Mindanao, the Philippines has stepped up its human rights awareness campaign amid an increase in drug-related killings in the region.
 
Workshops are being held to teach members of the clergy and lay leaders how to monitor and document rights abuses.
 
Father Ariel Destora, director for social action in the diocese, said the campaign aims to “arm our parishioners with knowledge of human rights, especially during these trying times.”
 
He said that relatives of the victims of killings have asked for help from Church leaders in seeking justice for their loved ones.
 
At least 270 “drug personalities” have been reported killed in the city of Koronadal since Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, came to power in 2016.
 
In nearby Polomolok town, more than a dozen individuals have been killed in recent months, either by unidentified gunmen or during so-called legitimate police operations.
 
Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel directed parish priests to attend a three-day workshop starting on November 30 to enhance their knowledge of human rights and the documenting of abuses.
 
The event takes before the 70th observance of Human Rights Day on December 10.
 
Mexican bishops set up team to protect children
MEXICO CITY (CNS): The Mexican Bishops’ Conference established a team for protecting children against clerical sexual abuse, advise Church leaders and develop and outline prevention protocols. 
 
The team—approved on November 15 at the bishops’ general assembly —will be multidisciplinary and will include bishops, priests and “specialised laity and independent (people) with ample experience in these issues,” the bishops said in a November 21 statement.
 
“The ‘National Protection of Minors Team’ must work tirelessly ... to promote places of dialogue and constructive confrontation to walk toward a culture of care and protection,” the bishops said.
 
They recalled Pope Francis’ wish of “‘zero tolerance’ and ‘never again’ toward the culture of abuse, along with the system of cover-up that allowed it to be perpetuated.” Members of the team have not been named, but will be tasked with developing “activities, starting with an integral methodology, which attends to all aspects and with a 360-degree view,” the bishops’ statement said.
 
It added, “Its character will be prevention, detection, support and attention in cases of child sexual abuse in the clerical sphere.” 
 
Additionally, the team will “establish … links with public institutions and private organisations which are specialised in the protection of minors, to promote the best practices and strengthening the culture of prevention and denouncement.”
 
Urgent call to combat antibiotic overuse
VATICAN (CNS): Antimicrobial resistance poses a “great challenge” to global public health and puts the most vulnerable at risk, said Peter Cardinal Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. 
 
“Our time is running out, and we must act to initiate and animate the necessary behaviour change to strengthen awareness and action on infection prevention and control and (to) promote the appropriate stewardship of antimicrobials,” he said in a message for World Antibiotics Awareness Week. 
 
The World Health Organisation says antibiotic resistance, or AMR, occurs when microbes, such as bacteria, become resistant to the drugs used to treat them. 
 
While antibiotics saves millions of lives, “the persistent overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human and animal health have encouraged the emergence and spread of AMR,” it said.
 
Lebanon’s Catholic leaders appeal for Middle East peace
BEIRUT (CNS): Lebanon’s Catholic religious leaders called on the international community to stop the wars in the Middle East and to bring about a comprehensive and just peace in a statement following its November 12 to 16 annual Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon. 
 
They urged Catholics “to endure the grace of God in the hope of rebuilding their homelands with their Muslim brothers in equal and responsible citizenship.” The bishops expressed “anguish at the continuation of the wars in the Middle East, which continue to destabilise the peace, wreak havoc, destroy and displace citizens.”
 
Condemning “violence in all its forms,” they called for constructive dialogue among officials. They appealed to “the international community and concerned states” to stop wars in the region and “to bring about a comprehensive and just peace and to work seriously for the return of displaced persons, refugees, abductees and deportees to their countries, homes and properties.” 

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