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Synod working document expands scope of family issues and pastoral needs

VATICAN (CNS): The working document (instrumentum laboris), issued at the Vatican on June 23, intended to guide discussions at the Synod of Bishops on the Family in October, incorporates a wider array of issues affecting the family than the final document released after the synod last year.

Where last year’s relatio synodi had 62 paragraphs, the new working document has 147.








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Post-earthquake Nepal wary of child-trafficking threat

Kathmandu (UCAN): In the aftermath of the magnitude 7.8 and 7.3 earthquakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12, authorities have been wary of the scourge of child-trafficking.

“Child trafficking is particularly prominent during time of disasters. And unfortunately, the districts hit by the earthquake belong to the remote, rural and poor communities and the children from there are an easy target now,” said Tarak Dhital, chief of the government’s Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB).








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Church growth rates highest in Africa and Asia

WASHINGTON (CNS): The results of a study released on June 1 by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate, based at Georgetown University, revealed that the highest growth rates in Catholicism are in Africa and Asia.








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Vatican media must be professional and better resourced says adviser

LONDON (CNS): “We know how people get their information. We know how people want to respond to the information they are getting and they feel just because it’s the Church, it shouldn’t be less professional than any civic organisation. You can’t do that if you are operating in silos,” said Chris Patten, the last colonial governor of Hong Kong and head of the 11-member Vatican Media Committee that has been advising the Holy See on media and communications since last July.








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Migrants seeking work can’t go west so head south on smugglers’ boats

We no longer have enough young men to farm our land or join the prayers in the mosque,” said a 50-year-old cleric Wazi Ullah from Leda village in the southern district of Cox’s Bazar, nearly 400 kilometres southeast of Dhaka, Bangladesh, according to an AFP report on May 21.








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Why is Pope Francis taking so much flak over the encyclical on the environment?

by Russell Shaw 

Not long after St. John XXIII’s social encyclical Mater et Magistra (Christianity and Social Progress) made its appearance in 1961, a wisecrack began making the rounds among Catholics who’d taken umbrage: “Mater, si; magistra, no”—mother, yes; teacher, no. In other words, the Church has a maternal relationship with her members but is not its teacher on matters of an economic, political and social nature.








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Seeking a soul mate in the struggle against climate change

VATICAN (CNS): Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations (UN) and some climate scientists are banking on Pope Francis to be a unifying moral force to get the world on board in the fight against global warming.








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The perils of giving without thinking

A project I worked with that served homeless men in Tokyo once received a gift of a carton of bras for nursing mothers. People do not always use their heads when their hearts bid them to help the poor. As it turned out, one of the homeless men who did use his head figured out that by cutting the bras apart, the cups could be used as heel pads in worn-out shoes.








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Will the Pope Francis breeze reach Asia?

TOKYO (SE): “Pope Francis, who became the first Latin American and the first Jesuit to assume the papacy in March last year, immediately won the hearts of many and continues to exert a powerful presence,” the former ambassador to the Vatican from Japan, Kagefumi Ueno, says in an essay published by the English-Speaking Union of Japan on March 5.

Yet he says that he believes the true significance of the rise of this new pope lies beyond the enormous popularity he enjoys.








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A year of reform and evangelisation under Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (CNS): As leader of the universal Church, a pope must direct his ministry in both of the ways traditionally described by the Latin terms ad intra and ad extra: inwardly to the Church itself and outwardly to the rest of the world. 

Pope Francis has accordingly spent the first year of his pontificate pursuing two ambitious projects: revitalising the Church’s efforts at evangelisation and reforming its central administration.