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Gunmen descrate church in Cotabato

COTABATO (UCAN): Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, from Cotabato, Mindanao, has condemned reported desecration of a Catholic chapel by terrorist gunmen in the southern Philippines on June 21.
 
The incident, in the village of Malagakit, occurred when about 300 gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, attacked Pigcawayan, Cotabato, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of residents.
 
The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

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Nations are ruined by hypocrisy cardinal says

MANILA (SE): “God is my joy in every circumstance of my life knowing that he works all things out always for the good of all,” 
 
Luis Cardinal Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila said on the occasion of his 60th birthday on June 21, UCAN reported.
 

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Beware the leaven of fake news bishops say

MANILA (SE): In a June 25 statement Bishop Ruperto Santos, from Balanga, head of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, described fake news as a form of escapism to spread lies, UCAN reported. 
 
“False news is sinfulness,” he said, reminding Filipino workers abroad “to avoid false promises.”
 

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Pakistan mourns much-loved bishop

MULTAN (SE): Bishop Andrew Francis, the former bishop of Multan in Pakistan, is being mourned across the country as a man of great determination to achieve peace and harmony in society through the promotion of interfaith dialogue and relations.
 
In acknowledging the life of Bishop Francis, the National Justice and Peace Commission says, “His selflessness, generosity and charitable nature are prominent symbols of peace and love in accordance with the teaching of Jesus Christ.”
 

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Chapel in Pakistani university

FAISALABAD (UCAN): The University of Agriculture Faisalabad has become the first government educational institute in the country to open a chapel on campus for its Christian students and staff.
 
A large banner at the entrance to the area is emblazoned with a picture of the local bishop, as well as St. Peter’s Catholic church. A script reads, “Let us make a house for the Lord.”
 
While most Pakistani universities host mosques, Faisalabad will be the first to allow a chapel on its campus.

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Sri Lanka called to act on forced disappearances

COLOMBO (UCAN): Journalists in Sri Lanka are demanding that the government act quickly to pass a law that would make forced disappearances a criminal offence.
 
The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances ranks Sri Lanka as the second biggest offender in this area, as for decades people have simply been disappearing without a trace.
 

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A lark that almost changed the world

HONG KONG (SE): It began as a lark, but it could have changed the world, Victor Gaetan wrote in the National Catholic Register on April 28 in telling the story of Maryknoll Father Laurence Murphy who, when walking in New York in 1988 with a Korean-American friend, Yeomin Yoon, just decided to drop into the office of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) of North Korea, in Father Murphy’s own words, “Just for a lark.”
 

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If martial law’s the answer what’s the question?

HONG KONG (SE): Many have asked if martial law is the answer to the crisis in Mindanao, but the director of the Columban Mission Society in Manila, Father Paul Glynn, says it is not even clear what the question is.
 
Noting that the age-old enmity between Muslims and Christians was first sown by the Spanish colonisers of the country some 500 years ago to undermine the influence of the traditional sultanates, he says that it has become so deeply ingrained as to be not easily uprooted.
 

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