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Argentina’s bishops release baptism records of war’s missing children

VATICAN (CNS): Argentina’s bishops announced they would release 127 baptism certificates archived in a chapel at a naval facility that was used as a place of torture during the country’s military dictatorship.
 
Some human rights groups believe these documents may be instrumental in finding out what happened to the children who were baptised in the chapel and subsequently kidnapped. 
 

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New head of European bishops’ commission sets out priorities

BRUSSELS (CNS): The new head the Brussels-based Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community bishops, Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, pledged to combat populism and promote European unity.
 
“The European Union (EU) is a gain for the common good and this is why the Church should be in constant dialogue with it,” said Bishop Hollerich, who was elected president of the commission on March 8.
 

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World Meeting of Families to focus on The Joy of Love

DUBLIN (CNS): The ninth World Meeting of Families will be held in dublin, Ireland from August 21 to 26, the organisers announced on February 28. A preliminary programme for the Pastoral Congress is scheduled frome August 22 to 24, the festival of families on August 25, followed by the final outdoor Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on August 26.
 
The Vatican has not confirmed whether Pope Francis will attend.
 

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German bishops preparing Communion rules for mixed marriages

BERLIN (CNS): The German Bishops’ Conference continues to develop its recent decision to allow non-Catholic spouses in mixed denomination marriages to receive Communion in limited cases.
 
The document, primarily addressed to pastors, contains specific guidance about whether Communion is possible in particular cases for married couples of different Christian denominations. 
 

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Respect separation of state and religion Japanese bishops urge government

TOKYO (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan has written to the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, demanding strict observance of the constitutional separation of state-sponsored ceremonies and the imperial family’s private religious ones when the change of emperors takes place in 2019.
 

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Church of Holy Sepulchre closed to protest taxes

JERUSALEM (CNS): “This systematic and unprecedented attack against Christians in the Holy Land severely violates the most basic … and sovereign rights, trampling on the delicate fabric of relations between the Christian community and the authorities for decades,” the heads of Christian Churches in the Holy Land said in a statement on February 25 as they closed the of the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for an undisclosed period of time.
 

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Niwano Peace Prize awarded to Lebanese interreligious foundation

BEIRUT (CNS): Adyan, a Lebanese foundation for interreligious studies and spiritual solidarity, is the recipient of the 35th Niwano Peace Prize.
 
Announcing the international award in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 19, Maronite Father Fadi Daou, president of Adyan Foundation, said that the country had moved “a firm step further toward its recognition as a world centre for dialogue between cultures and religions.” 
 

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Pope renews membership of child protection commission

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis has named nine new members to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and reappointed seven, including abuse survivors or the parents of survivors, the Vatican announced on February 17.
 
However, in respecting “the right of each person to disclose their experiences of abuse publicly or not to do so the members appointed today have chosen not do so publicly, but solely within the commission.” the commission said.
 

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New book on Jesuits in China

SYDNEY (UCAN): A first in publishing on China, the two-volume A Call to Mission: A History of the Jesuits in China 1842-1954 was launched in Sydney, Australia, on February 19.
 
Jesuit Father David Strong, the author, spent 15 years writing and researching material covering three continents in this work which covers the second phase of the Jesuit engagement with China. 
 

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Philippine democracy under threat

The young man, Jake, 22-year-old and single laughed when I asked him whom he voted for in the local elections for mayor. He said he abstained, but he went to the house of the mayor and received a payment all the same. “Why not?”, he reasoned, “It was for free everyone was going there.” 
 

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