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Religious freedom report flunks 28 countries

WASHINGTON (CNS): The United States International Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF) singled out 28 countries for repression of religious liberty in its annual report, issued on August 29.
 
The 228-page report designated 16 countries as Tier 1—the harshest level of repression: Myanmar, Central African Republic, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
 

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German Church leaders deplore xenophobic violence

WARSAW (CNS): “From a Christian perspective, violence cannot be an answer to violence. An offense must not be utilized to incite anger against entire ethnic groups,” Bishop Heinrich Timmerevers of Dresden-Meissen, said on August 28, as Germany’s Catholic leaders condemned anti-immigrant riots in Chemnitz, Saxony, that erupted after a man was killed in a brawl with migrants.’
 

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Australian bishops and religious won’t violate seal of confession

SYDNEY (CNS): “We are committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people while maintaining the seal. We do not see safeguarding and the seal as mutually exclusive,” Australia’s Catholic bishops and religious orders, said on August 31 in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, accepted 98 per cent of its suggestions, but stressed they could not accept recommendations that would violate the seal of confession.
 

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Families urged to come up with media plan to help protect minors

DUBLIN (CNS): Behavioural scientists and cyber-crime experts talked to families about how digital distraction, pornography and the “online echo chamber” impact their lives, during one of the first panel discussions at the international World Meeting of Families, held in Dublin Ireland, from August 21 to 26.
 
Pornography in particular has emerged as a threat to individual and family life, panelist, Thomas Lickona, said
 

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Condemnation of India lynchings too late say critics

NEW DEHLI (UCAN): “I want to make it clear that mob lynching is a crime, no matter the motive. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into his or her own hands and commit violence,” said India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, In an August 11 interview with Times of India, just four days ahead of the country’s Independence Day.
 

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Taizé participants learn about the migrants in their midst

HONG KONG (SE): Participants at the workshop, Strangers in our midst?, called on people to treat migrants as their neighbours. The event, addressing the situations of the migrants in the city, was organised as part of the Taizé International Meeting of Young Adults in Hong Kong, and held at Kowloon Union Church, Jordan Road, on August 9.
 

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St. Damian’s reforms can help solve abuse crisis historian notes

VATICAN (CNS): A radical reform programme from the 11th century addressing the widespread problem of abusive clergy and negligent superiors holds some essential insights and lessons for the Church today, C. Colt Anderson, a Church historian has said in an in-depth article titled, When Magisterium Becomes Imperium: Peter Damian on the Accountability of Bishops for Scandal.
 








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Manhunt alarms Philippine Church leaders

MANILA (UCAN): “The continued use of trumped-up charges to silence and impede the work of activists merely attests to the repressive and tyrannical character of the Duterte government,” Cristina Palabay of the human rights group, Karapatan, said in reaction to the Philippine National Police instigating a manhunt for four Filipino activists, all former leftist members of the Lower House of Congress. 
 








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The silence that surrounds abuse

Angeline is just one of millions of children who are scared and intimidated to run and tell that they had been raped, abused or sexually assaulted. “Telling was the hardest thing, I was frightened,” she said. “He threatened to kill my mother and burn our house down if I told, I had no one to trust, no one who could protect me from my abuser, he was my father.” 
 

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New group set to counter extremism in Indonesia

JAKARTA (UCAN): More than 200 people, including religious leaders including Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, as well as politicians, attended the August 1 launch of the Said Aqil Siroj Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia.
 

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