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Day of shame for Church in Australia

SYDNEY (SE): On February 6, the Catholic Church in Australia began its 21 days of shame, as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse launched its final intensive review of the response of the Catholic Church to the crisis at a hearing in Sydney that will involve more than 60 witnesses, including the archbishops of the six most influential dioceses.

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Russia moves to decriminalise domestic violence

MOSCOW (AsiaNews): The lower house of the Russian Duma approved a bill on January 27 that if passed in the upper house will decriminalise domestic violence, limiting the means for recourse available to victims, as well as softening the penalties for those who abuse them.

The State Duma voted 380 to three in favour of the bill, which now needs the approval of the upper house and the president, Vladimir Putin, to become law. Observers regard this as a formality.

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Epitome of fake news

WASHINGTON (SE): Fake news reached a new crescendo when a counsellor to the president of the United States of America, Kellyanne Conway, told Chris Matthews from MSNBC on February 2 about the Bowling Green Massacre, which she described as having been masterminded by two Iraqi refugees.

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Young people theme for next synod

VATICAN (SE): A preparatory document for the next Synod of World Bishops scheduled to be held in 2018 on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment was released by the Holy See on January 13 at a media conference at the Vatican.

The document comes in three parts, one addressing young people in the world today, one on discernment of faith and vocation, and the third on pastoral involvement and pastoral care of the young.

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Pope’s best wishes to Trump

VATICAN (SE): In a congratulatory message to the new president of the United States of America (US), Donald Trump, Pope Francis said, “Upon your inauguration as the 45th president of the US, I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office.”

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Ecumenism is needed

LAHORE (AsiaNews): “Unity must be a visible thing in Pakistan. Instead of meeting only when a church is attacked or in crisis situations, we should meet in times of peace,” Father Inayat Bernard, from St. Mary’s Seminary, said in the run up to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

He said, “Church leaders still have many reservations about other denominations and not everyone feels comfortable in going to another Church.”

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The 12 sins of division in Christian Churches

HONG KONG (SE): The 12 sins at the base of the divisions that fracture the visible body of Christ by splitting the Christian Church into hundreds of denominations in the world were documented on large blocks and assembled as a wall before the altar at a small gathering of around 60 people expressing the desire to see Christians worldwide work to overcome the abuse of power, the isolationist complex, pride, intolerance, hate and contempt, as well as discrimination that has pushed them apart.

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Africa poses some curly questions on communion

DURBAN (SE): Divorce and communion may be a hot topic in Europe and the United States of America, but the archbishop of Durban in South Africa, Wilfred Cardinal Napier, is saying that in his land the big issue to be faced is not communion for the divorced and remarried, but combining it with polygamy.

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European Court rules against Romanian parish

BRUSSELS (SE): The European Court of Human Rights overturned a case filed by a Romanian Greek Catholic parish seeking the return of a property it claimed had been confiscated in 1948 by the Romanian Orthodox Church during the suppression of the Catholic faith by the Communist government.

The Romanian Greek Catholic Church is an Eastern rite Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See. It said in its claim that it was forced to turn over its properties to the Romanian Orthodox Church.

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Knights of Malta reject papal inquiry

HONG KONG (SE): The Sovereign Order of Malta, commonly known as the Knights of Malta, is rejecting a plan of Pope Francis to investigate the sudden and acrimonious dismissal of its grand chancellor, Albrecht von Boesalager, as unacceptable.

In a letter sent to the pope on December 23, the order pointed out that it is recognised as a sovereign body under international law with its own independent government.

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