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Sign of the times in United States election

HONG KONG (SE): “All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity,” Pope Francis told the United States Congress in September last year.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops repeated the papal statement in a press release issued on November 9, after Donald Trump was declared president-elect of the nation. The bishops also note that millions of Americans voted for an opportunity for their families.

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Around the Traps

Earthquakes are God’s punishment

ROME (SE): Father Giovanni Cavalcoli earned himself a rap over the knuckles from the Vatican when he told La Zanzara talk-back radio on November 4 that he believes two devastating earthquakes in central Italy that claimed almost 300 lives were the result of human sins, such as civil unions between gays.

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New history of Vatican II

VATICAN (SE): L’Osservatore Romano is promoting Storia del Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II, a new history of the Second Vatican Council written by Piero Doria, an historian who works for the Vatican Secret Archives.

The newspaper praised the book, as well as its preface, written by Archbishop Marcello Semeraro, from Albano.

Archbishop Semeraro is the secretary of the Council of Cardinal Advisers. He calls the council an event and prophecy.

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A Mass of hope in Iraq

ERBIL (AsiaNews): Even a thick layer of soot covering the walls of the church was not enough to obliterate graffiti proclaiming Islamic State scrawled across the remains of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Qaraqosh, Iraq, from sight, as Archbishop Petros Mouche prepared to offer the first Mass in the remains of the once stately building in two years on October 30.

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A borderline Mass highlights injustice

TUSCON (SE): “The economic migrant is not a criminal. The economic migrant is someone looking for a decent way of life for themselves, for their families,” Bishop Gerald Frederick Kicanas, from Tucson in Arizona, the United States of America (US), said at a Mass celebrated on October 23 on the US side of the fence dividing its territory from Mexico.

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Mending historical fences

LUND (SE): Standing in the Lutheran cathedral in Lund, Sweden, Pope Francis said on October 31 that relations between the Lutheran and Catholic faiths has moved beyond the stage of resignation to division and that he regards his presence at the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as an opportunity to mend a critical moment of history.

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Truth long dead media victim

HONG KONG (SE): “I think that those who control the information in the west have a political agenda,” Bishop Antoine Audo SJ, the director of Caritas Syria, said in an interview with Vatican Radio.

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Archives on Argentine dictatorship to be opened

VATICAN (SE): The Vatican has completed the cataloguing and digitising of the archival material of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, the apostolic nunciature in Buenos Aires and the Vatican Secretariat of State in regard to the Argentine Military Dictatorship Period (1976 to 1983).

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Venezuela wants Vatican peace broker back

CARACAS (SE): Following the disappointment of seeing a peace process hammered out between the government of Venezuela and the rebel forces brokered by the Vatican overturned in a national referendum, both the government and the opposition has agreed to have another try at peace.

Both parties have agreed to engage in talks aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis, with a Vatican representative acting as mediator.

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In the crosshairs at the crossroads

COLOMBO (UCAN): Banners appeared in the streets of Colombo, Sri Lanka, reading Are bullets the only gift the government has for Tamils? and Such killings destroy reconciliation after two Tamil students from Jaffna University found themselves caught in the crosshairs of police guns at the crossroads at Kulappidi Junction on October 20.

Five police were arrested and remanded until November 4.

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