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Church still showing overall growth

VATICAN CITY (AsiaNews): The Catholic Church appears to be in good health, with a global increase in membership, as well as in bishops and priests, especially in Asia, deacons and seminarians, according to statistics published in the Pontifical Yearbook 2012 and the annual Church statistics publication.

While the decline of men religious seems to have halted, women religious numbers continue to drop, except in Africa and Asia.

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Pope gives thumbs up to administering confirmation before communion

ROME (Agencies): Bishop Samuel Aquila said that Pope Benedict XVI gave him the thumbs up for his sacramental programme which places the reception of confirmation before first communion, during the ad limina visit of the bishops of the United States of America in early March.

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Belgian Trappists’ brew voted world’s best on beer-lovers website

OXFORD (CNS): A hearty dark brown beer produced at the Trappist Abbey of St. Sixtus of Westvleteren, Belgium, has been rated the world’s best brew by an online community of beer lovers. 

The Westvleteren 12 brew— with an alcohol content of 10.2 per cent—was rated the best in the world by the United States of America (US)-based Ratebeer.com, which offers connoisseurs the chance to discuss and rate their favorite brews. 

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Italian couple prepare pope’s Good Friday meditations

VATICAN (SE): Pope Benedict XVI has chosen an Italian couple to write the meditations for the traditional way of the cross to be held on Good Friday each year in the Roman Colosseum, in Rome, Italy.

Ninety-one-year-old Danilo and 82-year-old Anna Maria Zanzucchi will compose the meditations around the theme of family life for this year’s reflections to be held on April 6.

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Mass with Pope Benedict XVI at Bicentennial Park in Silao

People wait for the start of Mass with Pope Benedict XVI at Bicentennial Park in Silao, Mexico, on March 25. In his homily, he said, “When addressing the deeper dimension of personal and community life, human strategies will not suffice to save us.” The Vatican estimated that around 640,000 people attended the celebration. The pope arrived in Mexico on March 23 and headed for Cuba on March 26. Photo CNS

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Vatican search for common discourse

VATICAN (SE): The Vatican published a new document on March 8 entitled, Theology Today: Perspectives, principles and criteria.

Prepared by the International Theological Commission, it was released in English and is an effort to provide a common discourse in order to communicate the message of Christ more clearly.

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The legacy of Archbishop Oscar Romero lives on

HONG KONG (SE): On 23 February 1977, the bespectacled former seminary professor, Bishop Oscar Romero, became the archbishop of San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador.

His appointment delighted the conservative hierarchy and the business community as much as it disappointed the priests involved in the social struggle of the poor.

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Copt pope mourned worldwide

 

CAIRO (SE): Three people died in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, when the crowd stampeded in the overcrowded church while mourning the death of Pope Shenouda III, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who died at the age of 88 on March 17.

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St. Pius X Society refuses to toe the bottom line

VATICAN (SE): Another overture from the Holy See to the recalcitrant Society of St. Pius X has met a brick wall, with the superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, refusing to toe the Vatican’s bottom line on March 16.

Bishop Fellay had already rejected a Doctrinal Preamble presented to him by William Cardinal Levada on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.

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Don’t pull the trigger on Iran bishops counsel

WASHINGTON DC (SE) : “Resolve conflict with Iran through diplomatic, not military means,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says in a March 2 letter addressed to the secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The bishops are encouraging their government to work to reduce nuclear arms and maintain security in the Middle East, without recourse to war.

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