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Official approval given to Neocatechumate celebrations

VATICAN (SE): After a long period of controversy, discussion and negotiation, the Vatican has given formal approval to the special celebrations that characterise the Neocatechumenal Way.

At a January 20 meeting with over 7,000 members of the lay movement, Pope Benedict XVI strongly endorsed its apostolic outreach.

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L’Osservatore puts Standard and Poor’s under fire

 

VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com): The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, ripped into the credit-rating agency, Standard and Poor’s, for its decision to downgrade the bonds of nine European countries in the first week of January.

The decision from Standard and Poor’s came at a time when credit markets were beginning to recover from earlier worries, the Vatican newspaper claims in an article entitled, Suspicious Timing.

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Vatican name appears on porn domain register

HONG KONG (SE): Porn on the Vatican Webiste? Well, maybe not, but there is a possibility that the day may come when you put the word Vatican into a search engine and instead of Church news on vatican.va, you may arrive at vatican.xxx and get a lot more, or less, than you bargained for.

The new .xxx generic top level domain name was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers early in 2011 to act as an Adult Industry Domain Extension.

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Papal greetings for the Year of the Dragon

VATICAN CITY (SE): Pope Benedict XVI put his hope in the young people of the world in wishing a happy Year of the Dragon to the billions of people around Asia and the world celebrating the Lunar New Year on January 23.

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Rome conference aims to improve pastoral response to sex abuse crisis

ROME (CNS): Representatives of most of the world’s bishops’ conferences and 30 religious congregations will meet at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, from February 6 to 9 to launch a global initiative to improve efforts to stop clerical sexual abuse and better protect children and vulnerable adults. 

Themed, Toward Healing and Renewal, the conference is backed by the Vatican Secretariat of State and several other Vatican offices. 

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A time of faith and debate as 
Vatican II marks its golden year

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Fifty years ago this October, Pope John XXIII and more than 2,500 bishops and heads of religious congregations from around the world gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica for the opening session of the Second Vatican Council. 

Over the following three years, Vatican II would issue 16 major pronouncements on such fundamental questions as the authority of the Church’s hierarchy, the interpretation of scripture, and the proper roles of clergy and laity. 

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Hope and fear amid uncertainty in the Middle East

JERUSALEM (CNS): “There is a fear among the Christians (in Egypt) whether they will be given human rights and whether they will be treated as equal citizens. There is a sense of wait and see,” said Bishop Gerald Kicanas, the chairperson of the board of  Catholic Relief Services in the United States of America (US).

Almost a year after the eruption of the Arab Spring uprisings, the Middle East is a place of both hope and fear for Christians. 

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Around the Traps

Landmark victory for religious freedom in US Supreme Court ruling

Washington (CWNews): In a landmark January 11 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America (US) ruled that religious bodies should set their own standards for hiring ministers, free from government interference. 

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Ethiopian Church moves to address food needs in the face of climate change

ADDIS ABABA (CNS): The climate change-induced drought that has afflicted the Horn of Africa presents an opportunity for the Catholic Church in Ethiopia to work more closely with the government in addressing food shortages and development concerns, said Father Hailegebriel Meleku, deputy secretary general of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat of the Ethiopian Catholic Bishops' Conference. 

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Pope condemns the manipulation of religion to justify terrorism

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI condemned “religiously motivated terrorism” and restrictions on religious freedom during his annual address to 179 diplomats accredited to the Vatican on January 9. 

Looking both at signs of promise and areas of concern around the globe, the pope said human dignity, truth and justice demand governments safeguard all human life and recognise the importance of the traditional family based on the marriage of a man and a woman. 

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