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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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Revised prayer service to counter impression that the creation of cardinals is a sacrament

 

Vatican City (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI will use a revised, streamlined prayer service to create 22 new cardinals in February, partly  to avoid giving the impression that becoming a cardinal is a sacrament or quasi-sacrament.

“The rite used up to now has been revised and simplified with the approval of the Holy Father Benedict XVI,” reported the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, on January 7.

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African women struggle more than others during food crisis

NAIROBI (CNS): The year 2011 was not good for women such as Joan Ochieng of Nairobi, Kenya. Just about everything was a struggle. 

“We were not treated fairly,” said the single mother, noting the many pressures, including spiralling food prices that caused her and her family of four children and one grandchild to often go to bed hungry. 

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Around the Traps

Blessed John Paul II’s childhood Jewish friend dies in Rome at 90 

ROME (CNS): Jerzy Kluger, Blessed Pope John Paul II’s lifelong Jewish friend, who had a deep impact on the pope’s commitment to improved Catholic-Jewish relations, died in Rome on December 31 at the age of 90. 

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Pope John Paul II tried to end 1981 Irish hunger strike

DUBLIN (CNS): Declassified British documents reveal the extent to which Pope John Paul II offered to intervene and bring and end to the 1981 hunger strike by Provisional Irish Republican Army prisoners in a British jail in Northern Ireland. 

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Extremists issue more threats against Christians in Nigeria

MAIDUGURI and VATICAN CITY (CNS/agencies): In the wake of the Christmas Day bombings of churches and other targets in Nigeria by Boko Haram, a Nigerian group that purports to be inspired by Islam, the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, declared a state of emergency in parts of four states hard hit by violence. 

The bombings killed more than 40 people, including Muslim passersby (Sunday Examiner, January 1). The country’s mainstream Muslim leaders condemned the attacks.

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Pope names new major penitentiary

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI has named Portuguese Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, the 73-year-old secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, to head the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Church court dealing with indulgences, serious sins and matters of conscience. The Vatican announced the appointment January 5.

Archbishop Monteiro de Castro was born 29 March 1938, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1961 for the Archdiocese of Braga, Portugal. 

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Keep vigilant says Boston cardinal on abuse scandal

BOSTON (CNS): “Our Church will never forget the clergy sexual abuse crisis,” said Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, in a document marking the 10th anniversary of the scandal that first rocked the archdiocese in January 2002, the reverberations of which continue to be felt. 

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Vatican issues recommendations for celebrating Year of Faith

VATICAN CITY (CNS): The Vatican issued a list of pastoral recommendations for celebrating the Year of Faith in an effort to help Catholics have a better and correct understanding of their faith and become authentic witnesses to Christ. 

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a note on January 7 outlining the aims of the special year and ways in which bishops, dioceses, parishes and communities can promote “the truth of the faith.” 

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