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Chaldean patriarch appeals for prayers to heal country's rift

July 21, 2014
DALE GAVLAK
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

AMMAN, JORDAN – The patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad called the current situation in his country "perhaps the darkest and most difficult period in (the Church's) recent history." In a telephone interview with Catholic News Service July 7, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako said the city of Mosul "is almost empty of Christians." "There are only about 200 (Christian) individuals that may be left there," he said. "The churches are closed. There was no Mass on Sunday. There are no priests."

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Quebec expects to draw 300,000 to holy door

July 21, 2014
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

QUEBEC CITY – More than 100,000 pilgrims have already passed through the holy door in Quebec's Cathedral of Notre Dame and another 200,000 are expected before year end. The holy door was constructed to mark the 350th anniversary of the founding of the first Catholic parish in North America's first Catholic diocese. It is one of only seven in the world. The Church in North America was launched from the Quebec Diocese, said Msgr. Denis Belanger, cathedral rector.

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Christians targeted in Iraqi civil war

July 21, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) has put out an urgent plea to help Iraqi Christians targeted in a "brutal civil war." "Everybody's affected, but Christians in particular because as a minority they are more vulnerable," said CNEWA Canada general secretary Carl Hutu in an interview from Jerusalem. Hutu attended the annual gathering in Rome June 23-26 of agencies working with the Eastern Church that was organized by the Congregation of Eastern Churches.

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Gangs chase fleeing Central American migrants, children

July 21, 2014
DAVID AGREN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Giovani Melendez, 31, fled San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, with his family, setting out suddenly on a search for safety in the United States after gangs demanded growing extortion payments he was unable afford. The family – Melendez, his wife, and children, ages five and 12 – only made it to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, where officials stopped them and sent them back to El Salvador.

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Marian Centre needs help serving the homeless

July 21, 2014
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – With temperatures hitting a blazing 30c , the hot sun may be welcomed by sun bathers and children alike. But for the homeless people there is no respite from its tortuous heat. Sunstoke is a cruel reality for those who cannot find shade. Many end up in city emergency wards.

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Doctors' rights under siege in right-to-life debate

July 21, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

Doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control pills have become the focus of a debate over physicians' rights to freedom of conscience when practising medicine. An Alberta doctor has been in the media spotlight recently for posting a notice at the clinic where she works that she will not prescribe the pill and now faces a human rights complaint. Earlier this year, three Ottawa doctors came under fire for similar reasons. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is doing a public consultation on its guidelines that could be revamped to restrict doctors' rights to abstain from legal medical practices on religious or conscientious grounds.

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Bargain with God? He gave young man the best return

July 21, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

Father Matthew Chojna's faith began to grow when he ran into academic trouble in school and he began asking God for help and bargaining with him. Ordained to the priesthood June 27 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, Chojna (pronounced Hoy-nah) spent the first 10 years of his life in Poland before his family moved to Toronto. The Chojnas were faithful Catholics who attended church regularly and did not question the Church's role "as a vessel through which God teaches his people," he said.

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Senior Anglican clerics give thumbs up to assisted suicide

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

July 21, 2014
SIMON CALDWELL
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Some senior Anglican leaders have voiced their support for assisted suicide just days before a crucial debate on the subject in the British House of Lords. Lord Carey, who served as archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, each said they were in favour of the practice. Anglican Bishop Alan Wilson of Buckingham also has declared his support for "assisted dying," making him the first serving bishop of the Church of England to say that doctors should be legally permitted to help their patients to commit suicide.

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Francis blasts 'despicable actions' of clerical abusers

July 21, 2014
CAROL GLATZ
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – Asking for forgiveness, Pope Francis told abuse survivors that "despicable actions" caused by clergy have been hidden for too long and had been "camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained." "There is no place in the Church's ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not," and to hold all bishops accountable for protecting young people, the pope said during an early morning Mass for six survivors of abuse by clergy. The Mass and private meetings held later with each individual took place in the Domus Sanctae Marthae – the pope's residence.

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Sexual abuse victims get pope's listening ear

July 21, 2014
CAROL GLATZ
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

More than a meeting and homily, Pope Francis laid out a clear road map for the Church when he celebrated Mass and welcomed abuse survivors to the Vatican. The morning he dedicated to six men and women who had been abused by clergy was a powerful combination of upholding the importance of the letter of the law and displaying the proper spirit behind it. Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a German psychologist and psychotherapist who accompanied two abuse survivors July 7, said: "This is not only about the letter of the law. This has to come from the heart if this is to really take fruit" and make real, lasting change.

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