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Synod attendee: Divorced and remarried Catholics most frequent topic at debates

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The problem of divorced and remarried people and whether or not they should be allowed to receive Communion tops the list of topics discussed during the first week of the Synod of Bishops on the family, according to German priest who has attended the synod sessions.

"I've been keeping a little private checklist," said Jesuit Fr. Bernd Hagenkord, head of the German section of Vatican Radio. "The topic of the remarried divorcees and whether or not they should be allowed to receive the Eucharist has come up 40 times."

Nobel winner Malala: Kids 'should stand up for their rights'

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Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi won the 95th Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work promoting education rights for children in a year that has been anything but peaceful.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."

Yousafzai, 17 and the youngest-ever Nobel winner, is from Pakistan and Satyarthi, 60, is from India -- facts that bring added significance to the award given the tumultuous history between those two nations.

Ebola outbreak: How you can help

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There have been 8,033 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola and more than 3,879 deaths attributed to the current outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization reports.

The first man to be diagnosed with Ebola in the USA died Wednesday.

Aid workers are providing everything from medical care to protective gear to education as the Ebola virus continues to spread.

How can you help?

Because of Ebola crisis, people 'can't even go to church'

Fr. McDonald Nah is praying that the people of Liberia are just as resilient with the Ebola outbreak as they were following the country's civil war more than a decade ago.

Nah is a priest of the archdiocese of Monrovia, Liberia, who is currently studying Catholic education administration at St. Louis University. The priest, who resides at a downtown parish, St. Nicholas, with another Liberian priest, Fr. Urey Patrick Mark, is expected to return to Liberia next summer after he completes his studies.

Nigerian archbishop opposes gay marriage and criminalization of gays

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The Nigerian bishops oppose gay marriage but do not support the criminalization of homosexuals, said Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama in Rome while attending the Synod of Bishops on the family.

The media misunderstood the position of the Nigerian church, he said. "The Catholic church respects all human beings. And we believe that we are all created in the image and likeness of God," he said. But for cultural and religious reasons, "we Africans believe that marriage is between a man and a woman."

"That does not mean that we hate people of that orientation," he added.

Franciscan priest among 20 Christians reportedly kidnapped in Syria

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A Franciscan priest was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey the night of Oct. 5-6, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

Franciscan Fr. Hanna Jallouf and the others were abducted from Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land confirmed Tuesday.

Philippine cardinal hopes synod debate goes beyond Communion question

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The separation of married couples is a huge issue in the Philippines and other parts of Asia, not because of divorce but because poverty pushes couples to separate in search of jobs abroad, said Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.

While he hopes the pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried couples is debated openly and with good will, he said he also hopes members of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops give appropriate consideration to the impact of poverty and migration on families and to a host of other issues that help or hinder family life.

In Africa, church leaders responding to climate change locally and globally

As climate change devastates communities in Kenya, church leaders are helping to address the crisis locally while also calling on industrialized nations to own up to their responsibilities for spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

"I think [industrialized nations] are responsible for most of the emissions," said Peter Solomon Gichira, the climate change program officer at the All Africa Conference of Churches. "They have responsibility to support climate change adaptation and mitigation as a moral obligation."

Vatican summit says extremists must be stopped with sanctioned force

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Extremist groups in the Middle East, including the Islamic State, must be stopped with sanctioned military force and through dialogue, a Vatican statement said.

"One cannot be silent, nor [can] the international community remain inactive, in the face of the massacre of persons," said the statement issued Saturday at the end of a three-day Vatican summit on the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

"The participants at the meeting reaffirmed that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor, always in accordance with international law," it said.

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