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Catholic mission to fight HIV/AIDS in Sudan

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Catholic Medical Mission Board gets grant to fight HIV/AIDS in Sudan

NEW YORK -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given a five-year, $5.9 million grant to the New York-based Catholic Medical Mission board to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS in southern Sudan.

The project's goals are to reduce the incidence of new HIV infection through testing and counseling, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and behavior change to prevent sexual transmission of the virus.

Korean church slams activistís northern incursion

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SEOUL -- South Korean Church leaders have condemned US Christian activist Robert Park’s incursion into North Korea, saying it will not help religious freedom in the country and may do more harm than good.

Park, a Protestant Korean-American, crossed the border on Christmas Eve with a Bible in his hand, shouting: “I brought God's love! God loves you!” according to local media.

He was immediately arrested.

Just ask yourself: How can I be useful to the poor?

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For many years, Fr. Bob McCahill, a Maryknoll missionary, has been sending an annual letter to NCR and other friends at Christmastime, chronicling his experience living among the people of Bangladesh since 1975. His 2009 letter is below.

Dear Friends,

The best place in Bangladesh to find men for serious conversation is the tea stall. One day men at a tea stall in Narail town watched me as I oiled my bicycle. They sent someone to fetch me. Bike in hand I walked over to join them. There were 10 of them, all involved in trucking. Jahangir put questions to me supplied to him by Kamal and Ratan -- the usual questions about my source of income, my wife and children, and my country of birth. When I left them after 10 minutes I shook their hands. Jahangir’s final comment was about how fortunate they felt to hear the reason for my living among them, that is, the life and teachings of Jesus.

Aid packages offer lifeline to needy West Bank Palestinians

Beit Sahour, West Bank -- Ra’ed Abu Rdneineh surveyed the overcast sky with satisfaction. Despite early morning threats of rain, the weather held out and the second truck of basic food supplies in as many days destined for East Jerusalem from Catholic Relief Services was almost loaded.

If it had rained during the loading process the sacks of flour would have been spoiled, explained Abu Rdneineh, Catholic Relief Services project officer in Bethlehem. Thankfully, the distribution was not being postponed and 300 families in Al Ayzariyah would receive the much-needed food packages.

Canterbury condemns Uganda's anti-gay law

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After weeks of intense pressure from Episcopal gay rights groups, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has condemned the "shocking severity" of proposed anti-gay laws in Uganda.

The spiritual leader of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion also said that "I can't see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades." Williams' comments were made during an interview published Saturday (Dec. 12) with The Telegraph, a British newspaper.

Williams had been heavily criticized by American gay rights advocates, particularly since he said the election of a lesbian as an Episcopal bishop in Los Angeles raised "very serious questions" about whether the Episcopal Church should remain a full member of the Anglican Communion.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to exercise moral leadership to protect gays and lesbians in Uganda and has instead exercised political pressure to attack a bishop-elect in Los Angeles because she is a lesbian," reads a statement from a Facebook page devoted to pressuring Williams. As of Monday (Dec. 14), the page had more than 4,530 members.

Parliament discusses Alternatives to Empire

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Melboure, Australia
That the United States is the only superpower in the current world order needs no discussion. But that its superpower status is coming to an end is fueling both fear, of what lies ahead, as well as hope, that “another world is possible.” This cliché was the subtopic of a session at the Parliament of the World’s Religions which met in Melbourne from 3-9 Dec, 2009.

Religion parliament pulls fundamentalist, humanist protests

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The Parliament of the World's Religions opened Dec. 3 in Melbourne, Australia where some 8,000 people are gathered to discuss issues such as climate change, indigenous rights and the West's relationship with Islam. Edmund Chia, on the faculty of the Catholic Theological Union, is there and filing for NCR. This is his second report.

Melbourne
By Edmund Chia

We have been greeted each morning by a group of Christians bearing banners protesting the very idea of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Their main issue is that the Parliament is “intellectually dishonest at best,” claimed one of the protesters, as “these people are addressing different notions of truth” while truth, the protester asserts, “is a person, the person of Jesus Christ.” For the Bible clearly states that “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).

It is thus “sacrilegious for our Christian government to spend $4.5 million bringing people together to talk about truths in religions when we should not trust religions in the first place.”

Parliament of World Religious opens in Australia

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Melbourne, Australia
One of the world's largest inter-faith festivals has opened in Australia. Up to 8,000 people are expected at the Parliament of the World's Religions - among them is the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

During the gathering, which opened Dec. 3 in Melbourne, delegates will discuss issues such as climate change, indigenous rights and the West's relationship with Islam.

Native American leaders, rabbis from Israel and Buddhist monks from Vietnam will join Muslim scholars, Hindu philosophers and representatives of the various Christian denominations at the event. The six-day parliament convenes every five years

On behalf of the spiritual ancestors and the traditional owners of Melbourne, I invite you to Melbourne in 2009, for the Parliament of the World’s Religions to share in the traditions, culture and spirit of Australia. It is a traditional custom of Australian Aboriginal communities to give permission to people who wish to enter the country.

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July 18-31, 2014

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