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CRS expects 'thousands and thousands' Haiti dead, injured

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WASHINGTON
Catholic Relief Services was preparing for "thousands and thousands" of dead and injured people in the wake of the most devastating earthquake to strike Haiti in two centuries, said Karel Zelenka, the agency's country representative.

Among those reported dead were Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince and Zilda Arns Neumann, a pediatrician who founded the Brazilian bishops' children's commission and sister of Brazilian Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, retired archbishop of Sao Paulo.

A group of Montfort priests and seminarians initially reported to have died in Port-au-Prince were not even in the city and were not killed, a spokesman said.

In an e-mail from the capital, Port-au-Prince, Zelenka told his colleagues at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that damage was "incredible all around."

In response, CRS initially has committed $5 million to help survivors, said John Rivera, the agency's communications director.

Hume says anti-Christian bias fueled backlash

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WASHINGTON -- Fox News analyst Brit Hume, who was both widely praised and criticized for suggesting that golfer Tiger Woods should embrace Christianity to find true "redemption," said he fell victim to widespread media bias against Christianity.

"Instead of urging that Tiger Woods turn to Christianity, if I had said what he needed to do was to strengthen his Buddhist commitment or turn to Hinduism, I don't think anybody would have said a word," Hume told Christianity Today's Sarah Pulliam Bailey.

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.

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July 18-31, 2014

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