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Search begins for new CRS president

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BALTIMORE -- Catholic Relief Services has begun a nationwide search for a successor to its president, Ken Hackett, whose career with the international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community spans nearly four decades.

"The good news is that we can do this patiently and carefully, because we are able to approach any leadership changes from a position of strength, success and stability," New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the CRS board, said in a Sept. 29 statement announcing the search.

Sharp satire illuminates farmersí plight

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Until I saw Indian producer Aamir Khan’s new film, I had never heard of the suicide epidemic among India’s poor farmers between 1997 and 2007, when an estimated 125,000 died by their own hand.

Khan (his 2001 film “Lagaan” was nominated for an Academy Award) has not made a Bollywood film with singing and dancing, though his shrewd use of color and music shows how these cultural motifs can mask the perception of reality. “Peepli Live” is a satire about India’s ineffectual and corrupt government, the media, and the human collateral damage of single-crop farming using genetically modified seed provided by global agribusiness. Both government and industry envision a big financial return for this policy.

In 2010, “Peepli Live” became the first foreign film ever to be shown in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

Anusha Rizvi wrote the screenplay and codirected it with her husband, Mahmood Farooqui. Their freshman effort has created a film that is as entertaining as it is dreadful.

Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) and Budhia (Raghuvir Yadav) are brothers who live in the small farming village of Peepli.

Violent mobs threaten Christian buildings in Kashmir

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VATICAN CITY -- Police in India-controlled Kashmir surrounded Catholic churches and schools to protect them after violent mobs went on a rampage Sept. 13, throwing Molotov cocktails at government and Christian buildings.

"There are policemen everywhere, wherever there are churches and schools, to protect Christian sites," Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu and Srinagar, India, told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Oberammergau Passion Play 'inter-religiously triumphant'

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Review

I saw the Oberammergau Passion Play (first performed in 1634) for the sixth time last August – and it was superb! It was profoundly moving, stunningly professionally performed, esthetically sweeping – and inter-religiously triumphant!

I say the latter not at all lightly, for I have been working closely with the play directors, the town officials, the Archdiocese of Munich (the head of which for several years was my former colleague at the University of Tübingen Catholic Theology faculty, Pope Benedict XVI), the German Bishops’ Conference, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith (ADL), and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) – for over thirty years!

The changing face(s) of moral theology

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Commentary

Trent was a follow-up to an initiative taken four years ago at Padua, Italy, where 375 ethicists from 75 countries gathered for the first time in history. The idea for that meeting arose because moral theologians, or as we are called today, theological ethicists, discourse with many experts from all different fields by the nature of our work: from human rights lawyers and physicians to geneticists, philosophers, theologians and economists. We are the pragmatic side of theology.

'We cannot put our heads in the sand'

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The following are remarks made by Fr. Charles E. Curran, Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University, at the closing of a July 24-27 gathering of moral theologians in Trent, Italy. (See story.)

This has been an extraordinary meeting of 600 Catholic moral theologians from all over the world that has contributed much to the development of Catholic moral theology. Thanks to the meeting at Padua [Italy] four years ago and this meeting now, the process of dialogue and interchange has been growing.

Lay Africans, nuns feel marginalized

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LUSAKA, Zambia -- Laypeople and women religious across Africa are concerned that they are being marginalized by clergy as they undertake pastoral work, despite a call from last October's Synod of Bishops for Africa to include all people in ministry.

Members of both groups told Catholic News Service their evangelization activities have been underfunded, and some said they have been left out of the synod process since the beginning.

World food aid conference looks at initiatives and trends

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- From Aug. 2-4, people from 17 countries met to discuss the world hunger situation at the annual International Food Aid & Development Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USAID. The 650 conference participants looked at what is being done to address both immediate needs and to support long-term development of sustainable agriculture in afflicted countries.

CRS faces long-term challenges in Haiti

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KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Last month The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that Catholic Relief Services has used only $30.6 million of the $140.8 million it raised after the January earthquake in Haiti.

CRS officials Sean Callahan and Frank Orzechowski told NCR at the International Food Aid Conference that Catholic Relief Services has made strides in meeting the desperate need in Haiti since the quake, feeding some 900,000 people and providing food, water, sanitation, shelter materials, and medical care for hundreds of thousands in Port-au-Prince and beyond.

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October 10-23, 2014

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