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Burkina Faso archbishop says appointment as cardinal was act of grace

When Archbishop Philippe Ouedraogo of Ouagadougou was told he had been named a cardinal Jan. 12, he thought it was someone playing a joke.

The telephone call from Rome was in Italian, a language the prelate hardly understood, and he had not been notified of the pope's decision in advance.

"I asked the caller what the pope wanted from the little bishop of the savannah," Ouedraogo told Burkina Faso's Aouaga.com news agency Jan. 13.

Bishops visiting Holy Land call for help for 'shocking scandal' in Gaza

Bishops from North America, Europe and Africa called on international leaders to act immediately so people living in the Gaza Strip can have access to basic necessities.

"Gaza is a man-made disaster, a shocking scandal, an injustice that cries out to the human community for a resolution. We call upon political leaders to improve the humanitarian situation of the people in Gaza, assuring access to the basic necessities for a dignified human life, the possibilities for economic development and freedom of movement," they said in their statement Thursday.

Cardinal named for Ivory Coast hopes he can advance peace

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Ivory's Coast's new cardinal is confident his nomination will advance peace after a decade of conflict and instability in the French-speaking West African country.

"I ask God to give me the grace of strength, so I can work on the different personal encounters we've already begun and continue them until wounded hearts are finally healed," said Cardinal-designate Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan.

He spoke after Pope Francis announced Sunday that he was among 19 prelates who will be elevated to the College of Cardinals in a consistory at the Vatican Feb. 22.

Tamil bishops seek inquiry into final stages of Sri Lanka's ethnic war

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Two Tamil bishops in Sri Lanka joined a call for an independent inquiry into reported war crimes in the closing stages of the protracted ethnic war in the Indian Ocean island nation in 2009.

Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar and Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam Emmanuel of Jaffna reiterated the demand during a meeting with Stephen Rapp, U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues in the State Department's Office of Global Criminal Justice, in early January in Jaffna.

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February 12-25, 2016

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