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New U.K. guidance may hurt those who won't dispense morning-after pill

British doctors and nurses who refuse to dispense the morning-after pill on grounds of conscience will be unable to receive a specialist diploma in sexual health care.

Guidance issued by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare states that medical professionals who, for religious reasons, refuse to hand out "emergency" contraception cannot receive the qualification.

The diploma is considered to represent the "gold standard" of sexual health care training, a source at the faculty told Catholic News Service in a telephone conversation Wednesday.

Survey: Most Americans say fighting global poverty is futile

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Despite progress in defeating extreme global poverty, most Americans see no end in sight, according to a survey sponsored by Compassion International.

Christians who attend church at least monthly and consider religion very important in their life overwhelmingly (96 percent) expressed concern about the world's poorest people. But they were skeptical that global poverty could be ended in the next 25 years. Only 41 percent of the group said it was possible.

Bishop: South Sudan has become 'the place where God weeps'

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South Sudan's civil war has taken a brutal turn, despite appeals from the country's church leaders to stop the violence.

In the oil hub of Bentiu, rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, killed more than 200 civilians and wounded more than 400 in mid-April, the United Nations reported Monday. People were slaughtered inside a mosque, a hospital, and the city's Catholic church. The U.N. said hate speech was broadcast on local radio stations, urging certain groups to leave the city and encouraging men to rape women.

In Holy Land, it's 'I am Christian'; denominations aren't so important

Suheir Saliba was running late as she prepared to go to the Easter Divine Liturgy with her husband, Aimad Kamal, and his family.

Saliba, a Catholic, had a late night. She, along with other Catholic and Greek Orthodox residents of the village, had attended the ceremony welcoming the holy fire at St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

Fr. Firas Aridah of St. Joseph Catholic Church was also at St. George, where Greek Orthodox Fr. George Awad lit his candle with the holy fire. Later, after the Greek Orthodox reception, Aridah celebrated Mass at St. Joseph.

Converts find moral support in Catholicism

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Some 650 catechumens from 32 parishes attended a special ceremony led by Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese at the pastoral center on March 30. Over 350 people among them are expected to receive the sacraments of Christian initiation to become Catholics on this year’s Easter Vigil, April 19.

Some of them shared their faith experiences with NCR.

Activists call on British government to deport African exorcist

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A Pentecostal preacher who claims to deliver people from witchcraft is a danger to children and should be deported from England, activists say.

Helen Ukpabio, a woman who wears colorful West African clothes and hats and who calls herself a "Lady Apostle," is the founder of the controversial Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries in Nigeria. It has 150 branches in Africa and Europe.

She specializes in "liberating" captives in "deliverance sessions" and holds house meetings in London with people who believe she has power to expel demons.

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July 18-31, 2014

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