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Cardinal: Lebanese must coexist, get president elected in timely manner

Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai said the Maronite Catholic church could not remain a bystander as Lebanon neared an "existential crisis."

"We must return to the achievements reached by the Lebanese people when they devised the original national pact," Rai said, referring to the 1943 agreement that laid the foundation of Lebanon as a multiconfessional state. "Coexistence lies in belonging to a civilized project that brings together Muslims and Christians."

Syrians fleeing to Jordan say Homs residents starving from lack of food

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Syrians fleeing to neighboring Jordan from the besieged central city of Homs said some people there are starving to death for lack of food.

"People are dying of hunger especially, babies and young children," said Um Mohamed, the mother of four children, who fled with her family to this northern Jordanian town in mid-2013 after her son was hit in the chest with shrapnel from an exploding bomb.

"There is no milk, no basics are available," she said, citing phone conversations with family members stuck in Homs.

Letters from South Sudan

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Beginning in 2005, after decades of civil war in South Sudan, bishops of that country invited international religious communities to consider serving in South Sudan. Since that point, members of men’s and women’s congregations have been committed to a presence to support the church through the collaborative project, Solidarity with South Sudan, which prepares and supports people to respond to the immense needs there in health care, agriculture, education and parish ministry.

Korean activists appeal to Pope Francis

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Pope Francis is considering a visit to South Korea this summer, and the activists of Korea’s Jeju Island are appealing for a solidarity appearance. 

With news of Francis’ possible trip to South Korea, the activist website, Save Jeju Now, is urging people to send letters to the pope, asking him not only to visit Jeju Island, but also to preside over their daily Mass at the construction site of a future naval base. A sample letter to Francis states,

Scotland passes same-sex marriage law, with opt-in for religious groups

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The Scottish Parliament has passed a bill that will allow same-sex marriages to be performed later this year, but religious organizations have the right not to perform them.

Members of the Scottish Parliament supported the legislation, 105-18, at the end of a debate Tuesday and applauded when the result was announced.

Lawmakers had rejected pleas from the Catholic church to oppose the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill and also resisted attempts to amend it.

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April 11-24, 2014

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