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Number of hungry in the world tops 1 billion

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GENEVA and ROME -- Despite record high grain crops, the number of undernourished people in 2009 reached the historic high of 1.02 billion, about 100 million more than in 2008, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and a coalition of religious, human rights and development groups.

The increase in hunger, the coalition said, was caused by governments’ and international institutions’ failure to act.

Honduran bishops hope talks bring just, peaceful solution

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- One day after the start of talks in the Honduran political crisis, the country's Catholic bishops appealed for calm and called for a "just and peaceful" solution.

"We cannot continue in uncertainty, personal and social tension, and economic breakdown," the bishops said in a statement dated Oct. 8. "The people of Honduras have placed great hope in this national dialogue, and those hopes cannot be frustrated, because it would lead to great disillusionment and increased personal and social tension."

A consistent ethic of life, Africa-style

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Rome

tThough this is perhaps a terrible over-generalization, Catholics in the United States and Europe sometimes fall into the trap of listening to only half of what the African church has to say. When African Catholic leaders condemn poverty, war, and racial injustice, Western liberals cheer; when those same Africans decry abortion and homosexuality, conservatives feel validated.

tThe hard truth for both left and right, however, is that African Catholics often don’t fit into Western ideological categories. They can be ferociously traditional on matters such as sexual ethics, and yet remarkably progressive in areas such as economic policy and ecology.

tIf a label is needed for all that, one might it call “a consistent ethic of life, Africa-style.”

Irish seminarians reach 10-year high

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DUBLIN -- The number of Irish men entering the seminary to become Roman Catholic priests has risen to a 10-year high following years of dwindling vocations.

The Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors for the Catholic Church in Ireland said that 36 new seminarians were about to begin studying for the priesthood in Irish dioceses. The announcement came against the backdrop of a recent damning government report about the abuse of children in Catholic institutions.

Lay missionary: Conflict in Honduras between poor, wealthy

Although ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya returned to his country, the situation is not simply a matter of a conflict between two politicians, said an American lay missionary in Honduras.

The real conflict in Honduras is between the poor and wealthy, said John Donaghy, assistant director of the church charitable agency Caritas in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras.

Guerrillas abduct 17 Catholics from Sudan church

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LONDON -- A Sudanese bishop has appealed for international help to stop roving bands of guerrillas kidnapping and murdering villagers in his diocese.

Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of Tambura-Yambio, Sudan, said his government appeared powerless to prevent attacks by members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a guerrilla force based in northern Uganda.

Theology in the age of migration

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Essay

Migration has always been part of human history. But because of widespread changes caused by globalization, more people are migrating than ever before, prompting some to call our own generation “the age of migration.”

In the last 25 years the number of people on the move has doubled from 100 million to nearly 200 million people. One out of every 35 people around the world are now living away from their homelands. This is roughly the equivalent of the population of Brazil, the fifth-largest country on the planet.

In Brazil, a Catholic Mass you'll never forget

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São Paulo, Brazil

I realize this is a bold claim, but I'm going to make it anyway: If you haven't been to Mass with Padre Marcelo Rossi, you haven't really been to Mass.

Theologically, of course, that's ridiculous, because every validly celebrated Mass has the same spiritual value. Sociologically, however, I guarantee that a Mass with Padre Marcelo is an experience you won't soon forget.

German court upholds church tax challenge

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In a landmark ruling, a German court has upheld the right of Catholics in Germany to refuse to pay church tax but remain members of the Catholic church.

The judgement of the Administrative Court in Freiburg of July 15 dismissed the case brought by the Catholic church against Staufen-im-Breisgau, which, as the hometown of Hartmut Zapp, had certified his unorthodox application to leave the church.

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September 12-25, 2014

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