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Spanish bishops back bill that restricts abortion for rape, health

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A Spanish bishop urged medical personnel to stop performing abortions, as new church-backed legal restrictions passed their first parliamentary hurdle.

"Those who assist with abortions are seen as automatically excommunicated because the church wants to defend the weak," said Madrid Auxiliary Bishop Juan Martinez Camino.

Draw strength from spirituality, cardinal tells Indian bishops

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The new president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India said the church should draw strength from spirituality to engage in works of charity.

"Energy for charitable works should come from our spiritual strength," Cardinal Baselios Thottunkal of Trivandrum told a news conference Wednesday at the end of the weeklong bishops' assembly.

University community to heighten security after bomb scare

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The bomb threat that caused officials of the Jesuit Ateneo de Manila University to order the evacuation of people from the campus around noon today was a "hoax," according to the school's newspaper.

"QCPD (Quezon City Policed Department) Chief Supt. Richard Albano says that the bomb threat was a hoax,” The Guidon, ADMU’s official school publication, announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

Church workers rejoice, recall challenges as India declared polio-free

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As the World Health Organization declared India "polio-free" on Tuesday, church health workers celebrated and reflected on the challenges they faced convincing parents to allow their children to get the vaccine.

"It is a moment of great of joy for all the health workers," said Fr. Tomi Thomas, director-general of the Catholic Health Association of India, many of whose 3,400 Catholic health care centers were partners in the government's polio eradication program.

Christians face increasing persecution, congressman says

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The global persecution of Christians has gone from bad to worse, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith at a congressional hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Smith, a New Jersey Republican, along with other U.S. House subcommittee members and various speakers gave testimony about religious hostilities against Christians worldwide. Speakers noted that religious persecution violates basic human rights.

Smith likened the persecution of Christians in Iraq to genocide.

"Christians remain the most persecuted group in the world and thus deserve special attention," he said.

Ukrainian church leader asks for prayers to resolve national crisis

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Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, Ukraine, head of the Ukrainian Catholic church, capped a weeklong visit to the United States by asking all people of goodwill to join Ukrainian Catholics in prayer to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine.

Each night at 9 p.m. -- 2 p.m. EST -- Ukrainians pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the intention for a peaceful and nonviolent resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Preview: Philippine Carmelites launch independent province

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A mission area of the Dutch Carmelites in the Philippines has emerged from a painful era of establishment with members and partners prepared to take on the challenge of carrying on as an independent province.

As first provincial of the Philippine Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma, "It makes me feel a little tense," Carmelite Fr. Christian Buenafe, 47, said at provincial headquarters in Quezon City, northeast of Manila. "We will run our own structure, finances, formation, leadership and governance."

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July 4-17, 2014

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