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Zimbabwe's bishops say country more polarized than before elections

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Zimbabwe is more polarized now than it was before this year's general elections, said the country's bishops.

"The political fault lines and their impact on all aspects of the lives of Zimbabweans are set not only to deepen, but also to stand in the way of progress and ultimately in the way of peace," the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference said in a pastoral letter Tuesday.

"We note with apprehension that ... there are no visible prospects for improvement in the spheres of life in Zimbabwe that cry for restoration to give people hope for a better life," the bishops said.

Syrian bishop says nuns' kidnapping shocks, frightens Christians

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The kidnapping of five Orthodox nuns from a Christian village near Damascus has shocked Syria's Christian community and filled many Christians with fear, said Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria.

Speaking Tuesday to Vatican Radio, Audo said the latest information is that the superior and four of the nuns belonging to the Orthodox Monastery of Santa Tecla in Maaloula were kidnapped during the night Sunday and taken to Yabrud, a city nearby.

"We have no more information," he said.

Al-Azhar officials hoping to restart stalled talks with Vatican

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Officials at Egypt's Al-Azhar University said they are eagerly awaiting a message from the Vatican that could jump-start their stalled talks.

Their dialogue faltered and was eventually suspended altogether by Al-Azhar in 2011 after a series of remarks made by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Mahmoud Azab, adviser on dialogue to Al-Azhar's grand imam, Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, told Catholic News Service that Fr. Rafic Greiche, spokesman for Egypt's Catholic church, informed them a Vatican envoy would visit Dec. 3.

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September 12-25, 2014

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