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Scottish Catholic agency will not have to consider same-sex adopters

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A Catholic adoption agency in Scotland has won an appeal that allows it to remain functioning without assessing gay couples as possible adopters and foster parents.

The ruling Friday by the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel means that Glasgow-based St. Margaret's Children and Family Care Society has become the only Catholic adoption agency in Britain to stay open as an agency operating in accordance with the teachings of the church on marriage and human sexuality.

Sisters in Vietnam help the poor enjoy a happier lunar new year

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Thanks to the efforts of local Catholic sisters in Vietnam, HIV/AIDS patients and others in need find simple pleasures during the festival of Tet (Lunar New Year). This help comes during an especially difficult time for many Vietnamese recovering from an economic downturn in 2012.

Hai Quyen (real name withheld) in her winter clothes enthusiastically clapped in time to the music, repeating words of the song Xuan Da Ve (Spring Just Comes) while watching traditional dances performed by a group of nuns.

White Army could be wild card in South Sudan's cease-fire, says priest

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A Catholic priest who fled the recent fighting in South Sudan remains hopeful that a cease-fire will hold but worries that an ethnic militia called the White Army may refuse to stop fighting.

"They aren't an organized force, so they may attack again because they don't understand," Fr. Edward Joseph Deng told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from Juba, the capital of South Sudan. "The rebel soldiers will stop if they're given that order, but the White Army could do anything."

In South Sudan conflict, churches attacked, looted

African church leaders are urging parties in the South Sudanese conflict to respect places of worship, after rebels attacked and looted church compounds in the town of Malakal.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Malakal was looted at gunpoint, forcing priests and civilians to flee, a regional church leader said.

Catholic and Presbyterian churches, a hospital and an orphanage have become safe havens for refugees escaping the fighting in the city.

Indian cardinal opposed to 'criminalization' of same-sex relationships

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The head of the Catholic church in India has reiterated its opposition to "criminalization" of homosexuality.

"It is for the government and the legislature to sort out the situation now," Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai said after the Supreme Court declined to review its December ruling on an anti-sodomy law.

The December ruling served to reinstate Section 337 of India's penal code, a law that outlawed homosexuality, making it a felony subject to fines and sentences of up to 10 years to life in prison.

Pope accepts resignation of Israeli Melkite archbishop

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa.

Canon 210 of the Eastern Code of Canon Law allows for resignation for health reasons or at the age of 75. Chacour is 74.

Last October, the well-known archbishop was called in for questioning for suspected sexual harassment of a woman who works in the community; the allegations concerned an incident that allegedly took place five years ago. Following several hours of questioning, the archbishop was released on bail under restricting conditions.

Quebec to vote on euthanasia bill that contradicts 'basic human values'

Quebec's euthanasia Bill 52 will come to a vote in February, and the province's bishops say it "goes against the most basic human values and contradicts the very purpose of medicine."

"Bringing about a patient's death is not a medical act," the bishops said in a Jan. 23 statement.

"To cause death to a sick person is not to care for him," the bishops said. "A lethal injection is not a treatment. Euthanasia is not a form of care."

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