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Bishops find problems in Colombia, Peru, echo issues at home in U.S.

Conflicts over natural resources and land rights in places like Peru and Colombia echo similar problems in the United States, said U.S. bishops who visited the two countries in late June.

"We came to express solidarity with the church in Peru and Colombia, that we are one family in Christ, and the concerns of one part of the family are the concerns of the other," Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., told Catholic News Service.

European churches welcome EU move to link aid to religious freedom

Churches in Europe have welcomed pledges by the European Union to make financial help for countries around the world conditional on their protection of religious freedom.

The Brussels-based Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, COMECE, said Tuesday that action was needed "given the systematic and increasing violations of freedom of religion by some governments and non-state actors."

Syrian priest killed during rebel attack on Franciscan convent

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A 49-year-old Syrian priest and hermit was killed Sunday, apparently when a group of rebels attacked the Franciscan Convent of St. Anthony in Ghassanieh, a village in the north near the Turkish border.

Franciscan Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, told Vatican Radio on Monday that Fr. Francois Murad was not a Franciscan, but had taken refuge in the convent when it became clear he was not safe at the Syriac Catholic hermitage he was building nearby.

Rio host families open homes, hearts to World Youth Day volunteers

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In 2011, Luis Martinez, 29, traveled to Madrid, almost by accident. He said it was destiny that took him from his home in Fresnillo, Mexico, as a pilgrim to World Youth Day. Someone could not go at the last minute, and he ended up taking the spot.

James Kelliher, 27, was also there, visiting from London. He said his country can be "aggressively secular," something that challenges him to think about what he believes and ultimately landed him in Madrid among millions of young Catholics from all over the world.

Britain's Girl Guides drop oath to God

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For more than 100 years, Britain's Girl Guides took an oath to "love God and serve the King/Queen."

But on Wednesday, the movement announced it would scrap its oath to God in an attempt to broaden its appeal and attract children from secular, nonbelieving families.

The controversial shakeup is seen by some as the biggest in the Girl Guides' history.

Beginning in September, all new members who make the promise to be good and useful citizens will pledge an oath to "be true to myself and develop my beliefs" and "to serve my Queen (Elizabeth II) and my country."

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October 10-23, 2014

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