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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."

Court declines request it investigate Vatican leaders over abuse issues

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The International Criminal Court declined a request from victims of clergy sexual abuse to investigate Vatican officials and their responsibility for the abuse of children by Catholic priests around the world.

In a two-page letter May 31, the court told the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented the victims, that the offenses alleged in the survivor's petition "do not appear to fall within the jurisdiction of the court."

Catholics, Lutherans look to commemoration of Reformation anniversary

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Joint Catholic-Lutheran commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation must recognize the harm caused by the split in Western Christianity, the polemics that exacerbated differences and the progress made through 50 years of ecumenical dialogue, a new document said.

Nuncio: Anti-drug policies need new, comprehensive approach

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Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations, discussed the Holy See's commitment to formulating a new, comprehensive approach to anti-drug policies in the Americas during a three-day session of the Organization of American States' General Assembly in Antigua.

Current policies surrounding drug abuse, addiction and related crimes must be transformed to hold perpetrators responsible and encourage individuals and communities to make better decisions, he said.

Quebec's end-of-life bill decried as Belgian-style euthanasia

Pro-life and other groups joined forces to denounce a bill governing end-of-life care introduced by the Quebec government Wednesday as a form of Belgian-style euthanasia.

"This is about doctors lethally injecting patients," said Alex Schadenberg, executive director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, echoing the concerns of several organizations, including the Catholic Organization for Life.

Schadenberg said the bill redefines palliative care to include "terminal medical sedation" and "medical aid in dying," which he called a euphemism for euthanasia.

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October 10-23, 2014

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