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Cardinal Tagle leads Mass for missing, abducted people

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Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at a Mass for Jonas Burgos and other missing activists warned abductors that while they might escape human courts, they will eventually have to answer to God.

"I appeal to those who are holding Jonas and the many others whose mothers are still searching for fathers, siblings, children: You will face up to God," said Tagle at the end of his homily for the Mass in Quiapo Church on Thursday ahead of the sixth anniversary of Burgos' abduction.

South Africa's bishops say state secrets bill fails to promote openness

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The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference said it regrets that South Africa's parliament passed a bill expanding protection for state secrets Thursday, noting that the country needs more openness, not more secrecy, to fight corruption.

The bishops urged President Jacob Zuma, who must sign the Protection of State Information Bill before it becomes law, to refer it to the Constitutional Court for deliberation in order to protect the democracy that "we all cherish."

Ban on religion forced Albanians to pray in secret: one woman's story

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Almost every evening at 6, the sounds of the organ resonate in the brick Catholic church on Kavaja Street. The hymns may vary, but the organist, Maria Dhimitri, is always the same.

It has been that way for nearly 23 years and could have been double that, Dhimitri said in a recent interview, if it had not been for a brutally enforced ban on religion in her country in southeastern Europe from 1967 to 1990.

"They banned all religious practice," the 76-year-old musician told Catholic News Service from an annex of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Irish audits show 'evidence of steady progress' dealing with abuse

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The head of the Catholic church's child safeguarding watchdog said he is encouraged by the latest audits of the handling of abuse allegations by dioceses and a religious congregation.

Ian Elliott, head of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, said the seven audits, published Wednesday, show "clear evidence of steady progress in developing robust safeguarding structures" in the church.

Kidnapped bishops raise fears of Syrian nightmare

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Rome on Tuesday reacted with alarm to the kidnapping of two Orthodox bishops in Syria, fearing it may mark the beginning of the nightmare scenario: that Syria will become the next Iraq, meaning the next Middle Eastern country where Christians emerge as primary victims of the chaos following the disintegration of a police state.

A Vatican spokesman called the kidnappings "a dramatic confirmation of the tragic situation in which the Syrian people and its Christian community are living."

Pope calls on Venezuelan leaders to resolve political crisis peacefully

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Pope Francis called on Venezuela's political leaders to resolve their differences through respectful dialogue and he urged the nation's people to reject all forms of violence as the country seeks to move ahead.

Venezuelans went to the polls April 14 to elect a successor to President Hugo Chavez, the socialist who died of complications from cancer March 5.

Trial of Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt annulled on a technicality

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After four weeks of testimony, on April 18 a separate court granted a defense request to annul the Guatemala genocide trial against Gen. José Efraín Ríos Montt and his intelligence chief, Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, in a decision based on a technicality.

“You are mocking the victims,” the prosecution said in a small, crowded meeting room amid a crush of press. “The victims are the accused,” said the defense.

World Youth Day organizers expect attendance bump from Argentine pope

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Members of the local organizing committee for World Youth Day say with the recent election of an Argentine pope, they expect up to 2.5 million young people at the international event in Rio de Janeiro.

"We currently have 200,000 pilgrims already registered, but registrations go on until the last day of the event," said Carol de Castro, press coordinator for the local organizing committee. She said the committee expects 800,000 pilgrims to have registered by the start of the event, which runs July 23-28.

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October 10-23, 2014

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