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Nigerian bishops caution government about religious prophesies

Five Catholic bishops cautioned Nigerian government leaders about a series of statements from Pentecostal and indigenous religious leaders portending tragedy.

The bishops of the Ibadan province said in a statement released Monday that the warnings, or visions as described by the religious leaders, may be a tactic to control the actions of political and government officials.

Bishop in Mali says people in hiding, afraid to enter churches

A Catholic bishop in war-torn Mali whose diocese lies in the path of Islamic insurgents said "people are hiding in their homes, unable to venture out."

Bishop Augustin Traore of Segou, Mali, told Catholic News Service by telephone: "Although our churches are still intact, people are becoming afraid to enter them. Our entire Catholic culture will clearly be in danger if this conflict drags on.

Europeans launch campaign to declare life starts at conception

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Anti-abortion groups from 20 different countries have launched a petition to ask the European Parliament to recognize that life begins at conception.

The "One of Us" initiative is the first of its kind in Europe and represents a larger effort to forge a cohesive continental anti-abortion movement.

According to the petition's website, "One of Us" has "greater political potential than any other initiative that has been undertaken so far to protect the dignity of the person and life from conception at a European scale."

Court says Britain failed to protect stewardess' right to wear cross

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the British government violated the rights of an airline flight attendant by failing to protect her right to conscience and religion.

It found that Nadia Eweida, 60, a Coptic Christian, suffered discrimination when she was told by British Airways, her employer, to stop wearing a cross on her uniform.

Her case was one of four claims of religious discrimination against English Christians heard by the court, but the only one to succeed.

'Listen to the streets' on marriage, says French bishops' spokesman

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A French bishops' spokesman urged politicians to "listen to the streets" after hundreds of thousands of people rallied against same-sex marriage.

"We're facing questions about society -- what the family is, what marriage is, and whether there's a difference between men and women," Msgr. Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French bishops' conference, told France's Metro daily.

Visiting bishops note strain recent events placed on Mideast countries

Bishops who traveled to the Holy Land to assess the local church's needs noted the "profound anxiety" that the "dark and dramatic events" of the past year have caused in the region.

The civil war in Syria has resulted in an increasingly large number of refugees pouring into other countries, putting an enormous strain on national and government resources, they said. The situation within Israel and Palestine has also become increasingly polarized, they added.

British bishops resist move to allow monarch to marry a Catholic

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A royal row has broken out between Church of England bishops and Prime Minister David Cameron's liberal-minded coalition government over a planned bill to change ancient laws governing the royal line of succession.

The government wants to pass the proposed Succession to the Crown Bill in time for the birth of a baby to Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, this summer.

The new law would ensure that if the first royal baby is a girl, she will become heir to the throne rather than have to yield to a male sibling.

Africa rises, China falls on Christian persecution list

The persecution of Christians "vastly rose" in 2012 as radical Islamists consolidated power in Africa, according to Open Doors, a Christian missionary organization that publishes an annual list of offending nations.

Increasing threats to African Christians can be seen in focused attacks, such as the killings of Christians in Nigerian churches by the radical Muslim group Boko Haram, but also in the greater prevalence of radical Muslims in government, according to the California-based Open Doors.

Nigerian president: Religious leaders can help end nation's crises

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan urged religious leaders to mold the characters of their followers to help stop the current crises facing the country.

He also noted that Christianity and Islam -- the country's two major religions -- did not preach violence, and those who kill should not be considered religious.

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September 12-25, 2014

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