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Canada to appeal court ruling on euthanasia, assisted suicide

OTTAWA, Ontario -- The federal government has announced it will appeal the June 15 British Columbia Supreme Court decision that struck down Canada's laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

"After careful consideration of the legal merits," the government of Canada will appeal the so-called Carter decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeal and seek "a stay of all aspects of the lower-court decision," said Justice Minister and Attorney General Rob Nicholson on July 13.

"The government is of the view that the Criminal Code provisions that prohibit medical professionals, or anyone else, from counseling or providing assistance in a suicide are constitutionally valid," said Nicholson. "The government also objects to the lower court's decision to grant a 'constitutional exemption' resembling a regulatory framework for assisted suicide."

Gates foundation one of many to pledge money to expand contraception access

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Melinda Gates has pledged $560 million as part of a campaign to expand access to contraception for women in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The funding commitment was unveiled Wednesday at the London Summit on Family Planning alongside other pledges that total $4.6 billion from the British government and leaders from African nations, which are wrestling with the health and social problems brought on, they say, by high rates of unplanned pregnancy.

Pastoral care, solidarity with Guatemalans mark Maryknollers' ministry

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MARYKNOLL, N.Y. -- To the more traditional elements of their job description, two Maryknoll missioners in Guatemala have added the responsibility of being a presence in the face of injustice and inhumanity.

Fr. William F. Mullan and Br. Martin J. Shea said their combined 110 years of service to Maryknoll, most of it in Guatemala, included evangelization and pastoral care of the local church, as well as temporal and emotional support for people displaced by that country's civil war.

Illicitly ordained Chinese bishop incurs automatic excommunication

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VATICAN CITY -- Chinese Fr. Joseph Yue Fusheng has been automatically excommunicated for allowing himself to be illicitly ordained a bishop despite repeated warnings from the Vatican.

"The Holy See does not recognize him as bishop of the apostolic administration of Harbin, and he lacks the authority to govern the priests and the Catholic community in the province of Heilongjiang," the Vatican said in a written statement Tuesday.

Congress pushes for war with Iran

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Viewpoint

In electing Barack Obama in 2008, the American people brought into the White House an outspoken opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq who not only withdrew combat forces from that country but promised to “change the mindset” -- the idea that the United States could unilaterally make war against oil-rich Middle Eastern countries -- that made the Iraq War possible.

In response, however, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been working to force this moderate president into going to war against Iran. And they have a lot of support.

Last December, in a 410-11 vote, the House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 1905) that would put into law a restriction whereby “No person employed with the U. S. government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person ... serving as a representative of the government of Iran.”

Never in the history of this country has Congress ever restricted the right of the White House or State Department to meet with representatives of a foreign state, even in wartime.

New particle may unlock new discoveries, says Vatican astronomer

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VATICAN CITY -- The discovery of a new subatomic particle -- the so-called Higgs boson -- may help scientists discover how the hidden structure of all matter in the universe works, a Vatican astronomer said.

"It indicates that reality is deeper and more rich and strange than our everyday life," U.S. Jesuit Br. Guy Consolmagno told Catholic News Service.

Troubled Irish church hosts congress

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Dublin saw thousands of pilgrims from all over the world at this year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress, a gathering to celebrate the Eucharist. The Congress opened June 10 against a backdrop of anger over the clerical abuse scandals in Ireland as well as declining Mass attendance and a more aggressively secular culture, but with congress participants hopeful that the future will be brighter.

An estimated 25,000 pilgrims participated each day, according to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 website.

Deacons, nuns, laity and even athlete-priests to be Olympic chaplains

MANCHESTER, England -- Some people are simply gifted at sport; they excel at any challenge involving a ball, a stick or a physical contest nearly as soon as they turn their hands to it.

One such person is Fr. Geoff Hilton, a priest from Salford Diocese in the north of England, who will be serving as a chaplain to athletes competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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