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'We cannot put our heads in the sand'

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The following are remarks made by Fr. Charles E. Curran, Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University, at the closing of a July 24-27 gathering of moral theologians in Trent, Italy. (See story.)

This has been an extraordinary meeting of 600 Catholic moral theologians from all over the world that has contributed much to the development of Catholic moral theology. Thanks to the meeting at Padua [Italy] four years ago and this meeting now, the process of dialogue and interchange has been growing.

Lay Africans, nuns feel marginalized

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LUSAKA, Zambia -- Laypeople and women religious across Africa are concerned that they are being marginalized by clergy as they undertake pastoral work, despite a call from last October's Synod of Bishops for Africa to include all people in ministry.

Members of both groups told Catholic News Service their evangelization activities have been underfunded, and some said they have been left out of the synod process since the beginning.

World food aid conference looks at initiatives and trends

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- From Aug. 2-4, people from 17 countries met to discuss the world hunger situation at the annual International Food Aid & Development Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USAID. The 650 conference participants looked at what is being done to address both immediate needs and to support long-term development of sustainable agriculture in afflicted countries.

CRS faces long-term challenges in Haiti

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KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Last month The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that Catholic Relief Services has used only $30.6 million of the $140.8 million it raised after the January earthquake in Haiti.

CRS officials Sean Callahan and Frank Orzechowski told NCR at the International Food Aid Conference that Catholic Relief Services has made strides in meeting the desperate need in Haiti since the quake, feeding some 900,000 people and providing food, water, sanitation, shelter materials, and medical care for hundreds of thousands in Port-au-Prince and beyond.

Churches step up relief work in Pakistan

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BANGALORE, India -- Church charities in Pakistan stepped up their efforts Aug. 12 to distribute vitally needed relief supplies to some of the millions of people affected by the worst flood in the South Asian nation's history.

The response gained momentum as Pope Benedict XVI expressed his condolences in a telegram to Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, head of the Pakistan bishops' conference. "The Holy Father commends the deceased to the Almighty" and "prays for all involved in providing assistance to the victims," the pope said in his message.

Burma: Power, politics and the church in Burma

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Part 3 of 3

BURMA -- As a Catholic boy growing up in 1970s Burma, Thomas saw only two paths in front of him. He was idealistic, loved his country, and hated the ruling junta. He could take up arms alongside ethnic rebels fighting the oppressive military regime that had ravaged his village so many times. Or he could join a Catholic order he saw serving the poor and educating young people.

Burma: A tale of two schools

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Part 2 of 3

Shrouded in darkness save for the light of a solitary candle flickering across his drawn face, Augustine stares thoughtfully at the well-worn chess board between himself and this reporter. The old man’s body is feeble, but his mind -- and his English -- are as sharp as ever. “I’ll tell you, studying English and chess are the best ways for a young man to sharpen his mind,” he declares. Augustine’s grown-up daughter, Elizabeth, rolls her eyes and reminds her loquacious father that it’s getting late. But the teacher is just getting started.

Burma: Light and hope amid brutality

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A reporter for NCR recently went to Burma to look into what many call a troubling relationship among the church’s hierarchy, clergy, ordinary Catholics, and the military dictatorship. Because Burma’s internal spy agencies follow coverage of Burma in the foreign press and harshly punish citizens suspected of talking to reporters, names have been changed and geographical locations, occupations and other identifying details are not used.

Pursuing self-evident Truth

On the 4th of July, America’s birthday, we stood together before an estimated 1000 of our countrymen to celebrate our mutual commitment to the self-evident truth that all men and women are created equal before the law.

Both of us reflected in our remarks how much Malta is known today, and praise God, shall always be known for her kindness. Our nations understand that all people -- of whatever color or ethnicity or belief -- are unique; that each of us hold within our hearts the desire to know, love, and serve others; that each of us try to find our way in this world, and we rely upon God and each other to carry us at times farther than we can go ourselves. This is realized every day in Maltese and American homes alike, where mothers and fathers look upon their children and silently hope that each child will see the meaning of life more clearly and purposefully than they have.

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April 11-24, 2014

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