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Freed Vietnamese Catholic activist: I will continue my fight for democracy, social justice

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A Catholic dissident who recently released from prison said his jail service was sent by providence and he would continue to give his voice to democratic and human rights. 

"I believe my prison service was sent by God because I had opportunities to get acquainted with several people suffering disgrace. God changed me into a new man who dared to defend the truth and those who are trampled on and to oppose prison officers' wrongdoings," Anthony Dau Van Duong said after he was freed Oct. 2. 

Israeli institute gets $2.2 million to help Christians study Jewish thought

A new institute in Jerusalem has been awarded $2.2 million to help Christians and Jews study Jewish texts, launching what's being billed as a new kind of Jewish-Christian cooperation.

The Herzl Institute was awarded what's being called the first multimillion-dollar grant in Jewish theology by the U.S-based Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that has focused much of its giving on science-related projects. The Herzl Institute is a research institute that focuses on the development of Jewish ideas in fields like philosophy and history.

Synod attendee: Divorced and remarried Catholics most frequent topic at debates

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The problem of divorced and remarried people and whether or not they should be allowed to receive Communion tops the list of topics discussed during the first week of the Synod of Bishops on the family, according to German priest who has attended the synod sessions.

"I've been keeping a little private checklist," said Jesuit Fr. Bernd Hagenkord, head of the German section of Vatican Radio. "The topic of the remarried divorcees and whether or not they should be allowed to receive the Eucharist has come up 40 times."

Nobel winner Malala: Kids 'should stand up for their rights'

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Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi won the 95th Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work promoting education rights for children in a year that has been anything but peaceful.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."

Yousafzai, 17 and the youngest-ever Nobel winner, is from Pakistan and Satyarthi, 60, is from India -- facts that bring added significance to the award given the tumultuous history between those two nations.

Ebola outbreak: How you can help

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There have been 8,033 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola and more than 3,879 deaths attributed to the current outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization reports.

The first man to be diagnosed with Ebola in the USA died Wednesday.

Aid workers are providing everything from medical care to protective gear to education as the Ebola virus continues to spread.

How can you help?

Because of Ebola crisis, people 'can't even go to church'

Fr. McDonald Nah is praying that the people of Liberia are just as resilient with the Ebola outbreak as they were following the country's civil war more than a decade ago.

Nah is a priest of the archdiocese of Monrovia, Liberia, who is currently studying Catholic education administration at St. Louis University. The priest, who resides at a downtown parish, St. Nicholas, with another Liberian priest, Fr. Urey Patrick Mark, is expected to return to Liberia next summer after he completes his studies.

Nigerian archbishop opposes gay marriage and criminalization of gays

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The Nigerian bishops oppose gay marriage but do not support the criminalization of homosexuals, said Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama in Rome while attending the Synod of Bishops on the family.

The media misunderstood the position of the Nigerian church, he said. "The Catholic church respects all human beings. And we believe that we are all created in the image and likeness of God," he said. But for cultural and religious reasons, "we Africans believe that marriage is between a man and a woman."

"That does not mean that we hate people of that orientation," he added.

Franciscan priest among 20 Christians reportedly kidnapped in Syria

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A Franciscan priest was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey the night of Oct. 5-6, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

Franciscan Fr. Hanna Jallouf and the others were abducted from Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land confirmed Tuesday.

Philippine cardinal hopes synod debate goes beyond Communion question

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The separation of married couples is a huge issue in the Philippines and other parts of Asia, not because of divorce but because poverty pushes couples to separate in search of jobs abroad, said Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.

While he hopes the pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried couples is debated openly and with good will, he said he also hopes members of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops give appropriate consideration to the impact of poverty and migration on families and to a host of other issues that help or hinder family life.

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April 22-May 5, 2016

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