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New archbishop installed in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines -- The crowded Manila cathedral erupted in applause and the choir sang "Alleluia" after the priest read the letter from the Holy See appointing Archbishop Luis Tagle the next head of the Archdiocese of Manila.

"By the leadership of your example, may the faithful entrusted to your care heed their superiors and, above all, pursue holiness of life to which we are called," read Father Rufino Sescon Jr. of the archdiocesan liturgical office. "This is the will of God: your sanctification."

Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, retired archbishop of Manila, handed over the seat of the archdiocese to Archbishop Tagle.

"The bishops, the clergy, the religious and the laity of the metropolitan Archdiocese of Manila now welcome your 32nd shepherd," Cardinal Rosales proclaimed to the overflowing crowd of around 2,000, including the U.S. and Swiss ambassadors to the Philippines and bishops from at least five Asian countries.

A long line of clergy, religious and laypeople snaked its way to the altar to pay homage to Archbishop Tagle. The laity included members of the marginalized segment of the population, for which the archbishop is a major advocate.

Nobel Prize has a gender imbalance

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Commentary

Anyone lucky enough to be teaching peace studies courses soon notices that more females are in the classes than males. Many, many more. Noticeable also is that women tend to write more passionate papers, ask more cogent questions and know how to keep class discussions lively. Puzzled by all this, I explained it away by theorizing that it must be genetic: Women have a peace gene floating around inside them.

A while back, I offered this theory to my students at Georgetown Law. Leaving class, a female student approached. As I remember it, she said: “Professor, let me explain what’s going on because it’s clear you’ll never get it on your own. More women than men are in these courses because more women than men are victims of violence, and victims always want solutions quicker.”

I was reminded of this when the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize went to three women: Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The awards were given out Saturday in Oslo, Norway.

Belarus urged to end capital punishment

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MINSK, Belarus -- Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk urged his country to abolish capital punishment, after two 25-year-olds were sentenced to death for killing 15 people in a Metro bomb attack.

"No terrorist act can be justified, and the perpetrators should receive just punishment," Archbishop Kondrusiewicz told the Belarussian church's online news agency, Catholic.By. "But the church calls for bloodless methods for restraining and punishing offenders, best suited to the common good and human dignity. Given the opportunities available to the state for preventing serious crimes, cases where the death penalty is absolutely necessary are very rare, even nonexistent."

"I appeal to President Alexander Lukashenko and the parliament to impose a moratorium on the death penalty, then abolish it completely, replacing it with life imprisonment and pardoning those sentenced to capital punishment," he said.

On Nov. 30, the Supreme Court sentenced Vladislav Kovalyov and Dmitry Konovalov for their roles in the April 11 explosion, which blasted ball bearings and nails into afternoon commuters in Minsk's Kastrychnitskaya underground station.

Ireland abuse audit: Recent improvements after years of neglect

DUBLIN, IRELAND -- Audits of six Irish Catholic dioceses reveal “a marked improvement” in how the church is handling clerical abuse allegations.

However, the reviews, carried out by the independent National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church and released Nov. 30, also show that, in the past, too much emphasis was put on the rights of accused priests and protecting the reputation of the church. Each review found evidence that insufficient attention was paid to the suffering of victims and the long-term consequences of abuse.

Arab revolutions and the power of nonviolent action

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VIEWPOINT

While sitting in a Cairo café just a couple blocks from Tahrir Square recently, I couldn’t help but notice the television in the corner broadcasting the evening news. Traditionally, TV news in Egypt and other Arab countries has consisted of the president (or king) giving a speech, greeting a foreign visitor, visiting a factory, or engaging in some other official function. This evening, however, the news was about a labor strike in Alexandria, relatives of those killed during the February revolution protesting outside the Interior Ministry, and ongoing developments in the pro-democracy struggles in Yemen and Syria.

Nothing could better illustrate the profound change in the Arab world over the past year: It is no longer simply the leaders who were the newsmakers. It is Arab peoples themselves.

Vatican renews call for greater access to AIDS treatment

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VATICAN CITY -- The deaths each year of more than a million people from AIDS, the suffering of their families and the new infections of hundreds of thousands of infants are unacceptable when the medicines needed to prevent them exist, a Vatican official said.

Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, said World AIDS Day must be a time "to promote universal access to therapies for those who are infected, the prevention of transmission from mother to child, and education" in responsible sexuality.

In a statement Dec. 1, he said that despite the development of antiretroviral drugs 20 years ago, an estimated 1.8 million people still die of AIDS each year.

"These are people who could lead normal lives if they only had access to suitable pharmacological therapies," he said.

The deaths "are no longer justifiable," the archbishop said, nor is the pain experienced by their families and fact that hundreds of thousands of children are orphaned each year.

Chinese priest ordained coadjutor with approval of Vatican, government

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YIBIN, China -- With police officers and dogs monitoring the crowd at St. Mary's Church, Fr. Peter Luo Xuegang was ordained coadjutor bishop of Yibin Diocese in southwestern China's Sichuan province.

No phones, cameras or liquids were allowed in the venue, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News. Participants had to arrive three hours before the ordination began to go through security.

Luo had the approval of the Holy See, but an excommunicated bishop attended his ordination, despite a Vatican spokesman conveying the wish that "no illegitimate bishop will participate."

In recent years, many ordinations have followed the pattern of bishop candidates being elected by diocesan representatives, then being approved separately by the government-approved Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China and the Holy See.

Luo, 47, is the third bishop ordained with both papal approval and government recognition this year.

Bishop John Chen Shizhong of Yibin, 95, presided over the Nov. 30 ceremony, attended by 61 priests, 35 nuns, 800 faithful, government officials and representatives of other religions.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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