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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.

Northern Irish still at work creating a space for peace

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BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND -- The “Troubles” in Northern Ireland may be over. The memories live on.

The British and Irish flags on Shankill Road and Falls Road are division markers like the painted curbstones that proclaimed the different territories. The flags, increasingly tattered and bedraggled, still flutter from some windows and back fences in proud, if lame, protest.

Daly takes fellow bishops to task

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ANALYSIS

Google “Bloody Sunday 1972” and the Wikipedia entry will show you a camera shot no one who saw it on television that Jan. 30 will ever forget. It was of a Catholic priest in the Bogside area of Derry in Northern Ireland. It shows him crouching down and waving a bloodstained white handkerchief. Behind him come four men carrying a dying man out of the range of British soldiers who that day shot 26 innocent protestors, 14 of whom died.

The priest was Fr. Edward Daly, who later became bishop of Derry from 1974 to 1993. His book A Troubled See: Memoirs of a Derry Bishop has just been published by Four Courts Press.

Egypt's revolution cements new place for women

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By the time we got to downtown Cairo on Nov. 14, Tahrir Square was already an undulating school of people. The crowds swayed back and forth across the roads, stepping over people still wrapped in blankets sleeping on the cement. Like any Fourth of July program in our own parks, a group was banging together the skeleton of a speaker's platform and small groups were already beginning to unwrap the sandwiches they'd brought with them for the day.

Conference looks to future of liberation theology

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MEXICO CITY -- More than 300 theologians and pastoral workers met here last month in anticipation of the anniversaries of two events that have shaped contemporary Latin America: the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 40th anniversary of the publishing of Gustavo Gutiérrez’s book Liberation Theology.

These two events unleashed in Latin America a liberating process on the part of many Catholics at the grass roots as well as among theologians who reaffirmed a Latin American theology based on their own struggling people’s problems, an approach that became known as liberation theology.

Water with Blessings provides clean water in Honduras

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Imagine being a mom and having to choose between purchasing safe drinking water or enough food for your family. If you opt for adequate meals, everyone -- including yourself -- gets sick from intestinal parasites. This is the plight facing thousands of women living in the impoverished Colonia Fuerzas Unidas neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Kenya battles its first war, drought, hunger

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NAIROBI, Kenya -- By now, Americans are inured to seeing war portrayed as televised theater, replete with accompanying cable news theme music, television banners and the like.

Not so for Kenyans, who are experiencing what they call "Kenya's first war" -- the first cross-border military incursion since Kenya's 1963 independence into border areas of Somalia.

The purpose? Rout out al-Shabaab, the radical Islamist group that rules much of Somali territory and is blamed for terrorist strikes within Kenya.

"It's a very unsettled time for us as Kenyans. You don't know who is al-Shabaab," a Kenyan Catholic Relief Services worker told me during a visit to Kenya and Ethiopia to report on the drought and other humanitarian problems affecting both countries. "We've never been to war. It's a very new thing for Kenyans."

While an external war may be something novel, crises within Kenya are hardly unusual -- Kenyans still talk about the lasting effects of a political crisis that erupted in late 2007 and early 2008 and resulted in massive violence throughout the country.

Faith and globalization: the Italian perspective

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Viewpoint

The 21st century is unlikely to see a fundamental conflict of political ideology in the way the 20th century was dominated by it. But it might well see a clash of religious or cultural ideology.

The reason the study and understanding of religion matters today more than ever before is this: The world is undergoing rapid and tumultuous change. Globalization, accelerated by the communications revolution, is driving much of it, breaking down boundaries, altering the composition of whole communities, even countries. The changing circumstances create new overlapping challenges that can only be met effectively together: terrorism, financial crises, climate change, even how we respond to the Arab Spring.

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