National Catholic Reporter

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Peace & Justice

Appeal for help in stemming East African famine

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BALTIMORE -- The ongoing drought and famine afflicting Somalia and other East African nations is "a humanitarian crisis that cries out for help to Christians throughout the world," said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services in a joint statement.

"CRS can use all the help we can offer in this current tragic situation," wrote Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, USCCB president, and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., CRS board chairman. "Through CRS our generosity could literally feed thousands and provide them clean water, shelter and other life-saving goods."

Ex-soldiers indicted for deaths of Jesuits surrender

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SAN SALVADOR (CNS) -- Nine former soldiers in El Salvador's army have surrendered to authorities, three months after their indictment in Spain for the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter during the country's 12-year civil war.

The ex-military members turned themselves in at a military base Aug. 8 and were transported to a Salvadoran court, the government said.

They were among 20 former soldiers indicted by a Spanish court for their role in the deaths on the campus of the University of Central America in the Salvadoran capital, where the priests taught and lived.

Five of the priests were Spanish. Spain's courts have used the principle of international jurisdiction to prosecute the killings.

Nearing Hiroshima Day, Japanese bishop calls for discernment on nuclear energy

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HIROSHIMA -- Ten of Japan’s sixteen bishops are to arrive here tomorrow. It is not to be a synod. They are gathering Aug. 6 to commemorate humanity’s first use of an atomic bomb in an act of war.

An annual pilgrimage, the bishops will join thousands of others in marking the 66th year since the blast’s utter devastation -- and the first since the March meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

For Bishop Paul Otsuka of the Kyoto diocese that occasion is something for careful consideration.

Speaking in a letter on behalf of his diocese to the entire Japanese church, Otsuka wrote this month that Japan, “which is the only country in the world to have been attacked with atomic weapons,” now “stands in danger of becoming a country fundamentally damaged because of atomic energy generation.”

That possibility, Otsuka wrote, should cause Japan to use the occasion to “discern whether atomic energy, which threatens mankind and the environment, comes within the acceptable limits of our legitimate use of science and technology.”

Faith leaders fight budget cuts

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WASHINGTON -- As U.S. lawmakers continued to wrangle over a decision on the nation's debt ceiling and proposed budget cuts, representatives of faith groups held a protest on Capitol Hill and Catholic leaders urged lawmakers to remember the nation's poor and vulnerable people.

During the protest, about a dozen people prayed publicly to ask the Obama administration and Congress "not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor," according to a statement from the coalition that planned the action.

Respecting, protecting differences of conscience strengthens health care

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Commentary

In the spring of 2009, President Obama nominated Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Some conservative Catholics objected to the nomination because of Sebelius’ pro-choice stance on abortion, but many of us defended her, noting Sebelius’ successful tenure as governor of Kansas, and arguing that her position on abortion, whether we agreed with it or not, did not disqualify her from public office.

Catholic clergy demonstrate for dalit rights in India

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NEW DELHI -- A rally by Christians and Muslims demanding equal rights for their dalit members blocked traffic in the main streets of the capital for several hours July 28.

More than 10,000 people, including a Catholic cardinal, bishops, priests and religious women from across India braved intense heat to march more than three miles from a park to the Indian parliament.

Vatican and biopharma company collaborate

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Mission Management

The political and moral battle lines around embryonic stem cell research are well-defined. However, scientific research into the medical uses of adult stem cells has taken an interesting step this past year. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture has implemented a joint initiative agreement with a U.S. publicly-traded, for-profit company, NeoStem Inc., an international biopharmaceutical company.

The joint initiative will be implemented through each organization’s charitable arm: NeoStem’s Stem for Life Foundation, and STOQ International (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest), which is a new partnership between the Pontifical Council for Culture, the six pontifical universities and the University of Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values in Indiana.

Twenty nuclear weapons activists found guilty

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Twenty peace activists opposing the country’s first new nuclear weapons facility in 33 years were found guilty of trespass yesterday for a May action which saw 53 arrested for a nonviolent action here.

But the convictions, handed down by Municipal Judge Elena Franco, were just part of a two-hour court drama that saw activists place their action in the context of the continued funding of U.S. nuclear weapons and a recent statement by a key Vatican diplomat questioning nuclear deterrence.

Catholic university waives SAT test for urban students

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Oakland, Calif. -- When high school freshmen in Oakland and neighboring urban communities begin classes in September, they can do so with a guarantee of admission to Holy Names University here if they complete high school with at least a 2.7 grade-point average and pass a prescribed list of courses.

They will not have to take the ACT or SAT tests and they will be automatically granted a minimum scholarship of $9,000.

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July 18-31, 2014

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