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Underground bishop of Shanghai who spent decades in prison dies at 96

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Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang of Shanghai, a prominent leader of China's underground Catholic Community, died after a brief illness Sunday at his home. He was 96.

Fan, like many other Catholic leaders, served in prison after he and other priests were arrested in 1955 during a government crackdown. From 1958 to 1978, Fan was imprisoned in Qinghai province, where his job was to carry corpses in a cemetery, reported the Asian church news portal ucanews.com.

Czech priest, philosopher Tomas Halik wins 2014 Templeton Prize

Tomas Halik, a Roman Catholic priest and philosopher, onetime Czech political activist and an advocate for religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, won the 2014 Templeton Prize on Thursday for religious and spiritual progress.

Halik, 65, a convert to Catholicism whose influences include religious figures such as Mother Teresa and author Graham Greene, has in recent years been increasingly active in building bridges between people of different faiths and between those who claim a religious tradition and those who do not.

Portuguese Cardinal Policarpo, 78, dies while on retreat

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Portuguese Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, the retired archbishop of Lisbon, died Wednesday at the age of 78, apparently of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. He had been on retreat in Fatima when he experienced chest pains and was taken to a hospital in Lisbon, where he died.

He led the church in Portugal from 1998 to 2013, serving as archbishop or, officially, as "patriarch of Lisbon." Made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001, he participated in the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI and in the 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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