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Cardinal named for Ivory Coast hopes he can advance peace

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Ivory's Coast's new cardinal is confident his nomination will advance peace after a decade of conflict and instability in the French-speaking West African country.

"I ask God to give me the grace of strength, so I can work on the different personal encounters we've already begun and continue them until wounded hearts are finally healed," said Cardinal-designate Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan.

He spoke after Pope Francis announced Sunday that he was among 19 prelates who will be elevated to the College of Cardinals in a consistory at the Vatican Feb. 22.

Bill de Blasio, New York's new 'spiritual but not religious' mayor

From its historic black churches to large Jewish enclaves to landmark Catholic and Protestant churches, New York City is the ultimate religious melting pot. And now, overseeing it all is a new mayor whose only religious identity seems to be "spiritual but not religious."

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office Jan. 1, is now perhaps the nation's most visible "none," an icon of one of the nation's fastest-growing religious groups -- those without any formal religious identification.

Volunteers bring vitality

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What organization in its right mind wouldn't love to add excitement, energy and inspiration to its work and its mission? What would it be like to have people who contribute time, experience, passion and energy to your goals and dreams? Invite some volunteers to join you and they will do all that by bringing ideas, commitment and vitality along with service. That's what volunteers have done for us at National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company.

'Great misunderstanding' seen on church's teachings on end of life

There is "great misunderstanding" among Catholics and others about the church's teachings on whether and when life-sustaining medical treatment can be withdrawn when death is near, according to a leading Catholic bioethicist.

Marie T. Hilliard, director of bioethics and public policy and a staff ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, said the Philadelphia-based center conducts about 2,000 consultations a year with "families in distress" who want to talk with an ethicist "about the church's teaching in light of their (family) situation."

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