News/International

koreaINCHEON, South Korea - A South Korean chancellor whose diocese was affected by the recent North Korean military provocation criticized the aggression and expressed concern for local residents.

"The relationship between the North and the South worsened under the current South Korean government," Fr. John Kim Yong-hwan, chancellor of Incheon, which covers Yeonpyeong Island, told the Asian church news agency UCA News. "The South Korean government should introduce dialogue and embrace the North."

Cambodian Catholics plan special Mass for victims of bridge stampede

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cambodia stampedePHNOM PENH, Cambodia - The Catholic Church in Cambodia planned a special Mass for victims of a bridge stampede during the Water Festival on Diamond Island in Phnom Penh, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

The chaos Nov. 22 that killed more than 375 people and injured at least 755 was seen as the biggest tragedy for Cambodians since the Pol Pot regime, said Prime Minister Hun Sen. The government announced it will give five million riel ($1,230) to each family of the dead for transporting the bodies. It also scheduled Nov. 25 as a national day of mourning.

In new book, pope addresses sex abuse, condoms, possible resignation

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Light of the worldROME (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's book-length interview is certain to spark global attention, and not only for his comments suggesting that condom use might be acceptable in some circumstances.

In the 219-page book, "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times," the German pontiff spoke candidly on the clerical sex abuse scandal, relations with Islam, papal resignation and the "threatening catastrophe" facing humanity.

Haiti death toll from cholera nears 1,000

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Haiti girls schoolPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  - Cholera in Haiti has killed close to 1,000 people and hospitalized more than 14,000 as parish volunteers and international aid organizations scramble to minimize the impact in Port-au-Prince, where one million people are still living in tents after last January’s devastating earthquake.

As of Nov. 15 the official death toll was 917 and it is not expected to peak for a number of weeks yet.

Symptoms of cholera, a water-borne infectious disease, include diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Untreated, the resulting dehydration is fatal.

U.S. must ensure Iraqi Christians safety

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iraq funeralWASHINGTON - The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the U.S. government to “redouble its efforts to assist Iraqis” in providing safety for its citizens, especially religious minorities.

“To meet its moral obligations to the Iraqi people, it is critically important that the United States take additional steps now to help Iraq protect its citizens, especially Christians and others who are victims of organized attacks,” said Cardinal Francis George in a Nov. 9 letter to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Respect for religion is vital for peace, Pope tells Iranian leader

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VATICAN CITY - Respect for each person's relationship with God is an essential part of building a just social order and real peace, Pope Benedict XVI said in a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  VATICAN CITY - Respect for each person's relationship with God is an essential part of building a just social order and real peace, Pope Benedict XVI said in a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"It is my profound conviction that respect for the transcendent dimension of the human person is an indispensable condition for the construction of a just social order and a stable peace," the Pope wrote to the Iranian leader.

Hygiene kits in high demand as cholera spreads in Haiti

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Haiti girls foodPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - As the official cholera toll reached 724 dead with 10,000 people treated in hospitals for the deadly bacteria as of Nov. 11, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has given Caritas Haiti $123,000 to finance distribution of 3,000 more emergency hygiene kits.

Caritas Haiti had exhausted its emergency stores of 76,000 hygiene kits, including aquatabs to purify water. The new hygiene kits will be distributed in 20 tent-city camps around Port-au-Pince, Haiti’s capital, where parish volunteers in the camps will be trained by medical professionals in cholera prevention.

There are more than one million Haitians still living in tents 10 months after the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed 230,000.

Five UK Anglican bishops to join Catholic Church

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5 BishopsVATICAN CITY - Five Anglican bishops have decided to join the Catholic Church and step down from their current positions with the Church of England, a Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed to reporters a statement issued Nov. 8 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales welcoming the five bishops.

Lombardi said a “constitution” that would govern the entry of former bishops of the Anglican Communion was being studied.

Security levels for Iraqi Christians must be raised

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Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III YounanThe Syrian Catholic Patriarch has criticized the failure of Iraqi security forces to protect Christian churches and beseeched world governments to come to the aid of  the innocent Christians who are being “brutally singled out because of their religion.”

Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan was in Canada when terrorists murdered at least 58 Sunday worshippers Oct. 31 at Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation Church. In an e-mail to Catholic News Service, he criticized the lax security for Christian places of worship and called on “Iraqi parties to overcome their personal and confessional interests and look for the good of the Iraqi people who have elected them.”

Pope pleads for end to savagery in Iraq

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Baghdad coffinsVATICAN CITY - A terrorist attack on a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, Iraq, that left at least 58 dead and 80 wounded was a “savage” act of “absurd violence,” Pope Benedict XVI said.

The Pope urged international and national authorities to work together to end the “heinous episodes of violence that continue to ravage the people of the Middle East.”

Muslim militants, dressed in khaki pants and armed with AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide vests, stormed Our Lady of Salvation Church Oct. 31 while more than 100 faithful were celebrating evening Sunday Mass. The Washington Post reported that Fr. Wassem Sabeeh was among the first people executed. Another priest, Fr. Thaer Abdullah, was also killed.

Pope condemns savage attack on Baghdad cathedral

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Syrian Catholic cathedral in BaghdadVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A deadly militant siege of a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, Iraq, was a "savage" act of "absurd violence," Pope Benedict XVI said.

The pope urged international and national authorities and all people of good will to work together to end the "heinous episodes of violence that continue to ravage the people of the Middle East."

"In a very grave attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Baghdad, dozens of people were killed and injured, among them two priests and a group of faithful gathered for Sunday Mass," the pope said of the Oct. 31 incident.