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SA Catholic editor to join ABC on-air team: Matt Abraham, Editor of Southern Cross Newspaper in the Adelaide Archdiocese disclosed in his email bulletin yesterday morning that "it is true that I am moving to ABC radio 891 to co-present the morning program with David Bevan come mid-February. It was an interesting conversation informing station manager Gail Bartel I couldn't start until I'd seen St Therese's relics safely off. Haven't had that conversation before.

And I'll have a secret ratings weapon - Archbishop Wilson is going to pray for me. There is however no truth to the rumour that the on-hold music on the church office's phone system will be changed from Gregorian chants to 891.

Appeal made for religious liberty in Vietnam John Paul II appealed for religious liberty for Catholics in Vietnam, when he met today with the bishops of that Communist country. The Pope explained that "to achieve a healthy collaboration" with the state "the Church expects total respect of its independence and autonomy from the political community." Zenit

Italian missionary kidnapped in Philippines is alive The kidnappers of Italian missionary, Giuseppe Pierantoni, told a Philippine newspaper that their priest-hostage is alive. The kidnappers have demanded the priest's savings account in exchange for his freedom, a member of the kidnap-for-ransom Pentagon gang told The Manila Times. The Italian priest was kidnapped on Oct 17 by six heavily armed men in Dimataling, in Zamboanga del Sur. Zenit

Disgraced ex-priest ordered to undergo psychiatric tests before sentencing: Disgraced ex-priest, John Geoghan, was ordered on Wednesday to undergo 30 days of psychiatric evaluation before his sentencing. Superior Court Judge Sandra Hamlin said the evaluation would serve "as an aid in sentencing." It was not requested by attorneys. John J. Geoghan, who was defrocked in 1998, was convicted last week of inappropriately touching the boy in a swimming pool in 1991. His sentencing was tentatively scheduled for February 21 but that could change because of Geoghan's pending trial on sexual abuse charges in another case. The second of his three criminal trials is scheduled to begin February 20. CNN

Religious leaders call for Mugabe's resignation: Religious leaders in southern Africa have called on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to resign, saying his departure would be a positive move for the impoverished continent. In a joint statement, the Methodist Church in Southern Africa, the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa and the Botswana Christian Council said Mr Mugabe should relinquish power after almost 22 years in office.