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Exhibit honors how St. John Paul changed Catholic-Jewish relations

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Helping to inaugurate an exhibit at the Vatican, the chief rabbi of Rome noted just how much "times have changed."

"Seeing in St. Peter's Square the banner announcing the exhibit with an image of a pope -- that's normal -- but a pope shaking hands with a rabbi? That's not normal. It's a sign of how times have changed," Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said.

The banner shows the late St. John Paul II and the late Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff greeting each other in 1986 at Rome's main synagogue. John Paul was the first pope in modern history to enter a synagogue.

Ukrainian bishop warns of mass starvation, flight of millions

A Ukrainian bishop said a Russian-backed separatist rebellion has plunged his country into its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II and warned that "millions of refugees" could soon head for Europe to escape starvation.

"Huge numbers are now caught between hammer and anvil; the separatists aren't looking after them, and the Ukrainian government won't care for them because they haven't declared which side they're on," said Auxiliary Bishop Jan Sobilo of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia.

Kenya Catholic bishops call for polio vaccine boycott

Roman Catholic bishops in Kenya have urged citizens to boycott a mass polio vaccination campaign unless the safety of the vaccine has been confirmed through scientific tests.

The oral vaccination campaign by the World Health Organization and UNICEF is scheduled to begin Aug. 1 in Kenya.

Ahead of the campaign's launch, the bishops questioned the safety of the vaccines, saying the manufacturer failed to provide requested information and the government disregarded the bishops' request for tests.

Pope Francis welcomes election of new Armenian Catholic patriarch

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Pope Francis has welcomed the election of a new patriarch for the Armenian Catholic Church, extending what is known as "ecclesial communion" to Patriarch Gregoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan of Cilicia, who was elected Friday by his fellow Armenian bishops.

The day after the election, the pope wrote to the new patriarch offering his congratulations and praying that God would shower him with an "abundance of divine gifts."

Church leaders want Israel to step up protection of Christian sites

Although Israeli officials have publicly criticized the June arson attack that seriously damaged the Benedictine Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha, anti-Christian violence is not new, said a representative of the religious order.

Benedictine Fr. Nikodemus Schnabel, spokesman for the Benedictine Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, told Catholic News Service that fires and vandalism have plagued other churches and church property for years.

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In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015

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