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Japanese bishops' committee: Government practicing 'dictatorial domination'

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The Japanese bishops' committee for peace and justice issues has sharply criticized its government's plans to pass new laws to allow the pacifist country's soldiers to fight overseas, saying passage of the measures would amount to "dictatorial domination."

In a letter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the bishops' committee argues that the proposed laws are contrary to Japan's constitution, which renounces war and forbids the country's government from maintaining a military except for purposes of self-defense.

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.

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