Government employees will not be able to wear large crosses and crucifixes, Islamic headscarves, Sikh turbans and Jewish yarmulkes under the new law.
The misery experienced by Mariam, her husband, Ephrem, and their three young children is just one example of hundreds of thousands of Christians in the Middle East, displaced by wars in which they are not participating.
The family's place of transition is a single room in a run-down building in Beirut. It is a building full of people like them who have fled the war in Syria, all attempting to eke out an existence.
At the Church of All Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane, the stone that traditionally has represented Jesus' agony was scattered with notes in different languages -- all asking for peace in Syria.
Christian leaders of the Holy Land gathered there Saturday as Christians and Muslims all over the world prayed with Pope Francis for Syria.
In the West Bank and in Turkey, in Canada and the United States people gathered, responding to the papal call for prayer and fasting.
Retired Cardinal Theodore McCarrick told a conference on peace in the Holy Land that the key to resolving the Syrian conflict is "patient diplomacy."
A bishop from eastern Congo said people in the area continue to suffer from an ongoing government-rebel conflict, and he hoped pressure from the international community would help relieve the situation.
Bishop Willy Ngumbi Ngengele of Kindu, Congo, told Catholic News Service in Nairobi that people in and around North Kivu and Goma were the worst hit.
"People there suffer from lack of food, shelter and clothes." he said. He said the church's aid agency, Caritas Internationalis, was helping victims, "and we thank God for this."
Guatemalan Bishop Álvaro Ramazzini Imeri is without ceremony or pretense, and he is deeply engaged in issues facing the people of the Western Highlands.
Amid increasing calls for legalization of abortion in Africa, botched cases among young women are on the rise, according to recent reports.
Governments are responding by distributing contraceptives, but the Roman Catholic church, some Muslim groups and anti-abortion groups are waging their own campaigns against contraception, warning it will further escalate the problem.
The Mexican bishops' ministry for people on the move called for prayer, reflection and action after a train carrying northbound Central Americans derailed in southern Mexico, killing 11 migrants.
"Let us act so that this situation may be resolved; that people have the right to free transit; sufficient security to reach their destination; (and) ... in their own nation, possibilities for development, security and peace," said the statement, signed by Bishop Guillermo Ortiz Mondragon of Cuautitlan, director of the ministry.
The Dominican Republic's top prosecutor said Wednesday he plans to investigate claims of sexual abuse allegedly committed by the apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic.
Letter: Fr. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann critiques U.S. foreign policy and how it affects the image of the United States around the world.