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Franciscan priest among 20 Christians reportedly kidnapped in Syria


A Franciscan priest was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey the night of Oct. 5-6, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

Franciscan Fr. Hanna Jallouf and the others were abducted from Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land confirmed Tuesday.

Philippine cardinal hopes synod debate goes beyond Communion question


The separation of married couples is a huge issue in the Philippines and other parts of Asia, not because of divorce but because poverty pushes couples to separate in search of jobs abroad, said Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.

While he hopes the pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried couples is debated openly and with good will, he said he also hopes members of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops give appropriate consideration to the impact of poverty and migration on families and to a host of other issues that help or hinder family life.

In Africa, church leaders responding to climate change locally and globally

As climate change devastates communities in Kenya, church leaders are helping to address the crisis locally while also calling on industrialized nations to own up to their responsibilities for spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

"I think [industrialized nations] are responsible for most of the emissions," said Peter Solomon Gichira, the climate change program officer at the All Africa Conference of Churches. "They have responsibility to support climate change adaptation and mitigation as a moral obligation."

Vatican summit says extremists must be stopped with sanctioned force


Extremist groups in the Middle East, including the Islamic State, must be stopped with sanctioned military force and through dialogue, a Vatican statement said.

"One cannot be silent, nor [can] the international community remain inactive, in the face of the massacre of persons," said the statement issued Saturday at the end of a three-day Vatican summit on the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

"The participants at the meeting reaffirmed that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor, always in accordance with international law," it said.

CNEWA disburses $1.8 million to 24,000 families in the Middle East


The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a papal agency based in New York City, issued an update Tuesday in the form of a press release on its work to aid families in need in the Middle East.

According to the CNEWA press release:

Since May 2012, CNEWA has disbursed U.S. $1,799,767 for more than 24,069 needy displaced Syrian families and 24,234 children; the Christians of different denominations make up more than 80 percent of aid recipients.

Vatican official says UN framework is best way to fight terrorism


The United Nations' framework provides the "only viable way" of dealing with the global nature of modern terrorism "which knows no borders," the Vatican's secretary of state told the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.

"This reality requires a renewed United Nations that undertakes to foster and preserve peace," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, emphasizing that recent terrorist activity is "criminal behavior that is not envisaged by the juridical configuration of the United Nations charter."

Vatican, Vietnam hope to foster closer relations


The Vatican aims to restore diplomatic ties with the Vietnam government, which in return pledged to support local Catholics' involvement in the country's social and charitable activities after the two sides' latest talk.

The Vatican delegation, led by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Vatican's Under-Secretary for Relations with States, worked with the Vietnamese delegation, led by Bui Thanh Son, deputy minister for foreign affairs, Sept. 10-11 in Hanoi.

Religious leaders try to cope with Islamic State attacks

Religious leaders agree the Islamic State must be stopped. Their struggle is how best to do it.

"As mainstream religious leaders of different faiths get together, it strengthens the voice of moderation," said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim advocacy group.

A group of mainstream Muslim scholars sought to strip the Iraqi and Syrian militants of any legitimacy under the cover of Islam in an open letter in Arabic issued Wednesday.​​

Pope's Mideast ambassadors to summit at Vatican


The Vatican's seven ambassadors throughout the Middle East will hold a summit at the Vatican this week that will be addressed by the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Pope Francis.

Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi announced the convening of the Vatican officials, formally known as apostolic nuncios, in a short press briefing Tuesday.

While neither Lombardi nor a statement issued by the Vatican gives firm reasoning for the summit, it comes as focus around the world is centered on efforts to combat the Islamic State militant group.


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September 25-October 8, 2015


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