The heads of Christian churches in the region plan to launch an international awareness campaign following a series of anti-Christian vandalism.
The Vatican issued an urgent appeal for the release of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
The Catholic bishops' conference of Cameroon has demanded the release of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun, a month after they were kidnapped by suspected Nigerian Islamists.
The bishops of Cameroon "strongly condemn these inadmissible attacks from extremist groups on church officials and all acts of violence which pose a threat to the dignity of the human person," the bishops said in a statement Monday signed by the conference president, Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala.
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Malta's bishops were "surprised" but reassured by the findings of the survey of Catholics they conducted for the Synod of Bishops on the family.
Some of South Sudan's considerable challenges and seemingly intractable problems are exemplified in the little hamlet of Gumbo, outside of Juba.
A steady stream of Iraqi refugees, smiling and displaying purple index fingers, emerged from a polling station in the Hashemi Shamali district, where the majority of these urban refugees live in the Jordanian capital.
"Change is badly needed in Iraq. Hopefully the elections will yield a suitable leader. God is gracious," said Um Martin, a Chaldean Catholic woman from the biblical city of Ninevah in northern Iraq.
Eight countries are on the State Department's "Countries of Particular Concern," and a commission recommended eight others be added.
The chairman of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church pledged to be a "critical conscience" in the church in Ireland.