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Syria

Terrorism in Middle East has reached 'unimaginable proportions,' pope says

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The Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, are experiencing "terrorism of previously unimaginable proportions" in which the perpetrators seem to have absolutely no regard for the value of human life, Pope Francis said.

"It seems that the awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it seems that the person does not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And all of this, unfortunately, with the indifference of many," he said during a special meeting at the Vatican on the Middle East.

What can the church do for the Middle East?

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Although he failed to receive the Nobel Peace Prize last week, Pope Francis continues his efforts at Middle East peacemaking in what is truly an epochal conflict across the region. In his latest move, the Holy Father has called for a consistory of cardinals and patriarchs for Oct. 20, immediately following the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, to discuss the ongoing conflict with which the future of the region's churches are inevitably intertwined.

Synod sends message, prayers to families suffering because of war

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Gathered with Pope Francis, members of the Synod of Bishops on the family issued a message of solidarity, support and prayers for all families suffering the impact of war and violence, especially in Iraq and Syria.

The members prayed particularly for those who, "because of the Christian faith they profess or because they belong to other ethnic or religious communities, have been forced to abandon everything and flee toward a future that lacks any kind of certainty."

The Vatican published the message Friday, in the middle of the Oct. 5-19 synod.

Franciscan priest among 20 Christians reportedly kidnapped in Syria

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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.

Vatican official says UN framework is best way to fight terrorism

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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."

Syrian refugees' reactions mixed to airstrikes against Islamic State

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Ask Syrian refugees sheltering in neighboring Jordan about the advent of U.S.-led strikes against Islamic State militants in their homeland, and the reactions will be mixed.

Some welcome the surprise military intervention, saying it could lead to ending the nearly 4-year-old war in Syria and diminish the power of Islamic State fighters and other terrorist groups operating in the country.

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October 10-23, 2014

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