Basic principles of human dignity are being violated repeatedly in the Middle East as conflict continues, said members of the Synod of Bishops on the family.
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.
The U.S. Catholic church should not react stridently following the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, Archbishop Blase Cupich said.
The lives of many Ukrainians switched into emergency mode 18 months ago when riot police brutally beat a peaceful gathering of students protesting in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev against the government's refusal to cement closer ties with the European Union.
In those days, the golden-domed Orthodox St. Michael's Monastery became a shelter for students and that gesture of service became prophetic as the Ukrainian churches stood by the people in what became known among Ukrainians as the Revolution of Dignity.
Religious freedom, the conflict in Ukraine and the environment were on the table as Pope Francis met briefly Thursday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Vatican said.
The prime minister's office said their discussions also included reference to the findings, released June 2, of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which detailed the treatment of aboriginal children in residential schools supported by the Canadian government but administered by religious organizations, including the Catholic church.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, in a visit being scrutinized for meaning and significance as Russia continues taking unilateral military action in Ukraine.
The Vatican press office released an unusually lengthy description of the encounter, saying the discussions between the two leaders were “dedicated principally to the conflict in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.”
The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church invited Pope Francis to visit the war-torn nation, saying it would help bring peace.
"It would be a prophetic gesture that would show the power of prayer and Christian solidarity, give us courage and hope and build a better future for everyone," said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kiev-Halych.
"In these circumstances, what is important is listening attentively to the voices that come from your territory, where the people entrusted to your pastoral care live."
Faith and Justice: The Vatican's report on the sisters and its role in repairing relations between the U.S. and Cuba overshadowed a third diplomatic milestone.
As Ukrainians prepared to mark their Aug. 24 Independence Day, Catholic leaders condemned the threat to Ukraine's territorial integrity and prayed for a speedy end to the hostilities.