Dozens of Christian schools in Israel could be shutting their doors this school year, but a Catholic priest is hoping a meeting with government officials can avoid that.
The Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land filed an official complaint to Israeli police against the leader of a radical movement over remarks that encourage church burnings.
Arab Christians are viewing with growing concern and revulsion an uptick in kidnappings of both their clergy and civilians as violence worsens in Syria and Iraq.
In mid-July, another Catholic clergyman went missing in Syria, making him possibly the eighth clerical victim of apparent abduction in the war-ravaged country.
Melkite Fr. Tony Boutros, 50, and his Muslim driver were first reported missing by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Christian leaders again called for help for Assyrian Christians as Islamic State militants stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria.
Syria's northeast Hassakeh province is emerging as the new battlefield in the fight against extremist group. Analysts say Hassakeh province, which extends like a thumb into neighboring Iraq and Turkey, could become the fault line of a new multifront and lengthy war between Islamic State militants and Christians allied with Kurdish fighters.
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.
Humanitarians and the people of the Gaza Strip are apprehensive about whether there will be a renewal of the truce between Israel and the militant Hamas, said a U.S. Catholic aid official.
"There's a lot of hope that the airstrikes and rockets will not start again after Tuesday midnight because of such a traumatic, terrible month," said Matthew McGarry, who directs the Catholic Relief Services' operations in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
After nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant Hamas, the expectation that things will get better has been consistently disappointed.
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.
Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem welcomed the announcement of Pope Francis' May visit to the Holy Land and said he hopes the pilgrimage will be a "cry for peace," particularly for Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians and others beset by conflict.
Pope Francis announced his first trip as pontiff to the Holy Land, May 24-26, during his weekly blessing Sunday in Vatican City. His visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories is planned to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic visit by Pope Paul VI to the Holy Land in 1964.
A priest with strong interfaith ties in the Middle East said the global superpowers must find a political resolution to the Syrian civil war and humanitarian crisis but cautioned any armed intervention would result in longer-term instability.
"What we need is for the Americans to work with the Iranians and the Russians to find a political solution; otherwise, we will have another Iraq or Afghanistan," Fr. Nabil Haddad, director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center, told 12 U.S. Christian writers and bloggers.