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Jerusalem

Holy Land bishops criticize 'collective punishment' of Palestinians

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Catholic leaders in the Holy Land called for an end to the cycle of violence and criticized Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and its collective punishment of Palestinians.

"Using the death of the three Israelis to exact collective punishment on the Palestinian people as a whole and on its legitimate desire to be free is a tragic exploitation of tragedy and promotes more violence and hatred," said a statement Tuesday from the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land.

Catholic convent, Maronite village latest targets of vandals in Israel

A Catholic convent near Jerusalem and a largely Maronite village in Galilee were damaged in recent weeks as a two-year wave of vandalism directed at Christians and Muslims in Israel and the West Bank continued.

In late March, anti-Christian and anti-American graffiti was scrawled on the walls of the Deir Rafat convent, also known as Our Lady Queen of Palestine. The tires of cars at the monastery also were slashed.

Jerusalem patriarch says pope's May trip to focus on Christian unity

When Pope Francis visits the Holy Land in May, he will follow the pattern he set last year in Brazil by meeting with the leaders of the three nations he will visit as well as with the less fortunate.

But the trip also will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, and it is for that reason the theme of the trip is: "So that they may be one."

Pope accepts resignation of Israeli Melkite archbishop

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa.

Canon 210 of the Eastern Code of Canon Law allows for resignation for health reasons or at the age of 75. Chacour is 74.

Last October, the well-known archbishop was called in for questioning for suspected sexual harassment of a woman who works in the community; the allegations concerned an incident that allegedly took place five years ago. Following several hours of questioning, the archbishop was released on bail under restricting conditions.

Bishops visiting Holy Land call for help for 'shocking scandal' in Gaza

Bishops from North America, Europe and Africa called on international leaders to act immediately so people living in the Gaza Strip can have access to basic necessities.

"Gaza is a man-made disaster, a shocking scandal, an injustice that cries out to the human community for a resolution. We call upon political leaders to improve the humanitarian situation of the people in Gaza, assuring access to the basic necessities for a dignified human life, the possibilities for economic development and freedom of movement," they said in their statement Thursday.

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July 18-31, 2014

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