National Catholic Reporter

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Jerusalem

Patriarch calls lives of Middle East Christians 'bad' and 'less bad'

Christians in the Middle East are facing difficulties ranging from "bad" to "less bad," said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem.

While describing the condition of the Palestinians in the West Bank as "bad," he said their situation is better than the challenges faced by Christians in Syria and Iraq, especially those who have been forced to flee homes in the fact of Islamic State militants.

Twal pushed again for an end to hostilities throughout the Holy Land and the Middle East.

Vatican decision to recognize Palestine upsets Israeli government, Jewish advocacy groups

The Vatican's decision to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state on Wednesday angered Israeli officials.

The move comes four days before the canonization of two Palestinian nuns and solidifies the standing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.

Jesus may have been tried here: Archaeologists uncover Herod's palace

The site where Jesus may have been tried, prior to his crucifixion, is now open to the public for the very first time.

Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the spot is within easy walking distance of the Christian Quarter and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where tradition holds Jesus was buried.

Discovered under an abandoned prison building that is part of the Tower of David Museum grounds, the trial site is one piece of a vast excavation undertaken by archaeologists from 1999 to 2000 but sealed off for the past 14 years largely because of lack of funding.

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.

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