National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican City

Stop targeting civilians, archbishops tells Israelis, Gaza fighters

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The Vatican representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council urged the Israeli military and fighters in the Gaza Strip to stop targeting civilian areas.

"As the number of people killed, wounded, uprooted from their homes, continues to increase in the conflict between Israel and some Palestinian groups, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the voice of reason seems submerged by the blast of arms," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said Wednesday during a special session of the council in Geneva.

Bishop Palmer, pope's Pentecostal friend, dies in motorcycle accident

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The Pentecostal bishop who used his iPhone to film a video of Pope Francis addressing other Pentecostals died Sunday after a motorcycle accident.

Bishop Tony Palmer, whom Pope Francis referred to as his friend, was riding the motorcycle when he crashed head-on with a car traveling in the wrong lane, according to Ian Findlay, principal of Embassy Bible College in Bath, England.

Why is Pope Francis spending so much time going after the Mafia?

It began with the death of an innocent 3-year-old boy who burned to death in his grandfather's car in a Mafia ambush in January. Pope Francis was so shaken by the death of Nicola "Coco" Campolongo that he spoke out against the ferocity of the crime and those behind it.

But he didn't stop there. In June, the outspoken pontiff traveled to the southern Italian town where the murder took place and accused Mafia members of pursuing the "adoration of evil." Then he went one step further.

Papal visit to South Korea: Legacy of martyrs, lay leadership lives on

When Pope Francis visits South Korea Aug. 14-18, he will find a Catholic church that exemplifies much of what he hopes for the church around the world, including a highly active laity, extensive efforts to help the needy and strong relations with non-Christian communities. So says a retired American missionary who spent nearly half a century building up Catholicism in the country.

Pope Francis appeals for peace with Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas

As Israel continued its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis urged Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the spiraling conflict.

The pontiff telephoned the two leaders Friday to express "his very serious concerns" only six weeks after both joined him at the Vatican for a historic prayer meeting.

Francis said he was concerned about the "climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering" that was claiming many victims, resulting in "a serious humanitarian emergency," the Vatican said in a statement.

Cease-fire gives Gaza civilians chance to assess damage, seek aid

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Civilians in Gaza used a brief cease-fire to spill onto the streets and replenish scarce supplies, some church representatives said.

The temporary end of hostilities Thursday was to facilitate moving desperately needed aid into the area as well as give those who could leave a chance to escape, said the Vatican's Fides missionary news agency.

Three foreign Sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word were to leave Gaza after Israeli missiles destroyed a home very close to Holy Family Church, the territory's only Catholic parish, the agency said Thursday.

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