National Catholic Reporter

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Pietro Parolin

Terrorism in Middle East has reached 'unimaginable proportions,' pope says

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The Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, are experiencing "terrorism of previously unimaginable proportions" in which the perpetrators seem to have absolutely no regard for the value of human life, Pope Francis said.

"It seems that the awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it seems that the person does not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And all of this, unfortunately, with the indifference of many," he said during a special meeting at the Vatican on the Middle East.

What can the church do for the Middle East?

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Although he failed to receive the Nobel Peace Prize last week, Pope Francis continues his efforts at Middle East peacemaking in what is truly an epochal conflict across the region. In his latest move, the Holy Father has called for a consistory of cardinals and patriarchs for Oct. 20, immediately following the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, to discuss the ongoing conflict with which the future of the region's churches are inevitably intertwined.

Vatican summit says extremists must be stopped with sanctioned force

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Extremist groups in the Middle East, including the Islamic State, must be stopped with sanctioned military force and through dialogue, a Vatican statement said.

"One cannot be silent, nor [can] the international community remain inactive, in the face of the massacre of persons," said the statement issued Saturday at the end of a three-day Vatican summit on the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

"The participants at the meeting reaffirmed that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor, always in accordance with international law," it said.

Vatican official says UN framework is best way to fight terrorism

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The United Nations' framework provides the "only viable way" of dealing with the global nature of modern terrorism "which knows no borders," the Vatican's secretary of state told the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.

"This reality requires a renewed United Nations that undertakes to foster and preserve peace," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, emphasizing that recent terrorist activity is "criminal behavior that is not envisaged by the juridical configuration of the United Nations charter."

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