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."

Pope's Mideast ambassadors to summit at Vatican

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The Vatican's seven ambassadors throughout the Middle East will hold a summit at the Vatican this week that will be addressed by the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Pope Francis.

Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi announced the convening of the Vatican officials, formally known as apostolic nuncios, in a short press briefing Tuesday.

While neither Lombardi nor a statement issued by the Vatican gives firm reasoning for the summit, it comes as focus around the world is centered on efforts to combat the Islamic State militant group.

Vatican official calls for shared responsibility in protecting planet

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A sense of "shared responsibility to protect our planet and the human family" must influence how nations react to the reality of climate change, the Vatican's secretary of state told the United Nations Tuesday.

In a statement during the U.N. Climate Summit, Cardinal Pietro Parolin observed that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal. It is a very serious problem which ... has grave consequences for the most vulnerable sectors of society and, clearly, for future generations."

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