Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

RHODES, Greece - Migrants pay thousands of dollars to human traffickers in countries like Turkey and Libya to ferry them to what they hope are the greener pastures of Europe. The growing crises in places like Libya allow traffickers to work almost unobstructed.

JERUSALEM - Israel is downplaying the recent media flurry over reports the Vatican and Palestinian representatives have finalized the text of a formal agreement recognizing freedom of religion in the "State of Palestine" and outlining the rights and obligations of the Catholic Church, its agencies and its personnel in the territory.

BOSTON - Sr. Helen Prejean, the death penalty abolition advocate, told a jury May 11 that convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev expressed remorse for his victims in discussions with her.

MILAN - The Holy See's official pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, the newest edition of the every-five-years world's fair, will be a public space of relaxation and learning.

PARIS - The exodus of Christians from the Middle East — due to wars, conflicts, socio-economic crises and persecution — will weaken moderate Islam "which, thanks to the Islamic-Christian conviviality, is so far the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East," said Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopia's Catholic bishops condemned "in unambiguous terms" the execution of 30 Ethiopian Christian migrants in Libya.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Catholic Church spent a total of $150.7 million on child protection efforts and to address allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors in dioceses and religious orders between July 2013 and June 2014.

BOSTON - The parents of Martin Richard, the youngest victim killed in the Boston Marathon bombings two years ago, are asking that the death penalty be taken "off the table" for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

CHICAGO - Cardinal Francis E. George, the retired archbishop of Chicago who was the first native Chicagoan to head the archdiocese, died April 17 at his residence after nearly 10 years battling cancer. He was 78.

PANAMA CITY - An hourlong meeting April 11 between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro marked the first such personal encounter between the leaders of the two neighbouring countries since 1958.