SAN DIEGO – Catholic leaders of the Middle East cautioned that the very existence of Christians in the region is threatened, but their faithful continue “to bear witness to the Lord Jesus amid a turbulent world interrupted by mighty waves.”

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VATICAN – Pope Francis will visit the United Arab Emirates next year, becoming the first Pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula, the Vatican announced.
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LONDON – The heir to the British throne spoke of how he was deeply moved by the testimony of an Iraqi sister who fled Islamic State militants but has returned to the Ninevah Plain to help re-establish the Christian presence.
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VATICAN – Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas renewed their commitment to peace in the Holy Land and a two-state solution to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the Vatican said.
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VATICAN – Leading thousands of pilgrims in prayer, Pope Francis lit a candle in remembrance of the people of Syria, especially innocent children tormented by the country's eight-year conflict.
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At Bethlehem University education is not about personal fulfillment. It’s the only way to transform a society that has been locked in conflict with Israel for 70 years, where unemployment runs at nearly one-third of the working age population (32.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, according to the World Bank) and a quarter of the population lives on less than $5.50 per day.

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LONDON – The threat to religious freedom from Muslim fundamentalists is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon following the military defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said a new report.
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Leading by example is rarely easy but neither is it a grim, joyless task — at least not for Canada’s Chaldean Bishop Bawai Soro. 

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BEIRUT – Lebanon's Catholic religious leaders appealed to the international community to stop the wars in the Middle East and to bring about a comprehensive and just peace.
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VATICAN – Appealing to the international community to help bring peace to Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis and Catholicos Gewargis III, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, also paid homage to the lands' persecuted Christians, who demonstrate that faith in Christ is a bond that is stronger than any denominational difference.
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My plan had been to write this week on the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul’s encyclical The Splendour of Truth, the sainted pope’s most controversial document. However, as often happens, events intervened and I put off writing that reflection. Maybe next time.

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JERUSALEM – The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said Catholic aid workers in the region.
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DAHUK, Iraq – The Chaldean Catholic Church concluded a weeklong synod in Baghdad offering thanks to God for the return of numerous displaced Christians to their hometowns in the Ninevah Plain and for pastoral achievements in their dioceses.
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BALTIMORE – In an opening address Aug. 7 at the 136th annual Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention, the organizations' CEO, Carl Anderson, spoke of the charitable works of the Knights, their ongoing pro-life commitment and pledge to support persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria.
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BEIRUT – Amid the destruction in war-torn Syria, a community of Discalced Carmelites in Aleppo perseveres in its mission of continuous prayer and help to families in need.
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