Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will welcome Pope Francis to the White House Sept. 23.

VATICAN CITY - The head of the Melkite Catholic Church rejected outright all calls for an international military intervention in Syria and urged Pope Francis and all Christian churches to "promote a concrete and realistic road map" to peace in the beleaguered nation.

WASHINGTON - In 1964, when Jean Vanier quietly began what would become an international network, he had "no idea that this would be a revolutionary reality ... that it would grow," he remarked joyfully.

VATICAN CITY - Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have fled persecution in their homelands and the Palestinian Christians struggling to survive in the land of Jesus deserve the prayers and material support of Catholics around the globe, a Vatican official said.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Knights of Columbus is providing $400,000 to relief programs sponsored by the Catholic Church in Ukraine.

GENEVA - No one is exempt from either the impacts of climate change or the moral responsibility to act to address this global concern, a Vatican official told members of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

BANGUI, Central African Republic - An archbishop in Central African Republic compared citizens of his country to the people of Israel wandering in the desert and urged them to use the Pope's planned autumn visit to escape from their "prolonged crisis."

DOHUK, Iraq - Dozens of Assyrian Christians were abducted by Islamic State forces during a new offensive against a string of villages in northeastern Syria, aid and civil rights organizations reported.

NEW DELHI - A Jesuit priest kidnapped in Afghanistan and held for eight months told reporters "God has saved me," but he said he did not want to discuss details of his captivity.

ALBANY, N.Y. - As New York lawmakers began to consider a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide, the New York State Catholic Conference launched a new website "to offer Catholics moral clarity and guidance on the church's teachings regarding end-of-life decision-making."