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

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SEOUL, South Korea - Speaking at the execution site of anonymous Korean martyrs, Pope Francis told Catholic bishops and young laypeople from across Asia to evangelize their continent through dialogue and openness, even with others suspicious or intolerant of the church. But he also urged them to challenge aspects of their cultures incompatible with Christian values.

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Updated 07/22/14

VATICAN CITY - As the last Iraqi Christians in Mosul fled the city, Pope Francis urgently called for prayers, dialogue and peace.

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The American nuns who were publicly scolded by the Vatican’s top doctrinal official for disobedience and promoting unorthodox beliefs have rejected the criticisms, and say their “attempts to clarify misperceptions have led to deeper misunderstandings” between Rome and the organization representing most of the 50,000 sisters in the U.S.

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LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) -- A Nigerian archbishop joined others in his country in questioning the wisdom of a plan that the Nigerian government dialogue with the Boko Haram Islamic sect, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in the past several years.

Critics, including Archbishop Felix Job of Ibadan, urged Nigerian authorities to be cautious of negotiating with an extremist "faceless group" that had been involved in maiming and killing of innocent Nigerians.

Archbishop Job also criticized a Boko Haram suggestion that among its delegates to the negotiations in Saudi Arabia would be former Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the country's military ruler from 1983 to 1985 and a presidential candidate in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Archbishop Job told Catholic News Service by telephone: "Is it not funny that the Boko Haram group, a faceless group, has a spokesman" and is seeking "dialogue with the Nigerian government as a means of resolving the insecurity?"

"Nigerians have not been told who are the sponsors of the faceless sectarian group that had been maiming and killing innocent Nigerians over time," he said. He said he wondered if the general's nomination might be "translated into meaning that he is indirectly one of the financiers of the sect."

Bishop M. John Goltok of Bauchi wondered why Saudi Arabia was chosen as the venue for the dialogue.

"There are a lot of complications involved in the issue,'' he said.

Among Boko Haram's targets have been Christian churches. One of the most recent attacks occurred Oct. 28 in the city of Kaduna, when a car bomb slammed into St. Rita's Catholic Church, killing at least eight people and injuring 135 -- many of them children.

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