GENEVA - The Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva called on the international community to assist Nigeria and neighbouring countries to rid the region of Boko Haram insurgency.

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LAGOS, Nigeria - A delegation representing Catholic organizations in Nigeria offered words of comfort and pledged help for Nigerian refugees who fled to neighbouring Cameroon because of a violent insurgency.

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VATICAN CITY - Without family, a legal identity and adequate education, children uprooted by the ongoing violence in Syria and the Middle East "are at risk of becoming a lost generation," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva.

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VATICAN CITY - As the people of Nigeria prepared for general elections, Pope Francis wrote to the nations' bishops urging efforts to build up a "culture of encounter" that would create a united front against Boko Haram terrorists and ethnic tensions.

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BEIRUT - Maronite Catholic bishops urged Arab and Muslim countries to combat terrorism in order to preserve the Christian presence in the Middle East.

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As I wrote last week from Jerusalem, just months after the massacre at a synagogue in Har Nof, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood, I felt a duty to make a visit, to pray for the dead and to offer, in a small way, solidarity with those who suffered the desecration of their house of worship.

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NEW YORK - Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said Islamic State militants terrorizing the Middle East are a distortion of “genuine” Islam much as the Irish Republican Army was a “perversion” of Catholicism.

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LAGOS, Nigeria - Nigeria's bishops criticized Boko Haram insurgents' use of children to commit crimes such as suicide bombings.

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JERUSALEM - Where is it safe for Jews to live?

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Anti-terror legislation currently before Parliament needs thorough debate and close scrutiny to ensure civil liberties, including religious freedom, are fully protected, said the president of the Catholic Civil Rights League.

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MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - The Coptic Christians of Toronto and their friends gathered in Mississauga Feb. 22 to answer the murder of 21 Egyptian Copts by Islamic State allies in Libya. They answered the Feb. 15 beheadings with Bible readings, prayers, songs, hope and forgiveness.

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ROME - The Italian government is on high alert after threats from the Islamic State called Italy “the nation signed with the blood of the cross.”

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith.

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CAIRO - The gruesome video released by militants from the Islamic State showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya has focused the world’s attention on the plight of Christians there and the government’s ability to respond.

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AMMAN, Jordan - As Jordan steps up airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria to avenge the murder of its pilot, Catholic and other leaders are hoping that the tragedy can still yield good for the future.

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