Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

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.

VATICAN CITY - With an obligation to lead and protect everyone in their nations, government officials cannot be content "to hope that the poor collect the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich," Pope Francis said in a message to the Summit of the Americas.

VATICAN CITY - Mercy is at the heart of the Church's credibility and the Church has a duty to profess it and live it, Pope Francis said in a document that officially proclaims the 2015-2016 extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.

CHICAGO - Catholicos Dinkha IV, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, died March 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A virus infection and pneumonia were cited as the cause of death. He was 79.

NAIROBI, Kenya - The president of the Kenyan bishops' conference called on Easter worshippers to commit themselves to praying for peace and security in their homeland after militants attacked a college campus days earlier.