The mirage that mass shootings — such as the massacre of 50 Muslims at prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand — are isolated incidents long ago vaporized. While mass killings are performed by deranged individuals whose behaviour falls well outside social norms, they are societal phenomena with societal roots.

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Separate terrorist attacks in the past five months have killed 80 people as they worshipped in New Zealand mosques, an American synagogue and a Philippines cathedral. These are just three among hundreds of attacks on worshippers over the past decade. 

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand – New Zealand's Catholic bishops have expressed horror and distress at a terrorist attack in two mosques in Christchurch that saw at least 49 people killed.
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PANAMA CITY – Pope Francis prayed that a peaceful solution may be found in Venezuela as uncertainty and political instability grip the country.
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BEIRUT – At a gathering of Middle East leaders coinciding with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Syriac Orthodox patriarch emphasized the need to unify efforts against extremism and terrorism.
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VATICAN – When Pope Francis led the recitation of the Angelus prayer Jan. 20, he told the crowd in St. Peter's Square that he had "two pains in my heart: Colombia and the Mediterranean."
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STRASBOURG, France – At noon Dec. 12, the bells of every Catholic church in Strasbourg rang for 10 minutes to honor the victims of a terror attack at a Christmas market the previous day.
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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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WASHINGTON – Bishop Oliver D. Doeme of Maiduguri, Nigeria, has seen his share of death, violence and destruction in the past nine years, but he keeps his focus on his firm belief that the local church will be restored.
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MANCHESTER, England – The acquittal of a Pakistani Catholic woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy is to be challenged in the country's Supreme Court, according to her husband.
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WASHINGTON  – The U.S. Catholic bishops stand with "our brothers and sisters of the Jewish community," the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Oct. 27 after a horrific shooting earlier that day in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue, described as a hub of Jewish life in that city.
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ROME – The concern of now-retired Pope Benedict XVI and the promises made by the majority of church leaders were not able to stop the evil of clerical sexual abuse, which has been the 9/11 of the Catholic Church, the retired Pope's personal secretary said.
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COTABATO, Philippines – Security forces were placed on full alert in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao following a deadly suicide bomb blast in Basilan province that killed 10 people.
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VATICAN – Meeting with a top Muslim leader in Saudi Arabia, the Vatican's chief interreligious dialogue official called for the equal treatment of people of all religions, saying discrimination and double standards based on religious affiliation only increase Islamophobia and Christianophobia.
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VATICAN – Pope Francis joined leaders praising a French police officer who "gave his life out of a desire to protect people" during a terrorist attack.
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