Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service

BERLIN - Catholic bishops in Germany and Austria have urged their countries to continue accepting refugees, despite demands for new restrictions after New Year's Eve violence in Cologne and other cities.

MARRAKESH, Morocco - Muslim leaders from around the world adopted a declaration defending the rights of religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries.

EL PASO, Texas - The Diocese of El Paso has scrapped plans for a border Mass that would have taken place at the same time as the closing Mass of Pope Francis' visit to Mexico in February.

VATICAN CITY - A historic agreement signed between the Holy See and Palestine that supports a two-state solution in the Holy Land has gone into effect, the Vatican announced.

CHICAGO - With the poverty on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, Pope Francis' visit to the region in February will be an important opportunity for the Catholic Church "to emphasize the mercy of God that is at the core of the Christian faith."

DULUTH, Minn. - The Diocese of Duluth said Dec. 7 it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because efforts to reach a settlement "that would assist all abuse victims and protect the Church's mission" have been unsuccessful.

TARTUS, Syria - Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, visiting Syria, urged Christians to hold onto their faith.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - San Bernardino Bishop Gerald Barnes urged people to pray for unity and healing after the mass shooting in San Bernardino Dec. 2 that left 14 people dead and 21 others wounded.

BRESCIA, Italy - Italian State Police in Brescia, working with their counterparts in Kosovo, announced Dec. 1 that they had taken action against four Kosovars they believed to be terrorist risks and who, police said, made threats on social media against Pope Francis.

ACCRA, Ghana - As the Year of Mercy neared, the bishops of Africa and Madagascar held up the work of families and local faith communities in caring for people with AIDS as a strong example of unconditional love.