World News

Aid agencies fear increase in Syrian refugees if U.S. launches strikes

ISTANBUL (CNS) -- Tanil Kahiaian, a refugee from the Syrian city of Aleppo, said he is doing what he can for the others fleeing his country. He, his wife and two children escaped the Syrian war almost a year ago, and since he has watched "tens of thousands" pour into neighboring Turkey as he did. "It is so difficult for me to see this, their poverty. I am donating clothes from my work," Kahiaian told Catholic News Service Sept. 8 from near his home in Istanbul's Kumkapi district.

Thousands flock to Rome armed with power of prayer in fight for peace

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For the thousands of people who turned out for a solemn vigil in St. Peter's Square, the power of prayer and hopes for peace are still mightier than the world's weapons and wars. "Instead of using hatred, we are using prayer because it's the only thing that can bring calm and peace to everything," Michele Di Stadio, 20, told Catholic News Service.

Praying for peace in Syria, pope calls selfishness the cause of war

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Leading a crowd in prayer for peace in Syria, Pope Francis said that war is ultimately caused by selfishness, which can be overcome only though expressions of fraternity and never with violence. "Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation," the pope said Sept. 7 before an estimated 100,000 people in St. Peter's Square.

Pope calls for ‘war against evil,’ including illegal arms trade

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Repeating his recent calls for peace in the Middle East, Pope Francis urged Christians to wage a "deeper war" against evil, including the illegal arms trade that he said drives much of the world's military conflict. The pope made his remarks Sept. 8, before praying the noon Angelus with a crowd in St. Peter's Square, where the previous evening he had led a four-hour vigil for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the world.

Teachers’ tent city drives people away from Mexico City cathedral

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- They come and go, running riot in the Mexican capital, but they always return to a tent city in the central Zocalo Square -- right in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral, which Catholic officials say has been negatively affected by the presence of so many protesting teachers. "It's not very easy to access for the faithful or visitors," said Father Hugo Valdemar Romero, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City.

Franciscan in Holy Land fears U.S. strike on Syria would inflame region

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) -- The president of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land said his Christian counterparts in the region worry that U.S. strikes in Syria would further inflame a situation where many nations ply for influence. "The concern is that if the U.S. does start military operations in Syria, then Iran will try to do something in Israel and set off a bloody chain of events that it could be a powder keg," Franciscan Father Peter Vasko said.

For the pope, making peace is now part of the job

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church on an extraordinary campaign to prevent President Barack Obama's proposed military strike on Syria.

Pope: Sanctity of marriage rooted in Christ’s union with church

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church closely safeguards the sanctity of marriage because it is a reflection of Christ's union with his bride, the church, Pope Francis said. Jesus often uses the imagery of a bridegroom to help people see the nature of his relationship with the church, the pope said Sept. 6 during his morning Mass in his residence of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Latin America’s growth industries can be matter of life and death

LIMA, Peru (CNS) -- The gas, oil, minerals and timber that have spurred economic growth in Latin America over the past decade are becoming a matter of life and death in remote communities, church workers say.

Pope, Bolivian president discuss poverty, discrimination, Middle East

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The problems of poverty, discrimination and conflict in the Middle East took center stage in private talks between Pope Francis and Bolivian President Evo Morales at the Vatican. During the 32-minute meeting in the pope's library Sept. 6, the two leaders held "cordial talks" concerning Bolivia's "social-economic and religious situation" as well as "the promotion of peace in Syria and the Middle East," said a written statement released by the Vatican.