The Vatican minister of foreign affairs has said Vatican envoys in Iraq and Syria are risking their lives amid bombings and terror threats to help people and find a way to end what Pope Francis has called a "piecemeal" World War III.
"Let's not be kidding ourselves about what the stakes are here: If we are going to bring peace, if we are going to reconcile nations, if we are going to secure countries and communities, particularly minorities, particularly people who are persecuted, we are going to have to make an unprecedented effort," Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher told Catholic News Service last week.
Gallagher noted that IS, which has captured vast territory in Iraq and Syria, has persecuted Christians and other minorities, driving out tens of thousands of believers from their homelands. Still, the Archbishop remained hopeful that negotiations will help resolve the conflicts in the region. more >>
UNITED NATIONS — Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has died, Venezuelan U.N. Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, president of the U.N. Security Council for February, said on Tuesday. He was 93.
An Egyptian, Boutros-Ghali served one five-year term as U.N. chief from 1992 to 1996.
The 15-member Security Council observed a minute's silence. No further details on his death were immediately available. more >>
A bishop in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo has said that the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the first one between the heads of the two churches following their split over a millennium ago, provides comfort and hope to suffering Christians.
"The meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill is perceived by Christians as the fruit of the cross they are experiencing. The suffering of all Christians in the Middle East bears the fruit of unity. This for us is a great consolation and helps us to move forward, even if we still have to suffer," said Bishop Georges Abou Khazen OFM, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for the Catholics of the Latin rite, according to Fides News Agency.
The meeting took place on Friday in Cuba, and was the first of its kind since the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest of the Eastern Christianity branches, split from the Roman Catholic Church over 1,000 years ago. more >>
Hydrogen bombs, like the one North Korea detonated in January, have thankfully never been used in war. These bombs, also called H-bombs, rely on the fusion of hydrogen atoms, and can be thousands of times more powerful than nuclear bombs. They are easily weaponized in small packages and are capable of devastating a large city in one detonation.
North Korea has plans to further demonstrate their technical capabilities by shooting one or more missiles over the Japanese homeland. The Japanese are understandably rattled, and this past Wednesday Japan vowed to shoot down any North Korean missiles fired over its territory.
We may not be as nervous about nuclear war as those who practiced 1960s "duck and cover" drills, but there are other threats to peace that create regular alarm. At this moment there are 10 active wars worldwide. more >>
Thousands of churches and mission agencies on every continent (except Antarctica) will unite in song later this month to sing the powerful hymn, "Facing a Task Unfinished."
The nearly 100-year-old song, recently remixed by world-renowned contemporary hymn writers The Gettys, will act as an anthem to raise awareness about Christian persecution worldwide.
"Facing a Task Unfinished" was written by China Inland Mission worker Frank Houghton as he reflected on the the Great Commission and the scripture Matthew 24:14 as dedicated his life to sharing the Gospel with people in China. more >>
Donald Trump and Pope Francis are among the nominees for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, experts confirmed Wednesday.
Along with Trump and the pope, the names of two other candidates have been released, including the Afghan Women's Cycling Team and Nadia Murad, who escaped Islamic State captivity and is now an activist for rape victims.
More names are expected to be released throughout the month of February, and members of the five-person Norwegian Nobel Committee can submit their own votes for candidates after their February 29 meeting. more >>