nation and world

Pope denounces use of chemical weapons after attack in Syria

A wounded Syrian woman received aid April 7 at a hospital in Damascus after a suspected chemical-weapon attack in Douma. Pope Francis condemned the use of chemical weapons after the attack killed dozens of men, women and children.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis condemned the use of chemical weapons after an attack killed dozens of innocent men, women and children in Syria.

"There is no good and bad war, and nothing, nothing can justify the use of such instruments of extermination against defenseless people and populations," the pope said April 8 before concluding Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square.

Christian activists warn of slaughter of Syrian civilians in Afrin

Internally displaced people rode on the back of a truck with their belongings in Afrin, Syria. Christian activists warn that 1 million Syrian civilians will face certain slaughter in northwestern Afrin, where they allege Turkey and its militant allies have already carried out “war crimes” and “ethnic cleansing.”

AMMAN, Jordan — Christian activists warn that 1 million Syrian civilians will face certain slaughter in northwestern Afrin, where they allege Turkey and its militant allies have already carried out "war crimes" and "ethnic cleansing."

They have appealed to U.S. President Donald Trump and top U.S. officials to stop the bloodshed, warning that failure to act jeopardizes the hard-fought U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State in Syria.

U.S. bishops who’ve seen gun violence up close call for end to ‘madness’

WASHINGTON — Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput knows all too well the pain left behind after incidents such as the 2018 Valentine's Day shooting that has so far taken 17 lives at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

As archbishop in Denver, he took part in the funerals of Catholics killed by fellow classmates at Columbine High School in 1999. The Florida killings, Feb. 14 which authorities suspect were perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz, a former classmate of many of the dead, seemed to bring back the pain.

South Korean bishop hopes Winter Olympics are steppingstone to peace

The sun rose Jan. 30 over the rings of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on a beach in Gangneung, South Korea. The Olympics begin Feb. 9.

SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean bishop wants the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to be a steppingstone for achieving peace in the region, reported ucanews.com.

Bishop Peter Lee Ki-heon, president of the Korean bishops' Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, released a statement hoping "the Olympics, feast of peace, will be a turning point to reduce the uneasiness and to settle peace on the peninsula."

North Korea is sending a large team of athletes and an art company to the Olympics, which start Feb. 9.

Hundreds dead, thousands injured in Iran and Iraq after quake

A woman mourned next to a dead body following an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab, Iran. The earthquake Nov. 12 killed more than 500 people and injured more than 8,000 in Iran and Iraq.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis sent messages of condolence to people in Iran and Iraq after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake killed more than 500 people and injured more than 8,000, mostly in Iran.

The pope "assures all affected by this tragedy of his prayerful solidarity," stated the nearly identical messages, released Nov. 13.

"In expressing his sorrow to all who mourn the loss of their loved ones, he offers his prayers for the deceased and commends them to the mercy of the almighty," stated the telegrams, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

Cdl. DiNardo decries Texas church shooting, ‘fundamental problem in our society’

A man and woman attended a candlelight vigil after a mass shooting Nov. 5 at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A gunman entered the church during Sunday services taking the lives of at least 26 people and injuring several more.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Catholic Church stands "in unity" with the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and the larger community after a shooting in Sunday services took the lives of at least 26 people and injured at least 20 others.

The dead ranged in age from 5 to 72 years old, and included 14-year-old Annabelle Pomeroy. Her father, Frank Pomeroy, is pastor of the church, but he wasn't at the service.

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