As Syria war drags on, Vatican official notes sense of helplessness

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Five years after the war in Syria began, there is a “feeling of helplessness in front of an endless human tragedy,” a Vatican official told the U.N. Human Rights Council. A “continuation of the conflict and its procession of refugees, disrespect of human rights and international humanitarian law” add to the…

Number of refugees, displaced people at highest since World War II

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) — The explosive global refugee crisis — likely the top debate-generating news story of 2015 — seems destined to dominate domestic and foreign politics for years to come at a time when Pope Francis has been calling for a compassionate world response. Early in 2015, Pope Francis again called attention…

If we turn our backs on refugees, the terrorists win

Editorial Joe Towalski Helping war refugees is one way to practice the works of mercy the Holy Father has asked us to undertake Two and a half months ago, the plight of international refugees received renewed attention after media outlets around the world published photos of Aylan Kurdit, the 3-year-old boy from Syria who drowned…

Silence and indifference to migrant crisis lead to complicity, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Indifference to the crises and tragedies today’s migrants and refugees are facing lead to complicity when people remain silent or refuse to act, Pope Francis said. Jesus’ call to welcome the stranger and show mercy is clear, the pope said in a message released at the Vatican Oct. 1. “Yet there…

Discovery of refugee bodies should awaken Europe, says Vienna cardinal

VIENNA (CNS) — Austrian church leaders, reacting to the discovery of dozens of dead refugees on a truck near Vienna, said they hoped it would increase awareness of the plight of migrants. “Such refugee suffering should awaken us, like a bolt from the blue, to the need for more generous attitudes and courageous decisions. The…

Syrian bishop urges Pope Francis to raise arms supply issue in Turkey

DUBLIN (CNS) — The president of Caritas in Syria has appealed to Pope Francis to use his Nov. 28-30 trip to Turkey to raise the issue of the ongoing supply of arms being sent across the Turkish border to rebel factions in northern Syria. Speaking to Catholic News Service in Dublin in late November, Chaldean…

Catholic Iraqi refugees recall horror of militant attacks

By Doreen Abi Raad Catholic News Service The memory of that brutal June evening in his home near Mosul, Iraq, brought 48-year-old Joseph, now a refugee in Lebanon, to tears. “These people know no limits of humanity, decency or respect for human life,” he said of the Islamic State fighters. Meeting with Catholic News Service…