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Caption: Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, the patriarch of Maronite Catholics who headed a delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs to Iraq Aug. 20, blesses a baby in Irbil. It took place in one of the churches housing the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities displaced in the country by the advance of Islamist militants. (CNS/Courtesy Maronite Patriarchate)
Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, the patriarch of Maronite Catholics who headed a delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs to Iraq Aug. 20, blesses a baby in Irbil. It took place in one of the churches housing the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities displaced in the country by the advance of Islamist militants. (CNS/Courtesy Maronite Patriarchate)
Catholic, Orthodox patriarchs visit Irbil to support displaced Iraqis

By Doreen Abi Raad
Catholic News Service

BEIRUT (CNS) -- A delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs visited Irbil, Iraq, to show their support and solidarity with the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities displaced in the country by the advance of Islamist militants.

Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch of the Maronite Catholics, said the Aug. 20 trip was "a first step in the implementation of the statement issued by the patriarchs," referring to a special summit Aug. 7 to address the crisis facing Christians in Iraq and Syria.
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Caption: American journalist James Foley, who was killed at the hands of the Islamic State militant group, is pictured in an undated photo. He was a Marquette University alumnus and his parents belong to a parish in Rochester, N.H. (CNS/courtesy GlobalPost via EPA)
American journalist James Foley, who was killed at the hands of the Islamic State militant group, is pictured in an undated photo. He was a Marquette University alumnus and his parents belong to a parish in Rochester, N.H. (CNS/courtesy GlobalPost via EPA)
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THIS WEEK IN ORIGINS

Editors: Contents of Origins CNS Documentary Service, Vol. 44, No. 12 (Aug. 14, 2014):

-- The sign of peace at Mass is not a neighborly greeting but an expression of the Christian belief that true peace comes through Christ, a particularly eloquent gesture when done with religious sensibility and sobriety in times fraught with fear and conflict, says a new Vatican document.

-- Pope Francis tells sex abuse survivors there is no place in the church's ministry for anyone who abuses a child. Every bishop will be held accountable for the protection of children and youth, he says.

-- The crisis of child abuse by clergy is not a thing of the past but it will linger until the church humbly and courageously reaches out to everyone still suffering in silence, says Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

-- Priests should have open and frank relations with their bishops and brother priests, eschewing gossip and backbiting, Pope Francis tells priests in the Italian Diocese of Caserta.

-- The surge of children and families crossing the U.S. border from Central America demands a humane response, say the Catholic bishops of Texas in a letter and statement of principles regarding the treatment of refugee families and children sent to their local and federal representatives.

-- The people of northern Iraq, particularly Christians, are in urgent need of U.S. humanitarian assistance, writes Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, in a letter to Susan Rice, national security adviser, sent on behalf of the U.S. bishops' international justice and peace committee.


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