FaithWorld

Pope Francis renews attack on mafia in Italian region scarred by toxic waste

(ope Francis waves as he arrives at the palace of Caserta, former residences of the Royal House of Bourbon, before leading a mass, in Caserta, southern Italy July 26, 2014. A banner behind the Pope reads " Against Camorra and Racism". REUTERS/Max Rossi )

(Pope Francis waves as he arrives in Caserta, southern Italy July 26, 2014. A banner behind the Pope reads ” Against Camorra and Racism”. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

Pope Francis called for nature to be protected from criminal abuse on Saturday during a visit in the southern Italian town of Caserta, near Naples, in a region long blighted by illegal toxic waste dumps and the pervasive grip of the Camorra mafia.

During a televised open air mass before around 200,000 people, Francis said that the love of God meant respecting life, the environment and nature.

“I know that you suffer for these things,” he said in an impromptu remarks during his homily in front of the Reggia di Caserta, the former palace of the old Bourbon kings of Naples.

“It is particularly important in this beautiful region of yours which requires being protected and conserved, it requires us to have the courage to say no to any form of corruption and illegality,” he said to applause from the crowd.

India’s PM Modi under fire for silence over religious incidents

(DATE IMPORTED:July 04, 2014Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to a crowd at a gathering after inaugurating a train on a new stretch of railway to the town of Katra, northwest of Jammu July 4, 2014. Modi saw off the inaugural train on a new stretch of railway to Katra, allowing easier access to the a Hindu shrine there that is one of India's most popular pilgrimage sites and receives upwards of 10 million visitors each year. Modi said the train, in addition to making it easier for pilgrims to reach the shrine, would help connect the state with the rest of India. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta )

(Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to a crowd at a gathering after inaugurating a train on a new stretch of railway to the town of Katra, northwest of Jammu July 4, 2014. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta )

India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for remaining silent about incidents deemed anti-Muslim in the past week, underscoring fears that his Hindu nationalist followers will upset religious relations in the multi-faith nation.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in May after an election campaign that mainly focused on promises to revive the economy but that also made reference to India’s majority Hindu identity.

Pool, phones, yoga: world intrudes on U.S. Amish now home in Ohio after prison

(The horse-drawn carriage used by Kathryn and Raymond Miller to travel is pictured in Bergholz, Ohio June 6, 2014. The Millers, members of an Amish breakaway sect from eastern Ohio at the center of shocking 2011 hair-cutting attacks on other Amish followers, are trying to settle back into life at home after being exposed in prison to a world their religion is focused on locking out. Picture taken June 6, 2014. To match feature USA-AMISH/ REUTERS/Kim Palmer )

(The horse-drawn carriage used by Kathryn and Raymond Miller to travel is pictured in Bergholz, Ohio June 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Palmer )

Amish farmer Raymond Miller developed a taste for Mountain Dew soda, got his GED, and wonders if he should get a pool table after learning to play in prison.

His wife, Kathryn, who had never ridden a public bus before boarding one last year to go to prison for forcibly cutting the hair of her relatives, was introduced to yoga and step classes while behind bars.

U.N. rights body criticizes Ireland on abortion, church homes

(A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland's government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. Thousands held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament on Wednesday after news broke of the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian Hindu, following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy. Activists in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on abortion, say a lack of legal clarity about when terminations are justified may have contributed to her death.REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

(A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland’s government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

A United Nations human rights panel has told Ireland it should revise its highly restrictive abortion laws and that allegations of abuse of women and children at Catholic-run homes must be better investigated.

Following months of polarizing debate in the Roman Catholic country, Ireland’s parliament voted to allow limited access to abortion for the first time last year but restricted it to cases when a woman’s life is in danger.

Islamic State tells Iraqi women: wear full veil or face harsh punishment

(Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the northern province of Raqqa March 31, 2014. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has imposed sweeping restrictions on personal freedoms in the northern province of Raqqa. Among the restrictions, Women must wear the niqab, or full face veil, in public or face unspecified punishments "in accordance with sharia", or Islamic law. REUTERS/Stringer )

(Veiled women walk past a billboard that carries a verse from Koran urging women to wear a hijab in the northern province of Raqqa March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer )

Islamic State, the al-Qaeda offshoot that seized large swathes of northern Iraq last month, has warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or risk severe punishment.

The Sunni insurgents, who have declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria and have threatened to march on Baghdad, also listed guidelines on how veils and clothes should be worn, part of a campaign to violently impose their radical brand of Islam.

Death row Christian woman flies from Sudan to Rome, meets Pope Francis

(Pope Francis blesses Mariam Yahya Ibrahim of Sudan and her baby during a private meeting at the Vatican July 24, 2014. The Sudanese woman, who was spared a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity and then barred from leaving Sudan, flew into Rome on Thursday.  REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

(Pope Francis blesses Mariam Yahya Ibrahim of Sudan and her baby during a private meeting at the Vatican July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then detained after her conviction was quashed, flew into Rome on an Italian government plane on Thursday and hours later met the Pope.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, whose sentence and detention triggered international outrage, walked off the aircraft cradling her baby and was greeted by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

Massachusetts monks tap brewing tradition to support aging members

(Father Isaac Keeley talks about the new facility where he and his fellow Trappist Monks brew Trappist Ale at Saint Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts July 22, 2014. Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs. The 60 monks of St. Joseph's Abbey still rise at 3 a.m. for prayers and pass most of their days in silence. But when it is time for work, a handful head down to the monastery's new brewery, the first outside Europe to produce certified Trappist Ale. Picture taken July 22, 2014. To match Story USA-TRAPPISTS/BEER REUTERS/Brian Snyder )

(Father Isaac Keeley talks about the new facility where he and his fellow Trappist Monks brew Trappist Ale at Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts July 22, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder )

Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs.

The 60 monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey still rise at 3 a.m. for prayers and pass most of their days in silence. But when it is time for work, a handful head down to the monastery’s new brewery, the first outside Europe to produce certified Trappist Ale.

Islamic State’s purge of minorities re-draws the map of Iraq

(Iraqi refugees, who fled from the violence in Mosul, walk during sunset inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region, June 27, 2014. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most influential Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, called on the country's leaders on Friday to choose a prime minister within the next four days, a dramatic political intervention that could hasten the end of Nuri al-Maliki's eight year rule. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah )

(Iraqi refugees, who fled from the violence in Mosul, walk during sunset inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, June 27, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah )

A new map is being drawn across the plains of northern Iraq as Sunni militants of the Islamic State purge the rural landscape of religious and ethnic minorities that have co-existed for hundreds of years.

More than half a million people have been displaced across Iraq since June, when the north’s biggest city, Mosul, fell to Sunni insurgents who have have harried Shi’ite Turkmen and Shabaks, Yezidis and Christians.

U.N.’s Ban seeks advice on Iraq crisis from top Shi’ite cleric al-Sistani

(UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R), walks after a meeting with Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf July 24, 2014. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sought guidance from Iraq's top cleric on Thursday, as he urged Iraqi politicians to form an inclusive government that can confront a Sunni militant insurgency. Ban's meeting with Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani underscored the 83-year-old cleric's vast sway in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is considered a polarising figure who has fueled sectarian tensions. A spokesman for Ban told Reuters the United Nations chief was meeting with Sistani in the city of Najaf to seek his wisdom on developments in Iraq. REUTERS/Ahmad Mousa )

(UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R), walks after a meeting with Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf July 24, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Mousa )

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sought guidance from Iraq’s top cleric on Thursday, as he urged Iraqi politicians to form an inclusive government that can confront a Sunni militant insurgency.

Ban’s meeting with Shi’ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani underscored the 83-year-old cleric’s vast sway in Iraq, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is considered a polarizing figure who has fueled sectarian tensions.

French Jews living in fear after pro-Palestinian protests, minister says

(French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrives for a meeting in Vienna July 13, 2014. Fabius on Sunday said that securing a ceasefire for the Gaza Strip and preventing an escalation of the latest outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians was top priority for France. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader )

(French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrives for a meeting in Vienna July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader )

Many members of France’s Jewish community are living in fear after pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks were marred by violence and use of anti-Semitic language, the country’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe and flare-ups in the Middle East have often in the past added to tensions between the two communities.