One of the most senior Catholic leaders in Syria has said Western governments should not be encouraging those suffering in the region to leave, as the British Government announced it would take in a small number of Syrian refugees.

Suspected Islamic extremists used explosives and machine guns to attack a Catholic church and a market in northeast Nigeria, killing at least 138 people and razing hundreds of homes, according to eyewitnesses.

Rolling Stone, the US-based rock music magazine, has chosen to feature Pope Francis on the cover of its latest issue.

Dutch Cardinal Willem Eijk is fully committed to ecumenism and his position on the matter has not changed, his spokeswoman said.

Mgr Mark O’Toole today becomes the first bishop to be installed at Plymouth Cathedral in more than 25 years, and the first in England and Wales to be appointed by Pope Francis.

A reliquary containing the blood of the late Pope John Paul II was stolen after thieves broke into a small mountain church east of Rome at the weekend, with fears that a Satanic group could be behind the theft.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to purchase one of England’s grandest recusant homes to put it back into church hands.

Tony Blair has called on governments around the world to acknowledge that a “clear common theme” of religious extremism is behind the world’s major conflicts, posing the biggest global security challenge of the twenty-first century, and change their policies accordingly.

Pope Francis yesterday called for an end to violence in Ukraine, where at least three people have been killed in clashes that have erupted from two months of anti-Government protests.

A small makeshift bomb exploded in central Rome early this morning, causing slight damage to a building belonging to a French religious establishment and three parked cars, just hours before a visit to Pope Francis by French President François Hollande.

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