Pope Francis' remarks about armed intervention in Iraq has Catholic commentators trying to explain the nuances of the church's position on humanitarian intervention.
Pope Francis wrote to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the "brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities" and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country.
Francis said in his letter to Iraqi President Fouad Massoum: "I appeal to you with my heart full of pain while I follow the brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities who are forced to leave their homes, as their places of worship are destroyed."
As the Islamic State tears across Iraq and Syria this summer, sending religious minorities fleeing for their lives, Congress created a new job at the State Department -- one the president needs to fill immediately, say those who pushed for the position.
The job: "Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia."
"Sadly, in recent years, there has been a deliberate rejection of this call to engage in dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters by some in the Catholic Church."
China has reacted cautiously to a bid by Pope Francis to open new dialogue with Beijing, with some officials quick to warn the Vatican not to "interfere" with the country's religion.
On his return flight from a five-day tour of South Korea, Francis said he was ready to go to China -- "For sure! Tomorrow!" -- after receiving a positive response to two goodwill telegrams he sent to President Xi Jinping as the pope flew over Chinese airspace.
Humanitarians and the people of the Gaza Strip are apprehensive about whether there will be a renewal of the truce between Israel and the militant Hamas, said a U.S. Catholic aid official.
"There's a lot of hope that the airstrikes and rockets will not start again after Tuesday midnight because of such a traumatic, terrible month," said Matthew McGarry, who directs the Catholic Relief Services' operations in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
"People who are exposed to this virus will feel they are accompanied, that the church suffers with them, the church works for them."
Pope Francis' personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community Monday, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.
Pope Francis said the use of force can be justified to stop "unjust aggressors" such as Islamic State militants in Iraq, but he declined to endorse U.S. airstrikes.
Hundreds of Catholic faithful and non-Catholic admirers of Pope Francis braved the pouring rain to try to get a glimpse of him outside his final Mass before he left South Korea.
On a street in the popular shopping district of Myongdong, in downtown Seoul, people jostled each other with umbrellas. A video monitor was set up, but it faced just one side of the block. The bystanders were all hoping for a glimpse of Pope Francis at the end of the Mass Monday for peace and reconciliation, when he was expected to pass by in a covered vehicle in the downpour.