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Ukrainian bishop warns of mass starvation, flight of millions

A Ukrainian bishop said a Russian-backed separatist rebellion has plunged his country into its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II and warned that "millions of refugees" could soon head for Europe to escape starvation.

"Huge numbers are now caught between hammer and anvil; the separatists aren't looking after them, and the Ukrainian government won't care for them because they haven't declared which side they're on," said Auxiliary Bishop Jan Sobilo of Kharkiv-Zaporizhia.

Kenya Catholic bishops call for polio vaccine boycott

Roman Catholic bishops in Kenya have urged citizens to boycott a mass polio vaccination campaign unless the safety of the vaccine has been confirmed through scientific tests.

The oral vaccination campaign by the World Health Organization and UNICEF is scheduled to begin Aug. 1 in Kenya.

Ahead of the campaign's launch, the bishops questioned the safety of the vaccines, saying the manufacturer failed to provide requested information and the government disregarded the bishops' request for tests.

Pope Francis welcomes election of new Armenian Catholic patriarch

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Pope Francis has welcomed the election of a new patriarch for the Armenian Catholic Church, extending what is known as "ecclesial communion" to Patriarch Gregoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan of Cilicia, who was elected Friday by his fellow Armenian bishops.

The day after the election, the pope wrote to the new patriarch offering his congratulations and praying that God would shower him with an "abundance of divine gifts."

Church leaders want Israel to step up protection of Christian sites

Although Israeli officials have publicly criticized the June arson attack that seriously damaged the Benedictine Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha, anti-Christian violence is not new, said a representative of the religious order.

Benedictine Fr. Nikodemus Schnabel, spokesman for the Benedictine Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, told Catholic News Service that fires and vandalism have plagued other churches and church property for years.

Polish bishops condemn IVF law, warn Catholics to not use process

Poland's Catholic bishops condemned a law allowing state funding for in vitro fertilization, which was signed into law Wednesday by outgoing President Bronislaw Komorowski despite a seven-year church campaign to block it.

"As with abortion, Catholics cannot use in vitro -- among other reasons because the cost of the birth of a single human person is the destruction of other unborn children," the bishops' conference said.

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