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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.

Vatican adviser: Married priests, women deacons would add 'dynamism'

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"Married priests and women deacons should be reintroduced as soon as possible. That would bring new dynamism to the church," Dietmar Winkler, the future dean of Salzburg University's Catholic theological faculty, told the Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten in an interview during the Salzburg Festival.

He said he could not see why men who feel called to the priesthood should be forced to remain celibate. Asceticism, which religious feel called to, is a charism that could not be forced on people, Winkler said.

Patriarch calls lives of Middle East Christians 'bad' and 'less bad'

Christians in the Middle East are facing difficulties ranging from "bad" to "less bad," said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem.

While describing the condition of the Palestinians in the West Bank as "bad," he said their situation is better than the challenges faced by Christians in Syria and Iraq, especially those who have been forced to flee homes in the fact of Islamic State militants.

Twal pushed again for an end to hostilities throughout the Holy Land and the Middle East.

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