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Christian refugees in Iraq face up to a bleak Christmas

When baby Mariam was born her mother laid her in a bed made from a plastic bag Below: Refugees in a camp near Erbil (Sahar Mansour)

In an Iraqi Christian refugee camp old men savour memories of Christmas dinners and young mothers anxiously nurse their newborns

The Christmas tree and Nativity scene outside St Peter's Basilica (AP)

Nativity scene and Christmas tree invite us to make room for God, says Pope

Francis says Vatican Christmas decorations carry ‘a message of light, hope and love’

San Lorenzo celebrate a goal in their win over Auckland City (PA)

Pope’s favourite football team to meet Real Madrid in world final

San Lorenzo will play in Club World Cup Final after victory over Auckland City

A choir of friars singing at a ceremony honouring St Francis (CNS)

Franciscan order embroiled in financial crisis

Brother Michael A Perry explains ‘grave situation’ in letter

Pope Francis (CNS)

Christians can’t ignore differences on life issues, says Pope

Francis spoke to leaders of the German Lutheran Church earlier this week

Iraqi Kurdish forces survey a bridge rigged with explosives by Islamic State militants, as they inspect the area in Zumar, Iraq. (AP Photo/Zana Ahmed)

Kurds claim major breakthrough against ISIS on Mount Sinjar

Kurdish forces are claiming their biggest victory yet against Islamic State militants

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith with Pope Francis in Rome in February (CNS/Paul Haring)

Morning Catholic must-reads: 19/12/14

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Women gather at a chapel in a camp set up for Ukrainian refugees in August (CNS)

‘Ukraine Catholics being driven underground,’ say Church leaders

Warning comes 25 years after Catholicism was re-legalised in the country

A screenshot of the video appeal

Bishop to lapsed Catholics: the Church is incomplete without you

Bishop Egan of Portsmouth issues video message urging Catholics to ‘come home for Christmas’

The Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in El Cobre, Cuba (Photo: CNS)

Pope Francis expresses joy at breakthrough in US-Cuba relations

Pope hails ‘noble’ task of diplomacy in address to new ambassadors

Concepta Wood and Mary Doogan with Paul Tully and John Smeaton of SPUC outside the Supreme Court (Photo: SPUC)

Top barrister dismayed by ruling against Glasgow midwives

Neil Addison says Supreme Court decision limiting conscientious objection is ‘not a good result for nurses or freedom’

A priest blesses mass graves of victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban (CNS)

Morning Catholic must-reads: 18/12/14

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

The surgery ward in a hospital in Bor, South Sudan (Photo: CNS)

South Sudan archbishop: a year ago our young nation went into confusion

Archbishop says a year-long war has led to a ‘miserable situation’ and badly damaged the country’s infrastructure

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'Scapegoats are set apart as such to make society feel better about itself' (CNS)

Clerical child sex abuse has nothing whatever to do with celibacy

It’s just as bad in the Church of England, and worse in society at large

Dietrich von Hildebrand (CNS)

The Catholic who stood up to Hitler

‘My Battle against Hitler’ provides a splendid witness to Catholic and human values

File photo of Pope John Paul II's 1998 visit to Cuba

The US-Cuba thaw is a triumph for Vatican diplomacy

The Holy See has ended a historic quarrel and promoted world peace

The Interview, which fell victim to North Korean cyberattacks (AP)

Self-censorship over The Interview – a mark of western decadence

Western liberals like to outrage and offend people who can’t harm them

When baby Mariam was born her mother laid her in a bed made from a plastic bag Below: Refugees in a camp near Erbil (Sahar Mansour)

Christian refugees in Iraq face up to a bleak Christmas

In an Iraqi Christian refugee camp old men savour memories of Christmas dinners and young mothers anxiously nurse their newborns

Sister Nabila Saleh participates in Mass at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza (CNS)

Hold the Christians of Gaza in your hearts

Cardinal Nichols reflects on his recent visit to the tiny Catholic community in Gaza

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

Don’t let Doctor Who turn into Polly Toynbee

We don’t mind if the Daleks are Scientologists, but please don’t let the Time Lord turn into a secular bore

Russian President Vladimir Putin (PA)

The West must find the courage to curb Putin’s aggression

An attack on Lithuania might seem unlikely given that it s part of Nato, but Russia might risk it

The Dalai Lama (PA)

The Chinese government wants to isolate the Dalai Lama – and it’s working

If the Pope had met the Dalai Lama, Chinese Catholics would have been made to suffer

Pope Francis listening to Kiko Arguello, founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, who spoke at the Vatican in February (CNS)

Clearing up misconceptions about the Neocatechumenal Way

The Way’s founder, Kiko Arguello, has written a book that is dramatic, intense, and deeply personal

Ridley Scott poses during a photocall for his film "Exodus" (PA)

Will Ridley Scott’s Biblical film Exodus repeat the success of Gladiator?

Hollywood is full of bright people with a nose for the next classic, but they do not always find it

'For a true traditionalist Catholic, the Pope – the Pope we actually have, not some dream pope who isn’t going to materialise – is his guide' (AP)

Pope Francis’s defence of the depositum fidei needs to be heard

It went largely unreported: now, it should be constantly reiterated. If it is, this could be one of the great pontificates

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