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Church leaders follow prayer books at the opening session of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East (Photo: CNS)

Opening Synod statement said some countries in the Middle East limit freedom of religion and violate freedom of conscience

Pope Benedict XVI spoke at the opening session of the Middle East Synod (Photo: CNS)

At opening of Middle East Synod Pope Benedict warns of ‘false gods’ that beset the modern world, including terrorism and drug abuse

A pilgrim prays at the tomb of Blessed Mary MacKillop in Sydney (Photo: CNS)

Sisters of St Joseph, the order co-founded by Blessed Mary MacKillop, respond to claims made in controversial documentary

The poll coincides with a report on human happiness issued by Cafod, Tearfund and the thinktank Theos

The claim, by Bavarian author Peter Seewald, is based on a series of interviews with the Pontiff earlier this year

Journalists listen to an address at the World Press Congress in Rome earlier this week (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI tells media gathered at a conference in Rome to seek the truth every day

High-level officials meet in Rome to prepare Apostolic Visitation

The plenary room of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (Photo: PA)

Members roundly rejected a resolution to strip doctors of their rights to opt out of abortions

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Archbishop of Westminster rejects calls for ‘generic chaplains’ amid budget cuts

Mourners gather around the coffin of Sandy Shabib Zahri, a Christian student murdered in a bomb attack near Mosul, Iraq (AP Photo)

COMECE urges EU foreign ministry to set up a ‘religion unit’ to promote cause of religious freedom more effectively