Pope Benedict XVI applauded on Nov. 29 the church’s role in abolishing the death penalty in the Philippines. • Auxiliary Bishop William Kenney of Birmingham, England, denounced the British policy of repatriating Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution on Nov. 26, saying he knows they endure the “constant fear and tension of not knowing what will happen next.” • The U.S. bishops commended a resolution in the House of Representatives that condemns recent attacks on religious minorities in Iraq and calls for the U.S. and Iraqi governments to do more to protect them. • “God’s dream for us is to be a united people, and we must pursue it...and pledge together to do this,” Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans said at the 2010 Centennial Ecumenical Gathering of the National Council of Churches in Christ. • Israel’s measures to “ease” the illegal blockade of Gaza have done little to change the plight of Gaza’s civilians, according to a new report. Kate Allen, Amnesty International’s U.K. director, said, “The only real easing has been the easing of pressure on the Israeli authorities to end this cruel and illegal practice.”