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Monday, March 27, 2017

Articles related to Pope Francis


Pope Francis visits Milan
Pope Francis visits Milan

Pope Francis received a very warm welcome during his pastoral visit to Milan on Saturday. Thousands of people turned out to meet the Holy Father as he travelled by Popemobile to meet with immigrant families in the Forlanini quarter of the city for the start of his day. Upon his arrival, residents gave him two gifts: a priestly stole and a statue of Our Lady.

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Pope addresses EU leaders
Pope addresses EU leaders

Pope Francis addressed Heads of State and Heads of Government of European Union countries on Friday afternoon, the eve of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the treaties creating the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community - the first major structural steps toward creating the European Union.

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 Pope sends message of prayerful solidarity
Pope sends message of prayerful solidarity

Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, assuring the "nation of his prayers" after yesterday's terror attack in Westminster (22 March). The message, communicated via the Holy See's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, commends those who died to the loving mercy of Almighty God as Pope Francis "invokes divine strength and

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Pope: warns against becoming hard hearted 'Catholic atheists'
Pope: warns against becoming hard hearted 'Catholic atheists'

During his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis pointed out that when we turn away from God and are deaf to His Word, we become hard hearted, unfaithful or even "Catholic atheists." Reflecting on the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah the Pope said: "When we do not stop to listen to the voice of the Lord we end up moving away, we turn away

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US Bishops: Living as a people of God in unsettled times
US Bishops: Living as a people of God in unsettled times

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee has issued a pastoral reflection today in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict or fear in their native lands. In the statement, the bishops encourage each of us to do what we can to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States...

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 Pope: Today's migration crisis is the greatest tragedy since WW2
Pope: Today's migration crisis is the greatest tragedy since WW2

Pope Francis has called for an ongoing commitment to welcome and integrate migrants and refugees and described the current migration crisis as the world's greatest tragedy after the Second World War. Speaking during Wednesday's General Audience in St Peter's Square, which was attended by members of the Migrantes Foundation, an arm of the Italian Bishops' Conference which

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Pope: The confessional is not like a dry cleaners
Pope: The confessional is not like a dry cleaners

During his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday, Pope Francis warned against treating the confessional like the dry cleaners, a place to make a quick transaction, wipe away our sins and steal a false pardon. He also stressed the need for Christians to be truly ashamed of their sins. The Pope drew on the morning's readings at Mass, beginning with the book of Daniel, which emphasized mankind coming before God with a humble

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Pope: May St Joseph help us dream great things
Pope: May St Joseph help us dream great things

Saint Joseph gives young people "the ability to dream, to risk, and to undertake the difficult tasks that they have seen in dreams." That was the message of Pope Francis during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta today (Monday). The day's liturgy commemorated the Solemnity of St Joseph, which is normally celebrated on 19 March, but which is transferred when that date falls on a Sunday in Lent. In

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 Pope: Lent is an opportunity to draw near to Christ
Pope: Lent is an opportunity to draw near to Christ

In his Angelus address with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel about the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. "Perhaps we have not yet encountered Jesus personally. Perhaps we have not recognised Him as our Saviour." Because of the great respect Jesus shows the woman - and despite her being a Samaritan,

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Pope to visit Egypt
Pope to visit Egypt

Pope Francis will travel to Egypt at the end of next month. Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement today (Saturday 18 March); "In response to the invitation from the President of the Republic, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic trip

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Pope Francis: Three characteristics of a good confessor
Pope Francis: Three characteristics of a good confessor

Pope Francis met today (Friday) with participants at an annual course on the internal forum, organised by the Apostolic Penitentiary. In his words to the group, the Pope spoke about the formation of good confessors, focusing on three characteristics which should guide their work. Firstly, Pope Francis said, a good confessor is a true friend of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and a person dedicated to prayer. A Ministry of Reconciliation

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Pope Francis: Those who don't care for the poor and homeless are damned
Pope Francis: Those who don't care for the poor and homeless are damned

The parable of the poor man, Lazarus, lying at the rich man's door, was at the heart of Pope Francis' homily this morning, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope warned of the risks we run if we have the same uncaring attitude towards the poor and homeless people we see around us today. Reflecting on the Gospel story of Lazarus, from St Luke's Gospel, Pope Francis warned against those who place their trust in things of the flesh. Trusting in vanity, pride and

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Pope to lead '24 Hours for the Lord' Penitential Service
Pope to lead '24 Hours for the Lord' Penitential Service

Pope Francis will preside over a penitential service at the Vatican on Friday, in anticipation of the '24 Hours for the Lord' initiative. The service will take place on Friday 17 March, one week before all churches around the world are asked to offer the sacrament of Reconciliation, a request made by the Pontifical Council for the Promoting of the New Evangelization. The theme of the initiative this year comes from the Gospel according to Saint Matthew: 'I desire Mercy'

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Viewpoint: The Eco-Pope at Year Four
Viewpoint: The Eco-Pope at Year Four

At the four-year anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Francis, there's much to celebrate, much to ponder, and a couple of concerns, Bill Patenaude writes in catholicecology.net. There were worries in the Catholic eco-sphere when Benedict XVI, the Green Pope, announced his abdication of the papacy in 2013. Would the next pope continue his teaching on environmental protection? Would the Vatican continue its sustainability mission? I was certain that Benedict's successor

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Pope to visit Colombia
Pope to visit Colombia

Pope Francis is planning to make an Apostolic Journey to Colombia from 6 to 11 September 2017. A statement from the Holy See Press Office confirmes that the Holy Father will visit the cities of Bogotá, Villavicencio, Medellín, and Cartagena. "Accepting the invitation of the President of the Republic and the Colombian bishops, His Holiness the Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Trip to Colombia from 6 to 11 September 2017, visiting the cities of Bogotá, Villavicencio,

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Pope: Learn to do good through deeds not words
Pope: Learn to do good through deeds not words

Lenten conversion is an ongoing journey, and it is about learning to avoid evil and doing good with deeds not words, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The Holy Father began by reflecting on the day's First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah which calls us to avoid evil and learn to do good. "Each one of us, every day, does something ugly," he said. adding that the Bible, in fact, says even "the most holy people sin

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Pope Francis: Transfiguration shows path towards Easter
Pope Francis: Transfiguration shows path towards Easter

Pope Francis visited the Roman parish of St Magdalene of Canossa on Sunday afternoon, meeting with young people and the sick and elderly before celebrating Mass with the parish community. His visit began with a conversation with the children and teenagers in the parish sports field. The Holy Father also met with parents and newborns baptized during the course of the year and with the elderly and sick of the parish in the parish hall. In off-the-cuff remarks, he told the infirm and elderly that "sickness is a Cross - as

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Text: Marie Dennis on International Women's Day
Text: Marie Dennis on International Women's Day

Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International endorsed the views of other speakers at the Vatican conference on International Women's Day, 'Voices of Faith 2017: Women at the Heart of Nonviolence. She said the full participation of women is central to the Church's promotion of active non-violence, as spelt out by Pope Francis in his message for World Peace Day in January this year.

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Cardinal sends anniversary message to  Pope Francis
Cardinal sends anniversary message to Pope Francis

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has written to Pope Francis as he prepares to celebrate the fourth anniversary of his election as Bishop of Rome - the 265th successor of St Peter. The Cardinal offers prayers and thanks for the Holy Father for the steadfast way in which he has upheld the teachings of Christ and the Church "presenting them in

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 Shrewsbury: Gabriele Kuby to speak on the 'Ideology of Gender'
Shrewsbury: Gabriele Kuby to speak on the 'Ideology of Gender'

The best-selling German writer and sociologist, Gabriele Kuby, will be giving a talk entitled the 'Ideology of Gender' at a conference entitled 'Man or Woman - A Matter of Choice' in Shrewsbury on 21 March. Mrs Kuby will also address the clergy and educationalists of the Diocese of Shrewsbury on "The Gift of Human Sexuality" at meetings which are not open to the wider public. Mrs Kuby, a convert to the Catholic faith, is

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Romero's homilies presented to Pope Francis
Romero's homilies presented to Pope Francis

As the Catholic Church around the world celebrates the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero - and many continue to anticipate his canonisation - Pope Francis has been presented with six volumes of the English translation of the Salvadorian Archbishop's homilies. The presentation was made by Julian Filochowski OBE, at the end of the Ash Wednesday General Audience

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Archbishop Auza speaks on Pope Francis' diplomacy at US university
Archbishop Auza speaks on Pope Francis' diplomacy at US university

Archbishop Bernardito Auza gave a talk at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, speaking about Pope Francis' diplomacy to the students and faculty at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. The Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations said the Church speaks "of continuity - as seamless as possible - of a journey guided by perennial doctrine discerned

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US Bishops voice concern over rise in 'hateful' anti-Semitic actions across America
US Bishops voice concern over rise in 'hateful' anti-Semitic actions across America

On behalf of the Bishops and people of the Catholic Church, as the Chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, I want to express our deep sympathy, solidarity, and support to our Jewish brothers and sisters who have experienced once again a surge of anti-Semitic actions in the United States. I wish to offer our deepest concern, as well as our unequivocal rejection of these hateful actions. The Catholic Church stands in love with the Jewish community in the current

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Pope Francis:  'Consult the Bible as often as your cellphone'
Pope Francis: 'Consult the Bible as often as your cellphone'

Pope Francis has called on Christians to consult the Bible as often as they might check their mobile phone for messages. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square following his weekly Angelus blessing on Sunday, the Pope urged those present to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones and asked: "What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read

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Pope Francis calls for renewal of sacred music tradition
Pope Francis calls for renewal of sacred music tradition

Pope Francis on Saturday received the participants in a major international conference on sacred music, a half-century after the promulgation of the Conciliar document, Musicam sacram on music in the sacred liturgy. More than 400 people taking part in the gathering organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Culture around the theme: Music and the Church: cult and culture fifty years after Musicam sacram,

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Pope's prayer intention for March: Persecuted Christians
Pope's prayer intention for March: Persecuted Christians

Pope Francis' prayer intention for March is 'Support for Persecuted Christians: That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.' The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the Pope's Video on this prayer intention, with the help of Aid to the Church in Need. The full text of the Pope's video is below:

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Pope reflects on 'real' and 'false' Lent fasting
Pope reflects on 'real' and 'false' Lent fasting

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis reflected on the day's readings, which speak about fasting - that is, the Pope explained, "about the penance that we are called to do in this time of Lent," in order to draw closer to the Lord. God delights in the "contrite heart," the Psalm says, "the heart of one who feels himself a sinner, who knows he is a sinner." In the first Reading, taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, God rebukes the false religiosity of

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Marie Collins resigns from Commission for Protection of Minors
Marie Collins resigns from Commission for Protection of Minors

The Vatican announced on Wednesday that a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins, has resigned from her position. She had been a member of the Commission since it was established by Pope Francis in 2014. In her resignation letter, she cited frustration at the lack of cooperation with the Commission by other offices of the Roman Curia. But she stressed that she trusts her colleagues: "I know the Commission will succeed and maybe anyone who has been resisting will open their minds and realise that we're all working for the same thing."

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Pope: The Christian is directed to follow Christ crucified
Pope: The Christian is directed to follow Christ crucified

The Christian is directed him to follow Christ crucified - not a disincarnate god - but God made flesh, Who bears in Himself the wounds of our brothers. That was the main message of Pope Francis in his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. The invitation to be converted resounds strongly at the beginning of Lent. And the liturgy of the day, places this exhortation in the context of three realities: man, God, and the journey. The reality of man is that of choosing

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 Pope Francis: 'we do not go to heaven in a carriage'
Pope Francis: 'we do not go to heaven in a carriage'

Pope Francis marked Ash Wednesday inviting the faithful to renew their hope in Christ's promises and their commitment to follow Him ever more closely. He was addressing the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly General Audience. Pointing out that on Ash Wednesday we enter the liturgical time of Lent, Pope Francis said this time of penitence and mortification is actually a journey of hope as it is directs us on the path towards Resurrection, and help us renew our Baptismal identity.

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Pope Francis: Lent is a time to start breathing again
Pope Francis: Lent is a time to start breathing again

Continuing a long-standing tradition, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for Ash Wednesday at the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine hill in Rome. The Holy Father began his homily for the beginning of Lent with the words of the prophet Joel, from the first Reading: "Return to me with all your heart... Return to the Lord." These words, the Pope said, apply to everyone, and exclude no one; "we all want to return to the merciful heart of the Father." Lent, the Pope said, is a path that "leads to the

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Myanmar: Cardinal calls for 'urgent ecological conversion'
Myanmar: Cardinal calls for 'urgent ecological conversion'

Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar, warned this week that the world is facing "an environmental holocaust." In an address to the conference of religious women of Asia and Oceania, the Cardinal said: "Pope Francis raised his voice against this impending disaster talking about modern sins, 'ecological sins' made individually and collectively by humans who destroy Mother Earth." He observed: "Greed has sparked an ecological terrorism against Mother Earth. Climate change is real

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Ireland: Archbishop Martin launches #LiveLent 2017 resources
Ireland: Archbishop Martin launches #LiveLent 2017 resources

Archbishop Eamon Martin has launched a special web resource, and a Twitter and Instagram #LiveLent initiative, for Lent 2017 which begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. Archbishop Martin said: "In his message for Lent 2017, which I encourage everyone to read, Pope Francis invites the faithful to return to God with all their hearts, to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. The theme for the Pope's message for Lent 2017 is 'The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift'.

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 Pope Francis: All people have a right to safe drinking water
Pope Francis: All people have a right to safe drinking water

Pope Francis addressed participants in a conference on the human right to water, organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on Friday. The Holy Father said the questions concerning the right to water are not marginal, but basic and pressing. Basic, because where there is water there is life, and pressing, because our common home needs to be protected. Yet we must also realise, he said, that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality. The right to safe drinking water,

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Pope makes historic visit to Anglican church in Rome
Pope makes historic visit to Anglican church in Rome

History was made on Sunday when Pope Francis visited the Anglican Parish of All Saints in Rome - the first time a pope has ever visited an Anglican place of worship in his diocese of Rome. The Pope presided over an evensong service with the bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Europe Robert Innes and together with Anglican and Orthodox clergy present, he blessed a new icon by the English artist Ian Knowles, who heads a school for Palestinian art students in Bethlehem.

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Pope Francis: God is our refuge, source of serenity and peace
Pope Francis: God is our refuge, source of serenity and peace

During his Angelus address on Sunday to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis focussed on the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus calls us not to worry about tomorrow, recalling that above all there is a loving Father who never forgets his children. Drawing from this passage the Pope reminded those present to trust in God who takes care of all living beings of creation. Trusting in him, explained the Holy Father, "will not magically solve our problems, but it lets us face

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Pope encourages parish priests to support married couples
Pope encourages parish priests to support married couples

This morning (Saturday) in the Vatican, Pope Francis met with parish priests participating in a training course dealing with annulment procedures and other legal issues surrounding marriage. The course was organized by the Roman Rota, the highest appellate tribunal of the Church. Referring to the proposals of the Synod of Bishops on 'Marriage and the Family"' and his subsequent Apostolic Exhortation, 'Amoris Laetitia', the Pope praised this study initiative saying it is the parish priest who is in

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Pope meets delegation of Jewish leaders preparing new edition of the Torah
Pope meets delegation of Jewish leaders preparing new edition of the Torah

Pope Francis received his long-time friend from his native Argentina, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, yesterday, along with a delegation of Jewish leaders involved in the preparation of a new edition of the Torah. The annotated, illustrated edition is already being hailed as an achievement in both the literary and visual arts. Pope Francis told his guests: "The extensive introduction to the text and the editor's note emphasize this dialogical approach and communicate a cultural vision of openness, mutual respect and peace that

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South Africa reflection: Budget 2017 - economic or spiritual matter?
South Africa reflection: Budget 2017 - economic or spiritual matter?

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made a strong call to conversion in his 2017 Budget Speech. Quoting Pope Francis he said, "Reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor first requires a conversion of mind and heart". He went on to say, "We need to radically transform our economy so that we have a more diversified economy, with more jobs and inclusivity in ownership and participation". There is no doubt that South Africa is sitting on a fast-ticking social time bomb.

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Pope Francis: Football is an image of life and society
Pope Francis: Football is an image of life and society

"Football, like other sports, is an image of life and society", Pope Francis this morning (Thursday) when he received the footballers, coaches and managers of the Argentine "Villarreal CF" team, scheduled to play a European League match in Rome this afternoon.

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Pope Francis: 'the protection of migrants is a moral duty'
Pope Francis: 'the protection of migrants is a moral duty'

Pope Francis said today the challenges of migration and the promotion of peace cannot be tackled without development and integration. Speaking to participants of an International Forum on Migration and Peace taking place in Rome, whom he received in the Vatican, the Pope said the political community, civil society and the Church must offer a shared response to the complexities of the phenomenon of migration today. "Our shared response, he said, may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate."

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Pope: If someone doesn't like you, pray for them
Pope: If someone doesn't like you, pray for them

On Sunday afternoon, Pope Francis visited the church of St Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus in Ponte di Nona in the east of Rome. During Mass, he stressed, that the path to holiness was forgiveness and prayer and that revenge and resentment has no place in the Christian life. After greeting parishioners and meeting a group of children, the Pope celebrated Mass telling the congregation present, never to go down the road of revenge or resentment. Instead, he said: "pray for those who want to do evil: this prevents wars and brings peace." It is also the Christian path to holiness,

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US Bishops urge Trump administration to care for creation
US Bishops urge Trump administration to care for creation

In a letter to the United States Secretary of State on Friday, chairmen of the US Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Committee on International Justice and Peace, along with Sean Callahan, President of Catholic Relief Services, urged the Administration to do everything they can to care for creation both domestically and globally. Building upon Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato si'. . . the letter emphasizes the importance of adaptation policies and specifically calls for continued US support of the Paris climate agreement as well as the Green Climate Fund,

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Pope to visit Anglican church in Rome
Pope to visit Anglican church in Rome

Pope Francis will make a historic visit to the Church of England chaplaincy of All Saints, Rome on Sunday February 26th, the first pontiff to set foot inside an Anglican church in his own diocese as the Bishop of Rome. During the afternoon encounter, the Holy Father will join the congregation for a short Choral Evensong service which includes the blessing of a specially commissioned icon and the twinning of All Saints with the Catholic parish of Ognissanti, a Rome church with strong ecumenical ties.

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Pope: Christ's law of love overcomes law of retaliation
Pope: Christ's law of love overcomes law of retaliation

Sunday's Gospel is one of the Biblical passages that best expresses the Christian "revolution," Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered for the Angelus in St Peter's Square today. In the reading from Matthew's Gospel, describing part of the Sermon on the Mount, he said: "Christ shows the path of true justice, through the law of love that overcomes that of retaliation, that is, 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'." Jesus does not ask His disciples simply to bear evils patiently, but to return good for evil: "Only in this way can the chains of evil be broken, and things can truly change."

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Yemen conflict sees world's worst food crisis amid widespread indifference
Yemen conflict sees world's worst food crisis amid widespread indifference

The ongoing conflict in Yemen was singled out by Pope Francis during his speech to Vatican diplomats at the beginning of the year. Speaking of the need for dialogue and calling for courageous gestures, he urged international leaders to foster reconciliation in Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries which continues to be devastated by a war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

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USA: Pope sends message to meeting of popular movements in California
USA: Pope sends message to meeting of popular movements in California

Last night, Cardinal Peter Turkson delivered a stirring address to nearly 700 faith and community leaders from 12 countries, urging them to stand together to end the global economy of exclusion. The cardinal's remarks come as part of the first US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements, which runs February 16-19. Cardinal Turkson surprised the crowd by first reading a poignant letter from Pope Francis in both English and Spanish. Pope Francis, who has been vocal about on immigration in recent weeks has urged communities around the world to welcome people fleeing their

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Pope Francis: May God give us the grace to proclaim an end to war
Pope Francis: May God give us the grace to proclaim an end to war

War begins in a person's heart, for this reason we are all responsible for caring for peace. This was Pope Francis' message during his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. The Holy Father spoke about the sufferings of so many people whose lives are upset by wars waged by the powerful and arms traffickers. The dove, the rainbow, and the Covenant. The Holy Father spoke about these three images, present in the day's First Reading from the Book of Genesis,

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Pope meets representatives of indigenous peoples
Pope meets representatives of indigenous peoples

Pope Francis met with a group representing indigenous peoples today (Wednesday) ahead of his General Audience, speaking to them about the need to "reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories." The group are participating in the Indigenous Peoples' Forum hosted in Rome by the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The biennial meeting aims to promote greater economic empowerment of indigenous peoples.

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Pope Francis: God does not have favourites
Pope Francis: God does not have favourites

"The hope that we have been given (as Christians) does not separate us from others, nor does it lead us to discredit or marginalize them, " Pope Francis told pilgrims today at his weekly General Audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall. The Pope underlined that God does not have favourites and does not exclude anyone, but opens his home to all human beings beginning with the least. "Hope is a gift of which we are called to become 'channels', with humility 'and simplicity', for all."

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Pope Francis: Preach with courage, prayer, and humility
Pope Francis: Preach with courage, prayer, and humility

Courage prayer, and humility: these are the traits that distinguish the great "heralds" who have helped the Church grow in the world and have contributed to its missionary character - Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Taking his inspiration from the Liturgy and from the example of Sts Cyril and Methodius, the patrons of Europe, who are honoured today, the Holy Father said there is need of "sowers of the Word," - for "missionaries, for true heralds to form the people of God, like Cyril and Methodius, "good heralds," intrepid brothers and witnesses of God who are honoured today,

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FLAME Congress to ask: What do young people want of the Church?
FLAME Congress to ask: What do young people want of the Church?

Pope Francis put young people centre-stage when he began 2017 with a letter asking them what they wanted of the Church. It is a question which will undoubtedly spark a lot of discussion, and what better place to start than the CYMFed Flame Congress, being held on March 11th 2017 at the SSE Arena, Wembley. Flame is a vibrant occasion during which a young Church gathers to engage with the big questions they face today. An App will be launched at the Congress to begin to gather views - and with well over 8,000 young people in the Arena,

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 Pope Francis: Bitterness is not Christian
Pope Francis: Bitterness is not Christian

During his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of the bond of brotherhood and of how easy it is for petty jealousies and envy to damage that bond and set off a process that can lead to the destruction of families and peoples. The Pope offered the Mass for Father Adolfo Nicolás, the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus who is preparing to continue in his mission in Asia. Reflecting on the first reading of the day which speaks of Cain and Abel, Pope Francis said that in this reading, for the first time in Bible we hear the word 'brother'

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Pope appoints Special Envoy to Medjugorje
Pope appoints Special Envoy to Medjugorje
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 Pope:  There is no dialogue with Satan - temptation calls for prayer
Pope: There is no dialogue with Satan - temptation calls for prayer

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, the Holy Father reflected on the devil's temptation of Adam and Eve, in the first Reading, and of Jesus in the Gospel. With Satan, the Pope said, there is no dialogue, because dialogue with the devil ends in sin and corruption. Temptations lead us to hide ourselves from the Lord, so that we remain with our "fault," our "sin," our "corruption." Beginning with the first Reading, from the Book of Genesis, Pope Francis focused on the temptation of Adam and Ee, and then considered that of Jesus in the desert.

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Pope Francis: Fight anti-Semitism with education and respect for all
Pope Francis: Fight anti-Semitism with education and respect for all

Pope Francis met a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League yesterday, and encouraged them to cultivate justice and foster accord and telling them "the fight against anti-Semitism can benefit from effective instruments, such as information and formation." The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all," and on Thursday just like his predecessors, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis received a delegation from the organization, which has maintained relations with

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Pope offers advice to Catholic writers
Pope offers advice to Catholic writers

Pope Francis met yesterday with Jesuits who write for the 'Civiltà Cattolicà' magazine, currently celebrating its 4000th edition. Founded in 1850 and originally available only in Italian, the publication is now available in English, French, Spanish and Korean. After giving the writers a hand-signed note, the Pope reflected at length on the importance of poetry, art and pioneering intellectual research, as the magazine seeks to build bridges with many peoples and cultures. "Your writing must not just defend Catholic ideas, but must witness to Christ in the world with a restless, open-ended

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Pope Francis: Christians must be living signs of hope
Pope Francis: Christians must be living signs of hope

Pope Francis yesterday encouraged the faithful to strive to be living signs of hope for the entire human family. Speaking during the weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope continued his catechesis on Christian hope, conceding that especially in times of darkness and difficulty, hope is no easy virtue. Quoting from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians he pointed out that Paul encourages the members of the early Church to sustain one another in hope through mutual prayer and practical concern for those in need.

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Pope: Without women there is no harmony in the world
Pope: Without women there is no harmony in the world

"Without women, there is no harmony in the world." That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. At the center of his reflection was the creation of woman, as told in Genesis. Men and women are not equal - one is not superior to the other. But it is the woman, and not the man, who brings that harmony which makes the world a beautiful place. Pope Francis was continuing his reflections on creation, the subject of the Readings for the past few days, taken from the Book of Genesis.

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Booking now: NJPN Conference - 'The Challenge of Pope Francis'
Booking now: NJPN Conference - 'The Challenge of Pope Francis'

The next National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales annual conference will be held on 21-23 July and take the theme: A Sabbath for the Earth and the Poor: The challenge of Pope Francis. The venue will be: The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire. It is being organised by NJPN in partnership with Church Action on Poverty, CAFOD, Caritas Social Action Network, Vincentians in Partnership, Operation Noah, and Columban JPIC. The theme of the conference this year is: 'Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with

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Pope Francis: We have been given God's 'DNA'
Pope Francis: We have been given God's 'DNA'

In his homily during morning Mass on Tuesday, at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on verses of Psalm 8: "Lord, what is man that you are mindful of him? Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honour," and on the Book of Genesis' account of the Creation of man and woman. Pope Francis said: "First of all, He gave us His 'DNA', that is, He made us children, created us in His image, in His image and likeness, like Him. And when one makes a child, he cannot take it back: the son is made, he exists.

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Pope Francis: The Christian is a slave of love, not duty
Pope Francis: The Christian is a slave of love, not duty

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, the Holy Father focused on the theme of Christian freedom, saying that the follower of Christ is a "slave" but of love, not of duty, and urging the faithful not to hide in the "rigidity" of the Commandments. Taking the Responsorial Psalm, 103 (104) as his starting point: a "song of praise" to God for His wonders. "The Father," said Pope Francis, "works to make this wonder of creation and with His Son to accomplish this wonder of re-creation." Pope Francis also recalled an episode in which a child asked him what God was doing before

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 Pope Francis: Try to change the rules of the socio-economic system
Pope Francis: Try to change the rules of the socio-economic system

Pope Francis on Saturday called for a change of "the rules of the game of the socio-economic system," adding "imitating the Good Samaritan of the Gospel is not enough." The Holy Father was speaking to participants of a meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Economy of Communion. Associated with the Focolare Movement, the project sets up businesses that follow market laws, but pool the profits in communion. "Economy and Communion. These are two words that contemporary culture keeps separate and often considers opposite,"

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Pope celebrates Mass on Candlemas, World Day for Consecrated Life
Pope celebrates Mass on Candlemas, World Day for Consecrated Life

Pope Francis on Thursday celebrated Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in St Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Mass also commemorated the World Day for Consecrated Life. On this day, the Church celebrates and prays for those who have consecrated their lives to God by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life participated in the Liturgy. The liturgical feast chosen for the commemoration celebrates the presentation of the newborn Jesus in the Temple by Joseph and Mary forty days after His birth,

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Text: On World Day for Consecrated Life Pope advises religious to avoid 'survival mentality'
Text: On World Day for Consecrated Life Pope advises religious to avoid 'survival mentality'

On Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated a solemn Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and also commemorated the 21st annual World Day for Consecrated Life. In his homily, the Holy Father called on consecrated women and men to "accompany Jesus as He goes forth to meet His people, to be in the midst of His people." An English translation of the full text of Pope Francis' homily for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord follows:

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Pope Francis: Our Christian hope is certain
Pope Francis: Our Christian hope is certain

Pope Francis invited Christians to "wear the hope of salvation like a helmet (1 Thess 5:8), in the knowledge that, because Christ is risen, the object of our hope is certain." The Holy Father was quoting from Saint Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians during his weekly General Audience in the Paul VI Hall where he continued his catechesis on Christian hope. Recalling the freshness and beauty of this first Christian proclamation the Pope described the community of Thessalonica at the time as one "rooted in faith

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Pope prays for martyrs who don't make the news
Pope prays for martyrs who don't make the news

Pope Francis offered Mass on Monday morning in Casa Santa Marta, for "today's martyrs", persecuted and imprisoned Christians, and for Churches which are not free to express the faith. With the understanding that "a Church without martyrs is a Church without Jesus", the Pontiff stressed that these martyrs sustain the Church and carry her forward. Even when "the media doesn't speak about them, because it is not news", today "many Christians in the world today are blessed because they are persecuted, insulted, imprisoned just for carrying a cross or for confessing to Jesus

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Pope prays for victims of attack on Quebec mosque
Pope prays for victims of attack on Quebec mosque

On Monday morning, after Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the Holy Father met with Cardinal Gérald Cyprien LaCroix, assuring the Archbishop of Quebec City of his prayers for the victims of the attack on a mosque there on Sunday night. Pope Francis stressed the importance of for all, Christians and Muslims, to be united in prayer. Following his meeting with the Pope, Cardinal Lacroix returned immediately to Canada. The Holy Father also formally expressed his condolences for the victims of the terrorist attack in a telegram addressed to Cardinal Lacroix,

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Canada: Catholic Bishops condemn attack on Quebec mosque
Canada: Catholic Bishops condemn attack on Quebec mosque

It was with horror and shock that we were all made aware of the violent and senseless attack carried out at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec yesterday evening. Such murderous violence is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It is a violation of the sanctity of human life; an assault on the right and freedom of the members of all religions to gather and pray in the name of their deepest beliefs; a wound to the peace, order and tranquility of our nation and its communities; and the desecration of a house of prayer and worship.

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Washington DC: Thousands in March for Life
Washington DC: Thousands in March for Life

Thousands took part in the March for Life in Washington DC on Friday. The March was preceded year by a prayer vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. On Friday morning, Archbishop Gregory M Aymond of New Orleans was the primary celebrant at the Closing Mass for the Vigil. Participants in this year's march were encouraged by the election of Donald Trump who has vowed to end taxpayer-funded abortion at home and abroad. Vice President Mike Pence, a longtime supporter of the anti-abortion movement, was the most senior government

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Pope Francis: Remember the Holocaust
Pope Francis: Remember the Holocaust

Pope Francis met with a delegation from the European Jewish Congress Friday on the International Holocaust Memorial Day, which occurs annually on 27 January. The Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Salesian Fr Norbert Hofmann, was present at the meeting. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Fr Hofmann said "the Pope began the dialogue by mentioning the importance of this Day for the Jews, but also for us, because remembering the victims of the Holocaust is important so that this human tragedy never happens again."

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Pope blesses new sculpture for Lampedusa harbour
Pope blesses new sculpture for Lampedusa harbour

Pope Francis once again demonstrated his closeness and concern for migrants and refugees, by blessing a new sculpture which will be be placed in the port of the Sicilian Island of Lampedusa, the gateway to Europe for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and poverty. Before the General Audience with pilgrims in the Paul VI Hall on Wednesday, the Holy Father met the creator of the work, Mauro Vaccai. The large bas-relief in white marble from Carrara, depicts several figures in a rescue at sea.

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Text: Pope at Ecumenical Vespers ending Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Text: Pope at Ecumenical Vespers ending Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Pope Francis delivered the following homily on the Solemnity of the Conversion of St Paul at the celebration of Vespers at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls for the conclusion of the 50th Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The week, on the theme 'Reconciliation - The Love of Christ Compels Us' closed with this Vespers, which brought together the leaders of many Christian communities in Rome: Encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus radically transformed the life of Saint Paul.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger greets Pope at General Audience
Arnold Schwarzenegger greets Pope at General Audience

Among those greeting Pope Francis at the General Audience on Wednesday was Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of the US state of California and Hollywood film star. Schwarzenegger has been promoting the 'R20 - Regions of Climate Action', an NGO he founded in 2010 which seeks to help sub-national governments around the world to develop and communicate low-carbon and climate resilient economic development projects. The Austrian-born politician first gained fame as a bodybuilder and movie actor, before becoming governor of California from 2003-2011.

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Pope Francis on priesthood of Christ
Pope Francis on priesthood of Christ

The priesthood of Christ was at the centre of the Pope's homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. His reflection was taken from the day's first Reading, from the Letter of Hebrews, which speaks about Christ as the Mediator of the Covenant God has made with human beings. Jesus is the High Priest, and the priesthood of Christ is the great wonder, the greatest wonder, which makes us sing a new song to the Lord, as the Responsorial Psalm says. The priesthood of Christ takes place in three stages, the Pope said.

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Message of Pope Francis For World Communications Day
Message of Pope Francis For World Communications Day

Access to the media - thanks to technological progress - makes it possible for countless people to share news instantly and spread it widely. That news may be good or bad, true or false. The early Christians compared the human mind to a constantly grinding millstone; it is up to the miller to determine what it will grind: good wheat or worthless weeds. Our minds are always "grinding", but it is up to us to choose what to feed them (cf. SAINT JOHN CASSIAN, Epistle to Leontius). I wish to address this message to all those who, whether in their professional work or personal

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Viewpoint: Who's showing whose true colours?
Viewpoint: Who's showing whose true colours?

Confused about the recent discussions over Cardinal Burke, Amoris Laetitia and the Knights of Malta? In her latest column for the National Catholic Reporter, Phyllis Sagano offers a very helpful summary. Sagano writes: Every seagoing ship flies its colours - its flag - so other vessels can identify friend or foe. Pirates often displayed false flags, only showing their true colours - black and white skull and bones - when they were close enough to attack. Remind you of the gang of four cardinals stirring a hornet's nest about Amoris Laetitia?

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Pope celebrates Mass for Dominicans 800th anniversary
Pope celebrates Mass for Dominicans 800th anniversary

.."we give thanks to the Father for the work that Saint Dominic, full of the light and the salt of Christ, accomplished 800 years ago; a work at the service of the Gospel, preached with words and with his life; a work that, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, has helped so many men and women to not lose themselves in the midst of the 'carnival' of worldly curiosity, but rather sense the taste of sound doctrine, the taste of the Gospel; who, in their turn, have become light and salt, doers of good works... and true brothers and sisters who glorify God, and teach others to glorify God, by the good works of their

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Pope: All areas of human life are ground in which to sow seed of the Gospel
Pope: All areas of human life are ground in which to sow seed of the Gospel

During the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis focused on the early days of Jesus ministry, in Galilee. This region, the Holy Father noted, was a kind of crossroads between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian lands. Because of the presence of large numbers of pagans, for the Jews Galilee was seen as a geographical periphery. Little was expected from Galilee in terms of the story of salvation - but it was precisely here that the light of the Gospel began to be diffused throughout the world, not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles. Here, following St John the Baptist, Jesus preached the coming of the

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Pope Francis on President Trump - We must wait and see
Pope Francis on President Trump - We must wait and see

In a wide-ranging interview published by Spanish newspaper El País, Pope Francis warned against forming an opinion about the new US President Donald Trump. "I think we must wait and see," he said. "I don't like to get ahead of myself nor judge people prematurely. We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will have an opinion." He warned against premature reactions. "Being afraid or rejoicing beforehand, because of something that might happen, is, in my view, unwise," he said. Speaking about other world issues Pope Francis again expressed his concern over the "world war

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 Pope advises Roman Rota on legal and sacramental marriage preparation
Pope advises Roman Rota on legal and sacramental marriage preparation

Pope Francis received members of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota on Saturdya, for the inauguration of the judicial year In his address the Holy Father spoke about the relationship between faith and marriage. Quoting from his predecessors including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, he noted the importance of Love and Truth. "Love needs truth", Pope Francis said. "Just as it is based on truth, love can last over time, overcome the ephemeral moment and stand firm to support a common path.

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Pope Francis: 'Christians need to overcome a self-centered mindset'
Pope Francis: 'Christians need to overcome a self-centered mindset'

Pope Francis has called on Christians to overcome the self-centered mindset of the doctors of the law who know only how to condemn. Reflecting on the day's reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, during morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said the new covenant which God makes with us in Jesus Christ renews our heart. God renews all things "from the roots, not only in appearance," he said. "This new covenant has its own characteristics." First, he said, "the law of the Lord is not an external way of acting" rather, it enters the heart and "changes our mindset", as well as

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Irish Bishops meet Pope, discuss possible visit to Ireland
Irish Bishops meet Pope, discuss possible visit to Ireland

Pope Francis met with the Irish bishops on Friday, during their ad limina visit to Rome. Less than half of the bishops had been on an ad limina visit before, and they were all impressed by the level of openness and dialogue they discovered in all the offices of the Roman Curia and particularly in their closed door, informal and unscripted conversation with the Pope. Archbishop Eamon Martin, president of the Irish bishops conference, said: "He (Pope Francis) said at the beginning, 'I'll throw in the ball and let's see what happens',

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Text: Pope's Inauguration Day Message to President Trump
Text: Pope's Inauguration Day Message to President Trump

Pope Francis has sent his good wishes to United States President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration. "At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation's commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide" ... "Under your leadership, may America's stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need

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 Poland marks 300th anniversary of Coronation of Our Lady of Czestochowa
Poland marks 300th anniversary of Coronation of Our Lady of Czestochowa

Many events are being planned throughout this year in Poland to celebrate the Jubilee of the crowning of the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Last month (15 December) the Polish Parliament adopted a resolution declaring 2017 a Jubilee year. Pope Clement XI canonically crowned the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa on September 8, 1717. The Jubilee began with a special Mass at Jasna Góra monastery, where the Icon is kept, celebrated by Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki on 8 September 2016. On December 8, a plenary indulgence was granted by Pope Francis which can be

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Pope Francis: Luther's intention was to renew not divide the Church
Pope Francis: Luther's intention was to renew not divide the Church

The intention of Martin Luther five hundred years ago "was to renew the Church, not divide her", Pope Francis said on Thursday, when he met an Ecumenical Delegation from Finland, in the Vatican to take part in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Pope recalled his visit to Sweden last October and said that the "gathering there gave us the courage and strength, in our Lord Jesus Christ, to look ahead to the ecumenical journey that we are called to walk together." The Pope ended his speech with off-the-cuff remarks thanking the bishop leading the delegation for having brought his

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Pope Francis: We look with hope to unity not division
Pope Francis: We look with hope to unity not division

Christian Unity and reconciliation are possible, Pope Francis said, when he greeted an Ecumenical delegation from Germany, during his weekly General Audience with pilgrims in the Paul the VI Hall. Recalling this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Holy Father said we look to "that which unites us - rather than that which divide," and he invited Christians to pray for this week. The Pope also recalled his visit to Lund in Sweden to commemorate the Reformation, saying: "we continue the journey together to deepen our communion and to give it more and more a 'visible form."

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Pope Francis: Don't be a 'parked' Christian - be courageous
Pope Francis: Don't be a 'parked' Christian - be courageous

The life of a Christian ought to be courageous, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The day's reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, speaks about zeal, the courage to go forward, which should be our approach toward life, like the attitude of those who train for victory in the arena. But the Letter also speaks of the laziness that is the opposite of courage. "Living in the fridge," the Pope summarised, "so that everything stays the same."

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Pope calls for special care for migrant children
Pope calls for special care for migrant children

Pope Francis appealed for better treatment of child refugees and migrants during his Angelus address on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father renewed his call for prayerful and concrete solidarity with minors forced to flee their homelands - especially for the children and adolescents forced to flee on their own, without the company of parents or older relatives. "It is necessary to take every possible measure to ensure protection and defence for migrant children," Pope Francis said, "as well as their integration," into host societies.

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Caritas Europa: Lone child migrants need all of our support!
Caritas Europa: Lone child migrants need all of our support!

On the occasion of the annual World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Caritas Europa joins Pope Francis in calling everyone to pay attention to the reality of child migrants, "especially the ones who are alone... who in a threefold way are defenceless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves". We urge European Member States to fully comply with the best interests of the child when responding to cases of unaccompanied children seeking protection. "Our older brother was kidnapped by ISIS and we have no news from him.

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Text: Message of Pope Francis for 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Text: Message of Pope Francis for 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees

"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me" (Mk 9:37; cf. Mt 18:5; Lk 9:48; Jn 13:20). With these words, the Evangelists remind the Christian community of Jesus' teaching, which both inspires and challenges. This phrase traces the sure path which leads to God; it begins with the smallest and, through the grace of our Saviour, it grows into the practice of welcoming others. To be welcoming is a necessary condition for making this journey a concrete reality: God made himself one of us. In Jesus,

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Ireland: Church welcomes Pope's message on Migrants and  Refugees
Ireland: Church welcomes Pope's message on Migrants and Refugees

Bishop John McAreavey has welcomed Pope Francis' 2017 message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees on 'child migrants, the vulnerable and the voiceless.' "There have been many changes in Irish society but our duty to love our neighbour no matter where he or she is from is unchanged and, thankfully, unchangeable".For 2017... Pope Francis is expressly asking all of us to particularly "take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenceless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves." Every community that can, should heed this call, and should do so now.

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Pope rejects economic system that discards people not considered 'useful'
Pope rejects economic system that discards people not considered 'useful'

"A world economic system that discards men, women and children because they are no longer considered useful or productive according to criteria drawn from the world of business or other organizations, is unacceptable, because it is inhumane, " Pope Francis said his address to the Rome Roundtable of the Global Foundation on Saturday. "Those who cause or allow others to be discarded - whether refugees, children who are abused or enslaved, or the poor who die on our streets in cold weather - become themselves like soulless machines" he added.

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Pope Francis: Get moving if you want to follow Jesus
Pope Francis: Get moving if you want to follow Jesus

During his homily at morning Mass in Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis said that authentic faith must be ready to take risks and that real hope is the reward. Commenting on the Gospel account of the paralytic who is lowered from the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching, the Pope said people follow Jesus out of self interest or because they are looking for a comforting word. Even if no intention is totally pure or perfect, he said, the important thing is to follow Jesus. People were drawn to Him because of the "things He said and the way he said them.

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Pope Francis: Make the most of each day
Pope Francis: Make the most of each day

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning Pope Francis reflected on the unique and unrepeatable opportunities each day offers to grow in faith and love of God. Reflecting on the day's readings, the Holy father noted there is "only one 'today', in our lives," - only one real, concrete today. Our temptation and everyone's temptation is to say: "Yes, I will do tomorrow," though this is the temptation of a "'tomorrow' there will not be," as Jesus says in the parable of the ten virgins - the five foolish ones who had not taken oil with them along with their lamps,

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 US Cardinal appeals for respect for all migrants and refugees
US Cardinal appeals for respect for all migrants and refugees

Cardinal Daniel N DiNardo, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement for National Migration Week. The theme of the week this year draws attention to Pope Francis' call to create a culture of encounter. Today, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles played a taped video message from Pope Francis at the end of a Mass as part of National Migration Week celebrations....In the days and weeks ahead, there will be intense debate over immigration reform and refugee policy. Ultimately, the question is this: Will our nation treat all migrants and refugees, regardless

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UK churches prepare for Peace Sunday
UK churches prepare for Peace Sunday

From Abindgon to Altrincham, Southport to Sheffield, orders for Peace Sunday 2017 are rolling in to the Pax Christi office. It seems that parishes across the country are taking up the World Peace Message challenge of Pope Francis "Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace." The theme for 2017, 'Nonviolence: a style of politics for peace', seems to have captured the attention and imagination of individuals, communities and parishes.

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Ireland: Laudato Si' is theme for Catholic Schools Week 2017
Ireland: Laudato Si' is theme for Catholic Schools Week 2017

On Sunday 29 January Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, will be the chief celebrant and preacher at Mass to mark the opening of Catholic Schools Week 2017. This Mass will be broadcast by RTÉ on radio and television from the Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Portlaoise, which has a capacity for 1,800 people. This year's theme, 'Catholic schools: Learning with Pope Francis to care for our common home' has been informed by Laudato Si', the 2015 encyclical by Pope Francis on care for our common home.

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Pope Francis: Christian hope is born of trust in God, not idols
Pope Francis: Christian hope is born of trust in God, not idols

Pope Francis contrasted authentic hope, born out of trust in God, with the temptation of false idols offered by our modern world, such as money, power or physical beauty, in his General Audience today. "Hope is a primary need.." but we can get lost in our search for security by trusting in the false hopes offered by idols, that "confuse the mind and heart, and, instead of favouring life, they lead to death. The Pope then told a story he had heard in Buenos Aires of a very beautiful woman who was very proud of her beauty.

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Pope Francis: Jesus had authority because He was close to people
Pope Francis: Jesus had authority because He was close to people

Jesus had authority because He served the people, He was close to them and He was coherent. These three characteristics of Jesus' authority were highlighted by Pope Francis in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father noted, on the other hand, that the scribes behaved like princes. They taught with a clericalist authority. They were distant from the people - and didn't practice what they preached. The day's Gospel speaks of the amazement of the people because Jesus taught "as one who has authority" and not like the scribes: they were the 'authorities'

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Pope condemns 'homicidal madness' which misuses God's name to kill
Pope condemns 'homicidal madness' which misuses God's name to kill

Pope Francis has called on people of every religious tradition to join in condemning the misuse of God's name to justify acts of violence. Speaking in the Apostolic Palace to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See during the traditional exchange of New Year's greetings, on Monday, Pope Francis said: "One can never kill in God's name," adding that the world is, "dealing with a homicidal madness which misuses God's name in order to disseminate death, in a play for domination and power." The Pope continued: "Fundamentalist terrorism is the fruit of a profound spiritual poverty,

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Pope Francis baptises 28 babies in  Sistine Chapel
Pope Francis baptises 28 babies in Sistine Chapel

Pope Francis on Sunday baptised 28 babies during Mass in the Sistine chapel, telling their families that Jesus' first sermon was the sound of his crying in the stable at Bethlehem. Amidst the sounds of crying babies, the Holy Father gave a short, off-the-cuff homily on the faith which is given to children in Baptism. Faith, he said, does not just mean reciting the Creed on Sundays, but rather it means believing in the truth, trusting in God and teaching others with the example of our lives.

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Pope urges care for homeless as Europe is hit by extreme cold weather
Pope urges care for homeless as Europe is hit by extreme cold weather

In his address to pilgrims gathered in a freezing St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis asked for prayers for all those living and dying on the streets at this time of year. The Pope's words came during his Angelus address after the Mass marking the feast of Jesus' baptism in the River Jordan. As Jesus came to be baptised, the Pope said, John the Baptist tries to stop him, saying he is the one who should be baptised by Jesus. But, the Pope continued, Jesus came down to earth to close the gap between God and man, to fulfill God's will and to show that God remains close to us, his children.

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Text: Pope Francis on Feast of the Epiphany
Text: Pope Francis on Feast of the Epiphany

...These men saw a star that made them set out. The discovery of something unusual in the heavens sparked a whole series of events. The star did not shine just for them, nor did they have special DNA to be able to see it. As one of the Church Fathers rightly noted, the Magi did not set out because they had seen the star, but they saw the star because they had already set out (cf. Saint John Chrysostom). Their hearts were open to the horizon and they could see what the heavens were showing them, for they were guided by an inner restlessness. They were open to something new.

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Pope Francis: Choose to be guided by the star of Jesus
Pope Francis: Choose to be guided by the star of Jesus

Choose to be guided by the star of Jesus, Pope Francis told thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus of the Epiphany today. "Even if there are several stars in our life, it's up to us to choose which to follow... There are flashing lights that come and go, like the small pleasures of life: although good, they are not enough... "the Holy Father said. The Magi invite us to follow the true light that is Lord - said Pope Francis - "a light that does not dazzle, but it accompanies and gives a unique joy.

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Praying with the Pope in January
Praying with the Pope in January

January, and a new year, usually feels like a chance of a fresh start in more ways than just the numbers on the calendar. A great many of us have experienced the year just ended as pretty awful, quite exceptional in so much tragedy and suffering, such intolerance and hatred. The world is full of anger. It is on this world that the trinity gazes, this world and no other. If we feel a desire welling up from deep within our hearts for something better in 2017, so does the heart of God, in that loving and pained gaze.

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 Pope offers advice on fostering vocations to priesthood, religious life
Pope offers advice on fostering vocations to priesthood, religious life

Pope Francis addressed a conference organised by the national office for Pastoral Care for Vocations of the Italian Episcopal Conference today. The theme of the conference was: "Arise, go forth, and fear not. Vocations and sanctity: I am on a mission." Setting aside his prepared speech, the Holy Father told the 800-strong priests and religious present: "How many young people, boys and girls, today hear in their heart that 'Arise', and how many - priests, consecrated men and women - close the door? And they wind up frustrated."

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Pope Francis: Sometimes silence or a hug are better than words
Pope Francis: Sometimes silence or a hug are better than words

Sometimes silence or a hug are better than words, Pope Francis said on Wednesday, during his General Audience with pilgrims in the Paul VI Hall. Continuing his series of catechesis on the theme of Christian hope, the Holy Father spoke about the inconsolable pain of a parent losing a child. The Pope focused his words on the Old Testament figure of Rachel, wife of Jacob, who is described by the prophet Jeremiah as weeping bitter tears for her children in exile. In the book of Genesis, we learn that Rachel died in childbirth, giving life to her second son, Benjamin.

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 Pope to meet survivors of Italian earthquakes
Pope to meet survivors of Italian earthquakes

Pope Francis will meet victims of the devastating earthquakes that struck central Italy last year, on Thursday, 5 January, the Vigil of Epiphany. Nearly 300 people were killed in an earthquake that struck near the town of Amatrice on August 24. Just over two months later, a series of quakes struck the same region, including a magnitude 6.6 earthquake on October 30 - the largest quake to strike Italy in over thirty years. Only two people died in the October quakes, although a number of towns, including Norcia, the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica, suffered serious damage.

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Jerusalem:  Latin Patriarchate homily for World Day of Peace 2017
Jerusalem: Latin Patriarchate homily for World Day of Peace 2017

A few days ago, we celebrated the birth of the Lord, and we called to mind that event which happened in history when God clothed himself with our flesh. Now we continue to celebrate Christmas, because that birth does not cease to be vital, active: the Lord continues to be born, to grow, to exist in the life of every baptised person and - in a mysterious way - in that of every person. But the birth of Jesus in us is not an event that happens in an instant: it is rather a long process, which requires time and patience and slowly draws us, always deeper and deeper,

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Pope urges Bishops to protect lives of children
Pope urges Bishops to protect lives of children

Pope Francis has written to the Bishops of the world condemning all forms of oppression and exploitation of children. His words come in a letter signed on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which takes place each year on December 28, during the Octave of Christmas. In his letter, the Holy Father calls the Bishops to foster in hearts of Christians the joy that comes from the proclamation of the birth of Christ. But in moving words, he notes that the Christmas story is also accompanied by tears. "Today, too," the Pope said, we hear this heart-rending cry of pain,

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Pax Christi welcomes Pope Francis' message on non-violence
Pax Christi welcomes Pope Francis' message on non-violence

Pax Christi International has welcomed Pope Francis' message for World Peace Day, calling on the Church to invest in non-violent ways of resolving wars and conflicts. The message, entitled 'Non-violence: A style of politics for peace' was published in December to mark the Catholic Church's observance of World Peace Day on 1st January. In the message the Pope notes that violence leads to suffering through forced migrations, environmental destruction, terrorism and organized crime, as well as a deadly cycle of retaliation that ends up benefiting merely a few warlords.

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Pope Francis on Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - to discover God's heartbeat in history
Pope Francis on Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - to discover God's heartbeat in history

"Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart! (Lk 2:19). In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days. Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people. Deep within, she had learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn taught her, throughout her life, to discover God's heartbeat in history.

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Pope condemns Istanbul terror attack
Pope condemns Istanbul terror attack

Pope Francis has condemned the deadly New Year's Eve terror attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, in which a gunman opened fire on New Year's revelers in Istanbul's popular Reina venue at 1:30 AM (22:30 GMT), killing at least 39 people and wounding scores of others. At least 69 people were taken to hospital with injuries. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter's Square for the New Year's Day Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims and their families, as well as the whole Turkish people.

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US Bishops prepare to celebrate National Migration Week
US Bishops prepare to celebrate National Migration Week

The Catholic Church in the United States is preparing to celebrate National Migration Week in which American Catholics reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. The theme for this year's Week draws attention to Pope Francis' call to create a culture of encounter, and in doing so to look beyond our own needs and wants to those of others around us. In the homily given at his first Pentecost as Pope, he emphasised the importance of encounter in the Christian faith: "For me this word is very important.

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Pope reflects on Christian hope; meets Golden Circus performers
Pope reflects on Christian hope; meets Golden Circus performers

Pope Francis returned to the theme of 'Christian hope' in his catechesis today, during the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall. Focussing on the figure of Abram, who became Abraham, our "father in faith and in hope," Pope Francis said St Paul pointed to Abram "to indicate the way of faith and of hope." Abram's confidence in God's promise to give him a son was truly a hope "against every hope", precisely because he and his wife Sara were old. But Abram believed, and his faith gave way to a new hope, a hope which, to all appearances was unreasonable.

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Pope Francis sends message to Taizé gathering in Riga
Pope Francis sends message to Taizé gathering in Riga

Coming from every part of Europe, and from a number of other continents, several thousand of you have gathered in Riga, Latvia, for the 39th meeting organized and led by the Taizé Community. With the theme of bearing witness to hope that will be at the heart of your reflection and prayers, Pope Francis is particularly close to you because he has often called you to not let anyone rob you of your hope. During the WYD prayer vigil in Kraków he strongly emphasized this essential reality of the Christian faith:

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 Pope Francis: Overcome evil with good, hatred with love
Pope Francis: Overcome evil with good, hatred with love

Pope Francis on Monday called on Christians to "overcome evil with good and hatred with love." In a tweet today, marking the Feast of Saint Stephen, the Church's first martyr, the Pope said, "let us remember the martyrs of today and yesterday." It was a theme the Holy Father picked up in his Angelus address to the thousands of pilgrims who had gathered in St Peter's Square on this, the day after Christmas.

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Pope: 'Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the Child in the manger'
Pope: 'Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the Child in the manger'

Pope Francis has urged Christians to allow themselves to be challenged by the Child in the manger, and also by the children of today's world, so many of whom are suffering. During the Holy Christmas Mass homily, celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica on Saturday evening, Christmas Eve, the Pope spoke of those children "who are not lying in a cot caressed with the affection of a mother and father" , of those hiding underground to escape bombardment, of those on the the bottom of a boat overladen with immigrants.

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Pope Francis:  'Urbi et Orbi' Christmas Message  2016 - text
Pope Francis: 'Urbi et Orbi' Christmas Message 2016 - text

The power of this Child, Son of God and Son of Mary, is not the power of this world, based on might and wealth; it is the power of love. It is the power which created the heavens and the earth, which gives life to all creation: to minerals, plants and animals; it is the force which attracts man and woman, and makes them one flesh, one single existence; it is the power which gives new birth, pardons faults, reconciles enemies, and transforms evil into good. It is the power of God.

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Pope exchanges Christmas greetings with Vatican employees
Pope exchanges Christmas greetings with Vatican employees

Pope Francis received employees of the Holy See's curial dicasteries and Vatican offices, along with their families, in the Paul VI Hall, for an exchange of Christmas greetings yesterday morning. "Work is very important for the person who works, and for that person's family," said Pope Francis. "While we give thanks for the work we have, let us pray for the persons and the families - in Italy and in all the world - who do not have work, or who so often do unworthy jobs, poor-paying jobs, jobs that are harmful to their health," he continued.

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Pope lays out guiding principles for reform of Roman Curia
Pope lays out guiding principles for reform of Roman Curia

Pope Francis invited the Roman Curia to embrace the process of reform on Thursday, telling them Christmas is "the feast of the loving humility of God, of the God who upsets our logical expectations, the established order". His words came in his annual Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia. "At Christmas, we are called to say 'yes' with our faith, not to the Master of the universe, and not even the most noble ideas, but precisely to this God who is the humble lover," the Pope said.

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First woman appointed to direct Vatican Museums
First woman appointed to direct Vatican Museums

Pope Francis has appointed a new Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, who is set to take up the post on 1 January 2017. She is succeeding Antonio Paolucci, who is retiring at 77. Born in Rome on 6 October 1962, Barbara Jatta previously held the position of Vice-Director of the Vatican Museums. She received her Liberal Arts degree in Letters from the Sapienza University in Rome in 1986, a Diploma in Archives at the Vatican School of Paleography the following year, and a specialization in Art History in 1991.

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Pope Francis: Open your hearts to the good news of Christmas
Pope Francis: Open your hearts to the good news of Christmas

Pope Francis urged pilgrims to open their hearts to the Good News of the Saviour's birth, during his General Audience address today in the Paul VI Hall. Reflecting on the fact that a catechesis focusing on Christian hope is more than appropriate during the time of Advent, Pope Francis recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah: "the Lord himself will give you a sign: the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel" and also "a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom."

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Pope offers condolences to family of slain Russian ambassador
Pope offers condolences to family of slain Russian ambassador

Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to the family of the Russian ambassador to Turkey who was shot dead by a police officer at an art exhibition in Ankara on Monday night. In a message sent by the Holy See's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Pope said he was "saddened to learn of the violent attack in Ankara, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Andrei Karlov". He assured the people of the Russian Federation of his prayers and "spiritual solidarity" at this time.

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Pope advises young people: 'listen to your grandparents'
Pope advises young people: 'listen to your grandparents'

This morning, Pope Francis encouraged a group of young people to cultivate their relationships with their grandparents. Speaking with members of the Italian Catholic lay association, 'Azione Cattolica Italiana', the Holy Father spoke of the joy that derives from the coming of Jesus, and said that joy is increased and multiplied when we share it. He invited the young people to receive the joy of Advent as they would receive a gift and to bear witness to it in their families, schools, parishes and in all places.

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Pope receives Skype birthday greetings from prisoners
Pope receives Skype birthday greetings from prisoners

Pope Francis received some very special birthday wishes yesterday from prisoners detained at the Due Palazzi prison in Padua, Italy - the Vatican reported today (Sunday). Prison chaplain, Don Mario Pozza, arranged a skype call with Pope Francis involving around 60 prisoners, several guards, the prison warden and volunteers, at about 5pm Rome time on Saturday, December 17th - the afternoon of the Holy Father's 80th birthday. The prisoners were represented by one of their number, Marzio, who read a letter to Pope Francis in which he promised prayers for the Pope, and said:

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Pope Francis celebrates Mass with Cardinals on 80th birthday
Pope Francis celebrates Mass with Cardinals on 80th birthday

Pope Francis was the principal celebrant at Mass in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican this morning (17th December). The concelebrants were the Cardinals resident in Rome. The reason for this celebration was to give thanks to God for the life of Pope Francis, who was born 80 years ago this day, on December 17th, 1936. The liturgy unfolded with the simple penitential settings of the season, and the readings were those of the day. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, offered words of greeting in the name of all those present and of all the

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Best birthday gifts for Pope Francis are prayers and love
Best birthday gifts for Pope Francis are prayers and love

Birthday wishes have been pouring in from across the globe in celebration of Pope Francis' 80th birthday today. Amongst those celebrating in an especially 'personal' way, are the residents of the villas miserias - or shanty towns - in Buenos Aires who always looked to the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, as their pastor. Francis' 'right-hand-man' in the field was Father Pepe Di Paola, who continues to carry out his mission with the poorest of the poor in Argentina's capital city. He spoke by telephone to Vatican Radio about Jorge Bergoglio and 'his' people.

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Pope Francis: A life without dreams is not worthy of God
Pope Francis: A life without dreams is not worthy of God

Pope Francis met young patients, their families and hospital staff from the 'Bambino Gesù' Children's Hospital in Rome on Thursday at an audience in the Paul VI Hall. Among the hundreds of children from the Vatican hospital, were young patients from across the world including 15 youngsters from the Central African Republic - one of the 'Bambino Gesù' has a special projects - (the others are in Jordan and in Palestine which treat refugee children from Syria and Iraq.)

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Pope: Christians should point the way to Jesus
Pope: Christians should point the way to Jesus

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning, Pope Francis reflected on John the Baptist, who, as a model of humble witness to Jesus, denied himself, even to the point of death, in order to point out the coming of the Son of God. The Mass was attended by Bishops and religious celebrating the 50th anniversary of their ordination, and married couples celebrating the 50th anniversary of their wedding vows. In his homily Pope Francis said the vocation of St John the Baptist, was to "to give witness to Jesus," "to point out Jesus.."

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Vatican releases message for 2017 World Day of Sick
Vatican releases message for 2017 World Day of Sick

Pope Francis has released his message for the 25th World Day of the Sick to take place on 11 February 2017, the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Day of the Sick was instituted by Pope St John Paul II in 1992, who called it "a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one's suffering." Pope Francis entitled his message for the 2017 celebration of the World Day of the Sick 'Amazement at what God has accomplished: The Almighty has done great things for me...' (Lk 1:49)'. He said the commemoration "gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever

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Pope sends condolences on death of Cardinal Arns
Pope sends condolences on death of Cardinal Arns

Brazilian Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns died on Wednesday morning, aged 95, after a long struggle with lung and kidney problems. The Archbishop Emeritus of Sao Paulo was the last living Cardinal to be appointed by Pope Paul VI in 1973. Cardinal Arns served as Archbishop of Sao Paulo from 1970 to 1998. A pastor at heart, never far from his flock, Cardinal Arns was much beloved by the faithful. He was also known for having challenged leaders of the brutal Brazilian military dictatorship of 1964-1985 and for his fight against torture in Latin America.

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Pope: Pastors should welcome people's first steps, let God do the rest
Pope: Pastors should welcome people's first steps, let God do the rest

Pastors should speak the truth, but at the same time welcome people for what they are able to give. This is the first step - the rest we leave to the Lord. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta... Many people went out into the desert to find John the Baptist. Among the crowds were the Pharisees and the doctors of the law who went out with a certain detachment, intending not to be baptized by John, but to judge him.

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Pope Francis: The birth of Jesus calls us to be joyful
Pope Francis: The birth of Jesus calls us to be joyful

Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the theme of 'Christian hope' at his General Audience with pilgrims in Pope Paul VI Hall on Wednesday, saying the Kingdom brought by Jesus at his birth calls us to be joyful and heralds in a world that "yearns for justice, truth, and peace." Reflecting on the words of the prophet Isaiah: 'How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of the one bringing good news' (Is 52:7,9-10), Pope Francis said these words help us prepare for the coming feast of Christmas by opening ourselves to the hope of salvation.

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BBC admits falsely describing Catholic Church as 'silent' before Hitler
BBC admits falsely describing Catholic Church as 'silent' before Hitler

In a significant finding, the British Broadcasting Corporation has conceded that in their main evening news bulletin, seen by millions, it falsely described the Church as being 'silent' in the face of Nazism and that it has not reported correctly on the Church's opposition to Hitler, David Alton writes in his blog. He continues: The finding was made by the BBC's internal watchdog after Fr Leo Chamberlain and I jointly lodged a complaint. Fr Chamberlain, a Benedictine, is a historian and former headmaster of Ampleforth College. The broadcast was made last July during a visit to Auschwitz by Pope Francis.

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Pope: Clericalism distances people from the Church
Pope: Clericalism distances people from the Church

The spirit of clericalism is an evil that is present in the Church today, Pope Francis said, and the victim of this spirit is the people, who feel discarded and abused. That was the Pope's message in his homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. Among those taking part in the Mass were the members of the Council of Cardinals, who are meeting with the Pope this week in Rome. In his homily, Pope Francis warned pastors of the dangers of becoming "intellectuals of religion" with a morality far from the Revelation of God.

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Wish Pope Francis happy birthday by email
Wish Pope Francis happy birthday by email

The Vatican has created new email addresses for well wishers to leave birthday messages for the Pope. Pope Francis turns 80 on December 17th. According to his staff, Pope Francis will be working "just as normal" on the day itself. He will receive the President of Malta in an audience and will later meet with the Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, Cardinal Marc Oullet, as well as other guests and dignitaries. He will also celebrate Mass in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican, along with those Cardinals who are living and working in Rome.

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MPs to send message of congratulations to Pope for his 80th birthday
MPs to send message of congratulations to Pope for his 80th birthday

In an Early Day Motion, MPs of all parties have agreed to send message of congratulations to Pope Francis ahead of his 80th birthday The motion signed by MPs from five different parties also recognises the Pope's leading contribution to tackling climate change, promoting sustainable development, welcoming refugees, building peace, encouraging prison reform, protecting religious freedom, and advancing global abolition of the death penalty. Catholic MP Rob Flello, who sponsored the motion said:

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Pope's Message for World Day of Peace: violence is no cure for broken world
Pope's Message for World Day of Peace: violence is no cure for broken world

Pope Francis is calling for a renewed culture of nonviolence to inform global politics today, saying military responses to conflicts only breed more violence. The Pope's appeal was released on Monday in the 50th Papal Message for the World Day of Peace, marked on 1st January. Calling on political and religious leaders, on the heads of international institutions, on business and media executives and on all men and women of goodwill to become instruments of reconciliation and adopt nonviolence as a style of politics for peace, Pope Francis said we find ourselves "engaged in a horrifying world war

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Pope Francis writes to Syrian President Assad
Pope Francis writes to Syrian President Assad

Pope Francis has sent a letter to the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, through Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, appealing for "an end to the violence and the peaceful resolution of hostilities" in the country. A comuniqué from the Holy See Press Office released on Monday read as follows: "In naming Archbishop Mario Zenari to the College of Cardinals, the Holy Father sought to show a particular sign of affection for the beloved Syrian people, so sorely tried in recent years.

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Pope laments poverty in Americas on Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Pope laments poverty in Americas on Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Pope Francis celebrated Mass last night in St Peter's Basilica for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. In his homily the Holy Father reflected on how the feast reminds us that we are not orphans, saying Our Lady teaches us to look on our brothers and sisters with her eyes full of love... Our beloved American continent has grown accustomed to seeing thousands and thousands of children and young people on the street, begging and sleeping in train stations or wherever they find space... And they feel that there is no space for them on the 'train of life'".

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Pope advises seminarians to promote 'belonging'
Pope advises seminarians to promote 'belonging'

On Saturday, Pope Francis met with seminarians of the Pontifical Pius XI seminary of the Puglia region, together with a group of local bishops. In his address he focussed on the theme of 'belonging.' "Only if we feel ourselves to be a part of Christ, the Church, and the Kingdom, will we journey well through the Seminary Years," the Holy Father said. In this context, he warned against "narcissism", and reminded the seminarians that their "vocational journey" will only be possible by if they remain vigilant against this temptation.

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Vatican: Bambinelli Blessing, prayers for victims of war and terror attacks
Vatican: Bambinelli Blessing, prayers for victims of war and terror attacks

Pope Francis welcomed the children of Rome for the traditional 'Bambinelli Blessing' in St Peter's Square on Sunday On this day, the Third Sunday of Advent, Roman boys and girls bring the Baby Jesus from their Nativity sets to Saint Peter's Square to be blessed by the Pope. Thousands of children, clutching their Bambinellis listened as the Holy Father thanked them for coming, and wished them a happy Christmas. He asked them to remember to pray for him when they said their prayers before their Christmas cribs, and assured them that he prayed for them, too.

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Vatican Christmas tree and crib installed
Vatican Christmas tree and crib installed

This year's Christmas tree and crib were inaugurated and lit up on Friday afternoon in St Peter's Square. Earlier in the day in the Paul VI hall, Pope Francis met with the donors of the tree and the nativity scene, telling them that these gifts "form a message of hope and love." The 25 metre high spruce tree was donated by the Lagorai Forests Association which is located the Trentino region of Northern Italy and the Pope remarked that, "the beauty of those views is an invitation to contemplate the Creator and to respect nature, the work of his hands."

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Young couple donate their house to homeless refugees
Young couple donate their house to homeless refugees

Pope Francis recently suggested European Christians could show solidarity with those fleeing violence and persecution by each church making a commitment to offer one house to those seeking refuge. A young couple in Birmingham, Steph and Matthew Neville, who were saving up for a house for themselves, have responded to this call, by buying one for refugees instead.... Steph told ICN: "Matthew and I already live in a small ecumenical ecumenical community with accommodation provided by a church so we realised we didn't need a house of our own."

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Pope visits Immaculate Conception statue in Rome
Pope visits Immaculate Conception statue in Rome

Pope Francis visited the Piazza di Spagna in Rome on Thursday for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, where he laid a bouquet of white roses near the Column of the Immaculate Conception and prayed especially for families and for workers. In the ceremony attended by the Mayor of Rome, Pope Francis prayed especially for abandoned children, for families struggling to make ends meet, and for men and women in search of work.

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Pope Francis: rigidity and worldliness are a disaster for priests
Pope Francis: rigidity and worldliness are a disaster for priests

During Friday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the need for priests to serve as authentic mediators of God's love, rather than as intermediaries - "go-betweens" or "middle-men" - concerned only with advancing their own interests. "The mediator gives himself to unite the parties, he gives his life. That is the price - he pays with his life, his fatigue, his work, so many things, but - in this case the pastor - to unite the flock, to unite people, to bring them to Jesus. The logic of Jesus as mediator is the logic of annihilating oneself.

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Pope's interview with Belgian Catholic newspaper - text
Pope's interview with Belgian Catholic newspaper - text

Pope Francis granted an interview to Tertio, a Catholic weekly newspaper in Belgium this week, on themes ranging from the fruits of the Jubilee of Mercy to his hopes for a synodal Church. In the wide-ranging interview, the Holy Father reflected on the openness to transcendence inherent in the human person, the scourge of religious fundamentalism, the price of war, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and his desire for a synodal Church. The following is the full text of the interview the Holy Father granted to the Belgian Catholic weekly publication 'Tertio',

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Pope Francis: God awaits our 'yes'
Pope Francis: God awaits our 'yes'

Pope Francis encouraged Christians to give their "Yes" to God, which allows the Lord to create for us a "new story," as opposed to sin, which makes us "old inside." The Holy Father was speaking to pilgrims in St Peter's Square before the Angelus on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The day's readings were the account of the Fall of Adam and Eve [Gn 3:9-15, 20], and the Annunciation [Lk 1:26-38]. "The readings of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary are two crucial passages in the history of the relationship between man and God.

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Vatican unveils child protection website
Vatican unveils child protection website

On the feast of St Nicholas, patron saint of children, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors [PCPM] launched a new website to provide information on the Commission and its Mission. The website has resources divided into four categories: 'Healing and Care', 'Guidelines', 'Education', and the 'Day of Prayer for the Victims and Survivors of Sexual Abuse. It also provides news and information about the Commission in an easily accessible format.

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Pope Francis: 'God's tenderness is our salvation'
Pope Francis: 'God's tenderness is our salvation'

A person who does not know the tenderness of God, does not know the Christian doctrine, Pope Francis explained his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Most of his homily focused largely on the story of Judas. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day which recounts the Parable of the lost sheep, Pope Francis spoke of how the Lord never stops looking for us. The Lord is like a caring judge, who does everything to save us. "He does not come to condemn, but to save" the Pope said,

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Pope Francis: Never lose hope
Pope Francis: Never lose hope

During his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis began a new series of catecheses on 'Christian Hope'. In our times, which seem so dark, the Pope said we often feel "lost in the face of the wickedness and the violence that surround us." We may even feel "discouraged, because we feel powerless, and it seems the darkness might never end." But we should never give up hope, because God, with His love, journeys with us, He does not desert us, and the Lord Jesus has overcome evil, and opened up the path of life."

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First US-born martyr on path to sainthood
First US-born martyr on path to sainthood


Pope Francis has recognised the martyrdom of Fr Stanley Rother, a priest from Oklahoma City who served in Guatemala. Fr Stanley was murdered in July 1981 by a death squad believed to have been made up of right wing extremists. He is the first martyr to have been born in the United States. During his audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope also approved decrees for: The heroic virtue of Mother Catherine Aurelia of the Precious Blood, foundress of the first contemplative community founded in Canada.

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Pope: Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ
Pope: Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis focussed on the theme of the renewal that the Lord brings. Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ; let us allow ourselves to be able to be re-created, freeing us from our sins, he said. Only by calling our sins by their name, he said, will we be able to allow God to make us new women and men. The desert will bloom, the blind will see, the deaf will hear. The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, speaks to us about renewal, the Pope said.

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Pope: God does not take away our freedom, but gives us true happiness
Pope: God does not take away our freedom, but gives us true happiness

"The Kingdom of God is at hand and is indeed in the middle of us - this is the central message of all Christian mission," Pope Francis told the crowds in St Peter's Square during his Angelus address for the Second Sunday of Advent. In the day's Gospel reading, John the Baptist issues the invitation to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". The Holy Father explained that with these same words Jesus will start his mission in Galilee and it is an announcement that will "bring the disciples on their first missionary experience."

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Pope Francis meets global business leaders forum
Pope Francis meets global business leaders forum

..."When we ignore the cries of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we not only deny them their God-given rights and worth, but we also reject their wisdom and prevent them from offering their talents, traditions and cultures to the world," - he continued - "In so doing, the poor and marginalized are made to suffer even more, and we ourselves grow impoverished, not only materially, but morally and spiritually." Pope Francis challenged the business leaders to respond to global levels of injustice by promoting a local - "and even personal" - sense of responsibility

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Pope Francis' December prayer intention calls for end to child soldiers
Pope Francis' December prayer intention calls for end to child soldiers

Pope Francis' prayer intention for December is for the End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
The Apostleship of Prayer has produced the Pope's Video on this prayer intention.... In this world, which has developed the most sophisticated technologies, weapons are sold that end up in the hands of child soldiers.

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Pope Francis. True Christian humility is 'childlike' not 'theatrical'
Pope Francis. True Christian humility is 'childlike' not 'theatrical'

Pope Francis said yesterday that true Christian humility is the virtue of the childlike and is never a 'theatrical humility'. His words came during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's readings in his homily, Pope Francis said God reveals himself to the humble and childlike rather than the wise and learned as recounted in the gospel of Luke. He noted that the first reading from the book of Isaiah is also full of references to little things such as the small shoot that "shall sprout from the stump of Jesse" rather than an army that will bring about liberation.

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World Aids Day: Pope calls for solidarity and treatment for all
World Aids Day: Pope calls for solidarity and treatment for all

Pope Francis has appealed to all persons to act in a responsible manner to prevent the spread of HIV-Aids. Speaking during the weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope recalled that on Thursday, 1st December, we mark World Aids Day which is promoted by the United Nations. "Millions of people live with this illness and only half of them have access to life-saving therapies" he said. The Pope invited all to pray for them and for their families and promote solidarity so that "also the poor can benefit from adequate diagnosis and treatment.

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Pope Francis: Faith is not a theory - it is an encounter with Jesus
Pope Francis: Faith is not a theory - it is an encounter with Jesus

Christian faith is not a theory or a philosophy - it is the encounter with Jesus. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning. The Pope emphasized that in order to truly encounter Jesus we undertake the journey with three attitudes: to be vigilant in prayer, industrious in charity, exultant in praise. Pope Francis based the homily on the theme of the encounter with the Lord. He noted first that in this period of the year, the Liturgy shows us many encounters with Jesus: with His Mother in the womb, with Saint John the Baptist, with

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Pope encourages scientists to work on sustainable development
Pope encourages scientists to work on sustainable development

Pope Francis received participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday. The gathering of leading scientists from a broad spectrum of fields is exploring how scientific advances affect the sustainable development of human societies and their environments. The eminent physicist Stephen Hawking was one of the first speakers on Saturday. He gave a presentation on his No-Boundary proposal concerning the beginnings of the universe. In his address on Monday, the Pope said: "It falls to scientists, who work free of political, economic or ideological interests,

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Pope sends letter to indigenous Australians
Pope sends letter to indigenous Australians

Pope Francis has sent a letter on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of St John Paul II's words to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Alice Springs, Australia on 29 November 1986. The letter was sent to the Chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC), John Lochowiak, by the Apostolic Nuncio to Canberra Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana. The Holy Father writes that, "this anniversary affords me the happy opportunity to express my deep esteem for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for your ancient cultural heritage."

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Pope addresses winners of Ratzinger Prize
Pope addresses winners of Ratzinger Prize

Pope Francis addressed the winners of the 2016 Ratzinger Prize on Saturday - Mgr Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles, in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. Awarded by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, the Ratzinger Prize is given as a sign of the Church's gratitude to scholars and professors who have stood out for their scientific research in the theological field. Mgr Biffi, a professor, and internationally renowned theologian and liturgist, was awarded the prize for his Opera Omnia, a collection of his writings, most of which are on theology and medieval philosophy.

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Pope Francis: Advent calls us to enlarge our horizons
Pope Francis: Advent calls us to enlarge our horizons

Pope Francis marked the beginning of the new liturgical year during the Angelus on the First Sunday of Advent. On this day, the Pope said, the Gospel introduces us to one of the most "evocative" themes of the Advent season: the visit of the Lord to humanity. Pope Francis pointed out three visits of the Lord: the first, in the past, with the Incarnation, and Birth of Jesus at Christmas; the second, in the present, as Jesus visits us continually, every day; and the final visit, in the future, when Jesus "will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." Advent encourages us to reflect on the contrast between

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Pope offers prayers for Fidel Castro
Pope offers prayers for Fidel Castro

Pope Francis has expressed his condolences after the death of the former President of the State Council and of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, Fidel Castro. In a telegram sent to the current president, Raul Castro, the Holy Father also offered his prayers for the former leader, and entrusted the Cuban people to the intercession of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, the patroness of Cuba. Here is the full text of the telegram from Pope Francis:

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Pope Francis: Drug addiction is a new form of slavery
Pope Francis: Drug addiction is a new form of slavery

Drug addiction is a 'new form of slavery' and a 'wound in our society' which should be combatted with education and rehabilitation, Pope Francis said at a Vatican conference called 'Narcotics: Problems and Solutions of this Global Issue', hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on 23-24 November. The Holy Father told the conference that those who fall into the snares of drugs are victims who have "lost their freedom" in return for "a new form of slavery." Reflecting on the causes of drug addiction, he said it results from a variety of factors:

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Pope Francis: Doubting can be positive
Pope Francis: Doubting can be positive

Everyone has doubts at times, Pope Francis said during his General Audience on Wednesday. Doubts can be positive if they lead us to deepening our faith, and come to understand better the mystery of God's love. Pope Francis focused on two more of the Spiritual Works of Mercy during his audience: 'Counselling the Doubtful' and 'Instructing the Ignorant.' Both of these Works can be lived out both individually and in a more organized manner,

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Themes for upcoming World Youth Days announced
Themes for upcoming World Youth Days announced

The Dicastery for Laity, the Family, and Life has announced the themes for the next three World Youth Days (WYD). The themes were chosen by Pope Francis "for the three-year World Youth Day journey that will culminate at the international celebration of the event to be held in Panama in 2019." World Youth Day is celebrated at the diocesan level each year on Palm Sunday, with an international gathering every two to three years. The most recent international Day was celebrated in August, 2016, in Krakow, Poland.

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Pope: Death is nothing to fear if we're faithful to God
Pope: Death is nothing to fear if we're faithful to God

..the Pope's homily focused on the reality of how all of us will face Jesus on the day of judgement. He said a call from the Lord to think about the end of our lives, the end for each of us because all of us will die, comes as the Church heads into the final week of the Liturgical Year. Pope Francis acknowledged that we do not like to think of these things but said this is the reality facing all of us. He then disclosed that he keeps a diary where he writes down when a person dies and each day "I see that anniversary" and I see how time has passed.

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Pope's Apostolic Letter: 'after the Jubilee we are still in a time of mercy '
Pope's Apostolic Letter: 'after the Jubilee we are still in a time of mercy '

Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter on Monday, entitled Misericordia et misera, ('Mercy and Misery') following the close of the Year of Mercy. The title refers to the encounter between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, from the eighth chapter of the Gospel of Saint John. In his commentary on the Gospel, St Augustine said of that encounter: "The two of them remained alone: mercy with misery." The teaching of this Gospel, the Pope said, "serves not only to throw light on the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, but also to point out the path that we are called to follow in the

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Pope Francis visits Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI with new cardinals
Pope Francis visits Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI with new cardinals

At the conclusion of the Consistory celebration on Saturday, Pope Francis made a visit to Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI together with 16 of the 17 new cardinals he had just created. The 16 Cardinals in their new red hats, led by white-hatted Pope Francis, boarded two buses and made the short journey from St Peter's Basilica around to the Chapel of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. There they were greeted by Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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East Anglia: Year of Mercy ends as Holy Door closes in Norwich
East Anglia: Year of Mercy ends as Holy Door closes in Norwich

The Year of Mercy came to an end in the Diocese of East Anglia on Sunday, when Bishop Alan Hopes closed the Holy Door of Mercy at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich, - while Pope Francis was closing the Holy Door at St Peter's Basilica in Rome. A second Holy Door was also closed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham in North Norfolk. Both were opened on December 13 last year, at the start of the Year of Mercy. In a pastoral message delivered to the 650-strong congregation at the Cathedral,

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Pope Francis: The Jubilee has ended but Christ's mercy always remains
Pope Francis: The Jubilee has ended but Christ's mercy always remains

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St Peter's Square, on the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The liturgy began with the Holy Father closing the Holy Door in St Peter's Basilica, through which pilgrims passed during the course of the Jubilee as a sign of penance and devotion. In his homily, Pope Francis said, "Even if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us."

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Egypt: Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria to restore female deacons
Egypt: Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria to restore female deacons

The Synod of the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, held at the Patriarchal Center of Alexandria of Egypt from 15 to 17 November under the chairmanship of Patriarch Theodoros II, has decided to restore the institute of female deacons, and has appointed a commission of Bishops "for a thorough examination of the matter." The potential role of female deaconesses in the missionary work was presented in a report to the synodal Assembly by Metropolitan Gregorios of Cameroon. In the final communiqué of the synodal Assembly, the members of the Synod of the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate

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Pope meets bishops studying marriage annulment reforms
Pope meets bishops studying marriage annulment reforms

Pope Francis met on Friday with bishops from around the world who are attending a three-day training course at the Vatican tribunal of the Roman Rota to discuss recent developments regarding marriage annulments. In September 2015 Pope Francis issued two new documents introducing reforms to the legal structures of the Church, making marital nullity trials simpler, faster and less expensive. In his address the Pope noted that bishops must be both "teachers of the faith" but also they must learn from the needs and questions of men and women

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Text: Pope Francis' homily at Consistory
Text: Pope Francis' homily at Consistory

Pope Francis gave the following homily on Saturday, during the Consistory in St Peter's Basilica in which he created 17 new cardinals. His reflections focussed on the Lord's 'Sermon on the Plain found in the Gospel of St Luke. The Holy Father said that, by taking the Apostles down from the mountaintop and setting them in the midst of the people on the plain, our Lord "shows the Apostles, and ourselves, that the true heights are reached on the plain, while the plain reminds us that the heights are found in a gaze and above all in a call: 'Be merciful as the Father is merciful'."

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Pope prays for peace with head of Assyrian Church of the East
Pope prays for peace with head of Assyrian Church of the East

Pope Francis spoke yesterday of the suffering of innocent victims caught up in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts, saying that nothing can justify such terrible violence. His words came as he met with the head of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Gewargis III, who was making his first visit to the Vatican since being elected as Catholicos-Patriarch in September last year. In his words to the new leader of this Church, which traces its roots back to the apostles Thomas and Bartholomew, the Pope appealed for an end to the conflicts in the Middle East which cause such great suffering to Christians and

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Pope: Have the courage to embrace Christian poverty
Pope: Have the courage to embrace Christian poverty

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis appealed for God to grant believers the courage to embrace Christian poverty, saying people cannot forgive a priest who is attached to money. Reflecting on the day's Gospel in which where Jesus drove out the traders from the temple, accusing them of transforming it into a den of thieves, the Pope spoke of the power and allure of money. He said Jesus's action helps us to understand where the seed of the antichrist is contained, the seed of the enemy that ruins his Kingdom: attachment to money.

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Pope tells Caritas: reject anything that humiliates or exploits humans
Pope tells Caritas: reject anything that humiliates or exploits humans

Pope Francis met leading representatives of Caritas on Thursday and encouraged them to persevere in their fight against poverty and at the same time learn from the poor themselves. The participants at the audience in the Vatican included leading Caritas officials from across the world. The Pope did not read his prepared remarks, instead handing out the text of his address and speaking off the cuff, followed by a question and answer session with those present. In his prepared remarks the Pope noted that we are called to act against social exclusion of the weakest and strive for

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Pope tells business leaders: use money to serve, not rule
Pope tells business leaders: use money to serve, not rule

On Thursday Pope Francis reflected on three challenges of business: the proper use of money, honesty, and solidarity, in his address at a Vatican conference entitled: 'Business Leaders as Agents of Economic and Social Inclusion' and is hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on Thursday. 18 November. The Holy Father said money is "one of the most difficult topics of moral perception" and repeated his characteristic phrase with emphasis: "money is the dung of the devil."

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Birmingham pilgrims attend Fratello 2016 with Pope Francis in Rome
Birmingham pilgrims attend Fratello 2016 with Pope Francis in Rome

A group of pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Birmingham was among thousands of homeless and excluded people from across Europe who gathered in Rome last weekend to join Fratello 2016, celebrating the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican. To mark the end of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invited people to join him for a special celebration that would remind homeless people they have a place in God's heart and in the Church. The invitation extended to homeless and poor people all across Europe, as well as the organisations and individuals that support them.

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Pope's video message to US bishops: break down walls, build bridges
Pope's video message to US bishops: break down walls, build bridges

Pope Francis has sent a video-message to the General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) who are meeting from 14 - 17 November 2016....Throughout its history, the Church in your country has welcomed and integrated new waves of immigrants. In the rich variety of their languages and cultural traditions, they have shaped the changing face of the American Church... Our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter, which encourages individuals and groups to share the richness of their traditions and experiences, to break down walls and to

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Pope Francis:  Be patient with those who hurt or annoy you
Pope Francis: Be patient with those who hurt or annoy you

During his General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Wednesday, Pope Francis drew inspiration from the spiritual work of mercy, to bear wrongs patiently. He said that in showing patience to those who wrong us and to those we find irritating, "we imitate God's own patience with us sinners... it also happens at times that annoying people are the ones closest to us..." Among relatives there is "always someone.. There are also people who irritate us in the workplace and even in our spare time."

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Pope: We have a grave ethical and moral responsibility to act on climate change without delay
Pope: We have a grave ethical and moral responsibility to act on climate change without delay

Pope Francis said in a message released today: "we have a grave ethical and moral responsibility" to act on climate change "without delay," setting aside particular interests and moving forward "in a manner as free as possible from political and economic pressures." The poorest and future generations, especially, are depending on it, Pope Francis said, in his message addressed to the Moroccan minister Salaheddine Mezouar, who is chairing the 22nd meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change (COP22), taking place in Morocco this week.

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Washington DC: Columban Centre statement on US election
Washington DC: Columban Centre statement on US election

The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, based in Washington DC, has issued the following statement in response to the results of the US election. At the beginning of 2016, Pope Francis invited Catholics and people of good will to observe a Year of Mercy with acts that bear witness to the justice, mercy and compassion of God in the midst of a broken and suffering world. He has set an example, in word and deed, and has shown us, during his visit to the United States last year, what that justice and mercy looks like: visiting prisoners, welcoming

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Pope defines 'cornerstones' of good care in message to health care workers
Pope defines 'cornerstones' of good care in message to health care workers

In his Message to participants, Pope Francis highlights three "cornerstones" of good care in a Catholic context: the primacy of the human person along with an integrated, integral awareness of the place of human being within the economy of creation and the duty to stewardship of the created order; the missionary and "outward-moving" character of the Church's commitment to caring for the sick; the question of justice involved in assuring the necessary care to people suffering disease - especially rare disease - and without means to care for themselves or get the care they need.

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Vatican: Homeless offered front row seats at Mass with Pope Francis
Vatican: Homeless offered front row seats at Mass with Pope Francis

Pope Francis has issued a warning against the "anaesthetised" consciences of those who see the poor and needy as a burden instead of as brothers and sisters to be helped. Celebrating Mass in St Peter's Basilica for around 6000 poor and homeless people from countries in Europe and Africa, the Pope said: "We should be worried when our consciences are anaesthetized and we no longer see a brother or sister suffering at our side, or notice the grave problems in our world, which become a mere refrain familiar from the headlines on the evening news."

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Pope Francis meets young men who have left priesthood
Pope Francis meets young men who have left priesthood

Pope Francis on Friday met a group of young men who have left the priesthood, "to show his closeness and affection towards them." His surprise visit to an apartment in the outskirts of Rome to meet with the group, made up of five Italians, a Spaniard and a man from Latin America, came as part of his traditional gestures of Mercy on one Friday a month during this Jubilee Year. A Vatican statement said the young men took the difficult decision to leave the priesthood despite opposition,

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Pope voices concern on impact of political upheaval in US on refugees and migrants
Pope voices concern on impact of political upheaval in US on refugees and migrants

Pope Francis has expressed his concern at the suffering of refugees and immigrants caused by the political upheavals in the United States. In an interview with the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, the Pope says he doesn't judge individual politicians, but he wants to see how their policies may affect the poor and most marginalized people. In the interview, given last Monday, ahead of Donald Trump's surprise victory in the US presidential elections, Pope Francis notes that, alongside the refugees fleeing from poverty and conflicts, there are also many poor people suffering in

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Pope welcomes 6,000 homeless people to Rome
Pope welcomes 6,000 homeless people to Rome

On Friday, Pope Francis welcomed more than 6000 people from various European nations, who have lived, or are still living on the street. The Jubilee for Socially Excluded Persons included not only the homeless, but also disadvantaged persons and people living in poverty. The event was made possible with the help of 'Fratello', an association which organizes and hosts events with and for people in situations of exclusion, in partnership with associations assisting such people.

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Pope warns against  religion as short-lived entertainment
Pope warns against religion as short-lived entertainment

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis warned Christians against the temptation of a show or entertainment religion that constantly seeks novelty and revelations. He compared that to fireworks that provide us with a fleeting brightness. The Holy Father was reflecting on the day's reading about Jesus' reply to the Pharisees' question on when the Kingdom of God would come, where He stresses how Christians must guard hope every day whilst waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom. Noting that Jesus told the Pharisees "the Kingdom of God is among you,"

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Pope encourages all Christians to journey together towards unity
Pope encourages all Christians to journey together towards unity

Pope Francis said on Thursday that the search for Christian unity is one of his principle concerns, one that he prays may be shared by every baptized person. The Pope's words came in his address to ecumenical representatives from around the world at a plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The meeting, from November 8th to 11th is exploring the theme "What model of full communion?" The Pope recalled the many important encounters he has had this year with leaders of other Christian communities.

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Pope Francis: Don't be indifferent to those who are sick or in prison
Pope Francis: Don't be indifferent to those who are sick or in prison

During his General Audience on Wednesday with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis urged the faithful not to fall into indifference but to become active instruments of mercy. As the Holy Year of Mercy comes to end, he was reflecting on the corporal work of mercy that calls us to visit the sick and those in prison. Those who are sick can feel very lonely and even a short visit can make someone feel much better, he said. "A little company is excellent medicine!

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Pope: Raise awareness about scourge of human trafficking
Pope: Raise awareness about scourge of human trafficking

Yesterday Pope Francis spoke out against human trafficking, in an address to members of RENATE: Religious in Europe Networking against trafficking and exploitation) who were in Rome for their 2nd European Assembly. The theme of this year's assembly was "Ending Trafficking Begins with Us." In his address, Pope Francis once again denounced "the trade in human beings" as "a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters, and constitutes a true crime against humanity."

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Pope: 'If we hunger after power and wealth we cannot serve God well'
Pope: 'If we hunger after power and wealth we cannot serve God well'

If we hunger after power and wealth, we cannot serve God well, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The Holy Father began his homily saying, if we want to be good and faithful servants of the Lord, we must guard against dishonestly and the pursuit of power. But how often, do we see or hear ourselves saying, even in our own homes, that "I'm in charge here?" Jesus taught us that leaders are those who serve others, and if we want to be first, we must become the servant of all.

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Pope Francis warns against 'politics of fear'
Pope Francis warns against 'politics of fear'

Pope Francis warned against 'the politics of fear' on Saturday evening during his address to the Third World Meeting of Popular Movements at the Vatican. The event brings together organizations of people on the margins of society, including the poor, the unemployed and those who have lost their agricultural land. ... this fear "is fed and manipulated... Because fear - as well as being a good deal for the merchants of arms and death - weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others, and in the end it makes us cruel."

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Pope Francis tells prisoners: Never lose hope
Pope Francis tells prisoners: Never lose hope

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday for the Jubilee for Prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica, during which he reminded prison detainees to never lose hope, or fall into the temptation that they can never be forgiven. Around 1,000 prisoners from 12 countries took part in the weekend celebrations, along with their families, prison chaplains and staff, and various associations. The Jubilee for Prisoners is one of the final major events of the Jubilee of Mercy, which ends on November 20. In his homily Pope Francis focussed on the theme of hope.

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Pope calls for better prison conditions, more humane criminal justice system
Pope calls for better prison conditions, more humane criminal justice system

After the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for the improvement of living conditions in prisons all over the world, in order to fully respect the "human dignity of detainees." He also said there was a need for a criminal justice system that is not only punitive, but is open to hope and the prospect of reintegrating offenders into society. "In a special way, I submit for the consideration of the competent civilian authorities in all countries the opportunity to make, in this Holy Year of Mercy, an act of clemency towards those prisoners who will be considered eligible to benefit from this

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Pope calls for peaceful encounter of religions and true religious freedom
Pope calls for peaceful encounter of religions and true religious freedom

Pope Francis today urged representatives of different religions to foster a peaceful encounter of believers and genuine religious freedom. Speaking to some 200 people gathered in the Vatican for an interreligious audience, Pope Francis reflected on the soon-to-end Year of Mercy saying that mercy extends also to the world around us, "to our common home, which we are called to protect and preserve from unbridled and rapacious consumption." He pointed out that in today's hectic and forgetful world we need the oxygen of gratuitous and life-giving love: "We thirst for mercy and no technology

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Pope Francis: Christian unity a priority
Pope Francis: Christian unity a priority

Saying Christian unity is a priority, Pope Francis spoke on Monday about the fruits of the ongoing dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church and said this mutual dialogue has "confirmed our desire to advance towards full communion." Addressing an ecumenical event in the Swedish city of Malmö, the Pope also spoke about practical cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation exemplied by the signing of a joint statement between Caritas Inernationalis and the Lutheran World Federation World Service

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Pope Francis encourages Sweden's Catholics to be 'modern Saints'
Pope Francis encourages Sweden's Catholics to be 'modern Saints'

Pope Francis concluded his 26-hour pastoral visit to Sweden this morning (Tuesday) by celebrating a Mass in the southern city of Malmo for the nation's small Catholic community. Despite grey skies and a sharp autumn chill in the air, thousands of people travelled from all over the country and beyond to give the Pope a warm welcome as he entered the stadium at the start of the Mass, accompanied by the Bishop of Stockholm, Anders Arborelius. In his homily, delivered in Spanish with a Swedish translator, the Pope said holiness is not seen so much in great deeds and extraordinary events, but rather in

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Pope speaks about refugees, women priests, during flight from Sweden
Pope speaks about refugees, women priests, during flight from Sweden

Pope Francis was asked about a range of topics including welcoming refugees, women priests, relations with the charismatic movements, his talks with Venezuela's President, secularisation, his upcoming journeys abroad and human trafficking, during his in-flight press conference returning to Rome from Sweden. The first question, was - what is his message to those European countries who fear the arrival of refugees? .. and for Sweden, traditionally a country that has been more welcoming to refugees and migrants than many others, but which of late, has started to close its borders.

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Sweden: Pope urges Catholics and Lutherans to recognize past errors
Sweden: Pope urges Catholics and Lutherans to recognize past errors

Pope Francis on Monday urged Catholics and Lutherans to recognize past errors and seize "the opportunity to mend a critical moment of our history by moving beyond the controversies and disagreement that have often prevented us from understanding one another." He said the division between Catholics and Lutherans was "perpetuated historically by the powerful of this world" rather than by the faithful people of God. The Pope was speaking during his homily at an ecumenical prayer service in the Lutheran Cathedral of Lund shortly after his arrival in Sweden for a 26-hour pastoral visit.

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Pope and Lutheran leader sign joint statement
Pope and Lutheran leader sign joint statement

Pope Francis and Bishop Mounib Younan, President of the Lutheran World Federation signed a Joint Statement on Monday in which Catholics and Lutherans pledged to pursue their dialogue in order to remove the remaining obstacles that hinder them from reaching full unity. They also stressed their commitment to common witness on behalf of the poor, the needy and the victims of injustice. The Declaration was signed during the ecumenical prayer service held in Lund's Lutheran Cathedral on the first day of the Pope's visit to Sweden.

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Call for prayers as Italy suffers another strong earthquake
Call for prayers as Italy suffers another strong earthquake

Another powerful earthquake struck Italy near the town of Norcia on Sunday. No deaths have been reported, but more than 20 people are reported to be injured. An ancient basilica has been destroyed and a number of churches have been damaged. The tremors set off car alarms as far away as Rome and Venice. In his address to pilgrims during the Angelus, Pope Francis said: "I express my closeness to the people of central Italy.. I pray for the wounded and the families that have suffered major damage; as well as for the personnel involved in rescue efforts and in aiding the victims."

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Pope speaks ahead of his visit to Sweden
Pope speaks ahead of his visit to Sweden

Pope Francis gave an interview with the Jesuit Catholic journal La Civiltà Cattolica ahead of his ecumenical Apostolic Visit to Sweden. The interview was conducted by Father Ulf Jonsson SJ, director of the Swedish Jesuit journal, Signum. Pope Francis mentioned the recent interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi, which he called "very important." "All of us talked of peace and we asked for peace," the Pope said. " We together said strong words for peace, what the religions truly want."

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Pope changes membership of Congregation for Divine Worship
Pope changes membership of Congregation for Divine Worship

Pope Francis has appointed 27 new members to the Congregation for Divine Worship, the body in charge of liturgical questions led by Cardinal Robert Sarah. The Vatican announced on Friday that the new members of the congregation will include Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Canadian Cardinal Gerald Lacroix, Archbishop Piero Marini, New Zealand Cardinal John Dew and US Bishop Arthur Serratelli.

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Pope to attend  Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of Reformation in Sweden
Pope to attend Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of Reformation in Sweden

Pope Francis travels to Sweden on 31 October, for the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. A joint statement issued by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has announced that the ecumenical commemoration will be presided by Pope Francis along with Bishop Munib A Younan and Rev Martin Junge, respectively President and General Secretary of the LWF, in collaboration with the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.

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Pope: Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, praying for us
Pope: Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, praying for us

Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning. Reflecting on the Gospel recounting how Jesus spent the night in prayer before choosing his disciples, the Pope's homily reflected on the fundamental importance of prayer for Christians. He said whilst Jesus is the cornerstone of the Church and there is no Church without Him, the key to this cornerstone is Jesus who is praying for us. "'Jesus went up to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God.'

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 Pope Francis: 'the Rosary is the prayer of my heart'
Pope Francis: 'the Rosary is the prayer of my heart'

At the General Audience yesterday, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary and invited all believers to recite the Marian prayer. In a tweet, just a few days ago, on the day when the Church celebrates the feast of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary, the Pope said "the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life: it is also the prayer of simple people and saints...it is the prayer of my heart."

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Text: Cardinal Nichols address to Pope on work of anti-trafficking group
Text: Cardinal Nichols address to Pope on work of anti-trafficking group

Cardinal Vincent Nichols is set to address Pope Francis on behalf of the Santa Marta Group later today, Thursday 27 October, in his address he renews the Santa Marta Groups commitment to fight the horrendous crime that is Human Trafficking. The Cardinal will also provide Pope Frances with reports of the progress that the Santa Marta Group has made over the last two years.

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Pope: God  weeps over today's wars waged for money
Pope: God weeps over today's wars waged for money

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis said God weeps over today's calamities, the wars waged to worship 'the idol of money' and over the many innocent victims killed by the bombs. He stressed that God weeps because humanity does not understand "the peace that He offers us." Reflecting on the day's reading from the Gospel of Luke where Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, the "closed" city that "kills the prophets and stones those sent" to it, Pope Francis' recalled some of the moments of weeping during Christ's ministry.

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Pope calls for solidarity with migrants
Pope calls for solidarity with migrants

Pope Francis called for solidarity with migrants and refugees during the General Audience with pilgrims in St Peters Square on Wednesday. Reflecting on two particular corporal works of mercy: welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked, the Holy Father said the growing numbers of refugees fleeing war, famine and dire poverty calls us to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters. The Pope said there many stories of migration are to be found in the Bible, and so through the centuries, many committed Christians have found generous ways of meeting the needs of people fleeing violence and

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Pope: God calls us to be merciful not rigid
Pope: God calls us to be merciful not rigid

Pope Francis warned against rigidity in his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. God gives us the freedom and the gentleness to be merciful, he said. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and ignited the anger of the righteous, Pope Francis said "it is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God's Law." Matthew's Gospel tells us that Jesus' action provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was "indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath"

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Pope appeals for people trapped in Mosul
Pope appeals for people trapped in Mosul

Pope Francis made an appeal for the safety of citizens trapped inside the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul today. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus, Pope Francis said: "In these dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, especially that of the city of Mosul." He continued: "Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that for too long have been perpetrated against innocent citizens: whether they be Muslims, whether they be Christians, or people belonging to other ethnic groups and religions."

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Text:  Columban Fr Tom O'Reilly on Perspectives in Mission Today
Text: Columban Fr Tom O'Reilly on Perspectives in Mission Today

I joined the Columban Missionaries in 1961, the year before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) began. Pope John XXIII called the Council to explore what it meant to preach the Christian message in the context of the major political and cultural changes in the twentieth century. He spoke of reading the 'signs of the times' and responding accordingly. The Council was also meant to be an occasion of renewal for the Church, a time for opening its windows and allowing the fresh winds of change to blow through. While Vatican II gave us a whole new perspective, it did not give all the answers for the years

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Pope greets Polish pilgrims on St John Paul II's feast day
Pope greets Polish pilgrims on St John Paul II's feast day

During today's Jubilee of Mercy audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis extended a special greeting to the Polish pilgrims present, remembering the 1050th anniversary of the baptism of their nation, and the feast day the Polish-born pontiff, St John Paul II. In remembrance of the feast day of St John Paul II, Pope Francis recalled these words delivered by his predecessor during his first Mass as the Roman pontiff on October 22, 1978: "Exactly 38 years ago, at about this time, in this square, there resounded these words to men and women throughout the world: 'Do not be afraid. Open wide

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Santa Marta Group steps up fight against human trafficking
Santa Marta Group steps up fight against human trafficking

Police chiefs, bishops, religious sisters and representatives from civil society, who make up the Santa Marta Group, are joining together next week (26-27 October) in the Vatican to share and encourage best practice in the struggle against human trafficking. Santa Marta Group delegates will report back to Pope Francis the progress that has been made since signing the SMG commitment two years ago, where each of the 24 police chiefs present committed to developing partnerships with the

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Pope urges Christians to rediscover gentleness
Pope urges Christians to rediscover gentleness

Humility, gentleness and magnanimity are the three key attitudes to build unity within the Church, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today. He urged Christians to reject envy, jealousy and conflicts. Reflecting on the greeting at Mass: 'peace be with you', the Pope focused his homily on what is required to nurture peace and unity and avoid war and conflicts. He said our Lord's greeting "creates a bond" of peace and unites us to create a unity of spirit and warned that if there's no peace and if we aren't able to greet each other in the widest sense of the word,

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Pope Francis: 'invest in the future by giving formation to young people'
Pope Francis: 'invest in the future by giving formation to young people'

Pope Francis stressed the importance of promoting and supporting young people in his address to members of the John Paul II Foundation celebrating its 35th anniversary. "Providing formation for young people is an investment for the future: young people must never be robbed of their hope for tomorrow" he said. Pope Francis said the anniversary was a good moment to look back and draw up a balance of the work done in the past years, but also a time to look to the future with new goals and objectives.

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Pope Francis: Catechism is not enough to know Jesus
Pope Francis: Catechism is not enough to know Jesus

The catechism on its own is not sufficient to truly know Jesus, we need prayer, worship and to recognize ourselves as sinners, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. The Holy Father was reflecting on St Paul's letter to the Ephesians where the Apostle prayed that they may be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit and that Christ may dwell in their hearts. Noting that Paul spoke of plunging into the immense sea that is the person of Christ, Pope Francis asked: "how can we know Christ, How can we understand His love that is beyond all

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Pope Francis: Access to food, water a basic human right
Pope Francis: Access to food, water a basic human right

Pope Francis said on Wednesday, access to food and water is a basic human right, and called on believers and people of good will everywhere to take personal responsibility for the needs of their neighbours. The appeal came during the Holy Father's weekly General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square. The Pope focused on feeding the hungry, the first of the Corporal Works of Mercy, during his catechesis.

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Pope Francis: A good shepherd shuns power and money
Pope Francis: A good shepherd shuns power and money

A good shepherd is one who follows Jesus rather than power, money or cliques and even if deserted by everybody, is sad but never embittered, Pope Francis said during his homily this morning at Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Taking his inspiration from the Second Letter to Timothy, the Pope reflected on the difficulties faced by the apostles like Paul in the final stage of their lives when they are left without means, deserted by all and having to ask for things like beggars.

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Cardinal reaffirms Church commitment to combating modern slavery
Cardinal reaffirms Church commitment to combating modern slavery

In an address given at a service to commemorate the work of William Wilberforce and to inaugurate the office of the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner at Westminster Abbey on 12 October, Cardinal Vincent Nichols reaffirmed the Church's commitment to combating modern slavery. Comparing the current situation with the one facing Wilberforce, the politician who campaigned to abolish the slave trade in the 18th century, the Cardinal explained that then, as now, it "disfigures our society and calls for an unremitting effort to bring it to an end."

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Pope: to fight hunger combat climate change
Pope: to fight hunger combat climate change

The annual World Food Day is being observed this Sunday October 16th and has as its theme "the climate is changing." In a message issued Friday to mark the occasion, Pope Francis said everyone has a responsibility to protect the planet for future generations. In his message to the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, José Graziano da Silva, Pope Francis focused his attention on the theme for this year's World Food Day, "the climate is changing. The Pope said that this theme, "leads us to consider the fight against hunger as a goal even more difficult to achieve, in the presence

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Pope: Examine your conscience and avoid hypocrisy
Pope: Examine your conscience and avoid hypocrisy

During Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis urged Christians to always tell the truth, to avoid succumbing to hypocrisy which he described as a kind of 'spiritual schizophrenia' that makes us say many things without putting them into practice. Reflecting on the day's readings the Pope noted that there's a good leaven and a bad leaven. The former builds the kingdom of God whereas the latter only creates the appearance of the Kingdom of God.

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Pope sends condolences on death of Thai King Bhumipol
Pope sends condolences on death of Thai King Bhumipol

Pope Francis has sent a telegram saying he was "deeply saddened" to learn of the death of the King of Thailand. King Bhumipol Adulyadej died yesterday at the age of 88. The Holy Father extended his heartfelt condolences to the Members of the Royal Family and all the Thai people.... Catholic centres across Thailand are also mourning the loss of the King.

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Pope Francis tells Lutherans: It is the mercy of God that unites us
Pope Francis tells Lutherans: It is the mercy of God that unites us

Pope Francis received about thousand pilgrims in the Vatican today (Thursday). Most of them were German Lutherans, in Rome as part of ecumenical preparations for the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Lutheran reformation. In his remarks to the gathering, the Pope encouraged his listeners to seek unity through charity, saying "In being of service to the most needy we experience already that we are united: it is the mercy of God that unites us." Pope Francis also spoke in his address about how Catholics and Lutherans are part of the same body of Christ.

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Pope urges protection of child migrants
Pope urges protection of child migrants

Pope Francis has made an urgent call for action to be taken against those who profit from the exploitation of child migrants. In a strongly worded message released ahead of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Pope has focused on the plight and the rights of the growing numbers of child migrants who are the most vulnerable in the hands of human traffickers. Introducing his message with the words of the evangelists "whoever receives one such child in my name receives me," Pope Francis said the Gospel also speaks of the responsibility and of the evil of those who work against

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Pope renews urgent appeal for ceasefire in Syria
Pope renews urgent appeal for ceasefire in Syria

Pope Francis renewed his appeal for peace in Syria today (Wednesday). Addressing pilgrims in St Peter's Square for the General Audience, the Holy Father said: "I want to emphasize and reiterate my solidarity with all victims of inhuman conflict in Syria." Pope Francis went on to say, "It is with a sense of urgency that I renew my appeal, begging, with all my strength, those responsible, that steps be taken toward an immediate ceasefire, one imposed and respected at least for the time necessary to allow the evacuation of civilians, especially children, who are still trapped under cruel

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Pope Francis: Many natural disasters are caused or made worse by lack of environmental care
Pope Francis: Many natural disasters are caused or made worse by lack of environmental care

After a week which has seen the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Matthew and tropical storms in Haiti and America's southeast coast, Pope Francis pointed out that many natural disasters are caused or made worse by lack of environmental care. Speaking at the General Audience today, on the eve of the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, which this year focuses on the theme: 'Reducing mortality,' the Holy Father said that "natural disasters could be avoided or at least limited, since their effects are often due to a lack of environmental care by man."

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London & Birmingham: Public lectures by Vatican insider Marco Politi 


London & Birmingham: Public lectures by Vatican insider Marco Politi 


Vatican expert Marco Politi has begun a lecture tour of the UK. The former Vatican correspondent for Italian newspaper La Repubblica and writer for Il Fatto quotidiano will be speaking at Heythrop College in London on Wednesday evening (12 October) and Newman University (Bartley Green, Birmingham) on Friday. The author of His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time, Marco Politi's latest book, Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution,

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Pope Francis: God isn't interested in 'cosmetic' religion
Pope Francis: God isn't interested in 'cosmetic' religion

Jesus asks us to perform good deeds with humility and rejects 'cosmetic' religion that is only concerned with outward appearance and pretends to be what it's not - that was the message of Pope Francis at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. Reflecting on the day's readings from St Paul's letter to the Galatians and the Gospel account in which Jesus rebukes a Pharisee for being totally concerned with the outward appearance of cleanliness rather than on the inner substance of his faith, the Pope noted that Jesus's answer to the Pharisee who was unequivocal.

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Pope Francis: Every day we are called to renew our trust in Christ
Pope Francis: Every day we are called to renew our trust in Christ

Pope Francis greeted members of the General Assembly of the Pallotine Fathers on Monday. Speaking of the charism of St Vincent Pallotti, who founded the order in Rome in 1835, the Pope said he was "blessed to recognize that Jesus is the Apostle of the Father - rich in mercy and full of mercy - Christ is the one who fulfills his mission by revealing to everyone the tender love and the infinite mercy of the Father.. Contemplating the life of Jesus and looking at our life as pilgrims in this world with its many challenges, we feel the necessity of a profound conversion and the urgency of

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Churches and finance experts find common ground on fossil fuel divestment
Churches and finance experts find common ground on fossil fuel divestment

Church moves to disinvest from fossil fuels, shareholder action on extractive industries, and the call by Pope Francis in Laudato Si' for an energy transition from fossil fuels have all been credited by financial sector experts for helping move them in the direction of sustainable development. The experts were gathered at Southwark's Anglican Cathedral on 6 October for a day, titled 'Investing sustainably: Protecting financial assets and supporting the transition to a zero-carbon future'. They met with representatives from several Christian denominations, including Catholic, Church of England - particularly a number of

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Pope prays for victims of Hurricane Matthew
Pope prays for victims of Hurricane Matthew

More than 900 people are known to have been killed in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew. Many people are still missing and thousands have lost their homes in what is one of the poorest countries in the world. In the US at least 18 people have lost their lives in the wake of the massive hurricane. During his Angelus address on Sunday Pope Francis said: "I learned with sorrow of the serious consequences caused by the hurricane which recently hit the Caribbean, especially Haiti, leaving many victims and displaced persons, as well as substantial property damage.

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Pope names 17 new Cardinals
Pope names 17 new Cardinals

At the end of the Angelus on Sunday, 9 October, Pope Francis announced the creation of 17 new Cardinals. A consistory will be held on the 19 of November, the eve of the closing of the Jubilee of Mercy. 13 of the new Cardinals will be under 80 years and will be eligible to vote in a conclave. The Holy Father said that those chosen come from five continents. They include three American Archbishops and Archbishops from Mauritius and Bangladesh.

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Pope prays for Haiti, devastated by Hurricane Matthew
Pope prays for Haiti, devastated by Hurricane Matthew

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Cardinal Chibly Langlois, president of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti, in which he expresses the Pope's sorrow upon learning of the devastation wrought in the island by the passage of Hurricane Matthew, which has claimed many lives and caused considerable damage. "His Holiness Pope Francis wishes to express his sorrow and to join in prayer in the suffering of all those who have lost loved ones. He conveys to them his sincerest condolences and assures them of his deep sympathy in these

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Common Declaration signed by Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury
Common Declaration signed by Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury

Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby presided at the celebration of Vespers last night, in the church of St Gregory on the Caelian Hill to mark the 50th anniversary of Anglican-Catholic relations. During the liturgy the two leaders signed a common declaration and sent out on mission together 19 pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops from countries around the world. The text of the Common Declaration of Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby follows:

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Archbishop Longley in Rome for ecumenical celebration
Archbishop Longley in Rome for ecumenical celebration

Archbishop Bernard Longley and his Anglican co-chair in ecumenical dialogue, Archbishop David Moxon, have presented Pope Francis with a book charting the latest phase of international ecumenical dialogue. The presentation took place during a Papal audience at the Vatican with Anglican Bishops from around the world who had gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury met privately for talks before the audience.

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Pope: Ask yourself 'am I open to the Holy Spirit, or lukewarm?'
Pope: Ask yourself 'am I open to the Holy Spirit, or lukewarm?'

True doctrine is not a rigid attachment to the Law, which bewitches as ideologies do. Rather, it is the revelation of God, which allows itself to be discovered more and more fully each day by those who are open to the Holy Spirit. That was the message of Pope Francis at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The readings of the day speak of the Holy Spirit, the "great gift of the Father," the power that allows the Church to go forth courageously even to the ends of the earth.

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 CAFOD director discusses Syria and Iraq crisis with Pope
CAFOD director discusses Syria and Iraq crisis with Pope

CAFOD's Director of Humanitarian and Emergency Response, Matthew Carter, met Pope Francis [29 September] at the Vatican, along with representatives of 40 other Catholic aid agencies and Churches, at a meeting to discuss the devastating humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq. Matthew Carter said: "Ensuring that humanitarian access remains our number one priority in order to provide emergency assistance to men, women and children. The suffering is some of the worst I have witnessed and must be averted and people kept alive.

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Pope reflects on visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, meets Polish Auschwitz survivors
Pope reflects on visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, meets Polish Auschwitz survivors

Pope Francis reflected on his recent visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan during his General Audience on Wednesday. He told pilgrims in St Peter's Square: "This visit complemented my visit to Armenia in June, and fulfilled my desire to visit all three nations of the Caucasus to confirm the Catholic community and to encourage all the people in their journey toward peace and fraternity." He concluded his address with the prayer, "May God bless Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, and guide his holy people in those countries."

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Pope Francis praises Vodafone 'Instant Schools for Africa'
Pope Francis praises Vodafone 'Instant Schools for Africa'

Pope Francis met directors of the Vodafone Foundation on Wednesday, in a private audience, and gave a thumbs-up to their initiative: Instant Schools for Africa. During the meeting he also encouraged Vodafone to consider offering Africa "digital access to the sacred texts of various religions" in local languages. "I really like what I've heard about this project - it's constructive - and nowadays there is a need to be constructive, to do things which promote human advancement..." the Holy Father said.

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CAFOD emergencies worker discusses Syria and Iraq at the Vatican
CAFOD emergencies worker discusses Syria and Iraq at the Vatican

CAFOD's Director of Humanitarian and Emergency Response, Matthew Carter, met Pope Francis on 29 September at the Vatican, along with representatives of 40 other Catholic aid agencies and Churches, to discuss the devastating humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq.

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Pope makes surprise visit to earthquake victims
Pope makes surprise visit to earthquake victims

This morning, October 4th, Pope Francis made an unexpected trip to Amatrice, the Italian town devastated by earthquakes in August. Some 230 residents perished in the earthquake, which registered at 6.2 magnitude on the Richter scale. Nearly 4,000 survivors were forced to move into tents near the town in central Italy.

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Historic summit of Anglican and Catholic Bishops
Historic summit of Anglican and Catholic Bishops

Thirty-six Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops from 19 countries ranging from Pakistan to Ireland, Brazil to Papua New Guinea, are to meet with Pope Francis in Rome tomorrow. The International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission gathered in Canterbury last weekend, to mark the growing ties between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

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Be like a child to receive God's comfort, says Pope
Be like a child to receive God's comfort, says Pope

Just as a loving mother takes on the burdens and woes of her children, so God, in his infinite love for us, "takes upon himself our sins and troubles," the Pope said on Saturday. Preaching at a Mass in Tbilisi, on the second day of his visit to Georgia, Pope Francis said that God is ever-ready to offer us consolation in times of need.

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Global war on marriage, says Pope Francis
Global war on marriage, says Pope Francis

"A global war" to destroy marriage exists nowadays, said the Pope. It is waged not with weapons but ideas such as gender theory, he added, describing this concept as an ideology that is seizing new ground. The couple who argue and face marital difficulty must make peace before the end of the day, he added.

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The task of religion is to bring out the best in each person, says Pope
The task of religion is to bring out the best in each person, says Pope

At an inter-religious meeting today in Azerbaijan, the Pope declared that the world's faiths "have an educational task: to help bring out the best in each person." Addressing the Sheikh of the Muslims of the Caucasus, and Jewish and Orthodox leaders this morning, the Holy Father said: "We, as guides, have a great responsibility, in order..

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Laudato Si' and the COP22 Seminar in Rome
Laudato Si' and the COP22 Seminar in Rome

The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), represented by its global coordinator Tomás Insua, was delighted to participate in the recent seminar "Laudato Si' and the Path to COP22" with the presence of the Holy Father Pope Francis, Convened by Cardinal Turkson and Bishop Sánchez Sorondo at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

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Pope to visit Colombia next year
Pope to visit Colombia next year

The President of Colombia has announced that the Pope will visit the country early in 2017. "His visit is a great honour for us," said Juan Manuel Santos, who on Monday signed a peace treaty to end Colombia's 52-year civil war with Timochenko, leader of the Marxist rebel group, the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia.

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Pope Francis speaks on Christian Unity with Georgia's Patriarch
Pope Francis speaks on Christian Unity with Georgia's Patriarch

The Pope spoke of the love of Christ as the foundation of Christian unity at a meeting today with the Orthodox Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II. Addressing him as "Dear Brother," the Pope spoke of the ties between the Church in Georgia, founded on the preaching of St Andrew, and that of Rome, founded by his brother, St Peter.

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Pope embarks on tour of Orthodox Georgia and Muslim Azerbaijan
Pope embarks on tour of Orthodox Georgia and Muslim Azerbaijan

Today the Pope embarks on a three-day visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan. The visit to Georgia heralds a breakthrough in Orthodox-Catholic relations. When Pope St John Paul II visited the former Soviet Republic in 1999, the Georgian Ortho-dox Church advised believers to shun the public Mass the Pope celebrated in Tbilisi.

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Pope makes urgent appeal for peace in Syria
Pope makes urgent appeal for peace in Syria

The Pope has appealed once more for peace in Syria, in the wake of airstrikes on rebel-held areas in East Aleppo, home to some 250,000 trapped civilians. "Dramatic news continues to reach me concerning the fate of the people of Aleppo, with whom, through prayer and spiritual closeness, I feel united in suffering," Pope Francis said today (Wednesday, September 28) at his General Audience.

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Model yourself on the good thief, says Pope
Model yourself on the good thief, says Pope

The good thief who spoke to Jesus on the Cross is our model for approaching God, the Pope said today (Wednesday, September 28) at his General Audience. Referring to Luke's account of the Passion, the Pope said that Jesus' words during the Crucifixion culminate in forgiveness as he says, 'Father forgive them; for they do not know what they do (Lk: 23:34)'.

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Laudato Si Days in Westminster Archdiocese
Laudato Si Days in Westminster Archdiocese

Two events are to be held to discuss the local and global effects of climate change, the message of Pope Francis in Laudato Si', and practical ways for Catholics to get involved. 'Laudato Si and Care for Creation- where next?' is the title of days to be held at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward in Chiswick on 1 October, 10am-1pm, and Our Lady of Victories in Kensington on 15 October 10.30am - 1.30pm.

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Pope sends prayers to Israel after death of Shimon Peres
Pope sends prayers to Israel after death of Shimon Peres

The Pope has sent a telegram full of "heartfelt condolence" to the people of Israel, after the death of the former President, Shimon Peres. He died this morning (Wednesday, September 28) in a hospital in Tel Aviv, at the age of 93. Peres, the President of Israel from 2007-2014, and twice the country's Prime Minister, met three Popes, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

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Papal recipe to cure the blues: prayer not pills
Papal recipe to cure the blues: prayer not pills

Pope Francis recommends silence and prayer to vanquish inner darkness, rather than popping pills or resorting to drink. Speaking today (Tuesday, September 27), Pope Francis spoke of spiritual desolation, ''that feeling of spiritual darkness, of hopelessness, mistrust, of lacking the desire to live.'' Preaching during Mass at the Santa Marta residence, the Pope said that anyone at all could go through this sadness. He then asked the question:

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Pope greets the world's deaf community
Pope greets the world's deaf community

At the Angelus on Sunday, September 25, 2016, Pope Francis offered prayers and a greeting to the deaf community worldwide. "I want to salute all deaf persons - some of whom are here [at the Angelus] - and encourage them to give their part for a Church and for a society that are both ever more ready and willing to welcome everyone," he said.

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Pope prays for Mexico's murdered and kidnapped priests
Pope prays for Mexico's murdered and kidnapped priests

Just before the mid-day Angelus today (September 25, 2016), the Pope prayed for an end to the violence assailing Mexico, and especially for two priests murdered last week. On Monday, the bodies of the priests were found ridden with bullets in a ditch at the side of a motorway in the gulf state of Veracruz. Father Alejo Nabor Jiménez, 50, and Father José Alfredo Juárez, 28, who was recently ordained, had been kidnapped from their parish church hours earlier.

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Pope Francis: Mercy and forgiveness makes hearts bigger
Pope Francis: Mercy and forgiveness makes hearts bigger

Pope Francis urged the faithful to be as merciful as the Lord, because "that is the best way to be a sign, a channel, a witness of His love". The Holy Father was speaking on Wednesday during the weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square. Reflecting on the reading from the Gospel of Luke on being merciful, "just as your Father is merciful," Pope Francis said that is not a mere slogan, but a commitment for life. That reading is where the motto of the Holy Year of Mercy comes from, he said.

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Pope warns journalists: Words can kill
Pope warns journalists: Words can kill

There are few professions that have so much influence on society as that of journalism, Pope Francis told representatives from the Italian National Council of the Order of Journalists on Thursday. He noted that they are usually the ones who are there to record, the "first draft of history", "the building of the news agenda and introducing people to the interpretation of events. The Holy Father then went on to reflect on some aspects of the journalistic profession, and how it can serve for the betterment of the society in which we live.

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 Pope Francis: Loneliness of a Long-Distance Runner  - free public lecture by Marco Politi
Pope Francis: Loneliness of a Long-Distance Runner - free public lecture by Marco Politi

Marco Politi, Italian journalist and author will be giving a lecture entitled: Loneliness of a Long-Distance Runner at Heythrop College on 12 October. A columnist for the Italian daily newspaper, Fatto Quotidiano, Politi has built a successful career commentating on the Vatican and religious matters since the 1970s. In addition to his recent coverage of Pope Francis, he has followed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on over 80 trips around the world and has regularly contributed to the BBC, CNN and ABC news channels.

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Pope Francis speaks on difference between 'good' and 'bad' anxiety
Pope Francis speaks on difference between 'good' and 'bad' anxiety

Pope Francis contrasted the anxiety that comes from the Holy Spirit and the anxiety that comes from a bad conscience during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday he also spoke about vanity, which "masks" life, making it look like something it is not. The Gospel of the day describes King Herod (Antipas) as being perplexed or anxious because, after having John the Baptist killed, he now felt threatened by Jesus. He was worried just as his father, Herod the Great, was troubled after the visit of the Magi.

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Fr Tom Grufferty reflects on Thirst for Peace in Assisi
Fr Tom Grufferty reflects on Thirst for Peace in Assisi

I was in Assisi yesterday when many international religious leaders gathered for what is called 'Thirst for peace' - the World Day of Prayers for Peace. Pope Francis arrived amid great excitement by helicopter. ‏He was the host for the day as well as the Franciscans of the Sanctuary of St Francis. The pioneering work for this need to pray for peace was begun by St John Paul 11 thirty years ago. On that occasion the gathering was new and captured the headlines. For the second time in as many months Pope Francis has visited the special home of the

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Assisi: Pope Francis arrives for World Day of Prayer for Peace
Assisi: Pope Francis arrives for World Day of Prayer for Peace

Pope Francis has landed in Assisi. On his one day visit he will take part in the closing of the interreligious World Day of Prayer for Peace, organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio. The theme of the three-day international meeting this year is 'Thirst for Peace. Religions and Cultures in Dialogue'. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the First World Day of Prayer for Peace that St John Paul convened back in 1986, an historic event which saw world leaders of different religions come together for the very first time to pray for peace.

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Pope warns against deafening silence of indifference to victims of war
Pope warns against deafening silence of indifference to victims of war

Pope Francis has warned humanity against "the deafening silence of indifference and selfishness" before the cry of those who live under the threat of bombs and plead for peace. The Holy Father's meditation was delivered during an ecumenical prayer ceremony with representatives of other Christian denominations in the Lower Basilica of St Francis during the closing of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi. The Pope spoke of the 'thirst' of Jesus in which we can "hear the voice of the suffering, the hidden cry of the little innocent ones

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New British Ambassador to the Holy See
New British Ambassador to the Holy See

Today, 19 September 2016, Mrs Sally Jane Axworthy MBE, presented her Letters of Credence to His Holiness Pope Francis, accrediting her as Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Holy See. On presenting Credentials, HM Ambassador Axworthy said: "It will be a great privilege to continue to build on the excellent relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See, and the many core values that we share. Pope Francis is one of the most, if not the most, respected international leader. People pay attention to what he is saying and doing, and

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Pope Francis: Don't be a 'mafioso' but live in the light of faith
Pope Francis: Don't be a 'mafioso' but live in the light of faith

Don't envy the rich and powerful or conspire against your neighbour, but instead nurture the light of faith in your lives. That was the Pope's message on Monday morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's reading from St Luke's Gospel the Pope talked about the many ways in which we hide the light of faith, through jealousy and arguments, by plotting evil against our neighbours or simply by putting off until tomorrow the good that we should do today. The light of faith, he said, is a gift that each one of us receives

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Pope appeals for prayers for peace
Pope appeals for prayers for peace

Pope Francis has asked for prayers for peace in a world in which war is everywhere. Speaking on Sunday morning after the Angelus, the Holy Father told pilgrims in St Peter's Square that on Tuesday he will travel to Assisi to participate in the Day of Prayer for Peace. "Today, more than ever, we need peace in this war which is everywhere in the world. Let us Pray for peace!" he said. Explaining that he is going to Assisi in the footsteps of Saint John Paul II who called for the World Day of Prayer for Peace thirty years ago, he invited all parishes,

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Pope Francis: Each migrant has a name, a face, and a story
Pope Francis: Each migrant has a name, a face, and a story

Refugees and migrants are more than statistics, Pope Francis told members of the European Confederation and World Union of Jesuit Alumni and Alumnae today. They are no different than our own family and friends, he said. The Jesuit group had been participating in a conference in Rome this week entitled 'Global Migration and Refugee Crisis: Time to Contemplate and Act'. In the face of tens of thousands of persons forcibly displaced worldwide, the Pope stressed that it is important to move beyond the statistics, and realize that migrants and refugees "are no different than our own family members and friends."

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US Bishops: As Catholics, we must overcome partisan divides on migration issues
US Bishops: As Catholics, we must overcome partisan divides on migration issues

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and Chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Migration, has called for Catholics to focus on the 'moral teachings of the Church' 'to overcome the partisan divides that separate us' on refugee and migration issues. While acknowledging the need for 'nations to control their borders' he said people had a right to migrate when they are fleeing persecution and war. He added that it was not enough to welcome migrants, but political and religious leaders must work with leaders of other countries to

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Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi meets Pope Francis
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi meets Pope Francis

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met Pope Francis at the Vatican today (Thursday) . During the audience they discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and develop them in the service of humanitarian causes that promote peace and coexistence between different peoples and regions of the world. The encounter began with an official welcoming ceremony. Pope Francis congratulated HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyanand and his delegation on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha

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 United Arab Emirates 'proud to stand with Pope Francis against all forms of intolerance'
United Arab Emirates 'proud to stand with Pope Francis against all forms of intolerance'

"When His Holiness Pope Francis received His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates, it was the highest-level official delegation from the Gulf state ever to visit the Vatican, and comes at a time when constructive dialogue between people of all faiths is of paramount importance. It is critical to take every opportunity to show a united front against all forms of intolerance. Pope Francis has reached out to faith leaders

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Pope Francis: Don't be afraid in times of discouragement
Pope Francis: Don't be afraid in times of discouragement

Don't be afraid in times of discouragement, poverty or difficulty because we can rely on God and He will provide solace, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter's Square during the General Audience on Wednesday. Reflecting on the Gospel passage by Matthew in which Jesus says: "Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest." Pope Francis said: "We hear the Lord calling the discouraged, the poor and the little ones to himself, and telling them they can always rely on God."

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 Pope Francis: Take refuge under the mantle of the Mother of God
Pope Francis: Take refuge under the mantle of the Mother of God

In a world that suffers the crisis of "a great orphanhood," we have a Mother that accompanies and defends us - that was That was the message of Pope Francis during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Pope Francis said: "The Gospel of the day brings us to Calvary. All the disciples had fled, except for St John and a few women. At the foot of the Cross is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Everyone is looking at her, saying: 'That's the mother of this delinquent! That is the mother of this subversive!'

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Book: The Last Conversations - with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Book: The Last Conversations - with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

'The Last Conversations' - a book of interviews with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI by German journalist Peter Seewald has just been published, in Italian and German. The English version will be available in late November under the title 'Last Testaments'. The interviews cover a wide range of subjects among them his decision to resign, his happiness about his successor, reflections on his participation at the Second Vatican Council, and his collaboration with St John Paul II. The 89-year-old pontiff was the first pope to resign

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Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi begins official visit to Vatican City
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi begins official visit to Vatican City

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, arrived in Rome today to begin an official visit to the Vatican City where he is due to meet with Pope Francis tomorrow. Sheikh Mohamed and Pope Francis will discuss ways of further enhancing and developing bilateral ties between the UAE and the Vatican. His Highness and His Holiness will also discuss "joint cooperation efforts for promoting tolerance, dialogue and coexistence, values held by

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Pope Francis: To kill in the name of God is satanic
Pope Francis: To kill in the name of God is satanic

Today (Wednesday) Pope Francis offered Mass for Fr Jacques Hamel, who was murdered while celebrating Mass on 26 July 2016, in the Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvra in Rouen by two men claiming to belong so-called Islamic State. Archbishop Dominque Lebrun of Rouen, along with 80 other pilgrims from his diocese, were in the congregation. Reflecting on the many martyrs that are part of the history of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said: "this is a story that repeats itself in the Church, and today, he said, there are more Christian

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Archbishop McDonald welcomes forthcoming World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi
Archbishop McDonald welcomes forthcoming World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi

"This World Day of Prayer for Peace is taking place thirty years after the first World Day of Prayer for Peace convened by Pope Saint John Paul II on 27th of October 1986. Pope John Paul's initiative in gathering together other Christian leaders and leaders of other religions was without precedent. It was inspired by the world's need for peace - a need that has only become more urgent and more pressing with the passage of time. But as we keep this anniversary it is important that we see it in context. It was not an isolated goodwill gesture; it must

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Pope Francis: Put away your mobiles and really be present
Pope Francis: Put away your mobiles and really be present

Pope Francis warned against bad habits, with our loved ones that prevent us from truly listening and empathising with them. Reflecting on the day's Gospel, during morning Mass on Tuesday at Casa Santa Marta in which Jesus brought back from the dead the only son of a widow, the Pope said that so often, when people meet each other, "each of them is thinking of themselves, they can see the other person but are not looking at him or her, they can hear that person but are not listening...An encounter is something different.

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Pope Francis: Devil seeks to divide the Church
Pope Francis: Devil seeks to divide the Church

Divisions destroy the Church, and the devil seeks to attack the root of unity - the celebration of the Eucharist - Pope Francis said during Mass on Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians, in which St Paul rebuked the Corinthians for their contentiousness, the Holy Father said: "The devil has two very powerful weapons to destroy the Church: divisions and money." This has happened from the beginning, he said.

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Pope Francis: Many new forms of slavery are being sold as 'freedom'
Pope Francis: Many new forms of slavery are being sold as 'freedom'

Pope Francis warned against a "false freedom" which has created "many new forms of slavery" during his Jubilee Audience in St Peter's Square on Saturday. The Holy Father's catechesis focused on the word 'redemption,' which he said is "little used, but is important because it points to the most radical liberation God is able to perform for us, for all humanity, and for the entirety of creation." "It appears that people of today no longer love to think of being liberated and saved by the intervention of God; in fact, people today are under the illusion

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Catholic charities note underreporting of hate crimes against Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities
Catholic charities note underreporting of hate crimes against Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities

After a 57% increase in reports of hate crime in the week following the 2016 EU referendum, the Home Affairs Select Committee launched an inquiry into 'Hate Crime and its violent consequences'. Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) made a submission to the inquiry based on evidence from the Irish Chaplaincy, the Catholic Association for Racial Justice and Catholic pastoral workers ministering to the children of Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT_ communities communities.

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Pope tells bishops: 'Gossip and money destroy the Church'
Pope tells bishops: 'Gossip and money destroy the Church'

Pope Francis has told bishops that division, gossip and money are "weapons in the hands of the devil." Speaking on Friday to a group of recently appointed bishops of mission countries at the end of a formation course organized by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Pope said each bishop is called to give testimony of God's love, care and mercy with their own lives and example. Pointing out that bishops of mission countries come from places that are "different and distant", Pope Francis said: "each of you has the great

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Pope Francis evangelise with your whole life - don't proselytise
Pope Francis evangelise with your whole life - don't proselytise

Evangelisation, is an art and a discipline, not easy, not something that can be done by rote, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Reflecting on the Readings of the day - the feast of the Jesuit priest St Peter Claver, who ministered to African slaves in the Americas, the Holy Father said the essence of evangelization is to witness to Christ with one's whole life. Sadly, however, there are some Christians today, who live their lives of service as though they were mere functionaries, priests and lay people who boast of what

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Pope Francis: Conferences won't achieve peace if hearts are at war
Pope Francis: Conferences won't achieve peace if hearts are at war

In the first daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta after the summer break, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of working for peace in small, daily actions, because, he said, it is in small daily gestures that peace on a global scale is born. It is not so much great international meetings that produce peace, he said. Rather, peace is a gift from God which is born in small places: in the heart, for instance; or in a dream, as happened to St Joseph when the angel told him not to fear to take Mary as his wife, because she would give

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Pope Francis: Faith calls us beyond ourselves
Pope Francis: Faith calls us beyond ourselves

Pope Francis urged the faithful to make a place in their lives for God's message of salvation with faith and without prejudice. Speaking to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for General Audience, the Pope reflected on the Gospel reading of the day which speaks of God's infinite mercy. Reflecting on St Matthew's Gospel account of how John the Baptist - who was imprisoned both in a cell and in the darkness of a heart that failed to understand Jesus' humble style - the Pope said John was upset because his expectations of Jesus'

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Pope visits 'Bambino Gesù' hospital
Pope visits 'Bambino Gesù' hospital

Today Pope Francis visited the Vatican's 'Bambino Gesù' children's hospital. During his meeting with the director, Mariella Enoc, the Holy Father pledged his ongoing support for the hospital's latest project - 'adopting' the Pediatric Hospital of Bangui, in the Central African Republic. Dr Enoc said that thanks to a donation from the Pope, they will be able to assist the hospital by providing medical formation, establishing a school that specializes in pediatric care and by building new wards.

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Pope prays for Spanish missionary killed in Haiti
Pope prays for Spanish missionary killed in Haiti

At the conclusion of yesterday's Canonisation Mass for Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope Francis remembered a Spanish missionary sister who was murdered on Friday in Haiti. Sister Isabel Sola Matas, 51, devoted her life to helping the poor of Haiti, and creating opportunities to give them a better future. She was driving very slowly down a muddy potholed road, near a busy intersection crowded with pedestrians, when gunmen struck.They shot her twice at point blank range in the chest. A Haitian woman who was her passenger was

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Text:  Homily by Pope Francis for Canonization of Mother Teresa
Text: Homily by Pope Francis for Canonization of Mother Teresa

Pope Francis has celebrated the Rite of Canonization for Mother Teresa of Calcutta, at a Solemn Mass offered in St Peter's Square this morning. During his homily, the Holy Father said: "Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded." To the many volunteers in Rome for the Jubilee for Volunteers and Workers of Mercy, Pope Francis offered St Teresa of Calcutta as a "model of holiness."

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Pope Francis introduces new Work of Mercy
Pope Francis introduces new Work of Mercy

To mark the Day of Prayer for Creation, Pope Francis has added a new Work of Mercy for Catholics to perform: caring for our common home, the planet and all its inhabitants. At a press conference yesterday Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the new Vatican office for Promoting Integral Human Development, and At a press conference yesterday, Bishop Brian Farrell from the Council for Christian Unity, introduced the Pope's message for this annual observance, together with Irish author Terence Ward.

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Who is Mother Teresa?
Who is Mother Teresa?

Many thousands of pilgrims have already arrived in Rome for the canonisation of Blessed Mother Teresa, which takes place this Sunday. Mother Teresa will be officially proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis at a Mass in St Peter's Square. She has already been acclaimed a saint not just by Christians, but by many from other faiths. Mother Teresa once said herself: "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus."

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Migrants and refugees at heart of Pope's new 'Motu Proprio'
Migrants and refugees at heart of Pope's new 'Motu Proprio'

Pope Francis has created a new Dicastery to better minister to the needs of the men and women the Church is called to serve. The new 'Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development' was instituted in a Motu Proprio published on Wednesday in the Osservatore Romano. The dicastery will come into effect as from 1 January 2017 and will be especially "competent in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned, the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters,

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Pope Francis: Christ offers salvation not rejection
Pope Francis: Christ offers salvation not rejection

During his General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope Francis spoke about how faith in Christ brings salvation. At the heart of his catechesis was the salvation of Christ to those who are rejected by men. The Holy Father was reflecting on the account in the Gospel of St Matthew in which Jesus cures the woman suffering from hemorrhages. The Pope said this woman is considered impure according to the law, "but she trusts in Jesus' mercy and saving power to free her from her illness and isolation."

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Pope Francis heralds Day of Prayer for Care of Creation - 1 September
Pope Francis heralds Day of Prayer for Care of Creation - 1 September

On Sunday Pope Francis called attention to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to be celebrated on Thursday, 1 September. A major global ecumenical stewardship initiative, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation began in 1989 under the leadership of the Orthodox Church.

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Pope sends message to Catholic-Orthodox Symposium
Pope sends message to Catholic-Orthodox Symposium

Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on the occasion of the XIV Inter-Christian Symposium taking place in Thessalonika from 28-30 August. Sponsored by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality of the Pontifical University Antonianum and the Department of Theology of the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the Aristoteles University of Thessalonika, the Symposium seeks to foster theological and cultural dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox.

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Online prayer service for World Day of Prayer for Creation
Online prayer service for World Day of Prayer for Creation

We are less than two days away from the World Day of Prayer for Creation! On Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the significance of the day to the faithful in St Peter's Square, describing the event as: "an opportunity to strengthen the common commitment to safeguard life, respecting the environment and nature." The Global Catholic Climate Change Movement are listing prayer services around the world on their site. If there isn't a local prayer service you can attend, they invite readers to join the Online Prayer Service for the World Day of Prayer for

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International Day Against Nuclear Tests
International Day Against Nuclear Tests

Today we observe the International Day Against Nuclear Tests: "World leaders must be reminded that the commitment to disarm embedded in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other international documents is more than a legal-political detail, it is a moral commitment on which the future of the world depends...Responsibility for the abolition of nuclear weapons is an essential component of the global common good." - Pope Francis, 7 December 2014

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Pope meets founder of Facebook
Pope meets founder of Facebook

Pope Francis met with Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, in a private audience in the Vatican today. A statement released by the Holy See Press Office said: "They spoke about how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and help deliver a message of hope, especially to those people who are most disadvantaged." Zuckerberg's visit to Italy, was announced following last week's devastating earthquake. After discussing the importance of connecting people in the world

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Pope's Message for 50th World Day of Peace focuses on non violence
Pope's Message for 50th World Day of Peace focuses on non violence

'Non-Violence - A style of Politics for Peace' - is the title of Pope Francis' Message for 50th World Day of Peace. Violence and Peace are at the origin of two opposite ways to building society. The proliferation of hotbeds of violence produces most serious negative social consequences. The Holy Father sums up this situation in the expression: 'A Third World War in Pieces'. Peace, by contrast, promotes social positive consequences and allows the achievement of real progress.

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Pope reflects on need for humility and generosity
Pope reflects on need for humility and generosity

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday to pray the Angelus with Pope Francis. Before the prayers, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading of the day, from the Gospel of St Luke, in which Jesus dines as the guest of a leading Pharisee, and teaches a hard truth about pride and the Kingdom of God and issues a challenge to all present to focus their thoughts and order their actions to the promise of the Resurrection. As often happens, Jesus taught the Gospel lesson through parables,

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Pope Francis: 'May a powerful gust of holiness sweep through all the Americas..'
Pope Francis: 'May a powerful gust of holiness sweep through all the Americas..'

Pope Francis has sent a video message to the Church in the Americas to mark the American continental Jubilee, opening Saturday, August 27th in Bogota, Colombia, and running through August 30th, under the auspices of the Bishops' Conference of Latin America (CELAM) and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, with the close cooperation of the US and Canadian Bishops' Conferences. The theme of the continental Jubilee celebration is taken from Pope Francis' homily at the Pontifical North American College in Rome,

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Pope appeals for peace in Ukraine
Pope appeals for peace in Ukraine

Pope Francis once again appealed for peace in Ukraine yesterday, urging all parties in the conflict, as well as international bodies, to "strengthen the initiatives to resolve the conflict, release the hostages, and respond to the humanitarian emergency." The Holy Father assured Ukrainians of his continued prayers for peace. The appeal came on Ukraine's Independence Day, this year marking the 25th anniversary of independence from the former Soviet Union.

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Pope prays for victims of Italian earthquake
Pope prays for victims of Italian earthquake

Pope Francis postponed his prepared address at the General Audience today and prayed for victims of the earthquake which struck central Italy at 3.36 in the morning local time leaving at least 37 people dead and 150 missing, as rescuers search for survivors. Many of the dead were in the village of Pescara del Tronto which was levelled to the ground and there were fears the number of casualties could rise. Much of the town of Amatrice has been reduced to rubble and a family of four are feared dead nearby in Accumoli.

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Pope Francis thanks Church in Poland for World Youth Day
Pope Francis thanks Church in Poland for World Youth Day

The Bishops Conference of Poland has released the text of a letter sent by Pope Francis to thank the country for the reception he received last month during World Youth Day. In the letter, Pope Francis told the Church in Poland he was "deeply moved by your strong faith and the unwavering hope that you have kept in spite of difficulties and tragedies, and by your fervent love, which animates your human and Christian pilgrimage."

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Italy: Pope sends message to National Liturgical Week
Italy: Pope sends message to National Liturgical Week

...The choice of this place, inspired by the celebration of 1600 years of the Letter of Pope Innocent I to Decentius, Bishop of Gubbio (cf.. PL 20, 551-561), is particularly appropriate during the Holy Extraordinary Year of Mercy. In this document, in which the Roman Pontiff offered clarifying answers to questions posed by Pastor Eugubino, there is some interesting news about specific aspects and moments of the celebration of certain sacraments, at that precise moment in history. Among the many topics covered, one in particular is essential to our

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Pope offers prayers for victims of terror attack in Turkey
Pope offers prayers for victims of terror attack in Turkey

Pope Francis offered prayers today for the victims of Saturday's bombing in southern Turkey. At least 50 people were killed and dozens wounded when a suspected suicide bomber detonated his explosives among people at a wedding party in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep. Women and children were among those killed. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said it was likely that so-called Islamic State militants carried out the late-night attack.

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Pope Francis: life is not a video game
Pope Francis: life is not a video game

"Life is not a video game or a soap opera; our life is serious and the goal to achieve is important: eternal salvation," Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus on Sunday. Reflecting on the day's Gospel reading in which a man asks Jesus how many people will be saved, the Pope said. "It doesn't matter how many.. but it is important that everyone knows which is the path that leads to salvation... The door to salvation lies in Jesus," he said, "and we can cross the threshold of God's mercy through love, and by

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Pope issues motu proprio on new Laity, Family, and Life dicastery
Pope issues motu proprio on new Laity, Family, and Life dicastery

The Vatican released a motu proprio by Pope Francis today, officially establishing the new dicastery on the Laity, Family, and Life. "For many centuries, the Church, a caring mother, has had care and respect for the laity, the family, and life, manifesting the love of the merciful Saviour for humanity," reads the new document, which was signed on August 15. "Our thoughts turn to the laity, the family, and life, to whom we wish to offer support and help,

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Pope: Our communion with Christ impels us to be servants of mercy
Pope: Our communion with Christ impels us to be servants of mercy

The General Audience with the Holy Father was held in the air conditioned Paul VI Hall on Wednesday. Pope Francis reflected on the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, from the Gospel of St Matthew. Jesus' compassion for the people who follow after Him is not a vague sentiment," the Pope said. Jesus "loves us so much, and wants to be close to us." Jesus' concern for the crowd is the impetus for the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Jesus, though, does not act alone, but wishes to involve His disciples in the miracle.

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Pope has private meeting with French president
Pope has private meeting with French president

Pope Francis had a private meeting with President Francois Hollande on Wednesday. Their meeting at the Vatican came three weeks after the brutal murder of the elderly French priest, Father Jacques Hamel, who was killed by two young French terrorists claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group whilst he was celebrating Mass in his church near the city of Rouen. Following the murder of Fr Hamel, President Hollande telephoned Pope Francis to express his closeness and told him that "when a priest is attacked all of France is wounded."

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Pope: Migrants are an opportunity for dialogue among cultures
Pope: Migrants are an opportunity for dialogue among cultures

Pope Francis sent his support to an event taking place in the Italian Diocese of Ugento-S Maria di Leuca called 'Mediterranean: A Sea of Bridges,' which brought together young people from Europe and the countries bordering the Mediterranean to create a Charter which would help stop the Mediterranean from being a 'sea of death.' In a message, Pope Francis expressed his wish that the event "enkindle a renewed commitment to promoting a culture of hospitality and solidarity, and thus promote peace and fraternity among peoples."

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 Pope: Church doesn't need bureaucrats but passionate missionaries
Pope: Church doesn't need bureaucrats but passionate missionaries

The Church doesn't need bureaucrats, she needs impassioned missionaries with fire in their hearts, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter's Square during the Angelus on Sunday. He warned that without this fire, the Church risked becoming a cold or merely lukewarm Church, made up of cold and lukewarm Christians, and urged his listeners to reflect on their own attitudes. Quoting from Jesus' words where he said: "I have come to bring fire to the earth and how I wish it were blazing already!"

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Pope  visits 20  trafficked women rescued from prostitution
Pope visits 20 trafficked women rescued from prostitution

Yesterday Pope Francis visited a refugee centre in Rome housing women rescued from prostitution as part of his 'Friday of Mercy' gestures during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. The home is run by the Pope John the 23rd community. During his visit, Pope Francis met 20 women rescued from the sex trade who were trafficked from their countries of origin that included Romania, Albania, Nigeria, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Italy.

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Pope has lunch with Syrian refugees
Pope has lunch with Syrian refugees

Pope Francis had lunch with a group of 21 Syrian refugees today at Casa Santa Marta. During the meal, families had a chance to chat with Pope Francis about how they are settling in to life in Italy. The children gave the Holy Father a collection of their drawings, and the Pope showered them with toys and other gifts. The refugees, who live in Rome and are hosted by the S. Egidio Community, were brought to Rome from Lesbos by Pope Francis at the conclusion of his visit to the Greek island on 16 April 2016.

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Pope Francis mourns death of Bishop Edward Daly
Pope Francis mourns death of Bishop Edward Daly

Pope Francis sent a special message expressing his condolences for the death of Bishop Edward Kevin Daly on Thursday, recalling his generous ministry in the service of peace and justice. The message was read by Mgr Amaury Medina Blanco - Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature to Ireland - at the funeral Mass celebrated for Bishop Daly in St Eugene's Cathedral in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Bishop Daly became one of the symbols of the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland after being photographed holding up a blood-stained handkerchief

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Pope Francis: God tells us to rise up!
Pope Francis: God tells us to rise up!

During the General Audience today, Pope Francis said God is telling everyone to "Rise up," and that the Holy Door of the Jubilee is the door where the pain of humanity and the compassion of God meet. The Holy Father was recounting the story of the Widow whom Jesus met at the city gate of Nain, which the Pope compared to the Holy Door. She was leaving the city in the funeral procession of her son, whom Jesus raised from the dead with the words "Rise up!"

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Pope sends letter to Refugee Olympic Team
Pope sends letter to Refugee Olympic Team

Pope Francis sent a letter to the Refugee Olympic Team as they prepared to compete in the Olympic Games 2016 taking place in Rio de Janeiro, wishing each of them success in the competition. The letter - written in Spanish and dated 26 July 2016 - is addressed to all refugee athletes, calling each by name. Pope Francis writes of his own research into each squad member's life through their interviews with various media sources.

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Pope condemns 'senseless and brutal' attack on hospital in Pakistan
Pope condemns 'senseless and brutal' attack on hospital in Pakistan

Pope Francis has sent his condolences after the attack on the hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, which killed over 70 people. The majority of the victims were lawyers who had gathered to mourn the assassination of the president of the Baluchistan Bar Association, Bilal Anwar Kasi, who was killed earlier in the day. The message sent by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin reads: "Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life following the attack on a hospital in Quetta, His Holiness Pope Francis sends heartfelt condolences

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Resources for Season of Creation
Resources for Season of Creation



Last year, Pope Francis designated 1 September as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in the Catholic Church, as the Orthodox Church has done since 1989. The day of prayer, the Pope said, gives individuals and communities an opportunity to implore God's help in protecting creation and an opportunity to ask God's forgiveness "for sins committed against the world in which we live." The 'Season of Creation Time' runs from 1 September - 4 October, the Feast of Saint Francis. A number of new resources

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Pope Francis renews appeal for peace in Syria
Pope Francis renews appeal for peace in Syria

Pope Francis renewed his condemnation of violence again called for peace in Syria today during his address to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square after the Angelus, He said: "Dear brothers and sisters - sadly, news continues to reach us from Syria, of civilian victims of the war there, in particular from the city of Aleppo." The Holy Father went on to say, "It is unacceptable that so many defenseless persons - among them many small children - must pay the price for conflict - for the closure of the hearts and the want of a will for peace

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Pope Francis' message for #Rio2016 Olympics
Pope Francis' message for #Rio2016 Olympics

...In a world thirsting for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation, I hope that the spirit of the Olympic Games inspires all - participants and spectators - to "fight the good fight" and finish the race together (cf. 2 Tim 4,7-8), desiring to obtain as a prize, not a medal, but something much more precious: the construction of a civilisation in which solidarity reigns and is based upon the recognition that we are all members of the same human family, regardless of the differences of culture, skin colour, or religion.

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Pope Francis prays for journalist who died at World Youth Day
Pope Francis prays for journalist who died at World Youth Day

Pope Francis yesterday remembered Italian journalist Anna Maria Jacobini, who died in her hotel bed in Krakow on Friday. The 58-year-old was covering World Youth Day for RAI, the Italian state broadcaster. She is believed to have died of natural causes. Her death was not reported immediately because her 94-year-old mother had to be informed first. Anna Maria led a weekly Catholic affairs program and in the past had covered other papal trips, grueling affairs for reporters, who usually work from before dawn till late into the night.

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Pope Francis visits Assisi
Pope Francis visits Assisi

Pope Francis is making a private pilgrimage to the Italian hill town of Assisi this afternoon to visit the Porziuncola chapel there to mark the 800th anniversary of the 'Pardon of Assisi.' The Porziuncola is a small chapel housed inside the town's Basilica of St Mary of the Angels which St Francis of Assisi restored and where he founded the Franciscan order at the start of the 13th century.

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Pope meets Dominican General Chapter
Pope meets Dominican General Chapter

Pope Francis met with participants in the Dominican General Chapter today, ahead of his afternoon visit to Assisi, speaking to them about the need to incarnate the Gospel through preaching, witness, and charity. The audience with Pope Francis concludes the General Chapter marking 800 years since the founding of the Order of Preachers by St Dominic. Beginning with a joke about his day's activities, Pope Francis said his day could be called "A Jesuit among Friars", since it saw him meet with the spiritual children of the contemporaries St Dominic and St Francis.

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Pope Francis' Reflection in Assisi
Pope Francis' Reflection in Assisi


This afternoon, Pope Francis flew by helicopter to Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, for the eighth centenary of the Pardon of Assisi. On his arrival the Pope was welcomed by Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi-Nocera, Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, and other officials, before travelling by car to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. After a time of silent prayer in the Portiuncula, Pope Francis gave the following meditation in the Basilica of Santa Maria.

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   Reflection: praying about sport
Reflection: praying about sport

Fr David Stewart SJ writes: This month, Pope Francis has asked us to join him in a prayer for, and about, sports - that sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world. Do we ever think about sports as a topic for our prayer? Maybe, only when our favourite team is about to participate in a big match or prestigious tournament! Maybe the only time we ever might link our prayer and whatever sport we follow, or play, is at that moment, and it's commonplace to spot a player

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Pope Francis reflects on his WYD visit to Poland
Pope Francis reflects on his WYD visit to Poland

During his General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope Francis reflected on his visit to Krakow for World Youth Day - where he said the young continued to be "a prophetic sign of hope for the future." While in Poland, Pope Francis went to Auschwitz, where more than a million Jewish people were murdered during World War Two. The Holy Father said: "The great silence of the visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau was more eloquent than any word spoken could have been.

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Pope Francis' universal prayer intentions for August - video
Pope Francis' universal prayer intentions for August - video

Pope Francis today released a video message on his universal prayer intentions for August where he speaks of his desire that sports may build a culture of encounter among everyone for a world of peace. Sports, a culture of encounter. Sports make it possible to build a culture of encounter among everyone for a world of peace.

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Muslims attend Masses and vigils in show of solidarity
Muslims attend Masses and vigils in show of solidarity

British, French and Italian Muslims attended Mass and vigils in several countries across Europe on Sunday to express their solidarity with Christians after the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in France last week. At Westminster Cathedral in London, rabbis, imams, and priests gathered for an interfaith prayer vigil. In Italy, churches welcomed Muslims to Sunday Mass; three imams attended a service in Rome at the Church of St Maria in Trastevere.

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Pope expresses sorrow over death of Cardinal Macharski
Pope expresses sorrow over death of Cardinal Macharski

Pope Francis expressed deep sorrow over the death of Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, Archbishop emeritus of Krakow, who died on Tuesday morning, 2 August. In a telegram addressed to his successor, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, the Pontiff recalled that the episcopal motto of the deceased prelate - Jesus, I trust in you! - which guided his life and his ministry, "today, in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, it has become an eloquent invocation which proclaims the fulfillment of the work that the Lord had entrusted to him in Baptism,

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Text: Pope Francis thanks WYD volunteers
Text: Pope Francis thanks WYD volunteers

As World Youth Day 2016 drew to a close yesterday, Pope Francis greeted volunteers whose hard work made the event such a resounding success. "Before returning to Rome," he said, "I wanted to meet you and to thank each of you for your commitment, generosity and dedication in guiding, helping and serving the thousands of young pilgrims. Thank you too for your witness of faith that, together with that of so many young people from every part of the world, is a great sign of hope for the Church and the world."

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Krakow: Pope visits Jesuit House
Krakow: Pope visits Jesuit House

Pope Francis paid an unexpected visit to the Jesuit House in Krakow on Saturday and urged them to look outwards and not just be concerned with abstract ideas. The Pope spent about 40 minutes with the Jesuits in an informal encounter where they chatted and he answered a number of question but said he had no desire to make a speech. Around 30 Jesuits were present for the encounter including the Provincials. The visit was not included in the Pope's official programme during his stay in Krakow.

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Pope at WYD: 'We didn't come into this world to vegetate
Pope at WYD: 'We didn't come into this world to vegetate

More than two million young pilgrims gathered in the Campus Misericordiae in Poland to join Pope Francis for a prayer vigil on Saturday night. From early in the day, the young people caught buses and trams from central Krakow to bring them as close as possible to the huge sprawling campsite. From there, they walked a further four kilometres to get to these grounds in order to be with the Holy Father. Some carried tents. All were equipped with sleeping bags and mats for the overnight stay.

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Text: Pope Francis at WYD Krakow 2016 final Mass
Text: Pope Francis at WYD Krakow 2016 final Mass

Around two million young people slept out under the stars at Campus Misericordiae outside Krakow on Saturday night. The next morning, Pope Francis, who had stayed in a centre nearby, celebrated the final Mass of World Youth Day. The theme of the Holy Father's reflection was how to overcome obstacles to building a real relationship with Jesus - whether they be obstacles that arise in one's own soul or obstacles one will inevitably encounter in the world and in society. The official English translation follows:

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Lord Alton: Pope Francis at Auschwitz and why BBC reports of silence during the Holocaust are wrong
Lord Alton: Pope Francis at Auschwitz and why BBC reports of silence during the Holocaust are wrong

The BBC's reporter clearly didn't see the irony of stating that the Catholic Church had remained silent in the face of a genocide only to then describe how Polish Catholics were arrested and killed for sheltering Jews and how Fr Maximilian Kolbe was executed at Auschwitz after taking the place of another prisoner. Why was he in Auschwitz in the first place? He had been arrested for publishing a denunciation of the Nazis in his magazine, Knight, which had a circulation of around one million people. Hardly silence, then.

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Pope Francis: In a suffering world,  Jesus is always near
Pope Francis: In a suffering world, Jesus is always near

Pope Francis spoke to the crowds again on Friday evening, from the window of the Archbishop's residence in Krakow. He recalled this day as one of pain. "Friday, he said, is the day when we remember the death of Jesus and with the young people we prayed the Way of the Cross: the suffering and death of Jesus for all of us...So many people are suffering: the sick; those who are at war; the homeless; the hungry; those who are doubtful in life, who do not feel happiness,"

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WYD: Mass at Sanctuary of St John Paul II for priests and religious
WYD: Mass at Sanctuary of St John Paul II for priests and religious

The words of the Gospel we have just heard (cf. Jn 20:19-31) speak to us of a place, a disciple and a book. The place is where the disciples gathered on the evening of Easter; we read only that its doors were closed (cf. v. 19). Eight days later, the disciples were once more gathered there, and the doors were still shut (cf. v. 26). Jesus enters, stands in their midst and brings them his peace, the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins: in a word, God's mercy. Behind those closed doors there resounds Jesus' call to his followers:

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WYD Krakow: Pope Francis has lunch with volunteers
WYD Krakow: Pope Francis has lunch with volunteers

Pope Francis had lunch today with a dozen young volunteers serving at World Youth Day. The private encounter took place in the residence of the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, following the morning Mass for priests and religious in the shrine dedicated to Saint John Paul II. The young men and women invited to join the Pope for lunch came from all the different continents and included representatives from New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Italy, Columbia, as well as the host nation, Poland.

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WYD: Pope's advice to newlyweds
WYD: Pope's advice to newlyweds

Young people chanted and sang songs awaiting Pope Francis to come to the window of the Archbishop's residence in Krakow last night - and when he came out, the Square below erupted with cheers. This evening's remarks were directed at newly married couples and the Pope joked, they say today there is a good group here, in this square, newlyweds." He commended young men and women for having the courage to commit to marriage and because he said "it is not easy to form a family."

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Pope sends video message to Cuban youth festival
Pope sends video message to Cuban youth festival

Before setting out for Auschwitz this morning, Pope Francis sent a video message for young Cubans who organized their own youth gathering to coincide with the official World Youth Day events in Krakow, Poland. In his message the Pope praised the young people for taking this initiative and urged them to unite together in "a social friendship," regardless of their differences and be "carriers of hope" and "builders of bridges." Around 1,400 young Cubans are taking part in their own youth gathering in the

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Pope Francis prays at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Pope Francis prays at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Pope Francis paid an emotional visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau this morning - site of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp where more than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were put to death during the Second World War. Prior to his visit to the camp, the Pope decided not to give a speech, saying he preferred to enter alone, in silent prayer. "I would like to go to that place of horror without speeches, without crowds - only the few people necessary," he explained. "Alone, enter, pray. And may the Lord give me the grace

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Krakow: Pope Francis visits children's hospital
Krakow: Pope Francis visits children's hospital

Soon after his visit to Auschwitz on Friday, Pope Francis went to the Pediatric Hospital of Prokocim. In an address to patients and staff said he wished that "We Christians could be as close to the sick as Jesus was, in silence, with a caress, with prayer." Sadly, the Pope continued, "our society is tainted by the culture of waste" and the victims of this "are the weakest and frailest and this is indeed cruel." He thanked all those working at the hospital for the love and compassion shown towards the young patients, describing this as "the sign of true civility,

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WYD: Pope tells young people 'do not live your lives half way'
WYD: Pope tells young people 'do not live your lives half way'

Many thousands of young people gathered in Krakow's Blonia Park again on Friday evening for a dramatic multi-media interpretation of the Way of the Cross. Written by Auxiliary Bishop Grzegorz Rys, who the Department of New Evangelisation for the Polish Bishops Conference, the Stations, were presented in modern dance, murals, acrobatics, computer animation and street art and incorporated many contemporary issues - as well as showcasing many Catholic organisations that live out the 14 Acts of Mercy.

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Pope visits Krakow convent
Pope visits Krakow convent

Pope Francis made a brief visit to the Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation in Krakow this morning. While he was there the Holy Father met with the sisters and some of the students from their school. Before he left Pope Francis signed the guest book with a message for the Sisters: "With gratitude for your generous service, I give you my blessing and encourage you in your educational apostolate. Cultivate with love the seeds of goodness, beauty and truth that God sows in every new generation."

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Poland: Homily of Pope Francis at Mass in Czestochowa
Poland: Homily of Pope Francis at Mass in Czestochowa

This morning Pope Francis celebrated an open-air Mass at the Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, to mark the 1050th anniversary of the 'Baptism of Poland.' Many thousands of people attended. Before the Mass, the Holy Father prayed at the shrine, before the image of Our Lady. From the readings of this Liturgy a divine thread emerges, one that passes through human history and weaves the history of salvation. The apostle Paul tells us of God's great plan: "When the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman"

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Pope tells WYD pilgrims to show mercy by building bridges
Pope tells WYD pilgrims to show mercy by building bridges

It was hot, it was lightly raining - but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of around million young people gathered in Krakow's Blonia Park this afternoon. They watched him on big screens as he travelled across the city in a tram, with a group of disabled people. Then there was a roar of appreciation and much flag-waving as the Holy Father processed through the crowds to the stage in his popemobile. The event began with a series of dance and musical performances from countries around the world - Poland, India, Latin America, North

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Pope sends video message to young people of Brownsville
Pope sends video message to young people of Brownsville

Pope Francis has released a video message to the young people of the US Diocese of Brownsville. The Diocese of Brownsville lies on the Mexican border and is considered one of the most impoverished areas of the United States. The gathering of young people was organized to coincide with World Youth Day, which is taking place in Krakow, Poland and to mark the Feast of Saint Anne, the patron of the Parish where the event is taking place.

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Pope Francis arrives in Krakow for WYD
Pope Francis arrives in Krakow for WYD

Pope Francis has arrived in Poland at the start of his 15th pastoral visit abroad. He was greeted at the airport by Cardinal Dziwisz, the President of Poland Andrzej Duda and wife, a delegation of civic and church leaders, a small boy and girl in national dress carrying flowers and enthusiastic crowds of young people waving flags and singing. After the official welcome and military ceremonies, the Holy Father greeted the crowds in a driveabout before being taken into Krakow.

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Pope Francis pays tribute to WYD volunteer
Pope Francis pays tribute to WYD volunteer

Thousands of jubilant young people gathered in the street outside the Archbishop of Krakow's residence on Wednesday evening, to see Pope Francis speaking at the window. The Holy Father is staying here during his visit to Krakow - in the house which was once the home of the Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla. He would address the crowds from this window while he was archbishop and later when he returned to the city as Pope. Pope Francis has now continued that tradition. He told them he could see they were here with great joy in their hearts -

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Pope reflects on Our Father, prays for victims of latest terror attacks
Pope reflects on Our Father, prays for victims of latest terror attacks

Pope Francis focused on Jesus' teaching on prayer, from the day's Gospel, during his Angelus address to pilgrims in St Peter's Square yesterday. When the Apostles asked the Lord to teach them to pray, Jesus responded, "When you pray, say 'Father...'" This word, "Father," the Pope said, is the "secret" of the prayer of Jesus - "it is the key that He Himself gives us so that we too can enter into that relationship of confidential dialogue with the Father."

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WYD Krakow: Pope scraps official address to Polish bishops in favour of private meeting
WYD Krakow: Pope scraps official address to Polish bishops in favour of private meeting

Pope Francis has decided to scrap a previously scheduled official discourse to Polish bishops on the first day of his apostolic journey to Poland, in favour of a private encounter with them during which the Pope and the bishops will be able to listen to each other and converse in total freedom. Speaking to Vatican Radio, Father Federico Lombardi SJ, Director of the Holy See Press Office, explained that the Pope wants the occasion to be as spontaneous and authentic as possible: a moment in which the bishops and the Pope will be at ease and free

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Youth groups at WYD call on Catholic institutions to divest from fossil fuels
Youth groups at WYD call on Catholic institutions to divest from fossil fuels

During World Youth Day in Krakow, youth groups from around the world are calling on Catholic institutions to divest from fossil fuels, in line with the call Pope Francis has made to "care for our common home". An open letter signed by youth groups of all faiths internationally calls on Pope Francis to ask Catholic organizations, including the Vatican, to divest from fossil fuels. The letter will be published in Krakow during the vigil organized by 350.org. By calling out the destructive influence of the fossil fuel industry on

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Pope Francis issues new document on Women's Contemplative Life
Pope Francis issues new document on Women's Contemplative Life

The Vatican on Friday published a new Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei quaerere (Seeking the Face of God), On Women's Contemplative Life. The promotion of an adequate formation; the centrality of prayer and of the word of God, especially in lectio divina; specific criteria for the autonomy of contemplative communities; and membership of monasteries within federations are some of the main points addressed by Pope Francis in the new Apostolic Constitution.

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Pope's envoy on peace mission in South Sudan
Pope's envoy on peace mission in South Sudan

Pope Francis has sent a special envoy to South Sudan to urge for an end to violence in the country and to help establish dialogue and trust between the warring parties. Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, travelled to the capital Juba this week to give support to the Archbishop and to meet with the country's leaders. He carried with him a letter from the Pope for President Salva Kiir and one for Vice President Riek Machar who are historic enemies and represent the different ethnic groups.

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Pope sends video message to WYD participants and Polish nation
Pope sends video message to WYD participants and Polish nation

Pope Francis has sent his personal greetings to young people from throughout the world gathering in Krakow for World Youth Day and to all the people of the "beloved Polish nation" as he prepares to travel to Poland next week. The Pope's 15th apostolic journey abroad, from 27 to 31 July, will take him to Krakow where the 31st WYD is being held, to the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa and to the former Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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Liverpool: Young people prepare to set off for WYD Krakow
Liverpool: Young people prepare to set off for WYD Krakow

Final preparations are being made for thirty young people from the Archdiocese of Liverpool to travel to Krakow on Wednesday, 20 July, to celebrate World Youth Day with Pope Francis and an expected two million Catholic young people from throughout the world. The group will fly out from Manchester Airport at 9am to begin their pilgrimage. As they set off on their journey it will be the culmination of months of preparation and hard work, particularly fund raising for the trip.

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Pope Francis: Jesus is the answer to
Pope Francis: Jesus is the answer to "restlessness" in youth

Pope Francis sent greetings to an Evangelical Christian gathering which took place on Saturday in Washington, DC. Thousands of people filled the National Mall for the 'Together 16' event. In a video-message released before the event, Pope Francis said young people have a "restlessness" in their hearts, and Jesus is the answer. "Young men and women, I know there is something in your heart that moves you. And that makes you restless, because a young person who is not restless is an old person," Pope Francis said

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Religious leaders condemn Nice killings
Religious leaders condemn Nice killings

Religious leaders around the world have expressed their shock and sadness at the killings in Nice on Friday. A spokesman for Pope Francis said: "Throughout the night we have followed with great concern the terrible news from Nice. On behalf of Pope Francis, we join in solidarity with the suffering of the victims and of the entire French people this day that should have been a great holiday. We condemn in the strongest way every demonstration of senseless violence, of hatred, terrorism and any attack against peace."

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 Pope Francis receives refugee letters from Cambridgeshire pupils
Pope Francis receives refugee letters from Cambridgeshire pupils

Letters for refugee families, written by Cambridgeshire school children, have been handed to Pope Francis by the Bishop of East Anglia, Rt Rev Alan Hopes, at a recent audience at the Vatican during a Diocesan pilgrimage to Rome. The letters from year five and six pupils at the All Saints Inter-Church Academy in March, were written to the refugee families who were recently housed at the Vatican by Pope Francis, as part of a Year of Mercy project.

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Pope Francis: If our faith is fruitful, it produces good works
Pope Francis: If our faith is fruitful, it produces good works

At the Angelus on Sunday, with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable, the Pope said, "indicates a style of life, in which the centre of gravity is not ourselves, but others." Like the doctor of the law in the day's Gospel, we might ask ourselves, "Who is my neighbour? Is it my friends, my parents, my fellow countrymen, my co-religionists?" Jesus does not answer the question directly, but instead tells of the Good Samaritan, a man who did not observe the true religion,

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Pope issues edict on administration and vigilance of Vatican patrimony
Pope issues edict on administration and vigilance of Vatican patrimony

Pope Francis has approved a new 'Motu Proprio' which defines the relationship between the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Secretariat for the Economy. In effect he has taken away several financial powers from the Secretariat for the Economy, led by Cardinal Pell, and restored them to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA). The 'Motu Proprio' that regards competencies in economic and financial matters spells out the clear and unequivocal distinction between control and vigilance, on the one hand, and administration

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Pope's message to Argentina on 200th anniversary of independence
Pope's message to Argentina on 200th anniversary of independence

On the eve of celebrations for Argentina's 200th anniversary of independence from Spain, Pope Francis sent greetings and a message to the bishops, national authorities and all the Argentine people. Pope Francis said he hoped the celebrations would make the country stronger "in the path begun by our elders 200 years ago. He assured them of his prayers and invited them "not to sell the Motherland" and to resist "all forms of colonisation."

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Pope supports Caritas Syria peace campaign
Pope supports Caritas Syria peace campaign

"The international community must support peace talks towards the building of a national unity government" ..... "I invite you to ask those who are involved in peace talks to take these agreements seriously and to commit to facilitating access to humanitarian aid. While the people suffer, an incredible amount of money is being spent on giving fighters weapons. Some of the countries providing these arms are also those talking of peace. How can one believe in those who caress you with the right hand while hitting you with the left?" the Pope said.

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Pope Francis: Welcome the Lord's invitation to follow Him
Pope Francis: Welcome the Lord's invitation to follow Him

In his Angelus address to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square yesterday, Pope Francis said: "I wonder how many of you hear the invitation - how many of you, young people, who now are present in the square today, hear and heed the Lord's call to follow him?" Reflecting on the day's reading from the Gospel of Luke, Pope Francis reflected on how how we are meant to contribute to the Church's mission. He said: "Be not afraid! Be brave and bring to others this torch of apostolic zeal that has been left by so many exemplary disciples."

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Pope Francis gives interview to Argentinian newspaper
Pope Francis gives interview to Argentinian newspaper

Pope Francis spoke about Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and his relationship with Argentina's new President, Mauricio Macri, in an interview with the Argentinian newspaper La Nación released on Sunday. Speaking about his predecessor, Pope Francis said that although his age has affected his movement, "his mind and his memory are intact, perfect." He said Pope Benedict XVI was "revolutionary," and added his "generosity was unparalleled." "His resignation, which exposed all the problems of the Church, had nothing to do with personal matters," Pope Francis said. "It was an act of governance, his last act of governance."

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Pope send video message to Together for Europe 2016
Pope send video message to Together for Europe 2016

Pope Francis sent a video message to the participants in the gathering of the Together for Europe initiative in Germany - an initiative that brings together more than 300 Christian Movements and Communities from many denominations and from every part of the continent. While preserving their independence, collectively they form a network to pursue shared goals, each bringing a contribution specific to their own charism. The full text of the video message, in English, follows: Dear Friends in Together for Europe,

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Pope Francis:  it's one thing to talk mercy, another to live it
Pope Francis: it's one thing to talk mercy, another to live it

Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience, Pope Francis said on Thursday during a special Jubilee audience at St Peter's Square. It's one thing to talk mercy but quite another to live it, he said. Mercy is not an abstraction or a lifestyle and, paraphrasing the words of St James the Apostle, mercy without works is dead in itself. Pope Francis reflected on the text of Matthew 25:31 as he spoke about acts of mercy toward others. What makes mercy come alive is its dynamism to meet the spiritual and material needs of others, he said.

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Pope Francis: Prayer opens the door to closed hearts
Pope Francis: Prayer opens the door to closed hearts

In his homily during Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul today in St Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis focused on the themes of "closing" and "opening" in the lives of the two patrons of Rome. The Church must avoid the risk of closing in on itself out of persecution and fear, the Pope said. At the same time, she must be able to see "the small openings through which God can work." Prayer, he said, "enables grace to open a way out from closure to openness, from fear to courage, from sadness to joy. And we can add: from division to unity."

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British singer to headline unique concert for Pope Francis
British singer to headline unique concert for Pope Francis

A British Mezzo Soprano has been chosen to headline a spectacular free concert in one of Rome's most historic sites, to mark the Pope's Jubilee celebrations. Nottingham-born Carly Paoli - whose debut single Ave Maria has been chosen as the official song of the Pope's 2016 Jubilee celebrations - will lead the line-up for Music for Mercy, a ground-breaking live event held in the grounds of Rome's Forum on July 26. This is the first time permission has been granted for an event at the historic site,

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Quest welcomes Pope Francis' clear words of apology to LGBT Catholics

Ruby Almeida, chair of Quest (LGBT Catholics) has approved the following text in response to Pope Francis' apology for past harm done to gay people: Quest welcomes Pope Francis' clear words of apology to lesbian and gay Catholics. We share the view of some LGBT people who point out that this could and should have gone further, but there is time for that, later. For now, what matters is that this is a major turning point in the Catholic Church's response to lesbian and gay people. (Regrettably, the apology offered nothing to transgender Catholics).

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Vatican celebrates anniversary of Benedict's ordination
Vatican celebrates anniversary of Benedict's ordination

Pope Francis hosted a celebration for the 65th anniversary of the priestly ordination of his predecessor Benedict, the pope emeritus tonight. Joseph Ratzinger, who took the name Benedict XVI when he was elected to the papacy in 2005, attended the celebration in the Sala Clementina within the Apostolic Palace. More than thirty cardinals were also present, as well as a number of other invited guests. The event began with music from the Sistine Choir and a speech by Pope Francis. In his remarks, the Supreme Pontiff recalled St Peter's response to

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Pope's in-flight press conference on return from Armenia
Pope's in-flight press conference on return from Armenia

Pope Francis spoke on the Armenian genocide, the relation of the Catholic Church to the gay community, and Britain's vote to leave the European Union, as well as a host of other topics in a wide-ranging press conference on his flight back to Rome following his visit to Armenia. Sunday's in-flight press conference began with questions about the Apostolic Voyage to Armenia that Pope Francis had just concluded. Asked about his message for Armenia for the future, the Holy Father spoke about his hopes and prayers for justice and peace, and his encouragement

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Armenia: Pope Francis welcomed by Catholicos Karekin II
Armenia: Pope Francis welcomed by Catholicos Karekin II

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the city of Gyumri on the second day of his apostolic visit to Armenia. At the start of the Liturgy, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians welcomed the pontiff by thanking the Catholic Church which "gave a helping hand of brotherly love to the victims" of the devastating 1988 Armenian earthquake which killed 25,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The Catholicos said: "Gyumri is one of those historical towns of Armenia where centuries-old Armenican Christian values have flourished" and

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Pope advises young Armenians to work for peace and reconciliation
Pope advises young Armenians to work for peace and reconciliation

Pope Francis has urged young people in Armenia to be active peacemakers in a world suffering from persecutions and conflict. Speaking at an open air ecumenical prayer vigil in Yerevan on Saturday, attended by leaders of all the Churches in Armenia, the Pope called on people of faith to abandon "rigid opinions and personal interests", showing instead humility and generosity on the path towards full Christian unity. During the prayer service for peace in Yerevan's central Republic Square, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II spoke about

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Pope concludes visit to Armenia
Pope concludes visit to Armenia

Pope Francis left Yerevan, on Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of his three day pastoral visit to the Armenia. The Alitalia plane carrying the Pope and his entourage back to Rome took off following a farewell ceremony on the airport runway with President Serzh Sargsyan, alongside Patriarch Karekin II, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church and leaders of the small Catholic community there. During the visit the Pope met church and state leaders, visited the genocide memorial museum, took part in an ecumenical prayer vigil for peace, travelled to the northern

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#PopeInArmenia - Welcome, meeting with civil authorities, diplomats
#PopeInArmenia - Welcome, meeting with civil authorities, diplomats

Pope Francis arrived in Armenia, the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion, about 1pm Rome time. He was warmly welcomed by the President of the nation's Republic Serzh Sargsyn and the Catholicos of All Armenia Karekin II. Also present were the Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Armenia Grégoire Pierre XX and other religious and civil authorities. The Holy Father spoke with Armenian civil authorities, including President Serž Sargsyan and the diplomatic corps, on Friday in the capital Yerevan at the start of his his 14th Apostolic Journey abroad.

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Armenia: Pope speaks of Armenian massacre and Christian persecution
Armenia: Pope speaks of Armenian massacre and Christian persecution

Pope Francis on Friday met with Armenia's political, diplomatic and civil society representatives,at the presidential palace in Yerevan. During his address he recalled both the genocide suffered by the nation a century ago and the suffering of Christians around the world today. As he greeted the Armenian president, Serzh Sargsyan, and the nation's political leaders, Pope Francis spoke of the rich history and natural beauty of Armenia, believed by some to be the location of the biblical garden of Eden.

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Pope on Brexit: 'the will of the people is to be respected'
Pope on Brexit: 'the will of the people is to be respected'

Pope Francis commented on Britain's decision to leave the European Union today, saying it must be followed by "guarantees" for the good of both Britain and countries on the continent. Speaking to journalists aboard the Papal plane during his journey to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, the Pope said the referendum result must be respected because it was wanted by the people. "It was the will expressed by the people and this requires a great responsibility on the part of all of us to guarantee the good of the people of the United Kingdom,

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 Pope sends video message to people of Armenia ahead of his visit
Pope sends video message to people of Armenia ahead of his visit

Francis has sent a video message to the people of Armenia, ahead of his visit to the country this weekend. In the message, delivered in Italian, the Holy Father said: "It is as a servant of the Gospel and a messenger of peace that I desire to come among you, to support your every effort towards peace - and I would share our steps on the pathway of reconciliation, which generates hope." ... I invite you to pray for this Apostolic journey. With the help of God, I come among you to fulfil, as the motto of the trip says, a "visit to the first Christian country".

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Pope invites us all to ask for God's healing touch
Pope invites us all to ask for God's healing touch

During his weekly General Audience on a very hot and sunny Wednesday, attended by thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel story of the leper who was healed by Jesus as a sign of God's mercy and forgiveness. As Jesus reached out and touched the unclean man, he said, so we must never be afraid to reach out and touch the poor and those most in need. At the same time, he said, the Lord invites each of us to feel our own need and to ask for his healing touch.

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Pope reaffirms Church rejection of death penalty
Pope reaffirms Church rejection of death penalty

In a video message to participants of the Sixth World Conference Against the Death Penalty, taking place this week in Oslo, Norway Pope Francis has strongly reaffirmed the Catholic Church's rejection of the death penalty. The Holy Father said: "The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is an auspicious occasion for promoting worldwide ever more evolved forms of respect for the life and dignity of each person. It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal."

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'Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters'
'Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters'

'Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opening today in Crete' - Pope Francis said on his Twitter feed last night. Speaking after the Angelus prayer to thousands of pilgrims and visitors gathered in St Peter's Square, yesterday, the Holy Fathe also urged Catholics to pray for the Orthodox leaders from around the world who are holding their 'Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church' on the Greek island of Crete.

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Pope Francis: Look in the mirror before judging others
Pope Francis: Look in the mirror before judging others

Before judging others we should look at ourselves in the mirror, Pope Francis said in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. In his last Mass with a homily there ahead of the summer break, the Holy Father pointed out that what distinguishes God's judgment from ours is not "omnipotence" but "mercy. Judgment belongs to God alone, so if we do not want to be judged, we should not judge others says Pope Francis. Reflecting on the day's Gospel, the Pope said "all of us want the Lord to look upon us with kindness" on Judgment Day and that

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Pope Francis: 'Refugees are just like us'
Pope Francis: 'Refugees are just like us'

Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for solidarity with refugees as he noted that Monday marks the annual United Nations World Refugee Day. Addressing thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square after the Angelus, the Pope recalled that the theme for this year's event is: 'We stand together #With Refugees' and with all those forced to flee their lands. Refugees, he insisted, are people like everyone else, who have been deprived by war of their homes, their jobs, their parents and their friends.

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Pope Francis: 'True conversion opens us to those most in need'
Pope Francis: 'True conversion opens us to those most in need'

During his special Jubilee Audience for the month of June in St Peter's Square today (Saturday), Pope Francis reflected on Jesus' call to conversion which was expressed not in judgment but in closeness to sinners and mercy to those in need. Reflecting on the Gospel passage in which the Risen Jesus encounters his disciples on the road to Emmaus, Pope Francis said Jesus' call to conversion is an experience of unmerited love which leads to openness to others, especially to the poor. He said the theme of conversion is present throughout the Bible, especially in

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Pope renews criticism of  today's 'throwaway culture'
Pope renews criticism of today's 'throwaway culture'

Pope Francis opened the annual Ecclesial Convention of the Rome Diocese last night at Rome's cathedral: the Papal Archbasilica of St John Lateran. During the course of the event, the Holy Father responded to questions from several participants, each centered on specific aspects of the over-arching theme of the three-day event: the family and the joy of love. In one response in particular, Pope Francis renewed his criticism of our "provisional" and "throw-away" culture, which has largely become incapable of thinking that any good - even one's word - could possibly

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 Watch: Pope's video message for 'Be God's Mercy' project
Watch: Pope's video message for 'Be God's Mercy' project

A video message by Pope Francis was released on Friday to highlight an awareness and fund-raising initiative by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The charity's 'Be God's Mercy' initiative marking the Jubilee Year of Mercy was formally launched at a press conference in the offices of Vatican Radio. In his film, the Pope urged people to "carry out works of mercy together with ACN in every corner of the world, in order to meet the many, many needs of today."

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Vatican helps nine more Syrian refugees come to Rome
Vatican helps nine more Syrian refugees come to Rome

A group of nine Syrian refugees, including two Christians, arrived in Rome on Thursday from the Kara Tepe refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Earlier this year, on 16 April, Pope Francis visited the camp himself to meet some of the refugees and see the conditions in which they were living. During that visit he brought three families back to Rome with him on the papal plane. The Vatican Gendarmeria, with the help of Interior Ministry of Greece, the Greek Asylum Service, and the Community of Sant'Egidio, accompanied this new group of refugees from Athens to

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Four Catholic congregations to divest from fossil fuels on anniversary of Laudato Si'
Four Catholic congregations to divest from fossil fuels on anniversary of Laudato Si'

Today, four Catholic religious congregations announced that they are selling their investments in coal, oil and gas companies as the moral case against fossil fuels continues to build. The first-ever joint Catholic divestment announcement marks the commemoration of the first anniversary of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si, which calls on the responsibility humans share in caring for the planet, our common home. The Marist Sisters Australia, Presentation Congregation Queensland, Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga, and The Passionists - Holy Spirit Province

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Pope Francis: 'Our Father' is cornerstone of our prayer life
Pope Francis: 'Our Father' is cornerstone of our prayer life

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning, Pope Francis said prayers are not magic words for Christian, but when we pray the 'Our Father' we can feel God looking at us and this prayer should be the cornerstone of our prayer life. Taking his inspiration from the Gospel reading where Jesus teaches his disciples to pray the Our Father, the Pope's homily was a reflection on the value and meaning of prayer in the life of a Christian. He noted that Jesus always used the word "Father" in the most important or challenging moments of his life,

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Pope Francis: Praying for our enemies can heal our hearts
Pope Francis: Praying for our enemies can heal our hearts

Praying for our enemies can heal our hearts: that was Pope Francis' message at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning. Recalling his own childhood in Argentina, when people prayed that dictators would go to hell, the Pope recalled how Jesus himself tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Reflecting on the day's Gospel of St Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples to love their enemies, Pope Francis noted that this instruction was in contrast to what the Doctors of the Law taught in those days:

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Pope Francis: Recognize the Lord in refugees, the poor, the disabled
Pope Francis: Recognize the Lord in refugees, the poor, the disabled

Pope Francis encouraged believers to open their eyes and hearts to God's love for the poor and to the gift of healing that he offers to all who turn to him in faith. His words came during the weekly General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square. Reflecting on Jesus' miracle of restoring sight to a blind man on the way to Jericho as recounted in the Gospel of Luke, he said the blind man was sitting on the roadside begging and pointed out that, until not long ago, a person with disability had no choice but to live on charity. "That blind man, Francis said,

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Pope to back ACN's Year of Mercy appeal
Pope to back ACN's Year of Mercy appeal

Pope Francis is to give his personal support to an awareness and fund-raising campaign organised by a leading Catholic charity to mark the Year of Mercy. Aid to the Church in Need's "Be God's Mercy" initiative will be launched at a press conference on 17 June. The Pope is personally associating himself with the campaign through a video message to be released the same day in which he highlights ACN's work.

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Pope Francis prays for victims of Orlando massacre
Pope Francis prays for victims of Orlando massacre

Father Federico Lombardi SJ, director of the Vatican Press Office has issued a statement saying Pope Francis is "shocked and saddened" at the 'homicidal folly and senseless hatred' of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, yesterday that has claimed the lives of at least 50 people...."The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of

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Laudato Si' Week 12-19 June 2016
Laudato Si' Week 12-19 June 2016

The first anniversary of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' is being marked by Laudato Si' Week, organised by the Global Catholic Climate Movement. One year ago, on 18 June 2015, Pope Francis released his historic encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home. Laudato Si' Week is an international celebration to reflect upon the Laudato Si' message and highlight global action bringing it to life. On the day of the encyclical launch last year, I was interviewed live on the BBC's Today Programme and Premier Radio....Cardinal Vincent Nichols held

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Pope Francis homily for Jubilee of the Sick and Disabled
Pope Francis homily for Jubilee of the Sick and Disabled

Pope Francis has criticised the pursuit for perfect bodies, saying it leads to society hiding away the disabled to avoid offending the sensibilities of what he described as "the privileged few.'' During Mass today (Sunday) in St Peter's Square for the Jubilee of the Sick and Disabled, attended by tens of thousands of patients, people with disabilities, doctors, nurses and carers, the Pope called for solidarity and mutual acceptance in a world in which a perfect appearance has become an obsession as wells as "big business."

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Pope welcomes participants of Vatican Observatory summer course
Pope welcomes participants of Vatican Observatory summer course

On Saturday, Pope Francis welcomed participants of a summer course organized by the Vatican Observatory, reminding them how diversity enriches scientific research, which in turn draws us ever closer to our Creator God. This fifteenth annual course for astronomers falls on the 125th anniversary of the Observatory's founding. In his address, the Holy Father focused on the importance of cultural diversity in scientific research. Noting the diverse nationalities and faiths of the participants, he said their desire to discover the truth of the cosmos will lead them to the Creator.

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Pope Francis on the lesson of Elijah
Pope Francis on the lesson of Elijah

Pope Francis focused on three attitudes that are characteristic of the Christian, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta yesterday; 'standing' before God in 'silence' to hear His voice and readiness to 'go out' into the world to proclaim what one has heard to others. The Pope warned against the danger of paralyzing fear in one's life. In the First Reading of the Day, the Holy Father recalled how Elijah was victorious, how he "fought so much for the faith," and defeated hundreds of idolaters on Mount Carmel. But then, he reaches breaking point.

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St Mary Magdalene to be celebrated with a Feast Day
St Mary Magdalene to be celebrated with a Feast Day

Today it was announced that Pope Francis has decided to raise the celebration of the memorial of St Mary Magdalene to the dignity of a liturgical Feast. In the modern Church calendar, saints may be commemorated with a memorial (optional or obligatory), feast, or solemnity. In a letter announcing the change, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche, writes the decision means one "should reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the New Evangelization, and the greatness of the mystery

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Programme of Pope Francis in Poland for WYD
Programme of Pope Francis in Poland for WYD

The Vatican has released the programme for Pope Francis' 27-31 July visit to Poland for the 31st World Youth Day celebrations. The Pope will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 2 pm and will arrive at the John Paul II airport of Balice-Krakow two hours later. After the welcome ceremony he will transfer to Wawel Castle, where he will address the civil authorities and diplomatic corps, followed by a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic. The Pope's first day in Poland will conclude with a meeting with bishops in Krakow Cathedral.

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New publication:  'Church of the poor'
New publication: 'Church of the poor'

Pope Francis has said that he wants "a poor Church, for the poor". But what does it actually mean to be a Church of and for the poor? Here in the UK, are our churches - of all traditions - doing enough to stand in solidarity with people in poverty? Church Action on Poverty's new publication 'Church of the Poor?' was launched last week to explore that question and call our Churches to do more. Hundreds of people have already downloaded or ordered it, and it's sparking excited debate on social media.

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Pope Francis: Health professionals are 'true personification of mercy'
Pope Francis: Health professionals are 'true personification of mercy'

Health professionals are the "true personification" of mercy, Pope Francis said in his address on Thursday to the Medical Associations of Spain and Latin America in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican. The Holy Father said it fits with the Jubilee of Mercy to express gratitude for those who through dedication and professionalism help those who suffer. The identity of the physician, relies not only on skills but on a compassionate attitude towards those who suffer in body and spirit. Compassion is the very soul of medicine and compassion is not pity, it is suffering-with.

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 Pope: Those who say 'its this or nothing' are heretics not Catholics
Pope: Those who say 'its this or nothing' are heretics not Catholics

Pope Francis warned against excessive rigidity, saying those within the Church who tell us "it's this or nothing" are heretics and not Catholics. His comments came during morning Mass on Thursday at Casa Santa Marta. In his homily the Pope reflected on the harm caused by those who do the opposite of what they preach and urged them to free themselves from a rigid idealism that prevents reconciliation between each other.

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Pope Francis: Prayer lights up Christian life
Pope Francis: Prayer lights up Christian life

"In this age lacking in social friendship, our first task is that of building community" Pope Francis said today in his Twitter message. The Holy Father expressed the same ideas during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, Pope Francis recalled how Jesus told his disciples "you are the salt of the earth"... "you are the light of the world." Christians must be salt and light, but never self-serving. Salt must add flavour and light must illuminate the other.

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Church organises Social Media Masterclass on Mercy for WYD pilgrims
Church organises Social Media Masterclass on Mercy for WYD pilgrims

How do you share mercy across the social media platforms? In the run-up to World Youth Day with Pope Francis in Krakow, young Catholics from across England and Wales have signed up for a Social Media Masterclass on Mercy. Organised by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, the young pilgrims, otherwise known as World Youth Day Communications Officers will receive world class tuition from leading social media and news practitioners.

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Pope: 'The Beatitudes offer roadmap for Christian life'
Pope: 'The Beatitudes offer roadmap for Christian life'

Pope Francis urged Christians to follow the guidance of the Beatitudes, in his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning (Monday}. Reflecting on the Sermon on the Mount, Pope Francis said Jesus' teaching on that occasion did not erase the old law; rather it 'perfected' it bringing it to its fullness: "This is the new law, the one we call 'the Beatitudes'. It's the Lord's new law for us." He described this teaching as the "roadmap for Christian life" which gives us the directions to move forward on the right path.

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Pope: 'The Beatitudes offer the roadmap for Christian life'

Pope Francis urged Christians to follow the guidance of the Beatitudes, in his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning (Monday}. Reflecting on the Sermon on the Mount, Pope Francis said Jesus' teaching on that occasion did not erase the old law; rather it 'perfected' it bringing it to its fullness: "This is the new law, the one we call 'the Beatitudes'. It's the Lord's new law for us." He described this teaching as the "roadmap for Christian life" which gives us the directions to move forward on the right path.

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Pope approves Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
Pope approves Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life

On Saturday, 4th June, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has taken up a recommendation from the Council of Cardinals, and approved the statute of a new dicastery for the laity, family and life. The new dicastery will merge from 1 September 2016 the existing Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family. On that date both dicasteries will cease their functions and will be suppressed, following the repeal of articles 131-134 and 139-141 of the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus of 28 June 1988. The new statute establishes, among other things,

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Pope canonises new saints from Sweden and Poland
Pope canonises new saints from Sweden and Poland

Pope Francis canonised two new saints on Sunday: a Swedish nun who hid Jews during World War II and the Polish founder of the Marian Fathers. The Pope called Elizabeth Hesselblad and Stanislaus Papczynski "exemplary witnesses to this mystery of resurrection" during the canonisation Mass in St Peter's Square attended by more than 40,000 pilgrims including Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata. Elizabeth Hesselblad saved the lives of 12 Jews by hiding them in the convent in Rome where she was mother superior.

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Jose Mourinho to be voice of Pope Francis in new film
Jose Mourinho to be voice of Pope Francis in new film

Jose Mourinho, Manchester United's new manager has taken on a second job this week. Mourinho is lending his voice to the character of Pope Francis in an animated film about Our Lady of Fatima. A statement from Portuguese production company Imaginew says Mourinho will be the voice of the Argentine pontiff in Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian - "the languages ​​of the countries where he has already been a champion." The film, called 'Fe', is being made to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three children in Fatima.

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Pope issues Moto Proprio on removal of bishops
Pope issues Moto Proprio on removal of bishops

In a new Apostolic Letter, issued motu proprio today, 4 June, Pope Francis has established new norms providing for the removal of Bishops (or those equivalent to them in Canon Law) from their offices in cases where they have "through negligance, committed or omitted acts that have caused grave harm to others, either with regard to physical persons, or with regard to the community itself." The Apostolic Letter "Come una madre amorevole" (As a Loving Mother) also clarifies that, with regard "to abuse of minors or vulnerable adults, it is sufficient

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Pope Francis' second meditation at Retreat for Priests
Pope Francis' second meditation at Retreat for Priests

Pope Francis delivered his second meditation for the retreat for priests at the papal Basilica of St Mary Major. Thursday's retreat is part of the Jubilee for Priests taking place from 1-3 June. In his second mediation, Pope Francis reflected on the "vessel of mercy." "Our sin is like a sieve, or a leaky bucket," he said, "from which grace quickly drains." But God keeps forgiving us, and applies mercy to our weakness, creating a clean heart within us. It is precisely our experience of mercy that leads us to be merciful to others.

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Pope's third meditation at retreat for priests
Pope's third meditation at retreat for priests

The theme of the Pope's third meditation at a spiritual retreat held on Thursday at the Papal Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls was "the good odour of Christ and the light of his mercy." At the heart of his reflection were the Works of Mercy saying as priests, "being merciful is not only "a way of life", but "the way of life", adding, "there is no other way of being a priest." Drawing from the passage of the Lord's encounter with the woman caught in adultery, the Pope explained that when Jesus says "Go and sin no more", "his command has to do with the future, to

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Text: Pope Francis at Mass with priests in St Peter's Square: Seek out, include, rejoice
Text: Pope Francis at Mass with priests in St Peter's Square: Seek out, include, rejoice

This celebration of the Jubilee for Priests on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us all to turn to the heart, the deepest root and foundation of every person, the focus of our affective life and, in a word, his or her very core. Today we contemplate two hearts: the Heart of the Good Shepherd and our own heart as priests. The Heart of the Good Shepherd is not only the Heart that shows us mercy, but is itself mercy. There the Father's love shines forth; there I know I am welcomed and understood as I am; there, with all my sins and

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Pope leads retreat for Jubilee of Priests - first meditation
Pope leads retreat for Jubilee of Priests - first meditation

Pope Francis led a retreat for priests on Thursday, offering a series of three meditations on the theme of mercy. The retreat was part of the Jubilee of Priests, one of a series of special Jubilees for various groups within the Church during the Holy Year of Mercy. The Jubilee for Priests began on Wednesday, and will conclude on Friday, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Holy Father delivered his meditations for the priest's retreat in the Papal Basilicas of St John Lateran, St Mary Major, and St Paul's Outside the Walls.

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Pope thanks Jains for commitment to care for environment
Pope thanks Jains for commitment to care for environment

Pope Francis today thanked the Jain community for its commitment to protect "our sister Earth." The Pope's words came as he received members of the Institute of Jainology in private audience in the Vatican before leading the weekly General Audience in St Peter's Square. Expressing his joy for the encounter, Pope Francis welcomed the Jains saying that "this encounter nurtures our responsibility to care for creation", and calling creation a "gift that we have all received" he said "creation is God's mirror, the mirror of the Creator, the mirror of

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Pope: It's not enough to ask how much we pray, but how we pray
Pope: It's not enough to ask how much we pray, but how we pray

Tens of thousands of pilgrims crowded St Peter's Square on Wednesday for the General Audience with Pope Francis. The Holy Father continued his catechesis for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, saying: "true prayer is born of a heart which repents of its faults and failings, yet pleads for the grace to live the great commandment of love of God and neighbour." The Pope was referring to the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in which Jesus contrasts the arrogance and self-righteousness of the Pharisee's prayer with the tax collector's humble

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Pope sends greetings to Lednica 2000 Youth Meeting in Poland
Pope sends greetings to Lednica 2000 Youth Meeting in Poland

Pope Francis has sent greetings to the 20th Lednica 2000 Youth Meeting which will take place on Saturday in Poland. The Lednica meeting was started by Father Jan Góra, OP, in 1997, and has become the largest annual gathering of Catholic young people in the world. This year's 20th meeting - which take place near Lake Lednica, the traditional site of the baptism of the first Polish king, Mieszko I in AD 966 ­- is of special significance because of the convergence of several events: The Jubilee Year of Mercy, the 1050th anniversary of the 'Baptism of Poland',

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International Children's Day 1: Pope asks for prayers for young Syrians
International Children's Day 1: Pope asks for prayers for young Syrians

Pope Francis urged the faithful to join in prayer on this coming Wednesday, June 1st, International Children's Day, with a special thought for the children in Syria. Speaking after the Angelus Prayer in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday, the Holy Father said the day will be particularly significant for Christian communities in Syria. Catholic and Orthodox parishes and communities across the war-torn country will be holding special services for children with prayers for peace.

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Pope Francis: Christians serve with joy, not a frown
Pope Francis: Christians serve with joy, not a frown

Pope Francis urged Christians to serve other people, without delay or hesitation, saying if we learnt how to reach out in this way, the world would be a very different place. His remarks came during his homily at the morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today where he used the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary for his reflections on the theme of Christians at the service of others. May 31st was the final day of the month dedicated to Mary and the Pope used the day's readings to illustrate Mary's courage, her helping hand and concern for others and above

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Pope Francis congratulates Latin Patriarch on his 50 years of Priesthood
Pope Francis congratulates Latin Patriarch on his 50 years of Priesthood

His Holiness Pope Francis sent a letter to His Beatitude Fouad Twal to congratulate him on his 50 years of priesthood and at the same time thank him for the many missions that the Holy See has entrusted him to this day. Please find below the English translation of the letter of Pope Francis (original in Latin). To His Beatitude our venerable brother Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. It would certainly please you to go back in your memory to that distant day, that decisive day in your life, when you left behind everything in order to become - by the Almighty's blessings -

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Pope reflects on memory, prophecy, hope
Pope reflects on memory, prophecy, hope

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning, Pope Francis focused on the threefold theme of the dynamic unity in Christian life, the signs of which are living memory, the prophetic spirit, and the sure horizon of hope. In the Gospel passage of the day - from the Gospel according to St Mark (12:1-12), Jesus addresses the Priests, Scribes and Pharisees with the parable of the murderous tenant-farmers.

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Pope meets Sons of Divine Providence
Pope meets Sons of Divine Providence

Pope Francis met members of the Congregation of Don Orione, the Sons of Divine Providence, on the occasion of their 14th General Chapter on Friday. The Congregation's founder, St Luigi Orione is remembered for his commitment to social justice and the service of those in need, a service guided and inspired by the teachings of the Catholic Church. In his address Pope Francis said, "The whole Church is called to journey with Jesus along the paths of the world, to encounter the humanity of today, which needs, as Don Orione wrote, 'the bread of the body, and

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Children's Train comes to see Pope Francis
Children's Train comes to see Pope Francis

Pope Francis received more than 400 children on Saturday had traveled to Rome from Calabria in southern Italy aboard the 'Children's Train' - the 'Treno dei Bambini' - an annual initiative of the Pontifical Council for Culture. This year the theme of the visit was 'Carried by Waves' - and many of the children were migrants or migrants - who had survived perilous journeys to reach safety and the hope of a better life in Europe. The children arrived at St Peter's railway station in the Vatican, supported by the John XXIII

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Pope tells Deacons: 'You are called to serve, not to be self-serving'
Pope tells Deacons: 'You are called to serve, not to be self-serving'

Deacons and their families from all around the world took part in a special Jubilee Year of Mercy gathering in Rome over the weekend. In his homily during the concluding Mass at St Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis said deacons must be generous with their lives and with their time. "One who serves cannot hoard his free time," he said, "he has to give up the idea of being master of his day" because he knows that his time "is not his own, but a gift from God which is then offered back to him. Only in this way will it bear fruit."

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British singer chosen as voice of the Jubilee Year of Mercy
British singer chosen as voice of the Jubilee Year of Mercy

A British mezzo soprano has been chosen to provide the official song for the Pope's Jubilee Year of Mercy celebrations in Rome. Nottinghamshire-born Carly Paoli's track, Ave Maria has been chosen by the Vatican as the official song of the Jubilee Tours for visitors the Eternal City throughout 2016. Nearly eight million pilgrims have already visited Rome this year to take part in the Jubilee events and official walking tours of the city.

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 Caritas Europa: Pope Francis' dream of Europe can be a reality!
Caritas Europa: Pope Francis' dream of Europe can be a reality!

In the light of Pope Francis' dream of Europe, the Caritas Europa Regional Conference 2016 calls on European leaders to join forces with people, civil society organisations and churches to build an inclusive and outward looking Europe. Europe is increasingly challenged by rising poverty, social injustice, conflicts, xenophobia and nationalism. Caritas Europa urges European governments to strengthen the role of the Council of Europe in ensuring that social rights are respected, including the right to be protected against poverty and social exclusion (art. 30,

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Text: Pope Francis Corpus Christi homily
Text: Pope Francis Corpus Christi homily

On Thursday evening, Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi on the steps of Rome's cathedral Basilica of St John Lateran. An official English translation of the Holy Father's homily follows: Do this in remembrance of me. Twice the Apostle Paul, writing to the community in Corinth, recalls this command of Jesus in his account of the institution of the Eucharist. It is the oldest testimony we have to the words of Christ at the Last Supper.

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Pope Francis: We must persevere in prayer always
Pope Francis: We must persevere in prayer always

During his General Audience today, Pope Francis focussed on the importance of persevering in prayer. He told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square: "Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now turn to the parable of the unjust judge and the widow. In telling us that even an unscrupulous judge will finally render justice to a poor woman because of her persistence, Jesus encourages us to persevere in prayer to our heavenly Father, who is infinitely just and loving.

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   Pope Francis confirms date and theme for Ireland's World Meeting of Families
Pope Francis confirms date and theme for Ireland's World Meeting of Families

Pope Francis has decided that the World Meeting of Families will be held in Dublin on 22 to 26 August 2018, with the theme "The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World". It is too early to know if Pope Francis will attend the WMOF. The announcement of the date and theme for the 9th World Meeting of Families (WMF) was made at a press conference in the Vatican this morning, attended by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, and the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Pagila.

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Pope Francis: We cannot achieve holiness on our own
Pope Francis: We cannot achieve holiness on our own

During his homily at Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis reflected on one of the readings, from the First Letter of St Peter, which he called a "small treatise on holiness." Holiness means "to walk in the presence of God without reproach," he said. Holiness cannot be bought. Neither can it be earned by human strength. No, "the simple holiness of all Christians ... ours - the kind we are called to every day," said the Pope, "can only be attained with the help of four essential elements: courage, hope, grace, and conversion."

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Pope Francis: Where there is love there is hope
Pope Francis: Where there is love there is hope

During his Angelus address this morning Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter's Square that the feast of the Holy Trinity invites us all "to engage in the daily events to be the leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy." Reflecting on the Gospel of St John, the Pope said that Jesus knew how to be close to the realization of the Father's plan, which will be fulfilled by his death and resurrection; "for this, Pope Francis continued, he wants to ensure his followers that he will not abandon them because his mission will be prolonged by the Holy Spirit."

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Pope: We need attachment to truth, understanding of human frailty
Pope: We need attachment to truth, understanding of human frailty

Announcing the word of God should never be separated from an understanding of human weakness. That was Pope Francis' message during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Commenting on the Gospel in which Christ speaks with the Pharisees about adultery, he said the Lord overcomes the human vision which would reduce the vision of God to a casuistic equation. The Gospel, the Pope said, is full of examples of the Pharisees and doctors of the law attempting to trap Jesus by catching Him off guard,

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Pope: Rich people who exploit the poor are bloodsuckers
Pope: Rich people who exploit the poor are bloodsuckers

Exploiting working people to enrich oneself is like sucking blood - it's a mortal sin. That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The day's first reading, taken from the Letter of Saint James, is a forceful warning to the rich who accumulate wealth by exploiting the people. "Riches in themselves are good," the Pope explained, but they are "relative, not absolute" goods. He criticized the so-called "theology of prosperity" -

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Pope Francis: 'To ignore the poor is to despise God'
Pope Francis: 'To ignore the poor is to despise God'

To ignore the poor is to despise God, Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the General Audience today. The Lord's mercy for us is tightly connected to our own mercy for others, the Pope said, decrying the inequality and contradictions in the world today as he reflected on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. He noted that the lives of these two people seem to run on parallel tracks; their living conditions are opposite and totally non-communicating: the rich man's front door is always closed to

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Viewpoint: Pope Francis on Islam
Viewpoint: Pope Francis on Islam

I really like to see, amidst the populist appeals of many politicians to the lowest - the very lowest - common denominator in humanity, that a public figure has the courage to talk sense about religion. The figure is (I am tempted to say again) Pope Francis. The occasion: his interview with the French newspaper La Croix. And the religion is Islam, with a thoroughly appropriate dig at the excesses within Christian tradition and modern secularism as well. It is really a pleasure, at a time when rabble-rousers try to trump reason (pun intended),

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Pope: Social climbers, money and power, harm the Church
Pope: Social climbers, money and power, harm the Church

Pope Francis urged Christians to overcome the lure of worldliness and human ambition and warned against social climbers who are tempted to destroy the other in order to reach the top. The path of Jesus is in serving others, the Holy Father said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today. In the Gospel reading, Jesus' disciples were arguing among themselves over who was the greatest. Pope Francis reflected on the dangers of power, money, ambition and vanity, noting that Jesus was warning his disciples about

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Rome: Pope visits  Chicco L'Arche house
Rome: Pope visits Chicco L'Arche house

Pope Francis visited the Community of 'Chicco' in Ciampino, on the outskirts of Rome on Friday. Chicco was founded in 1981 and houses 18 people with learning difficulties. The L'Arche philosophy is "the praise of imperfection," that is, to thrive amidst disabilities that the world doesn't value. The residents of L'Arche are free to make their own way in life, to give and receive deep affection and to form lasting friendships. Pope Francis visited L'Arche as a move to emphasize the value of such principles over an ephemeral, disposable

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Pope's Message for World Mission Day 2016
Pope's Message for World Mission Day 2016

On Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis announced the publication of his Message for the 90th World Mission Day, which will be celebrated on Sunday, 23 October. The full text of the Pope's Message follows: Dear Brothers and Sisters,The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which the Church is celebrating, casts a distinct light on World Mission Sunday 2016: it invites us to consider the missio ad gentes as a great, immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material.

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Pope Francis: We were made to be God's children. It is in our DNA
Pope Francis: We were made to be God's children. It is in our DNA

"We were made to be God's children. It is in our DNA", Pope Francis said during his homily for Pentecost Sunday during Mass in St Peter's Basilica... "I will not leave you orphans" (Jn 14:18)... The central purpose of Jesus mission, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit, was to renew our relationship with the Father, a relationship severed by sin, to take us from our state of being orphaned children and to restore us as his sons and daughters.

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Pope Francis: One proves love - not with words, but with deeds
Pope Francis: One proves love - not with words, but with deeds

'Today, we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, which brings to completion the Easter season, 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ. The liturgy invites us to open our minds and our hearts to the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised several times to His disciples, that He has obtained with His Resurrection. Jesus Himself implored the Father for this, as attested to in today's Gospel, which takes place at the Last Supper. Jesus tells His disciples: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the

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Pope's summer schedule includes Mother Teresa's canonization
Pope's summer schedule includes Mother Teresa's canonization

Two canonization ceremonies, including that of Blessed Mother Teresa and two foreign visits are among the highlights of the schedule of Pope Francis in the coming months released yesterday by the Vatican. On June 5, the Pope will declare as saints, Polish priest Fr Stanislaus of Jesus-Mary and Swedish nun Sr Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad, and on September 4 he will canonize Mother Teresa. Both ceremonies will be held in St Peter's Square. The Pope also has two foreign trips.

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ACTA Leeds launches new website
ACTA Leeds launches new website

A new ACTA (A Call to Action) Leeds website was launched last Saturday during an event at Leeds Trinity University titled 'Papal Vision - Parish Reality'. Speakers Ellen Teague of Columban JPIC and Dr Paul Kelly of the National Justice and Peace Network Environment Group gave presentations on the vision which Pope Francis set out in Evangelii Gaudium (2013) and Laudato Si' (2015), and then Andrew Thomson and Denise Mason looked at ACTA and Parish Practice in the Diocese of Leeds.

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Pope: Christians seek unity, those who sow weeds divide
Pope: Christians seek unity, those who sow weeds divide

Jesus prays for the unity of Christians, but within the Church there are those who sow weeds (Pope Francis used the Italian word 'zizzanieri') - those who divide and destroy the community with their tongues. That was the message of Pope Francis at Thursday's morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Before the Passion, Jesus prays for "the unity of believers, of the Christian community," so that they might be one--as He and the Father are one--that the world might believe. Pope Francis took this passage as the starting point for his homily.

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Fr Lombardi: 'We need to be honest' about Pope's remarks on women deacons
Fr Lombardi: 'We need to be honest' about Pope's remarks on women deacons

The Director of the Holy See's Press office, Father Federico Lombardi SJ, said Pope Francis did not say in his remarks to the Heads of female religious orders and congregations that he intends to introduce the ordination of women and even less the ordination of women as priests. Father Lombardi's statement followed the Pope's widely-reported remarks that he wants to set up a Commission to study the question of female deacons. Pope Francis' remarks on deaconesses came during a question and answer session on Thursday with

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Pope calls for commission to study reinstating female deacons - updated report
Pope calls for commission to study reinstating female deacons - updated report

Pope Francis led an in-depth discussion today (Thursday) about the role of women in the Church, saying he wants to set up a commission to study the possibility of reinstating female deacons. His conversation was part of a question and answer session with some 900 heads of female religious orders and congregations who form part of the International Union of Superiors General, or UISG. Pope Francis spoke off the cuff during his closed door meeting with the sisters, who are currently holding their General Assembly i

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Pope invokes St John Paul II ahead of Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
Pope invokes St John Paul II ahead of Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Pope Francis today (Wednesday 11 May) said Our Lady of Fatima "invites us once again to turn to prayer, penance, and conversion." The Holy Father noted the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is commemorated this year on this Friday during his remarks to Polish-speaking pilgrims at his General Audience. "She asks us to never offend God again. She forewarns all humanity about the necessity of abandoning oneself to God, the source of love and mercy," Pope Francis said.

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Pope Francis reflects on Prodigal Son
Pope Francis reflects on Prodigal Son

At the General Audience today, Pope Francis focused on the Parable of the Prodigal Son to show how God welcomes us all with unconditional love. Even in the most difficult situations, God waits for us and longs to embrace us. The Pope explained that the parable talks about both the prodigal son and his older brother, who also needs to learn to accept the father's mercy. Both the younger son, who is expecting to be punished, and the older son, who expects a reward for his good behaviour, are not acting according to God's

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Pope: The Holy Spirit makes us real Christians, not virtual ones
Pope: The Holy Spirit makes us real Christians, not virtual ones

Pope Francis says it is the Holy Spirit that moves the Church but for many Christians today, the Holy Spirit is a stranger. Speaking on Monday morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta the Pope urged believers to allow themselves to be propelled by the Holy Spirit whom, he said, shows us the way to freedom. He also had a special greeting for the Vincentian Sisters of Charity who work at the Casa Santa Marta and who are marking the feast day of their founder: St Louise de Marillac.

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Pope advises young people to listen to the Holy Spirit
Pope advises young people to listen to the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis said missionaries are compelled by the Holy Spirit to dedicate their lives to service even in the most distant places. The Holy Father was reflecting on the day's Gospel, during Tuesday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, which describes Paul's departure from the community at Miletus. He felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, knowing he would never see the community in Melitus again. This call from the Spirit was an irresistible drive to give his life in the service of Christ.

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 Scottish Archbishop issues World Communications Day  pastoral letter
Scottish Archbishop issues World Communications Day pastoral letter

In a pastoral letter which will be read at all 500 Catholic parishes in Scotland this weekend (7/8 May, 2016) to mark the 50th World Communications Day, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia calls on all Catholics to communicate with mercy and pay attention to the needs of those we communicate with, always remembering their innate human dignity. The Pope's theme for this year's World Communications Day is: 'Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter'Archbishop Tartaglia, echoes Pope Francis' invitation to reflect on

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EU Bishops welcome Pope's 'powerful, encouraging' speech on Europe
EU Bishops welcome Pope's 'powerful, encouraging' speech on Europe

Fr Patrick H Daly, secretary general of COMECE, (Commission of European Bishops Conferences of the European Community) has welcomed the speech Pope Francis made when he received the international Charlemagne Prize at the Vatican on Friday. Fr Daly said: "COMECE cannot but welcome Pope Francis' powerful evocation of all the ideals to which the founding fathers of the European project aspired in an imaginative, optimistic and challenge rallying cry to a continent he referred to from the outset as "beloved".

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Pope Francis: communicating mercy on World Communications Day
Pope Francis: communicating mercy on World Communications Day

On Sunday 8 May the 50th World Day for Social Communications, is celebrated around the world. Pope Francis' Day focuses on the need to foster fruitful human encounters by communicating with mercy. "In a broken, fragmented and polarized world," writes Pope Francis, "to communicate with mercy means to help create a healthy, free and fraternal closeness between the children of God and all our brothers and sisters in the one human family." The full text of the Holy Father's Message for the 50th World Communications

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Pope Francis: We must witness to Christ not only with words but in everyday life
Pope Francis: We must witness to Christ not only with words but in everyday life

During the Regina coeli with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the Ascension of Our Lord. "Before parting from his friends, Jesus, referring to the event of his death and resurrection, told them, 'You are my witnesses' that is, the disciples, the Apostles are witnesses of the death and resurrection of Christ, on that day, even at the Ascension of Christ." The Holy Father went on to say, "In fact, after seeing their Lord ascending into heaven, the disciples returned to the city as witnesses

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Canada: Churches rally around victims of Alberta forest fires
Canada: Churches rally around victims of Alberta forest fires

As wildfires continue to blaze in northern Alberta, churches of all denominations across Canada have been offering prayers and helping relief efforts. More than 100,000 residents of Fort McMurray have fled the inferno - most have lost their homes completely. Bishop Paul Terrio, Bishop of St Paul said: "Even as we still are all in shock with the destruction and damage in Ft McMurray, let us give thanks to our Lord and God that with some sixty to seventy thousand people evacuated in a matter of hours, there has been no loss of life.

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Pope Francis: No pain can take away Christian hope and joy
Pope Francis: No pain can take away Christian hope and joy

A Christian will experience joy even in the midst of pain because we live in the hope that God will give us a joy nobody can take away - that was the main message in Pope Francis' homily this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's reading where Jesus warns his disciples of a coming sadness but says it will be transformed later into a cry of joy, Pope Francis reflected in his homily on how Christians should always maintain their joy and hope, even in the midst of pain. He used the example of a woman in labour,

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Pope Francis dreams of a Europe with 'fresh air of honesty'
Pope Francis dreams of a Europe with 'fresh air of honesty'

On Friday afternoon, Pope Francis received the International Charlemagne Prize at an awards ceremony in the Vatican. The prestigious award is conferred each year on an individual or institution for their service in favor of European unification, and is awarded annually by the German city of Aachen to someone who has contributed to the ideals upon which the Prize was founded. Pope Francis stressed that he would receive the award with an intention to offer it to Europe, adding: "Ours is not so

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Pope Francis leads prayer vigil dedicated to all who are suffering
Pope Francis leads prayer vigil dedicated to all who are suffering

Pope Francis presided over a prayer vigil in St Peter's Basilica on Thursday, dedicated to all those who are suffering and seek consolation. Members of one family and two individuals who have undergone different types of suffering in their lives testified to the gathering about their painful experience and how they were helped to recover from it. During the vigil the reliquary of Our Lady of Tears of Syracuse were on display inside the basilica for the veneration of the faithful.

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Pope Francis: 'God loves each and every one of us'
Pope Francis: 'God loves each and every one of us'

God loves each and Pope Francis every one of us and like the Good Shepherd in the parable, he does not want a single person to be lost. This was the main theme of Pope Francis' catechesis with thousands of people gathered in St Peter's Square for the General Audience today. The Holy Father said the Lord uses the image of the shepherd who leaves his flock to go in search of one lost sheep to express God's closeness to sinners. He emphasized that God does not want even a single person to be lost and that in his infinite mercy,

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Pope: Many Christians are confused or  'mummified' in their faith
Pope: Many Christians are confused or 'mummified' in their faith

Many people are following Christianity in a confused way, forgetting that Jesus is the only true path, Pope Francis said in his morning homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. In the day's Gospel reading, Jesus tells the Apostles 'I am the way' - Pope Francis reflected on the need for Christians to consistently follow Jesus and not get waylaid or blocked on their journey of faith. He said there are many different types of Christians who are following Jesus in a confused manner like the mummified Christian, the vagabond Christian, the

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Pope addresses conference on regenerative medicine
Pope addresses conference on regenerative medicine

Pope Francis addressed participants of an International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and its Cultural Impact on Friday. The Conference was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Stem for Life Foundation, and the STOQ Foundation. The 2016 conference focused on children's cancers and rare diseases, as well as diseases that occur with aging. It featured talks and discussions with leading cell therapy scientists, physicians, patient advocates, ethicists, philanthropists, leaders of faith and government

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Pope sends Easter greetings to faithful of the Eastern Churches
Pope sends Easter greetings to faithful of the Eastern Churches

Pope Francis sent greetings to the faithful of the Eastern Churches who began their Easter celebrations yesterday, according to the Julian calendar. In his address to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Regina Coeli prayer, he said: "May the Risen Lord bring to our brothers of the Eastern Churches all the gifts of His light and His peace. Christos anesti!" Earlier, in a message through his @Pontifex Twitter account, the Pope said "I address a cordial greeting to the faithful of the Eastern Churches who are celebrating Holy Pascha today.

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Pope Francis: 'We are never alone, Jesus is with us always'
Pope Francis: 'We are never alone, Jesus is with us always'

Before the Regina Coeli with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the days' Gospel reading that describes the Last Supper and Jesus' promise to the Apostles. The Lord tells the apostles their mission is to take the Gospel message into the world and that they will not be alone. "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you: teach and remember."

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Pope: The Holy Spirit strengthens us even during persecution
Pope: The Holy Spirit strengthens us even during persecution

The Holy Spirit gives us strength, so that we may bear witness to the Lord in times of persecution - even to the point of sacrificing our lives - but also through the small persecutions such as gossip and criticism. This was theme of Pope Francis' homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. As we near Pentecost, the readings increasingly focus on the Holy Spirit. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that the Lord opened the heart of a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatria who came to hear St Paul.

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Pope to receive 6,000 homeless pilgrims
Pope to receive 6,000 homeless pilgrims

Pope Francis is to receive 6,000 homeless people from all over Europe, who will be making a pilgrimage to Rome from November 11th to 13th, at the close of the Year of Mercy. Organised by the FRATELLO Association - an initiative born in the wake of the 2014 pilgrimage of 150 people then living on the streets in France - the 2016 pilgrimage is one in which organizations throughout Europe aiding the poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters in society are invited to participate.

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Pope warns Christians against leading double lives
Pope warns Christians against leading double lives

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis warned Christians against having double lives - displaying an outer facade of light but having darkness in their hearts. He urged them to walk in the light and not tread dark paths, saying God's truth cannot be found there. Reflecting of St John's First Letter, Pope Francis spoke of the eternal struggle against sin, saying we must be pure like the Father but even if we sin we can count on his pardon and his tenderness. He stressed the Apostle's warning to believers to tell the truth

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Pope confirms decrees for Causes of Saints
Pope confirms decrees for Causes of Saints

A number of causes for canonization were advanced on Tuesday, including an Italian diocesan priest. A miracle attributed to Blessed Alfonso Maria Fusco clears the way for his canonization. Another miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable John Sullivan, an Irish Jesuit, was also recognized. María Montserrat Grases García, a girl who died at the age of 17 was one of those named for their heroic virtue. The decrees also recognize the martyrdom of several victims of Communism, including the Servants of God Fr José Antón Gómez, OSB,

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Pope:  There has always been resistance to 'surprises of the Spirit'
Pope: There has always been resistance to 'surprises of the Spirit'

The Holy Spirit has been the guiding light of the Church from the beginning, Pope Francis said in his homily this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, but he said, from the beginning there has always been resistance to 'surprises of the Spirit'. The Holy Father was reflecting on the reading from Acts of the Apostles which describe the division and resistance within the early Church in Jerusalem. It's the Spirit who, from the very beginning, gives strength to the apostles to proclaim the Gospel and it's the Spirit who

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Cardinal Turkson: 'Pope Francis is not anti-business'
Cardinal Turkson: 'Pope Francis is not anti-business'

Pope Francis is not "anti-business' Cardinal Turkson President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said yesterday. In an address to a conference on 'Care for our Common Home in the context of Large Scale Investments in Mining and Agriculture' the Cardinal said: "What he decries is an obsession with profit and the deification of the market...Profit has its role in sustaining an enterprise and allowing it to improve and innovate. Pope Francis calls upon business to lead by harnessing its creativity to solve pressing human needs."

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Pope Francis: We cannot stand by as onlookers
Pope Francis: We cannot stand by as onlookers

Pope Francis focussed on the story of the Good Samaritan in his catechesis during the General Audience in pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Wednesday. Let us never forget: we cannot stand by as onlookers when we see so many people worn out by hunger, violence and injustice - the Pope said, calling all Christians to become Good Samaritans in their everyday lives. "To ignore man's suffering means to ignore God," he said, recalling how, in the parable, the Levite and the priest walked by the man who had been attacked by thieves and

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Pope: Clericalism distorts the Church
Pope: Clericalism distorts the Church

Clericalism is one of the greatest distortions affecting the Church in Latin America Pope Francis said on Tuesday. The clergy should serve lay people and not make use of them, he said . His comments came in a wide-ranging letter reflecting on the role of the laity that was addressed to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The letter was a follow-up to the commission's recent Plenary Assembly on the theme: 'the indispensable role of the lay faithful in the public life of Latin American

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Teenage pilgrims descend on Rome
Teenage pilgrims descend on Rome

More than 70,000 teenagers from all over the world arrived in Rome on Saturday for a special three-day Jubilee event entitled 'Growing merciful as the Father,' The event kicked off with a pilgrimage to the Holy Door, followed by confessions which were heard by several priests and Pope Francis himself, in the colonnade of St Peter's Basilica. That evening there was a youth youth gathering in Rome's Olympic Stadium. Pope Francis was unable to attend that, but he sent a video message which was greeted with loud applause by the young

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Pope Francis: A Christian is a person of hope
Pope Francis: A Christian is a person of hope

A Christian is a person of hope, who knows and witnesses that Jesus lives, that he is among us, that he prays to the Father for each of us and that he will come again. This is how Pope Francis summed up the relationship between every Christian and the Risen Jesus, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Friday 22 April. Reflecting on the day's readings, the Pope focussed on three key words for Christian life: message, intercession and hope.

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Pope Francis: Remembering brings us closer to God
Pope Francis: Remembering brings us closer to God

The parallel between the history of the people of Israel and that of the individual Christian was the theme of Pope Francis homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. Along the path of life we never walk alone, and in order to remember that God is beside us, he helps us understand that salvation is not a momentary event but a history that unfolds day by day, amid successes and failures, until the final encounter. The day's reading from The Acts of the Apostles (13:13-25) regarding the first preaching

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Pope Francis: Distinguish between the sin and the sinner
Pope Francis: Distinguish between the sin and the sinner

Many thousands gathered in St Peter's Square for the General Audience with Pope Francis on Wednesday. In his continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel account of Jesus' dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee. He said: "All of us are sinners, so many times we fall into the temptation of hypocrisy, believing that we are better than the other. " but he continued, look at your sin, all of us need to look at our sins, our mistakes and look to the Lord," because, he added, "this is the

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Prayers from the island of Lesbos
Prayers from the island of Lesbos

On 16 April, Pope Francis was joined by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymus II at the Port of Lesbos. All three religious leaders prayed for all those in difficult circumstances and for all the men, women and children who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life. Following the prayers the three religious leaders dropped flowers into the waters off the port of Lesbos to remember the victims.

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Pope prays for victims of Chernobyl disaster 30 years on


Pope prays for victims of Chernobyl disaster 30 years on


During Wednesday's General Audience, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station disaster 30 years from the tragedy. Addressing pilgrims in St Peter's Square he had special greetings for those from Ukraine and Belarus. After mentioning an International Conference organized to mark the anniversary, Pope Francis said he was "praying for the victims of that disaster while expressing appreciation and gratitude to those who have assisted them and for the initiatives aimed at alleviating their suffering and

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Pope: Those who refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans
Pope: Those who refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans

Those who harden their hearts and refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans, without a father, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The Holy Father began his reflection by recalling the question that the sceptical Jews kept asking Jesus every time he performed a miracle, preached in the temple or pointed the way to the Father: "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

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Pope Francis: Jesus speaks using simple images
Pope Francis: Jesus speaks using simple images

The image of Jesus the Good Shepherd was the focus of Pope Francis' homily during Mass at Santa Marta on Monday morning (18 April). Commenting on the Gospel of John (10:1-10), the Pontiff highlighted three realities on which he chose "to reflect: the door, the path, and the voice. First the door. The Gospel passage presents Jesus' words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber."

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UN welcomes Pope's solidarity with refugees
UN welcomes Pope's solidarity with refugees

The United Nations refugee agency has welcomed the solidarity of Pope Francis with the world's ‎refugees and migrants when he visited them in the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, and offered a ‎home to three Syrian families bringing them along with him to Rome. "The Pope's latest gesture is a ‎powerful demonstration of solidarity. It must inspire governments and societies in a world where the ‎desperate plight of record numbers of forcibly displaced is too often met by barriers, rejection and ‎fear," said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner

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Text: Joint declaration of Pope and Orthodox leaders on Lesbos
Text: Joint declaration of Pope and Orthodox leaders on Lesbos

Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, released a joint declaration during their visit to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday. The three leaders signed the declaration at the end of their visit to Moria refugee camp. The declaration calls on the international community to respond with generosity and compassion to the tragedy of forced migration, calling it a 'crisis of humanity'. In the face of this crisis, the church leaders restated their desire to work toward the unity of

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Pope speaks in-flight on refugee crisis, Bernie Sanders, Family Synod
Pope speaks in-flight on refugee crisis, Bernie Sanders, Family Synod

In a half hour press conference on the flight back from Lesbos to Rome on Saturday, Pope Francis shared thoughts on a range of subjects including his opinion regarding the deal between the EU and Turkey, his meeting with Bernie Sanders, the closure of European borders and his recent apostolic exhortation. The Pope began his traditional 'conversation' with journalists aboard the papal plane reflecting on the fact that the visit to Lesbos had had a very strong emotional impact on him.

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Pope Francis ordains eleven on World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Pope Francis ordains eleven on World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pope Francis celebrated the World Day of Prayer for Vocations by ordaining eleven men to the priesthood at St Peter's Basilica on Sunday. Nine came from Roman diocesan seminaries: the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary, Almo Collegio Capranica, Redemptoris Mater Diocesan College, Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love, and two from other colleges. In his homily the Holy Father asked the new priests to "remember your history, the gift of the Word of the Lord given to you by your mothers, your grandmothers - as Saint

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Pope at Regina Coeli: the love of Jesus is invincible
Pope at Regina Coeli: the love of Jesus is invincible

At the Regina Coeli on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the day's Gospel, where Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd. In his reflection, Pope Francis said the words of Jesus: 'My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,' help us to understand that no one can call himself a follower of Jesus if he does not listen to his voice. Listening to Jesus, the Pope continued, does not mean hearing in a superficial way, but engaging with the Lord's words in order to come to a "generous following,"

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Pope arrives on Lesbos - a visit marked by sadness
Pope arrives on Lesbos - a visit marked by sadness

Pope Francis arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos this morning to visit and show solidarity with the many refugees there. In a tweet posted as he left, he wrote: "Refugees are not numbers, they are people who have faces, names, stories, and need to be treated as such." Speaking with journalists on the flight to the island, he said generally during apostolic visits there is the "joy of encounter," but this visit was different, because, he said: "we are going to meet the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the Second World War.

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Happy Birthday Pope Benedict!
Happy Birthday Pope Benedict!

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI celebrates his birthday today. He is 89 years old. On board the Papal plane en route to the Greek island of Lesbos where he is visiting refugees, Pope Francis remembered his predecessor in his prayers saying: "I would like to remind you that today is the 89th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI. Pray for him" Later this evening the Pope Emeritus is expected to attend a concert in his honour in the Vatican.

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Pope's address to civil authorities and people of Lesbos
Pope's address to civil authorities and people of Lesbos

During his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos today, (Saturday), Pope Francis expressed his admiration for the Greek people who, despite their own great difficulties, have "kept open their hearts and their doors." He was addressing Civil Authorities and the Catholic community on the island where he also renewed his "heartfelt plea for responsibility and solidarity in the face of this tragic situation." Below find the English translation of the Pope's address to Civil Authorities and People of Lesbos:

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Lesbos: Pope and Orthodox leaders visit Moria refugee camp
Lesbos: Pope and Orthodox leaders visit Moria refugee camp

Pope Francis, accompanied by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymus II, visited the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos today. He told them "You are not alone." Encouraging them not to lose hope he added: "the greatest gift we can offer one another is love: a merciful look, a readiness to listen and understand, a word of encouragement, a prayer." The official English translation of the three leaders' greetings to refugees at Moria follows:

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Pope returns to Rome from Lesbos with 12  Syrian refugees
Pope returns to Rome from Lesbos with 12 Syrian refugees

Pope Francis took three Syrian families and their six children back with him on the plane to Italy when he left the Greek island of Lesbos this afternoon after his sx-hour visit there. The Syrian refugees, numbering 12 in total, were chosen from amongst those who were already present in the refugee camp on Lesbos before the recent deal was signed between the EU and Turkey. The Director of the Holy See's Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, said the Pope had wished to make a gesture of welcome and solidarity

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Pope reflects on conversion of Saint Paul
Pope reflects on conversion of Saint Paul

During morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the account of the conversion of Saul, in the Acts of the Apostles (9:1-20) and the importance of docility to the action of the Holy Spirit. Yesterday the liturgy highlighted how both the Apostle Philip and the queen's minister had their hearts open to the voice of the Spirit. Today brought "the story of a man who lets God change his heart: the transformation from a closed, hard, misguided heart to a man with a heart docile to the Holy Spirit."

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Pope prays at Basilica of St Mary Major before visit to Lesbos
Pope prays at Basilica of St Mary Major before visit to Lesbos

Pope Francis made his customary visit to the Papal Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome on Thursday evening, ahead of his Apostolic Journey to the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday, 16 April. During the course of his 30-minute visit to the Salus populi Romani icon, the Holy Father presented a bouquet of white and blue roses, the colours of the Greek flag, to the ancient Marian icon before pausing for a moment of silent prayer. Pope Francis will spend six hours on Lesbos, together with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Greek

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Lesbos: Catholic parish priest welcomes visit of Pope Francis
Lesbos: Catholic parish priest welcomes visit of Pope Francis

Fr Leon Kiskinis, the only Catholic parish priest on the island of Lesbos, has spoken about the visit of Pope Francis tomorrow. The presence of the Holy Father will be a show of solidarity for the migrants - "who are people; they have a history, they have dreams, they have names," he said. He told Vatican Radio that migrants need "to be treated with dignity, as human beings." Fr Kiskinis said that since Pope Francis was elected, he has always shown his closeness to "those on the margins, those deprived of their dignity."

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Scottish seminarians meet Pope Francis
Scottish seminarians meet Pope Francis

To mark the 400th anniversary of priestly formation the seminarians from the Pontifical Scots College in Rome will have a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican later today (Thursday 14 April). They will be accompanied by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Archbishop Leo Cushley and by the staff of the College the Rector, Fr Daniel Fitzpatrick, the Vice Rector, Fr Gerald Sharkey and the Spiritual Director, Fr Mark Cassidy. Archbishop Tartaglia said: "I am very pleased to be participating along with Archbishop Leo Cushley

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Viewpoint: What some critics of Amoris Laetitia are missing
Viewpoint: What some critics of Amoris Laetitia are missing

Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation 'Amoris Laetitia' has been accepted by most Catholics as a breath of fresh air - Fr James Martin SJ writes in America magazine. Its warm encouragement to families to place love at the center of their lives, its clear invitation to pastors to accompany Catholics in the "complexity" of their situations and its strong reminder that the church needs to recover an appreciation of the role of conscience have been welcomed by millions of Catholics as a sign that the church wants to meet them where they are.

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Pope Francis: Be docile to the Holy Spirit
Pope Francis: Be docile to the Holy Spirit

One must be docile to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said on Thursday, during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis warned against those who resist the Spirit with "so-called fidelity to the law" and invited the faithful to pray for the grace of the docility to the Spirit. Philip evangelized the Ethiopian, a senior official of Queen Candace. Pope Francis was inspired by this fascinating account in the Acts of the Apostles, in the first reading, focusing his attention on the docility to the Holy Spirit.

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EU Bishops welcome Pope Francis' forthcoming visit to Lesbos
EU Bishops welcome Pope Francis' forthcoming visit to Lesbos

In view of Pope Francis' forthcoming visit to Lesbos on Saturday 16 April, the General Secretary of COMECE, Fr Patrick H Daly, has issued the following statement: "At the very outset of his pontificate, in visiting the rocky Italian outpost of Lampedusa, Pope Francis displayed his concern for those many migrants who put their lives at risk in order to seek refuge in Europe. The fate of migrants and asylum seekers has long been a central concern of COMECE and we repeatedly saluted the way in which the Holy Father, in word and

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Fr Timothy Radcliffe: Pope has done something far bolder than changing the rules
Fr Timothy Radcliffe: Pope has done something far bolder than changing the rules

In a letter to the Times today (13 April 2016) Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe responds to a criticism of Pope Francis' recent document 'The Joy of Love' published after the Synod on the Family. Fr Timothy writes: Sir, Cristina Odone is disappointed that the Pope, in his recent document, has not been bolder and allowed the divorced and remarried to take communion. But he has done something far bolder than changing the rules. He invites us to go beyond understanding the moral life primarily as obedience to rules.

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Pope Francis: Christians are being persecuted in two ways
Pope Francis: Christians are being persecuted in two ways

Christians around the world are being persecuted in two ways, Pope Francis said during his homily at Casa Santa Marta yesterday morning. There is the explicit kind, such as the martyrs killed at Easter in Pakistan, and the kind of persecution that is "polite, disguised as culture, modernity and progress", and ends up taking away man's freedom and even the right to conscientious objection. But through suffering persecution, Christians know that that the Lord is always at their side, the Pope said.

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Pope appeals for prayers ahead of visit to Lesbos
Pope appeals for prayers ahead of visit to Lesbos

Pope Francis appealed for prayers for his forthcoming visit to Lesbos during his General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square today. The Holy Father will be visiting the island "in order to express closeness and solidarity both to the displaced people and to the citizens of Lesbos and to all the people of Greece, who are so generous in their welcome." He will be accompanied by Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Ieronymos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.

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Pope Francis sends message to Rome peace conference
Pope Francis sends message to Rome peace conference

Pope Francis has sent a message to the participants in a major conference sponsored by Pax Christi International, the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, exploring the theme: Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence.

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Pope to visit Lesbos, a symbol of hope for refugees
Pope to visit Lesbos, a symbol of hope for refugees

At a time when hundreds of thousands are risking their lives trying to reach safety in Europe, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is very pleased that Pope Francis will visit the Greek island of Lesbos, a major transit point, this Saturday, 16 April, to confront the emergency situation of refugees and the need for international solidarity among governmental and non-governmental actors head on.

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Pope Francis on Pacem in Terris
Pope Francis on Pacem in Terris

Today -11 April - is the anniversary of Pope John XXIII's landmark encyclical on peace, "Pacem in terris" or "Peace on Earth". In 2013, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the document, Pax Christi USA created a special webpage with links to numerous resources to mark the anniversary. For the next week, that page will be active again and can be accessed using the link below.

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Angelus: Let us bring to all a ray of light from the Risen Jesus
Angelus: Let us bring to all a ray of light from the Risen Jesus

The Gospel of today tells of the third apparition of the Risen Jesus to the disciples, at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, with the recounting of the miraculous catch (cf John 21:1-19). The story is placed in the framework of the daily life of the disciples, when they have returned to their lands and their work as fishermen, after the distressing days of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord.

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Pope Francis releases final document of Family Synod
Pope Francis releases final document of Family Synod

Pope Francis has made public the conclusions of his two Synods on the family. The Apostolic Exhortation released today is entitled 'Amoris Laetitia' or 'The Joy of Love'. A document released today comes at the end of a two-year synod process discussing both the beauty and challenges of family life today.

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Summary of Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation on 'The Joy of Love'
Summary of Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation on 'The Joy of Love'

The Vatican today published Pope Francis' eagerly-awaited Apostolic Exhortation on the family, drawing together almost three years of consultations with Catholics in countries around the world. The lengthy document, entitled 'Amoris Laetitia', or The Joy of Love, affirms the Church's teaching that stable families are the building blocks of a healthy society and a place where children learn to love, respect and interact with others.

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Pope Francis likely to draw attention to migrants' plight at Lesbos
Pope Francis likely to draw attention to migrants' plight at Lesbos

There is speculation that Pope Francis will visit the Greek island of Lesbos next week. It is an island which has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees arrive in recent months. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 1st of Constantinople is likely to accompany him.

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Video for Pope's April Prayer Intentions
Video for Pope's April Prayer Intentions

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has been releasing video messages to illustrate his monthly prayer intentions, announced by the Apostleship of Prayer.

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Pope Francis: Celebrate the 'yes'
Pope Francis: Celebrate the 'yes'

On Monday, 4 April, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, during Mass at Santa Marta, the Pope invited a "celebration of 'yes'". Among the concelebrants were a group of priests commemorating the 50th anniversary of their ordination, who stated a definitive "yes" - and Vincentian nuns who work at Santa Marta also renewed their vows. "It is all a history that ends and begins in this solemnity that we are celebrating today: the history of mankind, when he leaves paradise," the Pope noted at the beginning of his homily.

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Pope Francis at Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday
Pope Francis at Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday

Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter's Square today, Divine Mercy Sunday, and encouraged the faithful to be "apostles of mercy" toward those in need."We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women today," the Pope told the crowds during his homily. "We do this by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life.

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Pope Francis' prayer intentions for April & video message
Pope Francis' prayer intentions for April & video message

The Apostleship of Prayer has announced the intentions chosen by the Pope for April. The Holy Father's universal prayer intention is: "That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labour." His intention for evangelisation is: "That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts."

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Date set for release of Pope's text on Family Synod
Date set for release of Pope's text on Family Synod

Pope Francis' highly-anticipated post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, 'Amoris Laetitia' (The Joy of Love) on love in the family will be released at a press conference on Friday, 8 April, the Vatican has announced. The panel of speakers at the press conference will include: Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, OP, archbishop of Vienna, and Italian married couple: Professor Francesco Miano, and his wife, Professor Giuseppina De Simone in Miano,

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Pope Francis: God's forgiveness does not hide sin but removes it completely
Pope Francis: God's forgiveness does not hide sin but removes it completely

...Today we shall complete the catecheses on mercy in the Old Testament, and do so by meditating on Psalm 51[50], known as the Miserere. It is a penitential prayer in which the request for forgiveness is preceded by the confession of sins and in which the one praying allows himself to be purified by the Lord's love. Thus, he becomes a new creature, capable of obedience, steadfastness of spirit, and of sincere praise. The 'title' that the ancient Hebrew tradition gave to this Psalm refers to King David and his sin with Bathsheba, the wife of

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Church leaders condemn bloody Easter attack on Pakistani Christians
Church leaders condemn bloody Easter attack on Pakistani Christians

Church leaders have expressed their concern and grief for victims of the suicide bombing at a children's playground and park in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, which killed more than 70 people and left hundreds of parents and children injured. Most, but not all of the casualties, were Christian families celebrating Easter. The Taliban faction Jamaat ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the bombing. "We carried out the Lahore attack as Christians are our target," said spokesman Ehansullah Ehsan.

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Pope Francis: Easter Urbi et Orbi message of hope
Pope Francis: Easter Urbi et Orbi message of hope

Pope Francis delivered the traditional Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday, following Mass in St Peter's Square. Speaking to thousands of pilgrims gathered in the Square for the occasion, under a dazzling blue sky, Pope Francis especially remembered the suffering peoples of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. "The Easter message of the risen Christ," said Pope Francis, "a message of life for all humanity, echoes down the ages and invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees - including many children - fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice."

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Pope Francis leads Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum
Pope Francis leads Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum

Last night Pope Francis presided over the Stations of the Cross in the Coliseum. During his prayer at the end of the service, the Holy Father made a strong statement lamenting those Christians killed for their faith by "barbarous blades amid cowardly silence, as well as the fact the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas had become "insatiable cemeteries," blaming "our indifferent and anaesthetised conscience."

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Pope celebrates  Holy Thursday liturgy at refugee centre
Pope celebrates Holy Thursday liturgy at refugee centre

Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper last night at the CARA Welcome and Hospitality Centre near Rome in Castelnuovo di Porto. The Centre provides temporary lodging and services to nearly 900 asylum seekers from 25 different countries. In his homily, Pope Francis renewed his condemnation of those who - like Judas Iscariot - sow discord for gain and trade in arms, selling the tools of bloodshed for profit.

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Pope Francis follows news from Brussels with 'an aching heart'
Pope Francis follows news from Brussels with 'an aching heart'

Pope Francis said it has been following the news of yesterday's terrorist attacks in Brussels with "an aching heart." At least 34 people were killed and hundreds have been injured in the attacks at Brussels airport and at an underground station. Addressing thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square for the General Audience today, Pope Francis assured the families of the victims and all of those injured, as well as all the people of Belgium, of his prayers and spiritual closeness.

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Church leaders express condolences and offer prayers for Belgium
Church leaders express condolences and offer prayers for Belgium

Church leaders have issued condolence messages and prayers for the people of Belgium in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels today which have killed more than 30 people and injured hundreds. 'Learning of the attacks in Brussels, which have affected many people, His Holiness Pope Francis entrusts to God's mercy those who died and he prays for those who have lost relatives. He expresses his deepest sympathy to the injured and their families, and all those who contribute to relief efforts, asking the Lord to bring them

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Pope to wash feet of refugees on Holy Thursday
Pope to wash feet of refugees on Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will spend time in Castelnuovo di Porto with young refugees who are hosted by the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, known as the Centro di Accoglienza per Richiedenti Asilo, or CARA. The visit will include the celebration of the Rite of the Washing of Feet. The Pope will stoop to wash the feet of 12 refugees, most of whom will probably not be Christian, as a sign of service and attention to their situation. On Saturday, 12 March, Pope Francis said: "By washing the feet of the Apostles,

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Holy Week reading from CTS
Holy Week reading from CTS

The Beauty of Confession with Pope Francis; The Road that Leads to Life - Lent and Easter with Pope Francis, and Rich in Mercy by St John Paul II are three new titles from CTS that make perfect Holy Week reading. In The Beauty of Confession with Pope Francis, Discovering God's Mercy, by Fr Donncha Ó hAodha, Pope Francis speaks of repentance, sin and confession from personal experience, as someone who is poor and needy. He reminds us how deep and universal God's mercy is, especially during the Year of Mercy. What place should the Sacrament

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Pope Francis launches 'Franciscus' Instagram account
Pope Francis launches 'Franciscus' Instagram account

Pope Francis today launched his new Instagram account 'Franciscus', from Casa Santa Marta, with an image of himself in prayer, and the words: "I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of the mercy and tenderness of God." To create his startup profile, the Holy Father was assisted by Kevin Systrom, the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, and Mgr Lucio Adrian Ruiz, secretary of the Secretariat for Communication.

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Pope Francis meets members of Neocatechumenal Way
Pope Francis meets members of Neocatechumenal Way

I'm glad to meet you and thank you for coming in such great numbers. I send a special greeting to those who are about to set off! You have accepted the call to evangelize: I bless the Lord for this, for the gift of the Way and for the gift of each of you. I would like to highlight three words that the Gospel has just handed you, as a mandate for the mission: unity, glory and world. Unity. Jesus prays to the Father so that his (followers) be " brought to perfection as one" (Jn 17:23): he wants them to be "one" (v. 22), like Himself and the Father.

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Lights to go out at St Peter's for Earth Hour 2016
Lights to go out at St Peter's for Earth Hour 2016

The lights the dome of St Peter's Basilica will go dark on Saturday evening, along with those that illuminate Bernini's colonnade surrounding St Peter's Square. From 8.30 to 9.30pm local time, the lights will remain dark for Earth Hour. This worldwide initiative is being promoted by the World Wildlife Fund International, to help raise awareness about the need to adopt more environmentally sound practices to protect the future of the planet - a message amplified now by Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'.

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Pope Francis invokes St Patrick at General Audience
Pope Francis invokes St Patrick at General Audience

Pope Francis ended his General Audience with thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square yesterday by invoking St Patrick, the Apostle to Ireland. After his usual greetings for overseas groups, young people, the sick and infirm, and newlyweds, Pope Francis said: "Tomorrow we will commemorate St Patrick, the apostle of Ireland... May his spiritual stamina stir you, dear young people, to be consistent with your faith;

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Pope Francis: 'problems of humanity are not faceless'
Pope Francis: 'problems of humanity are not faceless'

..."Behind every difficulty our world is facing, there are men and women, young and old, people just like you. There are families and individuals whose lives are daily shaped by struggles, who are trying to care for their children and provide not only for their future but also the basic necessities for today.. In the end, our strength as a community, on every level of life and social organization, lies not so much in our learning and personal ability, but in the compassion we show for one another, in the care that we exercise especially for those who

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Pope Francis calls on nations to open doors to refugees
Pope Francis calls on nations to open doors to refugees

Pope Francis has appealed for nations to open their door to refugees, many of whom are suffering out in the cold, without food - with doors shut in their faces. They do not feel welcome.... "how many of our brothers and sisters at this time are living out an actual and dramatic situation of exile, far from their homeland, still shocked by the ruins of their homes, fear in their heart and often, sadly, mourning the loss of loved ones! .. How is it possible that so much suffering can afflict innocent men, women and children?..

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Insight Film Festival Student Filmmaker Award 2016  launched
Insight Film Festival Student Filmmaker Award 2016 launched

The Insight Film Festival Student Filmmaker Award 2016 was launched at an event at Farm Street Church on Wednesday. 

The award, now in its third year, is sponsored by the Jesuits in Britain and the Manchester Universities' Catholic Chaplaincy, led by senior chaplain Fr Tim Byron SJ. Fr Tim explained: "we initiated this award with Insight because we felt that faith was worthy of more exploration in film. Our aim is to encourage more young film students of all faiths and none to consider faith as a fruitful

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Mother Teresa to be canonized with four others - dates set
Mother Teresa to be canonized with four others - dates set

Pope Francis gave his approval for the canonization of five new saints this morning. The announcement was made by Pope Francis after prayers in the Consistory Hall at the Apostolic Palace. The five new saints will be: Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (née Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), whose work among the 'poorest of the poor' won her worldwide acclaim. Hundreds of Mother Teresa's sisters, the Missionaries of Charity, are expected to be in Rome for her canonization, set for 4 September 2016.

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Pope congratulates Palestinian winner of Global Teacher Prize
Pope congratulates Palestinian winner of Global Teacher Prize

On Sunday evening a special video message from Pope Francis was played at the Global Teacher Prize award ceremony in Dubai. The one million dollar prize has been awarded to a young Palestinian primary school teacher in the West Bank city of al-Bireh just outside Ramallah. She grew up in a refugee camp, and now teaches refugees. Pope Francis said: "I would like to congratulate the teacher Hanan Al Hroub for winning this prestigious prize due to the importance she gives to the role of play in a child's education..

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Pope: The Lord walks with us through the dark valleys of our lives
Pope: The Lord walks with us through the dark valleys of our lives

We all experience dark times in our lives, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. Reflecting on the day's Reading which tells the story of Susanna, a just woman who is blackmailed by two judges, but chooses to trust in God rather than succumb to their wish, he said that even when we find ourselves walking in a "valley of darkness" we need not fear evil. The Lord always walks with us, loves us and does not abandon us. "When we look at the many dark valleys, at the many misfortunes, at the fact there

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Pope: We need courage to drop stones we aim at others and think about the wrong we do
Pope: We need courage to drop stones we aim at others and think about the wrong we do

During his address to pilgrims in St Peter's Square after the Angelus today the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis drew inspiration from the day's Gospel reading, which he said is so beautiful he reads it again and again. The story of the woman caught committing adultery, highlights the theme of the mercy of God, who never wants the death of the sinner but wants them to convert and live, the Holy Father said. Pope Francis asked everyone to imagine they were witnessing the scene of Jesus, the woman and the crowd who

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Pope provides lunch for friends of deceased homeless man
Pope provides lunch for friends of deceased homeless man

Pope Francis offered lunch to the friends of a homeless man, following his funeral Mass which was celebrated at the Roman church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, just down the street from St Peter's Square on the Via della Conciliazione. The luncheon was held at the Jesuit-run 'Gift of Mercy' house in the nearby Via dei Penitenzieri. Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, said the deceased was a 57 year-old man named Boris, who was of Polish extraction.

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 Lenten Sermon to Curia on marriage and family
Lenten Sermon to Curia on marriage and family

The Preacher of the Pontifical Household, Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap, preached his fourth Lenten Sermon of 2016 in the presence of Pope Francis and members of the Curia. In his sermon, Fr Cantalamessa offered a spiritual reflection on the Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes ('On the Church in the Modern World'). Cantalamessa focued primarily on the document's treatment of marriage and the family. Acknowledging that most of his immediate audience does not live in the married state,

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Pope at special Saturday audience: True love is service
Pope at special Saturday audience: True love is service

As part of ongoing events and celebrations of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis held a special General Audience on Saturday morning with pilgrims in St Peter's Square. Usually the Audiences are held just on Wednesday, but the additional special Saturday Audiences are being held once each month throughout the Jubilee Year. During his reflection, Pope Francis focused on the topic of Mercy and Service, basing his reflections on the words of Jesus after He washed the feet of His disciples (John 3:12-14).

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 WYD Krakow 2016 draft schedule released
WYD Krakow 2016 draft schedule released

A draft of the program of the trip that Pope Francis will make to Poland from July 27 to 31 in the context of the 31st World Youth Day was presented in Krakow on Saturday. According to the provisional schedule, the Pope is to arrive Wednesday, July 27, at Krakow-Balice airport. The first meetings are to be those with the President of the Republic and the Polish bishops. In the evening, the draft program sees the Pope with the archbishop of Krakow, and greeting people from the same window from which St John Paul II used to

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Celebration to mark Golden Jubilee of Anglican Centre in Rome
Celebration to mark Golden Jubilee of Anglican Centre in Rome

Throughout 2016, The Anglican Centre in Rome celebrates its 50th Anniversary with many special events to give thanks for the enormous improvement in Anglican - Roman Catholic relations and to recommit to working together under the leadership of Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby. On 22nd March 2016 the 50th Anniversary of the dedication will be celebrated at a Eucharist at 12.30pm at St Andrew by the Wardrobe in the City of London to mark the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the centre by

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Pope approves new transparent rules for funding Saints' Causes
Pope approves new transparent rules for funding Saints' Causes

Pope Francis has approved a new series of rules governing the establishment and management of funds used for investigations into the lives of people proposed for sainthood. The approval 'ad experimentum' will, for a period of three years, govern the way funds for the Causes of Saints are established and managed, especially at the 'Roman phase' of the process, which follows initial evidence collection at the diocesan level and the preparation of a position paper - often thousands of pages long and containing painstakingly

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Brazil: Theologian killed in attempted robbery
Brazil: Theologian killed in attempted robbery

Friar Antonio Moser was killed on Wednesday, 9 March, during an attempted robbery on the highway Washington Luiz, at the Duque de Caxias in Petrópolis, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Fr Antonio was 75 years old. A member the Order of Friars Minor, he was director of the publishing house Vozes and had taken part in the recent Synod of Bishops on the family as a collaborator of the Special Secretary. A statement from the Bishops Conference of Brazil, signed by the auxiliary Bishop of Brasilia and the Secretary General of the CNBB,

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Viewpoint: Women must preach
Viewpoint: Women must preach

An intriguing series of articles was published in the semi-official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, recently. They urged the Church to allow women to preach from the pulpit at Mass - a role that has been reserved almost exclusively for priests for 800 years. It's interesting that the Vatican's own newspaper has dedicated so much time to this question. Could this be a sign of things to come? Pope Francis has repeatedly called for women to have a greater role in the Church - although he has reiterated the ban against

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Vatican Curia Spiritual Exercises: 'to share is to multiply'
Vatican Curia Spiritual Exercises: 'to share is to multiply'

The theme of transparency regarding the Church's assets and the question regarding the fight against hunger and food waste were two key points during the Sixth meditation of the Pope's Lenten Retreat. Led by Father Ermes Ronchi who is preaching to Pope Francis and to members of the Roman Curia at their retreat in the town of Ariccia, the exercises focus on ten questions from the Gospels. The question at the heart of Wednesday morning's reflection was "How many loaves do you have?" (Mark 6:38, Matthew 15:34).

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Pope expresses gratitude to Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Pope expresses gratitude to Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Pope Francis has written a letter of thanks and gratitude to His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevhchuk, Major Archbishop of Kiev and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The Archbishop, together with other members of the Permanent Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have been meeting in Rome and released a statement in which they affirmed communion with the Catholic Church. In his letter to Archbishop Shevhchuk, Pope Francis recalls that some 70 years ago, a particular ideological and political context,

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Pope begins Lenten retreat with Curia
Pope begins Lenten retreat with Curia

Pope Francis and other members of the Roman Curia began their annual spiritual retreat on Sunday 6th February, the fourth Sunday of Lent. On Sunday evening, after praying the Angelus together with the faithful in St Peter's Square at noon, Pope Francis boarded a small bus that took him to the 'Casa Divin Maestro' Centre in the town of Ariccia in the Alban Hills just outside Rome. This is where Fr Ermes Ronchi, of the Servants of Mary, is leading the group in spiritual exercises based on ten questions from the Gospels.

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Canonization of Mother Teresa - date to be announced
Canonization of Mother Teresa - date to be announced

Pope Francis will hold an ordinary public consistory of cardinals in the Vatican on 15 March, during which he will sign the decree for the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata and four others. The dates and venue of their sainthood ceremony are expected to be declared at the consistory. Pope Francis had officially cleared Blessed Mother Teresa for sainthood on 17 December, 2015, recognizing the miraculous healing through her intercession of a Brazilian man with multiple brain abscesses. Mother Teresa was conferred the title

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Pope Francis: Nuns killed in Yemen are modern-day martyrs
Pope Francis: Nuns killed in Yemen are modern-day martyrs

The four Missionary of Charity sisters killed together with 12 staff at a care home in Yemen on Friday are modern-day martyrs, Pope Francis said at the end of the Angelus with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday. The Holy Father said the nuns "gave their blood for the Church"' and that they were not only victims of the attackers but also of "this indifference of globalization." Pope Francis also praised an ecumenical project to fly refugees to Europe as "a concrete sign of commitment for peace and life."

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Pope condemns
Pope condemns "diabolic" attack on Missionaries of Charity in Yemen

Pope Francis has said he is "shocked and profoundly saddened" by the murder of four Missionaries of Charity and twelve other people at a home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen. Gunmen entered the building on Friday and went room-to-room, handcuffing victims before shooting them in the head. A message signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Holy Father "sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless

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Text: Pope Francis at Penitential Celebration in St Peter's
Text: Pope Francis at Penitential Celebration in St Peter's

"I want to see again" (Mk 10:51). This is what we ask of the Lord today. To see again, because our sins have made us lose sight of all that is good, and have robbed us of the beauty of our calling, leading us instead far away from our journey's end. This Gospel passage has great symbolic value for our lives, because we all find ourselves in the same situation as Bartimaeus. His blindness led him to poverty and to living on the outskirts of the city, dependent on others for everything he needed. Sin also has this effect: it impoverishes and isolates us.

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Pope: When your heart is hard you cannot understand God's mercy
Pope: When your heart is hard you cannot understand God's mercy

Jesus asks each one of us directly: "are you with me or against me?" - Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. Admitting that we are sinners, open ourselves unconditionally to God's mercy, and being able to ask for forgiveness is the first step in a decisive response to that question, he said. At the beginning of the first reading, Francis noted, the prophet Jeremiah (7:23-28), "reminds us of God's pact with his people: 'Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people.

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Pope Francis: Church does not need dirty money, it needs hearts open to God

Pope Francis: Church does not need dirty money, it needs hearts open to God


Pope Francis says the Church has no need for money that comes from the exploitation of people. What it needs is that the hearts of people are open to God's mercy. Addessing the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly General Audience on Wednesday, the Pope reflected on God's fatherly love and forgiveness. When God's children go astray, the Pope said, God calls out to them lovingly and never disowns them. "The most evil of men, the most evil of women, and the most evil of peoples are still His children" he said.

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Pope Francis: Real mercy means forgiving and forgetting
Pope Francis: Real mercy means forgiving and forgetting

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis spoke on the season of Lent, as a privileged time in which to prepare our hearts to receive God's forgiveness and to forgive our neighbours in turn, forgetting the faults of others. The Holy Father's reflection focused on God's infinite capacity for forgiveness as a perfection of his nature, which contrasts sharply with the inability of fallen human nature to make even the slightest concession to its own frailty.

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  Catholic Community prepares for Pope Francis' worldwide 'Confession drive'
Catholic Community prepares for Pope Francis' worldwide 'Confession drive'

Catholics across England and Wales will participate in a worldwide 'Confession drive' this weekend that has been initiated by Pope Francis, as an integral part of his Jubilee Year of Mercy celebrations. '24 hours for the Lord' will run from Friday 4 to Saturday 5 March and will see teams of Catholic priests available in Cathedrals, and in some local churches in England and Wales, to dispense the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Similar gatherings will happen on every continent, with millions expected to visit churches for prayer and

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 East Anglia seminarian serves Pope Francis at special Mass in Rome
East Anglia seminarian serves Pope Francis at special Mass in Rome

A Diocese of East Anglia seminarian from Cambridge, Piotr (Peter) Wygnanski, was chosen to serve Pope Francis during a special Mass in Rome last week to celebrate the anniversary of St Peter Chair. Piotr is currently in his second year of training at the Venerable English College in Rome. He grew up in Cambridge and was an altar server at St Laurence's Parish for 11 years. Piotr said: "We were really blessed to serve for the Holy Father, especially on the feast of the Chair of Peter.

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Pope Francis: we are not saved by political or clerical parties
Pope Francis: we are not saved by political or clerical parties

God's salvation does not come from power or wealth, nor from clerical or political parties, but from the small and simple things of God, Pope Francis explained in his homily at Mass on Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta. In the first Reading, Naaman the Syrian, a leper, asked the prophet Elisha to heal him, but could not appreciate the simple means by which this healing would be accomplished. The Gospel spoke of the disdain the inhabitants of Nazareth felt at the words of Jesus, their fellow countryman. It was

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Pope: Blood of the martyrs has become seed of Christian unity
Pope: Blood of the martyrs has become seed of Christian unity

Pope Francis urged world leaders to "promote peaceful coexistence" in the face of "a devastating outbreak of violence against Christians" on Monday, 29 February, when he received the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Pope Matthias I, in the Vatican. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which rejected the definitions of the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. In his address, Pope Francis told Pope Matthias I "what unites us is greater than what divides us... shared sufferings

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Pope visits rehab centre
Pope visits rehab centre

Pope Francis made an unscheduled visit to a drug rehabilitation centre in the Alban hills outside Rome on Friday. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who accompanied the Holy Father, said the 55 young people and the volunteers living at the San Carlo community centre at the Italian Centre for Solidarity (CeIS) near Castelgandalfo, were astonished to see him arrive unannounced and without any security escort. The Archbishop said Pope Francis spent time talking to each one of the young people and listening to their stories of battling drug dependency.

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Pope advises business people to act justly, avoid favouritism
Pope advises business people to act justly, avoid favouritism

Pope Francis met more than 7,000 businessmen and women from Italy's largest manufacturing association, Confindustria, today, calling them to reflect together on the ethics of doing business. Calling them to make their slogan 'Work Together' slogan into a true business programme, the Holy Father meditated with the members of Confindustria on its deeper meaning of a way to contribute to a more just society.

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Pope meets new President of Argentina
Pope meets new President of Argentina

Pope Francis received in audience the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, this morning. Afterwards the president met with the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States. President Macri took office in December. Previously he was Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires from 2007 to 2015. Before that he represented the City of Buenos Aires in the lower house of Argentina's Congress from 2005 to 2007. Pope Francis

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Pope answers questions from children in new book
Pope answers questions from children in new book

'L'amore prima del mondo' - 'Love before the world' is the title of a book published by Rizzoli, in the form of 31 letters and drawings sent to the Holy Father by children from various Jesuit institutions from all five continents, asking for advice and explanations, and Francis' replies. The title is drawn from the Pope's answer to the question: "What did God do before the world was made?". The 80-page book consist of a dialogue between Pope Francis and the Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro, director of La Civilta Cattolica, who took the children's letters and drawings

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Meeting of Bishops from Americas ends with sense of 'urgency to make mercy practical'
Meeting of Bishops from Americas ends with sense of 'urgency to make mercy practical'

Fourteen bishops representing the Catholic Church in Canada, Latin America and the United States concluded three days of prayer and dialogue at the 38th Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America, February 25. Gathering together after the two visits of Pope Francis to the region, the bishops spoke of a strong sense of fraternity and solidarity as they shared their pastoral experiences of being one Church in America. Participating in the meeting were the elected officers of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Latin

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Pope Francis: Am I a Christian in name only?
Pope Francis: Am I a Christian in name only?

... to truly live our Christian faith, we must recognize the poor who are near to us. In them, Jesus Himself is knocking at the door of our heart, he said. In the day's Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man "who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day," and who did not recognize that at his door there was a poor man named Lazarus, who was covered with sores. The Pope invited us to ask ourselves the question: "Am I a Christian in name only, on the path of lies; or am I on the path of life,

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Pope Francis: wealth and power must serve common good
Pope Francis: wealth and power must serve common good

Pope Francis dedicated his General Audience on Wednesday to the theme of the attitude expected by Christian faith toward wealth and property. Speaking in Italian, the Holy Father said wealth serves the common good if used in accordance with the demands of justice, charity and mercy, but it becomes a source of corruption and death if used selfishly and arrogantly. The Holy Father went on to discuss the Biblical account of Naboth, a man unjustly put to death so that King Ahab might take possession of his property.

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Pope Francis: God is real, too many Christians are fake
Pope Francis: God is real, too many Christians are fake

Pope Francis described Christianity as a religion that by its very nature must act for good, not a "religion of saying" made of hypocrisy and vanity. The Holy Father was speaking at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Following the readings of the day, Pope Francis reflected on God's reality and the "fakeness" of so many Christians who treat the faith as though it were window dressing, devoid of obligation, or, as an occasion for aggrandizement rather than an opportunity for service, especially to our neediest neighbours.

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Vatican conference a decade after 'Deus caritas est'
Vatican conference a decade after 'Deus caritas est'

An international conference entitled 'Love will never end. Prospects ten years on from the Encyclical Deus caritas est' will be held on Thursday 25 February in the Vatican's New Synod Hall. Organised by the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', the conference forms part of the programme of events for the Jubilee of Mercy and has the aim of examining in depth the theological and pastoral implications of Pope Benedict XVI's first Encyclical for today's world, especially in relation to the activity of those who work in the Church's charitable service.

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Bishops from the Americas gather in Tampa, Florida
Bishops from the Americas gather in Tampa, Florida

The 40th meeting of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in America is taking place in Tampa, Florida, from 22 to 25 February, with the presidents of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Latin American Episcopal Council taking part. This gathering gives an opportunity to the three major organizations of Catholic Bishops from the Western hemisphere to discuss recent developments and also reflect on a specific theme.

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Pope advises Curia to practice mercy daily
Pope advises Curia to practice mercy daily

Pope Francis has advised members of the Curia to tend to their flocks with generosity and mercy and has urged them to become a model for all. The Pope was speaking during his homily at Mass in St Peter's Basilica on Monday morning, as he celebrated the Feast of the Chair of Peter and the Jubilee of Mercy for the Roman Curia and all the Institutions related to the Holy See. Before participating in the Mass, all those present gathered in the Paul VI Hall for a meditation on the theme "Mercy in our everyday life", and together with the Holy Father walked in procession through the

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Pope Francis: Christians are called to work to abolish death penalty
Pope Francis: Christians are called to work to abolish death penalty

"All Christians and people of good will are called to work not only for the abolition of the death penalty," but also to improve conditions in prisons, out of respect for the human dignity of prisoners, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter's Square after the Angelus on Sunday. In particular, the Holy Father appealed "to the consciences of government leaders" that they might join the "international consensus for the abolition of the death penalty" - and spoke directly to Catholic leaders, asking them, as a "courageous and exemplary act," to not

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Pope tells Mexican prisoners: those who have experienced hell can become prophets
Pope tells Mexican prisoners: those who have experienced hell can become prophets

Yesterday morning the Holy Father began the last leg of his apostolic trip in Mexico: Ciudad Juarez, for two centuries the only land passage to the United States. Cuidad Juarez is situated on the Rio Grande, facing the Texan city of El Paso. The two form a metropolitan area with two million inhabitants. It is a very developed industrial centre and, according to various statistics, one of the most violent cities in the world, due principally to drug trafficking across the border with the United States.

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Pope in Mexico: God will hold enslavers to account
Pope in Mexico: God will hold enslavers to account

At midday yesterday, Pope Francis met representatives of the world of work, businesspeople and workers, at the Colegio de Bachilleres of the State of Chihuahua in Ciudad Juarez. He told them: "I wanted to meet with you here in this land of Juarez, because of the special relationship this city has with the world of labour. I am grateful not only for your words of welcome and for your testimonies, which reveal the anxieties, joys and hopes of your lives, but also for this opportunity to share and reflect together.

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Pope leaves Mexico: many lights proclaim hope in people there
Pope leaves Mexico: many lights proclaim hope in people there

Pope Francis left Mexico today, thanking God for granting him his visit to a country "that always surprises, for Mexico is a surprise!" He departed from the airport of Ciudad Juarez at 7pm local time today, 18 February. The Holy Father again gave thanks to all those who made his pilgrimage possible, including the state and local authorities and "all those anonymous helpers who quietly gave of their very best to make these days a great family celebration."

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Pope's in-flight press conference on return from Mexico + film
Pope's in-flight press conference on return from Mexico + film

Francis gave a lengthy press conference on the flight back from Mexico to Rome on Thursday, sharing thoughts on many subjects including pedophile priests, abortion, contraception, abortion, Mexico's 'disappeared ones', the Church in Ukraine and the Zika virus. Asked about immigration and the threats of US presidential candidate Donald Trump to build walls along the southern border, the Pope said he would not comment on the US elections but added "a person who thinks only of building walls anywhere - rather than building bridges - is not a Christian."

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Mexico: Pope tells young people 'dare to dream'
Mexico: Pope tells young people 'dare to dream'

"Dare to dream" Pope Francis told an exuberant crowd of young people gathered in the José María Morellos y Pavón Stadium, in Morelia yesterday. "You are the wealth of this land," he said. "Careful though! I did not say the hope of this land, but its wealth." "You have asked me for a word of hope," he continued, "and the one word I have to give you, which is the foundation of everything, is Jesus Christ. When everything seems too much, when it seems that the world is crashing down on you, embrace his Cross, draw close to him and please, never let go of his

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Mexico: Pope asks forgiveness from indigenous community
Mexico: Pope asks forgiveness from indigenous community

Tens of thousands of people flocked to a sports field yesterday in San Cristobal de las Casas for Mass with Pope Francis. Women dressed in embroidered dresses led readings and hymns in the Chol, Tzotzil and Tzeltal languages. Pope Francis told them: "On many occasions, in a systematic and organised way, your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society.. Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them. How sad

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Mexico: Pope meets families in Tuxtla Gutiérrez
Mexico: Pope meets families in Tuxtla Gutiérrez

Last night Pope Francis flew to the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of the Mexican southeast state of Chiapas, where he met with families in the city's Tuxtla Gutiérrez Stadium. Before addressing the gathering, he listened to testimonies by people from different family situations who included a civilly-married couple of divorced parents who are actively involved with charitable work, a disabled adolescent who found joy in being accepted by the church and is now active in the evangelization of other youth, a single mother who was rejected by society but

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Mexico: Pope tells bishops:  'we don't need princes, but witnesses of the Lord'
Mexico: Pope tells bishops: 'we don't need princes, but witnesses of the Lord'

"Only a Church able to shelter the men and women who knock on her doors will be able to speak to them of God.... We do not need 'princes', but rather a community of the Lord's witnesses," Pope Francis told Mexican bishops in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Mexico City on Saturday morning. The Holy Father touched on the serious challenges which the country is facing, including migration and crime. Expressing his trust in the ability of the country and of the Church to walk on the path of peace and justice, the Pope said that he "is sure that Mexico and

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Mexico: Pope advises clergy, religious not to get entrenched in their sacristies
Mexico: Pope advises clergy, religious not to get entrenched in their sacristies

Huge crowds of people lined up along the motorcade route cheering and waving Vatican flags as the Holy Father arrived in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan State on Tuesday. Michoacan is at the heart of Mexico's drug-trafficking route, a region wracked by poverty, unemployment, drug violence and corruption. The Pope celebrated Mass with priests, seminarians and religious men and women in the city's 'Venustiano Carranza' Stadium. In his homily the Pope told those present that their lives "speak of prayer" and that "the school of prayer is the school of

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Mexico: Pope tells seminarians 'don't be clerics of the State'
Mexico: Pope tells seminarians 'don't be clerics of the State'

After celebrating the huge open-air Mass in Ecatepec yesterday, Pope Francis had lunch with students in the local Diocesan Seminary. During his visit he wrote a few lines in the school's Visitor's Book. The complete text of the Message follows: "Let all those who in this house are prepared for the priesthood, always keep foremost in their mind Jesus Christ, the Lord and His Holy Mother.

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Pope in Mexico: 'A Christian cannot but show solidarity'
Pope in Mexico: 'A Christian cannot but show solidarity'

Following Mass yesterday, 14 February Pope Francis led the people gathered at Ecatepec in the Angelus. During his address, the Holy Father invited the people to remember, and be thankful for, God's blessings....In the first reading of this Sunday, Moses offers a directive to the people. At harvest time, a the time of abundance and first fruits, do not forget your beginnings. Thanksgiving is something which is born and grows among a people capable of remembering.

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Westminster J&P Commission statement on renewal of Trident
Westminster J&P Commission statement on renewal of Trident

As Labour attempt to resolve their defence policy in relation to nuclear weapons, we look at the arguments for and against retaining the UK Trident system in the light of our Faith, and call for an unequivocal refusal to renew Trident, this costly and deadly weapons system. Pope Francis called for an end to nuclear weapons in October last year, saying: "There is an urgent need to work for a world free from nuclear weapons, in full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in letter and spirit with a goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons."

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Statement of Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors
Statement of Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors

Cardinal Seán O'Malley, OFM Cap, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, together with all the Commission Members, issued today the following statement on the obligation to report suspected sexual abuse to civil authorities: "As Pope Francis has so clearly stated: 'The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must not be kept secret for any longer. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all'. We, the President and the Members of the Commission, wish to affirm that our

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Mexico: Pope celebrates Mass at Guadalupe - God awakens hope in the rejected
Mexico: Pope celebrates Mass at Guadalupe - God awakens hope in the rejected

Yesterday the Pope concluded his first full day in Mexico by celebrating Holy Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the principal sanctuary in Mexico and the largest Marian shrine in the world, which receives more than 20 million pilgrims each year. According to tradition, it arose following the five apparitions of the Virgin - between 9 and 12 December 1531 - to Juan Diego who, with his uncle Juan Bernardino, was one of the first native converts to Christianity in 1521. The name 'Guadalupe' comes from the word Coatlaxopeuh (Conquerer of the snake).

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Pope addresses Mexican bishops under the gaze of 'la Guadalupana'
Pope addresses Mexican bishops under the gaze of 'la Guadalupana'

From the Palacio Nacional, the Pope travelled by popemobile to the nearby Plaza de la Constitucion, where the Cathedral of the Assumption is located. Also known as Zocalo, the square has great symbolic value as it was built on the remains of the political and religious centre of the capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochititlan. The Cathedral, constructed from volcanic rock, stands on the site of a temple dedicated to the Aztec deity Xipe. On the instructions of Hernan Cortes a church was built there using materials from the ancient shrines, and Pope Clement VII

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Mexico: Pope Francis meets civil authorities and diplomats
Mexico: Pope Francis meets civil authorities and diplomats

Today I come as a missionary of mercy and of peace but also as a son who wishes to pay homage to his mother, the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, and place himself under her watchful care. Endeavouring to be a good son, following in our mother's footsteps, I wish in turn to pay my respects to this people and to this land which is so rich in culture, history, and diversity. Through you, Mr President, I would like to greet and embrace the Mexican people in its numerous expressions and in the most diverse of situations it experiences. Thank you for welcoming me

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Mexico: Pope celebrates Mass in shanty town
Mexico: Pope celebrates Mass in shanty town

More than 400,000 people attended an open air Mass with Pope Francis on Sunday, in the rough, crime-ridden neighbourhood of Ecatepec on the edge of Mexico City. Many had slept overnight on the field. There were vivid coloured floral carpets in bold geometrical Aztec designs and a white arch spanned the altar. Nearby the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was decorated with white roses. Ecatepec is an place where organised crime, pollution and poverty reign and where most people fear to tread. Hundreds of murders have taken place there, and women

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Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill
Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met in Havana, Cuba on Friday to sign an historic joint declaration... "... By God the Father's will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.

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Sudan opens Door of Mercy
Sudan opens Door of Mercy

Pope Francis' Year of Mercy can help refugees find the strength to forgive says a Sudanese bishop. Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Daniel Adwok of Khartoum said the Holy Father's Jubilee of Mercy could help those worst affected by the ongoing civil war in South Sudan find peace through forgiveness. During the Holy Year Christians are invited to focus on the merciful God and encouraged to reflect on their faith.

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Pope in Mexico: Pray to Our Lady for those who love you and those who have done you harm
Pope in Mexico: Pray to Our Lady for those who love you and those who have done you harm

After signing the Joint Declaration with Patriarch Kirill, the Pope departed by air for Mexico. During the trip he spoke briefly with journalists, expressing his joy at the encounter with the Patriarch and the willingness of President Raul Castro to host the meeting. The Pope revealed that he had spoken with the Cuban president at his previous meeting and that the latter had expressed his full availability to facilitate the meeting between the bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in Havana. Francis thanked President Castro for this

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Pope Francis leaves for Cuba and Mexico
Pope Francis leaves for Cuba and Mexico

Pope Francis left Rome this morning on his way to Mexico for a weeklong pastoral visit that will take him to Mexico City, to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and to some of the country's most poor and violent towns on the margins of society. On his way to Mexico the Holy Father will make a brief stop in Havana, Cuba for a meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. The recently-added visit to the papal itinerary is being seen by many as an historic step towards healing the wounds of division after the schism 1,000 years ago.

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Statement from Constantinian Order on  meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill
Statement from Constantinian Order on meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain and Diocesan Russian Orthodox Bishop pray for the success of the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill. Before the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Catholics and Orthodox in the United Kingdom as well as believers all over the world gather in prayer, well aware that throughout this epochal gesture it is offering to humanity - in this moment of severe tensions and conflicts - an extraordinary testimony, unique - of how it is possible to rediscover today - the way of peace and unity.

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Pope arrives in Havana - watch live link
Pope arrives in Havana - watch live link

Pope Francis has just arrived in the Cuban capital Havana where he will have an historic first meeting with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. The Patriarch arrived in Cuba yesterday at the start of a three nation tour of Orthodox communities in Latin America, while Pope Francis is on his way to Mexico City, where he is scheduled to land at around 7.30 this evening local time. Cuban President Raul Castro was at Havana's 'José Martì' International airport to meet the papal plane and to accompany Pope Francis to the room where the

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Apostolic Nuncio, Russian Orthodox Bishop pray for success of  meeting between Pope and Patriarch Kirill
Apostolic Nuncio, Russian Orthodox Bishop pray for success of meeting between Pope and Patriarch Kirill

Before the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Catholics and Orthodox in the United Kingdom as well as believers all over the world gather in prayer, well aware that throughout this epochal gesture it is offering to humanity - in this moment of severe tensions and conflicts - an extraordinary testimony, unique - of how it is possible to rediscover today - the way of peace and unity. A testimony which, after all, by the will of God is placed in the journey of grace which both Churches are making.

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Pope prays at Basilica of Mary Major before his journey to Mexico
Pope prays at Basilica of Mary Major before his journey to Mexico

Pope Francis paid a private visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, on Thursday morning, where he prayed before the icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani, the Byzantine icon of the Madonna and Child, ahead of his Apostolic Voyage to Mexico. The Holy Father always makes a brief visit here, before and after he travels. From St Mary Major, the Pope made the short journey to the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, where the priests of the diocese were meeting at the beginning of Lent. During the visit, Pope Francis heard the confessions of several priests.

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Pope advises confessors to be a 'living sign of God's forgiveness' not a 'club of judgement'
Pope advises confessors to be a 'living sign of God's forgiveness' not a 'club of judgement'

On Tuesday evening Pope Francis met with the Missionaries of Mercy, the priests who will be preaching mercy and hearing confessions in dioceses around the world during the Jubilee of Mercy. They have also been commissioned to hear confessions at St Peter's Basilica today, Ash Wednesday. The Pope asked them to be "a living sign of the Father's welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness." Before their commissioning, Pope Francis told them they are a "sign of special importance" which characterizes the Jubilee of Mercy, and offered some

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Pope Francis: Biblical Jubilee calls for just distribution of resources
Pope Francis: Biblical Jubilee calls for just distribution of resources

The Holy Father dedicated the catechesis of his Wednesday general audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, to a reflection on the biblical meaning of the Jubilee. Francis explained that every fifty years, on the Day of Atonement, a great event of liberation was announced. It consisted of a type of "general amnesty", in which all debts were cancelled and the land was restored to its owners. The central idea is that the earth belongs to God and has been entrusted to men as administrators. The Pope added that the biblical jubilee was a true jubilee of

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Russia: Threat to Christians is catalyst for historic meeting between Pope and Patriarch
Russia: Threat to Christians is catalyst for historic meeting between Pope and Patriarch

The persecution of Christians is the driving force behind the forthcoming historic meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches according to a leading Catholic charity's Russian expert. Aid to the Church in Need's Peter Humeniuk said that the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Cuba had come about "because we are witnessing a persecution of Christians, which... now threatens the survival of Christianity in parts of the world."

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'Immigrant Lives Matter' - giant sign for Pope at US/Mexico border
'Immigrant Lives Matter' - giant sign for Pope at US/Mexico border

The group 'Border Network for Human Rights', which assists undocumented immigrants travelling between Mexico and the US, has hung a message addressed to Pope Francis, who is visiting Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a week from now. In huge letters the words read, "Immigrant Lives Matter" and the message can be read from both sides of the border.

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Pope Francis sends message to people of Mexico
Pope Francis sends message to people of Mexico

Pope Francis has sent a message to the people of Mexico as they await his arrival telling them that he is travelling to the nation as a "missionary of mercy and peace". Four days before the start of his apostolic journey to Mexico, the Pope sent a video message to those awaiting him. In the message, in his native Spanish, the Pope highlights the fact that he wants to embrace all Mexican people, especially those who suffer. He also speaks of his devotion for the Blessed Virgin and he expresses his joy at being able to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of

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New Pope Francis video urges Care for Creation
New Pope Francis video urges Care for Creation

Pope Francis offers his prayer intention for February through a short video. He asks people everywhere to pray in solidarity and in response to the many eco-challenges facing humanity. "The prayer intention for February comes at a crucial time for humanity, addressing an area where we urgently need to make changes," says Fr Frédéric Fornos, S.J., international director of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network. "The Pope asks us to unite in respect for creation and to act to preserve the natural world for future generations" he adds...

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Pope tells religious: Church and world needs your prophesy, your hope
Pope tells religious: Church and world needs your prophesy, your hope

The Year of Consecrated Life, called by Pope Francis at the end of 2014, which began with a prayer vigil in the Roman basilica of St Mary Major, closes tomorrow with a solemn Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in St Peter's Basilica. Through the year there have been events, seminars, chains of prayer in monasteries around the world, and an encounter between consecrated persons of different Christian confessions which, Pope Francis says, he hopes will continue. This morning in the Paul VI Hall the Pope received in audience participants in the Jubilee of Consecrated Life,

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Pope saddened by death of Casa Santa Marta family member
Pope saddened by death of Casa Santa Marta family member

Pope Francis spoke yesterday of his sadness at the death of one of the workers at Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said the woman, who was called Elvira, had been sick for some time. He was speaking at the end of his first Jubilee audience during this Year of Mercy in St Peter's Square and he asked the pilgrims present to pray a Hail Mary for the woman and her family. Casa Santa Marta is a big house, the Pope said, where about 40 priests, and some bishops who are working in the Curia live. There are also, he added, guests who stay, such as

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Pope Francis: All Christians are called to be missionaries
Pope Francis: All Christians are called to be missionaries

Thousands gathered in St Peter's Square yesterday for the first monthly Jubilee audience in this Year of Mercy. During his address Pope Francis spoke about the close relationship between mercy and mission. Recalling the words of Saint John Paul II, the Pope said that his predecessor "reminded us that the Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy, and leads people to the source of mercy." Just as we naturally seek to share with others the beautiful moments of our lives, we are called also and especially to share the joy

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Missionaries of Mercy, relics of St Padre Pio and St Leopold Mandic in Rome for Jubilee Year
Missionaries of Mercy, relics of St Padre Pio and St Leopold Mandic in Rome for Jubilee Year

Yesterday, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, and Mgr Graham Bell, under-secretary of the same dicastery, presented two initiatives linked to the Jubilee Year: the Missionaries of Mercy and the temporary translation to Rome of the relics of St Pio of Pietrelcina and St Leopold Mandic. "It is has been almost two months now since Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of St Peter's", said Archbishop Fisichella. "Since that moment, the Doors of Mercy have been opened all around the world. The incredible number of people who have

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Pope Francis meets Leonardo DiCaprio
Pope Francis meets Leonardo DiCaprio

Pope Francis met with film star and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio today. The actor, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his role in 'The Revenant' is a longtime environmental campaigner, In 1998 he launched The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to support initiatives building sustainability. Di Caprio gave the Pope a book of art from the Dutch Renaissance painter, Hieronymus Bosch, and at the end of the encounter, DiCaprio kissed the Pope's ring, and, in Italian, thanked the Holy Father for meeting with him.

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  Pope Francis:  The Christian heart is magnanimous
Pope Francis: The Christian heart is magnanimous

In his reflection on the Gospel reading today during Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said heart of the Christian is magnanimous because we were born of a loving Father and our arms should be open wide to welcome everyone with generosity. "The mystery of God is light", the Holy Father said, commenting on the passage in which Jesus says that the lamp does not come to be put under a bushel, or under the bed, but to be put on the lampstand to illuminate. "A Christian who has received the light in Baptism must give it. That is, the Christian is a

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Pope Francis: God is not indifferent to human suffering
Pope Francis: God is not indifferent to human suffering

During his weekly General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke about God's mercy throughout history, and in our own day. He noted that the Lord always accompanied the people of Israel, and continues to work in our own time as well. Pointing to the story of Joseph and his brothers as an example of grace and reconciliation, Pope Francis said the Jubilee Year of Mercy was a good opportunity to reconcile with family members.

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Pope meets President of Iran
Pope meets President of Iran

On Tuesday, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience His Excellency Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Later President Rouhani met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States. A Vatican statement says: "During the cordial discussions, common spiritual values emerged and reference was made to the good state of relations between the Holy See and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the life of the Church in the country

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Pope's Message for Lent: 'I desire mercy not sacrifice'
Pope's Message for Lent: 'I desire mercy not sacrifice'

Pope Francis' Message for Lent was released on Tuesday. Entitled 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice. The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee' the message stresses the importance of corporal and spiritual works of mercy and condemns the attitude and actions of the proud, the powerful and the wealthy who refuse to open the doors of their hearts to God and to the poor. Pointing out that the poor have a special place at the heart of the Gospel, he warns of the "blindness" and the "illusion of omnipotence" which often afflicts the rich and powerful who

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Pope Francis to attend joint Reformation commemoration in Sweden
Pope Francis to attend joint Reformation commemoration in Sweden

The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis will travel to Sweden in October for a joint ecumenical commemoration of the start of the Reformation. The Holy Father, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) President Bishop Dr Munib A Younan and General Secretary Rev Dr Martin Junge will lead the Ecumenical Commemoration in cooperation with the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm. The event will take place on 31 October in the city of Lund where the LWF was founded in 1947. It will also highlight the important ecumenical

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Text:  Pope Francis' homily at Christian Unity Vespers
Text: Pope Francis' homily at Christian Unity Vespers

...Dear brothers and sisters, let us unite ourselves with the prayer that Jesus Christ prayed to his Father: "May they be one, so that the world may believe". Unity is the gift of mercy from God the Father. In front of the tomb of St Paul, the apostle and martyr, kept here in this splendid Basilica, we feel that our humble request is sustained by the intercession of the multitudes of Christian martyrs, past and present. They replied generously to the call of the Lord, they gave faithful witness with their lives to the wonderful works that God has done for us and they already enjoy full

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Pope Francis: Christian marriage is 'not an ideal for the few'
Pope Francis: Christian marriage is 'not an ideal for the few'

On Friday, Pope Francis met the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the Vatican court which mainly deals with marriage annulment cases. He told them the Church's teaching on marriage is not an "ideal for the few," but "a reality that, in the grace of Christ, can be experienced by all the baptized." In his address inaugurating the judicial year, Pope Francis said the court's role as Tribunal of the Family, and its role as Tribunal of the Truth of the Sacred Bond are complementary. "The Church... can show the unfailing merciful love of God to families

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Pope Francis: God's people suffer if their bishops fail to pray
Pope Francis: God's people suffer if their bishops fail to pray

If a bishop does not pray and does not announce the Gospel but is concerned with other things, God's people suffer, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. The day's Gospel (Mk 3: 13-19) describes how Jesus chose the twelve Apostles - "to be with him and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons." Pope Francis said. They were the first bishops, he explained. After the death of Judas, Matthias was elected in "the first episcopal ordination of the Church." And, the Pope pointed out, "the bishops are

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Pope Francis: Poor are at centre of the Gospel
Pope Francis: Poor are at centre of the Gospel

.... today, in our parish communities, in the associations, in the movements, are we faithful to the program of Christ? Is the evangelization of the poor, bringing to them the good news, the priority? Be attentive: this isn't about giving social assistance, much less about political activity. It has to do with the strength of the Gospel of God, Who converts hearts, heals the wounded, transforms human and social relationships according to the logic of love. The poor, in fact, are at the heart of centre of the Gospel.

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Pope Francis modifies rubric of Roman Missal regarding Holy Thursday washing of feet
Pope Francis modifies rubric of Roman Missal regarding Holy Thursday washing of feet

Yesterday, Thursday, 21 January, it was announced that Pope Francis has ordered the modification of the rubric of the Roman Missal regarding the washing of feet during Holy Thursday Mass, establishing that the selection of participants in the Rite is no longer limited to men. The Pontiff communicated his decision to Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by way of a letter. The following is an article written by the Archbishop-Secretary of the Congregation on the occasion.

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Pope Francis:  'Jealousy and envy are sins that kill with words'
Pope Francis: 'Jealousy and envy are sins that kill with words'

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, the feast of Saint Agnes, Pope Francis prayed that God might preserve us from envy and jealousy - ugly sins that kill others with words and that exist even in our Christian communities. The first reading (1 Sam 18:6-9; 19:1-7) tells the story of Saul, the king of Israel, and his jealous feelings towards David. After the victory over the Philistines, the women joyfully sang, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." From that day forward, Saul looked on David with suspicion,

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USA: Thousands to join 14-hour National Prayer Vigil For Life
USA: Thousands to join 14-hour National Prayer Vigil For Life

The National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held from Thursday afternoon, January 21-Friday morning, January 22, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where Pope Francis celebrated Mass during his recent visit to Washington. More than 20,000 pilgrims from around the nation will pray there for an end to abortion before the annual March for Life. The Vigil marks the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton decisions legalizing abortion nationwide. Since those decisions, more than 56 million

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Pope Francis: Together, let us take mercy to every part of the world
Pope Francis: Together, let us take mercy to every part of the world

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in the warmth of the Paul VI Hall today, for the General Audience with Pope Francis. The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, taking place this year from 18 to 25 January, on the theme 'Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord'. "The first letter of St Paul is addressed to the first generation of Christians to make them aware of the gift received in Baptism, and the demands that this involves," said the Pope. "We too, in this Week of Prayer, are invited to rediscover all this,

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Pope receives invitation to visit Mosque of Rome
Pope receives invitation to visit Mosque of Rome

Pope Francis received a delegation of Muslim leaders on Wednesday, who presented him with an invitation to visit the Mosque of Rome. The delegation included the Imam Yahya Pallavicini from COREIS (The Islamic Community of Italy) and Abdellah Redouane, the director of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy. After the meeting, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said Pope Francis would "study the invitation, and come to a decision,"

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Pope urges World Economic Forum: 'Do not forget the poor'
Pope urges World Economic Forum: 'Do not forget the poor'

Pope Francis has appealed to the economic leaders of the world not to forget the poor. The Pope's cry for justice and integral development came in a message to the participants of the annual World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland. Present among the over 2,500 participants for the 3-day event are over 1,000 chief executives or company chairs and more than 40 world leaders. The refugee crisis, climate change and rising interest rates are foreseen to be among the main themes. The full text of Pope Francis' message to the 2016 World Economic

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Pope Francis: 'No saint is without a past, no sinner without a future'
Pope Francis: 'No saint is without a past, no sinner without a future'

God looks beyond appearances and into the heart, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning. Reflecting on the First Reading of the day that tells of the choice of the young David as king of Israel, the Pope pointed out that even in the lives of the saints there are temptations and sins, as demonstrated by the life of David. The Lord rejected Saul "because his heart was closed", he had not obeyed Him, and so God chose another king. The Pope pointed out that the choice He made was far from human standards since David was the

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Pope Francis: If your heart is closed to the newness of the Holy Spirit, you will never reach the full truth
Pope Francis: If your heart is closed to the newness of the Holy Spirit, you will never reach the full truth

A Christian who hides behind the notion that "this is how it's always been done..." is committing a sin, becomes idolatrous and disobedient, and lives a "patched up, half and half life", because his heart is closed to the "newness of the Holy Spirit". The invitation to free oneself from "customs" in order to make room for "God's surprises" was offered by Pope Francis during Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, Monday, 18 January. Reflecting on the first Reading, from the First Book of Samuel (15:16-23), the Pope began:

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Pope Francis to release new book for children
Pope Francis to release new book for children

Pope Francis is releasing a new book for children next month: 'Dear Pope Francis'. The book - published by Loyola Press (original Italian title "L'amore prima del mondo") - contains the Holy Father's responses to letters written by children from around the world. What did God do before creating the world? "God loved." Why do my parents fight sometimes? "They are human." These are some of the questions put to Pope Francis by children between the ages of 6-13 from 26 countries, including Albania, China, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

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Pope encourages migrants and refugees not to lose hope
Pope encourages migrants and refugees not to lose hope

Thousands of migrants and refugees came to St Peter's Square on Sunday, the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, joining pilgrims for the Angelus with Pope Francis. Many also passed through the Holy Door and attended Mass in St Peter's Basilica. In his address, Pope Francis said: "Dear migrants and refugees, each of you carries a story, a culture, precious values; and unfortunately often experiences of poverty, oppression and fear. Your presence in this square is a sign of hope in God."

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Pope Francis visits Rome synagogue
Pope Francis visits Rome synagogue

Pope Francis visited Rome's synagogue on Sunday, following in the steps of Pope Benedict, and Pope St John Paul II who was the first pope to visit in April 1986....Our relations are very close to my heart. When in Buenos Aires I used to go to the synagogues and meet the communities gathered there, I used to follow Jewish festivities and commemorations and give thanks to the Lord who gives us life and accompanies us on the path of history. Over time, a spiritual bond has been created which has favoured the birth of a genuine friendship and given life to a shared committment

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Rome:  Homeless, refugees treated to day at the circus + video
Rome: Homeless, refugees treated to day at the circus + video

More than a thousand people - refugees, homeless, and a group of prisoners on parole, were treated to a day at the circus on Thursday in Rome, courtesy of Apostolic Charities and the Rony Roller Circus. The Vatican ferried guests to the massive big-top tent on the outskirts of Rome, in the latest gesture of affection for the poor and needy, which has been a hallmark of Pope Francis' papacy. The spectacular two hour show was presented by seven generations of circus performers and featured knife throwing, acrobatics,

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Pope Francis: We ask God for the grace to pray with faith
Pope Francis: We ask God for the grace to pray with faith

Faith turns even defeat into victory, but it is not something 'magical' - it is a personal relationship with God that cannot be learned in books. Faith is a gift from God, a gift that is our for the asking - Pope Francis said during his reflections on the day's readings at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The First Reading from the Book of Samuel, told of the defeat of the People of God at the hands of the Philistines. "the slaughter was very great," and the people lost everything, even their dignity.

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Pope reflects on mercy; prays for Turkey at General Audience
Pope reflects on mercy; prays for Turkey at General Audience

During today's General Audience, which took place in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis began a new cycle of catechesis dedicated to mercy from a Biblical perspective, to foster an understanding of what mercy is through listening to what God Himself teaches us with His Word. Referring to a passage from the Book of Exodus in which the Lord describes Himself as 'a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, the Pope said: "In other texts too we encounter this formula, with some variation, but stress is always placed

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Pope's  Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Pope's Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated this Sunday, 17 January. The theme chosen by Pope Francis for 2016 is 'Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy.' "The tragic stories of millions of men and women daily confront the international community as a result of the outbreak of unacceptable humanitarian crises in different parts of the world," writes Pope Francis. "Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck,"

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Pope Francis: 'Prayer works miracles'
Pope Francis: 'Prayer works miracles'

Prayer works miracles and prevents hardening of the heart, Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. "It's the prayer of the faithful that brings change to the Church; it's not us popes, bishops or priests who carry the Church forward, but the Saints", the Holy Father said. Pope Francis was reflecting on the Bible reading of the day which tells the story of Hannah, who was deeply distressed by her infertility and desperately prays to the Lord to give her a child, and of the priest Eli, who looks on vaguely from afar and superficially

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 Message from Bishop  Lynch for World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Message from Bishop Lynch for World Day of Migrants and Refugees

"In his message for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees on January 17th Pope Francis invites us to respond to the challenge of migrants and refugees through the Gospel of Mercy. In practice, this means recognising the dignity of migrants and refugees, recognising their suffering, affirming their rights and working (with governments and other agencies) to address the causes that have led to the increase in the number of migrants and refugees. Our first priority as the Office for Migration Policy is to continue to work with the UK Government as it seeks to welcome

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Pope tells diplomats:  Holy See will never cease taking the voice of peace to the ends of the earth
Pope tells diplomats: Holy See will never cease taking the voice of peace to the ends of the earth

On Monday in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received in audience the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional new year exchange of greetings. The Pope was first greeted by the new dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Armindo Fernandes do Espirito Santo Vieira, ambassador of Angola, and began his address by mentioning diplomats who died during this last month, the ambassadors of Cuba, Rodney Alejandro Lopez Clemente, and of Liberia, Rudolf P von Ballmoos.

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Pope baptises 26 babies in Sistine Chapel
Pope baptises 26 babies in Sistine Chapel

Pope Francis baptized 26 baby girls and boys during Mass in the Sistine Chapel today, the feast day of the Baptism of Jesus. The Holy Father said our faith is handed on from one generation to the next through baptism. He told the parents of the 13 girls and 13 boys, they must never forget that faith is the greatest heritage they can pass on. Amid the sounds of some babies crying, Pope Francis told the mothers to feel free to feed their children whenever they are hungry.

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 Pope: The embrace of God's love silences our sins
Pope: The embrace of God's love silences our sins

The embrace of God's love has the power to silence all our sins, no matter how many, Pope Francis said during his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Following the Gospel reading from the letter of John the Apostle, Pope Francis's homily was a reflection on the different meanings of the word 'love' and the two most important commandments for a Christian: to love God and to love our neighbour. "This word 'love' is a word that is used so many times and when we use it we don't know exactly what it means. What is love?

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Pope Francis: Works of mercy are at heart of our faith
Pope Francis: Works of mercy are at heart of our faith

Many people appear to be spiritual but live in a way that is totally detached from the presence or needs of others, Pope Francis said on Thursday, in his first homily after Christmas at Casa Santa Marta. Warning against false spirituality and worldliness the Holy Father stressed that works of mercy are at the heart of our faith in God and the visible sign of that faith. Reflecting on the first letter of John where the Apostle writes of remaining in the Lord, the Pope explained that a Christian is somebody who remains in God, who has the Holy Spirit and

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Pope Francis: Don't settle for mediocrity
Pope Francis: Don't settle for mediocrity

Pope Francis said today, that the experience of the Three Kings urges us not to settle for mediocrity but instead examine with passion the great mystery of life. He also said the Magi teach us to recognize the majesty in humility and learn how to knee in front of it. The Pope's comments came during his Angelus address to the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square on the feast of the Epiphany. Pope Francis said the Gospel account of the Magi who came from afar to worship the Baby Jesus gives "an air of universality" to the feast of the Epiphany.

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Pope Francis: Church doesn't shine with its own light
Pope Francis: Church doesn't shine with its own light

In his homily today, at Mass in St Peter's Basilica, celebrating the solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis said the Church is called to be a missionary Church, but announcing Christ is not a profession and nor is it about proselytism. He said the Church cannot delude herself that she shines with her own light but instead draws her brightness from the light of Christ... The words of the Prophet Isaiah - addressed to the Holy City of Jerusalem - are also meant for us.

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Pray with Pope Francis each month - new video series
Pray with Pope Francis each month - new video series

From today, Wednesday January 6th, the traditional monthly prayer intentions of Pope Francis will be available on video, thanks to a new initiative launched by the worldwide Apostleship of Prayer. This month the Apostleship of Prayer, set up in 1844 by a group of Jesuit seminarians in France, is also launching a new international website and app aimed at facilitating collaboration and sharing of resources between teams from the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network.

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Pope Francis visits site of the first Christmas crib
Pope Francis visits site of the first Christmas crib

Pope Francis made a private visit to the Italian hilltown of Greccio in the Lazio region north of Rome this afternoon (Monday) where he met with the local Franciscan community. The town is well known as the place where St Francis set up the first crib scene in 1223, using local animals and a carved image of the Christ Child in a manger to recreate the events of Our Lord's birth in Bethlehem. The tradition continues in the same hillside cave which has become a popular local shrine, and visitors can also see the monastic cell in the nearby convent where St Francis slept.

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Pope Francis: Let the Gospel be more incarnate in our own lives
Pope Francis: Let the Gospel be more incarnate in our own lives

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the first Angelus of the year with Pope Francis today. Reflecting on the day's Gospel, the Holy Father noted the dramatic contrast between God's gift of love in the Incarnation, and man's failure to receive Him. The solemn opening of John's Gospel, which was already proclaimed on Christmas day and which is read again on this Sunday, "is the invitation of Holy Mother Church to welcome this Word of salvation, this mystery of light," the Pope said.

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Walsingham Shrine becomes Minor Basilica
Walsingham Shrine becomes Minor Basilica

Pope Francis has granted Minor Basilica status to England's Nazareth, the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in North Norfolk. The rare designation is given by the Holy Father to places of worship which are of particular historical significance. The Pope's decree was announced at Walsingham, known as England's Nazareth, at the feast of the Holy Family on Sunday December 27, by Bishop Alan Hopes, the Bishop of East Anglia, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambs and Peterborough.

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Text: Pope Francis at Papal Basilica of St Mary Major, New Year's Day
Text: Pope Francis at Papal Basilica of St Mary Major, New Year's Day

Pope Francis celebrated Mass and opened the Holy Door this evening at the Papal Basilica of St Mary Major. The Basilica, also known as Our Lady of the Snows, is one of the oldest churches dedicated to the Mother of God, and the largest in the world. Since the Jubilee Year began, Holy Doors have been opened at all four of the Major Basilicas in Rome. For the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis has also opened a Holy Door at a homeless shelter at Rome's central train station.

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Pope Francis meets young choristers on New Year's Eve
Pope Francis meets young choristers on New Year's Eve

Pope Francis received 4,000 young singers - the 'Pueri cantores' this morning in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. The international young choristers' organization has been holding its annual meeting in Rome this week with six days of festivities, culminating on New Year's Day with some of them participating in Mass in St Peter's Basilica. The motto of the Congress this year is Cantate spem vestram! 'Sing out your hope!' - a theme on which Pope Francis reflected extensively in his unscripted remarks.

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Pope Francis gives last General Audience of 2015
Pope Francis gives last General Audience of 2015

Pope Francis gave his last General Audience of the year on Wednesday with pilgrims in St Peter's Square. In his Christmas reflection the Holy Father invited the faithful to "look to the lives of children" in order to learn to welcome and love Jesus. he also appealed for prayers for victims of the recent natural disasters in North and South America and Great Britain. The following is a translation of the Pope's address, which he delivered in Italian.

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Pope appeals for migrants in difficulty in Central America
Pope appeals for migrants in difficulty in Central America

Pope Francis expressed his concern for thousands of migrants currently in difficulties in Central America. Speaking after the Angelus on Sunday he said: "My thoughts in this moment go out to the numerous Cuban migrants who find themselves in difficulty in Central America, many of whom are victims of human trafficking. I invite the countries of the region to renew with generosity all necessary efforts in order to find a rapid solution to this humanitarian drama."

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New bishop for Scotland
New bishop for Scotland

Pope Francis has today appointed Monsignor Brian McGee as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. The diocese has been vacant since April 2014 when Bishop Joseph Toal became the Bishop of Motherwell. Mgr McGee is currently Vicar General of the Diocese of Paisley and Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish, Port Glasgow. Reacting to his appointment, Bishop-Elect McGee said: "It was very humbling, and indeed frightening, to be informed by the Papal Nuncio that Pope Francis had nominated me to be the new bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles.

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Pope Francis: Where there is love there is understanding and forgiveness
Pope Francis: Where there is love there is understanding and forgiveness

In his homily for the Feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis reflected on the day's readings, which he said, present us "with the image of two families on pilgrimage to the house of God." ... "We often see pilgrims journeying to shrines and places dear to popular piety. These days, many of them are making their way to the Holy Door opened in all the cathedrals of the world and in many shrines. But the most beautiful thing which emerges from the word of God today is that the whole family goes on pilgrimage.

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Pope Francis delivers Christmas Urbi et Orbi message
Pope Francis delivers Christmas Urbi et Orbi message

On Christmas Day, Pope Francis delivered his Urbi et Orbi message, (to the city and the world) from the central loggia of St Peter's Basilica. In it he prayed that recent UN-backed peace agreements for Syria and Libya would quickly end the suffering of their people. He also spoke about the "brutal acts of terrorism'' that struck the French capital this year as well as conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine.... Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself.

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Pope Francis: live  Jubilee in domestic church too
Pope Francis: live Jubilee in domestic church too

Pope Francis exchanged Christmas greetings with employees of the Holy See and Vatican City State, and their families on Monday. During his address he thanked all present for their work and for their efforts in doing all things well, even when there is no recognition. He addressed in particular those who have carried out the same type of work for many years, acknowledging that routine is not always easy to accept as "we are not machines ... at times we need an incentive, or to change a little.....Thank you! Let us continue to go ahead, in our various

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Pope Francis tells Curia to 'return to the essentials'
Pope Francis tells Curia to 'return to the essentials'

Pope Francis has urged the Roman Curia to "return to the essentials" and follow a path of gratitude, conversion, renewal, penance and reconciliation as indicated by the Year of Mercy... "In our meeting in 2013, I wanted to stress two important and inseparable aspects of the work of the Curia: professionalism and service, and I offered Saint Joseph as a model to be imitated. Then, last year, as a preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation, we spoke of certain temptations or 'maladies' - the 'catalogue of curial diseases' - which could affect any Christian, curia, community,

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The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope 
by Austen Ivereigh, 2nd edition
The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope 
by Austen Ivereigh, 2nd edition


The second edition of Austen Ivereigh's papal biography is essential reading for those wishing to understand how the unsmiling Jorge Bergoglio became the rock star pope who is "constructing a new Catholic populism, one that fiercely advocates on behalf of the excluded," as Ivereigh puts it. 
"The once inscrutable Jesuit provincial and taciturn Cardinal has become the most talkative of modern popes because he knows that contemporary culture only regards as credible those who are willing to dialogue," Ivereigh contends. He argues that Francis has fully grasped how

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Pope meets Italy's railway workers
Pope meets Italy's railway workers

Pope Francis received managers, technical staff and personnel of the Italian State Railway in a special audience on Saturday Around 7,000 employees of the Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane packed the Paul VI audience Hall for the special noon event that started. During the audience the Holy Father praised the organization and its employees for their work and for their historical commitment to works of solidarity and compassion, including their support for the recently concluded renovations of the Caritas center near Rome's central

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Pope prays for peace in Central America, flood victims in India
Pope prays for peace in Central America, flood victims in India

Pope Francis renewed his appeal for peace in Syria, calling on the international community to realize in concrete action and genuine fact the endorsement of a UN-sponsored roadmap toward peace in the war-torn nation. Addressing pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis said: "It is important to me that we turn our thoughts once again today to our beloved Syria, to express deep appreciation for the agreement just reached by the international community... I encourage everyone to continue, with a

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Vatican Christmas tree and nativity scene lit up
Vatican Christmas tree and nativity scene lit up

The lights on the Christmas tree and crib scene in St Peter's Square were officially lit up during a ceremony on Friday. Standing 32 metres high, this year's tree was donated by the German state of Bavaria whilst the crib scene with its 24 life-sized figures was donated by the Italian archdiocese of Trento. In an earlier address to thank the Bavarian authorities and representatives from Trento for their donation, Pope Francis said the Christmas crib scene reminds us that Jesus made himself small like a child to touch our hearts with his humble goodness.

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Pope celebrates birthday with young people
Pope celebrates birthday with young people

Pope Francis celebrated his 79th birthday today with sixty boys and girls from Catholic Action 'Azione Cattolica' Youth, who do voluntary work with refugees. There was a festive atmosphere they sang Happy Birth and presented him with a cake. The Pope commended them for their desire to live the Gospel to the full, and for their mission to involve family members, parishes and communities in an actively Christian life. This year's theme for Catholic Action Youth is "Journeying to You", which means "taking the path of good, not that of evil", said Francis.

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Pope approves decrees for 17 on path to sainthood
Pope approves decrees for 17 on path to sainthood

Pope Francis received Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in a private audience on Monday. In the course of the audience, the Holy Father authorized the Congregation to promulgate decrees on 17 new people on the path to sainthood, from Sweden, Ukraine, Italy, Kazakhstan, India, Spain, Vietnam, Brazil, Portugal, Poland and Switzerland. They include two laymen: Nicole Wolf a Swiss husband and father who died in 1832 and Teresio Olivelli, an Italian who died in a concentration camp in 1945. They are

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Pope: World Day of Peace Message - Overcome indifference,  win peace
Pope: World Day of Peace Message - Overcome indifference, win peace

The Vatican issued the following message today from Pope Francis for the 49th World Day of Peace which will be celebrated on 1 January 2016. Overcome indifference and win peace 1. God is not indifferent! God cares about mankind! God does not abandon us! At the beginning of the New Year, I would like to share not only this profound conviction but also my cordial good wishes for prosperity, peace and the fulfilment of the hopes of every man and every woman, every family, people and nation throughout the world, including all Heads of State and

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Pope Francis: We must not give in to sadness
Pope Francis: We must not give in to sadness

On Sunday, Pope Francis opened the Holy Door at St John Lateran Basilica. After that ceremony, during the Mass, the Pope stressed the importance of not giving into sadness, despite our concerns in light of many forms of violence. In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the readings for the third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, saying that the Lord's coming "must fill our hearts with joy." "We cannot let ourselves be taken in by weariness; sadness in any form is not allowed, even though we have reason to be, with many concerns and the

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Pope urges world to follow up on climate change deal
Pope urges world to follow up on climate change deal

Pope Francis has urged the international community to urgently follow up on the path set by the climate deal reached in Paris. Addressing pilgrims in St Peter's Square after the Angelus on Sunday, the Pope spoke about the Climate Change Conference (COP21) which concluded on Saturday in Paris with the signing of an agreement which, he said "many described as historic." The Paris pact aims to curb global warming to around 1.5 Centigrade by the end of the century;

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JRS launches education campaign for young refugees
JRS launches education campaign for young refugees

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) launched the Mercy in Motion advocacy and fundraising campaign on Thursday, to expand and strengthen their education programmes. Their goal is to provide educational services to 100,000 more refugees than they currently do by the year 2020. Mercy in Motion reflects the words of Pope Francis: "mercy is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality? We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see how much generosity everyone is capable of."

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Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe this evening, (Saturday) saying Mary "has experienced the divine mercy, and has hosted the very source of this mercy in her womb: Jesus Christ." The Holy Father used the homily to reflect on mercy - and asked that this jubilee year "will be a planting of merciful love in the hearts of individuals, families and nations.".. "no sin can cancel Jesus' merciful closeness or prevent him from unleashing the grace of conversion, provided we invoke it."

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Pope issues decree on reforms to marriage annulment proceedings
Pope issues decree on reforms to marriage annulment proceedings

Pope Francis issued a legal decree today (Friday), regarding the implementation of the recent reforms to the Church's marriage law, specifically as far as the role of the Church's highest appellate court - the Sacred Roman Rota - is concerned. The decree, called a rescript, has six main points, most dealing with technical matters of legal procedure within the Rotal system itself, and with the relationship of the Rota - which is the Church's highest ordinary appellate court - to other courts in the Church's legal system.

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Pope Francis: Allow yourself to be embraced by God's mercy
Pope Francis: Allow yourself to be embraced by God's mercy

Pope Francis spoke of God's love and encouraged the congregation to allow themselves to be "embraced by God's mercy" during Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Basing his homily on a passage from Isaiah, in which we are told that God chose His people out of love, Pope Francis explained that he chose them "not because they were big and powerful but because they were the smallest and most wretched of all."

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Watch: Environmental light show at the Vatican
Watch: Environmental light show at the Vatican

There was a stunning light show in St Peter's Square at the Vatican last night. Images of stalking lions, birds, clouds and butterflies, alternating with polluted air and parched farmland, were projected on the facade of St Peter's Basilica and the collonade around the square. Earlier in the day Pope Francis had opened the Holy Door at St Peter's for the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The show, entitled Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light): Illuminating Our Common Home, underscores the Catholic Church's concern for the environment, outlined by Pope

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Pope Francis: Mercy can help build a more human world
Pope Francis: Mercy can help build a more human world

Many thousands gathered in St Peter's Square today for the General Audience with Pope Francis. During his address the Holy Father reflected on the meaning of the Jubilee of Mercy, saying: "especially in our times, in which forgiveness is a rare guest in the areas of human life, the call to mercy becomes more urgent". He said that mercy can contribute much in building a more human world and has a fundamental role to play everywhere: "in society, institutions, at work and even in the family."

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Pope Francis sends message to North of England flood victims
Pope Francis sends message to North of England flood victims

Pope Francis has sent his thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the floods in the North of England. In a message to the Bishop of Lancaster, Most Rev Michael Campbell, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini writes: Having learnt of the devastating effects caused in the North of England and Cumbria in particular by Storm Desmond in these last days. I should like to convey to you and your people, along with the civic authorities and support services, the closeness of the Holy Father Pope Francis, and my person sympathy at this difficult time.

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Pope Francis has endorsed the Catholic Climate Petition, have you?
Pope Francis has endorsed the Catholic Climate Petition, have you?

Climate change has emerged as the moral issue of our age. Rising sea levels, drought, and other forms of extreme weather, point to the urgency of the impact of climate change on the earth and human communities. Most distressing is that overwhelming scientific consensus asserts that climate change is caused by human actions and that those least responsible for climate change--the poor and the earth itself--are suffering the most. Pope Francis has called us repeatedly to address this ecological crisis.

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Pope Francis: Homily for Year of Mercy Inauguration
Pope Francis: Homily for Year of Mercy Inauguration

This morning, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis solemnly inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy with the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "This Extraordinary Holy Year is itself a gift of grace," the Pope said in his homily To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them."

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Watch: Pope Francis opens Holy Door at St Peter's for Jubilee Year
Watch: Pope Francis opens Holy Door at St Peter's for Jubilee Year

Pope Francis opened the Holy Door in St Peter's Basilica, today, inaugurating the Jubilee of Mercy. The ceremony took place after he celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in St Peter's Square. More than 50,000 pilgrims gathered for the event including the President and Prime Minister of Italy, Sergio Mattarella and Matteo Renzi; as well as King Albert II of Belgium with Queen Paola...During his homily, the Holy Father highlighted the primacy of grace.

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Watch: Cardinal Vincent introduces Year of Mercy
Watch: Cardinal Vincent introduces Year of Mercy

In this film, Cardinal Vincent reflects on Pope Francis' calling of the Year of Mercy as a 'wonderful gift, a marvellous inspiration to get us to the very heart of the Gospel' so that we can 'offer it to others'. He recalls that, since first appearing at the window of his study, Pope Francis has spoken of 'the mercy of God being the real driving spirit of the whole of our discipleship of Christ. He says, until we have received, been caressed by the mercy of God, we will not fully understand our discipleship of Christ.

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Pope Francis: Vocations are born within the Church
Pope Francis: Vocations are born within the Church

Francis has called on all the faithful to "assume their responsibility" for the care and discernment of vocations. He makes this appeal in his Message for the World Day of Vocations 2016, which was released on Monday on the theme: 'The Church, Mother of Vocations.' "Vocations are born within the Church," Pope Francis writes. "From the moment a vocation begins to become evident, it is necessary to have an adequate 'sense' of the Church" - he continues - "No one is called exclusively for a particular region, or for a group or for an ecclesial

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Catholic community urges Amber Rudd to act on climate change
Catholic community urges Amber Rudd to act on climate change

Catholic campaigners have called on the UK government to heed the message of Pope Francis as Secretary of State Amber Rudd arrives in Paris to join the second week of the UN climate talks. More than 40,000 British Catholics, covering every political constituency in England and Wales, have added their names to a CAFOD petition asking David Cameron to ensure climate change does not push people deeper into poverty. Their names form part of a wider 800,000 -strong global petition calling on politicians to rise to the challenge outlined in Laudato Si'

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Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy
Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy

The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, begins of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 8 December 8 2015 and continues to the Feast of Christ the King on 20 November 2016. Like other previous jubilees, it will be a special, holy year of remission of sins and universal pardon, in this occasion focusing particularly on God's forgiveness and mercy. It is an extraordinary Jubilee because it had not been predetermined long before; usually ordinary jubilees take place every 25 years. In fact, the 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis on 13 March, 2015.

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Pope Francis: Conversion is not just for atheists
Pope Francis: Conversion is not just for atheists

Conversion is not just for atheists, it is also for those who already consider themselves Christians, Pope Francis said. in his address before the Angelus with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday. Reflecting on the day's readings, in which John the Baptist, preaches 'a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins', Pope Francis said: "No one can say: I'm fine. Not true, it would be presumptuous, because "we must always be converted."

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Pope prays for Paris climate conference
Pope prays for Paris climate conference

Pope Francis prayed for the success of the Paris Climate Change conference during his address after the Angelus on Sunday. The Holy Father said that as he follows the work of the conference closely, he remembers the question he asked in his recent encyclical Laudato Si': "What kind of world do we want to pass on to those who come after us, to the children who are growing up? The Holy Father then urged that: "for the sake of the common home we share and for future generations, every effort should be made, in Paris to mitigate the impact of climate change and,

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Liverpool: Archbishop McMahon to inaugurate Holy Year of Mercy
Liverpool: Archbishop McMahon to inaugurate Holy Year of Mercy

The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, will inaugurate the Holy Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis with Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on Sunday 6 December at 3pm. The Jubilee Year of Mercy begins on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 2015, and concludes on Sunday 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Jubilee years are special years called by the Church and the last one, 'The Great Jubilee', was held in 2000 during the papacy

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Pope Francis named  PETA's 2015 Person of the Year
Pope Francis named PETA's 2015 Person of the Year

The first Pope to take the name of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, is also the first to be picked as PETA's (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) Person of the Year. PETA says: "Pope Francis earned the title for asking all citizens of the world to reject domination over God's creation, treat animals with kindness and respect the environment - something that seems to us can only be interpreted as a subtle call to go vegan, given the well-established role of animal agriculture in climate change.

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Pope's in-flight press conference
Pope's in-flight press conference

During his return flight following his apostolic trip to Africa, the Pope answered questions from the journalists accompanying him on the aircraft. The following are extensive extracts from questions posed and the Holy Father's answers regarding his impressions of Africa, the Vatileaks case, his upcoming trips and COP 21. The first question was from a Kenyan journalist who wanted to know the Pope's views on the stories told by poor families in the Kangemi slum regarding exclusion from fundamental human rights due to avarice and corruption.

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Pope in Central African Republic: Youth prayer vigil
Pope in Central African Republic: Youth prayer vigil

After Mass at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Bangui yesterday Pope Francis joined thousands of young people taking part in an outdoor prayer vigil in the cathedral piazza. He talked with a number of young people and heard some confessions. In his address, the Holy Father spoke off the cuff in Italian, calling to mind the country's symbol for youth: the banana tree. "The Banana tree is a symbol of life, always growing, always reproducing, always providing fruit with high energy. The banana tree is also resistant.

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Central African Republic: Pope visits Grand Mosque in Bangui
Central African Republic: Pope visits Grand Mosque in Bangui

This morning (Monday) Pope Francis visited the Grand Mosque of Koudoukou in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, meeting with the city's Muslim community. The Holy Father was welcomed to the mosque by the Grand Imam Nehedi Tidjani, along with four other Imam, who accompanied him to the podium. In his address, Pope Francis recalled the recent violence which has rocked the country, saying: "Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters."

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Pope celebrates final Mass of African journey
Pope celebrates final Mass of African journey

.."We might be astonished, listening to this morning's first reading, by the enthusiasm and missionary drive of Saint Paul. "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Rom 10:15). These words inspire us to give thanks for the gift of the faith which we have received. They also inspire us to reflect with amazement on the great missionary effort which - not long ago - first brought the joy of the Gospel to this beloved land of Central Africa.

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 Pope Francis: World close to suicide over climate change
Pope Francis: World close to suicide over climate change

The Holy Father gave an hour-long press conference with journalists on his flight back to Rome from Bangui in the Central African Republic. While Pope Francis has expressed hope that world leaders meeting in Paris for discussions on confronting climate change will find solutions to the problem, he has also said the inaction on the issue up to now is approaching global suicide.... "Every year, the problems are more grave," the pontiff told the press Monday,

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Central African Republic: Pope Francis arrives in Banjui
Central African Republic: Pope Francis arrives in Banjui

Pope Francis arrived in the Central African Republic on Sunday morning. For a long time the organizers of this visit were uncertain whether it would happen, because of security concerns. Over the past two years there have been clashes between Muslim Séléka forces and Christian anti- Balaka forces which have forced tens of thousands of people to flee to neighbouring countries. The United Nations has warned that there is high risk of the country descending into genocide. The Pope's first appointment in the nations' capital Bangui was with the nation's Authorities and

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Uganda: Pope tells young people, negative experiences can have a  purpose
Uganda: Pope tells young people, negative experiences can have a purpose

Huge ecstatic crowds of young people gathered on the Kololo airstrip, a former airport near Kampala, for the arrival of Pope Francis. They had followed the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis a few hours earlier at Namugongo shrine via the maxi screens installed in the area. Among the crowds were 200 young deaf people, refugees, and youth chaplains. On the stage there were another fifty young people, a couple from each diocese in the country and a group of orphans. As usual - the Pope set aside his prepared text (which can be read below)

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Uganda: Pope meets with clergy and religious
Uganda: Pope meets with clergy and religious

Pope Francis' day in Uganda ended with an encounter with priests, men and women religious, and seminarians in the cathedral of Kampala, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Beforehand the Holy Father met with the bishops of Uganda, around thirty in number, including bishops emeritus, in the archbishop's residence near the cathedral. Upon arrival he was greeted by the bishop responsible for consecrated life, John Baptist Kaggwa, to whom he handed the discourse he had prepared for the occasion, and addressed some off-the-cuff remarks

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Central African Republic: Pope meets Evangelical leaders
Central African Republic: Pope meets Evangelical leaders

Pope Francis met with representatives of various evangelical communities in Africa, as he visited the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology on Sunday. In his address he stressed that "the lack of unity among Christians is a scandal, above all because it is contrary to God's will. It is also a scandal, he said, "when we consider the hatred and violence which are tearing humanity apart." During the day he also visited a refugee camp and made an unscheduled stop at a children's hospital.

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Central African Republic: Pope opens Holy Door at Bangui Cathedral
Central African Republic: Pope opens Holy Door at Bangui Cathedral

Priests and religious, catechists and young people joined Pope Francis on Sunday evening for a special Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral, Bangui. During the ceremony, the Pope opened the Holy Door of the Cathedral for the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy. The Jubilee Year officially begins on 8 December. In his homily at the Mass the Pope spoke of the Christian vocation to love our enemies, saying it protects us "from the temptation to seek revenge and from the spiral of endless retaliation."

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Pope Francis  arrives in Uganda
Pope Francis arrives in Uganda

Pope Francis arrived in Uganda on Friday on the second leg of his six-day pastoral visit to Africa. After the official welcome ceremonies, the Holy Father was taken to the State House of Entebbe where he addressed diplomats and leading figures from Uganda society and encouraged them to "ensure good and transparent governance, integral human development and a wide and just distribution" of Africa's goods. Referring to Uganda's famous martyrs, the Pope said

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Pope in Kenya: Visit to Kangemi slum
Pope in Kenya: Visit to Kangemi slum

For his last official appointment before flying to Uganda, Pope Francis went to the Church of St Joseph the Worker, in one of the poorest quarters of the city of Kangemi. "I feel very much at home sharing these moments with brothers and sisters who, and I am not ashamed to say this, have a special place in my life and my decisions", said the Pope. "I am here because I want you to know that your joys and hopes, your troubles and your sorrows, are not indifferent to me.

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Kenya: Pope talks with young people about tribalism, corruption
Kenya: Pope talks with young people about tribalism, corruption

Why do divisions, wars and deaths occur? Fanatism, and divisions among young people? Why is there that desire to destroy? In the first page of the Bible, after all those wonderful things that the Lord had done, a brother kills another brother. The spirit of evil takes us to destruction and the spirit of evil takes us to a lack of unity, it takes us to tribalism, corruption and drugs. It takes us to a destruction out of fanaticism.

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Pope in Kenya: Stand strong in faith!
Pope in Kenya: Stand strong in faith!

A huge exuberant crowd of around a million people gathered on the campus of the University of Nairobi for Mass with Pope Francis on Thursday morning. Some had waited since 3 in the morning. A large choir sang and danced throughout the service. Pope Francis said: "The Lord tells us that in the desert He will pour forth water on the thirsty land; He will cause the children of His people to flourish like grass and luxuriant willows. We know that this prophecy was fulfilled

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Pope in Kenya: Failure at Paris climate talks would be 'catastrophic'
Pope in Kenya: Failure at Paris climate talks would be 'catastrophic'

Pope Francis spoke of the vital need to safeguard the environment and ensure a just distribution of the earth's wealth in his address to the UN team in Nairobi. On his way to the meeting, the Pope symbolically planted a tree, which he described as "an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification" in order to safeguard the future of humanity. He also highlighted the importance of the upcoming international conference in Paris on climate change

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Pope Francis arrives in Nairobi
Pope Francis arrives in Nairobi

Pope Francis has arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, at 4.30pm local time. He was welcomed by the nation's President, Uhuru Kenyatta, by local religious leaders and by huge crowds of singing, dancing well-wishers. After signing a visitor's book, the Pope met privately with the President at the airport for a few minutes before being taken by car to the State House for an official welcome ceremony. The Holy Father was busy on the flight. As his plane passed over

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Pope in Kenya: Address to leaders
Pope in Kenya: Address to leaders

..."Kenya has been blessed not only with immense beauty, in its mountains, rivers and lakes, its forests, savannahs and semi-deserts, but also by an abundance of natural resources. The Kenyan people have a strong appreciation of these God-given treasures and are known for a culture of conservation which does you honour. The grave environmental crisis facing our world demands an ever greater sensitivity to the relationship between human beings and nature..."

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Two new Auxiliary Bishops for Archdiocese of Westminster
Two new Auxiliary Bishops for Archdiocese of Westminster

Pope Francis has appointed as two new Auxiliary Bishops of the Diocese of Westminster: Canon Paul McAleenan and Mgr John Wilson, it was announced today. The joint episcopal ordinations of Canon McAleenan, a priest of the Diocese of Westminster, and Mgr Wilson, a priest of the Diocese of Leeds, will take place in Westminster Cathedral on 25 January 2016, feast of the Conversion of St Paul. They join Bishop John Sherrington and Bishop Nicholas Hudson

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Pope Francis sends video message to Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic
Pope Francis sends video message to Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic

Pope Francis has sent video messages to the people of Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, ahead of his visit which begins on Wednesday.... I am coming as a minister of the Gospel, to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. My visit is meant to confirm the Catholic community in its worship of God and its witness to the Gospel, which teaches the dignity of every

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Ireland: Church leaders meet government to discuss Paris climate conference
Ireland: Church leaders meet government to discuss Paris climate conference

Archbishop Eamon Martin hosted a meeting with church leaders and environment Ministers Alan Kelly and Mark H Durkan in Armagh to discuss the forthcoming UN climate change conference in Paris. Archbishop Martin welcomed the cross-border dialogue and collaboration on this issue as important example of leadership on one of the most urgent global justice issues of our time. Archbishop Martin stated: "Pope Francis has appealed for a strong international commitment to the care of the

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Hertfordshire: Pupils hold 'environment week' based on Laudato Si'
Hertfordshire: Pupils hold 'environment week' based on Laudato Si'

Pupils from a Stevenage school have spent a whole week learning about protecting the environment following a Pope Francis's encyclical, Laudato Si' - On Care for our Common Home. The children from St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School had their usual lessons during the week of 16-20 November replaced with classes based around the Pope's encyclical letter on caring for people and the planet and tackling climate change. Teachers taught lessons ranging from

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Pope Francis: A Christian's power and strength is in the Cross
Pope Francis: A Christian's power and strength is in the Cross

On the Solemnity of Christ the King, celebrated on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Pope devoted his reflection before the Angelus to the difference between Jesus' reality and that of the world, referring to the Gospel passage that narrates his appearance before Pilate, in which He affirms that He is King, but that His kingdom "is not of this world." "This does not mean that Christ is the king in another world, but rather that He is a different kind of king,"

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Uganda: Pope's visit will give faith to young people
Uganda: Pope's visit will give faith to young people

The Pope's celebration of Uganda's martyrs will revitalise the faith of the young Church in Uganda according to a senior Christian leader. Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Mgr John Baptist Kauta, Secretary General of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, described how the country's violent past had prepared the way for a young and hopeful Church to emerge. Pope Francis, who will arrive in Uganda on Friday, 27th November,

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Pope advises German bishops to overcome erosion of faith through pastoral outreach
Pope advises German bishops to overcome erosion of faith through pastoral outreach

Pope Francis received in audience the prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Germany at the end of their 'ad Limina' visit on Friday. At the end of the audience the Holy Father handed them a written discourse in which he thanks the German Church for the support given in the form of many works of charity which benefit thousands of people throughout the world. He also mentions that in this exceptional time, in which large numbers of migrants are arriving in

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Pope Francis: Church must not be obsessed by money or power
Pope Francis: Church must not be obsessed by money or power

The Church must not be obsessed by money or power, nor worship "holy bribes", instead her strength and joy should come from the words of Christ, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. The Holy Father reflected on the reading from Maccabees, which tells of the people's joy following the reconsecration of the Holy Temple, which had been destroyed by pagans and those obsessed by worldliness.

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Pope Francis: Priests need to be shepherds not functionaries
Pope Francis: Priests need to be shepherds not functionaries

A good priest "creates serenity," but a priest "that is often sad, nervous, or has a hard character" is not good for himself or his people, Pope Francis told a Conference sponsored by the Congregation for the Clergy, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the Vatican II decrees Presbyterorum ordinis (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests) and Optatam Totius (Decree on Priestly Training). Pope Francis focused on three brief phrases

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Pope Francis: Protecting children is a duty of all
Pope Francis: Protecting children is a duty of all

After his catechesis yesterday, Pope Francis pointed out that tomorrow, Thursday 20 November will be the Universal Children's Day. "It is a duty of all to protect children and to place their well-being before any other criterion, so that they are never subjected to forms of servitude or mistreatment", he said. "I hope that the international community may keep careful watch over the living conditions of children, especially where they are at risk of recruitment by armed groups,

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Pope Francis: The Lord weeps for a world at war
Pope Francis: The Lord weeps for a world at war

"The whole world is at war," and the rejection of the "path of peace" means that God Himself, that Jesus Himself, weeps. This was the message of Pope Francis to the faithful following the readings of the day at Mass this morning in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's Gospel reading which describes Jesus approaching Jerusalem, and seeing the city on a hill from a distance. There he weeps, and says: "If this day you only knew what makes for peace - but now

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Pope to visit  Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic
Pope to visit Kenya, Uganda and Central African Republic

Pope Francis will begin his first apostolic journey to Africa on the morning of Wednesday 25 November. At the heart of his six-day journey, taking him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic is his desire to bring a message of peace, reconciliation, dialogue and the impetus to overcome internal divisions. Speaking on Thursday morning at a press conference in the Vatican, Fr Federico Lombardi said for Jorge Mario Bergoglio it will be a first

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Pope Francis encourages Church to open her doors
Pope Francis encourages Church to open her doors

Pope Francis dedicated the catechesis of today's Wednesday general audience to the meaning of the 'Holy Door', which he will open on 8 December in St Peter's Basilica. This great door is that of God's mercy, which welcomes our repentance and offers us the grace of forgiveness; a door which is opened generously but whose threshold must be crossed with courage. The Holy Father referred to the recent Synod of Bishops, "which gave all families and all the Church as strong impetus to meet at the threshold

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Pope warns against temptation of leading a double life
Pope warns against temptation of leading a double life

Pope Francis focussed on the importance of safeguarding our Christian identity and not living double lives in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning. daily readings which focus on the need for coherence between our spiritual and our temporal lives. The Holy Father began by reflecting on the elderly Rabbi Eleazar who chose to be martyred rather than submit to unjust laws. The 90 year-old Eleazar refused to eat pork and rejected the offer of his "worldly" friends to compromise his integrity, choosing instead to die a martyr's death.

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Pope Francis: Growing worldliness can destroy  Christian identity
Pope Francis: Growing worldliness can destroy Christian identity

In his his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis pointed out that worldliness can take the place of Jesus and destroy Christian identity. The first reading of the day from the first Book of the Maccabees, tells of "a root of evil" that arose in those days. The Hellenistic King Antiochus Epiphanes imposes pagan customs in Israel, to the " chosen people ", that is, the" Church of that time. " Pope Francis commented that "the image of the root is under the ground." The "phenomenology of the root" is this: "What is not seen does not seem to do any harm, but then it

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Pope visits visits evangelical Lutheran community of Rome
Pope visits visits evangelical Lutheran community of Rome

On Saturday the Holy Father met with the evangelical Lutheran community of Rome in the Christuskirche, where he was warmly welcomed by Pastor Jeans-Martin Kruse, who recalled visits to the same church by St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis answered questions from three members of the community, a child and two women, and after Vespers he gave an off-the-cuff homily in which he emphasised that Lutherans and Catholics must ask mutual forgiveness for persecutions against each other and for the scandal of divisions.

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Pope Francis: Using God's name to justify violence is blasphemy
Pope Francis: Using God's name to justify violence is blasphemy

Pope Francis today, once again condemned the violence and hatred behind the terror attacks in France which left 129 people dead and several hundred others injured. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for his weekly Angelus address, the Pope said he wished to express his deepest condolences to the French President and especially to all those whose family members were killed or wounded in the multiple attacks on Friday night. Pope Francis said such barbarity leaves us stunned as we wonder how human hearts can think up and carry out such atrocities

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Pope Francis sends message of condolence to Paris
Pope Francis sends message of condolence to Paris

Pope Francis has sent a telegram to Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, assuring victims, their families and emergency personnel that he is united with them in prayer. Signed by the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the telegram condemns this and all acts of violence, and asks God to inspire thoughts of peace and solidarity. Below, please find Vatican Radio's English translation of the telegram. 'Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris

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Pope: donates crucifix given him by Castro to Lampedusa
Pope: donates crucifix given him by Castro to Lampedusa

Pope Francis is donating to the parish church of Lampedusa a crucifix that was given to him by President Raul Castro of Cuba during the recent papal visit to the Caribbean island. Measuring over three metres high, the crucifix is crafted from wooden oars tied with ropes to symbolize the reality of migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean by boat. Lampedusa is an island off the coast of Sicily whose shores receive the majority of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea by boat from Libya to Italy. The tiny island was also the first place in Italy Pope Francis chose to visit after

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Pope encourages Slovakian Church to 'receive migrants in charity'
Pope encourages Slovakian Church to 'receive migrants in charity'

Pope Francis on Thursday told the bishops of Slovakia the Church is called to receive migrants "in a spirit of charity and respect for the human person," while, at the same time, necessarily observing the law. The Holy Father was meeting the bishops as part of their ad limina visit to Rome. He held an informal discussion with them, while presenting them his speech in written form. "It is desirable for the Slovak people to maintain their cultural identity and heritage of ethical and spiritual values, which is closely linked to the Catholic

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Columban missionaries call for a strong climate agreement in Paris
Columban missionaries call for a strong climate agreement in Paris

With just over two weeks to go to the UN Climate Conference in Paris, the Columban General Council joins Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si', faith leaders and millions of people around the world in calling for just and legally binding agreements by governments to limit human-induced carbon emissions which are changing Earth's climate. Columban Superior General, Fr Kevin O'Neill, says: "Our mission experience of living with poor communities that have been marginalised and the natural world that has been exploited, as well as Scripture, Catholic Social Teaching,

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Pope Francis: Our bread is meant to be shared with all
Pope Francis: Our bread is meant to be shared with all

Addressing pilgrims in St Peter's Square today, during his General Audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family, focusing on the importance of togetherness...The togetherness we experience in our families is meant, in the family of the Church, to extend to all as a sign of God's universal love. In this way the Eucharist becomes a school of inclusion, in which we learn to be attentive to the needs of everyone.

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Pope Francis speaks out against  exploitation of workers
Pope Francis speaks out against exploitation of workers

Pope Francis began his visit his visit to Prato and Florence in Tuscany today, with a call to be ready to journey with Christ, and an appeal against corruption and the exploitation of workers. "The life of every community demands that we combat the cancer of corruption, the cancer of human and labour exploitation and the poison of illegality," he said. Before meeting with workers and labour representatives, the Pope venerated the 'Girdle of Thomas' housed in Prato's main cathedral, a relic which legend holds was the sash dropped from Mary during her Assumption into Heaven.

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Paul Vallely to give this year's Tablet Lecture
Paul Vallely to give this year's Tablet Lecture

The award winning writer and journalist Paul Vallely is giving this year's Tablet lecture on Friday, 13 November, on 'Pope Francis and the Synod: changing the way the Church makes it decisions', The author's updated biography: 'Pope Francis - the Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism' has just been published.The lecture takes place at 6.45pm in the Emmanual Centre, Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW. Doors open at 6pm. Admission is by advanced tickets only

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Pope Francis: We need a Church in touch with people, for people
Pope Francis: We need a Church in touch with people, for people

During his outdoor Mass in Florence today, Pope spoke of the need for "the Church to live among the people and for them," saying it should maintain a healthy contact with reality and peoples' lives. He said, Christ's disciples: "must never forget they come from the people and must never fall into the temptation of adopting an aloof attitude" and not being concerned about the thoughts and lives of the people. Reflection on St Matthew's Gospel, Pope Francis reminded the crowd that Jesus wanted to know from his disciples what the people were saying about Him in order

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Pope: Theft of documents was a crime, but will not slow reforms to Curia
Pope: Theft of documents was a crime, but will not slow reforms to Curia

I know that many of you have been upset by the news circulating in recent days concerning the Holy See's confidential documents that were taken and published. For this reason I want to tell you, first of all, that stealing those documents was a crime. It's a deplorable act that does not help. I personally had asked for that study to be carried out and both I and my advisers were well acquainted with the contents of those documents and steps have been taken that have started to bear fruit, some of them even visible.

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Pope: We cannot separate praying from practicing justice
Pope: We cannot separate praying from practicing justice

When faced with the needs of our neighbour we are called to deprive ourselves of something which we really need - not something that is left over or surplus, the Pope said. Referring to the day's Gospel, he said, Jesus criticizes the scribes for their "arrogance, greed and hypocrisy." Jesus noted how the scribes liked to be greeted respectfully in the squares, take the front row in the synagogue, the places of honour at banquets and who for show, offer long prayers. But at the same time as the scribes paraded in public, Jesus said, they were devouring the property of widows.

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Text: Working English translation of 2015 Synod of Bishops' final document
Text: Working English translation of 2015 Synod of Bishops' final document

A Working English translation from the original Italian, of the SYNOD15 - FINAL RELATIO OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS, by Bishop Michael G Campbell OSA of the Catholic Diocese of Lancaster, England on 7 November 2015 has been sent to us by ACTA (A Call to Action) this evening. The following is the text of the final Relatio of the Synod of Bishops presented to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, at the close of the 14th ordinary general assembly (4th - 25th October 2015) on the theme of the vocation and mission

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Wake Up to Pope's first music CD
Wake Up to Pope's first music CD

There's a new contender for the Christmas music charts this year. Wake Up! with His Words and Prayers is an upcoming Christian rock album by Pope Francis set for release on 27 November 2015 on Believe Digital. The album is formed of speeches by Pope Francis recorded in numerous locations worldwide between 2013-15 with accompanying music tracks of prayers and hymns by various Italian artists and producers. The music was contributed by various Italian artists and producers, including Don Giulio Neroni, Giorgio Kriegsch, Mite Balduzzi, Giuseppe Dati, Lorenzo Piscopo

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Pope Francis: The Church is called to serve, not to be served
Pope Francis: The Church is called to serve, not to be served

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning, Pope Francis said the Church is called to serve, not to be concerned solely with business affairs; and that Bishops and priests must overcome the temptation to live a "double life." He warned, too, about "climbers," those who are attached to money. Pope Francis developed his homily based on two images of servants presented in the readings from the day's liturgy. First, he presented the figure of Saint Paul "who gave himself completely to service, always" such that he ended up in Rome

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Pope gives exclusive interview to Big Issue group
Pope gives exclusive interview to Big Issue group

Pope Francis this week met a former homeless street vendor of the Dutch magazine, Straatnieuws, (Utrecht's version of the Big Issue) at the Vatican. In their broad-ranging conversation, Pope Francis touches on topics of interest both personal and ecclesiastical: from his childhood in Argentina, including his boyhood dream of becoming a butcher, to his concern for the poor and the relationship between Church and government. The interview began with the Pope's memories of his childhood home in Buenos Aires and the street in which he grew up.

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A Thought on Remembrance
A Thought on Remembrance

Often throughout my lifetime the whole question of Remembrance Sunday has been brought up, why commemorate events that are outside the experience of many. *Jeremy Corbyn is on record as saying that he sees no point in commemorating the First World War and there are others who feel the same, and yet something deep happens on Remembrance Sunday. Something that goes beyond words, something that those of us brought up in a faith where the Eucharist is central to our Liturgical life know instinctively that remembrance of things past is not an idle exercise of nostalgia but an active

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Pope Francis:  Helping human life means reaching out to those in need
Pope Francis: Helping human life means reaching out to those in need

Pope Francis encouraged pro-life supporters today to continue their important work of defending human life at all stages whilst also taking into account the difficult situations that many of our brothers and sisters have to face or endure. He was speaking to 510 participants at a national conference organized by the Italian Congress of the Movement for Life being held in Sacrofano, Italy from 6 to 8 November. The Pope said in the existential dynamics, everything is interrelated and we need to nurture personal and social sensitivity,

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Fr Federico Lombardi comments on 'leaked' Vatican financial information
Fr Federico Lombardi comments on 'leaked' Vatican financial information

In the wake of 'leaked' Vatican financial documents published an Italian journalist over the weekend, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office made the following comments: "As is known, a significant part of what has been published is the result of the disclosure of reserved information and documents, and therefore of an illicit activity that must therefore be prosecuted forthwith by the competent Vatican authorities. But this is not what we now wish to speak about, given that it is already the object of much attention.

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Pope Francis: Christian include - Pharisees exclude
Pope Francis: Christian include - Pharisees exclude

The Christian includes, he does not close the door to anyone, even if this provokes resistance. He who excludes, because he believes himself to be better, generates conflicts and divisions, and forgets that "we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God." That was the message of Pope Francis during this morning's Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. In the Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul exhorts us not to judge and not to despise our brothers, because, the Pope said, this leads to excluding them from "our little group," to being selective, and this is not Christian."

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Pope Francis: there are many saints to be found in everyday life
Pope Francis: there are many saints to be found in everyday life

Pope Francis today celebrated All Saints Day telling the faithful that there are many saints to be found in ordinary life and that they are examples to be followed. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope said saints are people who belong entirely to God, they carry the seal of God in their lives and on their persons. Pointing out that we are all children of God and that we received the seal of our heavenly father with the sacrament of Baptism, Pope Francis said that saints are those who have lived their lives i

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Pope: A good priest gets involved in all human problems
Pope: A good priest gets involved in all human problems

Pope Francis says a good priest knows how to empathize and gets involved in the life of his flock. He said God pardons us like a father and not like an official in a law court. The Pope's words came during his homily at Mass yesterday (30th October) at Casa Santa Marta. The focus of Pope Francis's homily was God's compassion for each one of us and for the whole of humanity and how He sent His Son to "heal, regenerate and renew" the human race.

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Pope Francis: Companies can become places of holiness
Pope Francis: Companies can become places of holiness

Pope Francis addressed 7000 members of the Union of Italian Christian Business Executives in the Paul VI hall this morning (Saturday), and told them that companies can become places of holiness. The Union brings together Catholic entrepreneurs who set themselves the goal of being the architects for the development of the common good. He told them their emphasis on Christian formation and training, mainly through the deepening of the social teaching of the Church, was a noble work. He also spoke about the importance of having the right balance between work and family

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EU Bishops on climate change: we can do more than we realise
EU Bishops on climate change: we can do more than we realise

The negotiations of the UN Climate Summit COP 21, which takes place in Paris towards the end of the year, presents a great challenge to our planet and to the whole of humanity. Inspired by the appeal launched by Pope Francis, the COMECE bishops held their autumn plenary assembly in Paris as a sign of their great engagement with the climate change issue. "All Christians have gone on the march and Churches have gathered their forces", declared Jean-Pierre Grallet, Archbishop of Strasbourg and French bishop -delegate to COMECE.

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Pope Francis: God can only love, not condemn
Pope Francis: God can only love, not condemn

God can only love, not condemn and we are so closely bound to God's love that nothing can separate us from it. That was the message at the heart of the Pope Francis homily during the Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Focussing on St Paul's letter to the Romans, Pope Francis's homily was a reflection on God's unwavering love for us and how no person, or power or thing can separate us from this love. He said St Paul explains how Christians are the victors because "if God is for us, who can be against us."

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Interfaith audience in St Peter's Square for 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate
Interfaith audience in St Peter's Square for 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate

This week's general audience was held on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Declaration 'Nostra Aetate' on the relations between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions. It was attended by representatives of various religions and participants in the International Congress organised to commemorate the event by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in collaboration with the Commission for Religious Relationships with Jews, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Gregorian University.

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Pope Francis meets World Pilgrimage of Gypsies

Thousands of Gypsies and other Travelling People came to Rome yesterday to see Pope Francis. The World Pilgrimage which gathered together Roma, Sinti and other groups attended the special audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. The day was organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples in collaboration with the 'Migrantes' Foundation of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the 'Migrantes' Office of the diocese of Rome and the Sant'Egidio Community.

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 Pope Francis meets World Pilgrimage of Gypsies
Pope Francis meets World Pilgrimage of Gypsies

Thousands of Gypsies and other Travelling Peoples came to Rome yesterday to see Pope Francis. The World Pilgrimage which gathered together Roma, Sinti and other groups attended the special audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. The day was organised by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples in collaboration with the 'Migrantes' Foundation of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the 'Migrantes' Office of the diocese of Rome and the Sant'Egidio Community. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Blessed Paul VI's visit to the nomadic camp of Pomezia,

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Pope tells Chaldean Church: exercise of authority requires humility
Pope tells Chaldean Church: exercise of authority requires humility

This morning Pope Francis addressed members of the Synod of the Chaldean Church, reminding them that "the only authority is the authority of service, the only power is the power of the Cross". The Holy Father spoke about the responsible use of authority in the Church, saying "journeying together is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice". He urged them to "keep always before you the image of the Good Shepherd who is concerned for the salvation of his sheep ... May you imitate him: zealous in seeking the salus animarum (healthy souls)

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Pope Francis: Christians must work for abolition of war
Pope Francis: Christians must work for abolition of war

Pope Francis today said Christians must work for the "abolition of war" during a meeting with participants on a training course for military chaplains jointly organized by the Congregation for Bishops, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The course explored some of the current challenges of international humanitarian law regarding the protection of human dignity during internal armed conflicts and the so-called "new conflicts." Pope Francis told the participants the issue is "unfortunately, very topical"

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Liverpool Laudato Si' Day with Columban missionaries
Liverpool Laudato Si' Day with Columban missionaries

Around 140 people attended a 'Faith and Creation' day at Liverpool's LACE Centre on Saturday, organised by Columban missionaries and Liverpool Archdiocese Justice and Peace Commission. They represented more than 30 parishes of the Liverpool Archdiocese, and some in Shrewsbury, Lancaster and Wrexham. Other groups present included the Liverpool University Chaplaincy, CAFOD, Pax Christi, Pauline Media, Traidcraft, and Faiths for Change. The day explored responses to Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si', and the hymn of the same name was

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Family Synod's final report sets new direction for Church
Family Synod's final report sets new direction for Church

"The Synod's final report.. has spelled out ways in which the Catholic Church across the world can both bolster the family and help integrate and heal those who are suffering from marriage breakdown.. Most reports last night zoomed in on the three paragraphs relating to the question of sacraments for the divorced and remarried, which has been the main source of division .. as well as the paragraph dealing with gay people. But the 91 other paragraphs .. are in many ways far more newsworthy, setting out a vision .. that amounts to one of the most significant shifts in pastoral approach in a generation.

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Hundreds of families attend Closing Mass of Synod
Hundreds of families attend Closing Mass of Synod

Families from all over the world gathered in St Peter's Basilica today for the Closing Mass of the Bishops' Synod on the Family which was concelebrated by Pope Francis eight the president-delegates of the Synod. In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the readings of the day, saying they "show us God's compassion, his fatherhood, definitively revealed in Jesus." The prophet Jeremiah, the Holy Father said, proclaims that God has saved his people, the remnant of Israel, because he is their Father. God takes care of his people and accompanies them on their way.

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Synod Fathers appeal for peace in Middle East, Africa and Ukraine
Synod Fathers appeal for peace in Middle East, Africa and Ukraine

During Vespers for the conclusion of the Synod on Saturday, the Synod Fathers launched a new appeal for peace and the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine, asking the international Community to act via diplomatic channels and to engage in dialogue to end the suffering of thousands of people. In the declaration, the full text of which is published below, the Fathers make special reference to families compelled to flee their homes, and give thanks to the countries that have welcomed refugees.

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 Pope Francis addresses close of Family Synod
Pope Francis addresses close of Family Synod

This evening (Saturday) the Synod on the Family ended, after the Synod Fathers voted paragraph by paragraph on the final text. At the end of the vote the text was presented to the Holy Father. All 94 points received the required two-thirds majority vote. After the General Secretary of the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldiserri, thanked the Holy Father and all the participants Pope Francis then gave his closing address. He began by thanking everyone who had taken part. He said the Synod was not about settling issues but attempting to see them in the light of the Gospel

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Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 15
Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 15

The Church's youngest Cardinal, Soane Mafi from Tonga, was one of the speakers at the Family Synod press briefing yesterday. He was joined by Cardinal Oswald Gracias from India and Archbishop José H Gómez from the USA. Cardinal Gracias told the briefing that a way forward for the divorced and civilly re-married needs to be further explored and could be referred to in the final document which is going to be presented to the Holy Father tomorrow (Saturday).

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 Pope Francis: We must change, while remaining fixed to our faith
Pope Francis: We must change, while remaining fixed to our faith

The times are changing and we Christians must change continuously, freely but within the truth of the faith, Pope Francis said today, in his homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting of the reading of St Paul's letter to the Romans, Pope Francis spoke of the discernment that the Church needs to employ whilst looking at the signs of the times and doing what Christ wants. He noted how St Paul's preaching stressed the freedom which has saved us from sin whilst Christ himself spoke of reading the signs of the times.

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Vatican debunks rumours about Pope's health
Vatican debunks rumours about Pope's health

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ, issued the following statement yesterday, debunking rumours about the health of Pope Francis which had been published by an Italian newspaper. Fr Lombardi said: "The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention. Furthermore, as is clearly evident, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity in an totally normal way".

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Holy Land: Young Palestinians called to pray for peace in Middle East
Holy Land: Young Palestinians called to pray for peace in Middle East

This coming Saturday, October 24, all parishes of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem will pray for an hour long for peace in the Middle East. This initiative of Christian Youth in Palestine is an answer to the call sent forth by Pope Francis, at the Angelus with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday October 18, 2015. Since the beginning of the month of October, tension has continued rising in the Holy Land, and recent episodes of violence in Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus or Gaza are darkening yet further the sky of a Middle East already torn up by many conflicts.

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Pope Francis: Without freedom there is no friendship, no love
Pope Francis: Without freedom there is no friendship, no love

This morning Pope Francis held his usual Wednesday general audience with thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square. In his catechesis, in which he revisited the theme of the family, he reflected on faithfulness and the promise of love between a man and a woman, on which the family is based, and which implies the promise to welcome and educate children, to care for elderly parents and the weakest members of the family, and to help each other to develop their own qualities and to accept their limitations.

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Pope Francis: Love of money is idolatry
Pope Francis: Love of money is idolatry

Pope Francis bluntly reminded the congregation at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, that we cannot serve two masters: either one serves God, or one serves wealth. Jesus, "is not against wealth as such," but he warns against placing one's security in money. This is something which risks, "turning religion into an insurance agency." In addition, attachment to money is divisive, as illustrated by the Gospel account of the "the two brothers arguing over the inheritance". "Let us consider how many families we know, whose members have fought, who are fighting,

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Pope Francis at Canonization Mass for parents of St Therese of Lisieux
Pope Francis at Canonization Mass for parents of St Therese of Lisieux

Pope Francis gave the following homily today, at the Canonisation Mass for Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux. Today's biblical readings present the theme of service. They call us to follow Jesus on the path of humility and the cross...The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin practised Christian service in the family, creating day by day an environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their daughters, among whom was Saint Therese of the Child Jesus.

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Attending the Family Synod  in Rome
Attending the Family Synod in Rome

The Synod on the Family is now well underway in Rome. The streets are full of tourists. For many of them the excitement of being in the city is amplified when, twice a day, prelates dressed in red and purple walk to the Vatican. They're heading to the Paul VI Synod Hall for the daily sessions. Journalists sit at every possible entrance to the Vatican, hoping to get an interview or picture. If they're lucky, they might get a glimpse of the Pope. He walks to the hall to join the other 270 bishops who are delegates at the Synod. There are also a number of married couples, auditors and fraternal delegates

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Pope asks for forgiveness for scandals that have rocked the Church
Pope asks for forgiveness for scandals that have rocked the Church

Before beginning today's general audience with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father asked for forgiveness for the various scandals that have occurred in Rome and in the Vatican recently. Returning to the theme of aspects of the relationship between the Church and the family, the Pope dedicated his catechesis to to promises we make to children. He explained that this did not mean the many promises we make during the day to make them happy or good, or to encourage them to work hard at school, but rather the most important ones, "decisive for their expectations

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Pope advises Argentinian missionaries: Learn to look as Jesus does
Pope advises Argentinian missionaries: Learn to look as Jesus does

Pope Francis has sent a message to the participants in the Fourth National Meeting of Missionary Groups, which took place in Santiago del Estero, Argentina from 10 to 12 October, examining the theme "Mission, a way of life". The Holy Father writes: "Let us always remember that we cannot show to others what we ourselves have not seen or heard. Therefore, to be a missionary, before announcing and communicating, it is necessary to see. To see that Jesus, who made Himself small to experience our weakness, who assumed our mortal flesh, to clothe it in His immortality

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Pope urges Climate Change forum: 'follow fair and integral ecology'
Pope urges Climate Change forum: 'follow fair and integral ecology'

Pope Francis has urged participants at an international Climate Change Conference to be guided by the "principles of a fair and integral ecology" that takes people into account. In a message signed on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope expressed his encouragement for the initiative and sent greetings to the organizers and participants of the Second World Conference on Climate Change taking place in the Bolivian city of Tiquipaya. The three-day conference end today, Monday, October 12. It was convened by Bolivian President Evo Morales

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Pope prays for victims of bombing in Turkey
Pope prays for victims of bombing in Turkey

Following the Angelus with pilgrims in St Peter's Square today (Sunday) Pope Francis spoke of his sadness and pain at the bombing in Turkey on Saturday which killed dozens of people and left many more injured. The attack was all the more tragic, he said, because it had struck defenseless people gathered together to demonstrate for peace. The Holy Father asked the Lord to welcome the souls of all those who were killed and to comfort the suffering and their families.

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