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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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Home : News : Pope Francis/Vatican  
Pope's Via Crucis meditations: God is on side of abused, violated
Catholic News Service photo
Jesus dies on the cross in this image from the Stations of the Cross booklet to be used at Rome's Colosseum April 18. The plight of sexually abused children, victims of domestic violence, prisoners, the abandoned elderly, the unemployed and immigrants wi ll be given a voice in this year's Stations of the Cross presided over by Pope Francis.
Catholic News Service photo
Jesus dies on the cross in this image from the Stations of the Cross booklet to be used at Rome's Colosseum April 18. The plight of sexually abused children, victims of domestic violence, prisoners, the abandoned elderly, the unemployed and immigrants wi ll be given a voice in this year's Stations of the Cross presided over by Pope Francis.
VATICAN CITY — The often silent plight of sexually abused children, victims of domestic violence, prisoners, the abandoned elderly, the unemployed and immigrants facing hostility will be given a powerful voice during the Stations of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum.

Vatican was not ordered to appear before U.N. committee, spokesman says
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's scheduled May appearance before a United Nations committee monitoring adherence to an anti-torture treaty is being done willingly and not because church officials were ordered to appear for questioning, the Vatican spokesman said.
Vatican DVDs let everyone see things even most serious tourists don't
VATICAN CITY — More than 5.5 million visitors toured the Vatican Museums last year, and the numbers continue to grow. "The popularity of Pope Francis has reverberated onto the museums," Antonio Paolucci, the museums' director, told journalists.
Priests on front line in Italy's battle against Mafias
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis' dramatic appearance at a March prayer vigil with the families of Mafia victims, where he said he would plead on bended knee with Mafia bosses to "stop doing evil," has highlighted the Catholic Church's role in combatting Italian organized crime.
Pope, with cancer doctors, calls for integral approach to healing
VATICAN CITY — "The experience of pain and suffering concerns not only the bodily dimension but the totality of a person," Pope Francis said April 12, during a meeting with some 120 Italian surgeons who specialize in treating cancer patients. "Every medical approach to suffering must take into account the unity of the person, body and spirit."
Pope: During Holy Week, ask which Gospel character you resemble
VATICAN CITY — Preceded by young people and clergy waving tall palm branches, Pope Francis began his Holy Week liturgies by encouraging people to ask themselves which personality in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' passion, death and resurrection they resemble most.
Seminary study requires commitment to constant conversion, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Meeting a group of seminarians who had walked more than 40 miles to see him at the Vatican, Pope Francis told them to give their all to prayer, study and pastoral preparation, or else have the "courage to seek another path."
Pope names woman president to papal academy, confirms papal liturgist
VATICAN CITY  -- Pope Francis named British sociologist and professor, Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
From Buenos Aires to world stage: Pope shines spotlight on trafficking
VATICAN CITY  -- As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, the future pope dragged the hidden problem of human slavery into broad daylight.

Pope sends Passover greetings, asks prayers for Holy Land trip
VATICAN CITY — Offering Passover greetings to Rome's Jewish community, Pope Francis also asked for prayers for his upcoming trip to the Holy Land.
Pope to pro-life activists: Defend the unborn, support pregnant women
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said Christians must defend life at all stages, especially before birth, and he praised efforts to assist pregnant women in difficulty and prevent the destruction of human embryos.
Pope calls Venezuelan politicians to 'heroism of forgiveness, mercy'
VATICAN CITY  -- Pope Francis called on opposing political forces in Venezuela to demonstrate the "heroism of forgiveness and mercy," and assume they all have the good of the country at heart.
'The devil exists' and doesn't want you to follow Jesus, pope warns
VATICAN CITY — A lot of people, even Catholics, think that talking about the devil is completely old-fashioned, but anyone who wants to follow Jesus needs to know that Satan exists and will keep putting up obstacles to faith, Pope Francis said.
Pope apologizes for clerical sex abuse, promises tough sanctions
VATICAN CITY — "I feel called to take responsibility for all the evil some priests -- large in number, but not in proportion to the total -- have committed and to ask forgiveness for the damage they've done with the sexual abuse of children," Pope Francis says.
Pope warns of danger of ideological dictatorships
VATICAN CITY — Idolizing one's own way of thinking and of interpreting reality closes God out of the equation and can lead to a "dictatorship of thought" that violates the consciences of others and punishes anyone who disagrees, Pope Francis said.
Prayer, openness essential for theologians, philosophers, pope says
VATICAN CITY — A good theologian or philosopher knows that his or her learning and thinking are always incomplete and that prayer and encounters with other people and cultures will bring deeper understanding, Pope Francis said.
Pope praises police-church network to stop trafficking, meets victims
VATICAN CITY — Meeting four victims of human trafficking, dozens of religious sisters and senior police chiefs from 20 countries, Pope Francis praised their coordinated efforts to fight against a "crime against humanity."
Pope: Take up God's offer to face life's problems with his love, wisdom
VATICAN CITY — People can choose either to tackle life's challenges with the loving and wise heart of God or be driven by their own passions and interests, Pope Francis said.
Pope honors Jesuit killed in Syria, pleads for end to violence
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said the assassination of "my confrere," a 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit in Syria, "filled me with deep sadness and made me think again of all the people who suffer and are dying in that martyred country."
Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly, retired Chaldean patriarch, dies at 86
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis praised the dedication of the retired patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly, 86, who died April 8 in a hospital in San Diego, according to the California-based Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle.
Pope to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at center for elderly, disabled
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at a Rome rehabilitation facility for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Pope: Cross isn't an ornament, Christianity isn't a do-gooder's guide
VATICAN CITY — Christianity isn't a philosophy or guide to survival, good behavior and peace, it's a relationship with a real person who died on the cross for our sins, Pope Francis said.
Pope meets Jordan's king, discusses upcoming Holy Land trip
VATICAN CITY — Fewer than seven weeks before the start of his trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis welcomed Jordan's King Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal to his residence at the Vatican for tea and conversation April 7.
Pope: God upholds his law, but he forgives, doesn't browbeat sinners
VATICAN CITY — When Jesus forgave the adulteress, he was not  questioning the sanctity of marriage; rather, he helped her recognize her sin and commanded she go in peace and sin no more, Pope Francis said.
Jesus can raise everyone from the tomb of a dead, tired soul, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Come out from the dark cave of pride, sin and death and into the light of a new life with Christ, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis to keep open Vatican bank
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, accepting the recommendations of his international Council of Cardinals and other advisory groups, has decided the Vatican bank will continue to exist and has approved a plan to increase its transparency and accountability.
Pope to young: Be honest, discover what you hold dear to your heart
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis told a group of young people to be  honest with themselves and others and figure out what they hold dear: money and pride or the desire to do good.
Vatican sends bishop to Scotland to investigate Edinburgh Archdiocese
VATICAN CITY — More than a year after Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien admitted to sexual misconduct amid allegations by three priests and a former priest, the Vatican Congregation for Bishops is sending an investigator to the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh to collect testimony.
John XXIII, John Paul changed the way church relates to other faiths
VATICAN CITY — Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul left lasting marks on the way the Catholic Church understands other religions and the way it interacts with believers of other faith communities.
No mandatory reporting in Italian norms for handling abuse allegations
ROME — The Italian bishops' conference encouraged its members to cooperate with civil authorities in cases of clerical sexual abuse, but said the bishops have no legal obligation to report abuse allegations to the police or other civil authorities.
Italian police work to stem church art theft
ROME — A gold cross ripped from the altar of a mountain church. Two 18th-century carved and gilded wooden cherubs. An entire tabernacle hacked from a wall. These are just a few of the objects stolen from Italian churches in the first three months of 2014.
On 20th anniversary of Rwandan genocide, pope urges reconciliation
VATICAN CITY — Just days before Rwanda was to begin a weeklong period of official mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of its genocide, Pope Francis urged the country's bishops to be resolute in continuing the work of healing and reconciliation.
Pope: OK to fight with God, hold him to his promise, remember his love
VATICAN CITY — Don't hold back when praying to God — tell him exactly what's wrong and insist on holding him to his promises, Pope Francis said.
Dynamic duo: Blessed John XXIII, his valet often skirted papal protocol
VATICAN CITY — Blessed John XXIII struggled to shake off many formalities that came with the papacy and often conspired with his valet to sneak out of the Vatican.
Video screens, chemical toilets: Rome prepares for canonizations
ROME — Rome city officials expect approximately 3 million people  to gather April 27 for the canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II; that's way too many people to watch the event near the Vatican, so they suggest the alternative of watching by the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Pope says married couples called to be icons of God's love
VATICAN CITY — Through the sacrament of matrimony, married couples are called to be living icons of God's love in the world, Pope Francis said; and when they fight -- and all couples do -- they don't have "to call the United Nations," but find simple words and gestures to say they are sorry.
Vatican official urges greater efforts to help those with autism
VATICAN CITY — While it may be a huge challenge, the Catholic Church must find ways to offer support to families with a child who has autism, include people with autism in church activities and fight the prejudice surrounding the learning disability, a Vatican official said.
Family business owners opposing U.S. contraception mandate meet pope
VATICAN CITY — The Christian family behind a lawsuit seeking an exemption to a U.S. government health care coverage mandate met with Pope Francis and thanked him for underlining the importance of religious freedom.
For Blessed John XXIII, calling Vatican II was an act of faith
VATICAN CITY — Blessed John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council in the conviction that it was necessary for the Catholic Church, yet without pre-conceived ideas of what it would accomplish, said Vatican II participants who recalled the event half a century later.
Pope urges Salesians to continue caring for world's youth, vocations
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis encouraged the Salesians in their work with young people, saying that religious vocations are the fruit of good pastoral youth ministry.
Vatican police foil scam artists' attempt to enter into Vatican bank
VATICAN CITY — Vatican security officers stopped two men -- one American and one Dutch -- trying to enter the Vatican bank with a briefcase full of fake bonds.
Prayer, charity surround John XXIII, John Paul being declared saints
VATICAN CITY — The rite of canonization for Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II April 27 will use the standard formula for the creation of new saints, but the Mass will be preceded by the recitation of the Divine Mercy chaplet, and it is possible retired Pope Benedict XVI will attend, the Vatican spokesman said.
Pope surprises with confession in open
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis surprised people Friday when he knelt in front of worshippers in St. Peter’s Basilica and confessed his sins to a priest.
Pope confirms heads of Vatican curial agencies
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis confirmed the head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and named among its new members Australian Cardinal George Pell, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis.

Meetings of U.S. presidents and popes: long, but not ancient, tradition
WASHINGTON — Although some details have emerged of the conversation between Pope Francis and President Barack Obama March 27, the public may never know all that was said in that 50-minute get-together behind closed doors at the Vatican.
Vatican to display Bibles on parchment, vellum and microchip
VATICAN CITY — Nearly 200 rare Biblical texts on parchment and vellum are among the artifacts on view at the Vatican through June 22, in the exhibition "Verbum Domini II: God's Word Goes Out to the Nations."
Box Obama gave pope points to history of U.S. Catholicism, says priest
BALTIMORE — The use of wood from Baltimore's basilica to construct a "seed chest" President Barack Obama gave to Pope Francis March 27 points to the history of American Catholicism and Baltimore's role in it, said Msgr. Arthur Valenzano, rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Blessed John Paul played major role in fall of Soviet communism
VATICAN CITY — Catholics venerate Blessed John Paul II for his holiness, as demonstrated, among other ways, by his globetrotting evangelism and long-suffering endurance in the papacy despite his illness.
Pope to priests: Draw people to confession, be available, show mercy
VATICAN CITY — Don't be too lax or too harsh during confession and always make sure people know when the sacrament of reconciliation is available, Pope Francis said.
Only way to know how much God loves you is to give him a try, pope says
VATICAN CITY — God is not stingy with his love and mercy; he is generous and forgiving, patiently waiting for his children who have sinned to come home, Pope Francis said.
Jesuit who was staff scientist at Vatican Observatory in Arizona dies
LOS GATOS, Calif. — Jesuit Father William R. Stoeger, a staff scientist for the Vatican Observatory Research Group in Tucson, died March 24 in the Regis Infirmary at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos after a struggle with cancer.
Jerusalem patriarch says pope's May trip to focus on Christian unity
JERUSALEM — When Pope Francis visits the Holy Land in May, he will follow the pattern he set last year in Brazil by meeting with the leaders of the three nations he will visit as well as with the less fortunate.
Pope to politicians: Follow God's love, reject self-serving corruption
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis warned government officials against abandoning the path of God's love and liberating salvation for the dead-end road of self-righteous corruption.

Blessed John XXIII: From humble beginnings to a lasting legacy
VATICAN CITY — Blessed John XXIII was the 260th successor of St. Peter, serving as pope from October 1958 to June 1963. He is best known for convening the Second Vatican Council.
Important dates in the life of Blessed John Paul
VATICAN CITY — Here are some important dates in the life of Blessed John Paul:
Short pontificate, long impact: Blessed John XXIII launched reforms
VATICAN CITY — Although he served as pope for less than five years, Blessed John XXIII left one of the most lasting legacies in the Catholic Church's history by convening the Second Vatican Council.
Blessed John Paul brought moral force, intellect, flair to world stage
VATICAN CITY — Blessed John Paul, who will be canonized April 27, was one of the most forceful moral leaders of the modern age.
Pope says bishops, priests need prayers, grace to be holy, loving
VATICAN CITY — The world's bishops, priests and deacons need people's prayers and encouragement to continually deepen their relationship with Jesus and serve their community with love, Pope Francis said.
Burke says Apostolic Signature safeguards process of church justice
WASHINGTON — The service of the Apostolic Signature, the Catholic Church's highest appeals court, "is intimately connected with the very apostolic character of the church," U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke told a Washington audience.
L.A. group ask pope to urge Obama to push for immigration reform
LOS ANGELES — Seventeen people from the Los Angeles Archdiocese  are in Rome hoping to ask Pope Francis to urge President Barack Obama to strengthen efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
World meeting will engage society to help strengthen families
VATICAN CITY — The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year will be open to families and people of different faiths, including no faith at all, to engage the wider society in dialogue and to serve and strengthen all families, organizers said.
Pope and Obama meet

VATICAN CITY — In their first encounter, Pope Francis received U.S. President Barack Obama at the Vatican March 27 for a discussion that touched on several areas of tension between the Catholic Church and the White House, including religious freedom and medical ethics.

Abuse survivor says new Vatican commission must achieve real change
DUBLIN — The lone clerical abuse survivor nominated by Pope Francis to sit on the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said the commission needs to achieve concrete change in order to "show other survivors that the church is going to get it right."
Beauty, sacredness of human life are seen in its fragility, pope says
VATICAN CITY — The fragility of human life is part of its beauty and is something people only really learn by being close to, sharing with and caring for those who are suffering, Pope Francis said.
Boston cardinal, abuse survivor among members of Vatican commission
VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Sean  O'Malley of Boston, four women -- including a survivor of clerical sex abuse -- two Jesuit priests and an Italian lawyer are the first eight members of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Jokes, quips, wisecracks: John XXIII lived with keen sense of humor
VATICAN CITY — Blessed John XXIII, who will be made a saint April 27, is remembered by many for his warmth, simplicity, social conscience and sense of humor.
Pope appoints British canon law expert to economic oversight council
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named Msgr. Brian Ferme, a former dean of the School of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, to be the new prelate secretary of the Vatican Council for the Economy.
Pope to Mafiosi: Turn away now from the road to hell
ROME  — Surrounded by survivors of innocent people killed by the Mafia, Pope Francis made an emotional appeal to Italian gangsters to give up their lives of crime and avoid eternal damnation.
Pope Francis: Humility and prayer needed to hear the word of God
VATICAN CITY — Anyone who desires to hear the word of God must first be humble and then capable of prayer, Pope Francis said March 21 during his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives. Without humility and prayer, people take possession of God's word and turn it to their own uses, said the pope.
Before meeting pope, Vanier talks about joy, tenderness, acceptance
VATICAN CITY — On the eve of meeting Pope Francis, Jean Vanier spoke about the importance of joy, tenderness and practical resistance to the "throwaway" culture.
Bethlehem mayor says pope's May trip 'represents hope' for city
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Pope Francis' "pilgrimage of prayer" is a revival of hope for the people of Bethlehem, said Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun.
Many of today's papal 'traditions' were Blessed John Paul's innovations
VATICAN CITY — The first anniversary of Pope Francis' election brought stories highlighting the unique style he has brought to the papacy. Maybe people have forgotten how much of what passes today for papal "tradition" was actually an innovation of Pope John Paul.

Vatican backs effort to restore Holy Stairs shrine
VATICAN CITY — Just like someone gently unwrapping a present, a restorer carefully peeled back a thin wet veil of paper from a black sooty wall to see what was hidden underneath.
Pope wants people to be 'on fire with love for Christ,' cardinal says
NEW YORK — Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley said Pope Francis is a quintessential Ignatian Jesuit who has melded Jesuit and Franciscan spirituality into his approach to the papacy.
Pope Francis' celebrity should turn eyes to Jesus
BALTIMORE — "Like Pope Francis? You'll love Jesus."
Thousands of rare Vatican manuscripts to go online
VATICAN CITY — Thousands of rare manuscripts until now accessible only to scholars at the Vatican will go online over the next four years, thanks to help from a Japanese information technology company.
Job creation is essential for promoting human dignity, pope says
VATICAN CITY — In making economic policies and decisions, solidarity is too often treated as "a dirty word," yet the only way out of the global financial crisis is to put people -- with their dignity and creativity -- first, Pope Francis said.
Salvadoran bishop says he expects Romero beatification in three years
WASHINGTON — At a Mass here marking the 34th anniversary of the killing of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez of San Salvador said there's strong hope and signals from the Vatican that beatification for the man many consider a modern-day saint will come in three years.
Vatican, Rome gear up for canonizations of John XXIII, John Paul
VATICAN CITY — Just over five weeks before the canonizations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul, Rome hotels are reporting they are almost fully booked and the Vatican has confirmed the Mass will take place in St. Peter's Square, despite knowing that hundreds of thousands of people will have to watch the ceremony on large video screens.
Pope to proclaim Brazilian, Canadian church pioneers saints in April
VATICAN CITY — Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis will declare three pioneers of the Catholic Church in the Americas saints April 2, according to a Jesuit working on the causes.
Pope to fathers: Teach your children well, always be by their side
VATICAN CITY — On the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church and Jesus' earthly father, Pope Francis urged all dads in the world to stick by their children's side, teaching them, guiding them and loving them.
Pope tours offer anecdotes, look into Francis' life in Buenos Aires
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Pope Francis used to pick up La Nacion newspaper every day at a kiosk across from the city's cathedral. Each edition was bound by a rubber band. But then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, being frugal, would save the rubber bands and return them in a ball at the end of every month.
Pope's first year marked by 'real call' for church to be more pastoral
NEW YORK — Pope Francis "has taken the world by storm" in the year since his election, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said.
Late-night confessions to follow papal penance service during Lent
VATICAN CITY — Priests in the Diocese of Rome, led by Pope Francis and organized by a Vatican office, will mark "24 hours for the Lord," offering eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of penance in St. Peter's Basilica and three historic churches in the center of Rome March 28-29.
Fight the urge to judge others, recognize your sinfulness, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Judging someone is always easier than to being merciful and understanding, Pope Francis said.
Ukrainian Catholic leader meets pope
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis met privately at the Vatican with the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church March 17, the day after pro-Russian voters on the Crimean peninsula voted to secede from Ukraine in a referendum the United States and European Union called illegal.
Get a pocket Bible, read it during your commute, pope recommends
ROME — If you get a seat on a crowded bus, you should use your travel time to read a few lines from the Bible, Pope Francis told members of a suburban parish filled with people who commute to Rome for work.
Biggest downside of being pontiff is the paperwork, Pope Francis says
VATICAN CITY — The thing Pope Francis dislikes most about his job as pontiff is the paperwork, he told residents of an Argentine slum in which he used to minister.
Survey shows Pope Francis has influenced giving by U.S. Catholics
WASHINGTON — While any increase in church attendance prompted by the pope's appeal isn't quite yet measurable, a new survey shows Pope Francis has made an impact on Catholic giving in the year since his papacy began.
Pope says it's important to keep hope alive, have a sense of humor
VATICAN CITY — At the end of his Lenten retreat, Pope Francis said he and his closest collaborators at the Vatican "want to follow Jesus more closely, without losing hope in his promises and without losing a sense of humor."
In Argentine shanties, priests live like the sheep they shepherd
JOSE LEON SUAREZ, Argentina — The doors used to stay shuttered on the chapel of Our Lady of the Miracle chapel in a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, opening only on Saturdays for catechism classes and Sundays for a single, sparsely attended service.
For Pope Francis, a year of reform and evangelization
VATICAN CITY — As leader of the universal church, a pope must direct his ministry in both of the ways traditionally described by the Latin terms "ad intra" and "ad extra": inwardly to the church itself, and outwardly to the rest of the world.
Former student recalls life lessons from literature teacher, the pope
VATICAN CITY — As some high school teachers may know, it can be a challenge to get a room full of rowdy teenage boys to learn, much less be interested in, the required class curriculum.
Finding familial 'middle ground'
VATICAN CITY — In its approach to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, the Catholic Church needs to find a middle ground that does not destroy or abandon doctrine, but offers a "renewed" interpretation of church teaching in order to help those whose marriages have failed, Cardinal Walter Kasper said.
Green Bay's mayor invites Pope Francis to visit Wisconsin city in 2015
GREEN BAY, Wis. — If the National Football League's smallest city can be home to the four-time Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, why can't it host a visit from Pope Francis?
Pope names cardinals, lay experts to new Council for the Economy
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis appointed an international group of eight cardinals -- including U.S. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston -- and seven lay experts in the fields of business, management and finance to be the first members of the Vatican's new Council for the Economy.
In Argentina, pope's impact has moved beyond spiritual realm
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Maria Delamonica spoke somewhat sourly of the state of affairs in Argentina, where the economy is teetering and politics are polarized. But her voice brightened when the topic turned to Pope Francis and the changes in the country since he was unexpectedly elected one year ago.
In South Korea in August, pope will meet Asian youths, beatify martyrs
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will travel to South Korea in August for Asian Youth Day and to preside over the beatification of a large group of Korean martyrs, the Vatican spokesman said.
Pope says religious must be witnesses to Gospel even in use of money
VATICAN CITY — The world doesn't need a lesson in "theoretical poverty" from Catholic priests, brothers and nuns, but it needs a living example of how to be careful with money, live simply and share with others, Pope Francis said.
One can't dialogue with Satan, pope says; the Bible is the best defense
VATICAN CITY — When temptation comes your way, don't try to "dialogue" or argue with the devil, Pope Francis said, but seek refuge and strength in the words of the Bible.
On first Friday of Lent, pope speaks on nature of true fasting
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis criticized those who practice fasting as a mere ritual, rather than as a sacrifice representative of a religion of love.
Pope has to cancel visit to Israel
Pope Francis has been forced to cancel his planned trip to Israel in May due to a labor dispute within the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Pope Francis' appeal not measurable yet in church attendance
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis' popularity began immediately after his March 13, 2013, election when he walked onto the balcony and humbly greeted the crowd in St. Peter's Square.
Pope shares anecdotes, talks to priests about mercy, hearing confession
VATICAN CITY — Because his cassock doesn't have a breast pocket, Pope Francis said he wears a cloth pouch under his white robes to carry the crucifix he took from a deceased priest.
Lent comes 'to reawaken us'
ROME — Lent is meant to wake up Christians and help them see that God can give them the strength to change their lives and their surroundings, Pope Francis said.
Use Lent to shed apathy to sin, poverty, indifference to God, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Lent is a time to shed lazy, un-Christian habits and snap out of one's apathy toward people harmed by violence, poverty and not having God in their lives, Pope Francis said.
Before beginning Lenten retreat, pope cites need for silence, prayer
VATICAN CITY — Less than a week before he was to take top Vatican officials and head out of town for a weeklong Lenten retreat, Pope Francis said retreats should renew the faith of participants, transforming their ministry and their relationships with others.
Pope suggests church could tolerate some civil unions
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of nonmarital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. He also said the church would not change its teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with "much mercy."
Pope is challenging church to revitalize roots in Christ, cardinals say
VATICAN CITY — In just one year, Pope Francis has made a powerful impact on the Catholic Church worldwide, a number of cardinals have said.
Inspired by Pope Francis, Sao Paulo parishioners form youth group
SAO PAULO — They came together as a group to attend World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The nearly 50 people in their early to late 20s occasionally attended church on Sunday, but more as a habit than anything else.
Latin American Catholics say pope took different perspective to Vatican
SAO PAULO  -- Many Latin American church leaders, who in the past have felt excluded from the decisions made at the highest echelons of the church, expressed appreciation for the perspective Pope Francis has taken to the Vatican.

Pope names Maltese monsignor to post at new economy secretariat
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named the Maltese monsignor who initially served as his personal secretary to be the general secretary of the new Secretariat for the Economy.
Top 10 things most people don't know about Pope Francis
VATICAN CITY — When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran walked onto the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, telling the crowds in Latin: "I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope!" not many people recognized the name of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Before beginning Lenten retreat, pope cites need for silence, prayer
VATICAN CITY — Less than a week before he was to take top Vatican officials and head out of town for a weeklong Lenten retreat, Pope Francis said retreats should renew the faith of participants, transforming their ministry and their relationships with others.
Pope asks prayers for Ukraine; archbishop says country in danger
VATICAN CITY — As uncertainty reigned in Ukraine and Russian troops appeared to have control of the Crimean peninsula, Pope Francis again asked the world's Christians to pray for Ukraine and urged the parties involved in the conflict to engage in dialogue.
New head of Legionaries of Christ weighs burden of founder's sins
ROME — When accusations of sexual abuse against Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder and then-general director of the Legionaries of Christ, were first published in 1997, Father Eduardo Robles Gil was running one of the congregation's schools in Mexico City.
Argentine rabbis say their friend, the pope, has stayed true to ideals
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina's Jewish leaders said they were not surprised that, in the first year of his papacy, Pope Francis has remained true to himself and his ideals of social consciousness, humility, coexistence and tolerance.
Pope urges sympathy, outreach to couples whose marriages fail
VATICAN CITY — Those who recognize marriage as a sacrament, a divine blessing and a reflection of God's love for humanity should have even greater sympathy for husbands and wives whose relationships have failed, Pope Francis said.
Healing for divorced, remarried mulled
VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church needs to find a way to offer healing, strength and salvation to Catholics whose marriages have failed, who are committed to making a new union work and who long to do so within the church and with the grace of Communion, Cardinal Walter Kasper told the world's cardinals.
Pope says bishops should be evangelists and men of prayer, not CEOs
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said bishops should act not like ambitious corporate executives, but humble evangelists and men of prayer, willing to sacrifice everything for their flocks.
Lessons in style: Pope's gestures, choices are teaching moments
VATICAN CITY — From the moment Pope Francis, dressed simply in a white cassock, stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica for the first time and bowed, he signaled his pontificate would bring some style differences to the papacy.
Pope Francis' constant refrain: 'Go forth,' evangelize, help the poor
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis' most frequent advice and exhortation to Catholics — from laypeople in parishes to bishops and cardinals — is "Go forth."
Remember the joy of your vocation, Vatican officials tell Religious
VATICAN CITY — Preparing for the Year for Consecrated Life, members of Religious orders, secular institutes and consecrated virgins are asked to spend a considerable amount of time remembering the joy they felt when they first realized God was calling them.
Vatican releases pope's Lenten schedule, including penitential service
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis' calendar of liturgical services for March and April — including Holy Week and Easter — includes the addition of a Lenten "penitential service," but does not say where he will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper.
Legionaries adopt new constitutions; papal delegate ends oversight
VATICAN CITY — Celebrating the closing Mass for the extraordinary general chapter of the Legionaries of Christ and ending his service as papal delegate overseeing the order, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis told the priests that the Lord had healed their order and reaffirmed his love for them.
Pope asks families to pray for October synod
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis asked families to pray for the success of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the "pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization," which will take place at the Vatican in October.
Victims of war, conflict deserve mourning, not indifference, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis urged people to overcome indifference and to mourn for the innumerable victims of war and conflict around the world.
Pope establishes panel, with lay members, to oversee Vatican finances
VATICAN CITY — In a move reflecting both his drive to reform the Vatican bureaucracy and his oft-stated desire to include laypeople in the leadership of the church, Pope Francis established a new panel, to include almost as many lay members as clerics, to oversee the finances of the Holy See and Vatican City State.
Pope tells cardinals they are servants, not courtiers
VATICAN CITY — Celebrating Mass with the newest members of the College of the Cardinals one day after their elevation, Pope Francis urged them to regard their new role not as one of worldly honor but of humble service and sacrifice.
Cardinals' agenda shows pope's priority: removing obstacles to faith
VATICAN CITY — In late February, for the first time since his election nearly a year earlier, Pope Francis gathered the world's cardinals at Vatican. The principal reason was to add 19 to their number at a ceremony called a consistory, scheduled for Feb. 22 in St. Peter's Basilica.
Synod official says survey shows great suffering, need to rebuild trust
VATICAN CITY — The responses to the Vatican questionnaire about Catholics' family life reflect a great amount of suffering around the world, said the general secretary of the synod.
Vatican starts hiring freeze, forbids overtime in effort to cut costs
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced an immediate end to new hires, wage-increases and overtime in an effort to cut costs and offset budget shortfalls.
Pope names presidents for synod on family
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named a French, a Philippine and a Brazilian cardinal to serve as the three presidents of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in October.
Cardinals outline broad approaches to family ministry
VATICAN CITY — As 150 cardinals from around the world gathered with Pope Francis to talk about the family, their two days of discussion focused particularly on three points: the Christian vision of people and family life; essential pastoral programs to support families; and ministry to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.
Pope Francis creates new cardinals

VATICAN CITY — On a feast day honoring the authority Jesus gave to St. Peter and his successors — the popes — Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals in the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope gathers with cardinals

VATICAN CITY — In late February, for the first time since his election nearly a year earlier, Pope Francis gathered the world's cardinals at the Vatican. The principal reason was to add 19 to their number at a ceremony called a consistory, scheduled for today in St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope: Professing the faith without good works is just spouting hot air
VATICAN CITY — Understanding God's commandments and church doctrine is useless if those truths aren't put into practice, Pope Francis said.
Pope: By taking care of elders, families show world all life has value
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said the worst thing about growing old is not becoming weaker or infirm, but the "abandonment, the exclusion, the deprivation of love" in today's "throwaway culture."
Be 'loving, courageous' families says pope
VATICAN CITY — Opening a two-day meeting of the world's cardinals, Pope Francis said the church's pastoral approach to helping couples must be "intelligent, courageous and full of love" because the family today is "looked down upon and mistreated."
In unusual video, pope speaks of his longing for Christian unity
VATICAN CITY — In an unusual video message, recorded on an iPhone by a Pentecostal pastor Pope Francis knew in Argentina, the pope says all Christians share blame for their divisions, speaks of his "longing" for their unity and insists that God will bring the miracle of Christian unity to completion.
Pope Francis appoints bishop for Wichita, auxiliary bishop for Miami
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed the vicar general of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., to be bishop of Wichita, Kan., and also named a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Miami.
"Secrets of the Vatican," Feb. 25, PBS
NEW YORK — The historic resignation of Pope Benedict and the headline-grabbing start of his successor's ministry are certainly events worthy of close and careful analysis.
Japanese bishops say Catholics' minority status challenges faith life
Japanese Catholics, less than 1 percent of the country's population, are challenged to try to live the faith in a nonreligious society, the nation's bishops said.
Pope, Ukrainian church leaders call for end to violence in Ukraine
VATICAN CITY — After a night of violent confrontations between protesters and police and the deaths of more than two dozen people, Pope Francis and Ukrainian church leaders called Feb. 19 for an end to all violence and a serious commitment to dialogue for the good of Ukraine.
Cardinals give pope recommendations on Vatican bank, financial affairs
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis met for the third time in late February with his international Council of Cardinals, an eight-member group advising him on the reform of the Vatican bureaucracy and other issues.
Cardinal Levada reappointed to Congregation for Eastern Churches
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis confirmed the top leadership of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and reappointed Cardinal Williamn Levada to another five year term.
Go directly to confession, don't wait, pope says at audience
VATICAN CITY — If you haven't been to confession recently, don't wait, Pope Francis told people at his weekly general audience. One may walk into the confessional with a heavy heart, but forgiveness brings freedom and lightness.
Pope renews Argentine passport, identity card
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is the sovereign of Vatican City and has a Holy See passport. But even dressed in papal white, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is an Argentine citizen with a brand new passport and national identity card.
German cardinal, author of book on mercy, to address world's cardinals
VATICAN CITY — Retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian who has been searching for a new pastoral approach to divorced and remarried Catholics for more than 20 years, was scheduled to address the Feb. 20-21 meeting of the College of Cardinals in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on the family.
Pope, cardinal advisers study Vatican financial, administrative offices
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis met for the third time in late February with his international Council of Cardinals, an eight-member group advising him on the reform of the Vatican bureaucracy and other issues.
Facing the truth about ourselves is a step toward holiness, pope says
ROME — Being truthful about what is in one's heart isn't always easy, but it is an essential step to living a good and holy life, Pope Francis told members of a parish on the western outskirts of Rome.
Meeting Jewish group, pope asks prayers for his Holy Land trip
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis asked leaders of the American Jewish Committee to pray for his May trip to Jerusalem, "so that this pilgrimage may bring forth the fruits of communion, hope and peace."
Pope: Catholic educators must share Gospel with multicultural society
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said Catholic educators should engage in dialogue with increasingly multicultural societies in order to share the Gospel more widely.
Persecution of Christians 'widespread, flagrant,' archbishop says
WASHINGTON — The Vatican's apostolic nuncio to the United Nations told a congressional hearing Feb. 11 that "flagrant and widespread persecution of Christians rages in the Middle East even as we meet."
Going to Mass should be a life-changing event, pope says at audience
VATICAN CITY — Going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist should make a difference in the way Catholics live, Pope Francis said; they should be more accepting of others and more aware of their sinfulness.
Puerto Rican sainthood candidate known for piety, drive to teach poor
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — To the average Puerto Rican, born and raised in the country, the figure of "el maestro Rafael" (Rafael the teacher) was a fleeting reference in a grade school lesson.
Thumbnail bios of the men who will become cardinals Feb. 22
VATICAN CITY — Here is some brief biographical information about each of the 19 churchmen Pope Francis will induct into the College of Cardinals Feb. 22:
A turbulent year that strengthened the papacy
VATICAN CITY — When Pope Benedict announced, on Feb. 11, 2013, that he would become the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign, speculation was as varied as it was excited about the long-term consequences of his historic act. But one common line of thought held that, for better or worse, his decision might leave the papacy a less exalted and powerful office, bringing the supreme pontiff closer to the level of other bishops, clergy and faithful.
Living in remodeled convent, Pope Benedict is not cloistered, aides say
VATICAN CITY — In retirement, Pope Benedict follows a daily schedule similar to that of any retired bishop or religious: He prays, reads, strolls, talks with people and offers them spiritual advice, the Vatican spokesman said.
Mass, even with the pope, isn't a tourist activity; it's God's time
VATICAN CITY — An invitation to attend Pope Francis' early morning Mass is a hot ticket in Rome, but the pope said the Mass — in his residence or anywhere else — isn't an event, but a time for  entering into the mystery of God.
Pope urges Sri Lankans to reconcile, accepts invitation to visit
VATICAN CITY — When civil strife, conflict and bloodshed have pitted people of different ethnic groups against one another, reconciliation is particularly difficult, but it's still the only way to ensure a better future for all, Pope Francis told a large group of Sri Lankan pilgrims.
Pundits discuss Pope Francis, faith, poverty at ministry conference
WASHINGTON — Two political pundits accustomed to sparring with each other on television took the stage Feb. 5 at a gathering of Catholic social justice leaders to discuss issues near and dear to them: faith and politics.
Cardinal says pope wants to 'stir things up,' let people ask questions
BALTIMORE — U.S. Cardinal Edwin O'Brien doesn't know what will come out of the Synod on the Family set for October, but the former archbishop of Baltimore believes it will be significant.
People power: Popular devotion is key factor in sainthood process
VATICAN CITY — The sainthood process is long and technically complicated, and ultimately requires the approval of the pope, but the whole procedure is driven by Catholics in the pews and, especially, those on their knees.
Pope says relativistic ideas of marriage lead to divorce
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said contemporary ideas of marriage as an arrangement defined by personal needs promote a mentality of divorce, and he called for better preparation of engaged couples as well as ministry to Catholics whose marriages have failed.
'Unjust' criticism won't force Vatican to drop treaty, spokesman says
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican said it would continue to adhere to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and give an attentive response to the U.N. committee monitoring adherence to the treaty, despite what it views as unfair criticism and suggestions from the committee that would violate church teaching.
Legionaries of Christ elect new leaders, apologize to founder's victims
ROME — Representatives of the Legionaries of Christ, meeting to reform their troubled congregation nearly four years after it was effectively taken over by the Vatican, announced a new slate of leaders and formally apologized to victims of their disgraced founder.
Best legacy to leave behind is personal witness to Christ, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Despite personal failings and sins, Christians must live and die with hope, leaving behind a legacy of having trusted fully in God, Pope Francis said.
Blessed are the losers, at least by worldly standards, pope says
VATICAN CITY — The "poor in spirit," the pure and the merciful, whom Jesus described as "blessed," are the same people the world considers to be "losers," Pope Francis told Catholic young people.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Pope: Don't skip Sunday Mass; people need communion with God, church
VATICAN CITY — It's so important to go to Mass every Sunday because that's where people receive Christ who saves, forgives and unites everyone to his father, church and each other, Pope Francis said.
U.N. committee presses Vatican on child abuse, some church teaching
VATICAN CITY — The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child continued to insist that the Vatican compile and publish detailed statistics on clerical sexual abuse of minors and that the pope, as head of the church, can and should order Catholic dioceses and religious orders around the world to implement all the policies of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child.
'Troublemaker' pope reshaping church, but drawing some skepticism
WASHINGTON — As early on as it is for the pontificate of Pope Francis, his statements and actions already have given guidance for how simple changes can improve the world, said panelists at Georgetown University.
Queen Elizabeth to visit Pope Francis at Vatican on April 3
The Queen of England will visit Pope Francis at the Vatican in April, Buckingham Palace announced.
For new Korean cardinal, red of martyrdom is part of family history
SEOUL, South Korea — When a cardinal dons his red robes for the first time and is given his red hat, he usually is reminded that the color of the vestments is a call to devote himself completely to Christ and his church, even to the point of shedding his blood if necessary.
At 98, Blessed John XXIII's secretary to be oldest living cardinal
VATICAN CITY — When the freshly named patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, chose 37-year-old Father Loris Capovilla as his private secretary in 1953, a skeptical adviser told the cardinal that the priest looked too sickly to bear the strain of his new job.
Father Hehir: Pope's focus on poor brings church tradition to forefront
WASHINGTON — The focus thus far by Pope Francis on the church's responsibilities to the poor are certainly not new, and there will continue to be new challenges as his attention encompasses other aspects of Catholic social teaching, suggested Father Bryan Hehir in an address to people who work in social ministries.
Pope to Neocatechumenal Way: Work for unity, respect local cultures
VATICAN CITY — Thanking members of the Neocatechumenal Way for their generous missionary efforts, Pope Francis also encouraged them to build church unity, learn about local cultures and respect any member's decision to leave the movement.
A church without Religious sisters is 'unthinkable,' pope says
VATICAN CITY — A church without Religious sisters would be "unthinkable," Pope Francis said, honoring the contributions consecrated men and women make to the church and society.
Pope: Sacrifice key to reaping wealth of God's love, fighting misery
VATICAN CITY — Courageously follow Jesus in seeking out the poor and sinners, and in making difficult sacrifices in order to help and heal others, Pope Francis said.
Canada, Brazil likely to have new saints before year's end, Jesuit says
VATICAN CITY — Three key figures in the establishment of the Catholic Church in Canada and in Brazil are likely to be declared saints before the end of the year, said a Jesuit who is helping prepare the material needed for their canonizations.
Pope calls for the promotion of life at every stage
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called on all Catholics to welcome, serve and respect life, whether still unborn or approaching its natural end.
Temptation is a fact of life; no one is immune to sin, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Temptation is a normal part of life's struggle, and anyone who claims to be immune from it is either a little angel visiting from heaven or "a bit of an idiot," Pope Francis said.
Catholic identity must be clear, uncompromising, pope tells university
VATICAN CITY — Catholic universities must give "uncompromising" and "unambiguous" witness to church teaching and defend themselves from all efforts to dilute their Catholic identity, Pope Francis said.
Pope names interim president of Vatican financial watchdog agency
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, a canon lawyer and head of the Vatican human resources office, interim president of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence  Authority after accepting the resignation of Cardinal Attilio Nicora.

Pope at audience: Make sure your children are confirmed
VATICAN CITY — Many Catholic parents go to great lengths to ensure their children are baptized, and they must make similar efforts to see that their children are confirmed, Pope Francis said.
Pope accepts resignation of Israeli Melkite archbishop
JERUSALEM — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa on the basis of ill health.
Three cheers for God
VATICAN CITY — Prayers of praise for God aren't just for charismatics, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. "We find it easy to understand praying to ask God for something and also to thank the Lord," he said Jan. 28 at his early morning Mass. But prayers of praise "don't come so spontaneously."
Cardinal defends publication of Blessed John Paul's private notebooks
WARSAW, Poland — The former personal secretary of Blessed Pope John Paul has approved the publication of the late pontiff's private notebooks, despite a request in his will that they should be burned.
Relic of Blessed John Paul reported stolen
VATICAN CITY — Thieves reportedly stole a relic of Blessed John Paul from a country chapel 85 miles east of Rome.
Unity will come as divided Christians pray, work together, pope says
ROME — While Christian unity will be a gift from God, it won't drop miraculously from the sky but will be given to the followers of Christ step by step as they walk together and work together, Pope Francis said.
Make more room for women without crowding out family, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Women should play a greater role in society and the church without sacrificing their essential attention and contribution to their families, Pope Francis said.
Pope advances sainthood cause of Sisters of Charity of Quebec founder
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of eight candidates, including the founder of the Sisters of Charity of Quebec.
Pope: Better to eat humble pie than let anger harden the heart
VATICAN CITY — A heart hardened by anger and resentment is worse than eating humble pie and reaching out to enemies to seek peace, Pope Francis said.
Pope to visit Philadelphia

The National Catholic Reporter is reporting that Vatican sources said Pope Francis intends to visit Philadelphia in late September 2015 during the Catholic church's World Meeting of Families. The international gathering takes place every three years.

Pope says judgments on annulments must be impartial and pastoral
VATICAN CITY — Addressing the Vatican court primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments, Pope Francis said judges on church tribunals should show "imperturbable and impartial balance" as well as the "delicacy and humanity proper to a pastor of souls."
Pope, French president discuss controversial laws on family, bioethics
VATICAN CITY — When Pope Francis met French President Francois Hollande at the Vatican Jan. 24, their discussions about human dignity touched on several topics of tension between the French church and government, including the family and bioethics, the Vatican said.
Church entering 'new era' under Pope Francis, top papal adviser says
The cardinal who heads Pope Francis' Council of Cardinals said the Catholic Church is entering a "new era" and accused critics of the pope's statements on economic injustice of failing to "understand reality."
Pope revives question of balancing dialogue, duty to proclaim Christ
VATICAN CITY — A line in Pope Francis' first World Day of Communications' message revived the question of how Christians are called to both search for truth in others and proclaim the truth in Jesus Christ.
Opus Dei sets beatification date for Bishop del Portillo
VATICAN CITY — The prelature of Opus Dei says Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, the successor to Opus Dei founder St. Jose Maria Escriva, will be beatified Sept. 27 in Madrid.
Pope says Internet a 'gift from God,' should be used for solidarity
VATICAN CITY — Like the good Samaritan, who stopped on the road to help a person in need, travelers along today's communication highways should offer support to those they encounter there, Pope Francis said.
Papal trips to Korea, other Asian nations possible
VATICAN CITY — A possible papal trip to South Korea for an Asian youth gathering in August is under consideration as are invitations to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the Vatican spokesman said.

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