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It is not all about numbers but…

VATICAN (SE): The nine years from 2005 to 2014 have seen an incremental rise in Catholic population and in the percentage it forms of the global population.

The number of Catholics increased from 1.115 billion to 1.272 billion, taking them to 17.8 per cent of the world population, up from 17.3 per cent.

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A day at the circus for Rome’s poor

VATICAN (CNS): Poor residents of Rome, the homeless, refugees and some prisoners were offered a special day out at a circus by the Vatican.

The office of the papal almoner—the Office of Papal Charities—announced that 2,000 seats in the big top of the Rony Roller Circus in Rome had been made available for a free show on January 14.

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Mercy can make us artisans of peace pope tells diplomats

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Cold indifference to migrants, the poor, the hungry and the persecuted must be overcome through the warmth of mercy, which can transform people into artisans of peace, Pope Francis said in a January 11 speech to ambassadors to the Holy See. 

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Charlie Hebdo anniversary cartoon does not amuse

VATICAN CITY (CNS): The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, criticised the cover page cartoon of a special commemorative edition of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, on the first anniversary of the deadly attacks on the publication’s offices on Paris.

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Over three million visitors to the Vatican in 2015

VATICAN CITY (CNS): According to information released on December 30 by the Prefecture of the Papal Household, more than 3.2 million people visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services at the Vatican in 2015.

The total represented a significant drop from the 5.9 million visitors received by Pope Francis in 2014. It was also slightly more than half the 6.6 million pilgrims who visited the Vatican during the first nine-and-a-half months of his pontificate in 2013.

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Test case for bishops’ appointments in China

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Vatican has given its approval to Father Tang Yuange, a priest from Chengdu in southwestern China who was chosen through a government selection process, to be ordained as a bishop.

Local Catholics in southwestern Sichuan province said on December 24 that the Holy See had given its approval for Father Tang to be appointed and ordained as a bishop in October, shortly after a six-member Vatican delegation visited Beijing to meet with Chinese officials.

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Hong Kong magnate among sponsors of Vatican lightshow

HONG KONG (UCAN): Recognised as being the wealthiest Chinese person in the world, Hong Kong magnate, Li Ka-shing, was one of the sponsors of a spectacular lightshow heralding the opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in Rome on December 8.

The three-hour spectacular, threw colourful images of people from various parts of the world onto the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as scenes of nature and the threats of climate change.

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Worries over Vatican-Taipei relations may be huff and puff

TAIPEI (UCAN): Philip Chen Chien-jen, a vice presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in Taiwan, is urging Church people to be patient over speculation that China may ask the Vatican to cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

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Pope gives Castro cross to refugees’ parish church

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis is donating a crucifix that was given to him by the president of Cuba, Raul Castro, during the recent papal visit to the Caribbean nation to the parish church of Lampedusa, an island haven for refugees in the Mediterranean.

Vatican Radio reported on November 12 that the crucifix measures over three metres high and is crafted from wooden oars tied with ropes to symbolise the reality of migrants who have crossed the sea in flimsy boats.

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No second-tier members in Church

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis said that the laity are not second-tier members of the Church, automatons at the service of the bishops, whose role it is to carry out blindly orders that come from on high.

Rather, he said that as disciples of Christ and their natural insertion in the world, they are called to animate in the spirit of the gospel every environment, activity and relationship, which otherwise may go unnoticed and abandoned.

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