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Modern-day popes braving the lion’s den

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Before he became Pope Francis, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio had a reputation for disliking interviews.

Aboard his first papal flight to Brazil for World Youth Day in July 2013, he told more than 70 journalists from around the world, “Really, I don’t give interviews. But I don’t know why. I can’t, that’s just how it is. I find it a bit tiresome, but I’m grateful for your company.” 








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Christmas refugees and fair trade

 

Christmas is much more than Santa Claus and consumerism. It is about compassion, love for the poor and seeking justice. Jesus was sent to help change the world. We must carry on this mission but we also have to understand what that challenge is.








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Ecological conversion and mercy

During the Jubilee of Mercy, seven churches have been designated in Hong Kong as places of pilgrimage where people can prepare themselves to receive God’s mercy.

In a document declaring the Jubilee, entitled The Face of Mercy, Pope Francis stresses that the Church should care for the welfare of the underprivileged and future generations.








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A year of tightening screws on freedom

HONG KONG (SE): The year 2015 opened with an appeal from Pope Francis to use shopping habits to help make peace. He pointed out that a modern form of slavery exists in the sweatshop, which sows the seeds of tension across the world and discerning shopping is part of addressing this.

While the topic of climate change and protection of the natural environment has been on the world agenda for years, it had never raised much more than a ripple in the Church.

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Indifference is the big enemy of peace

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis leaves no doubt as to what he is addressing in his January 1 Message for Peace, which begins with the words, “God is not indifferent! God cares about mankind! God does not abandon us!”

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A prize for the pope

BERLIN (Agencies): Pope Francis has been named the 2016 recipient of the International Charlemagne Prize for bringing a message of hope and encouragement to Europe at a time of uncertainty, The Associated Press reported.

The Charlemagne Prize has been awarded annually since 1950 by donors in Aachen, Germany, and is given for distinguished service on behalf of European unification.

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To the city of Rome and the world

VATICAN (SE): “Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself,” Pope Francis said in the traditional Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World) papal Christmas blessing, delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at midday on Christmas Day.

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Pope talks of a practical Christian humanism

FLORENCE (SE): Pope Francis received a meal coupon and a plastic plate from the staff at the Caritas St. Francis Soup Kitchen in Florence, Italy, as he left the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore after speaking to 2,500 delegates at a gathering sponsored by the Italian Bishops’ Conference on what he called practical Christian humanism on November 10 last year.








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Truly a grass roots Catholic movement

On December 10, we met the French president, François Hollande, to deliver the 900,000 signatures of our Catholic Climate Petition in coalition with other faith groups.

Collectively, we delivered a total of 1,833,973 signatures. An impressive amount of faith-inspired people demanding climate justice.








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Paris may cool the air but freeze ambition

HONG KONG (SE): Reflecting on the agreement made by world leaders at the Conference of Parties on Climate Change on December 12 at his midday talk on December 13, Pope Francis drew a connection between the Ministerial Conference on World Trade that was scheduled to be held in Nairobi on December 15, as well as with the opening of the Holy Door to inaugurate the Jubilee of Mercy in cathedrals around the world.

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