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Papal appeals to Assad

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis sent a personal appeal to the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, for “an end to the violence and the peaceful resolution of hostilities.”

Delivered on December 12 by the nuncio to Syria, Mario Cardinal Zenari, Vatican Radio reported that he told Assad that the recent honour of being made a cardinal accorded him is a sign that “the Holy Father sought to show a particular sign of affection for the beloved Syrian people.”

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Pope sends personal condolences to Cuba

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis stepped outside of the usual protocol in expressing his condolences to the people and government of Cuba upon the death of its revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, in a telegramme to the current president on November 26.

The usual protocol at the Vatican when expressing condolences at the death of a national leader or past leader is a telegramme from the secretary of state on behalf of the pope.

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An everyday kind of mercy

ROME (AsiaNews): There are no spectacular revelations, big projects or out of the box ideas in the apostolic letter introduced by Pope Francis at the ceremony to close the Holy Door and end the Jubilee of Mercy at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on November 20.

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Pope harsh on self-interest critics

HONG KONG (SE): “Following the publication of your apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), theologians and scholars have proposed interpretations that are not only divergent, but also conflicting,” a letter to Pope Francis under the title, Seeking Clarity: A plea to untie the knots in Amoris Laetitia, and signed by four cardinals begins.

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The why of the pope’s liturgical broom

VATICAN (SE): A recent interview with Pope Francis by Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor-in-chief of Civiltà Cattolica, sheds more light on his decision to remove the entire complement of 27 members from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

The French publication, Crux, reported that in the interview, Pope Francis insists that the reform of the liturgy of the Mass that received impetus from the Second Vatican Council is here to stay.

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Fifty-nine million out of school

GENEVA (AsiaNews): About a third of all children in developing nations do not get the opportunity to go to school, because they must work. But what is more surprising, around the same number say their schools are not safe.

The results of a study carried out by the ChildFund Alliance on school absenteeism in 41 nations, found the highest out of school rate is in Afghanistan, where nine out of 10 children are not in the classrooms.

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Pope warns new cardinals against polarisation

VATICAN (SE): “The virus of polarisation and animosity permeates our way of thinking, feeling and acting,” Pope Francis said at a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to elevate 16 bishops and one priest to membership in the College of Cardinals on November 19.

The pope described the polarisation he sees within the Church as being contrary to its richness and universality, which must be tangibly evident in the College of Cardinals.

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Roads to Eucharistic sharing

MALMO (SE): Sharing the Eucharist in an ecumenical setting is a stage of relations that across the board has not yet been achieved, as it is generally accepted that it is a sign of full reconciliation, a destination yet to be arrived at.

Kurt Cardinal Koch, the Swiss president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told a media conference during the visit of Pope Francis to Sweden that what is important is to distinguish between Eucharistic hospitality and Eucharistic communion.

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Pope puts broom through liturgy congregation

VATICAN (CWN): Pope Francis has taken the broom to the entire Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, the Vatican body in charge of all liturgical questions in the Church.

While it is routine for the pope to rotate a few members each year, on October 28, Pope Francis made the surprise announcement that he was replacing the complete complement of 27 people in the congregation, a total transformation of its makeup.

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Disagreement or disloyalty?

HONG KONG (SE): Human Rights Watch has waded into the discussion over the on-going negotiations between the Vatican and Beijing, cautioning the Vatican not to make any agreement before it sees convincing evidence of religious freedom across the Middle Kingdom.

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