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To the City of Rome and the World

ROME (SE): In sending his Christmas greeting to the people of The City of Rome and the World (Ubi et Orbi) at his midday audience on December 25, Pope Francis described the wonder of the occasion as being the power of the child born of God and Our Lady, not with the power of this world, based on might and wealth, but with the power of love.

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Vatican breaks its silence on China

HONG KONG (SE): The Vatican has broken its silence on two much discussed topics amongst Catholics in China and in the international media; the convening of the Ninth Congress of Catholic Representatives, which was slated to take place in Beijing from December 26 to 29, and the presence of an illicitly ordained bishop at two ordinations, one in Chengdu and the other in Xichang on November 30 and December 2.

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Pope moving Church away from the static

BRISBANE (SE): “The pope is bringing out into a very public setting of the papacy what any pastor does in his parish or diocese,” Archbishop Mark Coleridge, from Brisbane in Australia, told America magazine in early December.

Archbishop Coleridge was present at the Synod on Family Life that was held at the Vatican over the past two years and says that he witnessed a lot of disagreement among the bishops present.

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Pope on preparing for Christmas

VATICAN (SE): As the Church set about preparing to celebrate Christmas at the beginning of Advent, Pope Francis emphasised in his homily at the morning Mass in his home in Domus Sanctae Marthae (St. Martha’s House) on November 27 that living Christmas is not a theory or philosophy, but sheer hard work.

He pointed out that it is not always about the things we do, but often what we refrain from doing, especially in irritating times.

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Gratitude for pope’s message to Assad

DAMASCUS (AsiaNews): Local media gave wide and enthusiastic support to a message from Pope Francis to the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, which was delivered by the nuncio to Syria, Mario Cardinal Zenari, on December 12.

Archbishop Georges Abou Khazen, the Latin rite vicar of Aleppo, described the papal gesture as being an historic act, a sign of hope for everyone and a confirmation of the attention the pope is paying to Syria and its people.

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This is not a top down Church

HONG KONG (SE): In a wide-ranging conversation about secularism, war, fundamentalism and his latest apostolic exhortation, The Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia), Pope Francis spoke about the role and purpose of synodality in the Church, saying that he is not there to dictate, but to listen to local Churches, harmonise them and to discern.

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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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