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Pope adds Marian feast to Church calendar

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis has decreed that the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church is to be observed by Latin-rite Catholics on the Monday after Pentecost each year.
 
The decree announcing the addition to the Church calendar was released on March 3 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
 

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Take up World Youth Day challenge pope urges young people

VATICAN (CNS): “Do not allow the spark of youth to be extinguished in the darkness of a closed room in which the only window to the outside world is a computer and smartphone,” the pope told young people in his annual message for local celebrations of World Youth Day. Many dioceses will have their own celebrations on Palm Sunday, March 25.
 
The pope encouraged them to break free from fear, fake online personas and looking at the world through a digital screen display.
 

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Pope renews membership of child protection commission

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis has named nine new members to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and reappointed seven, including abuse survivors or the parents of survivors, the Vatican announced on February 17.
 
However, in respecting “the right of each person to disclose their experiences of abuse publicly or not to do so the members appointed today have chosen not do so publicly, but solely within the commission.” the commission said.
 

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Lenten message from Pope Francis

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in his providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion” [1]. Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.
 

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Pope sends condolences to Taiwan after earthquakes

VATICAN  (CNS): Pope Francis expressed his solidarity with the people of Taiwan after high-magnitude earthquakes on February 6 and 7 devastated the island nation, killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds more.
In a telegramme sent by the Vatican, the pope offered “the assurance of his prayers for those who have lost their lives and for those who have been injured.” 
 

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Unresolved issues that plague an extraordinary pontificate

by Robert Mickens
 
One of the most remarkable characteristics of Pope Francis is his capacity—demonstrated throughout his lifetime—to carefully listen to viewpoints different from his own and, in the end, be willing to change his mind and even his entire way of thinking about a particular issue.
 








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Holy See-China accord in the offing but at what cost?

HONG KONG (SE): An accord between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China “is almost made” and could be signed in the coming months, thereby opening a new phase in the relations between them, according to a senior Vatican source informed on the negotiations between the two sides.
 

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Heavy security in Rome as president of Turkey visits pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was welcomed to the Vatican by Pope Francis for a private meeting on February 5. It was the first visit by a Turkish head of state in 59 years.
 
Erdogan had arrived in Rome amid heavy security measures for a two-day visit that was to include meetings with Italian authorities and business leaders. More than 3,000 police officers had been deployed for the visit, according to Agence France-Presse, and demonstrations had been banned in Rome’s centre for 24 hours.

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Better Catholics than the Pope?

A month to go and the Church will enter into the sixth year of the papacy of Pope Francis. But has he earned more critics than friends in the past five years? 
 








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Pope sets day of prayer for peace in Africa

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis marked Italy’s Pro-Life Sunday during his Sunday Angelus on February 4, and also called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Africa.
Some 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square with many carrying the pro-life movement’s green balloons with the message, Yes to life.
 
Thanking all the “different Church realities that promote and support life in many ways,” Pope Francis said he was surprised there were not more people involved.
 

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