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Two sides of pope’s views on marriage

VATICAN (SE): On his long flight from Azerbaijan to Rome on October 2, Pope Francis spoke at length with reporters during an in-flight press conference about his views on marriage and pastoral care of people in irregular situations.

He has been quite vocal in the past on the necessity of welcoming those who are divorced and remarried, as well as the same sex attracted into the caring fold of the Church, but on the plane he made a quite clear distinction between dogma and pastoral care.

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Pope receives gift from Xi Jinping

HONG KONG (SE): “And the Chinese president sent me a gift. They are good relations,” Pope Francis told an inflight media conference on his way back to Rome from Georgia and Azerbaijan on October 2.

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Vatican peace push to Colombia

BOGOTA (SE): Pope Francis is continuing his push for world peace. Following on from his World Day of Prayer for Peace at Assisi and the appearance of his secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, at the United Nations to address 193 representatives of countries on Vatican diplomacy for peace, he dispatched the cardinal to Bogota, Colombia, as a go between in the 52-year-old conflict between the government and the Colombia People’s Army.

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Praying with each other not against each other

ASSISI (SE): “We have not prayed against one another today, as has unfortunately occurred in history,” Pope Francis said on September 20 in addressing a gathering of world religious leaders at an interfaith prayer for peace in the world at Assisi in Italy.

Looking at the vast diversity of his audience he noted, “Our religious traditions are diverse. But our differences are not the cause of conflict and provocation, or a cold distance between us.”

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A satanic death

VATICAN (SE): “This is the thread of a satanic persecution,” Pope Francis said at a Mass celebrated on September 14 in memory of Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest who died on the sanctuary while he himself was celebrating Mass on July 26.

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Looking at possibility of sacraments for divorced

VATICAN (SE): The bishops of Argentina issued a pastoral letter in August this year containing guidelines for priests accompanying the divorced and remarried, including a guarded, but at the same time clear statement of the possibility of readmission to the sacraments in some circumstances.

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Revelations from a former pope

VATICAN (SE): In revealing comments released prior to the publication of a book on the reflections of the former bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI says that he always thought that governance was the weak point of his pontificate and that Pope Francis is an excellent choice as his successor, even though it came as a big shock to him at the time.

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Vatican walks a diplomatic tightrope

HONG KONG (SE): A talk given by the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, in the Italian town of Pordenone on August 27 was described by Francesco Sisci, from Renmin University in Beijing, as a hint to how much the Vatican is prepared to suffer in order to achieve peace and establish a more workable relationship with China.

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Saint of the Poor continues to inspire

HONG KONG (SE): A large crowd gathered at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on September 4 to hear Pope Francis proclaim Mother Teresa of Kolkata a tireless worker of mercy, describing her as an icon of God’s love, as he declared the woman who has become known as the Saint of the Poor a saint of the Catholic Church.

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Bishop writes to people in prison

HONG KONG (SE): “The majority of people in Hong Kong prisons eventually are offered the grace of walking through the holy door as an experience of joy after a long sorrow,” Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing told a gathering of people who work in the prison ministry held at the cathedral on August 28.

The auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong added that before they get the chance to walk through the big gate to freedom, they must accept the consequences of their crimes.

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