STONY BROOK, N.Y. - What are the prospects of the world witnessing a papal motorcade driving through the streets of Beijing in the near future?

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ROME - The Catholic Church should make “unconventional couples” feel at home instead of making them targets of “de facto discrimination,” the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis lamented "tension and conflict" in Ukraine and prayed for "peace and tranquility" there on the country's Independence Day.

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Updated 08/22/14

NEW YORK - Pope Francis phoned the bereaved family of James Foley, a U.S. journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Syria.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis wrote to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the “brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities” and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country.

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VATICAN CITY - Human trafficking destroys the lives of millions of children, women and men each year, making it a real threat to peace, the Vatican said as it announced Pope Francis' 2015 World Peace Day message would focus on the phenomenon.

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VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Fernando Filoni said Pope Francis "was really taken" by the cardinal's description of Christians and other minorities forced from their homes in northwestern Iraq by militias belonging to the Islamic State terrorist group.

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VATICAN CITY - China has reacted cautiously to a bid by Pope Francis to open new dialogue with Beijing, with some officials quick to warn the Vatican not to “interfere” with the country’s religion.

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August 21, 2014

Aid to Iraq is vital

The crisis in Iraq will shift from desperate to beyond rescue unless world leaders respond swiftly and decisively to help install order in one of Christiantiy’s most ancient homes. 

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis, in mourning for the deaths of his nephew's wife and two small children, thanked people at his weekly general audience Aug. 20 for their prayers.

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VATICAN CITY - Addressing journalists on his return from his intense five-day visit to South Korea late Monday (Aug. 18), Pope Francis bantered with reporters and lightheartedly said he may only have “two or three” years left to live.

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SEOUL, South Korea - A day after Pope Francis left South Korea, a former sex slave who spent a few minutes with the pontiff said she still felt the impact of their meeting.

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ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SEOUL, South Korea - Pope Francis said the use of force can be justified to stop "unjust aggressors" such as Islamic State militants in northeastern Iraq, but he declined to endorse U.S. military airstrikes against the militants and said such humanitarian interventions should not be decided on by any single country.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis ended his first official visit to Asia on Monday (Aug. 18) with a fresh overture to China and a call for reconciliation between South Korea and its communist neighbor, North Korea.

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SEOUL, South Korea - Hundreds of Catholic faithful and non-Catholic admirers of Pope Francis braved the pouring rain to try to get a glimpse of him outside his final Mass before he left South Korea.

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