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Jerusalem patriarch says Pope Francis' May trip to focus on Christian unity

JERUSALEM - When Pope Francis visits the Holy Land in May, he will follow the pattern he set last year in Brazil by meeting with the leaders of the three nations he will visit as well as with the less fortunate.

Pope Francis, Obama meet privately at Vatican for 50 minutes

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis received U.S. President Barack Obama at the Vatican March 27. In what was their first encounter, the two leaders spoke in private for more than 50 minutes, an extraordinarily long time for such a meeting.

Cardinal O'Malley, abuse survivor among members of Vatican commission

VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, four women -- including a survivor of clerical sex abuse -- two Jesuit priests and an Italian lawyer are the first eight members of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Vatican, Rome gear up for canonizations of John XXIII, John Paul II

VATICAN CITY - Just over five weeks before the canonizations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, Rome hotels are reporting they are almost fully booked and the Vatican has confirmed the Mass will take place in St. Peter's Square, despite knowing that hundreds of thousands of people will have to watch the ceremony on large video screens.

Before meeting Pope, Vanier talks about joy, tenderness, acceptance

VATICAN CITY - On the eve of meeting Pope Francis, Jean Vanier spoke about the importance of joy, tenderness and practical resistance to the "throwaway" culture.

Thousands of rare Vatican manuscripts to go online

VATICAN CITY - Thousands of rare manuscripts until now accessible only to scholars at the Vatican will go online over the next four years, thanks to help from a Japanese information technology company.

Pope Francis to proclaim Canadian church pioneers saints in April

VATICAN CITY - Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis will declare three pioneers of the Catholic Church in the Americas saints April 2, according to a Jesuit working on the causes.

Russell Crowe meets Pope Francis but leaves without a Noah endorsement

VATICAN CITY - Russell Crowe, who plays the title character in the new Hollywood blockbuster Noah, lobbied hard for a personal audience with Pope Francis. What he got March 19 instead was a blessing.

Mob threats aside, Pope Francis will pray with victims of organized crime

ROME - The Vatican said March 17 that Pope Francis will preside over a prayer vigil dedicated to victims of mob violence in Italy and their families.

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Cardinal Dolan: Pope Francis opened door to gay civil unions debate

NEW YORK - Cardinal Timothy Dolan said March 9 that Pope Francis is asking the Catholic Church to look at the possibility of recognizing civil unions for gay couples, although the Archbishop of New York said that he would be “uncomfortable” if the Church embraced that position.

Pope names cardinals, lay experts to new Council for the Economy

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis appointed an international group of eight cardinals -- including U.S. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston -- and seven lay experts in the fields of business, management and finance to be the first members of the Vatican's new Council for the Economy.