VATICAN CITY -- Saying conflicts can never be resolved with war, Pope Francis added his support to a U.N. appeal for a global cease-fire amid the worldwide threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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VATICAN CITY -- Standing in the window of the library of the Apostolic Palace overlooking an empty St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis blessed the city of Rome still under lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis did not recite the Sunday Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square March 8, but he did go to the window to wave and to bless the pilgrims who showed up anyway.

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VATICAN CITY -- Jesus wants his followers to move from a formal observance of God's commands to an interior acceptance of them and, in that way, to no longer be slaves to sin and selfishness, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said remembering the millions of men, women and children who perished in the Holocaust is a call for the world today to reflect and commit to not repeating the atrocities of the past.

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said he hoped that an international summit in Berlin would be the first step toward peace in war-torn Libya.

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis prayed that people all over the world would end 2019 "in peace, peace in their hearts," and that families would mark New Year's by "communicating with one another."

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis blessed hundreds of figurines of the baby Jesus -- ranging from tiny plastic figures to life-sized statues -- and encouraged children to make sure they have Nativity scenes at home.

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VATICAN CITY -- Mary, conceived without sin, is a "masterpiece" who reflects "the beauty of God who is all love, grace and self-giving," Pope Francis said on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

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VATICAN CITY-- Pope Francis said he was concerned and saddened following two months of protests in Iraq that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.

"I pray for the dead and the wounded; I am close to their families and to the entire people of Iraq, calling upon God for peace and harmony," the pope said Dec. 1 after praying the Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The pope's remarks came nearly four days after Iraqi security forces fired on unarmed protesters, leading to the deaths of 25 people and the wounding of dozens more, according to Amnesty International.

Since the protests began Oct. 1, an estimated 400 demonstrators have been killed. Protesters have expressed anger at government authorities for widespread financial mismanagement, corruption and increasing poverty in the country.

The protests resulted in the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi Dec. 1 and for calls by international observers for investigations into the killing of protesters.

Iraqi Cardinal Louis Sako, Chaldean Catholic patriarch, expressed his "solidarity with Iraqi Shias and Sunnis" and his concern for those who died or were wounded in the protests, said a statement on the patriarchate's website. He asked all Catholics to pray for the country at Masses Dec. 1.

Cardinal Sako, in the statement posted Nov. 30, said he hoped that "the blood that has been shed as a price" for a free, dignified and secure life in Iraq, will be the seeds of an effort "to build a homeland of justice and independence, in which no one would be oppressed or treated unfairly."

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis prayed for those killed during violent protests in Ethiopia, which left dozens of people dead.

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VATICAN CITY -- The saints were flesh-and-blood people whose lives included real struggles and joys, and whose holiness reminds all the baptized that they, too, are called to be saints, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- After listening to indigenous people and church leaders at the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, the Catholic Church cannot remain indifferent to the suffering of the region's people, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- Jesus calls on Christians to transform their wealth into a tool of brotherhood and solidarity instead of a corrupt means to divide and discriminate, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY -- God forgives sins so that joy, not sadness, can flourish once again in one's heart, Pope Francis said.

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