Faith

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis' latest effort to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable came in the form of a new universal law, "Vos estis lux mundi" ("You are the light of the world"), which takes effect June 1.

Pope Francis tells new ambassadors to foster brotherhood, solidarity

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VATICAN CITY -- Nations, like individuals, have a "solemn duty" to care for the poor and to work together to promote development, Pope Francis told a group of ambassadors beginning their service at the Vatican.

Pope Francis prays for Spanish missionary murdered in Central African Republic

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis led thousands of pilgrims in prayer for a Spanish missionary sister killed in Central African Republic.

While greeting French pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square May 22, the pope said he was saddened to hear of the brutal murder of Daughter of Jesus Sister Ines Nieves Sancho, a 77-year-old Spanish missionary who was killed May 20 outside her convent in Nola, Central African Republic.

Sister Nieves, the pope said, before bowing his head in silence, "was yet another woman who gave her life for Jesus in the service of the poor."

After several minutes of silent prayer, the pope led the faithful in praying a "Hail Mary" for the slain missionary.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, the Daughter of Jesus missionary sister had dedicated her life to teaching children, especially girls, to sew in order to learn a trade and make a better life for themselves.

Authorities believe the missionary was murdered and mutilated precisely in the room where she taught the children, the Vatican newspaper reported.

In an interview May 21 with COPE, the Spanish Catholic radio station, Spanish-born Bishop Juan Aguirre Munoz of Bangassou said that Sister Nieves was "dragged out of her bed and on Monday she was found almost decapitated. We don't know why."

Authorities currently have no suspects or motive for the brutal killing but suspect that it was possibly carried out by people involved in human trafficking or searching for diamonds in a sadistic ritual meant to bring good fortune.

However, Bishop Aguirre told COPE that the political situation in Central African Republic is tense not only for Christians but for the entire population.

"It is a country where 80 percent of its territory has been conquered by 14 warlords who have trampled it underfoot," the bishop told COPE. "It is a very delicate situation."

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Fight fake news with humble search for truth, Pope Francis tells journalists

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VATICAN CITY -- The task of journalism is to seek the truth, which requires humility and freedom of the press, Pope Francis told foreign correspondents working in Italy.

Jesus is always ready to help free people from evil, pope says

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VATICAN CITY -- Christians recognize life's great paradox that so much evil and temptation exist in the world, but that God is always present, too, ready to help and give people the strength to persevere, Pope Francis said.

Pope saddened by church attack in Burkina Faso, Vatican spokesman says

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis expressed his closeness to and prayers for the victims of a shooting at a Catholic Church in Burkina Faso, which claimed the lives of six people.

Not ruling on apparitions, pope allows pilgrimages to Medjugorje

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Pope invites young people to pledge to build a new economy

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has invited young economists and entrepreneurs around the world to help create a "new and courageous culture" that finds new ways to do business, promote human dignity and protect the environment.

Be merciful ministers of Christ, pope tells new priests

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VATICAN CITY - The priesthood is not a "cultural association or a union," but a ministry of mercy anchored on Christ's mission to bring hope to the downtrodden and comfort to those who suffer, Pope Francis told new priests.

Pope: Without Holy Spirit, dioceses can become worldly businesses

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VATICAN CITY - A diocese that cares more about being an organized workplace rather than announcing the good news can fall prey to clericalism and distance itself from Christ, Pope Francis said.

Never lose hope for a better future, pope tells Gypsy communities

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VATICAN CITY - Members of Italy's Gypsy communities must look to God to hold on to the hope of a future where they are no longer discriminated against or segregated, Pope Francis said.