Faith

VATICAN CITY - As part of a low-key celebration of his 77th birthday, Pope Francis had breakfast with three people who live on the streets near the Vatican. A small dog, belonging to one of the homeless men, was also on the guest list.

Ordaining 31 Legionaries, cardinal says they are part of order's reform

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ROME - Ordaining 31 new priests for the Legionaries of Christ, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis told them they were not responsible for the scandals that threatened to destroy their order, but they have been part of the effort to renew and reform the order.

Christians can't be gloomy because Jesus always brings joy, Pope says

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VATICAN CITY - Sadness is a sign of being far from Christ because Jesus offers everyone the strength to persevere with hope and joy, Pope Francis said.

Christmas lights reflect truth that Christ is light of world, pope says

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VATICAN CITY - The lights glowing on the Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square, like Christmas lights everywhere, are reminders that Jesus is the light of the world, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis named Time's Person of the Year

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For the third time, Time magazine has chosen a Pope as its Person of the Year.

Vatican official says not to expect papal encyclical on poverty

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VATICAN CITY - An official at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that, despite widespread news reports and the statement of an Italian bishop, he does not expect Pope Francis to write an encyclical on the subject of poverty.

Pope to set up advisory commission on sexual abuse

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis accepted a proposal to set up a special commission on the sexual abuse of children, which will advise him on ways to prevent abuse and provide pastoral care for victims and their families.

Pope Francis will help launch worldwide 'wave of prayer' against hunger

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will help launch a global campaign of prayer and action against world hunger.

Pope, cardinal council begin work on reorganizing Roman Curia

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis and the eight members of his international Council of Cardinals have begun their discussions on specific ways to reorganize the Roman Curia, looking first at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Vatican spokesman said.

People must learn to dialogue, respect other religions, pope says

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VATICAN CITY - In societies increasingly made up of people of different cultures and religions, people must learn the art of dialogue and reach out to others with respect and friendship, Pope Francis said.

Best gift in life is encountering Christ, Pope says at start of Advent

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VATICAN CITY - The best present in life is encountering Jesus -- an encounter that will last a lifetime, Pope Francis said.