VATICAN CITY - The first task of the Church “is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim the mercy of God,” Pope Francis said in a blunt address to delegates at the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

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VATICAN CITY - The world expects all people of religious faith to work with everyone for a better future, Pope Francis told representatives of major religions.

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VATICAN CITY - As the death toll from an earthquake in Pakistan and Afghanistan continued to rise, Pope Francis called for prayers and concrete aid for survivors.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis called on the international community to find a way to bring peace to Iraq and the Middle East and prayed that Christians there would no longer be forced to flee their homes.

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OXFORD, England - Religious leaders in the Central African Republic have predicted the Pope's upcoming visit could reconcile opposing factions, three years after a Muslim-led rebellion plunged the country into civil war.

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Sunday 25 Oct. Lines of faithful spiraled around St. Peter's Square from early on Sunday awaiting their chance to enter St. Peter’s Basilica for the closing Mass of the Synod on the Family. The Mass, presided over by Pope Francis, marked the end of the second gathering of the Synod of Bishops to discuss "The Mission and Vocation of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World."

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Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass being offered on Sunday morning, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, to mark the close of the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, who have been gathered in Rome for the past three weeks to reflect on and discuss the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.

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VATICAN CITY - The first task of the Catholic Church "is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim the mercy of God," Pope Francis told members of the Synod of Bishops on the family.

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Pope Francis said on Friday (23rd October) that the times are changing and we Christians must change continually, freely but within the truth of the faith. He urged Christians to look at the signs of the times and warned them against succumbing to the comfort of conformity. The Pope’s remarks came during his homily at the morning Mass celebrated at the Santa Marta residence.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis announced he is establishing a new office for laity, family and life, which combines the responsibilities of two pontifical councils.

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VATICAN CITY - After nearly three weeks of intense discussion and debate, the Synod of Bishop's final document on the family was not expected to have any hard-hitting answers, a member of the drafting commission said.

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The efforts of Christians are aimed at opening the door of the heart to the Holy Spirit. That was the message of Pope Francis during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The Pope emphasized that conversion, for the Christian, a daily task that leads us to the encounter with Jesus. As an example of this, Francis told the story of a mother suffering from cancer, who gives her all to overcome the illness.

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VATICAN CITY - Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said an Italian newspaper's claims about the Pope's health were "entirely unfounded."

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Pope Francis says God’s love for us is without limits whereas human beings often lack this generosity and have a tendency to weigh up situations. His words came during his homily at Mass on Tuesday (20th October) celebrated in the Santa Marta residence.

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VATICAN CITY - There is a need for great courage and strength in order to reject hatred and to carry out acts of peace in the Holy Land, Pope Francis said.

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