VATICAN CITY - Walking to a cemetery on All Saints' Day, watching television past 10 p.m., even slaughtering a kid goat on Easter were once so highly suspect in Albania, they would trigger neighbourhood spies to tip off communist authorities.

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VATICAN CITY - The wisdom of "It takes a village to raise a child" has been lost as kids are either overprotected by permissive parents or neglected, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - Iraqi Christians are true and courageous witnesses of Christ's message of hope, forgiveness and love, Pope Francis said.

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VATICAN CITY - Former Israeli President Shimon Peres asked Pope Francis to head a parallel United Nations called the "United Religions" to counter religious extremism in the world today.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis' choice of Albania as the destination of his first international trip in Europe reflects his trademark pastoral approach: Head to the peripheries, bring healing to the suffering.

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WASHINGTON - In the days that followed Pope Francis' Aug. 18 remarks on U.S. airstrikes earlier in the month against Islamic State, the buzz was about whether the Pope had actually given his consent to them.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will officiate at the weddings of 20 couples who plan to tie the knot at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sept. 14.

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VATICAN CITY - The priest leading the Gaza Strip's only Catholic parish met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, thanking him for his support of those suffering in the war-torn territory.

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STONY BROOK, N.Y. - What are the prospects of the world witnessing a papal motorcade driving through the streets of Beijing in the near future?

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ROME - The Catholic Church should make “unconventional couples” feel at home instead of making them targets of “de facto discrimination,” the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis lamented "tension and conflict" in Ukraine and prayed for "peace and tranquility" there on the country's Independence Day.

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Updated 08/22/14

NEW YORK - Pope Francis phoned the bereaved family of James Foley, a U.S. journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Syria.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis wrote to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the “brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities” and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country.

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VATICAN CITY - Human trafficking destroys the lives of millions of children, women and men each year, making it a real threat to peace, the Vatican said as it announced Pope Francis' 2015 World Peace Day message would focus on the phenomenon.

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VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Fernando Filoni said Pope Francis "was really taken" by the cardinal's description of Christians and other minorities forced from their homes in northwestern Iraq by militias belonging to the Islamic State terrorist group.

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