FAITH/STORIES

VATICAN CITY -- The Office of Papal Charities has purchased enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to offer inoculations in Rome to 1,200 of “the poorest and most marginalized people who, because of their situation, are the most exposed” to the coronavirus.

VATICAN CITY -- The number of Catholics and permanent deacons in the world has shown steady growth, while the number of religious men and women continued to decrease, according to Vatican statistics.

VATICAN CITY -- With the need to reduce costs and make sure employees are not laid off, Pope Francis has approved pay cuts for cardinals, clergy, religious and upper management officials who work in the Roman Curia and other Vatican entities.

Pope Francis elevates Ireland's national Knock Shrine to international status

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DUBLIN -- Pope Francis has elevated the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Knock to the status of an International Shrine of Eucharistic and Marian Devotion.

March 17, 2021

Gift of the Holy Spirit connects people to Christ, Pope Francis says at audience

VATICAN CITY -- Every Christian is unique because the Holy Spirit inspires something new and original in each person, creating "an endless field of holiness," Pope Francis said.

Vatican ends practice of private Masses in St. Peter's Basilica

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VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican is putting an end to the practice of priests going into St. Peter's Basilica early every morning to celebrate their own Mass at a side altar with just an altar server.

Vatican says no blessing of gay unions

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VATICAN CITY -- While homosexual men and women must be respected, any form of blessing a same-sex union is "illicit," said the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Vatican says general absolution still permissible during pandemic

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VATICAN CITY -- Offering general absolution to the faithful without having them personally confess their sins first may still be done in places seeing serious or increasing levels of coronavirus infections, a Vatican official said.

Pope Francis names woman Scripture scholar as secretary of biblical commission

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has named Sister Nuria Calduch-Benages, an Old Testament scholar and professor at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, to be secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Returning from Iraq, Pope Francis talks about 'risks' taken on trip

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ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM IRAQ -- The Catholic Church's commitment to dialogue with other churches and with other religions flows from the Gospel, but Pope Francis said he knows some Catholics disagree.

March 8, 2021

Cleanse your hearts of anger, live the Gospel, Pope Francis says at Mass in Irbil

IRBIL, Iraq -- Having witnessed or even experienced persecution for their faith, the Christians of Iraq must be careful not to harbor thoughts of revenge, Pope Francis told them.

March 7, 2021

Living the beatitudes can change the world, Pope Francis says in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Pope Francis told Iraqi Christians that when they suffer discrimination, persecution or war, the Eight Beatitudes are addressed to them.

Life triumphs over death as Christians rebuild in Iraq, Pope Francis says

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QARAQOSH, Iraq -- Amid the rubble and bombed out remains of four churches destroyed by Islamic State militants, Pope Francis paid tribute to Iraqi Christians who endured persecution and even death.