There’s room in heaven for dogs, pope assures little boy

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Pope Francis blesses Asia, the guide dog of Italian radio journalist Alessandro Forlani. Photo by L’Osservatore Romano / Associated Press Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/198635092.html#PeYuADtyC0JYHEpR.99

In his first meeting with the media as pope in March 2013, Francis made news by blessing Asia, the guide dog of Italian radio journalist Alessandro Forlani. Photo by L’Osservatore Romano / AP

Well, it wasn’t by accident that he chose the name Francis, the patron saint of animals.

During a papal audience in November, Pope Francis tried to comfort a boy whose dog had died, the New York Times reports, by telling him: “One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all God’s creatures.” Continue reading

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‘Hidden euthanasia’? Senior care homes could become prisons, pope warns

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Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

“I really like having (Benedict, who’s 87) living here in the Vatican,” Pope Francis says, “because it’s like having a wise grandfather at home.”

Don’t forget your grandparents, Pope Francis has urged.

In a special Mass for the elderly, the pontiff — who is 77 himself — lashed out at “throw-away culture.” Continue reading

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Italian press again reports rumors of assassination plot against pope

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Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican  has told Italian newspapers, including Il Mattino, that Pope Francis is at risk of an assassination attempt by ISIS when he makes a one-day visit to Albania on Sunday.

“What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear — they want to kill the pope,” Habeeb Al Sadr told La Nazione on Tuesday. “The threats against the pope are credible.”  Continue reading

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‘Welcome, protect’ the migrant children, pope tells U.S.

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“I would … like to draw attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence: This is a category of migrants from Central America and Mexico itself who cross the border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain,” Pope Francis has said in a letter to a global conference in Mexico. “They are increasing day by day. This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.”

But he also asks for an information campaign aimed at the children and their parents and tells the countries of Central America to do more to stop the suffering: “These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.”

To read the pope’s letter in full, go here.

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Pope, Netanyahu bickered about Jesus

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On Pope Francis’ recent trip to the Mideast, the Israeli prime minister was keen to emphasize the strong ties between Jews and Christians.

According to Reuters, at a public meeting in Jerusalem Benjamin Netanyahu told the pontiff: “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew.”

“Aramaic,” Francis corrected him.

Netanyahu stood his ground.

“He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew,” the prime minister insisted.

So, who’s right? Continue reading

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Honey, Pope Francis wants to speak to you

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According to unconfirmed reports in Italian and Argentine news outlets, the pope has controversy on the line.

It’s a scenario that’s been played out over the world for decades:

She’s been married for 19 years to a divorced man and they have two kids. They’re Catholic, so it was a civil cermony. Church teaching  prohibits the divorced from marrying again. But they’re religious and attend Mass. Problem is: Whenever she wants to receive Communion, her parish priest tells her no way because she’s “living in sin” with a divorced man.

This couple happens to be from Argentina. Six months ago, the wife, Jacquelina Sabetta Lisbona, decided to write a letter to the man who used to be Jorge Bergoglio, the old archbishop of Buenos Aires. What would happen, Jacquelina asked him, if she were to go to a parish where no one knew her and receive Communion there? Would she be violating church rules? Continue reading

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Pope has been busy: “goosebumps” and a phone call to nuns

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When Pope Francis addressed more than 100 leaders of male religious orders in November, he didn’t mince words.

He’s worried about the way young men are trained to become priests. “Problems are not solved simply by forbidding doing this or that,” said Francis, according to the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica, which on Friday published his remarks for the first time. Seminarians should do more than just follow the rules, he said. Continue reading

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