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Pope says church tensions must be resolved with discussion, prayer

Vatican City

In the church, as in any other situation, "problems cannot be resolved by pretending they don't exist," Pope Francis said.

"Confronting one another, discussing and praying -- that is how conflicts in the church are resolved," the pope said Sunday before praying the "Regina Coeli" with visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The pope focused his remarks on the day's first reading, Acts 6:1-7, which describes how the early Christian community, as it grew to include people from different groups, began to experience internal tensions, and how those tensions were resolved at a meeting of the disciples.

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Facing the problem, discussing solutions and praying about the tensions, he said, the disciples found harmony and an end to a situation in which there was "discontent, complaints, accusations of favoritism and inequality."

"Gossip, envy and jealousy never can bring agreement, harmony and peace," the pope said. "No gossip, no envy, no jealousy -- you understand?" he asked the crowd.

After praying the "Regina Coeli," Pope Francis asked people to join him praying a Hail Mary for the victims of recent flooding in Serbia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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