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The Francis Chronicles

Today's message is from
Publisher Tom Fox

Pope: Don't let meatless Fridays be selfish and soulless, a seafood splurge

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Real fasting isn't just restricting food choices. It must also include cleansing the heart of all selfishness and making room in one's life for those in need and those who have sinned and need healing, Pope Francis said.

Faith without concrete acts of charity is not only hypocritical, "it is dead. What good is it?" he asked, criticizing those who hide behind a veil of piety while unjustly treating others, such as denying workers fair wages, a pension and health care.

Pope Francis: During Lent, return with tears to God's loving embrace

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Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome's Aventine Hill.

After walking from the Benedictine monastery of St. Anselm to the Dominican-run Basilica of Santa Sabina on Wednesday, Pope Francis celebrated Mass. He received ashes on the top of his head from Cardinal Jozef Tomko, titular cardinal of the basilica, and distributed ashes to the Benedictines, the Dominicans, his closest aides and a family of five.

Pope: Liberty, equality can turn selfish, unfair without brotherly love

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Liberty and equality are not enough for the well-being of a nation; there must also be a strong sense of brotherhood that is first developed and nurtured in the family, Pope Francis said.

Without seeing each other as brothers and sisters, a nation's citizens may distort these values, letting freedom and equality "be filled with individualism and conformity," he said at his general audience Wednesday.

People's choice: Good or evil? Look to Christ for right path, pope says

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Every human heart has the capacity to do good or evil and to build or to destroy, but the strength to make the right choice comes from Christ, Pope Francis said.

"But why are we like this? Because we have this possibility for destruction, this is the problem," he said Tuesday during his homily in a morning Mass offered for the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya.

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