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Vatican

Priests on front line in Italy's battle against Mafias

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Pope Francis' dramatic appearance at a March prayer vigil with the families of Mafia victims, where he said he would plead on bended knee with Mafia bosses to "stop doing evil," has highlighted the Catholic church's role in combatting Italian organized crime.

"Pope Francis awakens consciences. Many who were a long way from the church are now asking to be baptized," said Fr. Luigi Ciotti, founder of the Italian anti-Mafia association Libera, which organized the March 21 vigil in Rome. "The pope brings a moral renewal that touches everyone. Every day I see the results."

Pope names woman president to papal academy, confirms papal liturgist

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Pope Francis has named British sociologist and professor Margaret Archer as the new president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

She is the second female president of the papal academy and succeeds U.S. law professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon, who served two five-year terms as head of the academy from 2004 to 2014.

The Vatican made the announcement Saturday.

Archer, who was born in 1943, has been a member of the pontifical academy since its establishment in 1994.

Pope to celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at center for elderly, disabled

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Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at a Rome rehabilitation facility for the elderly and people with disabilities.

He will preside over the Holy Thursday evening Mass and foot-washing ritual at the Father Carlo Gnocchi Foundation's Our Lady of Providence Center on the outskirts of Rome, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

Last year, the pope celebrate the Holy Thursday liturgy at Rome's Casal del Marmo juvenile detention center, where he washed the feet of young male and female offenders.

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July 4-17, 2014

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