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Vatican

Rome official: Retired pope to attend canonizations; spokesman cautious

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Retired Pope Benedict XVI is expected to attend the canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II on Sunday, said Msgr. Liberio Andreatta, head of the Vatican-related pilgrim agency, Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.

"Never before have there been two popes canonized and two popes living," he said at a news conference Wednesday in Rome to discuss final plans and preparations for pilgrims. "You can imagine their emotions."

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."

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July 18-31, 2014

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