National Catholic Reporter

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Vatican

From Syria and Iraq to Ukraine, Francis hits home on 'ecumenism of blood'

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News about Pope Francis continues to flow at such a torrid pace that it's hard to digest one development before the next one hits. His Dec. 15 blockbuster interview with La Stampa is a case in point, with a shake-up at the Congregation for Bishops 24 hours later making it already seem ancient history.

Discussion a hallmark of meetings with pope

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One difference between Pope Francis and his predecessors: He doesn't give speeches. He talks.

At events in late November and early December, the pattern was the same: Meeting with a group, the pope sat among them, gave no prepared remarks, but conversed freely and at length.

Describing the experience of meeting Francis, Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga said that "to speak with the pope face to face is a spiritual experience."

Vatican to form commission on abuse

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When Pope Francis announced in April that he would convene a sort of "kitchen cabinet" of the world's cardinals, he gave the group two general objectives: to help him in reforming the Vatican's bureaucracy and to advise him in governing the global church.

While we are still waiting to see exactly where pursuit of the first goal will lead, December's meeting of the Council of Cardinals saw the group embracing the second.

Francis calls anti-Christian violence 'ecumenism of blood'

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In a Dec. 14 interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Pope Francis suggested that the common experience of anti-Christian persecution around the world could become the basis for efforts at Christian unity, calling it the "ecumenism of blood."

Here is the text of what Pope Francis said, in reply to a question from Italian writer Andrea Tornielli as to whether ecumenism is a priority for the pope, in NCR translation from the Italian.

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April 11-24, 2014

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