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Vatican

Pope Francis heads to Bosnia as 'brother messenger of peace'

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Pope Francis said he will dedicate his one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encouraging a minority Catholic community in the faith, fostering ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and calling for peace and harmony after the devastations of war.

He said he would be coming "as a brother messenger of peace to express to everyone -- everyone -- my esteem and friendship. I would like to proclaim to each person, each family, each community, God's mercy, tenderness and love."

Pope Francis meets sick children and children of Italian inmates

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Sometimes, Pope Francis said, the most important thing parents of a seriously ill child can do is to keep asking God, "Why?"

A child of 2 or 3 years will torment his or her parents with a continual series of "whys," the pope said. The little ones are not looking for answers as much as they are seeking the attention of Mom or Dad.

"We can ask the Lord, 'Why, Lord? Why do children suffer? Why this child?' The Lord will not respond with words, but we will feel his gaze upon us and this will give us strength," Pope Francis told the parents of 20 seriously ill children.

Vatican downplays commission member's remarks about Cardinal Pell

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The Vatican's main spokesman has downplayed comments made about Australian Cardinal George Pell by a member of Pope Francis' commission on clergy sexual abuse, saying the member was speaking in his own name and not in the authority of the commission.

Commission member Peter Saunders, an English survivor of clergy sexual abuse, said in an Australian television interview Sunday that Pell had had an "almost sociopathic" disregard for abuse victims.

Vatican newspaper to host conference on women's roles in society

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The Vatican's semiofficial newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, is hosting a three-day conference on the role of women in the church and the world this weekend.

Being held Friday-Sunday on the topic "The Church and the status of women today," the event will see 15 addresses by a number of prominent women from around the world. The three sessions of the conference will focus on three separate issues: violence perpetrated against women, family issues, and so-called "feminine identity."

Francis calls for reorientation of catechesis away from 'simply scholastic sphere'

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Pope Francis has called for a reorientation of the Catholic church's way of educating people in the faith, saying the process of catechesis should steer away from using "simply the scholastic sphere" in order to teach people to encounter and follow Christ.

The pontiff has also offered a new definition for a term that has long befuddled many church observers, redefining the "new evangelization" as an effort by Catholics to evince their faith by working to help those on society's peripheries.

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