National Catholic Reporter

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First showers, now sleeping bags: Pope Francis' birthday gift to the homeless

Pope Francis marked his 78th birthday by giving hundreds of sleeping bags to the homeless in Rome, Vatican officials said Thursday.

Just one month after announcing plans to build showers for the homeless in St. Peter's Square, the pope called for 400 sleeping bags with the papal ensign to be distributed to people living on the streets.

If Rome wins 2024 Summer Olympics, Vatican could host competitions

Major sporting events could be held at the Vatican if Rome wins its bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2024.

Pope Francis, a keen soccer fan, is reported to be enthusiastic about the idea. He is expected to meet the head of Italy's National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago, and other officials at the Vatican on Friday after a Mass to commemorate the committee's 100th anniversary.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, former head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said he believed Francis would back plans to hold events such as archery in the Vatican gardens.

Dalai Lama says Pope Francis is unwilling to meet: 'It could cause problems'

The Dalai Lama said Thursday that he would not meet Pope Francis while in Rome for a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners.

"The Vatican administration says it is not possible because it could cause problems," the Dalai Lama said, hinting that the Vatican may be unwilling to irk China, a country with which it wants to engage and perhaps re-establish diplomatic relations.

But the Vatican's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, declined to say whether the pope had personally turned down a request for a meeting with the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists.


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September 25-October 8, 2015


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