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Italy and Vatican on guard after threat from Islamic State

The Italian government is on high alert after threats from the Islamic State called Italy "the nation signed with the blood of the cross."

Italy is one of a handful of major Western counties that has not been victim of a large-scale terror assault since the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

Italian officials fear extremists could enter the country amid the growing tide of refugees arriving by boat from North Africa. About 500 extra troops have been stationed to guard symbolic targets in Rome and monitor the streets of the capital for suspicious activity.

Pope Francis: During Lent, return with tears to God's loving embrace


Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome's Aventine Hill.

After walking from the Benedictine monastery of St. Anselm to the Dominican-run Basilica of Santa Sabina on Wednesday, Pope Francis celebrated Mass. He received ashes on the top of his head from Cardinal Jozef Tomko, titular cardinal of the basilica, and distributed ashes to the Benedictines, the Dominicans, his closest aides and a family of five.

Pope: Liberty, equality can turn selfish, unfair without brotherly love


Liberty and equality are not enough for the well-being of a nation; there must also be a strong sense of brotherhood that is first developed and nurtured in the family, Pope Francis said.

Without seeing each other as brothers and sisters, a nation's citizens may distort these values, letting freedom and equality "be filled with individualism and conformity," he said at his general audience Wednesday.

People's choice: Good or evil? Look to Christ for right path, pope says


Every human heart has the capacity to do good or evil and to build or to destroy, but the strength to make the right choice comes from Christ, Pope Francis said.

"But why are we like this? Because we have this possibility for destruction, this is the problem," he said Tuesday during his homily in a morning Mass offered for the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya.



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November 20-December 3, 2015


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