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The man who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II was expelled from Italy after paying a visit to the pope's tomb.
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.
"During his 20 years as pastor in a town on the outskirts of Turin, many paintings, statues, furniture and other objects have been lost and then found in private homes."
Half a dozen men stand nonchalantly in front of a grubby building on one of Rome's busiest streets as cars whizz past. They stiffen whenever a stranger approaches.
But few would guess they're undercover cops protecting Italy's most endangered man.
Inside is Fr. Luigi Ciotti, a 69-year-old priest with soft brown eyes and silver hair who has spent the past 20 years fighting the Italian Mafia.
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Pope Francis "strongly desired that [the villas] be opened as a sign of sharing something unique, a common good."
As the Catholic church wrestles with changing community attitudes on key social issues, a new Italian survey finds more support for abortion, gay rights and euthanasia than for cosmetic surgery.
According to the survey published in the daily La Stampa this week, 61 percent of Italians support abortion and 76 percent believe they should be able to request the right to die.
Being Christian is putting God first in one's life, which means having "the courage to say no to evil, violence and exploitation," said Pope Francis, visiting another southern Italian town scarred by mafia crime.
Pope Francis sought forgiveness for decades of persecution of Italian Pentecostals when he met with around 300 evangelicals from the U.S., Argentina and Italy in the southern town of Caserta on Monday.
The pope made his second visit in as many days to the Mafia stronghold near Naples, this time to meet evangelical pastor Giovanni Traettino, whom he befriended while he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.