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Catholic church must welcome 'unconventional couples,' top Italian bishop says

The Catholic church should make "unconventional couples" feel at home instead of making them targets of "de facto discrimination," the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.

"Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice," said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, an apparent reference to divorced and remarried Catholics.

On St. Ignatius feast, pope meets family of Jesuit kidnapped in Syria

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Pope Francis, a Jesuit, celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola by meeting the family of a Jesuit kidnapped in Syria a year ago and joining them and priests at the Jesuit headquarters for lunch.

Jesuit Fr. Giuseppe Bellucci said the pope had "communicated at the last minute" his desire to join the community at the Jesuit headquarters for lunch Thursday, the feast day of the founder of the Society of Jesus.

"It was a private and simple visit," Bellucci said.

Poll: More Italians support abortion rights than cosmetic surgery

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.

Diarmuid Martin: Chapter on abuse is not closed while people still suffer

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The crisis of child abuse by clergy is not a thing of the past -- it will linger until the church humbly and courageously reaches out to all people still suffering in silence, said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

"To some it might seem less than prudent to think that the church would go out of its way to seek out even more victims and survivors," opening up further possibilities for lawsuits, anguish and "trouble," he told representatives from bishops' conferences from around the world.

Religious procession past Mafia boss' home irks Italy's Catholic clergy

Only two weeks after Pope Francis announced he was excommunicating the Mafia, a religious procession in southern Italy has provoked uproar after paying homage to a convicted mobster.

Catholic bishops condemned the detour of the traditional procession, which carried a statue of the Madonna past the house of 82-year-old Peppe Mazzagatti, a Mafia boss serving a life sentence under house arrest.

Italian archbishop calls for 10-year ban on godparents to stop Mafia infiltration

After a pledge by Pope Francis to "excommunicate" mobsters from the Catholic Church, an archbishop in southern Italy has proposed a 10-year ban on naming godparents at baptisms and confirmations as a way to stop the mafia from spreading its influence.

Msgr. Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, the archbishop of Reggio Calabria, wrote to Francis some time ago with his suggestion "to prevent the exploitation of the church," in particular by the powerful Calabrian mafia known as 'Ndrangheta, and discussed his proposal with the pope at the Vatican last weekend.

Pope on Corpus Christi: Jesus in the Eucharist gives life, love

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Jesus is the living bread that can satisfy a person's deepest yearnings, Pope Francis said on the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

"Besides physical hunger, people have another hunger, one that cannot be satisfied with ordinary food," the pope said Thursday. "It is the hunger for life, hunger for love [and] hunger for eternity."

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