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Discussion a hallmark of meetings with pope

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One difference between Pope Francis and his predecessors: He doesn't give speeches. He talks.

At events in late November and early December, the pattern was the same: Meeting with a group, the pope sat among them, gave no prepared remarks, but conversed freely and at length.

Describing the experience of meeting Francis, Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga said that "to speak with the pope face to face is a spiritual experience."

Prosecutor warns of a mafia threat against Pope Francis

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The Vatican on Friday downplayed reported mob threats against Pope Francis, just two days after a high-profile anti-mafia prosecutor said Francis could be a target from the 'Ndrangheta mafia organization in southern Italy.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's chief spokesman, told reporters Friday that the Vatican was "extremely calm" regarding a possible mob threat against the pope.

"There is absolutely no reason for concern, no need to feed alarmism," Lombardi said.

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April 11-24, 2014

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