National Catholic Reporter

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Vatican City

Pope asks prayers after great-nephews, their mother die in car crash

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Pope Francis asked people to join him in prayer Tuesday after he learned that two of his great-nephews and their mother had died in a car crash in Argentina. His nephew is in critical condition.

The dead were identified as the wife and two young sons of Pope Francis' nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio: Valeria Carmona, 39, Joseph Bergoglio, 2, and Antonio Bergoglio, 8 months.

According to Argentine news reports, the 35-year-old son of the pope's late brother Alberto Bergoglio underwent emergency surgery and was on a respirator.

Cardinal, patriarch call for international action to liberate Iraq

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Pope Francis' personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community Monday, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.

Pope to UN: Act to end the tragedy in Iraq

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Pope Francis formally asked U.N. agencies and the entire international community "to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway" in northeastern Iraq.

In a letter signed Aug. 9 but released by the Vatican after it had been delivered, Pope Francis told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediate action was needed "to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities."

Pope sends envoy to Iraq to deliver message of support and aid embattled Christians

Pope Francis is dispatching Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to northern Iraq, where Islamist militias have sent thousands of Christians and other religious minorities fleeing for their lives, the Vatican said Friday.

The Vatican announced the appointment of Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, only a day after the pope launched a fresh appeal for the welfare of Christians affected by the violence there.

Vatican: Abandoned Down syndrome baby is victim of 'throwaway' culture

The Vatican warned Wednesday that the alleged rejection of a baby born with Down syndrome to a surrogate mother in Thailand shows how babies have become consumer products for sale.

Surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua, a 21-year-old street vendor, made headlines around the world after claiming she is caring for 7-month-old Gammy, who also has a congenital heart defect, because his biological parents from Australia abandoned him in Thailand.

Pope says memorize the beatitudes, assess your care for the needy

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Christians should memorize not only the Ten Commandments but also the beatitudes, which Jesus taught as the path to true happiness, Pope Francis said.

At his weekly general audience Wednesday, the pope said he was so serious about the need for Christians to know the text of the beatitudes from Matthew 5:3-12 -- "Blessed are the poor in spirit ..." -- that he would read each one out loud and have the crowd repeat it.

More than 6,000 people filled the Vatican audience hall and its atrium for the pope's first general audience after a monthlong break.

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August 15-28, 2014

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