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Vatican City

Pope calls for global defense of Christians facing persecution

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Pope Francis condemned the "absurd violence" being used against Christians in several countries and called on people of good will everywhere to take up the cause of religious freedom.

At the end of his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis asked the estimated 15,000 people in St. Peter's Square to join him in reciting the Lord's Prayer for Christians facing persecution.

Pope Francis asked to avoid Turkey's lavish 1,000-room presidential palace

Pope Francis' penchant for austerity and humility will face a diplomatic challenge when he visits Turkey's new ostentatious presidential palace on his first visit to the country later this month.

Francis will be the first foreign dignitary to be welcomed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the new 1,000-room palace when he visits Ankara on Nov. 28.

Turkish architects have written to the pope urging him not to go to the palace built by Erdogan and known locally as the "White Palace."

Pope urges G-20 focus on helping the poor, says 'lives are at stake'

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As world leaders prepared to meet in Australia to continue looking at ways to improve the global economy, Pope Francis asked them "not to forget that many lives are at stake" behind their discussions and decisions.

The measure of success of the Group of 20 heavily industrialized and emerging-market countries will not be found in statistics, but in "real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality," the pope said in a message.

Pope: Bishops must be servants, not vain careerists after power, honor

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The world's bishops are called to be servants and shepherds who use their position to care for people and the faith, not to seek power and boost their pride, Pope Francis said.

The church has no place for men with a "worldly mentality" who are seeking a career, he said at his weekly general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.

"It's sad when you see a man who seeks this office and who does so much to get there and when he makes it, he doesn't serve, but struts like a peacock, living only for his own vanity," the pope said.

Pope says annulment process should be cheaper and more efficient

Pope Francis said the church's marriage annulment process should be more efficient and perhaps even free of charge, and he decried any attempts to exploit it for profit.

"Some procedures are so long and so burdensome, they don't favor [justice], and people give up," the pope said. "Mother church should do justice and say: 'Yes, it's true, your marriage is null. No, your marriage is valid.' But justice means saying so. That way, they can move on without this doubt, this darkness in their soul."

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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