National Catholic Reporter

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Vatican City

Pope Francis: Being Christian is service, not 'makeup' for a pretty soul

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Being Christian is humbly serving others, not applying "makeup" to your soul to make it prettier, Pope Francis said.

"To be Christian is to do what Jesus did -- serve," he said in a homily Thursday during Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Thinking about oneself and being self-centered "is a sin, it's a habit we have to break," he said, according to Vatican Radio. Just ask for forgiveness and pray "that the Lord convert us," he added.

High-level tweeting: Study confirms pope's Twitter influence

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When Pope Francis tweets, the world listens.

According to "Twiplomacy," a study of the Twitter accounts of world leaders and their retweet rates, U.S. President Barack Obama has the most Twitter followers, but Pope Francis' @Pontifex is the most influential Twitter account -- his average "retweet" and "favorite" rate is more than eight times higher than Obama's.

France says Vatican has not issued response for proposed ambassador

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Despite media reports that Pope Francis refused the candidate that France proposed as its next ambassador to the Holy See, the French government has yet to receive an official response from the Vatican, said a spokesperson for the French government.

"For the moment, we wait," said Stephane Le Foll.

During a press briefing Wednesday in Paris, Le Foll confirmed that Pope Francis met with the proposed candidate, Laurent Stefanini. However, Le Foll discounted reports claiming the pope did not approve the nomination.

Francis calls for renewal of 'alliance' between men and women

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Pope Francis has called for the reinforcement of what he has termed a biblical "alliance" between men and women that strengthens their communion in relationships but also respects differences between them.

Speaking in his weekly general audience Wednesday, the pope also rejected forms of male chauvinism that devalue women and called on society to "bring back" honor for marriage and family life.

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