National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican City

God reveals himself to humble hearts, says pope

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God reveals himself to humble and meek hearts, said Pope Francis at morning Mass.

"Many can know science, theology as well. But if they do not do this theology on their knees, that is, humbly, like the little ones, they will not understand anything. They will tell us many things, but they will not understand anything," he said Dec. 2 in his homily during the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

The world will end with peace, not annihilation, Pope Francis says

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Believing in eternity and in the final establishment of the kingdom of God, Christians throughout history -- starting with the disciples -- were filled with questions such as when the end will come and what will happen to the created world, Pope Francis said.

No one knows the answer to those questions, the pope said Wednesday at his weekly general audience, but Catholics are convinced that the end of time will not bring the "annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us."

Pope, creating six new saints, uses newly abbreviated formula

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Using a newly simplified rite, Pope Francis proclaimed six new saints and praised them for the love and self-giving with which they served God and built up his kingdom by serving the poor and needy.

Creating the two Indian and four Italian saints Sunday, the feast of Christ the King, the pope said, "They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbor," dedicating themselves, "without holding back, to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims."

Break down isolation, stigma of autism, pope says

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Pope Francis called for greater acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorders and their families to break down the "isolation" and "stigma" that burdens them.

"Everyone should be committed to promoting acceptance, encounter and solidarity through concrete support and by encouraging renewed hope," the pope said Saturday during a meeting with people with autism disorders and their families, and with 700 participants in a three-day conference on autism and related disorders, organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.

Vatican raffles pope gifts to raise money for poor

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Like many Catholic parishes, the Vatican has turned to a raffle to raise money; the difference is, though, the prizes are items originally given as gifts to Pope Francis.

For 10 euros -- about $12.50 -- anyone can go to the Vatican post office or pharmacy and buy a chance to win a Fiat Panda 4x4, a small SUV "fully loaded" with every option available, the Vatican said. Tickets are not for sale on the Internet or anywhere outside Vatican City.

Italy promises to return 23 million euros to Vatican bank

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In what the Vatican bank described as recognition that it has established serious measures to prevent money laundering, it announced the Italian government has promised to return 23 million euros (U.S. $29 million) that had been blocked for more than three years.

Even though the Italian government in 2011 said it was releasing the funds, the Italians believed "issues regarding customer due diligence remained unsolved" and so held on to the funds, said a statement Tuesday from the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal name of what is commonly called the Vatican bank.

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