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Vatican City

South Korean SUV joins elite popemobile fleet

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A new, specially modified Hyundai SUV has joined the elite ranks of the popemobile fleet.

The open-roof, white Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi had its debut in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday during Pope Francis' weekly general audience.

The vehicle sits lower than the typical popemobiles, which had higher ground clearance or a raised bed to offer crowds maximum visibility of the pope, who stands or sits in the back.

Pope Francis rode in two types of South Korean-made open popemobiles during his visit to the South Korea last year: a Kia Carnival and a Hyundai Santa Fe.

Pope Francis names auditor general for Vatican

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More than a year after establishing special structures to oversee the Vatican's finances, Pope Francis has named an Italian accountant and expert in corporate risk management as the Vatican's auditor general.

The Vatican announced Friday the appointment of Libero Milone, the Dutch-born, London-educated chairman and managing partner of Milone Associates. He has worked for Flack Renewables, Wind Telecom and Fiat. Until 2007, he was chairman of Deloitte Italy and served three years as a member of the audit committee of the United Nations' World Food Program.

Russia's Putin to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican amid global tensions

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Pope Francis on June 10, with pressure on the pope to speak up about the Kremlin's role in the Ukraine conflict.

The visit, which was confirmed Thursday by the Holy See's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, will be Putin's second meeting with Francis. The two leaders also met in the Vatican in November 2013.

But the ground between Moscow and Rome has shifted significantly in the interim, with Russia annexing the Crimea Peninsula last year and being accused of fomenting the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.

Pope Francis helps homeless, poor in Rome make pilgrimage to Shroud of Turin

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With financial assistance from Pope Francis, a Rome parish led 50 homeless and poor people on a pilgrimage to see the Shroud of Turin on Thursday and has provided the money needed for another Rome parish to do the same a week later.

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, said the pope supported the pilgrimages particularly as part of the preparation for his own trip to Turin June 21-22 to venerate the shroud, which has been on public display since late April.

Cubans await Pope Francis with 'open arms,' Cardinal Ortega says

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Cubans are waiting for Pope Francis "with open arms," said Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana.

The cardinal met briefly with the pope at the end of the papal general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square. The cardinal was in Rome fine-tuning the program for the papal visit to Cuba this September, according to the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

War, greed, consumerism, 'cult of appearance' harm families, pope says

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Families are weakened and destroyed by war, "the mother of all forms of poverty," as well as by economies and policies that worship money and power, Pope Francis said.

"It's almost a miracle" that, even in poverty and crisis, the family can keep on going, safeguarding its bonds and staying intact, he said at his weekly general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.

Failures are par for the course toward salvation, says Pope Francis

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The road to salvation may be pitted with failures, but God uses them and overturns them to manifest his love for his people, said Pope Francis.

Reflecting on the parable of the wicked tenants in the Gospel of Mark during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Monday, the pope said the parable may be understood to represent the "failure of God's dream."

Pope Francis heads to Bosnia as 'brother messenger of peace'

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Pope Francis said he will dedicate his one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encouraging a minority Catholic community in the faith, fostering ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and calling for peace and harmony after the devastations of war.

He said he would be coming "as a brother messenger of peace to express to everyone -- everyone -- my esteem and friendship. I would like to proclaim to each person, each family, each community, God's mercy, tenderness and love."

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