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On abortion and contraception, Vatican puts words in context

On successive days in mid-January, Pope Francis and his top collaborator at the Vatican made public statements that provided a lesson in Franciscan contextualization of highly loaded moral issues.

On Monday, the pope told the Vatican diplomatic corps that he found it "horrifying just to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day."

Authority in preaching comes from loving like Jesus did, pope says

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The authority of Jesus' teaching seemed "new" to the people of his day, not because of its content, but because of the love and respect with which Jesus spoke, Pope Francis said.

Jesus "wanted the people to draw near and seek him, and he was moved when he saw them like sheep without a shepherd," the pope said Tuesday in the homily at his early morning Mass.

The day's Gospel reading, describing Jesus preaching in the synagogue at Capernaum, said the people were astonished by his preaching, which to them was "a new teaching with authority."

Pope to moms: It's OK to breast-feed in public, even in Sistine Chapel

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Pope Francis assured mothers that breast-feeding their babies in public, even during a papal Mass in the Sistine Chapel, is OK.

No chorus is as wonderful as the squeaks, squeals and banter of children, the pope said during a Mass in which he baptized 32 babies Sunday, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

"Some will cry because they are uncomfortable or because they are hungry," he said during his brief and unscripted homily.

"If they are hungry, mothers, let them eat, no worries, because here they are the main focus," he said.

Pope: Too many Christians have watered-down hope, lukewarm faith in God

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There are too many "defeated Christians" in the church who do not fully believe in the faith handed down to them by way of tradition and who do not completely trust in God, Pope Francis said.

If Christians don't believe and live the faith as a victorious mover of mountains, then "there is only defeat, and the prince of the world conquers the world," the pope said in his homily Friday during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Pope: Christian love isn't soap-opera swoon, it's generous, concrete

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Christians must love through concrete actions, not words, which are just whisked away in the wind, Pope Francis said.

True love knows it's more important to give -- "give things, give life, give oneself to God and others" -- than receive, the pope said in his homily Thursday during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

Christian love is generous and real, it's not some dreamy romantic notion and "not the love on soap operas," he said, according to Vatican Radio.

Pope meets baby Jesus, carries lamb during visit to live Nativity scene

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Surrounded by cheese sellers, shoemakers and bleating, baying animals, Pope Francis immersed himself in a lively re-enactment of a special day in Bethlehem.

He even let a lamb rest on his shoulders and greeted a tiny baby named Francis, who played the part of Jesus, when he visited a live Nativity scene Monday at the Church of St. Alfonso Maria dei Liguori on the northern outskirts of Rome.

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September 12-25, 2014

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