National Catholic Reporter

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Vatican City

Pope Francis summons 'Bishop Bling' to the Vatican for private talks

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Pope Francis met Friday in a closed-door meeting with the German churchman known as "Bishop Bling," Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, whose extravagant and expensive lifestyle cost him his job.

Tebartz-van Elst, 54, spent more than $40 million of church money renovating his home in Limburg, Germany. He became a worldwide phenomenon, in part because his lifestyle clashed so sharply with that of Francis, known for living in spartan and humble surroundings and for preaching restraint and austerity.

Only way to know how much God loves you is to give him a try, pope says

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God is not stingy with his love and mercy; he is generous and forgiving, patiently waiting for his children who have sinned to come home, Pope Francis said.

God is the father described in the parable of the prodigal son, "a father who always waits for us, who always forgives us and who celebrates when we return," the pope said in his homily Friday during an early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Pope says bishops, priests need prayers, grace to be holy, loving

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The world's bishops, priests and deacons need people's prayers and encouragement to continually deepen their relationship with Jesus and serve their community with love, Pope Francis said.

A minister of God who does not nourish his love for Christ, his church and his flock "inevitably ends up losing sight and an authentic sense of his service and the joy that comes from a deep communion with Jesus," he said.

Pope appoints British canon law expert to economic oversight council

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Pope Francis named Msgr. Brian Ferme, a former dean of the School of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, to be the new prelate secretary of the Vatican Council for the Economy.

In his new position, the British priest will assist German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, head of the council Pope Francis established Feb. 24 to set policies for the administrative and financial activities of all Vatican offices and bodies.

The Vatican announced the monsignor's appointment Saturday.

Russell Crowe meets Pope Francis but leaves without a 'Noah' endorsement

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Russell Crowe, who plays the title character in the new Hollywood blockbuster "Noah," lobbied hard for a personal audience with Pope Francis. What he got Wednesday instead was a blessing.

Crowe used social media in recent weeks to try to cajole Francis to watch "Noah," which has drawn fire from religious groups that say the film takes too many liberties with the biblical story of Noah's Ark and the great flood. Crowe also asked for a private audience with the pontiff.

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