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Syrian bishop says nuns' kidnapping shocks, frightens Christians

The kidnapping of five Orthodox nuns from a Christian village near Damascus has shocked Syria's Christian community and filled many Christians with fear, said Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria.

Speaking Tuesday to Vatican Radio, Audo said the latest information is that the superior and four of the nuns belonging to the Orthodox Monastery of Santa Tecla in Maaloula were kidnapped during the night Sunday and taken to Yabrud, a city nearby.

"We have no more information," he said.

Pope reveals past work as bouncer to parishioners

In addition to having worked sweeping floors and running tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, Pope Francis revealed he also used to work as a bouncer.

No longer kicking troublemakers out of clubs, he has discovered the secret to bringing people back, this time, into the church, according to the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, Monday.

Israeli leader calls pope 'great shepherd of common heritage'


Pope Francis met Monday morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in their first meeting and as a possible precursor for a visit by the pope to the Holy Land some time next year.

The meeting, which lasted about 25 minutes in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, saw the two exchange gifts. Netanyahu presented the pope with a book written by his father on the Spanish inquisition, inscribing the text with a dedication: "To His Holiness Pope Franciscus, a great shepherd of our common heritage.”

Pope begins Advent with call for peace, dismantling of weapons


Pope Francis on Sunday began the Christian season leading to the celebration of Christmas with a call to Christians to enter into a never ending journey of peace towards the destruction and re-purposing of the world's weapons and armaments.

Speaking during his weekly Sunday Angelus blessing with pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff said the beginning of the Advent season is the beginning of a new stage of the "journey of the People of God" with Jesus "towards the Kingdom of justice, towards the Kingdom of peace."

Pope to students: Don't waste youth, respect diversity of thought


Speaking during a prayer service for students at Rome's universities, Pope Francis on Saturday urged the young people to not waste their youth and to pursue big projects beyond the scope of the ordinary.

Francis urged the students not to look at life as if from the balcony of a building but to "mingle" at ground level "where there are the challenges of the contemporary world."

"He does not live who does not respond to the challenges" facing the world regarding poverty and issues of human dignity, the pontiff said.

Pope expected to proclaim sainthood of Jesuit companion of St. Ignatius


Pope Francis is expected to issue a decree declaring one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint.

The decree is likely to take the form of what the Vatican terms an "equivalent canonization," in which the pope inserts the name of the new saint in the universal calendar of saints without verifying a miracle performed through his intercession and without holding a formal canonization ceremony.



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October 10-23, 2014


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