National Catholic Reporter

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Vatican City

Pope: Just as God freely offers salvation, don't give hoping to benefit

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Christians are called to help those who have nothing to give and love those who don't love back, Pope Francis said.

Salvation and changing the world for the better require "doing good to those who aren't able to repay us, just like the Father did with us, giving us Jesus," the pope said at his weekly general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis to visit Turkey in November

Pope Francis will visit Turkey in November, eight years after his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country.

Turkey's newly elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, extended a formal invitation to Francis, and the Turkish Embassy to the Holy See confirmed Tuesday that the pope has accepted.

"The pope has been invited by both the Orthodox Church and the government and he is expected to meet the president during his visit," an embassy representative said.

Pope cites three lessons from Mary: Be joyful, help others, never give up

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When a mother has a birthday, children send their greetings and love, so make sure to do the same thing on the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Pope Francis said.

The liturgical feast day Monday "would be her birthday. And what do you do when your mom has a birthday? You send her greetings and best wishes," the pope said, after praying the Angelus with people gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square.

The pope asked people to say "a Hail Mary from the heart" and to not forget to tell her "Happy Birthday!"

Church cracks down on Catholics ensnared in murderous code of revenge

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Hidden beneath Albania's long legacy of interreligious harmony and peace lie the turmoil and bloodshed of an ancient vigilante code that affects thousands of families, many of them Catholic.

Called "blood feuds," they stem from a traditional Albanian code or "kanun" that sanctions murder to restore a family's honor after a member experiences an affront, injustice or killing.

The feud can start with a quarrel or offense, which then triggers the murder of any male member, even teenagers, in the perpetrator's family.

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In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015

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