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Pope declares medieval mystic a saint, advances seven other causes

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Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of seven men and women, including a Canadian and an English founder of two religious orders for women.

He also declared the Italian medieval mystic, Blessed Angela of Foligno, a saint, foregoing the usual process of canonization and without formally recognizing a second miracle.

Pope Francis accepted a proposal Wednesday by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, allowing Blessed Angela to become a saint immediately. The Vatican made the announcement Friday.

Archbishop says synod theme shows importance of family for pope

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Pope Francis' decision to call an extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in 2014 demonstrates how important he believes the family is and the urgency he sees in responding to problems Christian families face, said the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, council president, said it is obvious that the pastoral challenge of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics will be part of the synod's discussions, just as it's obvious they were part of his private discussions with the pope in mid-September.

Cardinal Dolan lauds pope's 'new strategy' of evangelization

Pope Francis' recent warning against overemphasizing moral teachings against abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception means that U.S. bishops should emulate his positive approach to evangelization, not shift the priorities of their public policy agenda, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

Muslim leader says pope is model of what religious leader should be

Pope Francis, like Islam's Sufi mystic theologians and poets, "is trying to do good for the sake of the Good One, motivated by love and compassion," said the president of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland.

Mohamad Bashar Arafat, a Syrian who has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, was visiting the Vatican and speaking to groups in Rome in early October as a guest of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See as part of the U.S. State Department's international speakers program.

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