National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican City

At Mass near John Paul's tomb, pope focuses on experiencing God's love

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Surprising pilgrims at Blessed John Paul II's tomb, Pope Francis made an early morning visit to St. Peter's Basilica and celebrated Mass with the mostly Polish pilgrims.

More than 100 priests and pilgrims were gathered Thursday at the basilica's Chapel of St. Sebastian for a morning Mass near Blessed John Paul's tomb. Pope Francis arrived unannounced to preside at the liturgy and prayed for the late pope's intercession to help today's Christians be strong, not weak in their faith.

Vatican not worried about possibility U.S. monitored its calls

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The Vatican has no evidence its calls were monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency and, even if they were, "we have no concerns about it," the Vatican spokesman said.

Asked about the possibility that the NSA's electronic eavesdropping program had monitored Vatican calls, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi told reporters Wednesday, "We have no evidence of this."

Celluloid heaven: how popes took church, Gospel to the big screen

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When Pope Benedict XVI joined Twitter in 2012 and Pope Francis appeared on Instagram the following year, media watchers may have thought they were witnessing a Vatican revolution. In both cases, however, the pontiffs were merely following in a long tradition.

The Catholic Church has a history of taking on major technological innovations that promote mass communication, such as the printing press in the 15th century and radio and television in the 20th. In fact, one of the very first motion picture films ever made was an 1896 reel of Pope Leo XIII.

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