National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican City

China to Pope Francis: Don't 'interfere' with religion

China has reacted cautiously to a bid by Pope Francis to open new dialogue with Beijing, with some officials quick to warn the Vatican not to "interfere" with the country's religion.

On his return flight from a five-day tour of South Korea, Francis said he was ready to go to China -- "For sure! Tomorrow!" -- after receiving a positive response to two goodwill telegrams he sent to President Xi Jinping as the pope flew over Chinese airspace.

Pope thanks people for prayers for his family after deadly crash

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Pope Francis, in mourning for the deaths of his nephew's wife and two small children, thanked people at his weekly general audience Wednesday for their prayers.

After each of the priests who translate the pope's words offered him condolences for the tragedy that struck his family, Pope Francis explained to the people: "The pope has a family, too. We were five siblings, and I have 16 nieces and nephews. One of these nephews was in an accident. His wife died along with his two small children -- one who was 2 years old and the other several months."

Pope asks prayers after great-nephews, their mother die in car crash

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Pope Francis asked people to join him in prayer Tuesday after he learned that two of his great-nephews and their mother had died in a car crash in Argentina. His nephew is in critical condition.

The dead were identified as the wife and two young sons of Pope Francis' nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio: Valeria Carmona, 39, Joseph Bergoglio, 2, and Antonio Bergoglio, 8 months.

According to Argentine news reports, the 35-year-old son of the pope's late brother Alberto Bergoglio underwent emergency surgery and was on a respirator.

Cardinal, patriarch call for international action to liberate Iraq

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Pope Francis' personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community Monday, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.

Pope to UN: Act to end the tragedy in Iraq

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Pope Francis formally asked U.N. agencies and the entire international community "to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway" in northeastern Iraq.

In a letter signed Aug. 9 but released by the Vatican after it had been delivered, Pope Francis told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediate action was needed "to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities."

Pope sends envoy to Iraq to deliver message of support and aid embattled Christians

Pope Francis is dispatching Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to northern Iraq, where Islamist militias have sent thousands of Christians and other religious minorities fleeing for their lives, the Vatican said Friday.

The Vatican announced the appointment of Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, only a day after the pope launched a fresh appeal for the welfare of Christians affected by the violence there.

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