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Francis

Vatican downplays report that it's under threat from Islamic terrorists

The Vatican on Monday rejected reports that it could be the next target of Islamist terrorists after last week's deadly attacks in France.

The move came as Pope Francis called for a "unanimous" global response to the Islamic State group as he left on his first official visit to the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Israeli state TV reported Sunday that U.S. intelligence services had warned the Vatican could be the next terrorist target, as international leaders joined an estimated 2 million people in a massive anti-terrorism rally in Paris.

Pope Francis to moms: It's OK to breast-feed in public

While baptizing 33 babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, Pope Francis urged mothers to breast-feed their infants if they were hungry.

"Mothers, give your children milk -- even now," Francis said. "If they cry because they are hungry, breast-feed them, don't worry."

The pope departed from his prepared text, which included the phrase "give them milk," and inserted the Italian term allattateli, which means "breast-feed them."

The celebration took place to mark the day Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River.

Catechism, yoga, Zen cannot open people's hearts to God, pope says

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Courses in yoga, Zen meditation, even extensive studies in church teaching and spirituality can never free people enough to open their hearts to God and his love, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

Only the Holy Spirit can "move the heart" and make it "docile to the Lord, docile to the freedom of love," the pope said Friday at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope looked at how Jesus' disciples could fail to recognize and be open to the Lord's miracles, like his walking on water, the multiplication of the loaves and encountering him on the road to Emmaus.

Pope Francis offers Mass for victims of attack at Paris satirical newspaper

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The morning after 12 people were shot to death and 11 others injured at the Paris office of a satirical weekly newspaper, Pope Francis dedicated his early morning Mass to the victims and their families.

At the beginning of the Mass on Thursday, he told the small congregation that the attack Wednesday in Paris was a reminder of "the cruelty man is capable of. Let us pray at this Mass for the victims of this cruelty -- there are so many! And, we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty that the Lord will change their hearts."

Only by loving, serving others can people come to know God, pope says

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Only people who love, and love in concrete ways -- not just with words -- can know God because God is love, Pope Francis said.

"Whoever loves, knows God; whoever does not love has not known God because God is love, but not soap opera love. No, no. Solid, strong love, eternal love, a love-made manifest," he said Thursday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

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