National Catholic Reporter

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Francis

Italy and Vatican on guard after threat from Islamic State

The Italian government is on high alert after threats from the Islamic State called Italy "the nation signed with the blood of the cross."

Italy is one of a handful of major Western counties that has not been victim of a large-scale terror assault since the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

Italian officials fear extremists could enter the country amid the growing tide of refugees arriving by boat from North Africa. About 500 extra troops have been stationed to guard symbolic targets in Rome and monitor the streets of the capital for suspicious activity.

Funds raised for World Meeting of Families stand at $30 million so far

Officials for the World Meeting of Families this year in Philadelphia announced Friday that $30 million in cash and in-kind donations has been raised to support the four-day event Sept. 22-25, capped by the visit of Pope Francis.

The congress will welcome top speakers and participants, Catholic and non-Catholic, from across the United States and the world to discuss ways of strengthening and supporting families and the challenges they face.

Pope: Don't let meatless Fridays be selfish and soulless, a seafood splurge

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Real fasting isn't just restricting food choices. It must also include cleansing the heart of all selfishness and making room in one's life for those in need and those who have sinned and need healing, Pope Francis said.

Faith without concrete acts of charity is not only hypocritical, "it is dead. What good is it?" he asked, criticizing those who hide behind a veil of piety while unjustly treating others, such as denying workers fair wages, a pension and health care.

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March 27-April 9, 2015

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