National Catholic Reporter

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Pope Francis

Help Catholics understand, appreciate marriage, pope tells bishops

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When marriage is considered mainly as a way to satisfy one's need for affection, people feel free to define marriage however they want, Pope Francis said.

"Unfortunately, such a reductionist idea influences the mentality of Christians as well," leading some to see separation or divorce as a simple solution when problems arise, the pope told the bishops of Latvia and Estonia.

Pope Francis to open 30-bed homeless shelter a few steps from Vatican walls

Pope Francis will open a homeless shelter on the edge of Vatican City, the latest move by the pontiff to help poor people in Rome.

The shelter is under construction on Via Penitenzieri, just a few steps away from the Vatican walls, a Holy See spokeswoman said.

Once completed, the center will be run by volunteers, who will host 30 people at a time.

Setting up a shelter is just one of a few initiatives by Pope Francis to highlight the suffering of homeless people in the Italian capital.

Pope, Canadian prime minister discuss residential schools, Ukraine

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Religious freedom, the conflict in Ukraine and the environment were on the table as Pope Francis met briefly Thursday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Vatican said.

The prime minister's office said their discussions also included reference to the findings, released June 2, of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which detailed the treatment of aboriginal children in residential schools supported by the Canadian government but administered by religious organizations, including the Catholic church.

Francis meets a tardy Putin, as U.S. official calls for tougher talk

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Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, in a visit being scrutinized for meaning and significance as Russia continues taking unilateral military action in Ukraine.

The Vatican press office released an unusually lengthy description of the encounter, saying the discussions between the two leaders were “dedicated principally to the conflict in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.”

Valuing creation a long-held Catholic tradition

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With its release, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment will be the first such document to focus exclusively on issues of ecology and humans’ place within and relationship with God’s creation.

While Francis’ document has sparked renewed interest in this area, Catholics have a history of valuing creation. Its care is one of the strands of Catholic social teaching -- along with maintaining the dignity of all people, the common good, and peace and reconciliation -- present across the fabric of our history.

Pope’s concern for environment, the poor has Protestants paying attention

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Pope Francis has successfully gotten my Protestant attention.

He may not heal the rift our faiths made together during the Protestant Reformation of yore, but it surely looks small from the perspective of today. Christians agree on much more than not, like how Jesus predominantly and preeminently loved the poor and the marginalized. The rest of our differences, like ordination of women or natural law or hierarchical organization or the now understated infallibility doctrine, all pale in comparison to the witness of a man who washes feet and doesn’t waste words.

Periphery pope: Bosnia trip aims to build bridges in divided nation

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Pope Francis' concern for those suffering on the margins and for small Catholic communities that have kept the faith alive through war or repression will take him to Bosnia-Herzegovina in early June.

By making a one-day trip June 6 to Sarajevo, he said he hoped he could "be an encouragement for the Catholic faithful, give rise to the development of the good and contribute to strengthening fraternity, peace, interreligious dialogue and friendship."

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