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Jul 29, 2013

Pope says gays must not be judged or marginalized

ROME (Reuters) – Pope Francis, in some of the most compassionate words from any pontiff on gays, said they should not be judged or marginalized and should be integrated into society, but he reaffirmed Church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin.

In a broad-ranging 80-minute conversation with journalists on the plane bringing him back from a week-long visit to Brazil, Francis also said the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests was definitive, although he would like them to have more leadership roles in administration and pastoral activities.

Jul 28, 2013

Millions at Brazil Mass hear pope ask youth to change world

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Rio’s famed Copacabana beach, usually the venue for scantily-clad sun-seekers and revelry, became a massive Catholic campground on Sunday as Pope Francis concluded a youth festival by urging young people to go forth and build a new world.

A festive crowd estimated by organizers and the Vatican to be more than 3 million strong, including many who slept in the area and local residents who poured out of homes and buses, turned out to see the Argentine pope on the final day of his week-long trip.

Jul 28, 2013

Pope, in candid speech, speaks of ‘exodus’ from the Church

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis, in a stunningly candid assessment of the state of the Catholic Church, said on Saturday it should look in the mirror and ask why so many people are leaving the faith of their fathers.

On the penultimate day of his trip to Brazil, Francis delivered a long address to the country’s bishops in which he suggested elements of what could become a blueprint for stopping what he called an “exodus.”

Jul 28, 2013

Pope urges Brazil’s youth to seek change, fight apathy

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged Brazil’s young people, who have protested against corruption in their country, to continue their efforts to change society by fighting apathy and offering “a Christian response.”

The 76-year-old pope spoke to a crowd estimated by the Vatican to be more than 2 million people gathered on Rio’s famed Copacabana beach for an evening rally where he also urged young people to shun fleeting fads and be “athletes of Christ.”

Jul 27, 2013

Pope calls for dialogue to end Brazil protests

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Saturday said leaders must address the issues raised in protests in Brazil, and in a message to priests worldwide urged them to leave their comfortable surroundings to serve the poor and needy.

In a talk to Brazil’s cultural and business leaders in Rio’s municipal theater, Francis, in his first direct mention of the protests, said constructive dialogue was “essential for facing

Jul 27, 2013

Pope tells clergy to go out on the streets and help the poorest

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis told Catholic clergy on Saturday to leave their comfort zones and smug surroundings and reach out to serve the poor and needy.

“We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel,” he said in the sermon of a Mass in Rio’s cathedral on the penultimate day of his trip to Brazil.

Jul 27, 2013

Pope, in Brazil, asks young to change unfair, corrupt world

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis urged young people on Friday to change a world where food is discarded while millions go hungry, where racism and violence still affront human dignity and where politics is more associated with corruption than service.

Francis, on the fifth day of his first trip abroad since his election in March, went to Rio’s Copacabana beach to preside at a “Way of the Cross” service commemorating Jesus’ final hours as part of an international jamboree of Catholic youth, known as World Youth Day.

Jul 26, 2013

Despite rapturous reception, pope faces challenges in Latin America

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilians have given Pope Francis a superstar’s welcome on his first return to his home continent but the big question is whether the trip can help stop the hemorrhaging of the Catholic Church in Latin America.

The first Latin American pope is clearly relishing the enthusiasm at a time when the Church, which once was an unrivalled religious bastion on the continent, is grappling to hold onto faithful.

Jul 26, 2013

Pope scolds rich, demands social justice in visit to Brazil slum

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Thursday issued the first social manifesto of his young pontificate, telling slum dwellers in Brazil that the world’s rich must do much more to wipe out vast inequalities between the haves and the have-nots.

The pope also urged Brazil’s youth, who have taken part in recent protests showing discontent with the status quo, to keep alive their “sensitivity towards injustice” and be a catalyst in the fight against corruption.

Jul 26, 2013

Crowd of up to a million cheers Pope on Brazil’s Copacabana beach

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Thursday issued his first social manifesto, calling on the rich to wipe out vast inequalities, and later received an ecstatic welcome from up to a million people on Rio’s famed Copacabana beach.

During a visit to a Rio slum on Thursday morning, the first Latin American pope called for a “culture of solidarity” to replace the “selfishness and individualism” in modern society.