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Report sex abuse, Pope tells Spanish victim

Pope Francis arrives outside of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Credit: Press Association Images

Pope Francis says that he personally phoned a Spanish man who had been sexually abused by a priest and urged him to report the offense to the diocese.

Three priests and a layman were arrested on Monday in connection with the case in the southern city of Granada.

Francis, speaking to reporters while returning home from Strasbourg on Tuesday, said he received a letter from the alleged victim and then phoned him, telling him to go to the Granada diocese in person to report the abuse that took place about 10 years ago.

Pope Francis said he then wrote to the bishop and urged him to launch an investigation.

The Holy Father also said that the case was causing him "great pain..But the truth is the truth and we cannot hide it."

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Pope loses fight for wider acceptance of gay people

Pope Francis has suffered a setback as hardline Catholic bishops vetoed his proposal for a wider acceptance of gay people and Catholic divorcees.

Pope Francis called for a wider acceptance of gay people. Credit: Reuters

Despite Pope Francis warning traditionalists against "hostile rigidity" before the vote, bishops rejected language aimed at welcoming gay people and divorcees who have remarried into the Catholic Church.

Bishops said the document, which spoke of "accepting and valuing their (homosexuals') sexual orientations" and giving gays a "welcoming home", threatened to undermine the traditional family.

The final version said anti-gay discrimination is only "to be avoided".

Gay rights groups expressed disappointment at the decision.

Pope condemns 'perverted' IS militants

Pope Francis has stepped up his criticism of Islamic State militants, accusing the group of "perverting" religion.

He said no religious group which used violence and oppression could claim to be "the armour of God".

Pope Francis waves as he arrives in Tirana. Credit: Reuters

Let no one consider themselves the 'armour' of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression.

– Pope Francis
Pope Francis speaks with Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama. Credit: Reuters

Francis made his comments during a one-day visit to Albania, an impoverished Balkan country hailed by the pontiff as a model of inter-faith harmony because of good relations between its majority Muslim community and its Christian denominations.

Pope: World conflicts amount to piecemeal WWIII

Pope Francis has said the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a "piecemeal" Third World War, condemning the arms trade and "plotters of terrorism" sowing death and destruction.

Pope Francis walks inside the Austro-Hungarian cemetery at Fogliano in Redipuglia Credit: Reuters

"Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep," Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy's largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.

"Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction," he said.

In the past few months, Francis has made repeated appeals for an end to conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and parts of Africa.

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Pope shuns luxury in South Korea with small car

Pope Francis has surprised South Koreans during his visit to the country by shunning an expensive luxury car to travel in a compact car instead.

After arriving at the airport he climbed into the backseat of a a Kia Soul - the manufacturer's second smallest model.

Pope Francis has refused to use a bullet-proof "popemobile" like his predecessors in favour of low-key cars.

His choice of car has received wide coverage in South Korea, where ostentatious shows of wealth usually represent a person's status.

Pope Francis makes historic South Korea visit

Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has arrived in South Korea on the first papal visit to the Asian nation in 25 years, stepping off a plane on to a red carpet and greeting the president, Catholics and grieving relatives of the recent ferry disaster.

During his five-day visit, Francis plans to beatify 124 Korean martyrs and encourage a vibrant and growing local church seen as a model for the future of Catholicism.

North Korea 'fires projectiles' into the sea

North Korea has fired three "short-range projectiles" into the sea, just an hour before Pope Francis arrived in South Korea for an official visit, Associated Press have reported.

An official with the South Korean Defence ministry said the apparent test firing Thursday came less than an hour before rival Seoul welcomed the pope for the first papal visit to South Korea in 25 years.

The official says that the projectiles were fired from Wonsan on the east coast and flew about 220 kilometers (135 miles).

The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing official policy.

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