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Turkey recalls Vatican ambassador over Pope's Armenian 'genocide' comments

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the Vatican following controversial remarks from Pope Francis during a Mass to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenians massacre.

During the service, the Pope described the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians as "the first genocide of the 20th century".

Turkey has long refused to call the event a genocide and has insisted that the toll has been inflated, and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

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Pope prays for an end to the persecution of Christians

Pope Francis used his Easter Sunday address to pray for an end to the persecution of Christians, commemorating the students massacred in Kenya.

Pope Francis waves at the end of the Easter mass in St. Peter's Square. Credit: REUTERS/Max Rossi

The Pope delivered a mostly sombre "Urbi et Orbi" message: "We ask Jesus, the victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for his name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence - and there are many."

Crowds gathered at the Vatican despite the rain. Credit: REUTERS/Max Rossi

The pope spoke as churches in Kenya, where al Shabaab gunmen massacred nearly 150 people, turned to armed guards to protect their congregations.

Crowds gather in the rain for Pope's Easter address

Roman Catholic crowds have gathered in St Peter's Square despite the rain to listen to Pope Francis' Easter address.

Pope Francis tweeted 'Christ is risen! Christ is alive and journeys with us!' Credit: APTN
A sea of umbrellas were out as the Pope addressed the Roman Catholic crowds. Credit: APTN
Pope Francis' Easter address was delivered to thousands of people. Credit: APTN

Pope Francis condemns FGM and domestic violence

Pope Francis condemned violence against women and girls. Credit: Evandro Inetti/Zuma Press/PA

Pope Francis has condemned female mutilation and domestic violence against women,calling them degradations that had to be combated.

"The many forms of slavery, the commercialisation, and mutilation of the bodies of women, call out to us to be committed to defeat these types of degradation that reduce them to mere objects that are bought and sold," he told a meeting on women's issues hosted by the Vatican's Council for Culture.

Pope Francis also denounced domestic violence.He said: "Although it is a symbol of life, the female body is unfortunately attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be its protector and life companion".

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Pope Francis to visit Bosnian capital of Sarajevo

Pope Francis has said he would make a one-day trip to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo in June, his latest visit to a country where Islam is the dominant religion amid growing persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

Pope Francis to visit Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Credit: PA

After the weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, the pope told pilgrims he would go to Sarajevo on June 6 to encourage "reconciliation, peace, inter-religious dialogue and friendship".

It will be the first papal trip to Sarajevo in 18 years. Pope John Paul II ignored apparent assassination threats to visit the war-torn city in 1997, when he urged greater dialogue between Bosniak Muslims, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs.

Haircuts for Rome's homeless at the Vatican

Two homeless women sit on a bench in Rome Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianch

Homeless people in Rome will soon be able to go to St Peter's Square for haircuts, shaves and showers.

The head of Pope Francis' charity office said new facilities will open in mid-February.

It is being reported that barbers and hairdressers will volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy.

They are said to have already donated chairs, mirrors and scissors.

The Pope's almoner Bishop Konrad Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter's Square last year after a homeless person told him that it was harder to find places to wash than to eat in the city.

Pope Francis: Catholics shouldn't breed 'like rabbits'

Pope Francis says Catholics should not feel they have to breed "like rabbits" because of the Church's ban on contraception.

Pope Francis speaks to journalists on his flight back from Manila to Rome. Credit: Reuters

He said there were "many ways that are allowed" to practice natural family planning, adding that the Church promoted "responsible parenthood".

Speaking during his flight back from Manila to Rome following the end of his week-long Asia trip, Pope Francis said: "Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits - but no."

He discussed the case of a woman he met who had already had seven children by caesarean sections and had put her life at risk.

He said he berated her for "tempting God", adding that it was an "irresponsibility".

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