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Pope expresses 'grave concerns' over Gaza clashes

Pope Francis last month met with Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres.
Pope Francis last month met with Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has spoken to Israeli President Shimon Peres and West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express his "very grave concerns" over the conflict in Gaza, the Vatican says.

"A small group of fanatics are the cause of suffering in Gaza. Israel is doing everything to lower the flames and minimise civilian casualties," Peres replied during a telephone call, according to statement from his office.

Abbas, who held a prayer for peace with Peres at the Vatican last month, told the pontiff he was "exerting all required effort, together with Egypt and all other parties to halt the bloodshed and relieve out people's suffering", according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Pope Francis: 2% of Catholic clerics are paedophiles

Pope Francis has said he believes about 2% of clergy within the Catholic Church are paedophiles.

Pope Francis said he found paedophilia in the Catholic church "intolerable".
Pope Francis called paedophilia in the Catholic Church "intolerable". Credit: ABACA

The comments were made in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, during which he said he found the situation "intolerable" and would "tackle it with the seriousness it requires".

In the interview, the Pope says data suggests pedophilia within the Church is "at the level of two percent", and includes not just priests but "even bishops and cardinals".

"Others, more numerous, they know but they keep silent, punish, but without saying why," he added.

Abuse inquiry: 'More Church claims could come to light'

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Pope 'begs forgiveness' from child abuse victims

Pope Francis. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has "begged forgiveness" from victims of child abuse for the "sins" of church leaders who failed to respond to the abuse.

The Pope told abuse survivors at a meeting that the Catholic Church "must weep and make reparation" for what it did.

He said the church's past attitude towards sexual abuse was "camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained".

Pope condemns 'mafia' family during southern Italy visit

Pope Francis (R) arrives to lead a mass in Sibari, southern Italy, June 21, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has condemned mob violence during a visit to southern Italy, railing against one of the country's most notorious crime syndicates, calling it an example of "adoration of evil" and saying that all mafiosi are "ex-communicated."

The Pope, speaking about the Ndrangheta crime group during a mass in the southern Italy, issued the strongest attack on organised crime since the late Pope John Paul lambasted the Sicilian Mafia in 1993.

"Those who in their lives follow this path of evil, as mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated" Pope Francis said before a mass for tens of thousands of people.

He branded the Ndrangheta as the "adoration of evil and contempt of the common good" and said the Church would exert its full force in efforts to combat organised crime.

Pope urges 'pray for all victims' of sexual violence in war

Pope Francis has taken to Twitter ahead of a summit on sexual violence in conflict urging:

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Let us pray for all victims of sexual violence in conflict, and those working to end this crime. #TimeToAct

Read: Hague and Jolie attend sexual violence in war summit

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Pope urges 'undaunted' Israel-Palestine peace talks

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis and Israeli President Shimon Peres arrive in the Vatican Gardens.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis and Israeli President Shimon Peres arrive in the Vatican Gardens. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis told the Israeli and Palestinian presidents that they "must respond" to their people's yearning for peace in the Middle East and find "the strength to persevere in undaunted dialogue".

The pope made his appeal to Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas at the end of an unprecedented prayer meeting among Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Vatican gardens that marked the first time the two presidents have met in public in more than a year.

Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Pope Francis in June

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to meet Pope Francis for the second time in Rome next month.

The Most Rev Justin Welby is set to visit the Pope between June 14 and June 16 at Lambeth Palace and the trip will focus on an anti-slavery and human trafficking project launched earlier this year.

Pope Francis met Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, on June 14 last year. Credit: PA

Archbishop Welby will also visit the Anglican Centre to hear about poverty projects and meet members of the ecumenical Catholic order Chemin Neuf.

The two church leaders were installed within days of each other in March last year but met for the first time in Rome last June.

Pope: Zero tolerance for clergy who abuse children

Pope Francis talks to reporters aboard the papal flight on his way back to the Vatican from Jerusalem. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has branded sexual abuse of children by priests an ugly crime comparable to a "satanic Mass" and said he would show zero tolerance for anyone in the Catholic Church who abused children, including bishops.

Speaking to reporters on the plane taking him back from a visit to the Middle East, the pope also announced that he would have his first meeting with a group of abuse victims at the Vatican early next month.

Speaking to reporters on the plane taking him back from a visit to the Middle East, the pope also announced that he would have his first meeting with a group of abuse victims at the Vatican early next month.

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