In his first "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message, Francis also called for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, an end to the civil war in Syria, and political solutions to conflicts in several African countries.
The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina also condemned the "iniquitous exploitation of natural resources" and urged everyone to be "guardians" of creation.
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Blessings are church services acknowledging the commitment made in a marriage or civil partnership, in which God's blessing is sought.
Dozens of organisations have filed statements slamming the Zimbabwean president's appointment due to his alleged human rights violations.
Storm Brian will bring strong or very strong winds across southern and western parts of the UK with gales or severe gales in exposed areas.