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Love in the air: Pope marries couple on papal plane in Chile

IQUIQUE, Chile— It was all in a day’s work for the ever-unpredictable Pope Francis. First he celebrated the first-ever airborne papal wedding, marrying two flight attendants at 36,000 feet during a flight on Thursday to this northern Chilean beachside town. Then after landing, Francis came to the rescue of a policewoman who was thrown from …

Pope shocks Chile by accusing sex abuse victims of slander

SANTIAGO, Chile— Pope Francis accused victims of Chile’s most notorious pedophile of slander Thursday, an astonishing end to a visit meant to help heal the wounds of a sex abuse scandal that has cost the Catholic Church its credibility in the country. Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit …

Pope wraps up Chile stop with visit to migrants, on to Peru

SANTIAGO, Chile — Pope Francis wraps up his Chile visit Thursday by meeting with members of the South American nation’s booming immigrant community, who are flocking to the region’s strongest and most stable economy but are increasingly the focus of political and social discontent. After an emotional meeting with Chile’s Mapuche indigenous in the south …

In Chile, pope met with protests, passion and skepticism

SANTIAGO, Chile — Pope Francis flew in to Chile’s capital Monday night for a visit expected to be met with protests over sexual abuse by priests and confronted by many Chileans deeply skeptical about the Roman Catholic Church. It’s the pope’s first visit to the Andean nation of 17 million people since taking the reins …

Stolen jewels from Venice include 30 carat diamond earrings

ROME—One was a delicate, tasseled pendant, featuring a flawless 10-carat diamond surrounded by a ring of rubies and diamonds. The other was simpler but no less gorgeous: two pear-shaped 30.2-carat diamond earrings surrounded by smaller, irregular-cut diamonds suspended like starbursts. The Al Thani Collection on Friday revealed details of the precious jewels stolen Wednesday from …

Pope to greet Rohingya refugees at Bangladesh peace prayer

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Pope Francis ordained 16 priests during a Mass in Bangladesh on Friday, the start of a busy day that will bring him face-to-face with Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar and the reality of Islamic extremism in South Asia. An estimated 100,000 people gathered Friday in a Dhaka park for the service, which …

Pope’s trip to Myanmar, Bangladesh turns on 1 word: Rohingya

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh to encourage their tiny Catholic communities and reach out to some of Asia’s most peripheral and poor, but the big question looming is whether he’ll utter the word “Rohingya” while he’s there. The “will he or won’t he?” issue has dominated debate before Francis’ trip, …

Pope’s place as refugee champion tested in Myanmar

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis heads to Myanmar and Bangladesh with the international community excoriating Myanmar’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims as “ethnic cleansing” but his own church resisting the label and defending Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the only hope for democracy. Francis will thus be walking a fraught diplomatic tightrope during …

Vatican, China exchange art amid stall in hard diplomacy

VATICAN CITY—The Vatican and China are planning a first-ever exchange of artworks for exhibits in China and the Vatican Museums, as the two states forge ahead with soft diplomacy amid a stalemate in negotiations to heal decades of diplomatic estrangement. The parallel exhibits announced Tuesday, involving an exchange of 40 works of art from the Vatican’s collection …

Pope seeks to defuse Korea tension, push nuclear disarmament

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is seeking to defuse rising nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula and to boost support for disarmament with a Vatican conference that will bring together 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners, United Nations and NATO officials, and representatives from a handful of countries with the bomb. For some analysts, Francis’ address …