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Cardinal Reinhard Marx (CNS)

Bishops appeal for change in report prepared for the first family synod

Children at Regina Mundi Catholic church in Soweto. The Church continues to grow in Africa (CNS)

Study reports that there were 1.23 billion faithful worldwide at the end of 2012

Pope Francis: 'True charity is a sharing which does not judge'  (AP/Alessandra Tarantino)

In message for World Day of the Sick, Francis says time spent with the ill ‘is holy time’

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal urges Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to intervene

Pope Francis waves as he arrives for a general audience in June (AP)

More than a million people attended Francis’s 43 general audiences this year

Pope Francis arrives at the Paul VI hall for a meeting with large families (AP)

Pontiff urges policy-makers to support larger families

A view of the seminary in Ciudad Altamirano, where Fr Lopez Gorostieta worked (AP)

Nine priests have been killed in Mexico in the past two years

Pope Francis smiles during the Angelus address (AP)

Pope says St Stephen ‘offered as a gift his life in service for the poorest’

Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica to deliver his Urbi et Orbi message (AP)

‘Truly there are so many tears this Christmas,’ says Pontiff, ‘together with the tears of the Infant Jesus’

Pope Francis appears for his Urbi et Orbi blessing on Christmas Day (AP/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pontiff prays for children ‘abused and exploited under our eyes’ in Urbi et Orbi message