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Pope says he's 'not afraid of a split' in Catholic church as he accuses critics of stabbing him in the back

Pope says he's 'not afraid of a split' in Catholic church as he accuses critics of stabbing him in the backPope Francis said he does not fear a schism within the Roman Catholic Church, as criticism grows among conservatives of his liberal views on migrants, the protection of the environment and giving communion to divorcees. Speaking on board the papal plane on his return from a trip to Madagascar, Mauritius and Mozambique, the Pope said he had been unfairly labelled “a Communist” by his critics, with the most vocal being conservative Catholics in the United States. In his strongest remarks yet on the risk of a schism, he said there had been many doctrinal splits during the 2,000-year history of the Church, although he prayed there would not be another. “I am not afraid of schisms. I pray that there will be none, because what is at stake is people’s spiritual health,” he told journalists on board the plane. The Pope’s impassioned defence of migrants and refugees, his opposition to Donald Trump’s wall on the US-Mexico border, his sympathy towards homosexuals and his openness to remarried divorcees being allowed to take communion have earned him the ire of conservatives, particularly in the US. Pope Francis answered questions from journalists while travelling back from a trip to Africa Credit: ALESSANDRA TARANTINO/ AFP He said he was open to discussing differences of opinion with his critics, some of whom have accused him of heresy and have called for his resignation. “Let there be dialogue, let there be correction if there is an error, but the schismatic path is not Christian,” he said. His critics were putting ideology over Catholic doctrine and deserved sympathy, not hostility. “We need to be gentle with those who are tempted by these attacks, they are going through a tough time, we must accompany them gently,” he said. The Catholic Church last suffered a schism in 1988, when Marcel Lefebvre, an ultra-traditionalist French archbishop, ordained bishops without papal permission and started his own movement.  Francis insisted that many of his views were similar to those of Pope John Paul II, who is regarded as an icon by conservatives, in part for his role in standing up to the USSR and bringing about the fall of Communism. “The social things that I say are the same things that John Paul II said, the same things. I copy him. But they say: ‘the Pope is a communist.’” Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience, at the Vatican on Sept. 11 Credit: AP He said he was happy for critics to address him openly, but condemned those who launched attacks in an underhand way. "At least those who say something have the advantage of honesty in saying so. And I like that," he said. "I don't like criticism when it's under the table, when they smile at you and then then they try to stab you in the back.” Echoing remarks that he has made throughout his papacy, he condemned populism and xenophobia, likening populist politicians to Adolf Hitler. “Sometimes, in some places, I hear speeches being given that sound similar to those made by Hitler in 1934. It’s as if they want to return to the past in Europe.” Xenophobia is “a human disease, like measles,” he said. Pope Francis smiles as he arrives for his weekly general audience at St. Peter's square  Credit: AFP In an apparent reference to President Trump’s plans for a wall along the US border with Mexico, and European countries’ efforts to keep out refugees and migrants with razor wire fences, he said: “Xenophobia is a disease that enters a country, enters a continent, and we build walls. But walls leave only those who built them. Yes, they leave out many people, but those who remain inside the walls will be left alone. Xenophobia rides the waves of political populism.” Francis criticised Mr Trump’s proposals for a border wall three years ago, saying that anyone who wants to build walls rather than bridges is “not Christian”. The remark incensed the then Republican candidate, who said it was “disgraceful” that the pontiff should question his faith.  To the discomfort of some conservative Catholics, Francis has repeatedly warned that the excesses of capitalism are leaving millions of people behind, fueling social tensions and harming the planet.



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Trump says he's a dealmaker, but the derailed Taliban talks are just the latest major negotiation he's bungled as president

Trump says he's a dealmaker, but the derailed Taliban talks are just the latest major negotiation he's bungled as presidentBased on his track record as president, Trump seems to be more skilled at breaking deals than making them.



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Mattis suggests he might not like Trump 'one fricking bit' but says he's holding fire on him — for now

Mattis suggests he might not like Trump 'one fricking bit' but says he's holding fire on him — for nowThe widely respected former defense secretary says he is keeping his criticisms of Trump to himself for now, but this won't last "forever."



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'Not nice!': Trump denies rumors of bedbugs at resort he's promoting for G7

'Not nice!': Trump denies rumors of bedbugs at resort he's promoting for G7Rumors seem to stem from a 2016 lawsuit alleging an infestation at Trump National Doral brought by New Jersey insurance executive The Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida. Photograph: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump has reacted angrily to what he called “false and nasty” rumors that his Miami golf club – the same club he is enthusiastically promoting as the location for the next G7 meeting of global leaders – has a problem with bloodsucking bedbugs.“No bedbugs at Doral. The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice!,” Trump tweeted.The rumors appear to stem from a 2016 lawsuit alleging bedbug infestation at the Trump National Doral brought by the New Jersey insurance executive Eric Linder, 63.Linder claimed in court papers that he woke at the resort’s $ 300-a-night Jack Nicklaus-themed villa to discover, the complaint said, “welts, lumps and marks over much of his face, neck, arms and torso”. Photographs appeared to back up Linder’s claim.Doral’s management hit back, claiming Linder “conducted himself so carelessly and negligently that his conduct was the sole proximate cause or contributing cause” for the insects’ attack.The club reportedly settled the lawsuit.Reports about the case resurfaced on social media Monday after Trump touted the resort’s charms at the G-7 summit in France. But by Monday night, the hashtag “TrumpBedBugs” was trending on Twitter.The bedbug controversy did not discourage Trump from promoting his property for the next G7 even in an apparent violation of rules against profiteering from the presidency. But the president claimed he won’t profit off the event. “In my opinion I’m not going to make any money,” Trump said. “I don’t want to make money. I don’t care about making money.”The president also claimed aides had toured the country in search of a more suitable location and come up empty. “They went to places all over the country and they came back and said, ‘This is where we’d like to be,’ ” Trump said.Trump’s resort is reported to be struggling, reports the Miami Herald, and members who resigned their membership after Trump won the presidency claim they are waiting to get their deposits back. But one piece of good news: the property, for which Trump reported income of $ 76m in 2018, up from $ 75m in 2017, has not been officially cited for bedbug violations.



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Trump pitches his country club for G-7 meeting but claims he's losing money as president

Trump pitches his country club for G-7 meeting but claims he's losing money as presidentThe president defends a plan to hold a G-7 meeting at his private golf club.



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A man with schizophrenia was found guilty of murdering a Saint Augustine's University student in 1979. 40 years later, a panel of judges decided he's innocent after all.

A man with schizophrenia was found guilty of murdering a Saint Augustine's University student in 1979. 40 years later, a panel of judges decided he's innocent after all.Blackmon's lawyers argued he was tricked by police and prosecutors into falsely confessing to a crime he didn't commit.



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Epstein's accusers say now that he's dead the government should rescind the generous 2007 plea deal that protected any accomplices

Epstein's accusers say now that he's dead the government should rescind the generous 2007 plea deal that protected any accomplicesThe deal Jeffrey Epstein reached in 2007 protected four unnamed associates from prosecution. His accusers' lawyers in Florida want it overturned.



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Here's What Could Happen to Jeffrey Epstein's Millions Now That He's Dead

Here's What Could Happen to Jeffrey Epstein's Millions Now That He's DeadAttorneys for his alleged victims are planning to sue his estate for damages



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Planned ICE raids show Trump runs the U.S. like his business — with no idea what he's doing

Planned ICE raids show Trump runs the U.S. like his business — with no idea what he's doingU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conduct a raid in Southern California. How will the Trump administration contain potential violence? Trump almost certainly doesn’t know, just as he has no clue how to reconcile his party’s need for suburban female voters with the inevitable images of frightened families being hauled off to detention facilities.



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Boris Johnson says he's not to blame for ambassador's ouster

Boris Johnson says he's not to blame for ambassador's ousterBoris Johnson, the man likely to become U.K. prime minister within weeks, on Thursday denied playing any role in the departure of Britain’s ambassador to Washington, who quit after coming under attack from President Donald Trump. British politicians from both government and opposition parties have accused Johnson of spinelessness for failing to defend envoy Kim Darroch, and said the removal of a British ambassador because of pressure from a foreign leader was a severe blow to British diplomacy and power. Johnson told The Sun newspaper it was “bizarre” people were blaming him for the departure of Darroch, who resigned following a furor over leaked diplomatic cables which labeled Trump’s White House dysfunctional, clumsy and inept.



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