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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis: People who lack hope also lack a smile

Pope Francis addressed an enthusiastic crowd of more than 5,000 people in Paul VI Audience Hall.  The pope did not spare any pats, kisses or cuddles  whilst walking towards the stage. Many of the pilgrims held their children out for the pope to bless them, and some were dressed in original ways.  Pope Francis started a new series of catecheses about hope. First off, the pope warned that it should not be mistaken for optimism.  POPE FRANCIS "This is very important, because hope doesn't delude. Optimism does, but hope doesn't. Are we clear?â? "When we are in the dark, in difficulty, a smile doesn't come to us. It is hope that that teaches us to smile in that path to find God.â? Pope Francis explained that Christian hope helps us face the challenges of life decisively, because he who believes knows that God is by his side. POPE FRANCIS "I hope that God is by my side. We can all say this. Every one of us. I have hope. God accompanies me and holds me by the hand.â? December 9 is the International Anti-corruption Day, and the 10 is the World Day of Human Rights, so at the end of his catechesis, the pope underlined fighting against corruption and protecting human rights goes hand in hand.  This was one of the most picturesque audience in a long time. There was a lot of music: a group of Iraqi priests, a German band, and a choir from Spain, who sang this 'milonga.' The audience also had a Mexican touch. The pope stopped to admire the nativity scene brought from Querétaro in the lobby of Paul VI Audience Hall, and there was also a large group of Mexicans dressed in traditional attire.  JRB/AG CTV - -BN Up:ag #Papafrancisco