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Morning Catholic must-reads: 08/01/15

Pope Francis preaches at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

Works of mercy are at the heart of the Christian faith, the Pope has said at his first public Mass of the year at the Domus Sanctae Marthae (video).

Cardinal Joseph Zen has said he is not satisfied by a police investigation into the mysterious death of a Chinese priest.

Russia’s intervention in Syria is a “defence of the fatherland”, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has said.

A Filipino diocese has opened the Cause of an Italian Jesuit killed in Mindanao in 1648.

Edward Pentin says there are only three “absolute certainties” for Pope Francis in 2016.

Ann Carey argues that the outlook for US women religious is “not as rosy as one might assume from reading the popular press”.

And the Super Martyrio blog asks if Blessed Oscar Romero will be canonised this year.

Follow me on Twitter @lukecoppen for updates throughout the day.