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Morning Catholic must-reads: 05/02/18

Pope Francis blesses pilgrims gathered for his Angelus address (AP)

Pope Francis announced a day of prayer and fasting for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan at yesterday’s Angelus (full text, full video).

The Pope said that “usury humiliates and kills” in an address on Saturday.

For the first time in years Christians have held a service in the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has exempted Chinese Catholics from abstinence when they mark New Year on February 16.

Frank Bruni says Fr James Martin is being subjected to “breathtaking” vitriol.

Tim Rice argues that the “progressive interpretation of Catholic doctrine eventually reveals itself to be rank historicism”.

And Nick Ripatrazone argues that Andy Warhol’s work was ”anchored in the cross”.

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