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In Philadelphia, pope calls for defense of religious freedom

Pope Francis arrives at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on September 26, 2015Pope Francis on Saturday called for a vigorous defense of religious freedom and urged ordinary Catholics, especially women, to help fortify the Church, as hundreds of thousands celebrated his visit to Philadelphia. The head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics also made another impassioned plea for new immigrants from Latin America to be accepted in the United States, and encouraged them not to be discouraged as they build a new life. The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff landed in the City of Brotherly Love after a short flight from New York, where he spent a whirlwind 36 hours that included an emotional visit to Ground Zero and mass at Madison Square Garden.

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