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By Rachel Zoll The Associated Press

Pope calls US nuns ‘women of strength,’ says clergy have ‘suffered greatly’ from abuse scandal

NEW YORK Pope Francis made a rousing show of gratitude for American nuns on Thursday while thanking clergy for persevering through the priest sex abuse scandal, seemingly intent on moving the U.S. church beyond recent crises.

The pope called religious sisters “women of strength” and “fighters” who had a “spirit of courage” as they served at the forefront of the church.

Pope Francis warns US bishops against ‘harsh and divisive’ language, saying new tone needed

Pope Francis told U.S. bishops Wednesday they should avoid “harsh and divisive” language and create a church with the warmth of a “family fire,” as he laid out a vision for American Catholicism far from the defensive stands on social issues that have put church leaders at the centre of America’s culture wars.

Pope praises US bishops for ‘generous commitment’ to clergy abuse victims, angering advocates

NEW YORK Pope Francis praised American bishops Wednesday for their “generous commitment’” to helping victims of clergy sex abuse, drawing an angry rebuke from advocates who said the bishops acted only under the threat of hundreds of lawsuits.

A snapshot of the US Catholic Church ahead of Pope Francis’ first visit to the country

NEW YORK Pope Francis will arrive Sept. 22 in the United States to find a Catholic church playing a prominent role in American life, with a vast network of charities and an infusion of energy from a fast-growing Latino population. At the same time, the church is struggling to find its footing a few months after gay marriage became legal and as more people leave organized religion behind.