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POPE FRANCIS

Valencia pope-alike prompts double vision

If Pope Francis ever wants to hire a body double, he could do a lot worse that Spain's Archbishop of Valencia, Carlos Osoro, a man city residents describes as the pontiff's spitting image.

Valencia pope-alike prompts double vision
Peas in a pod: Pope Francis I and the Archbishop of Valencia Carlos Osoro. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Iglesia en Asturias

All Osoro would need to do is slip on the pontiff's white robe and he could pass as his boss's double.

Since Pope Francis was chosen as the new pontiff on February 12th, people have been coming up to the Valencia prelate and telling him that he's the spitting image of Francis.

And there's not just a physical likeness between the two men, El Mundo reported on Thursday.

Pope Francis and his doppelganger have the same humble character and simple, approachable pastoral style. 

"They're like two peas in a pod," said Osoro's good friend Padre Ángel.

"The likeness is so striking that kids stop Osoro on the streets of Valencia and say, "You look just like the new pope!'"

The main difference between the two men is age — at 67, Osoro is a full nine years younger than his Vatican-based boss.

El Mundo described Osono as the sort of man who'd visit the mother of a priest or have a beer with a poor person in a bar.

He works so hard, in fact, that other, slower priests accuse him of being "too much of an activist".

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CRISIS

Spanish PM talks crisis with Pope Francis

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday became the first European leader to meet with Pope Francis, with the Vatican saying the two discussed the country's steep economic crisis.

Spanish PM talks crisis with Pope Francis
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave Pope Francis a Spain jersey during a private audience in the pontiff's library. Photo: Alessandra Tarantino/AFP

Talks focused on the economic crisis "that Spain is facing along with other European countries, which has provoked a grave employment crisis that involves many families, particularly the young," the Vatican said in a statement.

The role of the Roman Catholic Church in helping those most in need in Spain through charities like Cáritas was underlined during the talks.

Rajoy, a conservative who has been under fire for months over corruption allegations, also talked about the political situation in Spain with the new Argentine pope.

The two "reaffirmed the need for a dialogue in society and between all its components, based on mutual respect and taking into account values including justice and solidarity in a search for the common good," the Vatican said.

The statement added that the two men had discussed "the institution of marriage and the family and the importance of a religious education".

The Vatican is fiercely opposed to a Spanish law that allows same-sex marriages, passed under Rajoy's Socialist predecessor Jose Luis Zapatero.

The law also lets gay couples adopt children and inherit each others' property.

Polls show two-thirds of Spaniards back same-sex marriage.

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