Massachusetts Catholics in Congress — accustomed to being shunned by the Vatican — are encouraged by thaw under Pope Francis

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As President Obama prepares to meet with Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican and Francis celebrates his first anniversary as head of the Catholic Church, Representative Jim McGovern and other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation said in interviews with the Globe that his pointed criticism of income inequality and his soft-pedaling the divisive social issues is having a profound impact on liberal Catholic politicians.

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