Pope treats faithful to copies of the gospels

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Pope treats faithful to copies of the gospels
Pope Francis gestures in St.Peter's square at Vatican during his weekly general audience on March 5, 2014. Pope Francis has defended the Catholic Church's record on tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests, saying 'no-one else has done more' to root out paedophilia. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves at faithfuls upon his arrival at St.Peter's square for the weekly general audience on March 5, 2014. The pontiff today has defended the Catholic Church's record on tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests, saying 'no-one else has done more' to root out paedophilia. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis smiles as he wear a military Alpine hat upon his arrival at St.Peter's square for the weekly general audience on March 5, 2014. The pontiff today has defended the Catholic Church's record on tackling the sexual abuse of children by priests, saying 'no-one else has done more' to root out paedophilia. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (L) shakes hand with the Spanish Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela (R) during an audience at the Vatican on March 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read OSSERVATORE ROMANO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis exchanges gifts with the Prime Minister of Romania Victor Ponta (R) as his wife and European Parliament Member Daciana Sarbu (L) looks on during a private audience in the pontiff's studio at the Vatican on March 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ALESSANDRA TARANTINO (Photo credit should read ALESSANDRA TARANTINO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets a child dressed up as a pope as he arrives for his general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on February 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read OSSERVATORE ROMANO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives for his general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on February 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis kisses a boy as he arrives for his general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on February 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 24: Pope Francis (C) meets the president of the Republic of Haiti, Michael Joseph Martelly at his private library on February 24, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Pope announced February 24, first overhaul of the Vatican bureaucracy in 25 years. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 21: Pope Francis arrives at the Paul VI Hall for the Extraordinary Consistory on the themes of Family on February 21, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis will create 19 new cardinals during his first consistory on February 22, 2014. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 21: Pope Francis greets cardinals as he arrives at the Synod Hall for the morning session of Extraordinary Consistory on the themes of Family on February 21, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis will create 19 new cardinals during his first consistory on February 22. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis hold the gospel as he celebrates mass together with new appointed cardinals in St Peter's basilica at the Vatican on February 23, 2014. Pope Francis create his first batch of cardinals, with 19 coming from South America, Africa and Asia. The new 'princes of the Church' with scarlet-red birettas and gold rings at a grandiose ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica that Vatican observers say should help correct a perceived bias towards European cardinals. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis salutes the crowd as he arrives for his general audience in St Peter's square at the Vatican on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis is welcomed by faithfuls while arriving for a visit to the parish of San Tommaso on the outskirts of Rome on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis is welcomed by faithfuls while arriving for a visit to the parish of San Tommaso on the outskirts of Rome on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 14: Pope Francis waves the crowd during a Valentine's Day celebration at the St Peter's square in Vatican City, Vatican, on February 14, 2014. Almost 20.000 couple gather to celebrate Valentine's Day at the St Peter's square. (Photo by Evren Atalay/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Tens of thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square have been treated to gifts from Pope Francis - pocket-sized copies of the Gospels which he hopes they'll keep handy and read daily.

The scriptures were handed out by volunteers after the pope's traditional Sunday appearance to pilgrims and tourists in the square.

The pope did ask for something in return, telling them: "In exchange for this gift, perform an act of charity." He said such an act might be praying for an enemy, for example.

Last fall, the pope had volunteers distribute free rosaries in boxes resembling pill packets, likening them to spiritual medicine.

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