People leave flowers in St Ann’s Square  in Manchester. Photograph:  J Mitchell/Getty Images

A ‘cowardly attack on innocent citizens’, says President Michael D Higgins

 Teresa Devlin,   chief executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children,  said only constant vigilance will keep children safe. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

‘A note of caution has to be sounded against any over confidence’ about risks to children

Pope Francis and President Michael D Higgins at ease meeting in the Vatican. Photograph: Maxwells

Analysis: Higgins says pope ‘indispensable voice of humanity’

The priest was reared Protestant and converted to Catholism when he was 35-years-old

Archbishop Eamon Martin has said: ‘Every Catholic position on concrete morals is argued from reason even when there exists a biblical warrant for that position.’

Eamon Martin defends religious role in education and healthcare

 Dr Ali Selim, Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, with Rabbi Zalman Lent, Leader of the Jewish community of Dublin. Photograph: DAVE MEEHAN

God ‘is big enough to look after Himself without needing any assistance from gardaí’

Mass at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  Photograph: EPA

Archbishop Thomas White served in Africa, Central America, Asia, and Oceania

In 2009,  discussing the issue of blasphemy and the law, then minister for justice Dermot Ahern said: “As a republican, my personal position is that church and State should be separate.” File photograph: Getty Images

Minister for justice in 2009 said he never had so many outraged emails as on this issue

Proposing the motion Dr Leo Kilroy of Glendalough diocese said: “There is no evidence in the gospels that Jesus Christ said anything one way or another about gay people”.

General Synod debate on proposal to develop public thanksgiving service for legally married same-sex couples

The Church of Ireland General Synod heard that all the Minister for Education’s suggestions on school admissions would “impinge negatively on Church of Ireland primary and secondary schools”. Photograph: iStock

Policy change would remove ‘very purpose for existence’ of schools, General Synod told

 Bishop of Cashel Michael Burrows  said ‘the Constitution is not the best place to deal with such a complex moral matter’. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

General Synod hears Constitution is ‘not best place to deal with complex moral matter’

Archbishop of Armagh Richard Clarke said the Church of Ireland is investigating how parish churches may be designated as ‘safe places’ for people suffering domestic abuse. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Archbishop of Armagh says ‘Church does not have a reputation as being a place of safety’

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin:  “Your help is an invaluable contribution to the work of renewal in the church.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Share collections alone dropped over 10% in five years as demand for services grows

Dr Rhona Mahony, Master, National Maternity Hospital: The need for the new National Maternity Hospital at St Vincent’s in Elm Park is “unarguable”. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Such is the anxiety to get out of Holles St it appears the Sisters have been put under pressure, if not duress, to accept the new (...)

Former master of the Coombe Dr Chris Fitzpatrick: “I have direct experience of terminating pregnancies in order to save the life of the mother.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

‘I have been part of a grand collusion’ that has existed between public, church and State

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect fleeing violence from forces loyal to Islamic State. Photograph: Reuters/Rodi Said

Move follows European Parliament, House of Commons, US House of Representatives

Taxi drivers were issued with more than 1,000 penalty point notices last year following inspections. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Compliance officers carried out 90,000 checks in 2016, a three-fold increase on 2015

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said at a Carmelite ordination at Terenure College that there appeared to be a “culture of relentless reminding the church of the sins of its members”. Photograph: John McElroy

Diarmuid Martin sees ‘justified resentment’ as Catholics criticised for living their faith

Bishop Kevin Doran: said that he had not been talking about the proposed new National Maternity Hospital at St Vincent’s in Dublin when he spoke to the Sunday Times, but, rather, had spoken “in general terms”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Bishop Kevin Doran says Catholic hospitals have ‘special responsibility’ to Catholic teachings

Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary, at Dublin Airport in 1965. Photograph: Jimmy McCormack

Frank Duff set up hostel for women and children in 1930, says Dr Finola Kennedy

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin:  requested  ministers  to change the structures so that he is no longer chair. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

System of automatically appointing archbishop as chair of board is ‘anachronistic’

The RTÉ campus in Donnybrook: some 8.64 acres of the national broadcaster’s grounds are to be sold off for housing. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Why are religious congregations involved in providing private medical care?

St Vincent’s hospital in Elm Park, Dublin, was officially opened on November 27th, 1970. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Archbishop McQuaid said Catholic hospitals must follow ‘moral law’ laid down by church

St Vincent’s University Hospital: The Sisters of Charity are at the centre of controversy over plans for them to become the sole owner of the new National Maternity Hospital at the site.   Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

HSE sought court’s help with aspects of transition of Cork centre to new provider

Today we celebrate our planet, for it is Earth Day 2017, which is marked in over 193 countries on April 22nd every year

It’s a day to do something kind for Mother Earth: plant a tree, recycle, pick up litter

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy  confirmed that ‘there will be lay-led public prayers in Churches across the diocese on Tuesday morning.’ Photograph: Arthur Ellis

Fall-off in Catholic priesthood vocations leads to unprecedented situation

Dave Hiernan from Blackrock during a demonstration at Government plans to hand ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Board of new hospital ‘could potentially seat four members of the religious order’

Portraits of Martin Luther and his wife Katharina von Bora at  The Luther Effect: 500 Years of Protestantism in the World exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty

Mairead McGuinness warns against ‘intolerant nationalism’ at Brussels meeting

The sole owner of the  National Maternity Hospital  will be St Vincent’s Healthcare Group, of which  Sisters of Charity are the shareholders. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Congregation being ‘gifted’ €300m hospital has yet to honour its redress commitments

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin: ordained three men in the Redemptorists Church of St Alphonsus Liguori on  Via Merulana in Rome

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin performs ceremony for seminarians from Irish College

The relocation of the National Maternity Hospital from Holles Street to the St Vincent’s hospital campus in Dublin involves the largest single investment made in maternity services in the State. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Order to be ‘sole owner’ of State-funded hospital, says Department of Health

Jim Callery: “When Callery took over Strokestown House in 1979, there were no official commemorations of the Famine. We had buried it and moved on.” File photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Businessman rescued vital part of Irish heritage at Strokestown House and Famine Museum

The late Fr John Sullivan: at age 35 he converted to Catholicism, and was ordained a Jesuit priest 11 years later

Dublin man, raised and educated Protestant, to be declared ‘blessed’ by Vatican

Members of the 7th Battalion, Air Corps and Naval Service members at the commemoration. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Recall ‘those who did not come home while our dream of independence became a reality’

Ballaghaderreen cigar-manufacturing plant ECMI will close in May and move its operations to Sri Lanka with a loss of 38 jobs. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Cigar plant will close in May and move operations to Sri Lanka with loss of 38 jobs

The Church of Ireland has criticised a proposal to oblige religious schools to prioritise local children in their admissions. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Bishops say education debate should not ‘trample’ on the rights of minority faiths

The Way of the Cross procession from the Wellington Monument to the Papal Cross is led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on Good Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson

Diarmuid Martin warns of ‘powers of darkness’ at Way of the Cross procession

Dr Jim  Browne became NUIG’s 12th president in March 2008 and since then the  university has seen sustained growth.

Successor sought as Jim Browne to step as NUIG president after 10 years in role

My mother was caught through the pub window by a distressed regular one Good Friday. Always polite, he begged: “Chrisalmighty Mrs McGarry, just a naggin of Powers”. Photograph: Getty Images

Growing up in Ballaghaderreen’s Arch Bar a sobering experience

Way of the Cross procession in 2016: on Good Friday a Way of the Cross procession will go from the Wellington monument to the Papal Cross in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Bishop encouraged by census finding that 78% of population say they are Catholic

France and Russia had more than 200 cases of government force against religious groups, mostly of individuals being punished for violating the ban on face coverings. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Global restrictions on religion increase in 2015 for first time in three years

Patricia Rickard-Clark: the  National Safeguarding Committee chair called for  legislation that would provide for independent advocacy on behalf of vulnerable adults. Photograph: Eric Luke

Physical abuse of vulnerable adults has been witnessed or suspected by one in three

“The Irish Times” reported on Saturday that the Government was moving to lift the  ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Pioneer group says census figures show that majority of population identify as Catholic

Jim Callery: will be honoured at an event in Finland in May co-hosted by tenor Plácido Domingo and EU commissioner  Tibor Navracsics. Photograph: Ruth Lanigan/Irish Heritage Trust

Public urged to vote for Jim Callery in online poll for European Public Choice award

The traditional prayer which is read by the Ceann Comhairle, or whoever is in the chair at the time

Atheist Ireland wants end to Oireachtas practice of praying to ‘Christ Our Lord’

Fr Ray Warren: “The statement does acknowledge the moral claims of the victims of the system”

Intention was to correct misinformation coming from politicians and reported by media

 Archbishop Eamon Martin: in a joint Easter message questioned attitudes to truth. Photograph:  PA Wire

Presbyterian leader says survey found 30% of children think Easter marks birthday of bunny

Brendan Smyth: a review established that four Norbertines had sexually abused so many children that it concluded the figure was simply ‘not known’.

Brendan Smyth’s order has ended its ministry, but the scars remain

Sr Margaret Casey of the Sisters of Mercy: five properties owned by the Sisters of Mercy are yet to be fully transferred to the State. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Many of 11 outstanding properties in use already by State recipients

Out of 42 European countries, only eight (including Ireland) had more Christian births than deaths between 2010 and 2015.  Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Ireland was one of only eight European countries with more Christian births than deaths

The congregation was found to have partially met two requirements out of six under the board’s “Communicating the Church’s Safeguarding Message” standard

Charity almost totally compliant with all child protection standards, board finds

A total of 185 sexual abuse were made against 76 De La Salle Brothers

Order did not fully meet any of board’s standards on managing abuse allegations

Fr Brendan Smyth. The Norbertine order is “still receiving complaints” relating to Smyth. Photograph: Colin Keegan.

Complaints by 281 against Fr Brendan Smyth in solicitors’ files, watchdog report says

None of the 61 Nazareth Sisters accused of physical and emotional abuse was convicted

Sisters ‘exceptionally slow’ to take up responsibility for child safeguarding, says board

Some 512 allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse had been made against 146 priests, brothers, and sisters belonging to the four congregations, five of whom were convicted in the courts.

Three religious orders do not demonstrate any change from ‘historical behaviour’

Msgr John Kennedy: The CDF’s disciplinary office includes among its responsibilities dealing with credible allegations of clerical child sexual abuse

Msgr John Kennedy joined CDF in 2003 under then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

 Former minister for education Michael Woods announced on October 3rd, 2000 that the government was setting up a redress scheme. Photograph: Frank Miller

State ignored warnings from religious groups about loose structures

Archive image  of St Conleth’s in Daingean, Co Offaly: it was one of the most severely criticised reformatories investigated by the Ryan commission for the sexual, physical and emotional abuses of children.

Congregation managed reformatories in Glencree and Daingean

Archive image of St Conleth’s Reformatory School, Daingean, Co Offaly or “Daingean” , taken from the report of the Child Abuse Commission.

Order claims there are ‘Legitimate grounds for reservations’ about Ryan report findings

Religious “perceived a great injustice being done to them”. Their image of themselves “as committed Christians was shattered”. Photograph: Christian Hartmann

Oblates dismiss idea they were under ‘moral pressure’ to pay more to compensation bill

“Too much doctrine kills mystery.” Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Fr Tony Flannery says efforts to explain Jesus’s presence in Eucharist not ‘very helpful’

Ryan report: the Oblates point out that, according to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, the indemnity agreement “was not based on any apportionment of responsibility for abuse”. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP

Oblates claim child abuse fund was established ‘to meet the government’s moral obligations’

Pope Francis (left) greets the president of the Pontificial Committee of Historical Science Fr Bernard Ardura  during the ‘Luther: 500 Years Later’ conference at the Vatican City. Photograph: EPA/L’Osservatore Romano handout

Understanding Luther can help overcome ‘rivalry between Catholics and Protestants’

President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, said  the “Oireachtas should realise that we were in 21st century now and re-evaluate the matrix of opening prayers by revising the standing orders of Dáil and Seanad”.

Universal Society of Hinduism chief says Oireachtas ‘should realise we are in 21st century’

Fr Tony Flannery: “How many of us really believe in the nativity stories and the virgin birth, and that Mary remained a virgin all her life?” Photograph: Alan Betson

People are ‘rejecting [traditional] doctrines as childish fantasies and walking away’

An estimated 30 Irishmen, serving with US forces, were killed in Vietnam war

Want to turn back time? Set foot on the platform of a Dart station

Haughey family members including Seán Haughey (left) and Ciarán Haughey (right) escort the remains of Maureen Haughey at her funeral at Malahide, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/ The Irish Times

‘Nationalist to her fingertips’ was proud of legacy of late father, former taoiseach Séan Lemass

A severely malnourished child with her mother waits to be processed into a Unicef-funded programme for children displaced by drought at the regional hospital in Baidoa, Somalia. Photograph: Getty Images

Charlie Flanagan flags ‘massive and urgent scale-up of humanitarian assistance’ needed

Longford-based Pakistani businessman Muhammad Aslam wants the State to build a mosque in Ballaghaderreen. Photo: David Sleator

Businessman says bringing Syrian refugees to Ballaghaderreen ‘is punishment for them’

In Rome  to mark the reopening of Ireland’s Embassy to the Vatican were Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan (second right), Archbishop Paul Gallagher, and Ireland’s Ambassador to the Holy See Emma Madigan, her husband Laurence Simms (second left) and their son Cormac.

Minister in Rome for event to mark official reopening of Irish Embassy to Vatican

CoI Archbishop Michael Jackson: ‘As a society we stand in need of restoration.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Antagonism toward churches deepened by recent revelations, says Dr Michael Jackson

 Former president  Mary McAleese says Ireland needs to demonstrate ‘the promise of the hundred thousand welcomes is not a fairy story’. Photograph: Photograph: Eric Luke

Bells ring out at churches across Ireland and internationally in support of refugees

Archbishop Charles Brown: “We’ve a lot of priests in Ireland who are in their 70s, who are working right now. Some are in their 80s. In 10 years they’re not going to be working”

Papal nuncio says many contributed to improving relations between Holy See and Ireland

The procession to the altar before the funeral Mass of former Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey at Galway Cathedral. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Son of late cleric not among crowd of more than 1,600 who attended Galway service

Cistercian College has among its alumni former taoiseach Brian Cowen and his brother Barry Cowen TD. Photograph: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Historic Roscrea boarding school to remain open against the odds after €1.5m pledged

Marie Collins has challenged assertions  by one of the most powerful Vatican cardinals. File photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Protection of minors: Cardinal says did not understand Collins’s talk of lack of co-operation

The remains of former Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey in Galway Cathedral Wednesday night. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Tributes paid to former Bishop of Galway who was the first chairman of aid agency Trócaire

Former president of Ireland Mary McAleese will launch the Joy of Bells initiative  at Christ Church Cathedral in Waterford at 11am on Sunday.  Photograph: Eric Luke

Mary McAleese to launch event calling for parishes to ring their bells against xenophobia

File image of Bishop John Kirby, Bishop Eamonn Casey and Fr Dermod McCarthy. File photograph: Collins Photos

Bishop John Kirby recalls the ‘dynamic’ man he came to know

Former bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey at a papal youth Mass in Galway when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Funeral Mass will take place at 2 o’clock on Thursday afternoon in Galway

Bishop Casey (pictured) was ‘marvellous company and desperately lonely,’ when Patsy McGarry visited him in 1997. File photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Religious affairs correspondent Patsy McGarry on meeting Bishop Casey in 1997

Bishop Eamon Casey was known for his fast cars and he is pictured above with one coupe models in 1975. Photograph:  MacMonagle archive

He liked fast cars and good company, but was also a driven activist who set up Trócaire

Leo Varadkar said several religious orders had “made significant contributions already” but others had not.

‘It is not in the power of the Government to confiscate anyone’s property,’ says Minister

Old age has little to offer . . . who wants to end up incontinent in mind and body?

Marie Collins from One in Four: It is doubtful she will be moved by the new “understanding” currently wafting from some in the Vatican. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Sir Humphrey would have a lot to learn from Curia bureaucrats on art of obfuscation

Marie Collins has been with the commission for ‘three difficult years’.File photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Abuse survivor says she is frustrated with some officials in the Roman curia

 A woman pays respects to Cardinal Connell at his funeral in the Pro-Cathedral, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Cardinal’s funeral amounted to ‘small’ affair for a former major figure in Irish life

Church and cathedral bells are due to be rung on March 19th at 11am in locations around the world in protest at anti-immigrant sentiment. File photograph: Getty Images

Joy of Bells initiative to oppose ‘incredible fear’ generated against immigrants, refugees

The remains of the late cardinal Connell at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin. Photograph: Collins

Faithful told that the late prelate ‘became archbishop at a difficult time in this diocese’

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