Rufino Varela:  says the pope, in his phone call, asked for pardon in the name of the church, and said, “Rufino, you have a mission [to expose abuse]”.

President of Argentina a past pupil of same Christian Brothers school

Marty Morrissey:  “I was honoured and delighted to be asked, not least as I’m no Holy Joe. Or Holy Marty.”

RTÉ broadcaster will speak at novena attended by 150,000 people

 Bishop Mary Bridget Meehan celebrates Mass.

‘Our bishops have absolutely no authority apart from ordaining’

Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, is greeted by Cardinal Sean Brady on Monday. Photograph: John Mc Elroy

Archbishop Jude Okolo is a member of the Igbo community at the centre of Biafra conflict

Following three years of preparation, a permanent deacon can perform all the functions of a priest except celebrate the Eucharist. File image: Alan Betson

Proposal is ‘insensitive, disrespectful of women and counter-productive’, says group

Pope Francis has given the Brothers of Charity in Belgium until the end of August to stop euthanasia at all of its 15 centres in that country. File image: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Brothers of Charity face excommunication after lay board of directors sanction legal terminations

Pope Francis  set up a commission to look at the introduction of women deacons last year which will report “in a year or two”. Photograph: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

A woman ‘can give more meaning to the Eucharist than any male celibate’

Maynooth University. Vocations to the priesthood have undergone what the Association of Catholic Priests describes as a catastrophic decline in recent years. Photograph: Eric Luke

As many as eight Irish priests have died by suicide over the past decade

It  is wrong to describe a fertilised ovum as a human being. It is a biological reaction. It has no head, no heart, no spine, no consciousness.

Objections to embryo modification defy logic: Law must welcome defeat of genetic diseases

It escaped completely the appalling wars of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s

Embryonic research: scientists believe “editing” human genomes could also work for other conditions caused by mutations such as cystic fibrosis and some breast cancers. Photograph: Alan Betson

Catholic Church concerned over US study that removed mutations

The sponsors of the new Bill, which would reduce legal immigration to the US, Republican senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. Photograph: Zach Gibson/EPA

Lobbyist says it would take Republicans and Democrats ‘working together’ to bring about immigration reform

 Sacked journalist Kevin Myers rejected assertions that he was a misogynist. Photograph:   Dara Mac Dónaill

Sacked columnist says Varadkar and Fitzgerald ‘breached protocol by attacking me’

Fr Norman Davitt does not smoke and has lived moderately, but says: “The genes are good.”

Missionary priest (96) has also worked in Britain, India and Papua New Guinea

Kevin Myers was a trenchant critic of paramilitary violence on this island from the outset of the Troubles. Above, his memoir ‘Watching the Door’

As a stylist few can compare, and the former ‘Irish Times’ columnist did the State some service

A colleague from another paper was with me and we had decided to climb Croagh Patrick in the traditional manner, at night

Families of John Morley and Henry Byrne to attend ceremony in Co Roscommon

The Charities Regulator has written to the trustees of Ataxia Ireland asking them to find out whether payments of €84,009 made to the two founding former trustees are recoverable.

Ataxia Ireland chief did not tell trustees of sums provided to her parents, report finds

Fr Martin Pender and  a Congolese asylum seeker:  “It is absolute psychological abuse,” says Fr Martin Pender. He is “ashamed” Irish taxpayers are sponsoring such poor treatment of asylum seekers. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Martin Pender says Congolese asylum seekers left to ‘eat and sleep and walk around’

Left: GAA maps in Ireland. Photograph: Niall Cunningham/Cyril Byrne

Over 1.3 million attended championship games between May and September 2016

Sr Anne Carr, a Medical Missionary of Mary sister,  took Bono  on a tour of a  hospital in Lilongwe in Malawi. “I said he was my nephew because strangers weren’t allowed in the hospital.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Singer met Sr Anne Carr in Malawi in 2002 and wrote ‘Crumbs from Your Table’ about her

I reserve my direst wrath for those who push Ecclesiastes in the bereaved’s direction

Screengrab from

Site a ‘key milestone in the journey of Men’s Sheds’ movement

Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

That the Roscommon town has the cheapest housing in the State is down to official policy

Marty Morrissey: chosen for his “positive outlook”. Photograph: Aidan Oliver Photography

August novena one of the biggest annual events in the Irish Catholic Church calendar

At William Partridge’s graveside: Trade unionist Des Geraghty (left) said  Partridge, who died in 1917,  “exposed the atrocious living conditions of workers and their families in the whole of Dublin during his lifetime”. Photograph: Patsy McGarry

Centenary: William Partridge (1874-1917) had key role in 1913 Lock Out and Irish Citizen Army

The man who made Galway sexy

 Garry Hynes:  she said her view of the world was “shaped by my first experience of it in Ballaghaderreen for the first six years of my life”

Without artists ‘there can be no sense of a life lived beyond limiting, stifling boundaries’

Douglas Hyde the poet, philologist, historian and a founder of the Gaelic League (1860 - 1949). Photograph: Getty Images

Roscommon celebrates Douglas Hyde Conference with speakers Garry Hynes, Sean Kyne

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin:  ignored by the usual “what we have we hold brigade” in the church who see him chiefly as the enemy within. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Churchman a lone voice among brother bishops in reading sign of times

Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn

‘Family in Ireland has complexities it didn’t have heretofore,’ says Archbishop of Vienna

Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin described the situation in east Africa as “critical” and urged support for the collections.   Photograph: Eric Luke

Special collections to take place at all Masses across Ireland over July 22nd/23rd

Marking the anniversary of 1916 outside the GPO: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has  said: “Michael D Higgins... has noted that the dominance of a sectarian ethos had negative effects on the realisation of the ideas of the Proclamation. That cannot be denied.” File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Dominance of sectarian ethos ‘had negative effects on realisation of ideas of Proclamation’

Commentators on the Troubles embraced the term ‘whataboutery’

One of the very first messages Teresa May received was from the Portadown Orangemen

Priests heard there were “too many Masses in near-empty churches”. Photograph: Getty Images

Meeting in Limerick hears call for confidential helpline for priests

Ireland’s church leaders have appealed in an open letter to politicians involved in the Northern Ireland talks process ‘to go the extra mile’ to reach a deal. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire.

Men say there is a pressing need to end the political deadlock ‘in the interests of all in our society’

First Communion: an average of €185 was spent on the child’s outfit this year

Bank survey shows 1% rise in money spent on day, with make-up/hair for girls costing €41 per child

Ireland’s youngest priest: Fr David Vard, who is 25, is a past pupil of Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge

Almost a third of priests in Kildare and Leighlin Catholic diocese are over 75

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Josepha Madigan TD inside the mosque with Imam Hussein Halawa and Shaheen Ahmed. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

‘The (Muslim) community in Ireland are living in Ireland where this is allowed by law’

 Leo Varadkar with Huda Safaa Al-deen, her husband Zaid Mohammed and daughter Zainab, while visiting the  Islamic Culture Centre. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Varadkar says Government pressing ahead with judicial appointments bill

St Flannan’s College, Ennis, Co Clare

Bishop of Killaloe appointed St Flannan’s only priest to the post without advertising

St John’s Eve was an occasion for major bonfires all over our part of the world in those days

Johnny Murphy plays Estragon in Beckett’s ‘Waiting For Godot’ at the Gate.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Joyce, Binchy and O’Brien show ‘a link between lapsed Catholics and philo-semitism’

St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Dunmanway, where Maguire is buried, to install bells this summer

St Maeldoid’s: on Sundays the Church of Ireland service will be followed by Catholic Mass

St Mary’s in Castleblayney moving in with St Maeldoid’s from today

Trustees of St Flannan’s College, Ennis, with Bishop Fintan Monahan (back right). Back: Fr Seamus Gardiner and parent Phil Costigan. Front: Canon Reuben Butler, principal Fr Ignatius McCormack, former staff member Maura Hitching.

Bishop says he is ‘willing to discuss’ appointment of priest in Ennis

Trinity graduates   Shane O’Connell, Carol Deans and Mansur Alam. It was “tough, tough – boot camp for the brain”, but “definitely worth it”, says Ms Deans. Photograph:  Paul Sharp/Sharppix

What do a Burmese refugee and an inner-city grandmother have in common? A chance of a degree

Does Joyce’s 101-letter word symbolise a thunderclap associated with the fall of Adam and Eve?

Diarmuid Martin, said he was no longer going to send seminarians to St Patrick’s College because of “poisonous” atmosphere.  Photograph: Getty

Seminary and Pontifical University at St Patrick’s College to be separated

Displaced women queue to collect water in Aburoc in South Sudan.  Parts of the country have “fallen into famine, while across east Africa – South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya – over 24 million people are now facing malnutrition and extreme hunger”, says Trócaire.   Photograph:  Albert Gonzalez Farran/AFP/Getty Images

Trócaire appeals to Irish to donate money for South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya

Msgr Hugh Connolly, a fluent French speaker, has completed the usual 10-year term as president at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Maynooth seminary was subject of controversy around alleged ‘gay subculture’

The remains of Concern co-founder Fr Jack Finucane are carried out by  Joe Sweeney and Jack Finnucane jnr and others at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Kimmage Manor, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Concern co-founder brought ‘humanity to the most inhuman situations’

Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork Paul Colton: ‘the reality is that there is such diversity and difference throughout the Church of Ireland.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Scottish Episcopal Church first major congregation in UK to allow same-sex marriage

Fr Alan McGuckian: will be ordained as bishop on August 6th

‘As a Jesuit I bring strengths and weaknesses to this appointment,’ says Fr Alan McGuckian

Bishop Denis Brennan is the second Catholic bishop in recent days to address the issue of increased hostility towards the church in Ireland.  Photograph: Istock

‘In every age people have written obituary of the church and our age is no exception’

The Citizens’ Assembly’s chairwoman Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said “much more work is required” to facilitate independent living in Ireland. Photograph: Maxwell’s

Costs of care for growing older population may require new social insurance scheme

Fr Alec Reid, who died in 2013, went to see Gerry Adams in 1986 and asked: ‘what can you do to stop the IRA?’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

New book recalls fascinating life and eye-witness accounts of late Belfast priest

Bishop McAreavey: “Our main concern has been the physical and psychological welfare of individuals and families in these centres,” he said.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Council has publicly raised issues related to direct provision centres in recent years

Cardinal Kevin Farrell at the Dublin Conference in preparation for the World Meeting of the Families 2016.  Photograph: John Mc Elroy.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell: World Meeting of Families will be ‘the beginning of a new process’ in the Church

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: he is chairman of the maternity hospital’s board but he has not attended since becoming archbishop, he says. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Diarmuid Martin a ‘firm believer in having hospitals with a voluntary component in their management’

Maternity hospital protests: the Sisters of Charity’s decision to quit healthcare was hastened by the public reaction to reports that the order would have owned the new National Maternity Hospital. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

St Vincent’s order was not blind to clash of Catholic values with more liberal laws

It also found that the lack of access to housing forced many of the young people into situations of ‘hidden’ homelessness. File Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Charities warn of a deepening youth homelessness crisis with an increase of 78 per cent

Prominent Catholic theologian Fr Gabriel Daly opposes ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital by the Sisters of Charity.

Association of Catholic Priests also says facility should be State-owned

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

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