President Mary McAleese: “The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is simply wrong”

Former president says she wouldn’t ask 300 celibate men for expertise on the family

On the eve of the Synod on the Family, the Holy See was rocked on Saturday morning by the public coming out of 43-year-old Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a senior official at the Vatican’s Congregation For the Doctrine Of The Faith (CDF), ex-Holy Office. File photograph: Osservatore Romano

Vatican critises Monsignor Charamsa for ‘irresponsible’ statement on eve of Synod’

Looking forward: Pope Francis has made it clear on at least two occasions this year that he wants results from the Synod on the Family, which begins in Rome tomorrow. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images.

Controversy seems to dog Synod on the Family which begins in Rome on Sunday

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis celebrates her release from the Carter County Detention centre in Grayson, Kentucky in September. Photograph: Chris Tilley/Reuters

Davis spent five days in jail after refusing to sign marriage licences for gay couples

Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Photograph: Reuters

Cardinal Robert Sarah: Such relationships ‘retrogressive for culture and civilisation’

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi: Made off-the-cuff remarks to party members. Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Italian prime minister warns dissident party members against schism

A portraIt of Pope Francis marking his visit to Cuba is seen in a street of the capital Havana. The pope is visiting Cuba from September 19th-22nd, the first stop on a trip that also will take him to the United States.  Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

This 10th foreign trip of Pope Francis could turn out to be his most important

Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio  reads Pope Francis’s details on the marriage annulments reforms. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Papal decrees announced ahead of Pope Francis’s first US trip and synod on the family

Bono and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi at Expo 2015 in Milan last night. Renzi acknowledged that Italy could provide more food aid and distribution. Photograph: Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo

U2 singer used to ‘create a stir’ at Expo 15 in Milan and put pressure on states to donate

Pope Francis tries on a pair of spectacles at his optician’s shop in Via del Babuino, in central Rome. Photograph: Daniel Soehne/AP

Optics are good after pontiff has glasses fixed in Rome city centre

Mourners surround an ornate hearse, pulled by six black-plumed horses, carrying the body of Vittorio Casamonica to the Rome suburbs where his funeral Mass was celebrated on August 20th. Photograph: Reuters

Recent displays of street power pose the question: who controls the Eternal City?

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office (Osservatore Romano) shows Pope Francis celebrating mass in Santa Marta at the Vatican on Tuesday. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/AFP/Getty Images

Francis says that he wants the faithful to have a ‘genuine experience of God’s mercy’

File photograph of former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski. File photograph: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

Former papal nuncio Josef Wesolowski was found dead in the Vatican earlier this week

 Archbishop Josef Wesolowski was  charged with child abuse and possession of child pornography. In June 2014, he was found guilty by a church disciplinary panel and deemed no longer fit to serve as a priest. Photograph: Danny Polanco/EPA

Josef Wesolowski (67) was first senior Vatican official to be tried for child sex abuse

A child is carried from the LÉ Niamh in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo. Photograph: Reuters

Irish commander describes trauma and chaos, writes Paddy Agnew in Palermo

Migrants wait to get off the Irish Navy vessel LÉ Niamh in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo on August 6th. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters/ TPX

Palermo’s mayor vents his anger at the EU after witnessing so much suffering

Pope Francis greets a child as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican City, August 5th, 2015. Photograph: Giampiero Sposito/Reuters

Papal statement seems to leave all possibilities for divorced and remarried persons open

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst: now reported to be living in a sprawling penthouse apartment in Rome with a monthly salary of €10,300. Photograph: Fredrik Von Erichsen/EPA

Disgraced former Limburg bishop spent €31m in elaborate cathedral complex restoration

Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella: Ireland among the ‘more generous’ countries in accepting refugees.  Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Government has said it will accept 600 additional refugees over the next two years

File photograph dated August 12th, 2011 shows then Papal Nuncio Jozef Wesolowski attending a ceremony in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photograph: Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty Images

Jozef Wesolowski accused of abusing boys and possessing child pornography

Former Polish Archbishop Josef Wesolowski goes on trial in the Vatican on child sex abuse charges. Photograph:  Erika Santelices/AFP/Getty

Polish Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski was laicized in a canon court hearing last year

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen said legislation should be changed to ensure former senior politicians did not get pension increases. Photograph: Brian Lawless

Former taoiseach speaks as Kenny calls on ex-ministers to decline increase in payment

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke about the Greek situation during a  visit to the Irish pavilion at Expo Milano.  Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Taoiseach denies EU has shown more ‘solidarity’ to creditors than Greek people

At a news conference in Milan this week, prosecutors claimed Mr Berlusconi has spent more than €10 million in the last four years bribing young ladies who attended the infamous parties, in order to buy their silence on the witness stand. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/ EPA

Prosecutors say Berlusconi spent over €10 million to buy women’s silence on the stand

A fan with a flag in the Argentine colours. The pope is not travelling  to his native Argentina during this trip. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Francis will visit three of the region’s poorest countries, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay

Canadian social activist Naomi Klein gestures during a press conference at the Vatican on Wednesday. Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images.

‘Secular, Jewish feminist’ impressed by courage of pontiff’s green encyclical

Peter Sutherland: said the migration crisis was a problem “which can only be dealt with collectively, not in isolation to one another”.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Agreement reached on voluntary basis, suggesting that some countries may not take part in the process

Former EU Commissioner and Attorney General Peter Sutherland has called on Ireland to waive its exemption from Thursday’s night’s European Union agreement on the relocation of 40,000 refugees. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

European agreement ‘disappointing’, says former EU commissioner and Attorney General

Peter Sutherland has said the international system’s capacity to cope with refugees has barely improved despite increasing numbers of migrants.

Pair likely to find common ground on on need for greater international solidarity

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin gave the only formal comment on the result of Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum calling it a “defeat for humanity”. File photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Vatican prepares proposals to go before Pope Francis at next Synod of Bishops

Archbishop John Nienstedt, who resigned his position amid charges that the archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis in the US failed to protect children from a sexually abusive priest. Photograph: Reuters/Rick Wilking

US resignations indicate hierarchy being made accountable for actions

 Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives in Tacloban, Philippines earlier this year. He demanded swift action on Thursday to save the planet from environmental ruin, urging world leaders to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”. Photograph: Wally Santana/AP.

Climate change represents one of main ‘challenges facing humanity’

 President Michael D Higgins said Ireland has “innate understanding” of world hunger given its Famine history. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

President discusses ‘moral outrage’ of global hunger at Expo 2015 in Milan

President Michael D Higgins: after Milan, he and his wife will go to Rome, where Il Tradimento e Poesie (Poems and Betrayal), an Italian translation of his poems, will be launched. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Timed to coincide with Bloomsday, Irish participation is called ‘Origin Green’

Pope Francis exchanges his skull cap with a little girl during his weekly general audience at St Peter’s Square in Rome on Wednesday. The pope has received a report recommending that bishops be made accountable for failures to protect victims of clerical child sex abuse. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Move will see debated principle of ‘Bishop accountability’ written into canon law

Australian cardinal George Pell: told an inquiry  the church should be no more responsible for the abuse of children than a trucking company was responsible for a driver who picked up and molested a woman while on the road. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Peter Saunders criticised Cardinal Pell’s handling of paedophile priest case

Asked by The Irish Times if the two nuns had prayed a lot over the weekend, the spokesperson replied: “We don’t need to get stuck in a lift to pray. We pray all the time...”

Irish and New Zealand sisters forced to drink their own urine over weekend in lift

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting at a diocesan youth centre as part of a one-day visit to Sarajevo in Bosnia. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis spoke off the cuff and urged tortured priests and nuns to forgive

Juventus’ Paul Pogba is one of the most sought-after footballers in Europe. Photograh: Giorgio Perottino/Reuters

Italian giants reclaim place at top table nine years after being demoted to Serie B

A nun arranges flowers on the stage at Sarajevo city stadium ahead of the visit of Pope Francis. Photograph: Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images

The pope will say Mass in Sarajevo, 20 years after siege left thousands dead

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi during a military parade on Via dei Fori Imperiali avenue during celebrations marking Republic Day in central Rome on Tuesday. Photograph: AFP Photo/ Andreas Solaro

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi secure despite dropping two million votes

Juventus FC head coach Massimiliano Allegri: “All you have to do is play, play well and do the right things.” Photo:  Valerio Pennicino/Getty

Juventus have nothing to lose, and even making it to the final has surprised many

Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi campaigning in Ameglia on Sunday. Photograph: Paolo Zeggio/EPA

Former Italian PM inadvertently campaigns for opposition in local election

Cardinal’s comments better applied to holocaust than Irish referendum

On Tuesday evening Cardinal Piestro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, called the referendum result a “defeat for humanity”.Photograph: EPA/L’Osservatore Romano/Handout

Vatican’s Secretary of State called the referendum result a ‘defeat for humanity’

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin called the result of the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage a “disaster for humanity”. Photograph: Getty

Secretary of State called result of the Irish referendum a ‘disaster for humanity’

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has called the result of the Irish same-sex marriage equality referendum a “defeat for humanity”

Secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin reaction to vote

Pope Francis: said he had met Lionel Messi twice in the Vatican but had never seen him play, as 25 years ago he had made a promise to the Virgin of Carmine that he would no longer watch television. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pontiff says he is ‘reckless’ about security and would like to be able to walk the streets

 Abdel Majid Touil (22), the Moroccan who was arrested on an international warrant by Italy’s anti-terrorism police in the northern town of Gaggiano. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Abdel Majid Touil held on suspicion he helped organise assault in which 24 died

Pope Francis greets  Mahmoud Abbas during a canonisation ceremony in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City, yesterday. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/EPA

Pope Francis again underlines his desire to see peaceful solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Pope Francis had a busy week at the  Vatican, from meeting Cuban president Raúl Castro to grappling with the Israeli-Palestinian question. Photograph: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Rome Letter: It’s clear the pope is in a good place mentally and physically

Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a private audience at the Vatican. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/EPA

Mahmoud Abbas in Rome for canonisation ceremony of 19th century Palestinian nuns

Fellini apartment: At 250sq m and with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a den where the maestro often worked, a large kitchen, a dining room and a large terrace, this is a very desirable piece of real estate.

Penthouse apartment once owned by director on market for €4m

 Fr Gustavo  Gutiérrez (86), a Dominican, was on the panel at a Vatican press conference held to announce details of the current general assembly of the worldwide Catholic charity Caritas. Photograph: AFP

Fr Gustavo Gutiérrez at Vatican press conference

Pope Francis with Cuban president Raul Castro during a private audience at the Vatican. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/EPA/Pool

Raul Castro thanks pontiff for role in detente between his country and the United States

Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the end of his the weekly general audience at St Peter’s Square  at the Vatican on May 6th, 2015. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

But cardinal says regardless of decision, ‘church will continue to consider abortion a sin’

Pope Francis and Cuban President Raul Castro will meet  in the Vatican next Sunday. Photograph: iampiero Sposito/Reuters

Cuban president to visit Vatican for private audience next Sunday

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: said the new legislation will create clarity and stability as it should shield governments from being undermined by political or electoral allies. Photograph: Olivier Morinolivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Significant success for prime minister as ‘Italicum’ approved by lower house

A video image released by the Italian coast guard of a rescue operation of 397 migrants on Saturday. Photograph: AFP/Guardia Costiera

More than 3,400 people taken ashore by European patrols on Saturday alone

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: Opponents have claimed his confidence vote method is the same one used by fascist dictator Mussolini. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Italian prime minister wins confidence vote and tweets his intention to press ahead with reforms

Pope Francis and United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon at the Vatican on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA

‘We need to address the roots of the problem,’ says UN secretary general at Vatican

A rescued migrant  at the Sicilian port of Catania yesterday. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Over 200 Africans the latest group to arrive into the harbour in Catania

A migrant (right) prepares to put on a pair of new shoes after disembarking at the Sicilian harbor of Catania. Some 220 migrants who were rescued at sea off the coast of Libya on Wednesday were taken to the Sicilian port of Catania early on Thursday. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Italian navy takes 220 migrants rescued from listing vessel off Libya coast to Catania

Photograph released by Italian Police office of Ragusa, Sicily, shows a Turkish flagged yacht used by smugglers to transport migrants. Photograph: AP

Fee of €8,500 per head for trip run by group with alleged links to Italian organised crime

African and Asian migrants play soccer at a migrant detention center in Mineo. This former residential base for American naval personnel in Sicily now mainly houses migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Lynsey Addario/The New York Times

Mineo camp, the new home for those migrants who survive perilous crossing to Sicily

Mohammed Ali Malek (centre, rear), one of two survivors of Saturday’s migrant boat disaster, later arrested on suspicion of trafficking, watching the bodies being disembarked, at Senglea in Valletta. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi /Reuters

EU emergency summit to discuss plans to tackle crisis

Mohammed Ali Malek, one of two survivors of Saturday’s migrant boat disaster, later arrested on suspicion of people trafficking, is seen watching bodies of dead migrants being disembarked from the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti, at Senglea in Valletta’s Grand Harbour. Photograph: Reuters

Two men arrested had been identified because of testimony of other survivors

The Italian Coast Guard ship Gregoretti, which carried 27 survivors, including the two men arrested, from the shipwreck. Photograph: Tullio M Puglia/Getty Images

Two men charged over shipwreck that leaves hundreds dead off Libyan coast

Public prosecutor Giovanni Salvi answers questions during a press conference on the boat tragedy  in Catania, Italy. Photograph: Tullio M Puglia/Getty Images

Giovanni Salvi investigating tragedy over ‘clandestine immigration’ and manslaughter

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi whosaid the collapse of post-Gadafy Libya was one of the main reasons behind the Mediterranean migrant crisis. Photograph: EPA

Absence of coherent ‘plan B’ for post-Gadafy Libya one of the main problems behind crisis

A boat transporting migrants arrives in the Italian port of Messina after the rescue operation on Saturday: the milder weather has seen more than 12,000 people landing on Italy’s southern coasts in the last 10 days. Photograph: Giovanni Isolino/AFP/Getty Images

After 700 people drown the issue is set to top the agenda at EU foreign ministers' meeting

An officer looks at a monitor showing  the area where a boat believed to be crowded with  as many as 700 migrants capsized in the waters north of Libya on Sunday. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/AP

Ending of Italian navy-run Mare Nostrum condemned as a step backwards, as its replacement, coordinated by EU Frontex border agency(...)

US president Barack Obama  and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi arrive for a joint news conference at the White House in Washington. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Mediterranean ‘has become a cemetery’, Italian prime minister tells Obama

Shipwrecked migrants disembark from a rescue vessel as they arrive in the Italian port of Augusta in Sicily on April 16th. As many as 41 migrants drowned after a small boat carrying refugees sank in the Mediterranean, Italian media said, days after 400 were lost in another shipwreck. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

Fishermen capture men who boarded boat posing as officials but believed to be traffickers

Rescued migrants line up after disembarking at the southern Italian port of Corigliano, Italy, on Wednesday.  Photograph: Francesco Arena/ANSA via AP

Muslims arrested in Sicily over ‘religious hatred’ as over 40 feared drowned in separate incident

Two years ago, Barone caught his mother, Francesca Bellocco, “in flagrante” in the family summer home in Calabria with Domenico Cacciola, member of a rival ‘Ndrangheta crime family

Prosecution hears of killing that might not have come to light but for brave witness

African migrants after they were rescued from the sea off the coast of Libya, at a centre for illegal migrants in Misrata, Libya. Photograph: EPA/STR

Since last Saturday, 10,000 people have landed off the coast of southern Italy

Pope Francis and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara last November. Diplomatic sources said the statement contradicted the message of peace and friendship the pontiff delivered during his three-day visit. Photograph: EPA/STR

Ankara claims 1.5 million death toll in ‘mass deportations’ an exaggeration

France’s President Francois Hollande (left)  with French diplomat Laurent Stefanini. File photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

Holy See yet to confirm Laurent Stefanini posting three months after appointment

Rescuers and police help an injured person at  the Justice Palace in Milan, Italy, after a man opened fire in a courtroom.   Photograph:  Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA

Suspect, on trial for fraudulent bankruptcy, arrested trying to leave scene on motorcycle

Anti-G8 protesters hide behind a burning car as they fight police on July 21st, 2001, in Genoa, Italy. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

European Court of Human Rights says police used ‘gratuitous’ violence against protesters

Faithful wait for the start of the “Via Crucis” (Way of the Cross) procession, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was led by Pope Francis at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Friday. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Good Friday ceremony commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ

 A general view as Pope Francis celebrates the Chrism mass at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Photograph: EPA

Priests asked to ‘bring the good news to the most abandoned’ in Maundy Thursday mass

Bishop Juan Barros Madrid: the decision by Pope Francis to designate the office to the bishop has caused protests in Oserno, Chile.  Photograph: Felipe Trueba/EPA

Bishop Juan Barros accused of covering up for Chile’s most notorious paedophile priest

Amanda Knox speaks to the media during a brief press conference in front of her parents’ home in Seattle, Washington on Friday. Photograph: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Analysis: Has a very Italian type of justice finally been done?

 Italy’s top court on Friday annulled the conviction of American Amanda Knox for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher and, in a surprise verdict, acquitted her of the charge. Photograph: Anthony Bolante/Reuters

Supreme Court totally rejects two previous guilty verdicts against Knox and Sollecito

Amanda Knox has been acquitted of murder by a top Italian court. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Kercher from Surrey in the UK was stabbed to death in Italy in November 2007

 La Repubblica reported yesterday that Apple Italia was listed as a “consultant” for Apple Ireland, thus enabling the US colossus to transfer its Italian earnings to Ireland. Photograph: AFP

Computer giant faces major investigation by authorities in Milan

A view of Palermo. “Cimarosa officially became the black sheep of the family last month when he publicly denounced Cosa Nostra. He did so, too, on a national stage, speaking in Palermo to the Sicilian ‘Leopolda’, a sort of Democratic Party brains trust”. Photograph: Getty Images

‘I knew he was an important godfather but we didn’t talk about it much in our family’

Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s resignation comes two years after he stepped down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, having admitted inappropriate sexual behaviour towards priests in the 1980s. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Allegations of sexual harassment led prelate to miss out on the conclave that elected pope

Pope Francis leads a penitential ceremony at St Peter’s basilica in Vatican. Photograph: AFP

‘I have the feeling my pontificate will be brief . . . even two or three. Two have already passed’

On the morning after his acquittal in the so-called “Rubygate” trial, 78-year-old former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is reportedly ready to reassume full time political activity. Having won one case, the Rubygate trial,Photograph: GIUSEPPE CACACE/Getty Images

Former Italian PM ready to reassume political activity after case win and end of community service

Report in  “L’Espresso” was critical of Australian cardinal George Pell’s spending. Photograph: Don Arnold/Getty Images

Article criticises cardinal in charge of Vatican finances ‘clean-up’

Pope Francis wrote about the Mexicanisation” of Argentina’s growing drug trade in an email. Photograph: REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Francis wrote about development of Argentina’s drug trade in email

When it came to the ritual exchange, the German leader offered the Pope not only a collection Bach CDs but also a white envelope containing money, intended for child refugees from Syria and Iraq. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/AFP/Getty Images

Chancellor offers Pope white envelope with money for refugees from Syria and Iraq

Silvio Berlusconi: in June 2013, judges argued he might be guilty of perjury because of payments made to Karima ‘Ruby’ El Mahroug and to the so-called Olgettine girls, who gave evidence at the trial. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/EPA

Investigators examine bank accounts of women who testified at first ‘Rubygate’ trial

Pope Francis appoints new cardinal Mozambican Bishop Julio Duarte Langa during the consistory at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on February 14th. Francis has now appointed 31 new elector (under 80) cardinals  since his election in March, 2013. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty

Some see Pope Francis’s latest project for the poor as a gimmick and not of any value

Italian citizens hug after arriving at Practica di Mare military base near Rome, Italy, 16th February 2015. A group of around 60 Italians returned from Libya overnight after being evacuated because of security concerns about the advance of ISIS extremist Islamic group in the North African nation. Photograph: EPA/Massimo Percossi

ISIS threat ‘signed with blood against the nation of the cross’ follows release of video

Captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner Francesco Schettino in court during his trial in Grosseto February 11, 2015. He has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter. Photograph: Reuters/Max Rossi

Analysis: Never much doubt that Costa Concordia Captain would be found guilty

A line of hearses as the bodies of migrants are unloaded from an Italian ship at Lampedusa harbour, Italy, yesterday. More than 330 migrants are feared dead following the most serious string of accidents in the Mediterranean since the start of the year. Photograph: EPA

EU border control can call on one-third of Italian Mare Nostrum’s maritime resources

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