Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi during a press conference in Rome on Sunday. Photograph: EPA

Italian prime minister alienated electorate and came to be seen as a ‘fat cat’

Supporters of a “No” vote in the constitutional referendum in Italy rally  near the Palazzo Chigi  after the end of the vote in Rome. Exit polls suggested  voters on Sunday overwhelmingly rejected constitutional reform proposals on which prime minister Matteo Renzi has staked his political future.  Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

PM suggests there are several winners of reform vote but only one loser - himself

Prime minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Renzi cast their ballots. Photograph: Maurizio Degl’Innocenti/EPA

Critics argue reforms place too much power in hands of prime minister Matteo Renzi

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi: The head of Eurosceptic party Forza Italia is actually the last PM to be voted in by the people. Photograph: Reuters/Remo Casilli

Final polls show half the electorate are still undecided or intend to abstain

Matteo Renzi: The Italian prime minister promised to respect a No vote, though he said it would be “a pity”. Photograph: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

Accusations and insults exchanged on final day of a bitter campaign over political reform

Demonstrators  during a  “no” vote rally  to the upcoming referendum on constitutional reform in  Rome. Photograp: AFP/Getty Images

Political fallout of a defeat for prime minister Matteo Renzi worries European chancelleries and the business community

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures as he attends a television talk show  in Rome on Wednesday to campaign for a No vote. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

Speculation that prime minister Matteo Renzi might resign if reforms are rejected

A banner portraying Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and reading “Let’s oust Renzi” during a pro-No demonstration ahead of Sunday’s referendum on constitutional reform. Photograph: AP/Andrew Medichini

Prime minister Matteo Renzi receives surprise ‘Yes’ boost from German finance minister

Pope Francis with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala during a private audience at the Vatican. Photograph: EPA

Pontiff confirms intention following meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Vatican

Taoiseach decried ‘dysfunction, disconnection and narcissism’ of Holy See in 2011

Demonstrators in Rome hold banners calling for a No vote ahead of the  referendum on constitutional reform in Italy. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Former prime minister warns Matteo Renzi’s will be ‘boss of all Italy’ if proposal passes

 Pope Francis shakes hands with the faithful at the end of his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday. Photograph:Gregorio Borgia/AP

Kenny will meet Pope Francis in the Vatican on Monday to discuss visit in two years’ time

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi arrives for a press conference  in Chigi Palace, Rome. Photograph: Maurizio Brambatti/EPA

The Italian prime minister has withdrawn a threat to resign if voters reject the proposals

Pope Francis closes the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s in Rome on Sunday to mark the end of the Holy Year of Mercy. Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/EPA

Irishman Kevin Farrell one of 17 new cardinals created in spectacular Red Hat ceremony

Italy  coach Conor O’Shea: “This is just a beginning but it is a very good beginning.”

First ever win over South Africa ‘turns the rugby world upside down’

Pope Francis embraces new cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell of the US during a Consistory ceremony to install 17 new cardinals in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Saturday. Photograph: Reuters

Irish-born Kevin Farrell one of 17 new appointments made by the pontiff

Cardinal-designate: Pope Francis and Kevin Farrell. Photograph courtesy of the diocese of Dallas

Kevin Farrell, a 69-year-old Dubliner who became bishop of Dallas, will be made a cardinal at the Vatican today

Conor O’Shea, head coach of Italian rugby team during a training session in Rome. Photograph: Silvia Lore/ NurPhoto via Getty Images

Preview: Italy v New Zealand, Olympic Stadium, Rome, kick-off 2pm

Handout provided by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis  greeting pilgrims at a special audience with  homeless people in the   Vatican City,  November 11th, 2016. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/EPA

Francis criticised president-elect earlier in year on views, now careful ‘not to name names’

Firemen work to recover historical objects from Basilica di San Benedetto collapsed after an earthquake in Norcia, Italy, November 5th, 2016. Photograph: Pietro Crocchioni/EPA

Vatican condemns priest who blamed same sex civil unions for earthquakes

Garda trainees receive an allowance of €184 per week for their first 32 weeks. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Police in France and Spain have staged protests and withdrawn from some duties

 Security  preparations outside Lund Cathedral  ahead of the pope’s visit. Photograph: Emil Langvad/EPA

Historic ecumenical service in Lund anticipates 500th anniversary of Reformation

The mayor of the town of L’Aquila, Massimo Cialente, speaks on his mobile phone as he checks the damage after the strong earthquake hit  central Italy. Photograph: Alberto Orsini/EPA

‘Turns out it wasn’t a burglar . . . but a much more disturbing visitor, a 6.6 earthquake’

Italians find  temporary shelter in a warehouse in  Camerino, central Italy,  after an  earthquake destroyed part of the town. Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Latest ‘shake’ does major damage and leaves 4,000-5,000 homeless

Cardinal George Pell: confirmed that he was questioned in Rome last week by Australian police in relation to sex abuse allegations. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Senior Vatican figure Cardinal George Pell co-operates with inquiry but rejects all claims

A firefighter looks at a collapsed building after an earthquake in Borgo Sant’Antonio near Visso, central Italy on Thursday. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Latest seismic activity could be the product of a new fault line, experts say

 Cardinal Ludwig Mueller at a press conference illustrating new Catholic guidelines on burial and cremation, at the Vatica on Tuesday. Photograph: Guiseppe Lami

Ruling says deceased’s ashes should be stored in ‘sacred place’ such as a cemetery or church

Anti-abortion supporters march in Rome in 2015. In a 2013 survey of Italian gynaecologists, 70% said they refuse to perform abortions. Photograph: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Physician said he would not intervene ‘whilst there was a heartbeat’, husband claims

The papal palace at 17th-century Castel Gandolfo near Lazio in Italy: seems certain to prove a major tourist attraction. Photograph: DeAgostini/Getty Images

Residence never used by Pope Francis, who does not live in Vatican’s apostolic palace

Leptis Magna, Libya: An Italian reporter has said that a member of the ‘Ndrangheta Mafia asked him for €60,000 in exchange for artefacts taken from the ancient Roman city by Islamic State.

Trading of ancient artworks involves Chinese and Russian criminals, says newspaper

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini arrive in Washington on Tuesday ahead of a gala banquet at the White House being hosted by US president Barack Obama. Photograph: Tiberio Barchielli/EPA/Palazzo Chigi press office

US president says pro-growth policies needed, in interview with Italian newspaper

Italian playwright Dario Fo: “Throughout his work flowed a constant, disrespectful and often hilarious criticism of those in positions of power and public office.” Photography: Antonio Calanni/AP Photo

Italy mourns loss of ‘one of the great protagonists of theatrical, cultural and civil life’

Pope Francis greets Monsignor Joseph William Tobin, one of the   17 new cardinals named by him. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP Photo

Bishop Farrell has served the church in the USA for the majority of his priestly ministry

Books by Elena Ferrante in an English translation at the Edizioni E/O publishing office in Rome. Photograph: Chris Warde-Jones/The New York Times

The real identity of best-selling author may – or may not – have been revealed this week

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi: In recent months, as opinion polls have sometimes shown the No vote in front, he has pulled back on commitment to resign in face of defeat. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

Some fear Renzi’s plan could move the country closer to an effective oligarchy

Pope Francis with Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, during a meeting with charities operating in Syria and Iraq  on Thursday. Photograph: EPA/Osservatore Romano

Francis bemoans fate of city where ‘everbody is dying – children, old people, sick people’

Isabel and Federica, two laicised Franciscan nuns who met three years ago during their pastoral service to the church, undertook civil union in front of Pinerolo mayor Luca Salvai of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Ceremony in Piedmont comes four months after introduction of same-sex civil union

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi during a news conference on Wednesday. “It would be totally irresponsible to say yes to this bid,” she said. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

Virginia Raggi says ‘irresponsible’ bid would lead to city building up more debts

 Pope Francis  greets participants in a multi-faith day of prayer for peace, in Assisi, on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA/Osservatore Romano

Religious leaders from around the world join pontiff for multi-faith ceremony in Assisi

Sergio Mattarel moves to play down concerns over US interfering in Italy’s internal politics

Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi. Italy’s anti-corruption agency has said she did not followed correct bureaucratic procedures in choosing her chief of staff. Photograph: Massimo Percossi/EPA

Virginia Raggi is under intense scrutiny following resignations of city officials

Workers build a new school in Amatrice, Italy. Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/EPA

Matteo Renzi promotes initiative as schools across the country are judged to be unsafe

Indian Nuns from the Catholic Order of the Missionaries of Charity watch the live telecast of the canonisation of Mother Teresa from Rome, at the Mother House in Kolkata. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The Vatican bent the rules in order to fast-track the Albanian nun to sainthood

An aerial view of Amatrice, central Italy, badly damaged by an earthquake.  Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA

Clumsy effort offends many Italians with public figures lining up to criticise magazine

Mother Teresa in 1993. Sunday’s ceremony at the Vatican will be attended by 100,000 faithful and at least 15 foreign delegations, including Indian state representatives. Photograph: AP Photo

Kosovar Albanian nun who founded Missionaries of Charity dedicated life to India’s poor

The Romolo Capranica school in Amatrice, where €500,000 of reconstruction work did little to offset damage when the earthquake struck. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty

Authorities are looking at how funds were used since 2009 seismic disaster left 308 dead

Mourners cry next to a coffin prior the funeral for victims of the earthquake that levelled the town in Amatrice. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

In disaster-struck town, a makeshift tent served as a church amid the shattered rubble

 Relatives of earthquake victims sit in a tent next to coffins of their loved ones before a mass funeral in quake-devastated Amatrice, central Italy,  August 30th, 2016. Construction crews worked through the night to build a tent complex to host the service after outraged residents rejected the government’s plan to hold the service in a distant airport hangar. Photograph: Massimo Percossi/EPA

Bereaved fought to have latest funeral service, for 37 dead, held in their own town

Members of the Italian fire brigades operate near civic tower, in the earthquake-stricken town of Amatrice, on Monday. Photograph: Massimo Percossi/EPA

Italian PM intervenes to insist Tuesday’s service for 78 victims takes place in Amatrice

Pope Francis meets Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, at the Santa Marta residence, the guest house in Vatican City where the pope lives. Photograph: AP

Pair speak about using communication technology to fight poverty

Firefighters and rescue workers stand near the damaged Sant’Agostino church in the central Italian village of Amatrice. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis announces plans to visit Italian towns struck by the deadly earthquake

Aerial view of the damage in the village of Saletta in central Italy, where 22 of the 45 inhabitants died in Wednesday’s earthquake. Photograph: AP Photo/Localteam

Matteo Renzi government declares national day of mourning to be observed today

A drone photo shows the damages following an earthquake in Saletta, central Italy. Photograph: Stefano De Nicolo/Reuters

Paddy Agnew: Villagers in tiny mountain communities left distraught

Ruins in a street of Amatrice in central Italy after the earthquake, which claimed at least 247 lives. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Residents of Amatrice try to come to terms with the huge loss of life following disaster

Rescue workers with sniffer  dogs following an earthquake in Amatrice, Italy. The dogs have a tough time dealing with dust in their noses. Photograph: Ciro De Luca/Reuters

Sniffer dogs have tough time as noses become clogged with dust amid rescue efforts

A tent camp for  earthquake refugees  in Arquata del Tronto, Italy. Photograph: Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Tremors add to feeling of fear and force Amatrice residents out in droves

People stand next to collapsed buildings in Amatrice following the  earthquake  in central Italy. Photograph: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Amatrice and Pescara del Tronto feel brunt as another natural disaster hits central Italy

 An injured woman  is carried  by rescuers from  the rubble of collapsed buildings in Amatrice, central Italy, following a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. Photograph: Massimo Percossi/EPA

Death toll rises to 247 as handsome, rural, medieval town is devastated

People stand in front of a damaged church in Amatrice on Wednesday after a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy. The earthquake left at least 38 people dead and  scores of buildings destroyed. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

Experience not unending but certainly recurrent for residents of hilly central regions

A woman cries after been rescued from her home following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

Mayor of Amatrice says town ‘isn’t there any more’ with tremors also felt in Rome

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi (centre) with Angela Merkel and François Hollande talk of EU co-operation on the aircraft carrier Garibaldi. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

Message from leaders is clear: EU will tighten security and focus intensely on growth

 Irish-born US clergyman  Kevin Farrell: has pushed for greater involvement of laity in church life.   He becomes the most senior US church figure serving in the Holy See.

Pope Francis appoints Bishop of Dallas to lead Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life

Two police officers cook pasta for two elderly citizens, after they were called to check on a couple loudly quarreling on a hot summer night in Rome. Photograph: Italian Police/AP

Officers respond to emergency call over cries of distress to find lonely husband and wife

The controversy in Maynooth has not gone unnoticed in the Vatican, even if there is no official comment. Photograph: Giuseppe Ciccia/ Nurphoto via Getty Images

Analysis: Vatican stance is to interfere when it suits – but leave well alone otherwise

Silvio Berlusconi has owned AC Milan since buying them in 1986 for €8m. Photograph: Reuters.

End of era after 30 years as Chinese consortium invest in Italian giants

The Vatican’s “gay lobby” does not campaign for gay rights; rather it is an informal group of gays who look out for each other

Even if Irish College in Rome is serious study centre, Eternal City can provide myriad distractions

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: “atmosphere of strange goings-on.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Alleged sexual harrassment at St Patrick’s College reported to Garda in Dublin

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin says the national seminary in Maynooth ‘seems like a quarrelsome place with anonymous letters being sent around’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin decides to send seminary students to Rome instead

Pope Francis greets faithful as he arrives to the Campus Misericordiae during World Youth Day in Brzegi near Krakow, Poland, Sunday. Photograph: Reuters/David W Cerny

Final address by Francis at Catholic youth rally focuses on technology and activism

Pope Francis waves as he arrives for a prayer vigil with youth at Campus Misericordiae in Brzegi, Poland as part of the World Youth Day. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

More than one million expected to attend Pope Francis’ Mass for World Youth Day

Pope Francis prays in front of the death wall at the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, on Friday. Photograph: L’Osservatore Romano /Pool Photo via AP

‘Cruelty did not end at Auschwitz, at Birkenau: today too, people are tortured,’ says Pope

Pope Francis walks through Auschwitz’s notorious gate with the sign Arbeit Macht Frei during his visit to the former Nazi death camp near Krakow. Photograph: Reuters/Filippo Monteforte/Pool

Pontiff meets 11 survivors of Nazi death camp and visits cell of St Maximilian Kolbe

 Pilgrims participating in World Youth Day 2016  in Blonia park in Krakow, Poland. Photograph: Jacek Turczyk/EPA

Irish worshippers brave the rain and conditions at World Youth Day celebrations

 Pope Francis   in Krakow, Poland: his dramatic statement contrasts sharply with the joyous and celebratory spirit which traditionally marks the gathering of young people from all around the world. Photograph: Maciej Kulczynski/EPA

Pontiff says peace has been lost as he starts visit to Poland for World Youth Day

Firefighters work at the site where two passenger trains collided in the middle of an olive grove in the southern village of Corato, near Bari in Italy. Photograph: stringer/Reuters

Lack of computerised safety system on single line track may have caused Puglia tragedy

Portugal celebrate their Euro 2016 victory. Photograph: Reuters

Departure of injured talisman brought an inspired response from Euro 2016 winners

French players and supporters celebrate after their semi-final win over Germany. Photograph: Getty

France as a whole stayed defiant despite the tournament starting in a climate of fear

France coach Didier Deschamps reacts following Antoine Griezmann’s second goal in the Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany in Marseille. Photograph:  Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

From his time at Juventus, the man from Bayonne was learning his trade hard

 France striker Antoine Griezmann scores his second goal in the Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany at   Stade Velodrome  in Marseille. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Didier Deschamps’s side march on to Paris and final meeting with Portugal

Germany players celebrate winning the penalty shootout that saw them past Italy and into the semi-finals of Euro 2016. Photo: Reuters

After the game finished 1-1 in 120 minutes, the Germans emerged victorious on spot kicks

Italy’s coach Antonio Conte during his side’s victory over Spain in the last 16. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Antonio Conte’s side confident despite missing midfield general Danielle De Rossi

Martin was the first in a long line of football men who talked, and taught me, about football. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Ireland manager showed in Lille that he doesn’t forget a face

Rome’s mayor-elect: Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement trounced her PD rival, Roberto Giacchetti. Photograph: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Democratic Party loses mayoral contests in Turin, Naples and Rome

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: his Democratic Party  performed badly in most of the major cities. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/EPA

PD candidates may lose second-round vote in Rome, Milan and Naples

Five Star Movement  candidate Virginia Raggi is expected to  win  Sunday’s first round as well as the run-off vote in two weeks’ time. Photograph:  Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

PM Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party could be biggest losers in this weekend’s elections

 Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery: ‘The Catholic priesthood as we have known it, this male celibate thing, is gone.’ File Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fr Tony Flannery says female clergy would make a dramatic change amid serious crisis

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: said the proposed period for the Dáil to rise is “too early and it is too long”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

As the Dáil is set to get about three months holidays, we look at the norm in other jurisdictions

Parked cars engulfed in a crater that opened next to the river Arno in Florence on Wednesday morning. Photograph: Maurizio degl’Innocenti/ANSA via AP.

No injuries but 20 parked cars swallowed by hole apparently caused by burst water pipe

Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said he hoped Pope Francis would visit Ireland  in 2018 and that the pontiff would be able to visit Northern Ireland.

Archbishop of Dublin says Irish bishops would like any papal visit to include North

Italy boss Antonio Conte is wary of the threat posed by Ireland. Photograph: Epa

Wary of Irish threat as Azzurri head into Euro 2016 with a far from vintage crop

Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, public relations expert Francesca Chaouqui and Msgr Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda sit during their trial in the Vatican, in this file picture from November 2015. Photograph: L’Osservatore Romano/AP

Latest witness tells of electronic bugs, threatening letters and secret meetings

Pope Francis is greeted by Sr Carmen Sammut, a Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa, during an audience with the International Union of Superiors General at the Vatican on Thursday. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

Pope questioned by leaders of women’s religious orders on exclusion of female deacons

Supporters of same-sex civil unions stand outside the Italian Parliament in Rome on May 11th, 2016. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Move comes following three decades of campaigning, opposed by Catholic Church

Enduring  irony: Silvio Berlusconi has managed to turn the forthcoming mayoral contest in Rome on its head, causing problems for his centre-right “rivals” and potentially doing favours to his centre-left “allies”. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Media tycoon moves to split right-wing vote in Rome mayoral elections to aid Renzi

 Pope Francis   with US vice-president Joe Biden. Photograph: AFP Photo/Osservatore Romano

Joe Biden, the second senior US Democrat to visit Vatican in the last two weeks, meets the pope

Rene Brulhart, president of the Vatican Financial Information Authority  argued that the increased number of suspicious case reports was a direct result of the work of his own institution. Photograph:  Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

Institution receives 544 reports of suspicious activities last year, says president Brülhart

Irish Jesuit priest Fr John Sullivan. Pope Francis has approved his beatification. Photograph: Jesuits in Ireland website

Woman who prayed to Fr John Sullivan made ‘miraculous’ recovery from a cancer

Fr Iggy O Donovan says Swiss theologian Hans Küng is ‘hopelessly optimistic’ in perceiving a ‘new freedom’ in the Vatican. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Dissident theologians accuse church watchdog of heartless, unchristian attitude

Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, says he hopes an audit of the Vatican finances will resume very shortly, following its suspension this week. Photograph:  Daniel Munoz/Reuters

Pope Francis’s new body believed to be on collision course with Secretariat of State

Pope Francis welcomes Syrian refugees at Ciampino airport in Rome following his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte

The pope says decision to bring Syrian families to Rome was a ‘humanitarian’ one

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