Peter Saunders:  criticised appointment  of controversial  bishop Juan Barros. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Peter Saunders, given ‘leave of absence’, says Vatican system ‘essentially corrupt’

Thousands of demonstrators take part in the Family Day rally at the Circo Massimo in central Rome on Saturday. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Some 300,000 people gather at Rome’s Circus Maximus to oppose proposed legislation

Statue of Padre Pio  in Rome: saint’s relics will go on tour at the request of Pope Francis. Photograph: Pier Paolo Cito/AP Photo

Pope Francis wants remains of the Italian saint be brought to Rome for a few days

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani with Pope Francis  at the end of their private audience in the Vatican on Tuesday. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AFP/Getty Images

First Iranian leader to visit the Vatican for 17 years urges Muslims to protect churches

Pope Francis talking during his visit to the Lutheran church in Rome on November 15th last year. He is to take part in a joint Catholic-Lutheran service in Sweden in October. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Pontiff will travel to Lund, Sweden, for ecumenical commemoration

Supporters of same-sex civil union kiss holding alarm clocks “to wake up Italy” on Saturday near the Pantheon in central Rome. An estimated one million people took to the streets of Italy, to signal their support for civil union legislation. Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Church influence blamed for fact Italy is last country in western Europe without civil union

 Maurizio Sarri: “I acknowledge that I made a mistake. I used an inappropriate expression and for that reason I apologise to all homosexuals and I apologise to Mancini. Photograph: Reuters

Maurizio Sarri launched tirade of homophobic abuse during Italian Cup tie

Prof Roy Foster: “I think they were very carefully planned to avoid the pitfalls of crude triumphalism.” Photograph: The Irish Times

Historian ‘impressed by how Government’s commemorative strategies have worked’

Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni at the launch of Pope Francis’s book, ‘The Name of God is Mercy’, at the Vatican  on Tuesday. Photograph: Ettore Ferrari/ EPA

Oscar winner Roberto Benigni describes Pope Francis as ‘greatest man in the world’

Pope Francis greets an ambassador and his wife during an audience with the diplomatic corps at the Vatican on Monday. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Pope acknowledges cultural and social challenges of refugees in address to diplomats

Old country: Trevignanesi assemble to put the world to rights, at sunset by Lake Bracciano. Photograph: Paddy Agnew

Rural life, which still revolves around feasts, cafes and church, is the envy of visitors but a deep frustration for young Italian(...)

A group  takes a selfie with an iPhone in front of the Colosseum in Rome: Apple has agreed to pay €318m to settle an Italian tax claim. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Tim Cook dismissed criticism of company’s overseas tax policy as ‘political crap’

Dublin diocesan priest Monsignor Paul Tighe (57) has been appointed a bishop and secretary of the Vatican’s Council for Culture by Pope Francis.

Monsignor who was central to social media strategy is also made secretary of Council for Culture

Licio Gelli: even though he was given a 10-year sentence for having “derailed” the Bologna station investigation and a 12-year sentence for his role in the Banco Ambrosiano collapse, Gelli actually spent little time in prison.

Gelli’s name turned up in numerous high-profile inquiries but he spent little time in jail

 Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica, formally starting the Jubilee of Mercy, at the Vatican on Tuesday morning.  Photograph: Maurizio Brambatti/EPA

Symbolic act at St Peter’s Basilica takes place amid greatly increased security

Pope Francis arriving at the St Maria Maggiore cathedral upon his return to Rome on Monday. Photograph: AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte

Pope speaks at press conference on papal plane during return from six-day trip to Africa

Francesca Chaouqui and Msgr Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda  during their trial in the Vatican: Msgr Balda said he had sex with Ms Chaouqui. She says they did not. Photograph: L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP

Defendant in trial for stealing documents from Holy See claims he was seduced

Pope Francis delivers his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City and to the World) message from St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican,  in 2013. Photograph: AP

In their very different ways, writes Paddy Agnew, these excellent, well-written, much researched books ask the ‘big question’ – ca(...)

Italian journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi and PR consultant Francesca Chaouqui   during the Vatileaks 2 trial in the Vatican. Photograph: EPA/L’Osservatore Romano

PR consultant and monsignor among those on trial for leaking Vatican documents

Artist Simon Kizito tries to sell his painting of Pope Francis in Nairobi’s Kangemi slum. Photograph: Nichole Sobecki/Getty

Speculation trip may have to be cut short because of unrest in Central African Republic

Writers Gianluigi Nuzzi (right) and Emiliano Fittipaldi. Photograph: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Luca Bruno, file

Monsignor and two writers among those accused of confidential document theft

Avarizia (Greed) and Via Crucis (Stations of the Resurrection),  by Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi respectively,  both reproduce confidential financial documents allegedly stolen from the Vatican.  Photograph: Ciro Fusco/EPA

Authors of books on Pope Francis and Holy See reform charged over stolen documents

St. Peter’s Basilica before the arrival of Pope Francis for his general audience in Vatican City on Wednesday. Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/EPA

Italian police believe the former head of the world famous abbey laundered up to €600,000

Avarizia and Via Crucis, new  books on the Vatican by Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi, on display  in a bookshop in Naples. Photograph: Ciro Fusco/EPA

Two arrests and two new books – just the start of a dramatic week for the Holy See

Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi at a news conference to publicise his book, ‘Via Crucis’, in Rome on Wednesday. Photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters

Reports of pontiff’s ‘brain tumour’ described as ‘blatantly false’ attempt to undermine him

Rumours and speculation concerning a new “Vatileaks” scandal have been flying around the Vatican for days. The development suggests resistance remains in the Holy See curia to the reform process of Pope Francis (above). Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters.

Development comes ahead of publication of books containing secret Vatican information

Pope Francis gives an audience to nomadic peoples at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Families among 600 from nomadic communities to attend event at Vatican

Pope Francis arrives with bishops and cardinals for the morning session of the last day of the Synod on the Family at the Vatican on Saturday. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Rumours and discontent to the fore as Pope Francis’s ‘reform process’ meets opposition

Pope Francis leads a mass to mark the closure of the Synod on the Family in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Given divergences of opinion Pope Francis can probably consider it a good result

Archbishop Eamon Martin attends a news conference at the end of a morning session of the synod on the family at the Vatican. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Primate of All Ireland welcomes debate on pastoral approach

Newspaper group claims that a small dark spot on Francis’ brain was identified during a check-up seven months ago. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Vatican spokesman denies the story, saying it is ‘unfounded’ and ‘irresponsible’

‘Scandals’ seem to refer to Carmelite gay prostitution case and Polish monsignor

South African cardinal Wilfred Napier, said a paper calling for greater inclusivity towards homosexuals had been published at last year’s synod without prior knowledge of many. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Prelates write to pope expressing concern on liberal declarations emerging at gathering

Pope Francis prays at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington during his five-day trip to the US. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

The odd tale of the pope and the county clerk put a spanner in the works of his US visit

Former Rome mayor Ignazio Marino arriving at City Hall on Friday, the day after his resignation. Among others, he appeared to have annoyed Pope Francis. Photograph: Giuseppe Lami/EPA

Ignazio Marino annoyed so many people that it is tough to pinpoint precise reason for exit

A screengrab of   Italian priest Don Gino Flaim, who has been suspended from his functions at the San Pio X church in Trent, northern Italy, after he made comments in which he appeared to “justify” paedophilia.

Don Gino Flaim made comments seemingly blaming ‘love-seeking children’

Pope Francis attends the synod on the family at St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican yesterday. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/AFP/Getty Images

Synod president claims church stance on communion for remarried misunderstood

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

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