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

On Monday of this week, the Holy See quietly initiated a project that in many senses embodies Pope Francis’s famous call for a “church of the poor and(...)

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

Italians woke up on Monday to the worrying reality of a threat from Islamic State “signed with blood against the nation of the cross”. Against the bac(...)

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 2:03

“16 years for 32 deaths are nothing...it is an inadequate punishment...Then, too, it was not only Schettino who should have been found guilty but also(...)

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

The recent Mediterranean tragedy in which up to 400 African migrants may have died has prompted criticism of the EU’s Triton border control mission. W(...)

Costa Concordia’s captain Francesco Schettino arrives in the courthouse for the last day of his trial on Wednesday. Photograph: AFP. 2:03

A court in Grosseto on Wednesday sentenced the captain of the shipwrecked liner the Costa Concordia, to 16 years and one month in prison. In an extrao(...)

An Italian court has ordered a hospital to implant a 50-year-old woman with embryos frozen 19 years ago that were fertilised by her late husband. File photograph: Zephyr/SPL/Getty

In what is sure to prove a controversial ruling, a court in Bologna in Italy today ordered a local hospital to implant a 50-year-old woman with embryo(...)

Handout provided by the Swiss police shows what they believe to be the Ritratto di Isabella d’Este by Leonardo da Vinci. Italian investigators  have seized the  portrait from a Swiss vault after a tip-off. Photograph: Ticino police handout/Reuters

Italian investigators are looking into how a priceless masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci may have ended up in a bank vault in the Swiss city of Lugano.(...)

Pope Francis during a visit to a refugee camp this week in Rome. Photograph:  Osservatore Romano/AFP/Getty Images

The Holy See’s Commission for the Protection of Minors officially acknowledged yesterday that one of the first issues it intends to address is “bish(...)

Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst: the bishop made world headlines two years ago when details of a €30 million renovation project for the bishop’s palace were revealed. Photograph: Boris Roessler/EPA

Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the so-called “Bishop of Bling” who was removed from the diocese of Limburg in Germany because of his lavish spending on(...)

Sex abuse survivor Marie Collins has admitted to feeling frustrated by the slow pace set by the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, of which she is a member. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.

Sex abuse survivor Marie Collins has admitted to feeling frustrated by the slow pace set by the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of(...)