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

Not for the first time, Pope Francis’s habit of forthright speaking, even in a private context, has caused a deal of difficulty for the Vatican’s dipl(...)

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

It was another busy Saturday in the Vatican as Pope Francis received German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a private audience. Earlier he had met with pi(...)

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(...)

Venus Restored (1936) is the work of  artist, Man Ray (1890-1976). The website states, “While acknowledging the anger, Cardinal Ravasi has chosen not to remove the image as it speaks clearly for one of the central points of the document: many women, alas, are still struggling for freedom (bound with rope), their voices and intellect often unheard (headless), their actions unappreciated (limbless).”

How has a headless, truncated, nude, female bondage image recently acquired pride of place on the website of a Vatican all-male body?The pontifical co(...)

Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip stands for the National Anthem against France. He was substituted after 60 minutes with a back injury. Photograph:  James Crombie/ Inpho

Jamie Heaslip will miss Ireland’s next Six Nations Championship match against England at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday week after scans revealed that(...)

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(...)

Paul O’Connell and his team-mates had the character and fitness levels to withstand the charge of the French bench in the second half. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Great AK was right; ‘no amount of analytical physics can open a door’ but in the end energy, team spirit and tactical nous can close many a French(...)

Michele Ferrero, the late owner of the Italian confectioner that makes Nutella and other chocolate sweets. Photograph: STR/EPA

Michele Ferrero, Italy’s richest person and owner of the Ferrero Group, maker of Nutella spread and Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs, has died aged 89(...)

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(...)

CX-75, Range Rover Sport SVR and Defender Bigfoot will square up to Bond’s Aston in Spectre.

When your nemesis is suave, smooth and sexy and drives a custom-built Aston Martin DB10 festooned with weapons and gadgets, how can the modern day sup(...)