TK Whitaker, secretary of the department of finance, sought information on whether the Holy See would “consider investments in Irish government securities or in property development”. Photograph: Tom Lawlor

TK Whitaker explored the possibility of getting the Holy See to invest in Ireland in the mid-1960s but was informed the Vatican was “disinclined” to (...)

Frontier: the pope at the Israel-West Bank wall. photograph: Mheisen Amareen/Reuters

When Ireland’s new Ambassador to the Holy See, Emma Madigan, was chatting to Pope Francis in the pontifical library the day she presented her diplomat(...)

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message from the balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, December 25, 2014. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Pope Francis condemned the “brutal persecution” of minorities by Islamic State insurgents in his Christmas message on Thursday and urged people not to(...)

Pope Francis leads the midnight Christmas Mass. Earlier, Francis made a phone call to some Iraqi refugees forced to flee their homes by Muslim militants.  EPA/ALESSANDRO DI MEO

Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve with a late-night Mass in St Peter’s Basilica and a phone call to some Iraqi refugees forced to flee their homes(...)

Pope Francis saluting prelates at the end of the audience of the Curia  at the Vatican in Rome today. In October 2009 the Vatican announced new ecclesiastical structures to absorb Anglicans disaffected by liberalising moves in their Communion. Photograph: EPA/L’Osservatore Romano

A Catholic parish priest who has left the ministry to marry will this week be replaced in his English parish by a married priest with three children. (...)

Pope Francis talks during an audience for Christmas greetings to the Curia in the Clementina hall at the Vatican December 22nd, 2014. Photograph: Reuters/Andreas Solaro/Pool

Pope Francis has issued a blistering critique of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live(...)

Pope Francis has not yet visited Cuba but both of his two immediate predecessor made trips to the island. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Vatican leveraged its good relations with Cuba and the United States to help broker their historic resumption of ties and the deal was spurred by (...)

Redemptorist Fr Tony Flannery: silenced.  Photograph: Alan Betson

The Association of Catholic Priests has written to Pope Francis asking he reverse a decision of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Fai(...)

The Dalai Lama, flanked  by Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino, arrives at the opening of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome, Friday December 12th. The pope declined to meet the spiritual leader. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis has denied a private audience to the Dalai Lama because it could harm the Holy See’s already fraught relations with China, the Vatican sa(...)

‘They are uplifted by some signs of hope among US bishops –  for instance the Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley (above), in a recent television interview, stating that the Vatican investigation of the US women religious was a “disaster”.’ Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

I have recently returned from an 18-city speaking tour in the US, organised by the network of Church Reform movements. They impressed me. Their commit(...)