John McNeill: was expelled from the Jesuits in 1987 on the Vatican’s orders, after which he became more visible as an activist.

John McNeill, who has died aged 90, was a Catholic priest who publicly pressed the church to welcome gay people and who was expelled from his order as(...)

‘Pope Francis’s first visit outside Rome was to the island of Lampedusa, which has long been a European arrival point for African migrants, 20,000 of whom have drowned trying to get there this past 20 years.’  Photograph: Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

It was Sunday, April 24th, 2005, in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Among the huge crowds were many Germans, there for the investiture of their v(...)

 Cardinal Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano of Nicaragua greets Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI  after receiving his scarlet silk biretta to be elevated to cardinal by Pope Francis in St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.  Photograph: Fabio Frustaci/EPA

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI yesterday took the unusual step of attempting to lay to rest spec(...)

The Vatican’s UN Ambassador Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, prior to the start of a questioning over clerical sexual abuse of children at the headquarters of the UN’s office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the Palais Wilson, in Geneva. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA.

The Vatican defrocked 260 priests for the sexual abuse of children in 2011 and 124 more in 2012 after the scandal exploded in Europe and beyond and bi(...)

Posed by a model. Photograph: Ten03/ISPC/Getty

He asks to be described as a religious-order priest comfortable with his sexuality. He is gay. It is “one aspect of his life”. He doesn’t like the ter(...)

Fr Tony Flannery launched  A Question of Conscience today. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A new book by Redemptorish priest Fr Tony Flannery, who was silenced and removed from public ministry by the Vatican last year, is not available in Ve(...)

Man of the people: Cardinal Bergoglio drinks mate, a traditional beverage, in Buenos Aires earlier this  month. Photograph: DyN/AP Photo

It was Benedict who did it. There has never been an interregnum like the one just experienced by the Catholic Church, a period that led to the(...)

I was in my study one morning last week, and there was a heartbreaking stillness across the lake. I was listening to a CD of Rachmaninov’s Vesp(...)

Horses and jockeys make their way past ground sheeting covering the course as they head out to the gallops at the Cheltenham racecourse yesterday. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

The late Fr Sean Breen is especially missed at Cheltenham this year. Not only had he peerless knowledge after more than 40 years attending the fest(...)