Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard the papal plane flying from Mexico to Italy on Thursday. Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Thursday night appeared to suggest that women threatened with the Zika virus could use artificial contraception. The pope made his re(...)

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard a flight from Mexico to Italy. Photograph: Alessandro Di Meo/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis has indicated that women exposed to the Zika virus may be permitted to use contraception to avoid pregnancy, in a departure from Catholic(...)

Leticia de Araujo holding her daughter, one-month-old Manuelly Araujo da Cruz, who was born with microcephaly after being exposed to the Sika virus during her mother’s pregnancy, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photograph:  Antonio Lacerda/EPA

As the Zika virus spreads in Latin America, Catholic leaders are warning women against using contraceptives or having abortions, even as health offici(...)

The ongoing debate centred on the divesting of Catholic schools has received – and for good reason will continue to receive – significant attention. (...)

Mary McAleese: “Since it was instituted by Pope Paul VI the synod has never been a ‘dynamic’ body, according to Pope Francis himself, and this one was no different.” File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

The recently concluded synod of bishops in Rome has come up with nothing new or interesting, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese has said. The S(...)

In a word . . . sorry

The adjective sorry is said to have originated with the Old English sarig, meaning “distressed, grieved, full of sorrow”. It used to be the hardest wo(...)

‘John Bosco was well ahead of his time in his attitude to corporal punishment.’ Photograph: Getty Images

The Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples), gave particular impetus to what might (...)

Statue of St Teresa, Avila, Castile and Leon, Spain. Photograph: Getty Images

The walking stick of St Teresa of Avila is in Ireland as part of a worldwide tour to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth in 1515 of the founder of(...)

Convent of St Teresa in Avila, Spain.

He was, he told us, the youngest guide in Toledo. There were about 60, he said. He, at 28, is the youngest. So proud he told us twice. A happy young m(...)

 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.

In what has been arguably the most keenly anticipated papal encyclical of modern times, Pope Francis yesterday called on “all people...to enter int(...)