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. 1:30

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

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I embrace after signing a joint statement at the Church of St George, the principal Greek Orthodox cathedral, in Istanbul. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/Epa

Pope Francis condemned “Islamophobia” while at the same time calling on intellectuals, politicians and religious leaders to denounce all fundamentalis(...)

 Cardinals and bishops attend the Mass for the closing of Extraordinary Synod held by Pope Francis at St Peter’s Square  in the Vatican City. Photograph:  Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Those who feel they’ve been consigned to the margins once again by a Catholic Church statement should put the brakes on their despair for the moment. (...)

Pope Francis waves to the faithful at the end of a Mass for the beatification of Pope Paul VI in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Pope Francis has formally closed the Synod on the Family with a special Mass on the steps of St Peter’s during which he also beatified Pope Paul VI. P(...)