Pope Francis   at the Vatican yesterday. Of the last eight popes, seven are at different stages on the road to sainthood. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

The papalisation of canonisations is a modern phenomenon. Of the 265 deceased popes to date only 78 have been canonised with most of those being marty(...)

Pilgrims gather in Rome this evening ahead of ceremonies tomorrow to mark the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Photograph: Patsy McGarry.

The mood was festive in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican today as thousands of people from around the world began to gather for tomorrow mornin(...)

A woman prays in front of a painting depicting Pope John Paul II in a church in  Rome yesterday. On Sunday, Pope Francis will canonise late Pope John Paul II, who reigned from 1978 to 2005, and Pope John XXIII, who was pontiff from 1958 to 1963 and called the Second Vatican Council. Photograph: Reuters/Max Rossi

The postulator for the sainthood of Pope John Paul II, due to be canonised next Sunday along (...)

 Cardinal Bernard Law.

The former Cardinal Archbishop of Boston Bernard Law, who resigned from the post in 2002 amid allegations of cover-up in the handling of cleric(...)

Pope John Paul II  blesses Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, during a special audience in2004. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Three popes, including two who will be canonised at the end of next month, were aware of abuse allegations against Legionaries of Christ founde(...)

White smoke rises from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican last night, indicating a new pope has been elected. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

The tasks facing Pope Francis I are truly enormous and, while just about everyone wishes him well, you do have to wonder how a man of 76 will b(...)

St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

When Pope Benedict spoke of the face of the Catholic Church being “disfigured”, and when he used the word “filth” about aspects of church life,(...)