Pope Francis called this week’s Rome meeting to raise awareness globally about clerical child sexual abuse, highlighting it is not just a “western” problem. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A four-day meeting of Catholic bishops and other senior clergy begins at the Vatican on Thursday to address the issue of clerical child sexual abuse. (...)

The public acknowledgement by Pope Francis that nuns have been sexually abused by priests and bishops, is a welcome advance where that issue is concerned. Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis has taken two significant steps on the issue of sexual abuse in the past week. One was the decision to expel former US cardinal Theodore (...)

Sr Maura O’Donoghue, a Medical Missionary of Mary from Kilfenora, in Co Clare

Reports last week Pope Francis said the Catholic Church has faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops, seem to ha(...)

Rome in recent days has been dominated by those who recall the late pontiffs.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

As Rome prepares for the impact of an estimated million-strong crowd at tomorrow’s canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, yesterday was(...)

Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Federico Lombardi, the soft-spoken papal spokesman whose face has become familiar to millions of TV viewers, is about to make a statemen(...)