Pope Pius

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The stigmata, corresponding to Christ’s crucifixion wounds, first appeared on Padre Pio  100 years ago in September 1918 and lasted until the end of his life. They didn’t deteriorate, nor did they heal and the blood was said to smell of perfume. Photograph:  Massimo Sambucetti

Padre Pio, priest, stigmatist, mystic and one of the world’s most popular saints, will be dead 50 years on Sunday, September 23rd. He has inspired ext(...)

In a word ... Pope

The papacy has been described as one of the most enduring and influential of all human institutions. In his 2009 book, Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: (...)

Sacred Heart of Jesus by Vittorio Bianchini 1797-1880.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks it cannot have escaped your attention that Pope Francis is here, now, on an official v(...)

Captain Myles Walter Keogh

Myles Walter Keogh was a restless spirit who often found himself in the vanguard of history. During his all too short life, he would make the Vatican (...)

Former president of Ireland Dr Mary McAleese was installed as Lay Canon by Dean Dermot Dunne at   a Service of Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Babies baptised into the Catholic Church are “infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience”, according to former president Mary(...)

Former president of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese, and her husband, Martin McAleese, at a Service of Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Former president of Ireland Mary McAleese last Thursday returned to old habits, becoming once again the interviewer that she was during her TV career (...)

From left: Dr Thomas Morris, archbishop of Cashel, president Éamon de Valera, Cardinal John D’Alton and taoiseach Seán Lemass at Dr Morris’s consecration at Thurles Cathedral in February 1960. Photograph: Gordon Standing

Seán Lemass may have lived during a time when the Catholic Church was dominant in Irish society, but, nevertheless, he always believed there was a str(...)

Pope Pius XI (Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, 1857-1939), photographed in February 1922. File photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

A century ago, the Vatican was deeply troubled by the impact the apparently never-ending violent unrest would have on the church in Ireland. This wa(...)

The Swiss Cottage

The Swiss Cottage, Cahir, Co Tipperary The closest setting to JRR Tolkien’s Shire this side of Middle-earth, Lord Cahir built the Swiss Cottage as a (...)

Children in  Malawi, Africa who lost their mother to Aids. Pope Paul VI wrote: “The development of peoples has the church’s close attention, particularly the development of those  striving to escape from hunger, misery, endemic diseases and ignorance.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Of all the many papal encyclicals down the ages, it is arguable that the document known as Populorum Progressio, issued by Pope Paul VI 50 years ago o(...)

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