Pope Francis has approved a new Vatican department to hear cases of bishops who fail to protect children from paedophile priests.
The unprecedented move marks the biggest step yet the Vatican has taken to hold bishops accountable for covering up, or not preventing, child sex abuse in the Catholic church.
The Vatican said that Francis had approved proposals made by his sexual abuse advisory board. The international commission is made up of clerics and lay people - nine men and eight women - whose role is to help dioceses put in place "best practices" to prevent abuse and work with victims.
Victims' groups have long campaigned for the Vatican to establish clear procedures to make bishops more accountable for abuse in their dioceses, even if they were not directly responsible for it.
While no bishop has ever been forcibly removed for covering up for guilty clergy, in April, Francis accepted the resignation of a US bishop who had been convicted of failing to report a suspected child abuser.
The Vatican has officially recognised the "state of Palestine" in a new treaty.
Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the Vatican following controversial remarks from Pope Francis during a Mass to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenians massacre.
During the service, the Pope described the massacre of as many as 1.5 million Armenians as "the first genocide of the 20th century".
Turkey has long refused to call the event a genocide and has insisted that the toll has been inflated, and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
The Vatican's ambassador in Geneva has said the use of force could be necessary to protect minority groups from Islamic State (IS) aggression if a political solution cannot be achieved.
In an interview with US Catholic website Crux, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said the jihadists, who have declared a cross-border caliphate after seizing land in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, were committing "genocide" and must be stopped.
He said: "What's needed is a coordinated and well-thought-out coalition to do everything possible to achieve a political settlement without violence, but if that's not possible, then the use of force will be necessary."
Archbishop Tomasi's words follow repeated condemnations of IS by Pope Francis, who condemned the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya in February and has said it is "lawful" to stop an unjust aggressor.
Homeless people in Rome will soon be able to go to St Peter's Square for haircuts, shaves and showers.
The head of Pope Francis' charity office said new facilities will open in mid-February.
It is being reported that barbers and hairdressers will volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy.
They are said to have already donated chairs, mirrors and scissors.
The Pope's almoner Bishop Konrad Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter's Square last year after a homeless person told him that it was harder to find places to wash than to eat in the city.
The Pope has launched a scathing attack on Vatican bureaucracy accusing the clergy running the Holy See of a dangerous lust for power.
Francis' annual Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See saw the pontiff give a tirade of criticism as part of his ongoing crusade to reform the church.
The Pope offered a catalog of 15 "Vatican illnesses." These included "feeling immortal", "spiritual Alzheimer`s", "existential schizophrenia" and the "terrorism of gossip."
It appeared that his critique was not well received by the gathered clergy as the tirade was met with only muted applause.
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Watch the ceremony live here:
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