Colourful balloons and soap bubbles have filled St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis preached to a notably younger audience at the Vatican.
Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Catholic Church for 27 years and witnessed the fall of communism and Pope John XXIII, who called the reforming Second Vatican council, will be declared saints on April 27, Pope Francis has announced.
The announcement of the date for the canonisations had been expected since July when Francis approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul, opening the way to the fastest canonisation in modern times.
He also approved sainthood for John, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and who oversaw sweeping reforms to modernise the Church, even though he has only been credited with one miracle since his death.
Seven months after leaving the papacy, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI broke his self-imposed silence as he denied covering up for sexually abusive priests and defended Christianity to non-believers.
Pope Benedict released a letter to one of Italy's best-known atheists in the first work published by Benedict since he retired and his first-ever denial of personal responsibility for the sex scandal.
What made the letter published in La Repubblica even more remarkable was that it appeared just two weeks after the new pontiff, Pope Francis penned a similar letter to the newspaper's atheist editor.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the appearance of the letters was pure coincidence.
Pope Francis has named Archbishop Pietro Parolin as his secretary of state, Vatican prime minister and chief aide - a role often called the "deputy pope".
The veteran diplomat's appointment ends the era Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone, who was widely blamed for failing to prevent ethical and financial scandals.
John Paul the Second is to become a saint, the Vatican announced today, just 8 years after his death.Read the full story ›
The late Pope John Paul II will be made a saint, the Vatican said.
The Director General and Deputy Director of the Vatican Bank have resigned following a money smuggling scandal, reported Reuters.
The president of the Vatican Bank Ernst Von Freyburg is set to assume the position of acting Director General.
A cleric, a member of Italy's secret services and a financial broker arrested in an Italian investigation into the Vatican bank.Read the full story ›
A Vatican cleric, a member of Italy's secret services and a financial broker have been arrested as part of an Italian investigation into the Vatican bank, a police source and a lawyer told Reuters.
The cleric, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, worked as an accountant in the Vatican's financial administration. He was arrested in a parish in Rome's outskirts, his lawyer Silverio Sica said.
Scarano was suspended from his duties several weeks ago when he was placed under investigation by magistrates in the southern city of Salerno, his home town.
In that investigation, Scarano was accused of taking 600,000 Euros in cash out of an account in the Vatican bank a little at a time, usually 10,000 Euros, and giving it to friends who gave him checks. It is alleged he then deposited the checks into an Italian bank account to pay off a mortgage.
A Vatican official has been arrested over an alleged plot to bring €20 million into Italy on a government plane, a lawyer told the Associated Press.