The UN committee on the Rights of the Child has said the Catholic Church has not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases of forced labour such as Ireland's Magdalene laundries scandal.
A separate official report, published in February last year, found the Irish state was responsible for sending many women and girls to the now-notorious laundries, where they were subjected to a harsh regime of intimidation, prayer and unpaid work.
Today's UN report has called for the Vatican to begin an internal investigation of the laundries and similar institutions to lead to appropriate prosecutions. It has demanded that "full compensation be paid to the victims and their families" upon its completion.
The Vatican is expected to issue a statement on the damning UN report later today.
A scathing United Nations report has demanded the Vatican "immediatedly remove" all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers and hand them to the authorities.
In its most far-reaching criticism of the Church hierarchy to date, the UN watchdog for children's rights said it is "gravely concerned" the Holy See "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed".
It accused the Vatican of adopting "policies and practices" which led to abuse continuing and ensured "the impunity of the perpetrators".
The UN body said the Church must hand over its archives on sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children so that culprits, as well as "those who concealed their crimes", can be held accountable.
A crow and a seagull attacked doves released by the Pope in front of tens of thousands of onlookers in St Peter's Square.
The two doves, released as a gesture of peace, were descended upon during an Angelus prayer conducted by Pope Francis.
Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.
The statistic, which relates to 2011 and 2012, emerged in the testimony of the Vatican's UN ambassador in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, before a UN committee.
The Holy See has had to defend itself before the UN human rights committee this week following reports of widespread child abuse in the Catholic Church.
Previously, the Vatican has only revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received.
The Pope appeared amused when a young boy wandered onto stage and refused to leave his side as he addressed thousands of pilgrims.Read the full story ›
The Vatican's culture representative, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, has tweeted a verse from Lou Reed's song 'Perfect Day' in tribute to the US singer who died on Sunday.
Oh, it's such a perfect day I'm glad I spend it with you Oh, such a perfect day You just keep me hanging on (Lou Reed)
The song has been interpreted as a reference to drug-taking, but the 71-year-old minister, who is the same age as Mr Reed was when he died, later clarified that he was not condoning any references to drugs.
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.