St Peter’s Basilica reopens to the public | AFP

Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican reopens to visitors after being closed for over two months under Italy’s lockdown orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Italy was the first country to go into a full lockdown over two months ago, bringing the economy to its knees. The official death toll from the virus now stands at around 32,000. IMAGES

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Christian masses resume in Rome | AFP

Churches reopen in Rome as images from inside Santa Maria in Transpontina’s church near the Vatican show worshippers returning to pray. IMAGES

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Good Friday’s Way of the Cross at St. Peter’s Square during lockdown | AFP

A group of prisoners from Padua, and doctors and nurses from the Vatican Healthcare Department carry the cross and mark the Stations of the Cross, during Good Friday’s Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) at St. Peter’s Square in The Vatican. The ceremony takes place during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

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Coronavirus: The Vatican celebrates Holy Week without the faithful | AFP

Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Easter Holy Week, in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica. In March the Vatican announced that all liturgical celebrations of Easter week would be held “without the physical presence of the faithful” in St. Peter’s Square, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Vatican celebrates Palm Sunday without congregation due to coronavirus | AFP

Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday behind closed doors in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Basilica and St. Peter’s Square are usually packed by Catholic faithful for Palm Sunday, but this year it is empty because of coronavirus containment measures. IMAGES

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Images of streets around St. Peter’s Basilica during Italy lockdown | AFP

Images of streets around St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican as the Italian government places the whole of the country on lockdown to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. IMAGES

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Pope Francis delivers his first livestreamed prayer from the Vatican | AFP

Christians gather on Saint Peter’s Square to watch the first livestreamed prayer delivered by Pope Francis. The pontiff is breaking with centuries of tradition and reverting to the use of streaming technology at the request of the Italian authorities, a move designed to keep down the number of people turning out to watch the traditional Angelus Prayer. The pope did take the time to wave at the crowd from his window at the end of the livestream. IMAGES

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Images of the Vatican as it reports its first coronavirus case | AFP

The Vatican reports its first coronavirus case, saying it has suspended outpatient services at its health clinic after a patient tested positive for COVID-19. IMAGES of the Vatican and tourists visiting

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Catholic priest is father to flock, and his kids

In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy flare from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is a rarity: A married Catholic priest. (Feb 14)

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Pope gets visibly angry with woman who grabs his hand | AFP

Pope Francis angrily slaps away a woman’s hand when she grabs it during his walk around the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square. IMAGES

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Pope Francis leads mass to mark Vatican’s World Day of Peace | AFP

Pope Francis leads a mass at St Peter’s Basilica to mark the Vatican’s World Day of Peace. IMAGES

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Pope celebrates Midnight Mass at the Vatican

Pope Francis assured the faithful on Christmas Eve that God loves everyone – “even the worst of us” – as he celebrated Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the Vatican. (Dec. 25)

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Pope Francis kicks off Christmas celebrations with midnight Mass | AFP

Pope Francis ushered in Christmas celebrations for the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics on Tuesday, saying the celebration of Jesus’s birth reminded humanity how “God continues to love us all, even the worst of us”. +REFILES WITH AFP TEXT STORY+ The pontiff told crowds gathered at the Vatican for his Christmas Eve Mass: “You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you.”

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Vatican tribunal overwhelmed by clergy abuse cases

The Vatican office responsible for investigating clergy sex abuse cases says it is overwhelmed. The tribunal has long been a secretive branch of the Vatican. Now, it is opening up, and invited the Associated Press into its inner chambers. (Dec. 20)

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Thousands of Catholic faithful in Brazil celebrate first female saint | AFP

Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful flock to a football stadium in Brazil to celebrate the Vatican’s canonization into sainthood of Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes, dubbed the “mother of the poor.”

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Faithful celebrate canonisation of first female Brazilian saint | AFP

Hundreds of Brazilians in Salvador applaud and cheer as Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes, dubbed the “mother of the poor”, is made a saint by Pope Francis in the Vatican. IMAGES

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Today in History for September 29th

Highlights of this day in history: Germany annexes Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland region; America returns to manned spaceflight for the first time since the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster; Pope John Paul the First is found dead in his Vatican apartment. (Sept. 29)

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Cardinal George Pell loses appeal on child sex abuse charges | AFP

Convicted paedophile cardinal George Pell has an appeal against his child sex abuse charges rejected by an Australian court. Once the Vatican’s third-ranking official, 78-year-old Pell was sentenced this year to six years in jail for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s. SOUNDBITE

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Missing teen mystery deepens as Vatican dig reveals empty graves | AFP

The two graves thought to hold the remains of Emanuela Orlandi, an Italian teenager who disappeared 36 years ago, are revealed to be empty as they are opened at the Vatican.

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Graves dug in missing Italian teen search empty: | AFP

The two graves thought to hold the remains of an Italian teenager who disappeared 36 years ago are revealed to be empty as they are opened at the Vatican. IMAGES

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Texas woman reads letter she wrote to Vatican

Laura Pontikes reads from a letter she wrote to the Vatican that asked for help to resolve her complaints against the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese for its handling of a case in which she says her priest took advantage of her. (AP Video/Dario Lopez and Allen Breed)

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Vatican women strap on their boots for first time | AFP

More than three decades after it first put out a men’s team, women are finally strapping on the Vatican’s colours of yellow jersey and socks and white shorts and bearing the keys of St. Peter and papal tiara crest.

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Suit seeks to hold Vatican at fault for abuse

A lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota seeks to trace a direct line from clergy sex abuse victims, through Minnesota church officials, to the Vatican, with claims made by three brothers who were abused by a Catholic priest. (May 14)

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