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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The Vatican responds to the devastating Notre-Dame fire

Pope Francis “is praying for the French people, for Parisians and for Catholics” after the devastating fire that raged through the iconic Notre-Dame cathedral in the heart of the city, according to a spokesman for the Holy See.

Pope Francis kisses South Sudanese leaders’ feet pleading for peace

Pope Francis stunned visitors to Vatican with a grand gesture of humility by kneeling down to kiss the feet of South Sudan’s formerly warring leaders as a plea for peace.

‘I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward,’ the 82-year-old pontiff told President Salva Kiir and his rival, the former rebel leader Riek Machar on Thursday.

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Global landmarks go dark for Earth Hour

The Vatican, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and even the ancient Acropolis in Athens are plunged into darkness for an hour as part of a global campaign to raise awareness about climate change and its impact on the planet’s vanishing plant and animal life.

Mexican president urges Spain, Vatican to recognise ‘abuses’

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reopens the debate over Spain’s centuries of dominance in the New World, urging Spanish King Felipe VI and Pope Francis to apologize for the conquest and the rights violations committed in its aftermath SOUNDBITE

Cardinal Pell sentenced to six years in prison

The Vatican’s former finance minister, Cardinal George Pell, has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for molesting two choirboys in an Australian cathedral after a Sunday Mass in the 1990s. (March 13)

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Slovakia’s ice church draws visitors closer to heavens

Since 2013, ice sculptors have flocked to the Slovak Tatra mountain hamlet of Hrebienok every winter to build a Tatra Ice Temple, or scaled-down replica of a famous church using only crystal-clear ice blocks. This year, it’s an 11-metre (36-foot) tall version of the 16th-century Vatican basilica, complete with the imposing two half-circle wings of Bernini’s colonnade.

Top Vatican cleric Cardinal Pell convicted of child sex crimes

Cardinal George Pell arrives at an Australian court. The third-ranking official in the Vatican, has been found guilty of child sex crimes in Australia, becoming the most senior Catholic cleric ever convicted for child sexual abuse. IMAGES

NGO End Clergy Abuse asks Vatican to act immediately

Following a historic summit in the Vatican on the fight against paedophilia, civil society wants to ensure that the Catholic Church really implements its resolutions. The NGO ECA (End Clergy Abuse) thus presents 21 points on which the Vatican must act immediately.