Vatican officials have confirmed that Pope Francis plans officially to launch a Year for Consecrated Life next autumn, saying its main purpose is to celebrate the renewal that the Second Vatican Council sparked in religious orders.

Pope Francis has urged Catholics to offer charity this Lent to the materially, morally and spiritually destitute, but warns that they must give “until it hurts” if they really want to be like Christ, writes Robert Mickens.

More than 16,000 responses have been received by the Bishops’ Conference of England of Wales to a Vatican survey of Catholics’ views on same-sex marriage, contraception and Communion for divorced and remarried couples, writes James Macintyre.

The Queen is to meet Pope Francis on 3 April in an informal visit at the Vatican, Buckingham Palace announced this week.

Smith laments tragedy of easy abortion Premium

06 February 2014 | by Liz Dodd
A senior bishop has written to the Health Secretary to describe the tragedy that abortion had now become a “routine medical procedure”, writes Liz Dodd.

Charity under pressure to break even Premium

06 February 2014 | by Liz Dodd
The Catholic children’s charity Cabrini is under pressure to balance its books after running at a loss for at least a decade.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has strongly criticised the Church over Ireland’s Magdalene laundries, writes Sarah Mac Donald.

Adoption agency wins fight to retain charity status Premium

06 February 2014 | by Brian Morton and James Macintyre
Britain's last remaining Catholic adoption agency has won an appeal against a decision to strip it of its charitable status.

Legislation permitting same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed by the Scottish parliament on Tuesday with an overwhelming majority, writes Brian Morton.

Pope Francis has met Philomena Lee, the woman whose son was put up for adoption by nuns in 1955, and whose story has been made into an Oscar-nominated film starring and co-written by Steve Coogan.

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