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A pilgrim holds a portrait of Archbishop Oscar Romero during beatification (CNS)

The Church has recognised a broad category of martyrs throughout the 20th century

Pope Francis (CNS)

The eco-encyclical won’t commit the Church to unsettled science

Cardinal George (Photo: CNS)

Always the smartest man in the room

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago was one of the clearest thinkers and most direct speakers in the hierarchy of the US Church

Benedict XVI celebrates his 88th birthday with his brother Mgr Georg Ratzinger, right, and fellow Bavarians (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Leading the doubters back home

Benedict XVI helped rescue the scriptures from becoming lifeless history

A banner depicting St John Paul II hanging from the facade of St Peter's Basilica (CNS)

A saint for beleaguered priests

A love for priests was a vital part of St John Paul II’s pontificate

A statue of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador (CNS)

A blessedly quick beatification

Romero’s case shows how deeply entrenched John Paul’s reforms to saint-making have become

Sir Martin Gilbert remained serene before the record of history

A friend who told us the truth

Sir Martin Gilbert was granted the greatest gift that a biographer could ask for, a subject truly heroic to write about

Pope Francis at the Vatican (CNS)

The Vatican balance sheet ought not to be a matter of global interest, for its fortune is relatively small

Rare is the daily homily in which Francis does not offer a pointed criticism (CNS)

Is Pope Francis offering us a new model of how to be pastors, only slightly less quick with a lambasting word than with a loving one?

A Hindu priest gives a shawl to the Pope during an interfaith meeting in Sri Lanka (PA)

Francis is seen but not heard in Sri Lanka

Pope Francis arrived at a moment of rare national harmony, with genuine hopes for renewal