St. Peter's Basilica

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Man Protests Atop St. Peter's —for 5th Time

Marcello di Finizio says he won't get down until he speaks to Italian PM

(Newser) - Marcello di Finizio is good at getting past Vatican security—very good. For the fifth time in recent years, the Italian man is staging a protest at St. Peter's Basilica. This time he's on the high, narrow ledge of the facade, just above the central balcony from which... More »

Pope Marries Couples Who Were Living in Sin

Marriage is 'real life, not some TV show,' he says

(Newser) - Telling his audience that marriage is "real life, not some TV show," Pope Francis today married a somewhat risque group—by Catholic Church standards, anyway—of 20 couples that included a guy who annulled his first marriage, the mother of an out-of-wedlock daughter, and couples who were already... More »

Francis Cheers Jesus' Humble Start

Pope celebrates first Christmas Eve mass at Vatican

(Newser) - The Vatican's popular new guy is celebrating his first Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's Basilica, and Pope Francis took the occasion to continue to draw from his themes of humility and charity toward society's poor and vulnerable. Emphasizing Jesus Christ's quite humble beginnings, he said,... More »

The White-Smoke Watch Begins

Cardinals prepare to cast first ballots for new pope

(Newser) - This afternoon, 115 cardinals will file into the frescoed Sistine Chapel singing the "Litany of Saints," a hypnotic Gregorian chant imploring the intercession of saints to help them choose a pope. By 3pm EDT (8pm local time) the first puffs of smoke should make their way out of... More »

Italian Protester Scales St. Peter's Dome

He spends night atop Vatican landmark

(Newser) - It's hard for a lone protester to get attention in today's protest-crowded Europe, but one Italian man managed it by scaling St. Peter's Basilica. The protester, posing as a tourist, slipped past Vatican security to climb the landmark and unroll a banner denouncing European Union policies and... More »

Model for Michelangelo's Pieta Found

12-inch sculpture was covered with tape

(Newser) - A US art historian says he’s found the model for Michelangelo's great statue the Pieta at the Vatican, the Daily Telegraph reports. An Italian art collector picked up the 12-inch terracotta model at an antiques shop; before restoration, it was covered in paint and dotted with Scotch tape. But... More »

Vatican Raises Hell Over Short Skirts

Tourists aghast at 'hypocritical' action

(Newser) - The Vatican's Swiss Guards' strenuous crackdown on "immodest" dress in the wake of a host of shocking pedophile scandals against Catholic clerics has left tourists aghast. The flamboyantly clothed guards, in puffy gold-and-blue-striped uniforms and plumed head coverings, are pulling aside women in sleeveless tops or short skirts and... More »

Pope Bounces Back, Visits Soup Kitchen

Security heavy for first trip since Christmas Eve attack

(Newser) - On his first trip outside the Vatican since being knocked to the ground in a Christmas Eve incident at St. Peter's, Pope Benedict XVI visited a soup kitchen in Rome today. The pontiff, 82, was unharmed when a woman vaulted a barrier and accosted him before Mass. Today he mingled... More »

Pope Delivers Christmas Blessing Despite Fall

Cardinal fractures hip in Christmas Eve assault by woman

(Newser) - Pope Benedict XVI delivered his traditional Christmas Day blessing today, looking tired and unsteady but otherwise fine hours after being knocked down by a woman who jumped the barrier at the start of Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican said the 82-year-old Benedict was unhurt in the fall and... More »

Benedict Ushers in Christmas

(Newser) - Pope Benedict XVI ushered in Christmas as midnight struck at the Vatican, leading the celebration of Midnight Mass in the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica. Thousands of pilgrims, Romans, and tourists packed the basilica for the midnight service given by the 81-year-old pope. For those unable to enter, giant screens... More »

Vatican Opens Ancient Pagan Tomb

After a year of restoration, public sees necropolis gem

(Newser) - After a year of restoration work, the Vatican has unveiled one of the most luxurious pagan tombs buried in the necropolis beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, the AP reports. Built by Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the second century, the once open-air tomb was buried by Emperor Constantine in the fourth... More »

Pope Hails Easter Conversions

Benedict XVI demands end to conflicts in Tibet, Middle East

(Newser) - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Easter Mass today, hailing the miracle of conversion, "which renews itself even today" before a rain-soaked crowd in St. Peter's Square and calling for an end to hostilities in "Darfur and Somalia, the tormented Middle East, especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon, and Tibet.... More »

Michelangelo Sketch Turns Up at Vatican

Long-lost drawing is detailed plan for St. Peter's Basilica

(Newser) - A red chalk drawing, possibly Michelangelo's last before his death at 88, has been found in a Vatican archive after nearly 500 years. The sketch is a plan for the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, which Michelangelo was put in charge of in 1546, the BBC reports. A researcher "... More »

Man Tries to Hitch a Ride on Popemobile

German vaults barrier in St. Peter's Square, approaches pontiff's car

(Newser) - A German man made a leap of faith in St. Peter's Square in Rome today, apparently attempting to board Pope Benedict's Jeep. A Vatican spokesman said the 27-year-old was trying to "draw attention to himself" when he dove over a barricade toward the slow-moving Popemobile; the man was immediately... More »

King Cozies Up to Pope

Don King gets ringside seat, offers Benedict XVI a boxing belt

(Newser) - A tonsorially tamed Don King took the stage Wednesday in front of an atypical audience–the Pope. The legendary boxing promoter, who spent four years in jail for manslaughter, was denied a personal audience with his Holiness, but did manage to hand the pontiff a handwritten set of prayer requests–... More »

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