In an unprecedented move, Pope Benedict XVI summoned all 24 of Ireland's bishops to the Vatican to discuss the fallout from two reports that Catholic priests in Ireland sexually abused children for decades and that church officials covered up the behavior.
L’Osservatore Romano, the famously staid semi-official mouthpiece of the Catholic Church, has been seeking to remake its image, panning the blockbuster 'Avatar' but praising Homer Simpson and forgiving John Lennon for his 'more popular than Jesus' comment.
The Vatican on Tuesday opened the way for Anglican communities to switch allegiance en masse. Hundreds of thousands of Anglicans angry over the church's liberal stance on women and gays may convert.
The speech underlined the president's desire to elevate public discourse on issues such as abortion in order to find common ground.