The unidentified man doused himself with gasoline he carried in a bottle then lit himself aflame at the end of the colonnade near Piazza Pio XII.
John Allen in Rome: According to Vatican statistics, Catholic education is a growth industry these days, especially in the global south.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican on Thursday awarded contracts to two major international consulting firms to reorganize its communications operations.
Pope Francis said Christmas is an occasion of joy but also a lesson in humility, when the faithful are called to imitate the example of God-made-man.
The pope made his remarks Wednesday during his weekly public audience in St. Peter's Square.
"God abases himself, descends to earth as someone small and poor, which means that to be like him we should not put ourselves above others, but on the contrary, abase ourselves, give ourselves in service, make ourselves small with the small and poor with the poor," he said.
Just Catholic: Folks can't get enough of Francis. But he's still a Latin American male. Will he do anything for the women of the church and of the world?
Analysis: Pope Francis has made progress in reforming the Vatican, but many challenges still remain. Cardinal Raymond Burke is a case in point.
To celebrate his 77th birthday, Pope Francis celebrated Mass and had breakfast with three people who live on the streets near the Vatican.
John Allen in Rome: What do "Francis bishops" look like? Yesterday's appointments to the Congregation for Bishops are telling.
News about Pope Francis continues to flow at such a torrid pace that it's hard to digest one development before the next one hits. His Dec. 15 blockbuster interview with La Stampa is a case in point, with a shake-up at the Congregation for Bishops 24 hours later making it already seem ancient history.
One difference between Pope Francis and his predecessors: He doesn't give speeches. He talks.
At events in late November and early December, the pattern was the same: Meeting with a group, the pope sat among them, gave no prepared remarks, but conversed freely and at length.
Describing the experience of meeting Francis, Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga said that "to speak with the pope face to face is a spiritual experience."