National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Vatican City

Vatican, Italy sign tax treaty, promise to share information

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In a key move toward greater financial transparency, the Holy See signed an agreement with Italy that includes the full exchange of financial information about Vatican employees, pensioners, foundations and religious institutes that are subject to Italian taxes.

People and entities that reside in Italy were expected to be liable for Italian taxes on any interest or earnings coming from bonds, investments and savings in Vatican institutions, according to a general outline of the agreement.

Church directives seek to keep mafia out of Easter processions

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The bishop of a southern Italian diocese has issued new directives aimed at keeping the mafia out of this year's Easter processions.

Commonly called "L'Affruntata" (the encounter), the popular and traditional Easter Sunday procession involves bringing together three statues -- one of Jesus, the apostle John and Mary, who is caped in a black robe. The Marian statue's black robe is removed at the end of the procession to symbolize her joy over Jesus' resurrection.

Vatican to host 1,200 religious formation directors for conference

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Some 1,200 formation directors for Catholic religious orders from "every part of the world" will come to Rome next week to take part in a Vatican-hosted conference sharing ideas on how men and women considering religious life should be guided in their discernment.

The conference includes participation of three Vatican congregations and is the latest in a series of events to mark the Year of Consecrated Life, called by Pope Francis and being held through the beginning of 2016.

Vatican Good Friday reflections ask: ‘When will death penalty be abolished?’

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A series of reflections to be used by Pope Francis in Rome on Good Friday make connections between the crucifixion of Jesus and the modern-day use of the death penalty.

The reflections, to be used by the pope at an annual public service in and near Rome’s historic Colosseum, pointedly ask: “When will the death penalty, still practiced in many states, be abolished?”

Pope Francis joins homeless people for private tour of Sistine Chapel

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While enjoying a private visit to the Sistine Chapel, a group of VIP guests -- homeless people who live around the Vatican -- were surprised by a visit from Pope Francis.

The 150 visitors had just reached the Sistine Chapel at about 5 p.m. Thursday when Pope Francis walked through the door.

"Welcome," the pope said. "This is everyone's house, this is your home. The doors are always open for all."

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