A decade on, the late John Paul II still towers far above other national figureheads. Behind the scenes of national life, however, things have been changing.
Catholic sex abuse cases
Australian police are searching for an arsonist following suspicious fires at three Melbourne area churches with links to clerical sexual abuse.
Three blazes broke out in as many days, beginning in the suburb of Brighton with St. James Church, which was almost destroyed Monday. The church is included on the Australian National Heritage List.
St. Mary Church in St. Kilda East sustained minor damage from a fire believed to have been deliberately set around the same time.
The Vatican said the bishop's candidature was "carefully examined" prior to his appointment but no "objective reasons" were found to preclude it.
Celebrations in Gallup, N.M., have proven to be few and subdued as the legacy of clergy sex abuse continues to cast a long shadow across the diocese.
The Polish bishops' conference defended its handling of sexual abuse by clergy after a former priest was jailed in connection with the case of Jozef Wesolowski, the laicized former nuncio to the Dominican Republic.
"The Catholic Church is the only entity in Poland to have adopted guidelines on pedophilia," Fr. Jozef Kloch, conference spokesman, told Catholic News Service.
Two members of the new Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on clergy sexual abuse have said they are both concerned and surprised at the pontiff's decision to appoint a bishop in Chile who is accused of covering up abuse, and even witnessing it, while he was a priest.
"This has been remarkable. I have never felt better about how a Chapter 11 went from start to finish than this one," one lawyer said of the settlement.
Bishops of dioceses around the world have an obligation to work to prevent clerical sexual abuse and to ensure that priests in their dioceses do not commit acts of abuse, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The court also found that U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, who ruled in the archdiocese's favor, should have stepped aside because of a conflict of interest.
Judge Susan V. Kelley found no evidence supporting the contention that the archdiocese knowingly allowed abusers to work in parishes or other settings where they found additional victims.