Catholic cardinals begin talks on Monday ahead of a conclave to elect the next pope, following Benedict XVI's historic resignation, as a British cardinal not in attendance admitted to sexual misconduct with priests.
Cardinals from around the world were summoned Friday to meetings that will set a date for a conclave to elect a new pope, as Benedict XVI settled into a pensioner's life after becoming the first pontiff to resign in more than 700 years.
Activists fighting for truth and justice for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests hold out little hope for progress under the next pope as controversy brews over a US cardinal who covered up for predator clerics.
Senior Muslim clerics in Egypt believe Pope Benedict XVI's abrupt resignation could reopen the way for dialogue with the Catholic Church, severed after Benedict's controversial 2006 remarks on the Muslim prophet.
Pope Benedict XVI announced he will resign as leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics on February 28 because his age prevented him from carrying out his duties -- an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic Church.
Catholic bishops from around the world are convening for a synod starting on Sunday to debate how to counter rising secularism on the 50th anniversary of the historic but controversial Second Vatican Council.