A South Korean cardinal visited the North on Wednesday in the first trip of its kind, an official said, ahead of a visit by Pope Francis to Seoul that Catholic authorities hope will promote peace between the neighbours.
Pope Francis celebrates one year in office on Thursday swaddled in a blanket of approval world leaders would die for and most of his predecessors could only dream of.
Pope Francis will create his first batch of cardinals on Saturday, with nine of the 19 coming from South America, Africa and Asia.
A South African cardinal apologised to sex abuse victims on Monday for describing paedophilia as an illness and not a crime in an interview.
Cardinals prepared for a second day of conclave behind the Vatican's walls to elect a pope on Wednesday, with all eyes on a chimney that will signal when there is a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
The conclaves of cardinals which elect a new pope are laden with rituals and shrouded in secrecy, but tantalising details have emerged from previous votes of what really happens behind the sealed doors of the Sistine Chapel.
Putting the blame for pedophilia on the Roman Catholic Church is a way of avoiding the issue.
Vatican workers made final preparations in the Sistine Chapel on Saturday after Roman Catholic cardinals voted to begin their conclave to elect a new pope under Michelangelo's famous frescoes next week.
Clergy sex abuse victims listed a "dirty dozen" potential papal candidates Wednesday and urged the Roman Catholic Church to "get serious" about protecting children, helping victims and exposing corruption.
The resignation of Britain's top Catholic cleric over claims of sexual misconduct has dealt the Scottish church a "serious blow", his replacement admitted on Monday.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who resigned last week as Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, on Sunday admitted that his sexual conduct had "fallen below the standards expected of me".
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.