A woman presents flowers to Pope Francis during his visit to Iraq. File
Pope Francis on Friday gave the Vatican's civilian courts the power to try cardinals and bishops — a historic reform that ends a long-held privilege for senior church officials.
Until now, cardinals and bishops accused of criminal offences could only be judged by a supreme court consisting of three cardinals, aided by two or more lay judges.
Under the new system, valid from May 1, they will instead be tried by the Vatican's regular criminal court system, staffed by civilian judges, rather than ordained priests.
The change stems from the "overriding need" to "ensure the equality of all members of the Church and their equal dignity and position, without privileges that date back to earlier times", Francis said in a "Motu Proprio" decree.
However, any criminal trial against a cardinal or bishop would still need prior authorisation from the pope.
The reform was announced while it remained unclear whether Vatican prosecutors were building up a case against a former top-ranking Vatican figure, Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
In September, the pope abruptly fired Becciu as head of the Vatican's sainthoods department, after telling him he was suspected of syphoning off charity funds to help his siblings.
Becciu has insisted he is innocent, and has not been charged with any crime, but in January prosecutors said they wanted an embezzlement trial for a woman who did consultancy work for him.
Migrants are human beings who symbolise all those rejected by globalisation, Pope Francis told a special mass on Monday, saying “the weakest and most vulnerable must be helped.”
"I have to apologise for being late," the smiling 82-year old pontiff told crowds of faithful patiently waiting for him to appear at his study window overlooking Saint Peter's Square.
Pope Francis was walking through the square in Vatican City and greeting pilgrims on his way to see the large Nativity scene set up in the huge, cobbled esplanade.
Speaking during the tour, Sheikh Mohammed said Expo 2020 brings together 192 nations with diverse cultures, aspirations and innovations, making the mega global event a unique platform for discovering new engagement, investment and partnership opportunities.
Expo 2020 Dubai has recorded 1,471,314 visits since its launch 24 days ago. Continuing to bring Expo 2020 Dubai to a global digital audience, the number of virtual visitors has risen to 10.8 million since Oct.1, up from 9.3 million last week.
The circulating video clip showed that a number of vehicle drivers practiced drifting on one of the Al-Quway'iyah roads in Riyadh, including a GMC car that got out of control as a result of overspeeding.