Sylvia Poggioli

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Editor's note: This story includes details some readers may find disturbing.

An unprecedented trial is underway this month at the Vatican, the result of a whistleblower going public.

A young priest is charged with sexually abusing an altar boy over a five-year period inside Vatican City walls. An older priest is charged with covering up the abuse.

It's the first criminal trial for sexual abuse to take place in the Vatican court.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Pope Francis is breaking new ground for the Roman Catholic Church. In the past week, he has voiced support for civil unions for LGBTQ people, and then on Sunday, he named the first African American cardinal. Here's NPR's Sylvia Poggioli from Rome.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Pope Francis has made his clearest statement yet on same-sex marriage. In a documentary about the Argentine-born pope, Francis says same-sex unions should have legal protections. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

Pope Francis has called for legislation to protect same-sex couples, according to comments he made in a new documentary that mark a break from Catholic doctrine.

"Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family," the pope said in an interview in the documentary Francesco, which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."

A financial scandal swirling around the Vatican has taken a new twist with the arrest of a woman linked to a cardinal fired by Pope Francis.

Italian police arrested Cecilia Marogna in Milan late Tuesday on a warrant from the Vatican City State. A Vatican official told Reuters that Holy See magistrates suspect her of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, in complicity with others.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pope Francis was elected with a mandate to clean up the Vatican's murky finances, and he's made strides in doing so. But as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, the Vatican is still plagued by scandal and intrigue.

Pope Francis has presented his blueprint for a post-COVID-19 world, covering a vast number of issues from fraternity and income inequality to immigration and social injustice.

The document, released Sunday, is his third encyclical — the most authoritative form of papal teaching.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Over the centuries, Europe has suffered through plagues, pestilence and the Black Death.

When Italy became the first Western country to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Florence discovered that one of its unique architectural quirks was perfect for coronavirus-era social distancing.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Vatican officials have always insisted Pope Pius XII did everything possible to save Jewish lives during World War II. But many scholars accuse him of complicit silence while some 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare many of the problems of societies around the world. In Italy, the first Western country hit by COVID-19, it revealed how much the country relies on its migrant work force. Many undocumented migrants work on farms, as field hands and harvesting crops — jobs that Italians don't want. With the pandemic, they were suddenly recognized as essential.

One African-Italian became the spokesman for hundreds of thousands of migrants — those who couldn't stay home, who were risking their health to go out to work.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Italy's prime minister, health and interior ministers faced hours of questioning in Rome Friday as prosecutors opened an investigation into possible government mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis.

Investigators want to know why the towns of Alzano Lombardo and Nembro in the northern industrial region of Lombardy were not isolated and declared "red zones" as soon as the first cases were identified. As of now, no one has been charged.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Italy is coming out from under one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. But Italians are opening their doors onto a changed landscape, one of poverty and spiraling debt. Here's NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Today in Italy, the lockdown is letting up after eight weeks of restrictions. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports that Italians are emerging from their homes cautiously, discovering a new and unfamiliar world.

(SOUNDBITE OF HUMMING)

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Tomorrow, Italy begins lifting the lockdown it imposed two months ago to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Despite some of the strictest measures in Europe, Italy's death toll continued to climb. Now it's more than 28,000, second only to the United States.

The novel coronavirus is reviving one of Italy's fiercest debate topics — immigration.

The Italian government is considering giving work permits to thousands of undocumented immigrants in the country, as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens crop harvests.

Seasonal farmworkers usually go to Italy each year from countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, but recent lockdowns have kept them home. That's creating a critical shortage of labor for picking fruits and vegetables needed for food and exports.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In Italy, where the coronavirus has shuttered more than 2 million businesses and left 1 in every 2 workers without income, some Italians are putting a new twist on an old custom to help the needy and restart the economy.

In Rome, the Piazza San Giovanni della Malva used to echo with the noise of crowded cafes and restaurants. Now, the only business open is a grocery shop, Er Cimotto.

It's so small that social distancing forces customers to order through the window.

Soon after the coronavirus hit Italy, a parody video of the Naples mafia, the Camorra, went viral, showing a bunch of guys with shaved heads meeting in an empty lot to make a deal.

"I got a new business in my hands," one says.

"100% pure," another thug marvels, unwrapping a packet and taking a sniff. "But what about cocaine?"

"Who gives a s*** about cocaine?" the first thug says. The new commodity — hand sanitizer — is "transparent gold."

Italy has been hard-hit by the coronavirus epidemic, with a death toll of more than 16,000. Its economy is in near-shutdown.

Although Italy's south has seen fewer deaths from COVID-19 infection than the north, its poverty and jobless rates are high. In lockdown since March 10, Naples, a normally bustling city of more than 2 million, is now a ghost town. Acts of charity, long a hallmark of this city, have become more important than ever as a means of sustenance.

Pages