New priests being ordained during a ceremony led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, when they take vows, including to remain celibate.
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
Early Christians were open to marriage for priests. It wasn't until the 12th century that celibacy became mandatory in the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis celebrates mass at Phoenix Park, Dublin in August.
The path to justice and forgiveness after Pope Francis's visit to Ireland.
Members of Chile’s bishops conference, in May 2018, who say they are open to whatever Pope Francis proposes to overhaul the Chilean church devastated by a clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandal.
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Pope Francis has been accused of a cover-up in the sex abuse scandal involving Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop. Experts explain why it's hard for the Catholic Church to hold clergy accountable.
A 2002 protest against clergy sex abuse.
An expert explains how a complex set of canon laws and trials are the major obstacle to holding priests accountable. The power to take action is often vested in the Vatican.
Pennsylvania grand jury accused Cardinal Wuerl of helping to protect abusive priests when he was Pittsburgh’s bishop.
AP Photo/Kevin Wolf
While many American Catholics believe demons and exorcism to be part of a distant past, an expert explains how beliefs that sexual desires could be part of demonic temptation still persist.
Pope Francis said the death penalty, can never be sanctioned because it ‘attacks’ the inherent dignity of all humans.
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file
Pope Francis has said that death penalty violates the dignity of a person. But, this might just deepen the debate among Christians, who for a long time have been divided over the issue.
Illustration of Dante’s Paradiso.
Giovanni di Paolo
Different cultural groups respond with numerous, often conflicting, answers to questions about life after death. An expert explains the Christian idea of heaven.
Pakistani Christians attend Easter service in Lahore in April 2018.
AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary
With Pope Francis recently elevating a Pakistani archbishop as cardinal, a scholar traces the history of persecution of the 2.5 million Christians of Pakistan.
Pope Francis has acknowledged that celibacy is one of the challenges of the Catholic Church in the 21st century.
Pope Francis recently acknowledged that the Catholic Church is struggling to recruit new priests, endangering its very future. Why don't people want to join the clergy?
The abyss of hell.
The meaning of hell might have changed over the centuries, but for devout Christians it remains a core part of their faith.
What does it mean for a pope to apologize?
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Popes are not infallible, yet apologies are rare.
Oscar Romero’s canonization is controversial. The process stalled in the Vatican for decades.
On March 24, 1980, an outspoken Salvadoran bishop was murdered after decrying his country's military regime. Thirty-eight years and one civil war later, Pope Francis is set to declare him a saint.
Pope Francis will not ordain women to priesthood.
L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo Via AP
The Catholic Church has historically been unwilling to extend full priesthood to women. However, Pope Francis could take the lead in ordaining women to become deacons, a scholar says.
Cardinal Bernard Law in Rome in 2011.
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
The passing of Cardinal Bernard Law is another moment to revisit the issue of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and why it remains a challenge.
Biblical principles have provided an understanding on how to help the needy.
New economic realities have raised new challenges in applying Biblical principles to economic life. But they could still provide guidance on how to help those in need and how to levy taxes.
Close study of the Bible confirms that it isn't just the Devil who tempts.
Pope Francis talks with bishops during the Liturgical Week at the Vatican in August 2017.
AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis
A liturgy expert explains that until the 12th century local bishops made decisions on Catholic liturgical practices even though the Catholic Mass was celebrated in Latin until 1970. How did that change?
Pope Francis at the end of a canonization ceremony for Mother Teresa.
A scholar explains the long process to sainthood and what Pope Francis' recent order might change.
Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez and priests prostrate in front of the altar to seek pardon for sexual abuse in the Church at the cathedral in Granada, southern Spain, Nov. 23, 2014.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church requires nearly absolute obedience. This makes it difficult to speak up against superiors. And by the same token, superiors too can protect offending priests.
President Trump stands beside Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. An unidentified priest looks on.
The GOP was once the political home of anti-Catholicism. And the Vatican, it was believed, would use a Catholic president as a way to meddle in US politics.