The pope can order religious investigations that can allow the Vatican to swiftly take action.
Giuseppe Lami/Pool Photo via AP
Early Christians were urged to 'supervise' one another. In the present times, that theology is often used by the Vatican for a religious investigation a known as the apostolic visitation.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a town hall in Florence, South Carolina. He was denied communion by a priest in South Carolina.
Sarah Blake Morgan
Joe Biden was denied communion for pro-choice views. Catholics with 'unforgiven' sins can't receive communion. A theologian says many Catholics would question if Biden was indeed in a 'sinful' state.
Pope Francis at the Monument Mary Queen of Peace, in Port Louis, Mauritius on Sept. 9, 2019.
AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
Pope Francis recently completed a tour of three African nations. His visit needs to be understood in the context of the church's long history in Africa and its modern-day difficulties.
The Pennsylvania grand jury report may have played a role in helping survivors come to grips with their past.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Last year, Pennsylvania’s grand jury report uncovered sexual abuse allegations by over 300 priests. A scholar explains how the report may have helped survivors come to terms with a painful past.
Pope Francis with a group of nuns in Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City, in 2018. History and the Bible provide good reasons why women should be in positions of authority in the Catholic Church.
A recent Vatican commission report on women's ordination as deacons was inconclusive. But allowing women priests would help the Catholic Church achieve much-needed reform.
Pope Pius XII.
The Vatican will open its archives on Pope Pius XII next year. An expert explains the papacy of Pope Pius XII and the fear of communism confronting much of the Western world at the time.
Cardinal Pell is the most senior Catholic cleric to be charged with child sex abuse.
AP Photo/Andy Brownbill
While Pope Francis has publicly acknowledged sexual abuse by clergy, the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church still makes it difficult to report and address cases of abuse.
George Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, said he will appeal the guilty verdict.
DAVID CROSLING/AAP Image
George Pell's conviction has opened a rift in Australian society, with many people questioning the guilty verdict. Pell's lawyer has said he will appeal. On what grounds could he do that?
A recent summit held by Pope Francis on preventing sexual abuse in the church has been criticised for being short on action.
Australian Catholics are drifting from the church, and research shows sexual abuse scandals are a main reason why.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests protest against clergy sex abuse in Los Angeles in 2010.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
The Catholic survivor movement in the United States was founded by two women: Jeanne Miller and Marilyn Steffel, in the late 1980s. It has taken close to 30 years for the Vatican to take action.
Sculpture of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, on the campus of Boston College.
At times we just don't know what's the right thing to do. St. Ignatius, who founded the Society of Jesus, developed a method of discernment that can be useful even to those who are not religious.
Mark my words.
The history of how the Catholic Church has viewed the words of popes.
Clergy sex abuse was among the biggest religion stories of 2018. In this photo, a demonstrator holds up a protest sign at the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma
For scholars, researching the Catholic Church can mean a laborious process involving several years. And talking to survivors of clergy sex abuse can carry its own pain and personal toll.
A 2013 photo that shows people holding a quilt for victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The Second Vatican Council made many doctrinal changes possible in the Catholic Church. An expert argues why the church needs another such council.
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.
In 2014, in, a small town in northern Israel, Christian worshippers gathered next to a statue of the Virgin Mary, that they said ‘weeps’ oil.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
Throughout Catholic history, miracles have been attributed to Virgin Mary's power. She is understood to cry not only over the sins of the world, but over the pain she experienced in her earthly life.
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.
Immaculate Heart College Art Department c. 1955.
Photograph by Fred Swartz. Image courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles.
In the '60s, a Roman Catholic religious order, the Immaculate Heart Sisters, created a new vision of a religious community. Meghan Markle, engaged to Prince Harry, attended the high school founded by the nuns.