Articles on Pope Francis

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Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington D.C., prays during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2011. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

Theodore McCarrick will continue to be a Catholic priest

In the Catholic understanding, priesthood is not simply a job that a someone can be fired from. Ordination is a deeply spiritual ceremony that is believed to transfer the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sculpture of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, on the campus of Boston College. Jay Yuan/Shutterstock.com

What a 16th-century mystic can teach us about making good decisions

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.
A woman holds up a quilt with photos of people who say they were abused as children by priests, in San Diego, 2007. AP Photo/Denis Poroy

What Catholics can learn from protests of the past

There is rich Catholic heritage of resistance. Catholic protesters have used powerful religious symbols, including vials of their own blood, as an extension of Christ's blood, to demand change.
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

Researching clergy sex abuse can take a heavy emotional toll: 3 essential reads

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.
Member of the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors hold a protesting outside the Boston archbishop’s residence in 2003. Jim Bourg/Reuters

The Catholic Church’s grim history of ignoring priestly pedophilia – and silencing would-be whistleblowers

While the problem of priestly abuse might be centuries old, its modern paper trail began after World War II, when 'treatment centers' appeared for rehabilitating priests. Many were send to New Mexico.
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

How views on priestly celibacy changed in Christian history

Early Christians were open to marriage for priests. It wasn't until the 12th century that celibacy became mandatory in the Catholic Church.
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

Why the Catholic Church is so slow to act in sex abuse cases: 4 essential reads

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.
Pennsylvania grand jury accused Cardinal Wuerl of helping to protect abusive priests when he was Pittsburgh’s bishop. AP Photo/Kevin Wolf

For some Catholics, it is demons that taunt priests with sexual desire

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

Can you be Christian and support the death penalty?

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

What is heaven?

Different cultural groups respond with numerous, often conflicting, answers to questions about life after death. An expert explains the Christian idea of heaven.

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