Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington D.C., prays during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2011.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File
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.
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.
Pope Francis has finally, and for the first time, admitted the Church has a problem with priests sexually abusing nuns.
Twenty-five years ago, an Irish nun handed a report to the Catholic Church that detailed sexual abuse against nuns by priests worldwide. It was ignored. But now nuns are finally sharing their stories.
Pope Francis sits during the traditional greetings to the Roman Curia at the Vatican in December 2018.
Filippo Monteforte/Pool Photo via AP
Pope Francis is meeting bishops for a global summit to discuss sexual abuse by clergy. Such a response, says an expert, is part of a past pattern, unlikely to bring a lasting change.
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.
Pope Francis speaking to cardinals Dec. 21, 2018 at the Vatican.
Filippo Monteforte/AP Pool
Sex abuse by Catholic priests may be as devastating in many cases as sex abuse by a family member because of institutional betrayal, two trauma psychologists write. It calls for special measures.
Mark my words.
The history of how the Catholic Church has viewed the words of popes.
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
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
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.
Some careful reasoning shows that comparing abortion with contract murder equates two acts that are far from obviously morally equivalent.
Member of the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors hold a protesting outside the Boston archbishop’s residence in 2003.
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.
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.
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.