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.
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.
Victims or their family members react to a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation that identified more than 1,000 child victims of clergy sexual abuse.
In the wake of new revelations about clergy sex abuse and cover-up in Pennsylvania, civil lawsuits brought by abuse victims may be the only effective way to hold Catholic church officials accountable.
An abortion rights advocate after Argentina’s Senate rejected a bill to legalize abortion, 38-31.
AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
Argentina's Senate voted down an abortion bill 38-31 after a 16-hour debate. The Catholic Church thanked senators for defending 'life,' but ever more Catholics here insist on women's right to choose.
Argentina’s pro-choice movement, which began in 2003, hopes that the Senate will vote in favor of legalizing abortion on Aug. 8, 2018.
Abortion support is high in Argentina, even among Catholics. That puts the church, which opposes an abortion bill up for vote on August 8, in the awkward position of fighting a law its members demand.
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.
“Human rights for stolen babies.”
As many as 300,000 babies were taken from their families for political gain.
Pope Paul VI banned contraception for Catholics in the 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae.”
AP Photo/Jim Pringle
July marks 50 years of Pope Paul VI's encyclical prohibiting contraceptive use. For many years prior to it, the church had not been so explicit on its stance. How did it become such a thorny issue?
People dressed as sperm cells at Papal Nuncio building in The Hague for the sixth birthday of the encyclical, ‘Humanae Vitae.’
On the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, an encyclical released by Pope Paul VI calling for prohibition on contraceptive use, a scholar describes the struggles of Catholic women, as well as their activism.
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?
Archbishop Philip Wilson leaves Newcastle Local Court after being found guilty of concealing child sexual abuse.
The finding in the Newcastle Local Court will have huge implications for the Catholic church and other institutions worldwide.
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.
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.
Practices for a redress scheme should follow what the royal commission did when working with survivors.
There are considerable political and policy hurdles ahead if Australia is to move toward a national redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse.
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.
The royal commission has presented a socially and historically contextualised understanding of child sexual abuse.
By placing institutional abuse within its larger context, the royal commission has made the prevention and identification of child sex offending a collective responsibility.
In light of the church’s catastrophic failures of care, documented in this report, its survival as a public institution is dependent on responding adequately to this historic commission.
The commission's final report revealed the staggering scale and nature of abuse uncovered in Catholic institutions.
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.