US Navy employees receive the sacramental ashes during an Ash Wednesday celebration. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May

4 things to know about Ash Wednesday

The day that begins the Lenten season is called Ash Wednesday. Here's why it holds deep religious significance for Christians.
Southern Baptist Convention messengers hold signs during a rally protesting the convention’s treatment of women in 2018. AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter

Sexism has long been part of the culture of Southern Baptists

Recent media reports point to years of sexual abuse by Southern Baptist pastors. An expert writes why a long culture of women's submission is responsible for this crisis.
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.
President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, during the funeral for former President George H.W. Bush. AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool

Must the president be a moral leader?

Presidents Day celebrates the American president – not only as a political leader, but as a moral leader. But can a president be a person of strong moral character, as well as a strong leader?
A student on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, trying out the hijab on World Hijab Day, 2017. AP Photo/Russell Contreras

Why Muslim women wear a hijab: 3 essential reads

For Muslim women, the hijab is not simply about religion. They may wear it for a variety of reasons. On World Hijab Day. women – Muslim and non-Muslim, are invited to experience this head covering.
Educators can use story-telling to make students more politically aware. Rido/Shutterstock.com

Teaching hope during the 2020 campaign season

Election campaigns inspire hope, but they can also quickly lead to political despair. A scholar says young citizens can learn how to take positive action and stay hopeful.
Food donated for TSA workers who continue to work without pay. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

How to show gratitude to TSA workers

As people say thanks to those who are turning up for work without being paid, an expert explains what true gratitude really means.
For many Muslim women, a hijab is a way of expressing resistance. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Why do Muslim women wear a hijab?

Hijab is not simply about religion – women wear it for a variety of reasons.
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.
Catnip induces changes in cat behavior. Anna Hoychuk

Is it unethical to give your cat catnip?

Catnip can induce changes in cat behavior. An expert argues that giving it to cats raises questions about human power and animal autonomy.

More Analysis and Comment

Just a thought

Many people might think that in being defrocked McCarrick would no longer remain a priest. That is not so. Catholics don’t understand the priesthood as simply a job that someone can be fired from. Mathew Schmalz

Research and Expert Database

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