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People visiting a Christ sculpture at the Santa Maria Magdalena Church during the Holy Week in Granada, Spain. Álex Cámara/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Why parts of Good Friday worship have been controversial

Prayers and symbols have the power to bind people together, writes a religion scholar, and so it is important to understand the history and context of Good Friday prayers.
The ceremony for the beatification of Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia, is held Oct. 10 in front of the St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, Italy. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

An Italian teen is set to become the first millennial saint, but canonizing children is nothing new in the Catholic Church

Italian teenager Carlo Acutis, who died at the age of 15, is on the path to becoming a saint. A scholar explains the long history of child saints in the Catholic Church.
The pope can order religious investigations that can allow the Vatican to swiftly take action. Giuseppe Lami/Pool Photo via AP

Catholic investigations are still shrouded in secrecy

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.
Professional mountain climbers installing synthetic, waterproof tarps over the gutted, exposed exterior of Notre Dame Cathedral. AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Notre Dame has shaped the intellectual life of Paris for eight centuries

The influence of Notre Dame Cathedral extended into every part of the life of Paris. The cathedral school was the training ground for medieval thinkers and the place of birth of the first university.
St Peter’s Square, 2014. The Pope benefits from a wide popularity especially in Europe, but does it really influence people’ decisions on political issues? Alfredo Borba/Wikimedia

Is Pope Francis really an ‘influencer’ on nuclear matters?

Pope Francis has been a staunch voice for a world free of nuclear weapons. But should he be involved in defence politics at all? And how does the Pope's message resonate among the European public?
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.
People dressed as sperm cells at Papal Nuncio building in The Hague for the sixth birthday of the encyclical, ‘Humanae Vitae.’ Nationaal Archief

How Catholic women fought against Vatican’s prohibition on contraceptives

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.

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