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Articles on Pope John Paul II

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When Pope John Paul II was beatified, Zimbabwe’s ruler, Robert Mugabe, was in attendance and given Communion. Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Controversy over Communion in the Catholic Church goes back some 2,000 years

Biden is not the first public figure to whom the Catholic Church wants to deny Communion. Over the centuries, the Church has often come under criticism for either denying or giving Communion.
Young people at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, cheer Pope Francis in 2015, following his comments endorsing same-sex civil unions. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

In supporting civil unions for same sex couples, Pope Francis is moving Catholics toward a more expansive understanding of family

The Vatican has clarified that Pope Francis’ support of civil unions did not change church doctrine. A theologian explains what Francis is doing is departing from Catholic rhetoric on the family.
Pope Francis observes a minute of silence for the victims of Hiroshima at the city’s Peace Memorial Park. Carl Court/Getty Images

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Vatican is providing moral guidance on nuclear weapons

As Pope Francis becomes the first pontiff in the nuclear era to call for total disarmament, all of us – whether secular or religious – can engage through creative and proactive moral responsibility.
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.
Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez and priests prostrate in front of the altar to seek pardon for sexual abuse in the Church at the cathedral in Granada, southern Spain, Nov. 23, 2014. Pepe Marin/Reuters

How the Catholic Church’s hierarchy makes it difficult to punish sexual abusers

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church requires nearly absolute obedience. This makes it difficult to speak up against superiors. And by the same token, superiors too can protect offending priests.
A woman waits behind a Cuban flag for the arrival of Fidel Castro’s funeral procession in Esperanza, Cuba. AP Photos/Natacha Pisarenko

Religion shapes Cuba despite Castro’s influence

Under Fidel Castro, Cuba declared itself as an atheist state. Castro’s relationship with religion, however, was far more complex. It left a deep impact on the religious identity of Cuba.
Will there be brotherly love in Philadelphia next September? Giampiero Sposito/Reuters

Pope Francis’s ‘American problem’

In late November, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis is going to visit the United States of America for the World Meeting of Families that will take place in Philadelphia at the end of September 2015…

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