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Articles on Roman Catholic Church

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Venezuelan priest Arturo Sosa Abascal, second from right, receives congratulations after being chosen as new superior general of the Jesuits in 2016. Franco Origlia/Getty Images News via Getty Images

Who are the Jesuits?

The Jesuits are among the Catholic Church’s most influential religious orders but no strangers to controversy.
Apparitions of the Virgin Mary have inspired pilgrimages – and souvenirs – in Lourdes, France, for more than a century. Culture Club/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

How Lourdes became a byword for hope

St. Bernadette’s visions of the Virgin Mary in the 19th century inspired the pilgrimage site millions of Catholics flock to each year.
Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the crowd during an audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Oct.24, 2007. A January 2022 report faulted his handling of several sex abuse cases. AP Photo/Plinio Lepri

Pope Benedict faulted over sex abuse claims: New report is just one chapter in his – and Catholic Church’s – fraught record

Pope Benedict XVI’s many years of wrestling with the abuse crisis highlight the Catholic Church’s broader challenges addressing it.
Sister Megan Rice answers questions from members of a church group at a home in Maryville, Tennessee, in 2013. Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Nuns against nuclear weapons – Plowshares protesters have fought for disarmament for over 40 years, going to prison for peace

A Catholic historian writes about nuns who protested against nuclear weapons. Even when convicted of sabotage, they used prison time to serve fellow inmates and push for justice.
Pope John Paul I, who was pope for about a month before his death, has moved one step closer to sainthood. AP Photo/Claudio Luffoli

What’s a ‘miracle’? Here’s how the Catholic Church decides

To qualify as a Catholic ‘saint,’ someone must have two miracles credited to them. But how does the church define a miracle in the first place?
The story of Walatta Petros, a 17th-century Ethiopian noblewoman who was later made a saint, shows that Christianity has a complex history with abortion and contraception. A 1721 manuscript/Wikimedia Commons

Christian attitudes surrounding abortion have a more nuanced history than current events suggest

Abortion and contraception were quite common among premodern Christians, who also celebrated women’s celibacy as superior to marriage and childbearing.
Scrutiny of the Catholic Church’s accountability for systemic harms and abuses perpetrated by and in residential schools has also turned attention on how the church has responded to wider calls to prevent and respond to sexual abuse. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

Catholic Church response to sexual abuse must centre on survivor well-being, not defensiveness

Research on how the Catholic Church has responded to sexual abuse shows it’s not only time for the church to walk the talk, but to change the talk away from a defensive legalistic approach.

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