In the latter half of the twentieth century, institutions run by Roman Catholic nuns could amount to virtual prisons for young women. Some spent their entire adult lives in these places. They were called the Magdalene Laundries, and they were in Ireland. THE MAGDALENE SISTERS chronicles the lives of three Dublin girls living in the Laundries. More
For nearly a millennium, part of Roman Catholic prayer life has included saying the rosary, with each rosary bead representing a prayer. The rosary includes a set of meditations on the life of Christ, known as mysteries. Use of the rosary, has diminished in recent years but many Catholics say it’s still part of their practice. More
This past week, Voice of the Faithful — a lay group which came out of the Catholic Church sexual abuse crisis — held its first national convention. Organizers say Catholics came from 36 states and 7 countries for a day of prayer and support for victims of sexual abuse. More
Twelve U.S. cardinals and two bishops joined Pope John Paul II and other Vatican officials for two days of discussions about the sexual abuse crisis in the American Catholic church and possible solutions. John Paul told the group there is no place in the priesthood for those who harm the young. More
In COMMONWEAL Magazine, an independent Catholic journal, writer and scholar Peter Steinfels, a Catholic, takes a thoughtful look at the crisis in the Church and calls for changes to overcome it. Steinfels also writes the “Belief” column for THE NEW YORK TIMES. Watch his interview with Bob Abernethy on the scandal and how the Church can move forward. More
As American Catholics have reeled from the disclosures of past sexual abuses by priests, and evidence they were covered up, one of the questions raised has concerned priestly celibacy — abstinence from sex. Was that requirement a cause of the abuses? Is it necessary for dedicated ministry? Should it be made optional? More
The scandals in the Catholic church have prompted wide-ranging questions about sexual orientation and practice. Experts insist that pedophilia has no connection to homosexuality, but the crisis has renewed attention to the issue of gays in the priesthood.
Pope John Paul II “did not want a monument that was just dedicated to himself, but rather an institution that really focused in on our teaching role within the Church,” says Rev. G. Michael Bugarin, director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. More
There is a growing conflict at the U.S.-Mexico border between enforcing the law and helping illegal immigrants in need. Despite walls and patrols, undocumented immigrants continue to pour into the U.S., sometimes under life-threatening conditions. Should churches help the needy, even if they're here illegally?