Watch more of our conversation on the Catholic Church, sexual abuse, divisions over health care reform, and questions about the church's moral authority.
"Women religious say this represents an investigation or an attack on the American way of being church, which has stressed more lay involvement, more religious involvement, collegiality, more accountability demanded of the bishops," says National Catholic Reporter editor Tom Fox.
It was a week of prayers and pleas for peace and gestures of reconciliation to all sides in the Holy Land.
After a week in Cameroon and Angola the pope said he was moved by Africa's "powerful sense of the sacred."
The Holy See has played an active global role for centuries. It has permanent observer status at the United Nations and has all the rights of full UN membership except voting.
Catholic leaders have often expressed their opposition to certain uses of science, such as anything that threatens human life. But the Church has no objection to basic scientific research itself — from it. That work is honored as trying to understand what God created — in the case of an observatory in Arizona, the entire visible universe. More
RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY profiles Peter Steinfels — Catholic, THE NEW YORK TIMES religion columnist, and author of the book A PEOPLE ADRIFT. Steinfels discusses the challenges facing the U.S. Catholic Church, from the sex abuse scandal to ordination of women, which he fears may send the church into an “irreversible decline” if they are not acted upon. More