Explainer

Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, pictured in 2017. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) 
Michael J. O’Loughlin February 12, 2019
A sentence of laicization—sometimes referred to colloquially as defrocking—would complete a stunning fall from grace for the former cardinal.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seen here at a news conference on Jan. 29, has been criticized by Catholic and pro-life leaders for signing a state law guaranteeing wide access to abortion. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
Sam Sawyer, S.J. January 30, 2019
Pro-life advocates argue that the New York law allows the most extreme forms of abortion. Pro-choice advocates respond that late-term abortions are rare and complicated. Both sides are right.
James T. Keane January 29, 2019
What exactly is Pope Francis suggesting?
James T. Keane December 20, 2018
The terms used to describe and classify alleged sexual abuse are not standardized across dioceses and religious orders. Should they be?
Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. September 24, 2018
Napoleon’s consolidation of power in France in 1801 involved the recognition of the pope as the “ordinary and immediate pastor” of the universal church—a key component in the impending agreement between the Vatican and China.
Joseph McAuley August 23, 2018
Pope Francis will be spending a few precious hours at the Basilica of Knock while he is in Ireland this weekend.