Religious candles placed by religious devotees at a Catholic shrine in San Antonio, Texas.

In Defense of Kitsch

The denigration of kitsch betrays a latent anti-Catholicism, one born from centuries of class and ethnic divisions.
A priest holding up communion with beams of light emanating from the wafer

The Return of Ocular Communion

The idea of a virtual Eucharist may feel at odds with Catholic tradition, but it has deep roots in the church’s history.
The Confession by Giuseppe Moltini

An Unhealthy Obsession with Avoiding Sin

In the early 20th century, "scruples" meant a neurotic fixation on sin. It seemed to mostly affect Roman Catholics.
Pope Formosus and Stephen VI by Jean Paul Laurens, 1870

The Cadaver Synod: Putting a Dead Pope on Trial

Why did Pope Stephen VI go to such great lengths to destroy an enemy who was already dead?
Benedetta Carlini

Lesbianism (!) at the Convent

Mother Superior Benedetta Carlini, a visionary nun of Renaissance Italy, was accused of heresy and “female sodomy.”
Nuns and cows

How Frontier Nuns Challenged Gender Norms

Scholars Carol K. Coburn and Martha Smith write that nuns were an important part of westward expansion—and in Colorado, nuns quickly learned how to use their gender to their advantage.
Pope Sixtus V abortion ban

What a 16th-Century Abortion Ban Revealed

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a papal bull officially classifying abortion, regardless of the stage of fetal development, as homicide.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

How Anti-Catholicism Created an American Saint

Elizabeth Ann Seton is known today as the first American Roman Catholic saint. her road to canonization was no easy path.
Young Pope

Why The Young Pope Matters

Has anything like the events depicted in The Young Pope ever happened before? The answer, you may be surprised to learn, is yes.
Edith Stein

Edith Stein, the Jewish Woman Who Became a Catholic Saint

In 1998, Pope John Paul II made one of his most contentious canonizations, elevating a Jewish woman named Edith Stein to the status of saint.