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Bearers carry the relic and the statue in honor of St. Anthony of Padua during a procession in Rome, Italy. St. Anthony of Padua was proclaimed a doctor of the church in 1946. Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images Europe via Getty Images

Why are some Roman Catholic saints called doctors of the church?

Saints are recognized for exceptional virtue and faith. But some also are commemorated for their scholarship.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sits in St. Peter’s Basilica Dec. 8, 2015. A long-awaited report on sexual abuse faulted his handling of four cases. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Pope Benedict accused of mishandling sex abuse cases: 4 essential reads

A German report accused retired Pope Benedict XVI of mishandling several cases of sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. Here are a few of our related articles on the Catholic Church’s crisis.
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.
Table-tipping workshop with mediums Jane and Chris Howarth in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 2014. © Shannon Taggart. Courtesy of the Artist.

As spiritualism’s popularity grows, photographer Shannon Taggart takes viewers inside the world of séances, mediums and orbs

Alternative beliefs like spiritualism seem to experience resurgences in times of crisis. Taggart has spent the past 20 years exploring the oft-misunderstood religion.
Members of a civil society group participate in a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to the Sri Lankan citizen Priyantha Kumara, who was lynched by a Muslim mob in Pakistan. AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary

Understanding the history and politics behind Pakistan’s blasphemy laws

A scholar of Islam explains how Muslim religious leaders, starting around the year 1050, worked with political rulers to challenge what they considered to be sacrilegious influence on society.
The pagan tradition of celebrating the winter solstice with bonfires on Dec. 21 inspired the early Christian celebrations of Christmas. Gpointstudio/ Image Source via Getty Images

How Christmas became an American holiday tradition, with a Santa Claus, gifts and a tree

Christmas was popularized in the United States during the American Civil War, when Harper’s Weekly featured the image of Santa Claus visiting the Union Army on its front page.

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You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens. Rumi