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Then-Cardinal Bergoglio in a 2012 photo.

For only the second time in history, the Roman Catholic Church is headed by a man not from Europe. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope on Wednesday, the second day of a papal conclave. Naming himself after Francis of Assisi, the new pope is also the first Jesuit to be elected to the Throne of St. Peter. Read more» 7

The full text of Benedict XVI's final address before he steps down from the Holy See: "'Always' is also 'forever'--there is no return to private life. My decision to renounce the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I am not returning to private life .... I no longer bear the power of the office for the governance of the Church, but I remain in the service of prayer, within St. Peter's paddock." Read more»

Pope Benedict XVI during his arrival in Portugal in May, 2010.

Outgoing Pope Benedict XVI addressed a crowd of tens of thousands at St. Peters Square in Rome on Wednesday, in an emotional farewell in which the pontiff claimed that he had resigned while "keeping the good of the church in mind." Read more»

Didja ever wonder why the pope isn't selected by God? Yeah, us too. Read more»

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, has stepped down as leader of the Scottish Catholic Church following allegations of inappropriate behavior towards priests from the 1980s onwards. Read more»

Pope Benedict XVI delivered his final "Angelus" public blessing to a cheering crowd in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on Sunday. He told a crowd of about 100,000 that he was not abandoning the church and would enter a life of prayer. (with video) Read more»

Benedict XVI on a visit to Portugal in 2010.

Documents released Friday by a Rhode Island judge provide a new window into the internal workings of the disgraced Legion of Christ, a religious order of priests whose founder was revealed to have sexually abused seminarians and fathered children by at least two women. Read more»

Benedict XVI on a visit to Portugal in 2010.

Analysis: Neither peacemaker nor reformer, Pope Benedict hands along a church in crisis. Read more»

Benedict XVI on a visit to Portugal in 2010.

Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down, saying his health is not good enough to remain the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Benedict will be the first pope to resign in 600 years when he leaves the throne of St. Peter on Feb. 28. Read more» 1

Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-KY), above on election night, believes the government should intervene when it comes to pregnant women—forcing them to continue their pregnancy, even in cases of incest or rape. In fact, by the latest count, the midterm elections brought 44 more antiabortion votes to the House and six more votes to Senate.

Now that the midterm elections are over and a sizable number of conservatives have won office based on promises to shrink the government, you might think that economic issues have trumped social-cultural issues in the public mind. Not so fast. Read more»

Pope Benedict XVI receives the St Ninian's Stone, a gift from Scotland unveiled earlier by First Minister Alex Salmond, at Cardinal O'Brien's residence, Edinburgh.

Scots bristle at the $19 million price tag for pontiff's quick pop-in at Holyrood Palace. Read more»

It can't be fun knowing you'll go down in history as the Pedophilia Pope. At times, Benedict must ask himself, what would Jesus do? Read more» 2

To paraphrase Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the Pope." Read more» 2

Pope Benedict XVI in Australia, 2008.

As the sex abuse scandals continue to cast a dark shadow over the church and particularly its leadership, there is a growing consensus on the left-leaning side of the church that Benedict XVI's papacy is irreparably tarnished. Read more»

Pope Benedict XVI reads a copy of L'Osservatore Romano while on an airplane, 2008.

Opinion: He needs to stop blaming media for failings of his own leadership and his own church. Read more»

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