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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 reality of the global church is much larger than concerns bearing down on Princes of the Church, or social forces driving polarization of the church in Western countries, such as the priest shortage, celibacy, women’s ordination and gay rights. Read more»

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»

As a kid, I had no idea how unfortunately common my experience of the Roman Catholic Church would turn out to be. Read more»