What are we to make of the reports of abuse of minors by priests and religious? How much is fact and how much is anti-Catholic exaggeration or the quest for easy money? What are the Vatican and the bishops doing about it?
The internet is overflowing with anti-Catholic hate articles so that it is hard to find something neutral and intelligent to read on this topic. Here are a few you might try:
A somewhat lengthy history of the matter can be found in Wikipedia here.
A couple of case studies are presented here and here, in which the central role of anti-Catholic bias is demonstrated.
Opus Dei has posted a series of articles focusing on Pope Benedict XVI, the actions he has taken, and some accusations against him.
An interesting article about the Cardinal Mahoney case shows the dangers of jumping to conclusions without all of the facts.
He has injected lots of new energy into the Church, but he also has his enemies.
Here is an excellent start-off article on Francis' career in South America and the things that made him the man he is. What is he trying to do?
In his letter "The Joy of the Gospel," Francis made some strong statements about global capitalism and how it can go wrong. The New Yorker printed a good summary of what he said, quoting from his letter. The Pope agreed that global capitalism has produced a lot of good results for some, but asks us to focus on the exclusion and suffering of the powerless. Read the article here.
Cardinal Dolan produced an overview to clarify the Pope's position. You can read it here.
STEM CELL RESEARCH
A quick summary of the ethical issues involved can be found here, but the author is not entirely in agreement with right-to-life people.
Some alternatives to embryonic stem cell research are outlined here.
The Pontifical Council for Culture has been pushing for more research on adult stem cells rather than embryonic ones. Read about it here.
A nondenominational Christian group has come up with a careful exposition of arguments against embryonic stem cell research and also against human cloning.
This article presents several different views on the issue and lists the arguments for and against each view.
Stem cells are biological cells that can become any specific kind of cell, such as skin cell, muscle cell, nerve cell, etc. For a long time, they have been taken from bone marrow and used to fight leukemia. The controversy developed when stem cells were harvested from human embryos in the hope of using them to fight diseases, and many Christians objected to killing embryos for this. More recently the emphasis has been on stem cells obtained in other ways.