Faith and Justice: No governance system is perfect since it has to be run by fallible human beings. But the church's current highly centralized system has come under heavy fire.
Growing conservative disaffection with Pope Francis appears to be taking a toll on his once Teflon-grade popularity in the U.S., with a new Gallup poll showing the pope's favorability rating among all Americans dropping to 59 percent from a 76 percent peak early last year.
Among conservatives, the drop-off has been especially sharp: Just 45 percent view Francis favorably today, as opposed to 72 percent a year ago.
Column: Is the common narrative about deep divisions within the Republican Party wrong? Maybe it's the Democrats who face the really ideological divisions.
"This is something that religious groups can work with," one person said. "[The] executive order is unprecedented and extreme," said the bishops.
Analysis: The president may have finally found a small patch of middle ground in balancing competing claims of gay rights with the traditional prerogatives of religious freedom.
Faith and Justice: The goal of the White House order is laudable, but it remains to be seen how the bishops and the church will handle it.
Analysis: When President Barack Obama and Pope Francis sit down Thursday, the meeting may offer a vision of what could have been for Democrats and the Catholic church.
Column: The most interesting criticisms of Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation have come from libertarians closest to the views the pope denounced.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Thomas P. Melady, who served in several diplomatic posts and continued to play a role as "citizen-scholar" long past the age when most people would have retired, died Monday. He was 86.
Melady died at his Washington home of a brain tumor, which doctors only recently diagnosed.
Column: Washington's version of the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" is again showing in the theater that has become Congress.