Rare gemstone particles found in an 8th-century nun's mouth shatter a historical misconception

The gem lapis lazuli is the source of luminescent blue in manuscript illustrations.

  • It turns out medieval religious manuscripts were not exclusively the domain of male monks.
  • Fleck of a rare gemstone pigment in fossilized teeth prove women were involved in the making of religious manuscripts.
  • We'll never see these exquisite books the same way again.
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A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
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3 pieces of historical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ

Was Jesus a real historical figure? Here's what we know.

Photo credit: Robert Nyman on Unsplash
  • Jesus's historical existence is generally accepted among scholars.
  • The evidence for the reality of Jesus Christ includes writings by historians, artifacts and eyewitness accounts.
  • The spiritual and miraculous nature of Jesus is a different story.
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Pope Francis demotes 2 cardinals named in sexual abuse cases

One cardinal is accused of covering up sexual abuse. The other faces criminal charges in Australia.

Cardinal George Pell walks to a car in Melbourne on December 11, 2018. - Pell is facing prosecution for historical child sexual offences. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
  • The cardinals have been removed from the pope's C-9 cabinet, an informal group designed to help restructure the bureaucracy of the Vatican.
  • The cardinals have not been removed from the church.
  • In February, the Vatican will host a conference to inform church leaders about the impacts of sexual abuse.
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Why spiritualizing the cosmos is a disservice to science and religion

Where is God? Michelle Thaller lays out a cosmic view of religion, science, and the human condition.

  • Ancient humans believed lightning, seasons, and other unexplainable natural phenomenon were the acts of gods, but what happens when scientific discovery unravels those mysteries?
  • NASA astronomer and science communicator Michelle Thaller explains how scientific discovery has changed the search for God, and that religion may be something that happens between people, if they choose, rather than out there in the cosmos.
  • It's not a miracle that Earth is the perfect incubator for human life—we were created by the laws of the universe, and in those laws we can find great beauty and belonging.