Pope Francis has made one groundbreaking move after another in his two-year papacy to retain and welcome more people into the Catholic Church. The announcements include the promise to remove the required second judgment on annulment decisions during a divorce, unique acts of service that include kissing the feet of female inmates — the first pope to do so, creating a commission to investigate sexual abuse by clergy, and softening ties between the Vatican and nuns by ending a 2012 takeover of the nun’s group Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Ahead of the pope’s visit to Washington, D.C., Washington Post photographer Matt McClain visited several shrines, basilicas and cathedrals in the area to document symbols and icons that uniquely identify and distinguish the Catholic Church from other churches.

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