home
RSS
Three Philadelphia priests, teacher charged with sexually abusing boys
Left to right, from top: Edward Avery, James Brennan, Charles Engelhardt, William Lynn and Bernard Shero were charged in connection with sex abuse against minors.
February 10th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Three Philadelphia priests, teacher charged with sexually abusing boys

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Three Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher were charged Thursday with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while a former official with the Philadelphia Archdiocese was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children, the city's district attorney's office said.

CNN Senior Vatican analyst John Allen said the charges against the former church official appeared to be unprecedented and could have national implications.

"This is apparently the first time that a Catholic leader has been charged criminally for the cover-up as opposed to the abuse itself," he said. "It sends a shot across the bow for bishops and other diocesan officials in other parts of the country, who have to wonder now if they've got criminal exposure, too."

Edward Avery, 68, and Charles Engelhardt, 64, were charged with allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome Parish from 1998 to 1999. Bernard Shero, 48, a teacher in the school, is charged with allegedly assaulting the same boy there in 2000, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said at a Thursday press conference.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Sex abuse

Secular student group doubles number of global affiliates
February 10th, 2011
01:52 PM ET

Secular student group doubles number of global affiliates

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

An umbrella group for secular students says it has doubled it size in two years, with 250 affiliates in high school and college campuses around the world.

"We're witnessing a major shift in our society,” Secular Student Alliance communications director Jesse Galef said in a Wednesday press release.

Founded in 2000, the Secular Student Alliance represents "atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics, naturalists, brights, Pastafarians, and many others," according the the group's web site.

Galef attributed the growth to more areligious young people feeling comfortable with publicly expressing their ideas.

“We used to go out and find them," he said Galef. "Now, they're springing up everywhere and finding us, asking to join the movement."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism

My Take: Why Egypt's Christians are hopeful but nervous
Crosses and Qurans were raised in Cairo’s Tahrir Square this week.
February 10th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

My Take: Why Egypt's Christians are hopeful but nervous

Editor's Note: Ashley Makar is a graduate student at Yale Divinity School and co-editor of Killing the Buddha.

By Ashley Makar, Special to CNN

Photos from Cairo show triumphant hands in the air - some raising up Coptic Christian crosses, others holding up Qurans.

Egyptian Christians and Muslims gathered together this week to pray for those who’ve died in the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

Muslims formed a protective circle around Christians as they prayed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Monday, just as Christian protesters had done for Muslims during last Friday’s prayers.

As the daughter of a Coptic-American immigrant to the United States, I’m astonished by such sights. In the many summers I’ve spent between Cairo and Alexandria, I’ve never seen Christian prayers in a public square. I’ve never seen a cross anywhere near a Quran.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Egypt • Foreign policy • Interfaith issues • Opinion

From stressed-out cop to Buddhist teacher
Cheri Maples became a Buddhist dharma teacher in 2008.
February 10th, 2011
07:45 AM ET

From stressed-out cop to Buddhist teacher

By Susan Hauser, Oprah.com

When a former police captain stumbled on spirituality, she discovered a different way to serve and protect.

For Cheri Maples, enlightenment began in a chiropractor's office. It was 1991, and the Madison, Wisconsin, policewoman needed treatment for a back injury - she'd been hoisting a stolen moped out of a car trunk; in the waiting room, Maples flipped through a copy of "Being Peace" by the Buddhist monk and activist Thich Nhat Hanh.

"It was so simple, so no-nonsense," she recalls. "He described what mindfulness and meditation actually look like in day-to-day life. It gave me the desire to know more."

Seventeen years later, Maples had traded her crisp police blues for earth-toned robes when Nhat Hanh ordained her as a Buddhist dharma teacher.

Read the full story here about the cop who became a Buddhist teacher

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Buddhism

Indonesian cleric's terror trial adjourned
Supporters of radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir display his portrait outside a Jakarta court on February 10, 2011.
February 10th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

Indonesian cleric's terror trial adjourned

Indonesia's latest attempt to charge a fiery Islamic cleric on terrorism charges was swiftly adjourned moments after it started in a south Jakarta court Thursday.

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir could face the death penalty under fresh charges, which include planning and/or inciting a terrorist act and involvement in a paramilitary training camp discovered last February in Aceh province.

However, proceedings were postponed to Monday after his lawyer argued that they were not given enough time to respond to the court summons.

The 72-year-old waved and smiled to hundreds of his supporters, who chanted "God is great."

Read the full story on the terror trial of an Indonesian cleric here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Courts • Indonesia • Religious violence • Violence

Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

Advertisement
Advertisement