By Chris Boyette, CNN
(CNN) - Left-leaning Catholics from around the globe will convene in Detroit this weekend for a meeting to discuss what they believe to be the need for reform, openness and greater democracy within the church, according to the American Catholic Council, the organization hosting the convention.
The council is a coalition of more than 30 Catholic reform groups dedicated to opening discussion about the current state and future of the church.
Calling the conference "a weekend of worship, education and dialogue," convention organizers intend to call for financial transparency and democratic decision-making within the church, a recommitment to social justice, marriage options for priests and greater roles for women, possibly including the priesthood.
To arrive at these discussion points, conference organizers held forums with Catholics across the country.
By Josh Levs, CNN
Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - Kulsoom Abdullah is a 35-year-old with a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering. But it's her passion outside of work that has put her at the center of a debate - one that could affect athletic competitions worldwide, even the Olympics.
Later this month, the International Weightlifting Federation will take up the question of whether Abdullah may take part in officially sanctioned tournaments while keeping her entire body covered, aside from her hands and face, in keeping with her Muslim faith.
"It's what I believe in. It's what I've chosen to do," Abdullah tells CNN of her decision to wear modest garb. "I've always dressed this way publicly."
Abdullah is not an Olympic athlete, but enjoys lifting weights. She can deadlift 245 pounds (111 kg) and get up 105 pounds (47.5 kg) in the snatch, in which the competitor lifts the barbell from the floor to over her head in a single motion. She likes to compete with other women in her weight class - she generally weighs in the 106-pound (48 kg) or 117-pound (53 kg) classifications.
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
(CNN) - Ask Sarah Mattingly for the first word that comes to mind when she hears the word "abortion," and she heaves a huge sigh.
Then there's a long pause before she answers: "Sadness."
Mattingly works at Northland Church, an evangelical megachurch in Orlando, Florida, and she regularly passes an abortion clinic on her way to work.
"There are always picketers. The parking lot is always full. I see these women sitting in their cars and just feel full of sadness," she says.
There's no doubt in her mind that abortion is wrong: "not what God has ordained."
And yet, she says, she's not entirely convinced abortion should be against the law.
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) – If you're a famous pastor who has just survived a sex scandal, laid off church staff and lost a chunk of your congregation, what do you do to move forward?
If you’re Bishop Eddie Long, you announce that your church is expanding.
Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church outside Atlanta, Georgia, has announced that his church is opening two new satellite churches and is asking parishioners to donate up to $1,000 to support the expansion, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Long’s announcement comes two weeks after an out of court settlement with four young men who accused him of using his spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual relationships. The timing of Long’s announcement prompted me to ask several public relations and church experts a question:
How should Long - or any other pastor - act after a scandal?
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.