By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The still-lingering controversy over the Obama administration's mandate about health insurance coverage that includes contraception spread to American Army posts all over the world before the matter was settled.
For the Army, it started when Timothy Broglio, the archbishop for the military services, sent a letter to all Catholic chaplains in the military objecting to the administration's new mandate, calling it "an alarming and serious matter."
Broglio, who oversees all Catholic chaplains in all branches of the service, also wrote: "We cannot - we will not - comply with this unjust law." He wanted Catholic chaplains to read the letter aloud during their sermons on Sunday, January 28.
By Laura Batchelor, CNN
New York (CNN) - A decade after the sex abuse scandal that plagued the Catholic Church across the country, retired Cardinal Edward Egan has taken back his apology for how the church handled the issue.
In an interview published this week in Connecticut Magazine, Egan denies any sex abuse happened under his watch in Bridgeport, Connecticut, or in New York.
"I never had one of these sex abuse cases. ... Not one," he told the magazine. Referencing the apology he issued in 2002, Egan continued, "I should never have said that. I did say 'If we did anything wrong, I'm sorry,' but I don't think we did anything wrong."
By Jessica Yellin and Brianna Keilar, CNN
(CNN) - After an avalanche of criticism, the White House is working on a way to thread the needle on a new health care policy which will require all employers-including religious institutions-to cover contraception in their health insurance plans.
Policy makers are angling for a loophole that would ensure women receive coverage without forcing Catholic charities, hospitals and institutions to pay for it, two senior administration sources told CNN Wednesday.
The administration is especially interested in the Hawaii model, in which female employees of religious institutions can purchase contraceptive coverage directly from the insurer at the same price offered to employees of all other employers.
By Adam Aigner-Treworgy, CNN
McKinney, Texas (CNN) - The day after winning a three state primary sweep, Rick Santorum largely avoided politics during a visit to the Bella Donna Chapel and instead talked candidly about his faith before a crowd of more than one hundred local pastors.
Due to several last-minute TV interviews added to his schedule on Wednesday morning, Santorum arrived at the chapel nearly an hour late, which shrunk the amount of time his campaign set aside for midday fundraisers in this wealthy, predominantly Republican state. The delay forced him to rush out after his address, skipping a planned visit with several hundred supporters who had gathered outside the chapel, unable to get in to the invite-only event.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – For all the attention paid to the clout of fiscally focused tea party conservatives and of the primacy of jobs in the 2012 election, Rick Santorum’s trifecta victories Tuesday night are a good reminder of the powerful role religious conservatives play in the GOP. They fueled Santorum’s wins in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado – and his earlier victory in the Iowa caucuses.
But why, exactly, do religious conservatives love the former senator from Pennsylvania? There are obvious reasons – his advocacy against abortion and same-sex marriage, for instance – but plenty of less obvious ones, too.
Here’s my list. What would you add?
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
So much for the cease-fire in the culture wars.
With the rise of the tax-focused tea party, the slump into recession and the emergence of Occupy Wall Street, U.S. politics was supposed to turn to economic matters. But recent developments on the Holy Trinity of bedroom issues — gay marriage, abortion and contraception — demonstrate that the culture wars are alive and well and (among other things) propelling Rick Santorum to a clean sweep on Tuesday in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.
Last month, the Obama administration announced a new rule requiring that health insurance plans offer birth control to women for free. This rule specifically exempts, on religious liberty grounds, Catholic churches, but it does not exempt Catholic-affiliated institutions such as universities, hospitals and charities.
In recent days, the Obama administration has been pummeled in the press by Catholic leaders and Republican presidential candidates for purportedly sacrificing religious liberty at the altar of its health plan. On Tuesday, Romney called the policy an "assault on religion." Earlier, Bishop of Phoenix Thomas Olmsted sent a letter to his flock stating, "We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law."
By Dan Merica, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
CNN: White House offers an olive branch to Catholic voters?
The White House appears to be softening its stance on the controversial rule forcing some religious organizations to provide birth control as part of their health insurance plans.
Over the past two weekends, the American Catholic hierarchy have distributed letters that harshly condemn the HHS policy to be read at parishes nationwide during Mass.
CNN: Battle escalates over Obama rule for contraception coverage at Catholic institutions
The battle over a new White House policy compelling Catholic institutions to cover contraception in health insurance plans continued to escalate Tuesday, with the Catholic Church threatening to sue, liberal groups spotlighting Catholic support for contraception, and the Obama administration vowing to confront religious concerns.
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.