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February 17th, 2012
05:43 PM ET

Why cardinal-to-be Timothy Dolan matters

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – At the Vatican on Saturday, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan will be elevated to the College of Cardinals. The move will further cement Dolan's standing as America's top Catholic.

"This is the most exclusive club in the Catholic Church," said John Allen, CNN's Vatican analyst, of Dolan's elevation. As a cardinal, Dolan will join the ranks of those who will choose the next pope.  The College of Cardinals was established in 1150.  Its main role is to advise the current pope and pick his successor.  The elevation alone brings speculation that Dolan himself could one day be elected to lead the global church.

"In many cases you also become, at least informally, a candidate to be the next pope, because the next pope will almost certainly come from the roughly 120 cardinals under the age of 80," Allen said.  Once a Cardinal reaches 80, he is no longer able to participate in the election of the pope or enter the secret conclave where cardinals gather when the time comes to select the next pope, typically upon the prior pope's death.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Pope Benedict XVI

February 17th, 2012
02:22 PM ET

Contraceptives, religious freedom: Are we in a new culture war?

By Brianna Keilar and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

The White House (CNN) - Welcome to the culture wars 2.0, where the front lines now are religious freedom and contraceptives. Abortion? Gay marriage? Those are so last year.

The White House seems to have assuaged the concerns of liberal and moderate religious voices, particularly Catholics, who complained that the U.S. Health and Human Services mandate on contraceptive coverage violated religious freedom of conscience. The policy now includes a wide exemption for religious groups; requires insurance companies, instead of religious employers, to foot the bill; and still includes a year to hammer out the details.

But now, the issue is firmly entrenched in a political battle on Capitol Hill. Republicans are seizing on the issue as an opportunity to push back on the Affordable Care Act, which they gleefully call "Obamacare." Democrats, meanwhile, are punching back, saying that rolling back the mandate is a slap in the face to women and that this is exclusively a women's health issue.

Read the full story here.
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Church and state • Politics

February 17th, 2012
10:11 AM ET

Survey: Very religious rate higher on “well being” scale
February 17th, 2012
05:59 AM ET

Survey: Very religious rate higher on “well being” scale

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Very religious people rate higher – compared to the moderately religious and nonreligious – on a Gallup “well being” survey released Thursday.

According to the survey, very religious people from all religious groups surveyed higher than their nonreligious brethren. Very religious Jews scored highest on the survey with a score of 72.4. Very religious Mormons finished a close second with 71.5.

By comparison, moderately and non religious Jews scored in the 68 percentile, while moderately and non religious Mormons scored in the 63 percentile.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Judaism • Mormonism • Polls • Protestant

February 17th, 2012
04:31 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, February 17

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: Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?
The recent disclosure that Mormons baptized the dead parents of Jewish Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal by proxy has sparked outrage in the Jewish world. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has apologized for the baptism, which it says resulted from the actions of a church member acting in violation of church policy. The LDS church vowed to stop baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims in 1995.

Valerie Pokorny writes that she hopes her rights as a woman are respected by the Obama administration.

CNN: My Take: Contraception denigrates me as a woman
In the face of the Health and Human Services mandate to provide contraception coverage, I stand with my fellow Catholics hoping our religious freedom will be respected. But more importantly, I stand as a woman hoping who I am will be respected.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

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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.

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