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Once in a Castro labor camp, now Cuba's cardinal
Cardinal Jaime Ortega has won respect for gaining reforms in Cuba, but he still has his critics, who say he hasn't done enough.
March 27th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

Once in a Castro labor camp, now Cuba's cardinal

By David Ariosto, CNN

Havana, Cuba (CNN) - Not long after Fidel Castro and his bearded band of guerilla fighters rolled into Havana in 1959, conditions appeared so dire for the island’s Catholic clergymen that their cardinal fled to Argentina’s Embassy seeking political asylum.

Manuel Arteaga died in 1963 from illness while still in Cuba, and for more than three decades the island would officially remain an atheist state. Castro’s communist revolution endeavored to rid the country of its religious influence, confiscating church property and expelling or oppressing religious workers.

A young priest named Jaime Ortega, who would one day become the nation’s cardinal, was among them. In 1966, the Cuban government sent him to a military work camp for several months.

Today, the 75-year-old cardinal heads the island’s Roman Catholic Church, thrust into the spotlight perhaps more than ever with Pope Benedict XVI's visit this week to Cuba.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Cuba • Pope Benedict XVI

March 27th, 2012
10:45 AM ET

The pope, political prisoners and Cuba

(CNN)–Pope Benedict XVI visits Cuba following the Vatican-brokered release of political prisoners. CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Cuba • Politics • Pope Benedict XVI

March 27th, 2012
10:08 AM ET

Celebrating the Festival of Colors

(CNN)–Thousands gathered in Spanish Fork, Utah, for Holi, the annual Festival of Colors.

CNN affiliate KSTU reports on how the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple celebrated by tossing colors into the air and at each other to mark the spring festival.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Hare Krishna

Papal visit to Cuba spurs talk of jailed U.S. contractor
Alan Gross with his wife Judy Gross.
March 27th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Papal visit to Cuba spurs talk of jailed U.S. contractor

By David Ariosto, CNN

Havana, Cuba (CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI traveled to Cuba this week, forging inroads with the Castro government and ultimately helping to bring about the release of a jailed American contractor. At least, that's how Judy Gross would like to see this week's papal visit play out.

"I hope it's very likely," she told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday.

Her husband, Alan Gross, is in prison outside the Cuban capital on subversion charges. He was arrested on December 3, 2009, for distributing what officials described as sensitive communications equipment to the island's small Jewish community.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Cuba • Judaism • Pope Benedict XVI

Sex abuse trial opens for archdiocese official, priest
Monsignor William Lynn was responsible for investigating reports of sexual abuse by priests in Philadelphia.
March 26th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Sex abuse trial opens for archdiocese official, priest

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) - Opening arguments started Monday in the first case in which a Roman Catholic archdiocese official is accused of covering up evidence of suspected sexual abuse of children.

Monsignor William Lynn and the Rev. James Brennan appeared before Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina inside a nearly filled Philadelphia courtroom. The attendees had to pass through a metal detector and surrender all electronic devices before entering the courtroom.

Commonwealth prosecutor Jacqueline Coelho told jurors in her nearly hour-long opening statement that Lynn's role was to protect priests, the church and privacy "at any cost."

Lynn, dressed in all black and wearing a priest collar, listened intently as Coelho argued that he knowingly covered up incidents of sexual abuse, including alleged acts by Brennan, and "ignored common sense and placed children at risk."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Crime

My Take: ‘Hunger Games’ asks us not to watch
March 26th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

My Take: ‘Hunger Games’ asks us not to watch

Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

(CNN) - “What if no one watched?” Gale Hawthorne asks at the beginning of the first "Hunger Games" film. What if not one citizen of the dystopian post-American country of Panem watched the annual competition where children from 12 districts compete to the death as penance for their insolence against the governing Capitol?

What if ...

But the citizens of Panem are forced to watch the 74th Hunger Games, in which protagonist Katniss Everdeen competes to spare her younger sister, Primrose. The Gamemakers hide cameras throughout the arena so that no event goes unseen, and every citizen of Panem must stand in their district’s square to watch key parts of the Games, which are televised live for the entire nation.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Opinion

March 26th, 2012
10:38 AM ET

Congregations pay tribute to Trayvon

(CNN)–Congregations around the United States wear hoodies on Sunday to pay tribute to Trayvon Martin.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church

March 26th, 2012
09:52 AM ET

Pope heads to Cuba after Mexico visit

By David Ariosto, CNN

Havana, Cuba (CNN) - Pope Benedict heads to Cuba on Monday on the second leg of a tour he's using not just to spread the faith but to address political issues.

Benedict will arrive at the island nation from Mexico, where he denounced drug wars and violence Friday in a visit scheduled just months ahead of its presidential elections. He also blasted Cuba's Marxist political system, saying it "no longer corresponds to reality."

The pope's comments, delivered to reporters aboard a flight from Rome to Mexico, sparked speculation over what he will say once he addresses the Cuban people directly.

Read the full story on Pope Benedict's trip to Cuba
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Americas • Belief • Catholic Church • Cuba • Pope Benedict XVI

March 25th, 2012
06:47 PM ET

Throngs gather for pope's Mass in Mexico

By the CNN Wire Staff

Silao, Mexico (CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI led an open-air Mass Sunday before throngs of faithful Catholics in central Mexico.

Cheering onlookers waved balloons, flags and banners as the pope arrived at Bicentennial Park in Mexico's Guanajuato state. Many said they had spent the night camped out, awaiting the pope's arrival.

More than 400,000 people attended the Mass, according to Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency.

The pope urged Mexican Catholics to remain true to their faith, and called on the Virgin Mary to "continue accompanying and protecting her beloved Mexican and Latin American children, so that Christ reigns in their lives and helps them to boldly promote peace, harmony, justice and solidarity."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

March 25th, 2012
06:24 PM ET

Philadelphia priest abuse trial to open, targeting archdiocese's higher-up

By Ross Levitt and Susan Candiotti, CNN

(CNN) - Opening arguments are scheduled for Monday in Philadelphia in the first case in which an official of a Roman Catholic archdiocese has been accused of protecting abusive priests by moving them from parish to parish.

Monsignor William Lynn has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Lynn served as the vicar of clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, a position in which he was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Crime • Pope Benedict XVI

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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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