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March 25th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

New book accuses Vatican of hiding cases of sexual abuse of minors

By Rafael Romo, CNN

Leon, Mexico (CNN) - On the same day Pope Benedict addressed and blessed a group of 1,800 children in Guanajuato, Mexico, three Mexican authors released a book accusing the Vatican of hiding or ignoring cases of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

The book, "La Voluntad de no Saber" (Willing Not to be Aware), chronicles multiple cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by Marcial Maciel, a Mexican-born Roman Catholic priest who was influential at the Vatican.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

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

Rolling out welcome mat for pope, Cuba continues complex relationship with Catholic Church
A poster of Pope Benedict XVI in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion, where he will celebrate Mass amid icons of Cuban communism.
March 24th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Rolling out welcome mat for pope, Cuba continues complex relationship with Catholic Church

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN

Santiago, Cuba (CNN) - Facing the stage where Pope Benedict XVI will deliver his first Mass in Cuba during his visit here this week is a giant neon billboard of a young and victorious Fidel Castro brandishing a rifle.

It would appear to be a poor omen for the pope’s visit, if not for the message printed beside the Cuban leader: “Rebels yesterday, hospitable today, always heroic.” It’s the slogan for Santiago de Cuba, the first stop on the pope’s three-day trip to the island nation.

The freshly erected sign offers insight into the changing, often hard to read, relationship between the Cuban government and the Catholic Church.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Cuba • Religious liberty

Atheist rally continues in spite of rain; students highlighted throughout
March 24th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Atheist rally continues in spite of rain; students highlighted throughout

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN)– Billed as a watershed moment in the atheism movement, a gathering of atheists, agnostics and humanists drew large numbers of non-theists to the Washington Mall Saturday despite bad weather.

Put on by a coalition of atheist and humanist organizations, the rally was touted as the largest gathering of non-theists in the history of the world. Headlined by a number of high-profile speakers, including Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” organizers said the event shows that atheism is a powerful minority in American life.

“We will never be closeted again,” said David Silverman, the rally’s head organizer. “In years to come, the Reason Rally will be seen as the beginning of the end to the religious right’s grip” on American life.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism

March 24th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Mexico spends millions to greet pope

By Rafael Romo, CNN

(CNN) - It has been a project of celestial proportions, but it's finally ready. Construction workers have labored nonstop for months.

Their mission? To build an altar worthy of a pope and an outdoor venue that can accommodate as many as 700,000 people.

The altar where Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on Sunday is located at Bicentennial Park in Mexico's Guanajuato state, the heartland of Mexican Catholicism. Guanajuato has the highest percentage of Catholics in Mexico at well over 90 percent.

Benedict is expected to arrive at 4:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET) Friday at Guanajuato's International Airport.
The nation's Catholics have been waiting for a papal visit since Joseph Ratzinger was elevated to the papacy in 2005. President Felipe Calderon invited the pontiff to Mexico when they met in Vatican City in 2007 and then again in May of last year when Juan Diego, a Mexican Indian, was canonized.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

My Take: A Colorado Christian bids farewell to Tebow
March 24th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

My Take: A Colorado Christian bids farewell to Tebow

Editor’s note: Patton Dodd is the managing editor of Patheos and the author of The Tebow Mystique: The Faith and Fans of Football’s Most Polarizing Player.

By Patton Dodd, Special to CNN

Denver, Colorado (CNN) - As a lifelong Denver Broncos fan, I’d have to be crazy to second-guess my team’s signing of the great quarterback Peyton Manning, assuming he’s as healthy as Broncos’ Vice President John Elway wishes him to be. And I’m not crazy.

I got chills watching Manning hold up the new #18 Broncos jersey at his introductory press conference, and I’ll be counting the days until his September debut.

But as a Tim Tebow scribe, general religion nerd, and sucker for inspirational sports stories, I’m mourning the loss of something special, something larger than football, and something Denver may never have again no matter how many championships the team wins.

Tim Tebow is moving to New York to play for the Jets.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Uncategorized

Marxism 'no longer responds to reality,' pope says of Cuba
Pope Benedict XVI, center, is welcomed by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, right, and his wife Margarita Zavala, upon his arrival at Silao's international airport in Guanajuato, Mexico, on Friday.
March 24th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Marxism 'no longer responds to reality,' pope says of Cuba

By Michael Martinez, CNN

(CNN) - Responding to Pope Benedict XVI's comment that Marxism "no longer responds to reality," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Friday that his country respects all opinions.

"We consider the exchange of ideas useful," Rodriguez said at Havana's historic Hotel Nacional, adding that his country is perfecting its system.

The pontiff answered reporters' questions about the Caribbean communist island on the papal plane Friday as he began a six-day trip to Mexico and Cuba, according to the Vatican. He arrived in Mexico on Friday afternoon.

"With this visit, a way of cooperation and dialogue has been inaugurated, a long road that requires patience but that leads forward," the pope said, according to the Vatican.

"It is evident today that Marxist ideology as it had been conceived no longer responds to reality," Benedict continued.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

Not all New York evangelicals lining up behind Tebow
March 23rd, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Not all New York evangelicals lining up behind Tebow

By Jason Kessler, CNN

(New York) - New York is known for its skyscrapers, not its steeples. But it's hardly the den of godlessness suggested by some media coverage of Tim Tebow's trade to the Jets.

"Welcome to Sodom," read a New York Magazine headline on Thursday.

In fact, the country's largest metropolis has plenty of faith-minded folk. About 6,780 properties in New York qualify for a property tax exemption offered to houses of worship, according to a city spokesperson. That doesn't factor in the many congregations that don't own property.

Tim Tebow, who was signed by the New York Jets this week, is hardly the first religiously devout athlete to don a New York jersey.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • New York • Sports

March 23rd, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Pope's visit overshadowed by predecessor's legacy in Mexico

By Rafael Romo, CNN

(CNN) - It was an exciting day for Laura Dominguez and her 11-year-old daughter Paulina.
They were summoned to their parish, the Saint Cosme and Damian Church in Mexico City to pick up the equivalent of a jackpot for Mexican Catholics: tickets to attend a mass presided by the pope in Gunajuato, about four hours from Mexico City.

Dominguez, a 40-year-old Mexican Red Cross paramedic was elated. "It's very exciting. It's incredible. I never imagined I was going to get the opportunity to attend," Dominguez said.

Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Mexico for the first time Friday. This is also his first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America in his seven-year pontificate. Mexico boasts the second-largest population of Catholics in the world after Brazil, a country the pope visited in 2007 (Brazil's predominant language is Portuguese). He also visited the United States in 2008.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

Atheist organizer takes ‘movement’ to nation’s capital
American Atheists president David Silverman in Washington, planning for Saturday's rally.
March 23rd, 2012
11:04 AM ET

Atheist organizer takes ‘movement’ to nation’s capital

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Sitting in a chilly hotel hospitality suite in a suburban Maryland hotel, David Silverman plans his attack. As the frequently quoted president of the American Atheists and a constant thorn in the side of religious organizations, attack mode comes easily to him.

At the moment, it isn’t the religious right or the “horribly misinformed,” a term Silverman uses for certain religious people, that are in his sights. Rather, it’s a menu.

“Spinach or Caesar salad?” Silverman, 45, asks to no one in particular. His dinner guests, a logistics consultant, a Marriott hotel representative and Silverman’s new administrative director, eat through a few courses before discussion turns to dessert.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“In the beginning, God created chocolate,” Silverman says, his eyes scanning the table for reaction.

Laughter ensues. But this is a business meal. From choosing salads for a fundraising dinner to studying the timing of the Washington transit system, Silverman has been spending less time recently on the big question of God’s existence and more time immersing himself in the nitty-gritty of planning what he promises will be the largest-ever atheist gathering.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • DC • Politics

March 22nd, 2012
06:36 PM ET

Atheist rally billed as 'coming out' moment for nonbelievers

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – A coalition of atheist and secular organizations are coming together on Saturday to hold what is being billed at the largest gathering of atheists in history.

David Silverman, chairman of the event committee and president of the American Atheists, said the rally is aimed at uniting atheist organizations and letting the religious know that there are nonbelievers among them.

“We need to stress to the theists that we are here,” Silverman said. “Atheism is growing in all 50 states. What people don’t seem to understand is all we demand at American Atheists is equality.”

Silverman initially told CNN that the rally would draw anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people to the National Mall, and the National Park Service has planned for 30,000 people. With thunderstorms forecast for Saturday, however, Silverman told CNN on Thursday that he expects somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

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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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