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Jury deliberations could begin Friday in landmark abuse trial of two priests
Catholic Monsignor William Lynn faces accusations that he failed to keep priests accused of sexual abuse away from minors.
May 31st, 2012
10:37 PM ET

Jury deliberations could begin Friday in landmark abuse trial of two priests

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) – Preposterous. Disgraceful. Shameful. Absurd. Ridiculous.

Those are words Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington used in court Thursday to describe the behavior of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric to be charged with child endangerment in the landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial in which he and another Philadelphia priest are defendants.

"He actually looked you in the eye and said he put victims first. How dare he?" Blessington asked jurors during his more than two-and-a-half-hour closing argument.

"The hero," Blessington yelled before turning to Lynn and pointing. "That's what you saw, our hero here, endanger kids."

FULL STORY

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

Vatican: Pope not resigning over alleged papers leak
Pope Benedict XVI travels with his butler Paolo Gabriele, center, who was arrested in connection with leaked papal documents.
May 31st, 2012
01:39 PM ET

Vatican: Pope not resigning over alleged papers leak

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI's spokesman has denied the pontiff will resign over the arrest of his butler on suspicion of leaking confidential documents, the Vatican press office said Thursday.

During a Wednesday meeting with journalists to answer questions about the situation, the Rev. Frederico Lombardi said the "hypothesis" advanced by some media outlets that the pope would resign are "baseless creations of some journalists, which have no foundation in reality."

Butler Paolo Gabriele, 46, was arrested last week and accused of illegal possession of confidential documents. Lombardi said Wednesday that Gabriele has met with his attorneys, "who will probably request monitored surveillance or house arrest for their client."

Gabriele, one of only a handful of people with access to the pontiff's private desk, has been charged with aggravated theft for allegedly stealing private documents, Lombardi said earlier. He is suspected of leaking the papers to an Italian journalist.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

May 31st, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Top U.S. archbishop linked to abusive priest payout plan

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - One of the most powerful Catholic Church leaders in America approved payments of $20,000 to get abusive priests to leave the church, abuse victims and the archdiocese in question said Thursday.

Victims feel "considerable dismay" that leaders of the church in Milwaukee "have been apparently engaged in paying off those who betrayed the children of our archdiocese," they said in an open letter to the current head of the church in Milwaukee, Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

But the case could reverberate far beyond the borders of the Midwestern city.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity

May 31st, 2012
05:17 AM ET

Church videos with harsh words for gays go viral online

By Richard Allen Greene and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

First it was a Christian pastor in North Carolina who told his congregation on Mother's Day that the way "to get rid of all the lesbians and queers" was to put them behind an electric fence and wait for them to die out.

That video went viral, fetching more than a million views on YouTube.

On Sunday, Pastor Curtis Knapp of Kansas preached that the government should kill homosexuals, in another videotaped sermon that drew lots of online attention.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Homosexuality

May 31st, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, May 31

By Laura Koran, 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: Nuns' fight with Vatican highlights Catholicism's global struggle
The charges ranged from promoting “radical feminism” to espousing religious teachings out of step with the Catholic Church. Now, six weeks after many American nuns said they were blindsided by a bruising Vatican assessment, a key nuns' leadership group is meeting to decide how to respond.

CNN: Vatican shows rare public anger over leak
The Vatican expressed rare public anger Wednesday in blasting the leaking of private papers from the pope's apartment, a scandal that observers say lifts the lid on a secret power struggle going on behind the closed doors of the Catholic Church. A top Roman Catholic Church official called the theft of the documents "an immoral act of unprecedented gravity" and "despicable abuse of the relationship of trust that exists between Benedict XVI and those who turn to him."

FULL POST

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Morning Read

Nuns' fight with Vatican highlights Catholicism's global struggle
The nation’s largest group of nuns, LCWR, are under fire from the Vatican.
May 30th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

Nuns' fight with Vatican highlights Catholicism's global struggle

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - The charges ranged from promoting “radical feminism” to espousing religious teachings out of step with the Catholic Church. Now, six weeks after many American nuns said they were blindsided by a bruising Vatican assessment, a key nuns' leadership group is meeting to decide how to respond.

The board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents the leadership of the vast majority of the nation’s nuns, began a four-day meeting in Washington on Tuesday, with church watchers dissecting the 22-member board's every move.

It's a fight that pits church men and against church women, and it could have broader implications for the global church.

One side is pushing the nuns to fight back against a church that they think has lost its way. The other is championing the Vatican against a group of aging nuns whom they say are on the verge of extinction unless they reform.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Vatican

Vatican shows rare public anger over leak
May 30th, 2012
11:42 AM ET

Vatican shows rare public anger over leak

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN)–The Vatican expressed rare public anger Wednesday in blasting the leaking of private papers from the pope's apartment, a scandal that observers say lifts the lid on a secret power struggle going on behind the closed doors of the Catholic Church.

A top Roman Catholic Church official called the theft of the documents "an immoral act of unprecedented gravity" and "despicable abuse of the relationship of trust that exists between Benedict XVI and those who turn to him."

Archbishop Angelo Becciu made the remarks to the Vatican's official newspaper six days after the pope's butler was arrested for leaking the papers.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, was arrested Wednesday on accusations of illegal possession of confidential documents, the Vatican said in a statement issued three days after the arrest.

FULL STORY

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • Scandal • Vatican

Business site raises eyebrows by asking 'Why Do Some People Hate Jews?'
Business Insider CEO and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget in New York earlier this year.
May 30th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Business site raises eyebrows by asking 'Why Do Some People Hate Jews?'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The Business Insider, a popular business-focused news website, posted a curious headline on its site: “Why Do Some People Hate Jews?”

Tuesday's headline and accompanying blog post, from Business Insider CEO and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget, wound up turning a lot of heads. The avalanche of response and criticism prompted Blodget a high-profile former Wall Street analyst to revise his headline and offer explanations/defenses of his post throughout the day.

“Along with many other sites, this site is occasionally visited by people whose mission in life appears to be to express hatred of Jews,” Blodget wrote in his original post. “And hatred of Jews has obviously been an ongoing theme worldwide for centuries.

“What is the source of this animosity? Why does it perpetuate itself? Where did this prejudice come from?”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Judaism

May 30th, 2012
04:21 AM ET

Tennessee mosque's fate again up in the air

By Lateef Mungin and Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn with a county judge's ruling that could bring construction to a halt.

"Everyone is really shocked, many people are crying about this," Imam Osama Bahloul, leader of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said early Wednesday.

"We did exactly what other churches in the county did," he said. "We followed the same process that other churches did. Why did this happen? Some people feel like it is discrimination."

The judge, Chancellor Robert Corlew, ruled Tuesday that plans for the new mosque that had previously been approved by a local planning commission were now "void and of no effect."

He said the planning commission violated state law by not providing proper public notice. The ruling throws the date of the mosque's completion, scheduled for July, up in the air.

Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope said Corlew did not address the issue of whether work on the mosque has to stop right away. He said county planners will discuss options and determine an appropriate course of action.

FULL STORY

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Islam • Mosque • Tennessee

May 30th, 2012
04:17 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, May 30

By Laura Koran, 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: Vatican scandals lift lid on secret power struggle
Bad luck comes in threes, even for the pope. The past week has seen his butler arrested, accused of leaking secret papers from the papal apartment; the head of his bank sacked for incompetence; and a demonstration on his front doorstep by protesters demanding that he reveal what he knows about Italy's most famous missing-person case. It's bad PR for the Vatican, but it may be more than that, experts say. It could affect who becomes the next pope.

FULL POST

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Morning Read

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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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