By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – A Philadelphia sex abuse trial in which a jury reached a mixed verdict on a church higher-up accused of protecting sexually abusive priests was closely watched for its national implications.
Monsignor William Lynn was convicted of one count of child endangerment on Friday, and victims groups hope that conviction will pave the way for prosecutors across the country to go after church officials – and not just accused priests – in confronting sex abuse.
The three-month trial's more immediate effect, though, is the especially acute toll it has taken in Philadelphia, historically one of the nation’s most Catholic cities.
“The Philadelphia Catholic culture holds the priests in great esteem, and this has really destroyed that pristine image of the Philadelphia Catholic priest,” says Jim Martin, a Jesuit priest who was born and raised in Philadelphia.
CNN's Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories
From Susan Candiotti and Sarah Hoye, CNN
(CNN) – Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric accused of imperiling children by helping cover up sexual abuse, was found guilty Friday of one count of child endangerment.
He was found not guilty on a second count of endangerment and a conspiracy charge to protect a priest accused of abuse.
The jury was unable to bring a verdict against his co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was charged with attempted rape of a 14-year-old altar boy and endangering the welfare of a child.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – She went from atheist to Catholic in just over 1,000 words.
Leah Libresco, who’d been a prominent atheist blogger for the religion website Patheos, announced on her blog this week that after years of debating many “smart Christians,” she has decided to become one herself, and that she has begun the process of converting to Catholicism.
Libresco, who had long blogged under the banner “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend,” said that at the heart of her decision were questions of morality and how one finds a moral compass.
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
(CNN)– When the tools of modern science are applied to religious relics, the results are almost always the same: Science says the relics aren't what their supporters claim.
The most famous of them all, the Turin Shroud, is widely regarded as a Middle Ages forgery, and even the Catholic Church does not insist the shroud was actually used to wrap the body of Jesus himself.
So when Bulgarian archeologists announced two years ago that they had found the bones of John the Baptist, Tom Higham was skeptical.
He got a surprise.
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: 2 communities linked to polygamous sect sued for alleged religious discrimination
Two communities dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its jailed leader Warren Jeffs have been sued by the federal government for alleged religious discrimination against citizens who don't belong to the polygamous sect. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed suit against Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, and their local utility companies for taking actions including denying or delaying water to nonmembers of the FLDS faith.
CNN: Bias against Mormon presidential candidate unchanged since 1967, poll finds
Bias against a Mormon presidential candidate hasn’t budged in 45 years, with 18% of Americans saying they would not vote for a well-qualified candidate who happened to be Mormon, according to a Gallup Poll released Thursday. The survey points up potential challenges for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is vying to be the first Mormon in the White House.
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.