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Unpacking report that Katie Holmes has rejoined Catholic Church
Actress Katie Holmes recently filed for divorce from actor Tom Cruise.
July 11th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

Unpacking report that Katie Holmes has rejoined Catholic Church

By Eric Marrapodi, Co-Editor, CNN's Belief Blog

(CNN) – In the blizzard of reports surrounding Tom Cruise's recent split with Katie Holmes, this one stands out: After her years married to Scientologist Cruise, Holmes is said to be rejoining the Roman Catholic Church of her youth.

A report from the Huffington Post with the decisive headline "Katie Holmes Returns to Catholic Church" has been rattling around the Internet since Monday. But the Internet newspaper cites a lone unnamed member of the church choir, who claims Holmes has registered as a parishioner of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York.

“Everyone is thrilled to have Katie join us,” the church member told Huffington Post reporter Naughty But Nice Rob. “She has not yet attended a service, but when she does she will be welcomed with open arms.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church

Pew survey: Middle East Muslims support democracy, Islam in politics
Egyptians in Cairo's Tahrir Square listen to a speech last month by Mohamed Morsi, who is now president.
July 11th, 2012
05:31 PM ET

Pew survey: Middle East Muslims support democracy, Islam in politics

By Laura Koran, CNN

(CNN) –Just as an Islamist president takes office in Egypt, a major survey shows that most Muslims in nations in or close to the Middle East want both democracy and a strong role for Islam in politics and government.

The survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, finds that most people in many predominantly Muslim nations remain optimistic that democracy can succeed in the Middle East, more than a year after the Arab Spring began sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa.

Conducted in six countries between March 19 and April 20, the survey found that a majority of people in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan believe that democracy is the best possible form of government, as does a 42 % plurality in Pakistan.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Middle East

Your Take: Church and beer tweets study
July 11th, 2012
01:30 PM ET

Your Take: Church and beer tweets study

By Anna-Lysa Gayle, CNN

(CNN)–Twitter isn’t exactly scientific evidence, but it can produce conversation starters. Many readers registered a variety of responses to Dan Merica's recent story, about a study that said Americans tweeted more about church than beer.

The study was conducted by Floatingsheep.org, looking at geotagged tweets with the words "church" or "beer" in them.  Geotagging allows users of the social media site to indicate their precise location when they send a message.

More tweets about church than beer came from the southeastern United States. On the other hand,  more tweets about beer than church came from parts of the Northeast.

Stories that combine alcohol and religion always get lots of attention from our readers. Look no further than J. Wilson's beer-only lenten fast. His story about his 46-day beer-only fast racked up a ton of comments, tweets and Facebook recommends.

The beer/church Twitter comparison also got people typing.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now

July 11th, 2012
04:32 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, July 11

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: Ex-Scientologist: Cruise was top church recruit
For the secretive Church of Scientology, "there was no bigger recruit than Tom Cruise." The top Hollywood actor's membership in the Church beginning in 1986 "was huge," says Karen Pressley – a former Commanding Officer of the Church's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood from 1987 to 1989. "My job was to ensure that celebrities were recruited, that celebrities were well serviced within our organization, and also to open up new celebrity centers around the world," she told CNN's Kareen Wynter.

CNN: Episcopal Church approves same-sex blessing service
Episcopal priests will be allowed to conduct services blessing same-sex relationships under a policy approved Tuesday at the church's national convention in Indianapolis. The convention's House of Bishops approved the provisional policy 111-41 with three abstentions Monday, clearing it for consideration by the House of Deputies, which approved it Tuesday evening.

FULL POST

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Morning Read

July 11th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Ex-Scientologist: Cruise was top church recruit

Montreal, Quebec (CNN) – For the secretive Church of Scientology, "there was no bigger recruit than Tom Cruise."

The top Hollywood actor's membership in the Church beginning in 1986 "was huge," says Karen Pressley - a former Commanding Officer of the Church's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood from 1987 to 1989.

"My job was to ensure that celebrities were recruited, that celebrities were well serviced within our organization, and also to open up new celebrity centers around the world," she told CNN.

The high-profile marriage split between Cruise and actress Katie Holmes, who was raised Catholic, has re-ignited media interest in Scientology's influence in Hollywood.

Related story: What is Scientology? 

A joint statement released Monday to announce their divorce settlement said, "We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other's commitment to each of our respective beliefs and support each other's roles as parents." It's not known if Holmes joined the Church of Scientology.

Cruise is just one of many celebrity members of the church, including John Travolta, Jenna Elfman and Kirstie Alley.

See photos of other Scientology celebs

But Cruise was among Scientology's biggest fish, says Pressley. "Is there a bigger name than Tom? We called him TC."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Scientology • TV-Anderson Cooper 360

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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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