By Mark Thompson, CNN Money
(CNN) - If you're planning on visiting the Vatican any time soon, take plenty of cash for tickets and souvenirs.
Vatican museums and shops have been unable to accept credit or debit card payments since Jan. 1, after the Bank of Italy prevented Deutsche Bank from providing the service due to concerns about financial oversight in the city-state, sources familiar with the matter told CNNMoney.
The world's smallest state is home to the Pope and such popular tourist sites as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, attracting some 5 million visitors per year.
The Vatican has taken several steps in recent years to improve its record on banking supervision. But a report last year by Moneyval - an independent group of European experts - found it was still falling short of international standards to tackle money laundering and other financial crimes.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN)– The 113th Congress is being heralded for its number of women and minorities, but that diversity extends to religion, too. Newly revised numbers released by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life show the 113th Congress' freshmen class is more religiously diverse than the lawmakers they will be joining in Congress.
While 57.6% of incumbents, a majority of Congress, identify as Protestants, that number is lower among freshmen legislators, of whom 48.2% identify as Protestants, according to the study. Additionally, there are more unaffiliated, Unitarian, Hindu and Buddhists in the 113th Congress freshman class than in classes before.
These numbers were updated by Pew after House seats were finalized and the new members of Congress were sworn in.
By Arielle Hawkins, 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: Targeting 'Les Miserables' to Christians pays off at the box office
In spite of tepid reviews from some film critics, "Les Miserables" is booming at the box office, and that financial success can in part be traced to a group of its biggest boosters: Christians, particularly evangelicals whom NBC Universal went after with a microtargeted marketing strategy. The story in "Les Miserables" is heavy with Christian themes of grace, mercy and redemption. The line everyone seems to remember is "to love another person is to see the face of God.”
CNN: 'Jesus Wife' fragment gets more testing, delays article
One of the most anticipated articles in religion circles will be absent from the pages of the January edition of the Harvard Theological Review. Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King's final article on the "Jesus wife" fragment did not make the scholarly journal because further testing on the Coptic papyrus fragment has not been finished.
By Rachel Sanderson, FT.com
(Financial Times) - A stand-off between two titans of finance, the Bank of Italy and the Vatican, has forced tourists to abandon their visits to the Sistine Chapel - unless they have cash in their pockets.
Italy's central bank has blocked all electronic payments through cash machines and by credit cards in Vatican City following the world's smallest state's failure to fully comply with international anti-money laundering rules.
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.