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My Faith: Why I’m going back to church for Good Friday
Brian Spadora chose son William's middle name: Ignatius, after the saint.
March 28th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: Why I’m going back to church for Good Friday

Editor’s note: Brian Spadora lives and writes in New Jersey, where he attends Seton Hall University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter at @brianspadora.

By Brian Spadora, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Like many Catholics my age, I am Catholic in name only. I went to Mass every week as a kid and attended a Jesuit high school and college. My wife and I married in a Catholic church, and both of our children were baptized. But I haven’t been a churchgoer since I became too old for my mother to coerce me into a pew.

I haven’t even made the effort to attend Mass twice a year like “Christmas and Easter Catholics.” For my entire adult life, my Catholic faith has been a sort of cultural vestige, like the Italian, Irish and Slovak ethnic heritage from which I’m generations removed.

Despite this, this month I decided I am returning to the church. This turn of events is not quite as miraculous as the multiplication of loaves and fishes, but it’s pretty surprising. It began, innocently enough, with a half-serious promise to my devout Catholic mother.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

Wife of imprisoned pastor speaks out
March 28th, 2013
05:26 PM ET

Wife of imprisoned pastor speaks out

By Sherisse Pham, CNN

(CNN)–His children cry out for him. His wife wonders about his “survival battle.”

Such is the struggle of the family of an American pastor recently sentenced in Iran to eight years in prison for his Christian beliefs.

The couple's two children "miss him terribly. They cry, they ask for him," wife Naghmeh Abedini says. "They're struggling every day."

Her husband Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian birth, was arrested and charged in Iran last June during a visit. Abedini, 32, converted to Christianity from Islam and then became a pastor, living in Boise, Idaho. He has reportedly been detained in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since late September. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Muslim who converts to another faith can face the death penalty.

"They've charged him with Christian gatherings, and they're saying it is a threat to the national security," Naghmeh Abedini said.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Iran • Middle East

March 28th, 2013
01:25 PM ET

Why is the pope washing prisoners’ feet?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) — In ancient times, when roads were bad and footwear was worse, the washing of a guest's feet was a required sign of hospitality. Today when someone comes to your home, you’re more likely to offer to take their coat and bring them a beverage rather then have the help fetch a basin to refresh their worn feet.

The gesture of a servant's washing a newly arrived guest’s feet is sprinkled throughout the Jewish and Christian scriptures. That the characters in question were respectable, hospitable, and well off would have been culturally recognizable to earlier readers. In the Christian tradition, one story of feet washing entirely changed the paradigm.

In the Biblical accounts of the Easter story, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on a donkey to adoring crowds. Just a few days later he gathers his 12 disciples for what would be their Last Supper before he was crucified.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Jesus • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy
March 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – A group of rabbis, reverends and priests has a message for President Barack Obama: stop the drone war.

In a video produced by the Brave New Foundation, a group that uses video and social media to protest against drones, Jewish and Christian leaders describe the practice as "assassination by remote control," which violates religious principles.

“From a New Testament point of view, drones are completely appalling,” the Rev. Paul F. M. Zahl, the retired Episcopal rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, told CNN. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

The video criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences.  The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Foreign policy • 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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