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Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks
Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Rome before the conclave in Rome that elected Pope Francis.
July 31st, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) - The nation's leading Roman Catholic archbishop said Wednesday that Pope Francis was "on a high" from his first international trip as pontiff when he said "Who am I to judge?" gays and lesbians.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who traveled last week to Brazil with the pope for World Youth Day, said the massive turnout - estimates ran as high as 3 million - and ecstatic crowds likely gave Francis hope that he would "revive the church on his home continent of Latin America."

Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina from 1998 until his papal election in March.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

July 31st, 2013
09:07 AM ET

What Reza Aslan actually says about Jesus

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - As you might have heard, Lauren Green at Fox didn’t do a very good job interviewing Reza Aslan on his new book about the historical Jesus.

Instead of asking him about "Zealot," she asked him why, as a Muslim, he would presume to write a book about Jesus. He responded by citing (and re-citing) his academic credentials.

The interview went viral, and Aslan went to No. 1 on Amazon.com (ahead of J. K. Rowling).

But what does the book actually say? Here are seven of Aslan's key arguments in "Zealot":

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Islam • Jesus

July 30th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

Opinion by Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing "wrong."

They're anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don't disagree with those critiques, but there's another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

July 29th, 2013
06:39 PM ET

Gay Catholic priest: Pope's words an 'invitation'

Opinion by the Rev. Gary M. Meier, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The question of today has been: What's my reaction to the pope’s statement regarding not judging gay priests?

The answer: Cautiously optimistic.

Optimistic because today’s statement comes after years of anti-gay rhetoric from the Catholic Church. In so many ways it is a breath of fresh air.

Someone from the church hierarchy has finally said something about homosexuality that isn’t hostile, harmful, and anti-gay – and it was the pope!

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Opinion • Pope Francis • United States

The quotable Pope: 11 most surprising sayings
July 29th, 2013
06:30 PM ET

Pope quotes take flight on social media

By Kyle Almond, CNN

(CNN) - Perhaps it's fitting that the pope's first news conference was held onboard an airplane. Since Monday morning his comments have soared around the globe at high speed.

His remarks on homosexuality filled many Catholics with hope, especially those longing for the church to accept gays and lesbians more openly.

But they also discouraged others, including those who believe the Catholic Church should ordain women. 

Some social media commenters said they were just plain confused.

The pope was flying back from a weeklong visit to Brazil, his first international trip as pontiff, when he talked to reporters about a wide range of controversial topics.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis • Women

July 29th, 2013
06:22 PM ET

How Pope Francis is revolutionizing the church

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, special to CNN

(CNN) - At times last week, I was dumbstruck and even in tears as I followed the coverage of Pope Francis' visit to Brazil for World Youth Day.

Few things have filled me with more hope about my church than the pope's past few days. For what Francis did in Rio de Janeiro, and continues to do, represents some very positive change.

Monday’s surprising interview aboard his plane back to Rome, during which, in response to a question about gays and gay priests, he said, in part, “Who am I to judge?” likewise shows an openness that borders on revolutionary.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Church • Opinion • Pope Francis

July 29th, 2013
12:21 PM ET

Pope on gays: A shift in tone, not substance

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN

(CNN) - Reaction to Pope Francis’ comments about not judging gays has broken along two lines: Either this is a groundbreaking reversal by the head of the Catholic Church, or it’s basically just a guy talking on a plane.

The truth is, it’s neither. What it really amounts to is a significant shift in tone, though not in substance.

Francis made the remark in the course of a free-wheeling, unscripted press conference at the end of his July 22-28 trip to Brazil for the Church’s “World Youth Day.”

Among a wide variety of other points, he was asked about a so-called “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

Pope Francis on hot-button issues
July 29th, 2013
08:48 AM ET

Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'

By John L. Allen Jr. and Hada Messia, CNN

Aboard the Papal Airplane (CNN) - Pope Francis said Monday that he will not "judge" gays and lesbians, including gay priests, signaling a shift from his predecessor and offering another sign that the new pope is committed to changing the church's approach to historically marginalized groups.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis said in a wide-ranging news conference aboard the papal plane.

Though he was answering a question about the so-called "gay lobby" at the Vatican, the pope indicated a change in tone, if not in teaching, in the church's stance towards gays and lesbians more generally. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Abortion • Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis • Vatican

Pope to Mass of millions: Get out of church
Hundreds of thousands crowd Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, waiting for Pope Francis to lead a worship service.
July 28th, 2013
10:17 AM ET

Pope to Mass of millions: Get out of church

By Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez, CNN

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - Pope Francis closed out World Youth Day with a final Mass before a giant crowd of millions on Copacabana Beach.

"Go, do not be afraid, and serve," the pope told the crowd Sunday.

Catholic pilgrims from around the world traveled to Brazil for the weeklong celebration and a chance to see the pontiff, whose visit was a shot in the arm for a church that has seen its share of scandal and troubles.

Massive crowds followed Francis at every stop on the trip. Organizers and local officials said 1.5 million people came out for the Way of the Cross observance on Friday.

The mayor's office in Rio said final estimates for a prayer vigil on Saturday could reach up to 3 million. On Sunday, the Vatican citing civil authorizes put the crowd for the final Mass over 3 million.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Americas • Brazil • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis • Vatican

Pope Francis visits Brazil
July 28th, 2013
08:56 AM ET

What we learned about Pope Francis in Brazil

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - We didn’t need Pope Francis’ trip to Brazil this week to grasp that the new pontiff, who’s set a tone of simplicity and love for ordinary people, is a hit.

Polls around the world show approval ratings that would be the envy of any politician or celebrity, while vast crowds show up in Rome for even his most routine activities.

What Brazil confirmed, perhaps, is that his act plays as well on the road as at home.

During his week in Brazil for World Youth Day, an international Catholic event, mob scenes erupted everywhere Francis went, despite cold temperatures and driving rain for much of the week.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

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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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