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World Cup final: It's Pope versus Pope
Pope Francis looks pretty confident, don't ya think?
July 9th, 2014
12:51 PM ET

World Cup final: It's Pope versus Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN)– Will the World Cup final become a "Holy War"?

At the very least, Sunday's match could put millions of Catholics - not to mention Vatican employees - in a bit of a bind.

Will they root for Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, who is known to be an ardent soccer aficionado? Or will they back Germany, the native country of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, also a football fan?

And what about the Big Referee Upstairs? Whose prayers will he heed when the game is on the line?

Germany reached the final match on Tuesday by blowing out Brazil, the host country. Argentina beat the Netherlands on Wednesday afternoon.

Of course, both Popes (not to mention God) have more important things on their minds. But the pontiffs have also said that sports can be more than fun and games.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Argentina • Brazil • Catholic Church • Church and state • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Social media • Sports • Vatican

March 20th, 2013
06:04 PM ET

Behind closed doors, pope supported civil unions in Argentina, activist says

By Rafael Romo, Jose Manuel Rodriguez and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

Buenos Aires (CNN) - Less than an hour after he sent Catholic Church leaders in Argentina a letter in 2010 criticizing the way they were handling the debate over same-sex marriage, Marcelo Marquez says his phone rang.

He was surprised to hear the voice on the other end of the line. It was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, and now the pope.

What Bergoglio said at a meeting they scheduled soon afterward was even more surprising, after months of public criticisms from church officials of a push to legalize same-sex marriage in the South American country.

"He told me. ... 'I'm in favor of gay rights and in any case, I also favor civil unions for homosexuals, but I believe that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law,'" said Marquez, a gay rights activist, a self-described devout Catholic and a former theology professor at a Catholic seminary.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was one of the leaders of the Catholic Church's public charge against legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina. He engaged in a notorious war of words with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, which supported the measure.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Americas • Argentina • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis

Humble pope has complicated past
Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio draws the cross on the forehead of a parishioner on Ash Wednesday in Buenos Aires.
March 15th, 2013
11:50 AM ET

Humble pope has complicated past

(CNN) - Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy surrounding topics as sensitive as gay marriage and political atrocities.

Questions linger about Francis' actions during the nation's dark days: the so-called Dirty War, when Argentina was ruled by dictators. The gay marriage issue came to the forefront during Francis' political fight with Argentina's president.

The conservative pontiff may hold firm on some issues, experts say, but he may be flexible on others.

"If you think that (Francis) isn't going to change anything, you're wrong," said Gustavo Girard, a retired doctor who knew Francis during his early years in the priesthood. "But is he going to approve of gay marriage tomorrow? No."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Argentina • Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Francis • Vatican

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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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