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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 • Faith Now • 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

Massive crowd attends prayer service with pope
Young Catholic pilgrims attending World Youth Day on Copacabana Beach.
July 27th, 2013
04:58 PM ET

Massive crowd attends prayer service with pope

By Shasta Darlington and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) – A massive crowd packed Copacabana Beach late Saturday for a prayer service with Pope Francis.

The pope addressed Catholic pilgrims who came for the weeklong World Youth Day celebration.

Organizers said 3 million attended the service. They cited the mayor's office and police for the crowd estimates, which nearly doubled the 1.6 million who came here for a 2006 Rolling Stones concert and matched the 3 million who came for the 2000 millennium celebration.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

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

Pope Francis tells youth that faith cures discontent
Pope Francis speaks to the crowd from a balcony of the San Joaquin Episcopal Palace on July 26, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
July 25th, 2013
07:50 PM ET

Pope Francis tells youth that faith cures discontent

By Helena Cavendish de Moura, for CNN

RIO DE JANEIRO (CNN) – With a blasting medley of bossa nova music as a prelude, Pope Francis addressed about a million worshippers in Copacabana beach on Thursday, lacing his message to a new generation of Catholics with Brazilian street jargon.

"Bota Fe" - put on faith - was the antidote to what he called growing materialism and discontent, the pontiff said.

"What can we do? Bota Fe," he said. "If we want to have real meaning and fulfillment, as you want and you deserve ... put on faith."

The thread of the pontiff's speech resonated with Brazil's youth, many of whom are expressing disenchantment with their government.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Mass • Pope Francis

July 25th, 2013
01:12 PM ET

'Slum pope' visits Brazil's poor

By Eric Marrapodi, Shasta Darlington and Miguel Marquez, CNN

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) – Pope Francis visited one of Rio de Janeiro's most dangerous and impoverished neighborhoods Thursday, saying that no society pushing the poor to the margins can succeed.

"I say: You are not alone; the church is with you; the pope is with you," Francis told residents of the notorious Varginha favela, or slum.

"I carry each of you in my heart, and I make my own the intentions that you carry deep within you: thanksgiving for joys, pleas for help in times of difficulty, a desire for consolation in times of grief and suffering."

Francis, whose concern for the poor has earned him the nickname the "slum pope" in Latin America, is in Brazil through Sunday for World Youth Day, a weeklong Catholic event.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Economy • Pope Francis • Poverty

Pope Francis visits Brazil
July 23rd, 2013
12:47 PM ET

A nightmare day for the pope's security detail

By Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez, CNN

Copacabana Beach, Brazil (CNN) - Don't blame the pope's Swiss Guards if they had nightmares Monday night. There was plenty to disturb their sleep: a mobbed motorcade, a bomb scare and protesters clashing with police.

When Pope Francis arrived here Monday for World Youth Day, a weeklong Catholic event held every few years, the massive security effort was temporarily undermined by a traffic jam.

As the papal motorcade was driving from the airport to the presidential palace, federal officials steered the motorcade into the busiest of several potential routes. As the motorcade slowed, papal admirers swarmed the silver Fiat hatchback carrying Pope Francis, reaching into his open window to touch the pontiff.

A Vatican spokesman said the pope wasn't afraid - but his secretary was.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

July 22nd, 2013
04:09 PM ET

Explosive found near site pope plans to visit

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN, and CNN Staff

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - A small explosive device was found Sunday near a religious shrine in Brazil that Pope Francis is scheduled to visit later this week, Sao Paulo military police announced just few hours after the pope arrived on Monday.

The homemade device was found July 21, during police training in Aparecida, the site of a massive shrine to the Virgin Mary, Brazilian police said. It was constructed out of a small, plastic cylinder and duct tape.

A special tactical group detonated the explosive without causing any injuries, according to the police.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

Pope Francis embarks on historic trip to Brazil, where protesters await
Pope Francis boards the plane on July 22 for Brazil -- with a single carry-on bag.
July 22nd, 2013
10:47 AM ET

Pope Francis embarks on historic trip to Brazil, where protesters await

By Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez, CNN

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) – For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, a Latin-American pope will touch down on his own continent on Monday.

Pope Francis, the 76-year-old Argentine, begins his first apostolic visit Monday in Brazil, home to the world’s largest Catholic population. The pope will be participating in World Youth Day, a weeklong celebration aimed at revitalizing young Catholics, and the church, here and around the world.

Organizers said 400,000 pilgrims from around the world had registered, though the crowds are expected to be much larger as people try to catch a glimpse of the pontiff known as the “people’s pope.” Many of the events with the pope will be open to the public and not just the pilgrims.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

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

February 11th, 2013
05:56 PM ET

Brazil's Catholics look to the future

Shasta Darlington reports on the struggles of the Catholic Church in Brazil to keep the young interested.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church

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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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