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Archbishop's $2 million mansion gone with the wind?
The $2.2 million mansion where Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory resides -- for now.
April 2nd, 2014
11:17 AM ET

Archbishop's $2 million mansion gone with the wind?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Facing sharp criticism for falling out of step with Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Atlanta has apologized for building a $2.2 million mansion on land bequeathed by the family of a famed Southern writer.

Atlanta's Archbishop Wilton Gregory said he approved construction of the 6,000-square-foot home after agreeing to leave the traditional archbishop's residence to make way for priests who serve the cathedral next door.

Gregory moved into the mansion in January.

"What we didn’t stop to consider, and that oversight rests with me and me alone, was that the world and the Church have changed," Gregory wrote Monday in the archdiocesan newspaper.

The archbishop's apology began by citing an e-mail from a Catholic woman who chided Gregory for failing to follow "the example of a simple life as Pope Francis calls for."

Gregory said he agrees and will consult church leaders about selling the mansion, which sits in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

What the Pope's choice of new cardinals means
Pope Francis has named 19 new cardinals and shifted the balance of power in the church.
January 13th, 2014
09:19 AM ET

What the Pope's choice of new cardinals means

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, special to CNN

(CNN) Pope Francis' selection on Sunday of 19 new cardinals, the men who will select the next pope, seems aimed to help rebalance the church in important ways, passing over at least three influential American archbishops and naming several from the Southern Hemisphere.

First, there is a decided emphasis on Africa and Latin America, including poorer countries like Haiti and Burkina Faso.

Remember that the cardinals' most important duty is to elect the next pope. Francis is making sure that all parts of the world are adequately represented and today the majority of Catholics are in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sixteen of the 19 new cardinals named by Francis on Sunday are younger than 80, which means they would be eligible to vote to the next pope. Of those 16, four are from the curia, or Vatican bureaucracy; two are from Europe; three are from North and Central America; three are from South America, including the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis' position before his papal election; two are from Africa and two from Asia.

The Pope's picks show that he wants the voice of the poor represented in the next conclave. Archbishop Chibly Langlois, 55, for example, will be the first-ever cardinal from Haiti. The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, echoed this: “The choice of Cardinals of Burkina Faso and Haiti shows concern for people struck by poverty.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

Supreme Court delays contraception mandate for two Catholic nonprofits
December 31st, 2013
06:33 PM ET

Supreme Court delays contraception mandate for two Catholic nonprofits

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN)–
The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily exempted two Catholic Church-affiliated nonprofits from requirements to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees under the Affordable Care Act.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a brief order late Tuesday, hours before the controversial Obama administration mandates were set to go into effect.

The Little Sisters of the Poor – a charity congregation of Roman Catholic women in Denver – and the Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services had filed a lawsuit objecting to the contraception mandate, saying it violated their religious and moral beliefs. Some religious-affiliated groups were required to comply with contraception coverage or face hefty fines.

Sotomayor said the two groups were exempted from the mandates until at least Friday, when the federal government faces a deadline to file a legal response in the case.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Pope Francis

Archbishop accused of abuse, takes leave of absence
Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minnesota has been accused of inappropriate sexual touching.
December 17th, 2013
02:27 PM ET

Archbishop accused of abuse, takes leave of absence

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) The Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been accused of inappropriately touching a boy and will take a voluntary leave of absence during an investigation of the incident, the archdiocese announced on Tuesday.

Archbishop John Nienstedt learned this weekend that a young man says the Catholic leader "inappropriately touched his buttocks" during a public photo session after a church ceremony, the archdiocese said. The accuser, who is a male minor, says the incident happened in 2009, according to the archdiocese.

"I do not know the individual involved; he has not been made known to me," Niendstedt said in a statement posted on the website of his archdiocese.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Sex abuse

Vatican unveils commission to combat sexual abuse
Pope Francis delivers a prayer from the window of his apartment at the Vatican on November 17.
December 5th, 2013
01:33 PM ET

Vatican unveils commission to combat sexual abuse

By Hada Messia, CNN

Rome (CNN)–Pope Francis is creating a commission to prevent the abuse of minors and to support victims of abuse, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley announced Thursday in Rome.

The new commission is expected to tell church officials to collaborate with civil authorities and report cases of abuse, O'Malley said.

But he also said that the church has focused on the judicial aspect of sexual abuse in the past, and that Pope Francis now wants to focus on the pastoral side, and caring for victims.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis • Vatican

Archbishop: Mexican cartel threatened Catholic seminary
Mexican Archbishop, Norberto Rivera Carrera has called on parishioners to report extortion to authorities.
December 4th, 2013
11:56 AM ET

Archbishop: Mexican cartel threatened Catholic seminary

By Rafael Romo and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

(CNN) – The threatening calls reportedly came one after the other to Mexico's main Catholic seminary.

Callers, claiming to be from one of the country's feared drug cartels, offered an ominous warning: Pay up if you value the safety of your priests.

"They called several times. They identified themselves as the Familia Michoacana, but who knows?" Cardinal Norberto Rivera, archbishop of Mexico City, revealed at a Mass this week. "I spoke with the authorities. We made the appropriate report. Because they wanted us to pay. Because if not, they would kill one of us. They wanted to extort 60,000 pesos ($4,600)."

Reports of extortion have become increasingly common as drug cartels expand their reach in Mexico. But public denouncements of such attempts are rare.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church

German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
October 23rd, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Vatican suspends German bishop amid spending investigation

By the CNN Belief Blog Editors

(CNN) – The Vatican said Wednesday it has suspended a German bishop who has come under fire for his extravagant lifestyle.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Van Elst is under investigation for his spending after his residence in Limburg, Germany, was renovated for $42 million.

The Vatican says Tebartz-Van Elst cannot carry out his ministry as long as the investigation in ongoing, and he's been ordered to stay outside his diocese.

Coined the "Bling Bishop," Tebartz-Van Elst, who is known as theologically conservative, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the cost overruns on the renovation are legitimate because surrounding structures had to be protected, including the old city wall.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Europe • Faith Now • Germany • Money & Faith • Pope Francis • Vatican

Stephen Colbert roasts the Pope
Comedian Stephen Colbert roasted Catholic leaders, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Thursday night.
October 18th, 2013
10:17 AM ET

Stephen Colbert roasts the Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) -- Declaring himself  "American's most famous Catholic," comedian Stephen Colbert roasted church leaders at a charity event in New York on Thursday, taking aim at Pope Francis and Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

"As an observant Catholic, I believe the Pope is infallible," said Colbert, a Communion-class teacher at a parish in New Jersey. "But he's also wrong about a lot of things."

Colbert, whose bombastic persona on the "Colbert Report" often takes a conservative slant on Christianity, poked fun at the new Pope's humble lifestyle, saying that if the pontiff were in charge of the white-tie charity event, it would have been held at an IHOP, not New York's glitzy Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Celebrity • Christianity • Leaders • Media • Pope Francis

August 23rd, 2013
10:12 AM ET

Note to all Catholic lawmakers: expect to be getting a call from your local archdiocese.

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN)–With the goal of urging the House to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, the Catholic Church is organizing a targeted effort to push immigration reform in the pews and target Catholic lawmakers – particularly Republicans – who may be on the fence over the politically tenuous bill.

The movement, which was first reported in The New York Times, will include coordinated immigration reform sermons on September 8, as well as targeted messaging of Catholic lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential candidate.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Faith Now • Immigration • Mass • United States

No Communion for same-sex marriage supporters? Archdiocese reframes comments
Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron gives communion to a parishioner.
April 8th, 2013
06:14 PM ET

No Communion for same-sex marriage supporters? Archdiocese reframes comments

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Are Catholics who support same-sex marriage and take Communion like people who commit perjury?

That was the stance taken by Detroit's archbishop on Sunday, after an academic with ties to the church wrote that Catholics in favor of gay marriage should skip Communion.

In Sunday's Detroit Free Press, the archbishop said Catholics who both support same-sex marriage and take Communion would "logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury."

On Monday, though, the Archdiocese of Detroit tried to reframe Archbishop Allen Vigneron's comments.

“For a Catholic to receive Holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: 'I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches,’ ” Vigneron told the paper. “In effect, they would contradict themselves.”

On Monday, the archdiocese looked to step back and add context to the statement.

“The archbishop's focal point here is not ‘gay marriage’; it is a Catholic’s reception of Holy Communion,” Joe Kohn, the archdiocese spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “If a Catholic publicly opposes the church on a serious matter of the church’s teaching, any serious matter - for example, whether it be a rejection of the divinity of Christ, racist beliefs, support for abortion or support for redefining marriage - that would contradict the public affirmation they would make of the church's beliefs by receiving Communion.”

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Faith Now • Politics • Same-sex marriage

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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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