October 5th, 2012
04:14 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)– Was it a snub or a misunderstanding?
On Thursday the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco held its installation service for new Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in front of 2,000 invited guests at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. A large delegation of Catholic clergy and faith leaders from around the city were there to join the service, processing in.
But those seated in the cathedral noticed one participant missing, Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus, the local Episcopal bishop.
Pacific Church News, the news service from the Episcopal Diocese of California, reported that Andrus "was not allowed to be seated" and "detained by an usher" in the basement until he left shortly before the service began.
September 27th, 2012
11:24 AM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama has opened up a significant lead among Catholic voters, a crucial swing voting bloc, according to a recent Pew poll.
Obama leads opponent Mitt Romney among Catholic voters by 54% to 39%, according to the survey, conducted from September 12 to 16 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Obama’s lead in the Pew survey comes despite outspoken recent criticism of the Obama administration from America’s Catholic bishops and despite Mitt Romney’s selection of a Catholic running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
September 20th, 2012
08:00 AM ET
By Sarah Hoye, CNN
Philadelphia (CNN) – Defense attorneys for a senior Roman Catholic official convicted in the child sex abuse scandal said this week that prosecutors persuaded a defrocked priest to falsely admit to sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in exchange for their client’s conviction.
Monsignor William Lynn, 61, was found guilty in June of one count of child endangerment, and is serving a sentence of 3 to six years at a minimum-security facility. The trial judge denied bail pending his appeal.
The trial marked the first time U.S. prosecutors charged not just the priests who allegedly committed abuses, but also a church leader for failing to stop them.
In a motion to reconsider bail pending an appeal filed Monday in Pennsylvania Superior Court, defense attorneys say they learned in August that defrocked priest Edward Avery passed a polygraph test before the trial and revealed that he did not know, and never touched, the former altar boy he pleaded guilty to abusing.
“This came to my attention very late in the game,” said Thomas Bergstrom, defense attorney for Lynn. “Ultimately, (Avery) did plead guilty because prosecutors were dangling 20 years in prison in his face if he didn’t plead.”
Just days before the landmark trial began in March, Avery, 70, pleaded guilty to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to 2½ to five years.
August 28th, 2012
11:53 AM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)–-Cardinal Timothy Dolan has accepted an invitation to give the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, next week, which will also feature a nun in a speaking role.
Dolan, the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, also will give the closing benediction at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday.
When he accepted that invitation, Dolan said his appearance would be prayerful, not political, a sentiment reiterated by his spokesman in announcing his appearance at the DNC.
August 27th, 2012
10:42 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - The newly appointed archbishop of San Francisco apologized Monday after being arrested Saturday in San Diego on an allegation of driving under the influence.
"I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the church and myself," Archbishop-designate Salvatore Cordileone said in a written statement.
"I will repay my debt to society and I ask forgiveness from my family and my friends and co-workers at the Diocese of Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I pray that God, in his inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this."
Cordileone was stopped at a routine DUI checkpoint, according to Lt. Gary Hassen of the San Diego police.
August 15th, 2012
03:22 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s most prominent Catholic official, defended on Wednesday the decision to invite President Barack Obama to a major Catholic dinner in the face of criticism from conservatives, saying the event is an opportunity for “friendship, civility and patriotism” amid a heated political campaign.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also has accepted an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner, an annual Catholic fundraiser in New York with a rich history. Since Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy spoke at the event in 1960, it has been a regular stop for presidents and presidential candidates of both major parties.
Some conservative Catholic groups had asked Dolan – the archbishop of New York and the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - to reconsider the Obama invitation in light of what they say are attacks on religious freedom by the administration.
“As faithful Catholics, we cannot set aside our deeply-held differences and put in any place of honor those who continuously attack the tenets of our faith, and even our very ability to practice that faith,” wrote President Father Shenan J. Boquet of Human Life International.
August 14th, 2012
10:41 AM ET
Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
A lot has been written about the “Mormon moment” in American politics. But the election of 2012 is starting to shape up as a “Catholic moment,” too.
Now that Mitt Romney has tapped the former altar boy (and Rep.) Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate, there will be a Catholic on both major party tickets for the first time in U.S. history.
So as Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden articulate their views, we will be tuning into an intra-Catholic conversation pitting “social justice” Christians on the left versus “family values” Christians on the right.
June 26th, 2012
04:39 PM ET
By Sarah Hoye, CNN
Philadelphia (CNN) – The highest-ranking Catholic church cleric charged and convicted in the landmark child sexual abuse trial will remain in jail for the time being, a Philadelphia judge ordered Tuesday.
Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty Friday of one count of child endangerment, the first time a U.S. church leader has been convicted of such a charge.
The trial marked the first time U.S. prosecutors have charged not just the priests who allegedly committed abuses but church leaders for failing to stop them. Lynn is the highest-ranking cleric accused of imperiling children by helping cover up sexual abuse.
He was found not guilty on a second count of endangerment and on a charge of conspiring to protect a priest accused of abuse.
Lynn's defense team argued during the trial that their client repeatedly told higher-ups about the alleged abuse and, under strict orders from the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, had no authority to remove priests from the ministry.FULL STORY
June 25th, 2012
03:53 PM ET
By Becky Perlow, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a two-week crusade against what it calls the federal government's violations of its religious liberty.
The campaign, known as the Fortnight for Freedom, is about “prayer, education and action,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, in an interview Sunday with CNN.
The campaign, to conclude on Independence Day, has drawn support from Catholic parishioners across the nation, who have held religious rallies, prayer vigils and weekly mass to raise awareness for a new health care mandate the church opposes.
“We’re here to pray. We’re here to educate about freedom. We started this campaign to say religious liberty is eroding,” said Wuerl before a rally Sunday afternoon at George Washington University in Washington.
June 15th, 2012
04:23 PM ET
By Jessica Yellin and Dan Merica
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama is receiving political cover for his decision to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants from two big groups with whom his relations have been rocky: evangelical Christians and Catholics.
“We do give credit where credit is due,” said Kevin Appleby, director of Migration and Public Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Friday, when Obama made his announcement.
“We welcome the announcement, it will provide important relief to a vulnerable group that we believe should remain in the country,” Appleby said. “They didn't come here on their own volition; they came here with their parents. They are virtually Americans.”
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 and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.