February 18th, 2013
09:55 AM ET
(CNN)–Pope Benedict XVI's resignation brings calls for his prosecution. CNN's Nic Robertson investigates the claims.
February 15th, 2013
11:13 AM ET
By John Blake, CNN
They are the largest group in the Roman Catholic Church, and the next pope might even come from their midst. Yet few have heard how Latino Catholics regard the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.
For many Latino Catholics, Benedict’s legacy is mixed. They will forever tie him to his fierce opposition to liberation theology, a controversial movement that sought to improve the impoverished lives of Latinos living under oppressive governments.
Benedict, who resigned Monday citing his advancing age, was one of the church’s most visible opponents of liberation theology, a movement that began in Latin America in the 1960s. It mingled Marxist critiques of poverty with an insistence that the church display a “preferential option” for the poor.
Benedict’s view created more distance between priests and the poor people they served, says Jennifer Hughes, a Catholic Church scholar at the University of California, Riverside.
February 11th, 2013
02:26 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi CNN Belief Blog Editor
(CNN)–The questions reverberated from the Vatican to every corner of the Catholic world and left a billion members scratching their heads over something not seen since 1415 - why is the pope resigning now?
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, said Monday that it was because of his age.
"I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," he read in Latin to a group of cardinals gathered to examine causes for canonization.
The pressures may well have been too much for him to bear. As pope he was the bishop of Rome, the head of a tiny country, and spiritual shepherd to a billion people.
'[I]n today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," he continued in his statement.
February 7th, 2013
03:34 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support the Obama administration’s revised proposal for providing insurance coverage for contraception, saying it falls short of addressing concerns about religious freedom.
In a response to the policy update announced last week by the Department of Health and Human Services, the church leaders said the policy offers “second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities.”
“Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the conference, said in a statement. “We will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.”
Although the bishops identified the changes as a step in the right direction, they made it clear that they were not satisfied.
October 11th, 2012
12:27 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – As it organizes Catholic watch parties for Thursday night’s debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, who are both Roman Catholic, the Obama campaign hasn’t been shy about suggesting that the GOP vice presidential nominee hasn’t lived up to his Catholic values.
“For Catholic outreach, a defining moment in this campaign has been (Mitt) Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate,” said Broderick Johnson, a senior adviser with Barack Obama’s campaign who spearheads Catholic outreach efforts.
“The Ryan budget has entered into quite a debate, particularly among Catholics, in terms of the moral test and what is in that budget and what the budget proposes to slash.”
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.
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.