March 10th, 2013
11:51 AM ET
Rome (CNN) – Crowds lined the walls and spilled out the front door of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Monte Mario on Sunday to catch a glimpse of the gregarious American Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, who smiled broadly as he came into the church, stopping to wave to photographers and kiss a baby whose parents were holding him up.
Dolan has made the short lists of some Vatican watchers as a likely choice to be elected as the next pope by the College of Cardinals, a designation called "papabili" in Italian.
A local officiant began the service by saying it was great to have Dolan at the church close to Easter.
"All these people are showing the power of the church," he said.
Dolan thanked the officiant in Italian.
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.
October 8th, 2012
12:35 PM ET
(CNN)-Horses, dogs, and rabbits around the world headed to Mass on Sunday for the annual blessing of animals.
Catholic churches around the world hold the annual blessings of pets on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
September 30th, 2012
02:48 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN)–Six of the nine Supreme Court justices attended the annual Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington on Sunday. The event’s speakers spoke about using faith in decision-making but largely stayed away from the controversial issues the court will face in the coming months.
Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Elena Kagan all attended the 60th annual Mass. This was Kagan’s first Red Mass.
Having six justices in attendance ties a record set in 2009. The only justices to not attend this year were Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito, both of whom are Catholic, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is Jewish. Kagan and Breyer, both of whom were in attendance, are also Jewish.
The annual Mass is an event put on by the Archdiocese of Washington and the John Carroll Society and aims to bring people together to pray for the members of the judiciary before the court begins hearing cases each year. It’s called the Red Mass because of the color of the garment worn by clergy.
January 30th, 2012
06:49 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) – Catholics around the country got an earful on Sunday from the pulpit over a new health insurance policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventative care regardless of religious beliefs. The use of abortion and contraceptives violates Catholic teachings.
In Green Bay, Wisconsin, Bishop David Ricken denounced the policy at Mass in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on Sunday and received a standing ovation, CNN affiliate WLUK reported.
"If we pay for those services for people who work for us, we are in effect saying don't do it, but then giving the money to pay for it," said Ricken.
November 26th, 2011
01:40 PM ET
By Jim Roope, CNN Radio National Correspondent
(CNN)–If you’re Catholic, mass this Sunday will sound different for the first time in nearly half a century.
You’ll hear it in the prayers of both the people and the priests.
“We have come back to a more accurate translation of the Latin from the Roman Missal,” said Fr. Rick Hilgartner, executive director of the Divine Office of Worship for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The language of prayer should be evocative, speaking in terms of imagery and metaphor.”
The changes are enormous, said Fr. Richard Albarano, of St. Francis Xavier Church in Burbank, California, and should help the 280 million English-speaking Catholics grow in their love for the mass. “The mass is the center of our lives,” said Albarano.
Not since the Second Vatican Council in 1965 have such sweeping changes been made.
The Vatican II changes were radical – the priest spoke in English instead of Latin and he faced the people instead of having his back to them. An Old Testament reading was also added to the mass, a surprise to many who thought of the Catholic Church as a New Testament only church.
Other changes, large and small, were designed by Pope John XXIII to get the people (and not just the priest) involved in the mass. But the changes were not communicated in advance. People showed up one Sunday morning, and it was all changed.
“They wondered if they were even in a Catholic church,” said Albarano.
This time, the Catholic Church has been talking about the changes, and communicating them to parishes, since 2000. For the past three months, many parishes have been working to ready their followers for the changes in the wording of the prayers.
That doesn’t mean some won’t be caught by surprise. “It’s going to be like Vatican II all over again,” Albarano said. “I haven’t heard much about catechizing across the Los Angeles Archdiocese at all. We said we were going to do it. I hope we did.”
To hear the complete story, click the audio player.
November 14th, 2011
04:29 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)–Big changes are coming to the Catholic Mass on Thanksgiving weekend as the church enters the liturgical season of advent.
The changes are to English translations of the original Latin of the Roman Missal, which guides Catholic worship services.
Congregants used to reciting the Mass from memory will have to utilize pew cards with updates to the Mass.
In this week's installment of Faces of Faith, CNN's Athena Jones explores what the changes will mean for Catholic congregants and clergy.
November 4th, 2011
03:43 PM ET
By Gabe LaMonica, CNN
Washington (CNN) - The Roman Catholic Mass is undergoing a major overhaul. In an effort to unify how the global church prays, the English translation of the church's worship service is being modified in order to more accurately reflect the Latin from which the Roman Missal is translated.
The Catholic Church is known by some as a bastion of permanence that has not often yielded to the forces of change in the modern era. In many ways the changes harken back to the Mass spoken in Latin, as it was in the United States prior to the 1960s.
“There is an Italian proverb,” said the Rev. Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin, a professor of liturgical studies at the Catholic University of America, “that ‘every translator is a traitor.' "
“Every translation is less than the original,” he said.
June 9th, 2011
07:30 PM ET
By Chris Boyette, CNN
(CNN) - Left-leaning Catholics from around the globe will convene in Detroit this weekend for a meeting to discuss what they believe to be the need for reform, openness and greater democracy within the church, according to the American Catholic Council, the organization hosting the convention.
The council is a coalition of more than 30 Catholic reform groups dedicated to opening discussion about the current state and future of the church.
Calling the conference "a weekend of worship, education and dialogue," convention organizers intend to call for financial transparency and democratic decision-making within the church, a recommitment to social justice, marriage options for priests and greater roles for women, possibly including the priesthood.
To arrive at these discussion points, conference organizers held forums with Catholics across the country.
May 11th, 2011
07:27 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) - When House Speaker John Boehner steps up to the podium at the Catholic University of America's commencement on Saturday, he'll be tap dancing around the line between faith and politics.
On Wednesday, a group of 70 professors, priests, nuns and others from the Washington university and other Catholic colleges around the country fired off a letter calling Boehner on the carpet for what they say is his lack of support of legislation for the poor.
"Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it," the letter reads.
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.