December 2nd, 2013
11:29 AM ET
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – Pope Francis: Successor to St. Peter ... the people's pontiff ... Marxist?
That's what conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh suggests, calling the Pope's latest document "pure Marxism."
Limbaugh blasted the pontiff on Wednesday, a day after Francis released "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), a 50,000-word statement that calls for church reform and castigates elements of modern capitalism.
Limbaugh's segment, now online and entitled "It's Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It's a Deliberate Mistranslation By Leftists)," takes direct aim at the pope's economic views, calling them "dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong."
The Vatican issued the English translation of "Evangelii," which is known officially as an apostolic exhortation and unofficially as a pep talk to the worlds 1.5 billion Catholics.
Francis – the first pope ever to hail from Latin America, where he worked on behalf of the poor in his native Argentina – warned in "Evangelii" that the "idolatry of money" would lead to a "new tyranny."
October 15th, 2013
02:07 PM ET
By Daniel Burke and Hada Messia, CNN
ROME (CNN) - The Italian branch of a Catholic sect with a history of anti-Semitism held funeral rites on Tuesday for a convicted Nazi war criminal, despite protests from Jewish groups and the local mayor.
Crowds packed the streets outside San Pio X Church in Albano, a small town south of Rome, chanting "Executioner!" and kicking the hearse carrying Erich Priebke's body as entered the church compound on Tuesday.
A funeral Mass was celebrated for Priebke but his casket was kept outside, according to a priest from the church who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The absolution rite, which includes a prayer for clemency for the deceased, was also given outside the church, in the courtyard inside San Pio X's compound, the priest said.
Priebke's body is now being held in a military airport outside Rome.
The church funeral plans for Priebke sparked an outcry in the United States.
September 24th, 2013
02:05 PM ET
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editorFollow @BurkeCNN
(CNN) – Retired Pope Benedict XVI says he never tried to cover up the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, breaking his post-retirement silence to address one of the greatest threats to his legacy as a church leader.
In a lengthy letter published in La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, the former pope answered theological and moral arguments from Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian atheist and mathematician who had written about Benedict in 2011.
Earlier this month, La Repubblica also published a letter to its atheist editor from Pope Francis, Benedict's successor.
September 12th, 2013
03:38 PM ET
(CNN)–CNN's Eric Marrapodi reports on what a key Catholic official said about changing church rules on celibacy.
May 2nd, 2013
12:51 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – In the last two days, newly installed Pope Francis has become increasingly vocal about economics issues.
On Wednesday, the Pope Francis made reference to a building collapse in Bangladesh that killed upwards of 400 people in a sharp condemnation of worker exploitation and “slave labor.”
"Not paying a just (wage), not providing work, focusing exclusively on the balance books, on financial statements, only looking at making personal profit. That goes against God!" Pope Francis in his homily.
On Thursday, Pope Francis continued with his economic message by tweeting “My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost,” to his almost 2.5 million followers.
May 2nd, 2013
12:37 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi and Hada Messia, CNN
Rome (CNN) –Pope Francis welcomed his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI back to the Vatican on Thursday afternoon.
The now retired Pope Benedict had been living at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo since he formally stepped down as head of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world and left Vatican City on February 28.
Benedict was the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign.
Benedict traveled back to the Vatican on Thursday by helicopter. He will live on the Vatican grounds at a newly renovated convent called Mater Ecclesiae. He was driven from the Vatican heliport to his new residence where he was greeted by his successor. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters that Francis greeted Benedict, "with great fraternal cordiality. Together they went to the monastery chapel for a brief moment of prayer."
April 11th, 2013
03:21 PM ET
(CNN)–An artist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has created a unique portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
March 28th, 2013
01:25 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
(CNN) — In ancient times, when roads were bad and footwear was worse, the washing of a guest's feet was a required sign of hospitality. Today when someone comes to your home, you’re more likely to offer to take their coat and bring them beverage rather then have the help fetch a basin to refresh their worn feet.
The gesture of a servant's washing a newly arrived guest’s feet is sprinkled throughout the Jewish and Christian scriptures. That the characters in question were respectable, hospitable, and well off would have been culturally recognizable to earlier readers. In the Christian tradition, one story of feet washing entirely changed the paradigm.
In the Biblical accounts of the Easter story, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on a donkey to adoring crowds. Just a few days later he gathers his 12 disciples for what would be their Last Supper before he was crucified.
March 23rd, 2013
10:00 AM ET
By Laura Smith-Spark, Ben Wedeman and Hada Messia, CNN
Castel Gandolfo (CNN)–Pope Francis is having lunch Saturday with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in what may be an encounter unprecedented in Church history.
Since a new pope usually takes the reins only following the death of his predecessor, this is a rare occurrence.
Francis, who was inaugurated as the new head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on Tuesday, has made some changes since taking the helm - most notably by adopting a simpler, personal style and calling for the Church to focus on serving the poor and needy.
The new pontiff was flown to Castel Gandolfo by helicopter for the lunch date.
March 13th, 2013
02:38 PM ET
Rome (CNN) - Pope Francis, the first non-European pontiff of the modern era, revealed himself to the world from a balcony at the Vatican on Wednesday.
Jorge Bergogolio, who served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, took the name Francis shortly after being elected by cardinals in what was apparently the fifth round of voting on the second day of the conclave.
"As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome," Francis told a cheering crowd of thousands packed into St. Peter's Square.
"It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from faraway. ... Here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace."
The new pope called on the thousands packed into the square - and those watching around the world - to pray for him before he delivered a blessing.
Bergogolio, 76, is the first pope to take the name after St. Francis of Assisi, revered among Catholics for his work with the poor.
The new pontiff is considered a straight shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church's most conservative wing.FULL STORY
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.