May 23rd, 2013
03:59 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN) -– American atheists welcomed Pope Francis’ comments that God redeems nonbelievers, saying that the new pontiff's historic outreach is helping to topple longstanding barriers.
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at morning Mass on Wednesday. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”
Francis continued, “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said that although he has been skeptical of Francis' outreach to the nonreligious, he welcomed Wednesday’s comments.
May 21st, 2013
02:55 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN) – A Vatican spokesman on Tuesday refuted claims that Pope Francis performed an exorcism on a man in St. Peter’s Square after Mass on Sunday. But he did not altogether deny the encounter.
“The Holy Father had no intention to perform any exorcism,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement. “Instead, as he frequently does for the sick and suffering persons who approach him, he simply meant to pray for a suffering person who was presented to him.”
Speculation that Francis performed an exorcism began to ricochet around the Internet when video of the encounter from TV2000, a Catholic television station in Italy, was posted online.
In the video, Francis smiles and takes the hand of an unnamed man in a wheelchair. After a priest whispers in the pope's ear, his demeanor changes and he places his hands on the man’s head. The video shows the man in the wheelchair convulsing before his body goes limp with his mouth agape.
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."
May 1st, 2013
01:48 PM ET
By Jethro Mullen and Farid Ahmed, CNN
Savar, Bangladesh (CNN) - Pope Francis, speaking at a Mass on Wednesday, made reference to the Bangladesh building collapse 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 said.
He continued: "When society is organized in such a way that not everyone has the opportunity to work, to be anointed with the dignity of work, then there is something wrong with that society: it is not right! It goes against God himself, who wanted our dignity, starting from here."FULL STORY
April 13th, 2013
07:39 AM ET
By Hada Messia and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Rome (CNN) – Pope Francis has appointed a group of eight cardinals from around the world to look into ways of reforming the Catholic Church, the Vatican said Saturday.
The group, which includes U.S. Cardinal Sean O'Malley from Boston, will examine ways to revise the Vatican constitution, Pastor Bonus, which sets the rules for running the Roman Curia, or church hierarchy.
The cardinals - who come from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe - will first meet in October, the Vatican said.
The move follows on from suggestions made during the General Congregations, a series of meetings that brought together all the cardinals last month before they elected Francis as pope, the Vatican said.FULL STORY
April 11th, 2013
03:13 PM ET
By Florence Davey-Attlee, CNN
(CNN) - Dropping to his knees before the 10 cardinals of the Inquisition, dressed in the white shirt of penitence, Galileo Galilei was forced to retract his "heretic" theory that the Earth moved around the Sun. Threatened with torture and interrogated for 18 days, the scientist, who was imprisoned in the 17th century, promised to never again teach the theory and spent the rest of his life under house arrest in his small farmhouse outside of Florence.
Galileo's fate was very different from that of other scientists at the time of the Inquisition. Some were executed for threatening the church's teachings. Italian astronomer Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher who argued that the universe was infinite, was burned at the stake.
Now in 2013, as Pope Francis settles into his new role as leader of the Catholic Church, the Vatican's head of science is urging a re-think of the "mischaracterization" of the relationship between the church and science.
The Vatican would like the world to see how much this relationship has changed.FULL STORY
April 2nd, 2013
10:34 AM ET
(CNN)–A mother who was with her husband and five children in St. Peter's Square for the holiday helped lift her young son with cerebral palsy, Dominic, into the arms of Pope Francis for a blessing after Easter Mass. Christiana Gondreau describes the touching moment to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"There was not a dry eye around us. It was really, really moving," she says. "Not in a million years, really, did I expect to end the Easter Sunday Mass with a kiss from the pope. It was very beautiful."
March 29th, 2013
09:18 AM ET
(CNN)–Pope Francis washes prisoners' feet in Easter ritual. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports.
March 28th, 2013
10:00 PM ET
Editor’s note: Brian Spadora lives and writes in New Jersey, where he attends Seton Hall University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter at @brianspadora.
By Brian Spadora, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Like many Catholics my age, I am Catholic in name only. I went to Mass every week as a kid and attended a Jesuit high school and college. My wife and I married in a Catholic church, and both of our children were baptized. But I haven’t been a churchgoer since I became too old for my mother to coerce me into a pew.
I haven’t even made the effort to attend Mass twice a year like “Christmas and Easter Catholics.” For my entire adult life, my Catholic faith has been a sort of cultural vestige, like the Italian, Irish and Slovak ethnic heritage from which I’m generations removed.
Despite this, this month I decided I am returning to the church. This turn of events is not quite as miraculous as the multiplication of loaves and fishes, but it’s pretty surprising. It began, innocently enough, with a half-serious promise to my devout Catholic mother.
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.