September 19th, 2013
11:00 AM ET
Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Here at America magazine, we’ve been anticipating the exclusive interview with Pope Francis for Jesuit journals worldwide for weeks.
We’ve lived with the 12,000-word article we’ve titled “A Big Heart Open to God,” and, in a sense, with the pope over these last several days.
So let me suggest what I feel to be the most important parts of this remarkable interview. To focus, I’ll highlight a few quotes and unpack them.
August 21st, 2013
08:46 AM ET
By Jason Hanna and Hada Messia, CNN
(CNN) - The Roman Catholic Church will announce next month the date when the late popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized, Vatican Radio reported Wednesday.
The canonization dates for the two former pontiffs will be announced on September 30, the radio service reported, citing Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Pope Francis announced last month that his two 20th century predecessors would be declared saints.
John Paul was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, drawing vast crowds as he crisscrossed the globe. The third-longest-serving pope in history, died at the age of 84 after suffering from Parkinson's disease, arthritis and other ailments for several years.
Pope John XXIII was famed for calling the Second Vatican Council in 1962, which ushered in great changes in the Roman Catholic Church's relationship with the modern world. He was pope from 1958 to 1963.
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 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
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 15th, 2013
11:50 AM ET
(CNN) – Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy surrounding topics as sensitive as gay marriage and political atrocities.
Questions linger about Francis' actions during the nation's dark days: the so-called Dirty War, when Argentina was ruled by dictators. The gay marriage issue came to the forefront during Francis' political fight with Argentina's president.
The conservative pontiff may hold firm on some issues, experts say, but he may be flexible on others.
"If you think that (Francis) isn't going to change anything, you're wrong," said Gustavo Girard, a retired doctor who knew Francis during his early years in the priesthood. "But is he going to approve of gay marriage tomorrow? No."FULL STORY
March 15th, 2013
11:41 AM ET
Vatican City (CNN) – The Vatican pushed back Friday against claims that Pope Francis failed to protect two fellow Jesuit priests who were kidnapped during Argentina's military dictatorship.
The accusations have resurfaced since the Argentine cardinal's unexpected election to the papacy two days ago.
A book by investigative reporter Horacio Verbitsky accuses Francis, who was then referred to as Jorge Mario Bergoglio and was head of the country's Jesuit order but not yet a bishop, of deliberately failing to protect two Jesuit priests who were imprisoned by the government.
But the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, dismissed the claims - which date back to Argentina's so-called Dirty War from 1976 to 1983 - as false and defamatory.FULL STORY
March 14th, 2013
09:42 PM ET
By Jamie Crawford, CNN
As Pope Francis assumes his role as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, he is also the newest head of a sovereign state that accepts and accredits foreign envoys while sending its own diplomats around the globe to advance its interests.
There currently are 179 diplomatic missions with ties to the Vatican.
To the casual observer, the post may seem like a dream assignment, full of pomp and circumstance in one of the world's most historic and beautiful cities. But there is more to the job than what meets the eye.
"It's really in a unique position to engage with the world's largest faith-based organization," Miguel Diaz, the most recent U.S. envoy to the Holy See, told CNN. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate a successor to Diaz, who stepped down in November.FULL STORY
March 14th, 2013
02:22 PM ET
(CNN) – From the Vatican to Buenos Aires, Catholics worldwide rejoiced when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became the new pope.
He's the first Jesuit and the first Latin American in modern times to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
But in some ways, he's just a normal guy.
Here are five things to know about Pope Francis.FULL STORY
March 14th, 2013
02:20 PM ET
Vatican City (CNN) – Pope Francis on Thursday emphasized church advancement in his first Mass with the cardinals who elected him as pontiff a day earlier.
With solemnity, he delivered a homily about moving the Catholic Church forward to the cardinal electors, who were dressed in light yellow robes. Altar servers burned incense in the Sistine Chapel, the setting for the Mass.
He didn't appear to use a script and kept the sermon short, calling on the cardinals to have courage.
"When we don't walk, we are stuck. When we don't build on the rock, what happens? It's what happens to children when they build a sand castle and it all then falls down," the new pontiff said.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.