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March 26th, 2014
04:17 PM ET

Vatican landmark Obama will miss

CNN's Ben Wedeman gloats over what President Barack Obama likely won't get a chance to see on his visit to the Vatican on Thursday. Take a look inside the Sistine Chapel - and gaze up at its famous ceiling.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Art • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Church and state • Italy • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

Lampedusa: A beautiful, perilous stepping-stone
March 1st, 2014
06:00 AM ET

Stepping-stones to safety: A family flees Syria's war - and finds refuge in Italy's islands

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Lampedusa, Italy (CNN) – Abdel clung to his pregnant wife, 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter as they sailed across an open stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.

They were in a dilapidated fishing boat with limited provisions and almost no sanitation, sharing a cramped space with some 400 other Syrians.

Abdel prayed quietly and recited verses from the Quran for two days and two nights as the boat swayed and motored precariously along the 180-mile route from Libya to the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa.

If they could make it, his young family would be one step closer to freedom.

He knew thousands had died making the same voyage.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Europe • Faith Now • Islam • Italy • Libya • Mosque • Muslim • Persecution • Pope Francis • Poverty • Religious violence • Syria

January 19th, 2014
11:10 AM ET

The C.S. Lewis you never knew
C.S. Lewis has become a virtual Christian saint, but his life wasn't as tidy as his public image.
December 1st, 2013
06:00 AM ET

The C.S. Lewis you never knew

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – He looked like a “red-faced pork butcher in shabby tweeds,” lived secretly with a woman for years and was so turned on by S&M that he once asked people at a party whether he could spank them.

We’re talking, of course, about C.S. Lewis, the Christian icon and author of classics such as “Mere Christianity” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

It’s tempting to remember Lewis only as the self-assured defender of Christianity who never met an argument he couldn't demolish. His death 50 years ago, on November 22, 1963, was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has since become a patron saint of American evangelicals.

But the actual man whom friends called “Jack” had a “horrible” personal life, thought he had failed as a defender of Christianity and spent so much time in pubs that his publishers initially struggled selling him to a religious audience, scholars say.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Faith Now • United Kingdom

November 26th, 2013
08:49 PM ET

Giving thanks for the miracle of survival

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Leon Gersten could not bear to watch “Schindler’s List,” the movie about Czech industrialist Oskar Schindler who saved 1,200 Jews from Nazi extermination camps. It was too painful for the Holocaust survivor, too close to reality.

But now, almost 70 years after his village in Poland was liberated by the Soviet army, Gersten is meeting the man who is the Oskar Schindler of his own life: Czeslaw Polziec.

Like Schindler, Polziec is Catholic. His family secretly sheltered Gersten in rural Poland for two years during World War II.

As though such a reunion between survivor and rescuer were not emotional enough, this one is taking place Wednesday on the eve of Hanukkah, which coincides this year with Thanksgiving. Two celebrations of gratitude.

FULL POST

- CNN Wire editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Faith Now • Hanukkah • Holocaust • Israel • Judaism • New York • Poland • Thanksgiving

German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
October 23rd, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Vatican suspends German bishop amid spending investigation

By the CNN Belief Blog Editors

(CNN) – The Vatican said Wednesday it has suspended a German bishop who has come under fire for his extravagant lifestyle.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Van Elst is under investigation for his spending after his residence in Limburg, Germany, was renovated for $42 million.

The Vatican says Tebartz-Van Elst cannot carry out his ministry as long as the investigation in ongoing, and he's been ordered to stay outside his diocese.

Coined the "Bling Bishop," Tebartz-Van Elst, who is known as theologically conservative, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the cost overruns on the renovation are legitimate because surrounding structures had to be protected, including the old city wall.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Europe • Faith Now • Germany • Money & Faith • Pope Francis • Vatican

October 23rd, 2013
01:24 PM ET

Baby Prince George is baptized

London (CNN) – Prince George made his first public appearance in three months Wednesday, as he arrived with his parents, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for his christening at St. James's Palace.

The baby prince smiled as he was shown off to family members including his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, before the royals entered the Chapel Royal.

George was dressed in an elaborate lace and satin christening gown that's a replica of one made in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter.

Being baptized into the church is more significant for George than for most people, since he is in line to become king, which would also make him the supreme governor of the Church of England.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Anglican • Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Faith Now • United Kingdom

Catholic sect holds funeral rites for Nazi war criminal
Former SS officer Erich Priebke died October 11. His burial is a source of controversy in Rome.
October 15th, 2013
02:07 PM ET

Catholic sect holds funeral rites for Nazi war criminal

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.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Death • Italy • Judaism • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Vatican

English Football Association issues 'yid' warning
Tottenham Hotspur fans have seen the term "Yid" used as a discriminatory term against them.
September 12th, 2013
04:08 PM ET

English Football Association issues 'yid' warning

(CNN) – English football fans have been warned they face criminal prosecution if they continue to chant a word which has been deemed anti-Semitic.

The English Football Association (FA) have told fans to stop using the word "Yid", a term which at different times throughout history has been used by Jews and also to abuse them.

Tottenham Hotspur, a north London-based club, are known for having a large number of Jewish supporters. A section of Spurs fans have attempting to reclaim the "Y word" by referring to themselves as the "Yid Army" and chanting it at matches.

But the FA has warned that such practices are no longer acceptable as it continues its fight against discrimination in the English game.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now • Judaism • United Kingdom

Riding the 'white train' in search of a miracle
The journey gives disabled pilgrims a rare opportunity to take a religious vacation.
August 14th, 2013
09:12 AM ET

Riding the 'white train' in search of a miracle

Photographers Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni rode with 600 pilgrims and volunteers as they took the “white train” from Reggio Calabria in southern Italy to the French town of Lourdes. Disabled believers make the journey annually in hopes of a miracle.

Read the story and see their images at CNN Photos

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith & Health • Health care • Italy

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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.

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