July 14th, 2011
05:11 AM ET

Irish report damns Catholic Church abuse response

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

The Catholic Church in Ireland did not take serious steps to stamp out child abuse by priests even after the scandal blew up worldwide and the Irish bishops put rules in place to stop it, a new report says.

The report demolishes claims by the Catholic Church there that policies it put in place in 1996 have enabled it to get a handle on the problem.

The Church's explanation that it was on a "learning curve" in handling allegations of abuse "could not have had any basis or relevance in Cloyne," said the report, which focuses on the diocese of Cloyne around Cork in southern Ireland.

Ireland's top churchman, Cardinal Sean Brady, called the report "another dark day in the history of the response of Church leaders to the cry of children abused by Church personnel."


- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ireland • Scandal • Sex abuse

March 23rd, 2011
10:56 AM ET

Organized religion 'will be driven toward extinction' in 9 countries, experts predict

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Organized religion will all but vanish eventually from nine Western-style democracies, a team of mathematicians predict in a new paper based on census data stretching back 100 years.

It won't die out completely, but "religion will be driven toward extinction" in countries including Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, they say.

It will also wither away in Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland, they anticipate.

They can't make a prediction about the United States because the U.S. census doesn't ask about religion, lead author Daniel Abrams told CNN.


- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Atheism • Austria • Ireland

March 20th, 2011
08:21 AM ET

Irish Catholic Church pledges $14m to help abuse victims

By Peter Taggart, For CNN

The Catholic Church in Ireland is pledging an extra 10 million euros (about $14 million) to help victims of abuse at the hands of priests and other Catholic officials, it announced this weekend.

The announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of a major papal statement on the widespread problem of child abuse in the deeply Catholic country.

"As a result of the grievous wrong of abuse, for many survivors their faith in God and the Church has been profoundly damaged,"  said Ireland's senior churchman, Cardinal Sean Brady.


- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ireland • Pope Benedict XVI • Sex abuse

January 19th, 2011
10:50 AM ET

Church letter warns against mandatory reporting of child sex abuse

A 1997 letter from the Vatican's representative to bishops in Ireland warns them to follow church law in investigating cases of suspected child sex abuse by priests and expresses "serious reservations" about requiring that such cases be reported to the police.

The Vatican has responded by calling the letter "deeply misunderstood."

And a spokesman for the Conference of Irish Bishops said they have since 1996 had a policy of reporting suspected abuse to the police.

The two-page letter, written by Apostolic Nuncio Luciano Storero, was sent to bishops in Ireland in response to a document they had sent to the Vatican that recommends mandatory reporting of cases of suspected child sex abuse by priests.

Read the full story about the letter here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Europe • Ireland • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

Holy See urges 'prudence' in reading Vatican-related cables
December 13th, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Holy See urges 'prudence' in reading Vatican-related cables

The Holy See's press office Saturday urged the public to read the latest Vatican-related diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks with "great prudence," claiming the allegations cited in the documents reflect only the view of their writers.

Without going into specifics on a number of allegations that emerged with the U.S. cables, the Holy See Press Office said that the reports "reflect the perceptions and opinions of the people who wrote them and cannot be considered as expressions of the Holy See itself."

"Their reliability must, then, be evaluated carefully and with great prudence, bearing this circumstance in mind," the statement said.

Read the full story here about the Vatican's response to the release of the WikiLeaks cables.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Europe • Ireland • Vatican

WikiLeaks: Sex abuse scandal left rift in Vatican-Ireland relations
December 13th, 2010
11:41 AM ET

WikiLeaks: Sex abuse scandal left rift in Vatican-Ireland relations

Relations between the Vatican and Ireland deteriorated sharply as the Holy See appeared to ignore a commission looking into complaints of physical and sexual abuse of children by Irish priests, according to U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

One cable from earlier this year says the Vatican was angered by the way the Murphy Commission - which was looking into the how complaints of abuse had been handled by the Church and Irish government - sidestepped normal diplomatic channels.

The commission had written directly to the Vatican to seek information and requested a meeting with the Vatican's representative in Ireland. The Vatican envoy did not respond, according to the cable.

Read the full story about what the WikiLeaks cables revealed about the Vatican.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Europe • Ireland • Italy • Vatican

September 1st, 2010
04:04 PM ET

Irish cardinal: I will not resign after scandals

Editor's note: Watch CNN's interview with Cardinal Brady in a special report by Nic Robertson on "Connect the World" on CNN International at 9 p.m. London time/4 p.m. ET.

Months after the revelation that he helped cover up for one of Ireland's most notoriously abusive priests, the country's top Catholic churchman, Cardinal Sean Brady, says he has "moved on" and will not resign.

"I've moved on there, I think, and I got a lot of support in my decision," he told CNN in a rare interview.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Europe • Ireland • Scandal

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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.