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December 19th, 2013
01:49 PM ET

CNN Exclusive: Family pastor defends 'Duck Dynasty' star

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - While controversy swirled around Phil Robertson Wednesday evening, the "Duck Dynasty" patriarch was at his longtime church, praying for a young woman who suffers from cancer, the TV star's pastor told CNN in an exclusive interview.

"Phil led us in prayer," said Mike Kellett, senior pastor of White's Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, Louisiana. "There were greater things on our minds than the firestorm of controversy about this article."

Asked how Robertson is taking the fierce criticism of his remarks on homosexuality, Kellett said, "He's very calm, and very confident that if he serves the Lord, God will take care of everything."

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Celebrity • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • evangelicals • Faith & Health • Gay marriage • Gay rights • gender issues

Illinois bishop plans gay-marriage exorcism
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Illinois is planning an exorcism for the state after it approved gay marriage.
November 15th, 2013
10:10 AM ET

Illinois bishop plans gay-marriage exorcism

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - The devil made them do it?

According to a Catholic bishop in Springfield, Illinois, Satan was behind his state's recent legalization of same-sex marriage.

So, next Wednesday, at about the same time Gov. Pat Quinn signs the gay marriage bill into law, Bishop Thomas Paprocki will hold an exorcism ceremony "in reparation for the sin of same-sex marriage."

Paprocki, who's something of an expert on exorcism, says he's just following the Pope's marching orders.

When Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, was an archbishop in Argentina, he called that country's legalization of same-sex marriage "a 'move' of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God."

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Culture wars • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Pope Francis

The quotable Pope: 11 most surprising sayings
September 19th, 2013
11:01 AM ET

Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

By Eric Marrapodi and Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) - Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.

In a wide-ranging interview published Thursday, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.

Moreover, if the church fails to find a "new balance" between its spiritual and political missions, the pope warned, its moral foundation will "fall like a house of cards."

The interview, released by Jesuit magazines in several different languages and 16 countries on Thursday, offers perhaps the most expansive and in-depth view of Francis' vision for the Roman Catholic Church.

The pope's comments don't break with Catholic doctrine or policy, but instead show a shift in approach, moving from censure to engagement.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Gay rights • Pope Francis • Vatican

August 22nd, 2013
03:07 PM ET

Gay detective's mother booted from church

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–The mother of a gay detective has been booted from the Tennessee church she attended for decades.

Elders at Ridgedale Church of Christ told Linda Cooper and two relatives that their public support for Kat Cooper, Linda Cooper's gay daughter, went against the church's teachings, local media reported. In a private meeting, reports say, Linda Cooper was given a choice: publicly atone for their transgressions or leave the church.

Linda left the church.

Kat Cooper is a detective with the Collegedale Police Department. This month, she fought successfully for health benefits for her same-sex spouse, Krista, from the town.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Gay marriage • Gay rights

Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks
Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Rome before the conclave in Rome that elected Pope Francis.
July 31st, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) - The nation's leading Roman Catholic archbishop said Wednesday that Pope Francis was "on a high" from his first international trip as pontiff when he said "Who am I to judge?" gays and lesbians.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who traveled last week to Brazil with the pope for World Youth Day, said the massive turnout - estimates ran as high as 3 million - and ecstatic crowds likely gave Francis hope that he would "revive the church on his home continent of Latin America."

Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina from 1998 until his papal election in March.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

July 29th, 2013
06:39 PM ET

Gay Catholic priest: Pope's words an 'invitation'

Opinion by the Rev. Gary M. Meier, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The question of today has been: What's my reaction to the pope’s statement regarding not judging gay priests?

The answer: Cautiously optimistic.

Optimistic because today’s statement comes after years of anti-gay rhetoric from the Catholic Church. In so many ways it is a breath of fresh air.

Someone from the church hierarchy has finally said something about homosexuality that isn’t hostile, harmful, and anti-gay – and it was the pope!

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Opinion • Pope Francis • United States

The quotable Pope: 11 most surprising sayings
July 29th, 2013
06:30 PM ET

Pope quotes take flight on social media

By Kyle Almond, CNN

(CNN) - Perhaps it's fitting that the pope's first news conference was held onboard an airplane. Since Monday morning his comments have soared around the globe at high speed.

His remarks on homosexuality filled many Catholics with hope, especially those longing for the church to accept gays and lesbians more openly.

But they also discouraged others, including those who believe the Catholic Church should ordain women. 

Some social media commenters said they were just plain confused.

The pope was flying back from a weeklong visit to Brazil, his first international trip as pontiff, when he talked to reporters about a wide range of controversial topics.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis • Women

July 29th, 2013
12:21 PM ET

Pope on gays: A shift in tone, not substance

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN

(CNN) - Reaction to Pope Francis’ comments about not judging gays has broken along two lines: Either this is a groundbreaking reversal by the head of the Catholic Church, or it’s basically just a guy talking on a plane.

The truth is, it’s neither. What it really amounts to is a significant shift in tone, though not in substance.

Francis made the remark in the course of a free-wheeling, unscripted press conference at the end of his July 22-28 trip to Brazil for the Church’s “World Youth Day.”

Among a wide variety of other points, he was asked about a so-called “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'
Conservative Christians say their churches have been unprepared for cultural shifts on same-sex marriage.
June 28th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - With its ivy-covered entrance and Teddy Bear bouquets, Arlene’s Flowers seems an unlikely spot to trigger a culture-war skirmish.

Until recently, the Richland, Washington, shop was better known for its artistic arrangements than its stance on same-sex marriage.

But in March, Barronelle Stutzman, the shop’s 68-year-old proprietress, refused to provide wedding flowers for a longtime customer who was marrying his partner. Washington state legalized same-sex marriage in December.

An ardent evangelical, Stutzman said she agonized over the decision but couldn’t support a wedding that her faith forbids.

“I was not discriminating at all,” she said. “I never told him he couldn’t get married. I gave him recommendations for other flower shops.”

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage

June 27th, 2013
01:32 PM ET

Not all religious convictions are written in stone

Editor's Note: Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com

By Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

(CNN) - There’s a misconception among many faithful folks that religious convictions, by their very nature, are set in stone.

People who change their minds are called flip-floppers or backsliders, accused of capitulating to culture and “conforming to the world.”

But some of the most recognizable names in the Christian story experienced changes of heart: Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Opinion • Politics

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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.

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