January 4th, 2013
12:26 PM ET
By Mark Thompson, CNN Money
(CNN) - If you're planning on visiting the Vatican any time soon, take plenty of cash for tickets and souvenirs.
Vatican museums and shops have been unable to accept credit or debit card payments since Jan. 1, after the Bank of Italy prevented Deutsche Bank from providing the service due to concerns about financial oversight in the city-state, sources familiar with the matter told CNNMoney.
The world's smallest state is home to the Pope and such popular tourist sites as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, attracting some 5 million visitors per year.
The Vatican has taken several steps in recent years to improve its record on banking supervision. But a report last year by Moneyval - an independent group of European experts - found it was still falling short of international standards to tackle money laundering and other financial crimes.FULL STORY
November 29th, 2012
03:12 PM ET
By Michael Martinez, CNN
Hollywood, California (CNN) –In the introduction to the TV sitcom "Two and a Half Men," actor Angus T. Jones morphs from boy to teen before our eyes. Now we're watching the actor venture into adulthood and the complicated moral questions that come with it.
This week in posted Internet videos, Jones announced his ethical and religious awakening by condemning as "filth" the CBS show that made him rich and famous.
Jones isn't alone in facing his crisis of conscience. His experience, though dramatic, is universal in how many job holders struggle to reconcile work and spiritual values, experts say.
"At some level, all of us, probably not publicly, ask the hard question that he's asking," said David Miller, director of Princeton University's Faith & Work Initiative.
September 25th, 2012
12:39 PM ET
By Laura Koran, CNN
(CNN) – Faith plays a major role in many Americans' lives, affecting their outlook on morality, politics and even – according to a new study – investing.
The study, conducted at the University of Georgia and Southern Methodist University, found that the predominant religion in a community affects the decision-making process of mutual fund managers in that community, specifically when it comes to risk.
Mutual funds in counties with larger Catholic communities tend to embrace risk more than those in majority-Protestant counties, the study found. Earlier studies have found that Catholics are generally more prone to take speculative risks than the average population, while Protestants are more risk-averse than the average population.
August 2nd, 2012
11:30 AM ET
Chick-fil-A says it set a sales record on Wednesday, the day that supporters rallied around the fast-food chain amid a debate over its president's opposition to same-sex marriage.
The chain said it won't release sales numbers, but "we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day," said Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had called on people to buy food at the chain on Wednesday, which he dubbed "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," after a backlash against the company and their president.FULL STORY
July 24th, 2012
01:20 PM ET
[Updated at 6:41 p.m. ET] The comments about same-sex marriage made by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy a week ago continue to generate controversy this week, with politicians and puppets, well at least their handlers, weighing in.
"Guilty as charged," Cathy was quoted as saying in the Baptist Press last week when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to same-sex marriage.
"We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business," Cathy was quoted as saying.
That stance didn't go over well with the Jim Henson Co., whose Jim Henson's Creature Shop toys have been served up in Chick-fil-A's meals for kids. Jim Henson Co. is named after the creator of the Muppets, though the company transferred the Muppets' rights and ownership to the Walt Disney Co. in 2003, according to Jim Henson Co.
Correction: Previous versions of this story identified toys given away with Chick-Fil-A meals as Muppets. They were not. The toys are characters from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.FULL STORY
April 26th, 2012
03:14 PM ET
By Dan Merica and Kate Bolduan, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Paul Ryan defended his proposed federal budget on Thursday against criticism from some Catholics, who say it violates their tradition’s teaching by putting an undue burden on the poor.
Ryan, a Catholic who chairs the House Budget Committee, told students and faculty at Georgetown University, a Jesuit school, that his budget was in line with his understanding of his faith, though some Georgetown faculty are organizing opposition to his proposal.
“Of course, there can be differences among faithful Catholics on this. The work I do, as a Catholic holding office, conforms to the social doctrine as best I can make of it,” said Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican. “What I have to say about the social doctrine of the church is from the viewpoint of a Catholic in politics applying my understanding of the problems of the day.”
As Ryan spoke, a group of nine students perched in the balcony section of the auditorium made that unfurled a banner that said “Stop the war on the poor - No social justice in Ryan’s budget.”
March 27th, 2012
03:00 PM ET
By Glenn Beck, Special to CNN
I have never felt particularly charitable on April 15.
Instead, I typically feel like the victim of the most sophisticated burglary in world history. Yet it is on Tax Day that we learn a lot about the giving nature of our political leaders, at least those who release their tax records. Those documents provide a lens into politicians’ financial priorities and benevolence.
While the American people certainly don’t have a “right” to see the tax returns of any private individual, the public has grown to expect that those running for the highest office in the land will voluntarily allow us to view their filings.
Each election cycle, the media and general public take voyeuristic pleasure in examining how candidates made money and the charities they supported before knowing that the national microscope would be on them.
January 24th, 2012
04:50 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Although many Americans may have wondered just how much money Mitt Romney makes and how much he pays in taxes in the lead-up to the release Tuesday of his tax documents, there was little suspense around how much he gives to his church.
That's because all Mormons in good standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are required to give 10% of their salaries as a tithe.
"Mormon children are expected to begin tithing from their very first allowance," says Terryl Givens, an expert on Mormonism at the University of Richmond. "And there's never any variation on the 10%, whether you're on welfare or you're a millionaire."
October 24th, 2011
01:35 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – Against the backdrop of the European debt crisis and the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Vatican on Monday called for a new “global public authority” to help reform the world’s finance and economic systems.
New ideologies are “reducing the common good to economic, financial and technical questions, (placing) the future of democratic institutions themselves at risk," said Roman Catholic Bishop Mario Toso at a Monday press conference.
The document, called "Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority" quotes former Pope John Paul II in bemoaning the “idolatry of the market.”
September 25th, 2011
08:11 PM ET
From Rachel Garrett, CNN
(CNN) – A New Jersey church - already a bit different in that its three congregations gather weekly at two hotels and a middle school - put a new spin on the collection plate Sunday by having congregants take cash-filled envelopes from the plate in hopes that the money will be put to charitable use.
"People are cynical about religion and expect to come to church and be shaken down, but really, it's all God's money," Liquid Church pastor Tim Lucas said prior to Sunday services. "Every bill in the U.S. economy says 'In God we trust,' and we're going to put that to the test."
The Morristown, New Jersey-based nondenominational Christian church claims to collect $30,000 in weekly offerings from its three congregations, which gather at hotel facilities in Morristown and New Brunswick, and at a middle school in Nutley. The 10-year-old church, which says in its materials that more than 2,000 people attend its weekend services, planned to disperse that same amount - $30,000 - on Sunday, with congregants getting envelopes containing $10, $20 and $50 bills.
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.