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March 16th, 2010
08:29 PM ET

Cardinal accused of ducking blame over abuse probe

Ireland's top Catholic cardinal is using the "Nuremberg defense" in the face of public outrage at his role 35 years ago in investigating one of the country's most notorious child-abusing priests, an activist said Tuesday.

Cardinal Sean Brady has been under fire over the investigation into the Rev. Brendan Smyth.

Brady's office said Tuesday that the cardinal - then a priest and teacher with a doctorate in canon law - had been asked to investigate two complaints against Smyth in 1975, but had no decision-making power. He reported his findings to Bishop Francis McKiernan, his office said, and McKiernan recommended Smyth get psychiatric help.

But John Kelly, the founder of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, said Brady should not have remained silent about what he learned in the course of investigating Smyth, who was later convicted of dozens of counts of child abuse in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. He died in prison.

"He's basically using the Nuremberg defense - he was carrying out orders," Kelly said, in reference to the justification many Nazis used in their war crimes trials after World War II.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics

March 16th, 2010
08:25 PM ET

Vatican exorcist: Pedophiles tempted, not possessed

The Rev. Gabriele Amorth says people can tempted by Satan while others can be literally possessed.

As the Vatican's chief exorcist, it's the Rev. Gabriele Amorth's job to expel the devil when someone is possessed. He's performed more than 70,000 exorcisms in his career, he estimates.

But there is a difference between possession - where the devil takes hold of someone's body and actions - and temptation, where Satan lures a person into doing evil, he said.

As a child abuse scandal sweeps across Europe, with accusations being made against priests in Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, Amorth said the pedophiles are tempted, not possessed. He has never done an exorcism on a child molester, he said.

"I have carried out exorcisms on some priests who had been molested by the devil," he said, without going into details. "But cases of pedophilia exorcised, no. ... Pedophiles are not possessed by the devil, they are tempted by the devil."

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics

March 16th, 2010
03:45 PM ET

March 16th, 2010
10:17 AM ET

Palestinians riot to protest synagogue reopening

Palestinians hurled rocks and burned tires in several neighborhoods in disputed East Jerusalem on Tuesday, to protest the reopening of a landmark synagogue after 60 years.

Officers dispersed the crowd by firing stun grenades in one area, and village elders helped end the riots in another, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

Rubber bullets fired by police injured at least seven people in the Mount of Olives neighborhood.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics

March 16th, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Intriguing people: Vatican exorcist, dismayed lesbians

Among Tuesday's Most Intriguing People:

The Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years says the recent sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church confirm that "the Devil is at work" inside the Vatican.

A lesbian couple whose children were expelled from a Catholic school in Boulder, Colorado, expressed their dismay Monday, but held steadfast to their faith.

The president of the Catholic Health Association, which represents hundreds of Catholic hospitals nationwide, said her group supports the highly-debated Senate health care reform bill.

Read the full post at This Just In, CNN's news blog

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 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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