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April 6th, 2010
04:40 PM ET

Indian priest denies abuse claims


Attorney Jeff Anderson in front of a photo of the Rev. Joseph Palanivel
Jeyapaul at a news conference Monday.

A Catholic priest accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing two teenage girls in Minnesota in 2005 said Tuesday he is innocent and ready to face justice to clear his name.

The Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul now heads a church education commission here and spoke exclusively to CNN's Liz Neisloss a day after lawyers for one of the alleged victims made his name public.

"It is a lie - it is totally a lie," Jeyapaul said of the allegations.

Jeyapaul said he would not fight any effort to bring him to the United States to face any charges. "I am ready to come and clear my status," he said.

Read more on Jeyapaul's denial

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Uncategorized

April 6th, 2010
11:46 AM ET

Struggling with a 'bad thought'

On a recent trip across America, what surprised me most was the number of people - over 200 in one city, 80 to 150 elsewhere - who wanted to discuss this odd word, "acedia."

It's an ancient term signifying profound indifference and inability to care about things that matter, even to the extent that you no longer care that you can't care.

I liken it to spiritual morphine: You know the pain is there but can't rouse yourself to give a damn.

The concept of acedia was developed by Christians in the 4th century who had fled to the deserts of the Middle East, opting for a simple life in rebellion against a newly legal, wealthy and politically powerful church. Today, we would say that they went off the grid.

Read more of author Kathleen Norris' commentary on acedia

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Faith

April 6th, 2010
11:07 AM ET

Lawyers: Vatican covered up abuse

Vatican officials failed to take action against a priest accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls in Minnesota despite repeated warnings from a local bishop starting in 2005, attorneys for one of the alleged victims said Monday.

The Vatican's failure occurred despite the establishment of safeguards established four years earlier to deal with the growing abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, they said.

The priest - Father Joseph Pavanivel Jeyapaul of Ootacamund, India - served in a diocese in Crookston, Minnesota, for a little more than a year in 2004 and 2005, according to church documents unearthed in a lawsuit related to the case. Complaint letters from Crookston Bishop Victor Balke to Rome were acknowledged by Vatican officials, but no disciplinary action was taken, the documents show.

Read more on the alleged cover-up

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Uncategorized

April 6th, 2010
07:38 AM ET

Reprieve for 'sorcerer' sentenced to death

A Lebanese man who had been condemned by a court in Saudi Arabia to die last week for "sorcery" has not been executed, his lawyer said Monday.

May El Khansa told CNN that she got confirmation from Ibrahim Najjar, Lebanon's justice minister, that her client, Ali Hussain Sibat, was still alive.

She added that she had heard Saturday from sources in Saudi Arabia with knowledge of the case that the beheading had not been carried out Friday, as originally planned.

Read more about Sibat's case

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • 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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