September 19th, 2010
11:03 PM ET

Missing 'cult-like' group found alive after suicide fears

A group of 13 Salvadoran immigrants missing in southern California amid fears that they planned a cult-like mass suicide have been found alive, unhurt and upset to find they were the subjects of an extensive search.

Authorities had been scouring the Palmdale area of northern Los Angeles County on horseback and by helicopter Sunday in search of the group, which included eight children between the ages of 3 and 17, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. A resident spotted one of the vehicles identified in the lookout at a park and notified the sheriff's department, he said.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Christianity • Cults • United States

September 19th, 2010
08:36 PM ET

Pastor: You should be ticked off about poverty

Editor's Note: CNN's TJ Holmes spoke with Max Lucado this weekend on CNN Newsroom about poverty.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Charity • Christianity

September 19th, 2010
08:30 PM ET

September 19th, 2010
04:36 PM ET

For first time in months, President Obama attends church publicly

President Obama publicly attended church Sunday morning for the first time in nearly six months, and shortly after a major survey showed that only a third of Americans can correctly identify Obama's faith as Christian.

The first family attended the 9 a.m. service at St. John's Church Lafayette Square, an Episcopal congregation about a block from the White House.

The Obamas - the president, first lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha - made the trip on foot.

The family sat a few rows from the altar, among roughly 40 worshippers. Each family member received communion, led by the president.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Church • Houses of worship • Politics

September 19th, 2010
02:47 PM ET

Pope praises British for resisting Nazis

Pope Benedict XVI praised Britain Sunday for standing up to the Nazis, a remark that could rekindle controversy over the pope's past - reminding listeners that he was forced as a young man to join the Hitler Youth.

Describing himself "as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany," the German-born pontiff said it was "deeply moving... to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology."

The comment was a break from Benedict's usual practice, CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • Holocaust • Pope Benedict XVI • United Kingdom

September 19th, 2010
02:44 PM ET

Dispatch from pope's UK trip: Benedict's beatification controversy

CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John L. Allen Jr. filed this report from London.

When Benedict XVI was elected to the papacy more than five years ago, there were a number of quiet changes signaling that the new pope would be a less dominating personality than his charismatic predecessor, John Paul II. Chief among them was that the pope would no longer celebrate beatification ceremonies, marking the penultimate step before sainthood.

Instead, Benedict decreed, beatifications would be celebrated outside Rome, to indicate that the person being beatified belongs to their local church.

As the saying goes, however, “it’s good to be king.” Benedict today broke his own rule by personally celebrating his first beatification in Birmingham, England, for the 19th century English theologian and controversialist Cardinal John Henry Newman.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • Pope Benedict XVI • United Kingdom

September 19th, 2010
12:14 PM ET

Nuns have faith in gouda

Editor's Note: CNN Photojournalist Bill Alberter brings us this report from Virginia.

Tucked away in the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley just west of Charlottesville, Virginia, lies a convent of nuns who - along with their daily worship - create a homemade Gouda cheese that's just heavenly.

Just about 23 years ago, a group of Catholic nuns from Massachusetts set out for Virginia to create a convent for worship that was totally self-sufficient. It became the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels. "Part of our tradition is to support ourselves by some sort of manual labor," Sister Barbara Smickel explained.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Business • Catholic Church • Food

September 19th, 2010
12:03 PM ET

Nuns speak out on Vatican investigations

Editor's Note: CNN Correspondent Carol Costello and Producer Bob Ruff bring us this post.

(CNN) – The "talk" has been "heated" of late on Sister Maureen Fiedler's WAMU radio show in Washington DC. A sample: "Some of my friends asked me whether Vatican officials suffer a deep-seated hatred of women."

Sister Maureen understands why her listeners, mostly Catholic nuns and religious women, feel the need to sound off. They've been frustrated, even angry, ever since the Vatican ordered two sweeping investigations into the religious views and lifestyles of American nuns.

"What I hear from a lot of lately with regard to this investigation," said Fiedler, "is, let me get this straight: It's priests that abuse children. Some priests, of course. It's bishops that covered it up. So they're investigating nuns?

One of those Vatican-ordered investigations, which are now nearing completion, involves a two-part questionnaire consisting of 120 detailed questions like: What is the process for responding to sisters who dissent publicly from Church teaching...? How does the manner of dress of your sisters...(lend) to the dignity...of your vocation? And, what are the procedures for dealing with matters (like) civil disobedience, criminal activity, sexual improprieties, etc?

Read the full story on American Morning's blog AMFix.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Leaders

September 19th, 2010
11:54 AM ET

Mosque Denies Students Were Invited To Pray

Editor's Note: A separation of church and state controversy is brewing outside Boston. This story comes from CNN affiliate WCVB.

(Wellesley, Massachusetts) A Wellesley Middle School field trip to a local mosque has sparked controversy in the affluent community west of Boston after a video surfaced showing some of the students praying inside the hall.

The school superintendent apologized to local parents after the video, shot by a parent, was made public. It shows a handful of Wellesley sixth-grade boys kneeling and engaging in the prayer ritual during the May event at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.

A chaperone who was on the trip said the prayer was voluntary.

Read the full story from CNN affiliate WCVB in Boston.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Islam • Muslim • Schools

September 19th, 2010
11:45 AM ET

Texas education board mulls banning ‘pro-Islamic’ history books

A new front in the Texas textbook wars may soon erupt.

The Texas Board of Education is considering targeting history textbooks that promote a “pro-Islamic, anti-Christian” point of view, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The board, which overhauled the state's history and social studies curriculum in May to reflect conservative values, will examine a resolution next week that would warn publishers not to “push a pro-Islamic, anti-Christian viewpoint” in world history textbooks, the newspaper reported.

Conservative board members requested the resolution after a candidate for a board seat warned them that “Middle Easterners” are buying textbook publishing companies.


- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Culture wars • Education • Fundamentalism • Islam

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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.