January 30th, 2012
06:49 PM ET

Catholic clergymen come out swinging against HHS regulation

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - Catholics around the country got an earful on Sunday from the pulpit over a new health insurance policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventative care regardless of religious beliefs. The use of abortion and contraceptives violates Catholic teachings.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, Bishop David Ricken denounced the policy at Mass in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on Sunday and received a standing ovation, CNN affiliate WLUK reported.

"If we pay for those services for people who work for us, we are in effect saying don't do it, but then giving the money to pay for it," said Ricken.

In a letter read to congregants in the Atlanta Archdiocese, Archbishop Wilton Gregory called the policy "a matter of grave moral concern."

"In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty," the letter continued and was read at all English and Spanish language Masses, the diocese said in a statement.

The policy goes into effect on August 1, but U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in a statement January 20 that religious organizations that do not provide contraceptive coverage based on religious belief will have until August 1, 2013, to comply.

"This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services," Sebelius said in the statement.

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan in a statement.

“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty," said Dolan who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the public policy arm of the church in the United States.

Just before the release of Sebelius' statement, President Barack Obama called Dolan to discuss the change in policy, Dolan's spokesman told CNN. Dolan expressed his disappointment to the president and asked if the measure could be changed to include more religious exemptions, to which the president said no. Dolan's spokesman said the two had discussed the measure earlier in November before the HHS policy was set.

A White House official told CNN's Dan Lothian late on Monday that "there are Catholics who support the administration's decision." The official also noted support from other religious groups for the policy.

A spokesperson for the conference said there was no way to tell how many parishes  addressed the issue this weekend, but said after receiving multiple queries from dioceses around the country, they posted a draft letter on an internal website for churches to adapt and read to congregants.

The Conference of Bishops is also urging congregates to reach out to the White House and members of Congress to express their disagreement with the measure.

The Food and Drug Administration first approved the birth control pill in 1960.  When  oral contraceptives first entered the market, theologians across the religious spectrum wrestled with how to the deal with new medication.  Many Protestant denominations said the use of contraceptives was OK for married couples.

The Catholic Church came out against the use of any type of contraceptives in 1968.  In an encyclical letter to Catholics entitled Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI outlined the church's teaching on the matter.

"Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children," the letter reads.

The encyclical also reiterated the church's ban on sterilization for men and women, either temporary or permanent, and left no room for interpretation on the new birth control medications.

"Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means," it reads.

Birth control is the most common type of medication taken by young and middle-aged women. Women’s health advocates said the new rules would affect millions of women. Currently, 32 states require insurance plans to cover contraceptives, but 16 of them provide a “conscience exception” for religious employers, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Contraceptive coverage is one of several services that must be covered without co-pays or deductibles in the new Affordable Care Act, which critics have dubbed "Obamacare."  Other such services are annual checkups, mammograms, testing for HIV and breastfeeding support.

The Sebelius statement also said the rule won’t affect existing conscience laws, which allow doctors and hospitals to avoid providing services, such as birth control, that violate their religious beliefs.

CNN's Caleb Hellerman and Dan Gilgoff contributed to this article.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Health care • Mass • Politics • United States

soundoff (740 Responses)
  1. Janet Freeman

    Let's not call the issue "women's health"; it should be called "babies" health". If we look at issues from the point of view of the most vulnerable our views might change.

    February 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  2. Brian

    I can't think of any group that has ruined their own legitimacy more than the catholic clergy. Why would anyone give a rats about the 'moral teachings' of a bunch of pedophiles and pedophile-enablers? I also can't fathom taking anyone seriously, even in the slightest.. that considers abortion to be murder, but doesn't support contraception. I certainly don't think anyone with this stance should be reproducing at all. These are the very people that we should be taking OUT of the gene pool, so that future generations might be more intelligent and rational.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  3. Bill

    Just what is wrong with using contraception? When the majority of Catholic women discretely utilize it, there must be something wrong with all this. What could be worse than an unwanted or even unplanned pregnancy which could prompt someone to go for an abortion when all this wrangling is so easily prevented...contraception/family planniong? Does the Catholic church continue to push for balooning their membership roles even in the 21st century, or what? Time to look at all this in the open; and there is nobody requiring that anyone use birth contriol, simply that it isn't denied to anyone.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  4. NCWriter

    Just an idea to consider – in addition to Obama using the government to do this, the Army also prohibited Catholic clergy from reading their Bishop's letter to their military members, citing activities detrimental to good order and discipline. Let me suggest that the Army's action reveals an important aspect – Obama's action IS detrimental to good order and discipline in the country, it IS a divisive act. Obama has become too enamored of himself being Presdient and using that to advance his personal agenda over the will of others. For the good of the country he needs to be removed from office.

    February 8, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  5. Diostronies

    Discussion on clergy outrage ring hollow. They have been more than willing to sacrifice men from each generation on the alter of war, praising the lord and passing the bloody ammunition for their 2nd amendment guns. I don't get to bar my taxes from such useless endevors because it violates my conscience. Its absurd to let people say no money for this or that when they can't prove their point empirically to the secular government. Everybody has a conscience but only phony "so-called" christians can get the government to give their group special priviledges. I say an end to indulgences, and end to the priviledge afforded blinds for child molesters and money grubbing born aginer tv evangelists and thier wars on everybody else. I can prove that empirically, planned parent hood a case in point.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  6. Jack

    Just imagine how many fewer children would have been abused by preditory priests if they had been this aggressive in rooting out those priests instead of quietly moving them from place to place. They have lost any moral credibility that they may have had in times past.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  7. WASP

    @religious folks: on the abortion thing........it's the land of the free, well atleast the country i fought for; so that is why it is called freedom of choice for females. no one is holding a gun to any females head saying you will abort this child. they are merely giving them all options open to them in this free country of ours. don't like free choice? leave.

    February 1, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • nepawoods

      But you need to rationalize why freedom to kill some, and not freedom to kill others. "Land of the free" does NOT imply "anything goes".

      February 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • dogs2?

      You need to read what the word freedom means according to any dictionary definition. There is no such thing in this or any other country. Freedom is freedom, there is no in between. Any laws, violate freedom.

      I don't know what you fought for except the resting of more laws which by definition is the worst form of torture.

      February 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • WASP

      @urfkng@y: let's take this to a more personal level shall we. one of the females in your family; your mother or sister or daughter or cousin becomes a ra.pe victim, without abortion laws you are concenting to forcing them to carry that baby to term then go through child birth to deliever it. personally i wouldn't want to any female forced to carry a child that was put there against her will. how about this point from the childs' point of view; is it fair to force a new born to live being add.icted to cra.ck? have you ever seen a true cra.ck baby, it tears your heart. children should never be forced to suffer due to an adults' mistakes or lack of caring.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • WASP

      @dogs2: laws meant to protect you from harm, i.e. refusing to issue a weapons permit to a convicted violent offender is a good law. a law stripping you of a freedom, say like choice.....is a bad law. laws give guidance as far as what is socially and morally acceptible and what is punishible as a criminal offence. anarchy is "freedom" but an animalistic dog eat dog type of freedom.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  8. sam

    Come out swinging their diiiiicks, you mean,

    February 1, 2012 at 4:31 am |
    • gerald

      come back and post when you have made it to high school. Maybe they will teach you how to use your brain by then.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  9. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    Catholics do not believe in artificial birth control so why do they employ those who do? Did not the Supreme Court recently decide that religious organizations have the right to decide who they hire and fire? Bottom line: To reduce health insurance costs and to not be subject to Obama care regulations about supplying contraceptives, the Catholics should simply not hire those in need of contraceptives and fire those who demand such coverage.

    There are different opinions as to what a religion really is or what a non-profit is. To be fair therefore, there should be no tax-exemptions for any group and that includes the Democratic and Republican Parties. Faith and community initiative grant monies should also be cancelled and there should also be no tax deductions for contributions made to charities and non-profits.

    February 1, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  10. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    The nitty-gritty of the contraception/abortion situation:

    "WHO USES CONTRACEPTIVES? (From Guttmacher)

    • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had int-ercourse have used at least one con-traceptive method.[2](and men?)

    • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)

    • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inte-rcourse; or are not se-xually active.[2]

    • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using con-traceptives.[2] (and men?)

    • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing con-traception.[2] (and men?)

    The problem is that the contraceptives of choice are the Pill and the male condom. Because these contraceptives are not used properly (e.g. some women forget to take the Pill on a daily basis), the failure rates (from Guttmacher) are 8.7% and 17.4 % respectively. This results in over two million unplanned pregnancies every year. And as per the CDC, the abortion rate in the USA is ~one million/yr. Until there is dramatic reduction in these failure rates, one wonders why Obama "Care" should support their use. ( The failure rates when the Pill and male condom are used properly are 0.3 % and 2 % respectively. )

    There are other more effective means.

    Method.......Typical Failure Rates

    Pill (combined)...... ...8.7
    Tubal sterilization..... 0.7
    Male condom ..........17.4
    Vasectomy ................0.2

    Periodic abstinence 25.3
    Calendar 9.0
    Ovulation Method 3.0
    Sympto-thermal 2.0
    Post-ovulation 1.0

    No method 85.0"

    (Abstinence) .......0

    (Masturbation).... 0

    Combined Pill and male condom..... ?? but it would statiscally be much better than using only the Pill or the male condom.

    February 1, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • ......

      hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      February 1, 2012 at 5:59 am |
    • Jason

      ...Is there a point to this? All I see from this is that the Catholic laity are a bunch of hypocrites. The vast majority of those people giving the Bishop his standing ovation on Sunday have or do use artificial contraceptives.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  11. Amalia Sheran Sharm

    Hey, blood transfusions are against some people's religious beliefs. That means we need to shut down all the blood banks.

    January 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Not an apt comparison at all. We aren't going to be forcing them to take transfusions or pay for someone else to do so. They retain their choice in the matter. HHS will not allow the same freedom of choice because it requires EVERYONE to pay for it.

      February 2, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  12. WASP

    @catholics: if you don't like the contriseptive/abortion issue, pray about it.......but for crying out loud don't get angry when my atheist son gets your daughter pregnant because she tells him it's against her religion to use condoms. another thing about your contriceptive hatred, is it helps prevent the spread of disease, and yes even when you don't get tested and don't show symptoms you are still contagious so don't get mad when again your daughter gets HIV for telling some guy oh it's ok i'm catholic it's against my beliefs. have your faith but bring it into the 21st century science saves lives, ignorance will kill you.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • urfkng@y

      your son touches my daughter he's gonna die.

      January 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Jonathan

      A Catholic would never have to worry about this ever happening if their child obeyed Catholic teachings.

      January 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      And what if it does happen? What do you propose the parents do?

      January 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • WASP

      @catholics: and exactly how many of the teen pregnancies come from catholic families? i mean you are the largest religion on earth.....well by numbers, and teen pregnancy is a major issue in america so let's find some numbers on that one. another point seeing that there are so many teen pregnancies, that would indecate that quite a few of your children aren't following your version of catholic faith.......then if their not catholic what would that make them? hmmmmmmmm?

      January 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Jonathan


      I propose the parents help and support the teen so that that teen can learn to live with the consequences of their actions. Disobeying their teachings does not unmake a Catholic, it just means they made a mistake (or did it on purpose). Commonly referred to as 'falling by the wayside'.

      You don't shelter and coddle anyone. Part of growing up is learning to live with yourself and the consequences of your actions. You would be doing a diservice to your children if you let them get away with everything or teaching them that life is fair.

      January 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      Well at least your not as bad as some Catholic parents I have encountered. Had a friend who was kicked out at 16 by her parents when she told them she was pregnant. She hasn't talked to them in 8 years, they refuse. Hate those people. Just keep in mind your childrens beliefs probably won't mirror your own, and to take theirs into account as well.

      January 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Jonathan


      I agree that the actions of those Catholic parents appear to be extreme. I can't really suggest anything because I don't know much about the situation in particular but I can say they must not fully understand the doctrine of forgiveness and their duty as parents. At sixteen, a child is not fully equipped to take care of themselves or even make most life decisions for themselves, despite what the media tells us.

      Also, doctrine does not change, only what people choose to follow at one time or another (being God's word and all, its immutable, should you believe the Bible). Whatever the child decides, that is their choice, even if they are wrong. God does not want to control you, that is why he gave us the free will to choose to obey him or not. He knows the consequences of sin and is fully willing to allow us to suffer the consequences of our actions should we choose to spurn him. You can't force someone to love you, they have to choose to.

      I'm not Catholic, by the way. I am a non-denominational Christian (ie, belong to no denomination).

      January 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      Non-denominational Christian, sorry, guess I shouldn't have jumped to Catholic immediately. You're a fairly open person, its been a good conversation. I don't agree with the doctrine you pointed out, mostly because I find it rather strange that an all-loving god is more interested in what we worship rather than how well we live. This is the reason I am now an atheist.

      January 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Jonathan


      ***warning, wall of text, props for those if you with the patience to actually read it***

      I had a hard time figuring out that myself, to be honest. I was agnostic up until I turned 15 and became a Christian. A lot of people don't really have a solid grasp of scripture or complete understanding of the message it is trying to teach. I was one of these people (not saying you are) and bought most of what people where telling me about the bible, and they knew nothing but what they heard.

      The common misconception is that God is all-loving. God does love his creations but a few times in the Bible he has pointed out that he has HATED a few people. What God is a a perfect being (hard for us to completely comprehend as we only have a fleeting idea of what perfect is). God is perfect love, without alternative motive and completely unconditional, but he is also a judge. Perfection can not help but to reject imperfection. God is the father of all creation and loves it like a father, and like a father about to discipline his children, it grieves him to do what must be done.

      I could go one for a while, as I came to my realization over time and had a long time to think this out. But to keep it short, God already gave man laws to follow and they couldn't do it. Before the laws (pre-Moses) God allowed man's concious to show him how good man was. It was a disaster. Que the flood. God was so grieved by what he saw that he despised his own creation and regretted making it. After the flood, he gave us the Mosaic laws (ten commandments). We couldn't even stick to those simple rules. According to Biblical timeline, we've had over 6,000 years to prove ourselves to God.

      So, simply, man cannot live a life holy enough to be acceptable to God. That is why it doesnt matter how you live. God found a way to save us from ourselves by giving us Jesus. He was the only one able to live sinlessly. We have to be able to accept his offering, que free will, or we can not abide in God's presence. It is no more simple or complicated than that.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      I was told much the same when I went to talk to a biblical scholar when I was 17. I had already done studies into evolution, the big bang, physics, and a tiny bit of quantum physics (that crap was confusing!) and leaning to atheism. I remember thinking to myself, that god sounded like an over-zealous scientist. I came to the realization that, for me, if there even is an afterlife, with all the heaven and he.ll stuff, then I wouldn't want to be in a "paradise" because I was compelled to follow a specific god. But now I need to go I'm almost done at work. Nice discussing with you.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Speaking the truth in love
    Proves the voice of God
    Is available to men
    Prayer changes things

    January 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Nope

      STEP Proves you wrong...

      Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School and other scientists tested the effect of having three Christian groups pray for particular patients, starting the night before surgery and continuing for two weeks. The volunteers prayed for "a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications" for specific patients, for whom they were given the first name and first initial of the last name.

      The patients, meanwhile, were split into three groups of about 600 apiece: those who knew they were being prayed for, those who were prayed for but only knew it was a possibility, and those who weren't prayed for but were told it was a possibility.

      The researchers didn't ask patients or their families and friends to alter any plans they had for prayer, saying such a step would have been unethical and impractical. The study looked for any complications within 30 days of the surgery. Results showed no effect of prayer on complication-free recovery. But 59 percent of the patients who knew they were being prayed for developed a complication, versus 52 percent of those who were told it was just a possibility.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demon posts no proof but shows horrible fear of prayer

      January 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Nope

      "demon posts no proof but shows horrible fear of prayer"

      Christians are afraid of the REAL truth so they have to make up lies.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Find the salvation of God in prayer
      Experience a changed life
      Prayer changes things

      January 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Find the salvation of God in prayer
      Experience the joy of a changed life
      Prayer changes things

      January 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Nope

      You've been proven wrong it makes things worse. All you've proven is your an idiot and an annoyance on this blog, you're not changing anyone's mind. What a dope.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Prayer is the joy of the fullness of God
      Prayer is the opportunity for life changing learning
      From God Himself
      Prayer changes things

      January 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Nope

      You've been proven wrong it makes things worse. All you've proven is your an idiot and an annoyance on this blog, you're not changing anyone's mind. What a dope.....

      January 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • been there done that prayer works

      sorry nope no proof in what you present

      January 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course there's truth in it, you moron. You have nothing but your say-so to back up your claim. Nope has presented research and statistics.

      Give up already. You believe prayer works. That's a belief, not a fact. Figure out the difference.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • been there done that prayer works

      totally inconclusive and ineffective not valid or usable as proof to anyone who actually thinks

      January 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • BG

      STEP is a joke, as are the va gue and subjective findings of Galton, Byrd and Harris. You want 'empirical'? Look elsewhere, because you're not going to find it in a non-controlled (or 'uncontrollable') sampling across a spectrum of 'believers.' Besides, if -anyone- was told that they either definitely "would not" or "might not" receive prayer during their coronary artery bypass, how do you think they'd feel? Or maybe we should review how the questionnaire is designed.... 1. How strongly do you believe? 2. Would it matter to you if we didn't pray over you? 3. yada, etc. and so on.


      If you're looking for "objective or repeatable findings" from this, or any other study on intercessory prayer, look elsewhere. Unless, of course, you just want to take these sociologists at their word because it suits your agenda. Why only Christians? Oops. It was done at Harvard.. sorry. (Did no one want to tell members of the eastern religions that they weren't getting prayed for?) So before you start painting slogans on posters for your next atheist demonstration, you might want to consider -why- a study like this is being done at all.

      Attempting to qualify the abstract through empiricism is either a fool's errand or a propagandist's goal.

      January 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hello, my friend ! How are things with ya'...? Are you setting everyone straight, and keeping everyone in line, since I've been gone awhile...? 😀

      I hope that all is well... and... I hope to be back on chattin' with you and the gang, a bit more regularly. I miss everyone, but especially my 'warm and fuzzy' friend !



      February 1, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • BG

      @ Peace

      Hey, guy. I've been off the boards for a while myself. From what I've seen both these stories and the resulting 'contributions' have degraded pretty badly. The old gang of ours seems to have suffered some attrition, but I figured we 'd stumble on each other again at some point. Good to see ya' again, Peace.

      Damn, I even miss Sum Dude. I don't have a reason to gird my loins anymore without him. I can even put away my can of Glade to clear the stench in the air from John Richardson's sanctimonious moralizations.

      Ahhh.... good times.

      February 1, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • Nope

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      February 1, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • BG

      Alleging that there's validity to any "statistical studies of prayer" is a contradiction in terms. But if you're too rabid about the issue, I can see why you'd fail to acknowledge this. So tell us, what were the final decisions about all these 'studies'? Interesting that you should know, because the outcomes were inconclusive and debated back then, as they are now.

      But then again, I keep forgetting about the benefits of omniscience – it's truly a wonderful thing.

      February 1, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Nope

      "ut if you're too rabid about the issue, I can see why you'd fail to acknowledge this. So tell us, what were the final decisions about all these 'studies'? Interesting that you should know, because the outcomes were inconclusive and debated back then, as they are now."

      More desperation, LOL! Oh, and moron if you want to talk about rabid this original poster spams this on every topic. Now if they will stop posting their crap then I will. It's that simple idiot.

      February 1, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • BG

      @ Nope

      I asked you " So tell us, what were the final decisions about all these 'studies'?"

      ... and you give me "Desperation, LOL, moron, & idiot."

      Congrats on your fail. It was magnificent! Now go tell mom you want bunny pancakes for breakfast.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Nope

      "I asked you " So tell us, what were the final decisions about all these 'studies'?"

      ... and you give me "Desperation, LOL, moron, & idiot."

      Congrats on your fail. It was magnificent! Now go tell mom you want bunny pancakes for breakfast."

      LMAO – what desperation, come on moron you can do better than that.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:35 am |
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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.