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A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion
A clinic such as this, where countless uninsured line up at dawn for free medical care, convinced one man to quit his Cigna job.
June 27th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Wendell Potter first saw them, he froze.

“It felt like touching an electrical fence,” he says. “I remember tearing up and thinking, how could this be real.”

Thousands of them had lined up under a cloudy sky in an open field. Many had camped out the night before. When their turns came, doctors treated them in animal stalls and on gurneys placed on rain-soaked sidewalks.

They were Americans who needed basic medical care. Potter had driven to the Wise County Fairgrounds in Virginia in July 2007 after reading that a group called Remote Area Medical, which flew American doctors to remote Third World villages, was hosting a free outdoor clinic.

Potter, a Cigna health care executive who ate from gold-rimmed silverware in corporate jets, says that morning was his “Road to Damascus” experience.

“It looked like a refugee camp,” Potter says. “It just hit me like a bolt of lightning. What I was doing for a living was making it necessary for people to resort to getting care in animal stalls.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is a colossal legal and political issue. For Potter, though, the issue became a crisis of faith.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Faith & Health • Health • Health care

June 27th, 2012
04:33 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, June 27

By Laura Koran, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: Judge orders Catholic cleric to remain in jail for now
The highest-ranking Catholic church cleric charged and convicted in the landmark child sexual abuse trial will remain in jail for the time being, a Philadelphia judge ordered Tuesday. Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty Friday of one count of child endangerment, the first time a U.S. church leader has been convicted of such a charge.

CNN: Road tripping nuns hit middle America
A few months ago Sister Simone Campbell was in a brainstorming meeting trying to come up with ways to get the public's attention. "We thought maybe we could buy an online ad,” said Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, a liberal Catholic social justice lobby based in Washington. Everything changed after the Vatican publicly scolded The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group for U.S. nuns, for allowing "radical feminist themes” to go unchecked a conferences and in their literature.

FULL POST

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

Judge orders Catholic cleric to remain in jail for now
Monsignor William Lynn was responsible for investigating reports of sexual abuse by priests in Philadelphia.
June 26th, 2012
04:39 PM ET

Judge orders Catholic cleric to remain in jail for now

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) - The highest-ranking Catholic church cleric charged and convicted in the landmark child sexual abuse trial will remain in jail for the time being, a Philadelphia judge ordered Tuesday.

Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty Friday of one count of child endangerment, the first time a U.S. church leader has been convicted of such a charge.

The trial marked the first time U.S. prosecutors have charged not just the priests who allegedly committed abuses but church leaders for failing to stop them. Lynn is the highest-ranking cleric accused of imperiling children by helping cover up sexual abuse.

He was found not guilty on a second count of endangerment and on a charge of conspiring to protect a priest accused of abuse.

Lynn's defense team argued during the trial that their client repeatedly told higher-ups about the alleged abuse and, under strict orders from the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, had no authority to remove priests from the ministry.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Courts • Crime

June 26th, 2012
03:10 PM ET

Road tripping nuns hit middle America

By Ted Rowlands, CNN

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CNN) - A few months ago Sister Simone Campbell was in a brainstorming meeting trying to come up with ways to get the public's attention.

"We thought maybe we could buy an online ad,” said Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, a liberal Catholic social justice lobby based in Washington.

Everything changed after the Vatican publicly scolded The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group for U.S. nuns, for allowing "radical feminist themes” to go unchecked a conferences and in their literature.

“NETWORK will be forever different because of this,” Campbell said riding through southwest Wisconsin on the “Nuns on the Bus” tour.

The scolding came in a lengthy doctrinal assessment the Vatican said was aimed at the renewal of the group of superiors who represent nearly 80% of nuns in the United States.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Catholic Church • Church and state • Politics • Vatican

June 26th, 2012
05:17 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Tuesday, June 26

By Laura Koran, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: My Faith: Amid cameras and countdowns, a higher calling
CNN International business news anchor Charles Hodson charts the journey that has taken him from the studio to the brink of ordained ministry – and explains how he plans to combine priesthood with his 34-year career in broadcast journalism.

CNN: Reporter leaves Fox News to join Vatican staff
Correspondent Greg Burke has left Fox News to join the Vatican as a senior adviser of communications to the secretariat of state at the Holy See, the Vatican announced late Sunday. "This new figure will have the task of dealing with communications issues in the work of the secretariat of state and will oversee relations with the Holy See Press Office and other media institutions of the Holy See," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

FULL POST

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

My Faith: Amid cameras and countdowns, a higher calling
CNN International's Charles Hodson was shocked to be asked if he'd considered the priesthood, then realized he had been called.
June 26th, 2012
03:51 AM ET

My Faith: Amid cameras and countdowns, a higher calling

Editor's Note: CNN International business news anchor Charles Hodson charts the journey that has taken him from the studio to the brink of ordained ministry – and explains how he plans to combine priesthood with his 34-year career in broadcast journalism.

By Charles Hodson, CNN

At about 11 a.m. this coming  Sunday, in one of England’s most beautiful medieval cathedrals, Peter, Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells, will lay his hands on my head and pronounce these words:

Send down the Holy Spirit on your servant Henry Charles Hodson

for the office and work of a deacon in your Church.

It will be a moment without comparison in my life, and yet it will not be about me, or about any of the dozen others kneeling beside me to be ordained by laying-on of hands.  It will be about God and his Church;  to be called to serve them in love and humility through ordained ministry is a privilege beyond imagination for a Christian, and I hope and pray that my future service to all God’s people will reflect that trust.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion

June 25th, 2012
04:26 PM ET

Reporter leaves Fox News to join Vatican staff

By Eric Marrapodi and Dugald McConnell, CNN

(CNN) - Correspondent Greg Burke has left Fox News  to join the Vatican as a senior adviser of communications to the secretariat of state at the Holy See, the Vatican announced late Sunday.

"This new figure will have the task of dealing with communications issues in the work of the secretariat of state and will oversee relations with the Holy See Press Office and other media institutions of the Holy See," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Burke has been based in Rome as a journalist for more than two decades, first as a correspondent for the National Catholic Register, then as a stringer and correspondent for Time magazine before he moved to Fox News in 2001.

"While I don’t think I'll have power, I think I'll be at the table with people who do," Burke said from Rome on Monday.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

Catholic bishops launch religious liberty campaign
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, sings at a Fortnight for Freedom event Sunday in Washington.
June 25th, 2012
03:53 PM ET

Catholic bishops launch religious liberty campaign

By Becky Perlow, CNN

Washington (CNN) -  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a two-week crusade against what it calls the federal government's violations of its religious liberty.

The campaign, known as the Fortnight for Freedom, is about “prayer, education and action,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, in an interview Sunday with CNN.

The campaign, to conclude on Independence Day, has drawn support from Catholic parishioners across the nation, who have held religious rallies, prayer vigils and weekly mass to raise awareness for a new health care mandate the church opposes.

“We’re here to pray. We’re here to educate about freedom. We started this campaign to say religious liberty is eroding,” said Wuerl before a rally Sunday afternoon at George Washington University in Washington.

CNN's Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity

Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit
Jerry Sandusky leaves court on Friday morning. His church wrestled on Sunday with how to respond.
June 25th, 2012
11:58 AM ET

Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit

By Dana Garrett, CNN

State College, Pennsylvania (CNN)– Jerry Sandusky sits in a county jail cell in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, but his presence and the weight of the 45 guilty verdicts rendered against the former Penn State football coach on Friday night hung in the air Sunday morning at the State College church where he and his wife are longtime members.

Ed Zeiders, the senior pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, did not shy away from addressing the conviction of his congregant and friend on child sex abuse charges, asking his congregation to “pray for all of those who are victims and for all of those who are predators.”

Zeiders began his sermon with a question.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church • Courts

‘Clown question, bro’ takes off, with a T-shirt, a beer and a trademark
Bryce Harper has trademarked the phrase "That’s a clown question, bro.”
June 25th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

‘Clown question, bro’ takes off, with a T-shirt, a beer and a trademark

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – You know a quote has entered the national lexicon when a major sports merchandise company plans to plaster it on T-shirts, it inspires a brand new beer and the Senate majority leader invokes it to respond to a reporter.

“That’s a clown question, bro,” Washington Nationals baseball phenom Bryce Harper told a Canadian reporter who earlier this month asked the 19-year-old about his favorite beer. Though the drinking age in Ontario is 19, Harper is a Mormon. His religion prohibits alcohol consumption.

Harper’s quip lit up the internet, becoming a trending topic on Twitter. Four other ways Harper’s one-liner has reached meme status:

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Mormonism • United States

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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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