March 18th, 2013
06:54 PM ET

Pope's openness to keep guards on their toes

By Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd, CNN<

(CNN)–Pope Francis got an enthusiastic reaction when he spontaneously engaged the crowd with handshakes and hugs on Sunday, but that style might conflict with security considerations, experts say.

"There he was, standing right in front of me reaching out his hand and smiling," said John Bingham, a reporter who got to shake the pope's hand. "It was incredibly different from any pope that I've ever seen at work before."

As the pontiff darted over to the barricades and even went out the gate that opens onto a public street, expressions of concern can be seen on the faces of security officers accompanying him.

"They really looked like they didn't quite know what to make of the situation," said Bingham, who covers religion for the Daily Telegraph in the UK. "I think we saw the car moved five times, just as they desperately tried to work out what he was thinking, what he was going to do."


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

March 18th, 2013
01:59 PM ET

Producer: Claim of Obama-Satan likeness nonsense

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – The third episode of the History Channel's miniseries “The Bible” was supposed to be remembered for the brutality of Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar, the strength of Daniel in the lion’s den, and the birth of Jesus Christ.

But after viewers claimed there was a striking resemblance between Satan’s human form and President Barack Obama, that probably won't be the case.

Buzz on Twitter quickly grew. According to Topsy.com on Monday, there were an estimated 20,000 tweets containing the words “Obama” and “Satan” since the 9:00 p.m. ET hour on Sunday, the hour in which Satan appears in the two-hour show.

In a statement, miniseries producer Mark Burnett called claims there was a resemblance "utter nonsense."

Burnett said the actor who played Satan, Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, "is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics - including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President."


- Dan Merica

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bible

March 18th, 2013
10:39 AM ET

Pope Francis energizes world's Catholics

(CNN)–CNN's Ben Wedeman looks at how the personable character of Pope Francis is energizing Catholics around the world.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Francis • Vatican

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.