March 22nd, 2013
10:39 AM ET
By Kat Kinsman, CNN
(CNN)–All over the world, people gather to celebrate Passover – the holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's escape from slavery in Egypt. For seven or eight days (depending on where you live), families and friends come together for festive seder meals packed with ritual foods and a few dietary restrictions (for instance, no leavened grains).
And while many traditions remain the same the world over, favorite regional recipes can bring communities closer together. Here, families from Israel, Estonia and India share a few of their favorites, courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to make your celebration a little larger in spirit.
March 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – A majority of all major religious groups in the United States, according to a survey released Thursday, support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the country.
From American Jews to Mormons, from Catholics to white evangelical Christians, Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, said the overwhelming support for a pathway to citizenship has been growing in the last few years and is a noticeable reason many in Congress are warming to the idea.
The strongest support for a pathway to citizenship came from Hispanic Catholics, Hispanics Protestants and black Protestants, according to the poll. More than 70 percent of people who identified with those groups supported the immigration change.
Additionally, more than half of all Jewish Americans (67%), Mormons (63%), white Catholics (62%), white mainline Protestants (61%) and white evangelical Protestants (56%) supported the inclusive immigration policy.
“Having all of the groups on one side of this debate is pretty remarkable,” said Jones.
March 20th, 2013
06:04 PM ET
By Rafael Romo, Jose Manuel Rodriguez and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Buenos Aires (CNN) - Less than an hour after he sent Catholic Church leaders in Argentina a letter in 2010 criticizing the way they were handling the debate over same-sex marriage, Marcelo Marquez says his phone rang.
He was surprised to hear the voice on the other end of the line. It was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, and now the pope.
What Bergoglio said at a meeting they scheduled soon afterward was even more surprising, after months of public criticisms from church officials of a push to legalize same-sex marriage in the South American country.
"He told me. ... 'I'm in favor of gay rights and in any case, I also favor civil unions for homosexuals, but I believe that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law,'" said Marquez, a gay rights activist, a self-described devout Catholic and a former theology professor at a Catholic seminary.
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was one of the leaders of the Catholic Church's public charge against legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina. He engaged in a notorious war of words with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, which supported the measure.FULL STORY
March 20th, 2013
04:54 PM ET
By Keith Lovely Jr., CNN
Atlanta (CNN) - Christian recording artists often shy away from controversial subjects in their music and cautiously avoid the use of harsh language, but Christian hip-hop artist Amisho “Sho Baraka” Lewis wanted to do just the opposite with his latest album.
The Atlanta-based 33-year-old’s latest album “Talented Xth” champions not just a picture of Christian salvation but also focuses on education, relationships and social change - all filtered through a biblical worldview.
He told CNN the goal of the album is to challenge listeners to “be exceptional for the benefit of others.”
The album’s title is based on a principle championed by activist, professor and sociologist W.E.B DuBois.
March 20th, 2013
04:03 PM ET
(CNN)–A house is painted in rainbow colors to counteract Westboro Baptist Church neighbors. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.
March 20th, 2013
03:57 PM ET
(CNN)–Erin Burnett tackles Glenn Beck's assertion that "The Bible's" Satan looks like Obama. Was it a joke or something worse?
March 19th, 2013
06:06 AM ET
By Hada Messia and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Rome (CNN) - Through a square bustling with tourists, locals, pilgrims and dignitaries, Pope Francis made his way atop an open-top vehicle on Tuesday en route to a Mass that will officially inaugurate him Bishop of Rome.
He wore the simple iron cross he wore as a cardinal and which he had on when he first appeared to the world as pope.
When the gathered faithful at St. Peter's Square held up babies and young children for him to kiss, he obliged.
He also stepped out of his sports utility vehicle to kiss the head of a man with a physical disability.
Even though at least a dozen security officers in suits walked alongside the SUV as he circled the square, his decision to bypass the Popemobile, which his last two predecessors used, was telling.
The Mercedes Benz G-Class SUV afforded him the kind of direct contact with people he has embraced since becoming pope.
Had he been in the Popemobile, he would have been behind bulletproof glass, which was installed in 1981 after an assassination attempt on John Paul II.
The ceremony - the "Mass inaugurating the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome" - will be short in keeping with the spirit of simplicity embraced by the new Holy Father, the Vatican has said, lasting about two hours.
Francis has already made an impression as a pope of the people, who is concerned about the welfare of the poor. But he inherits a church wracked by a decades-old sexual abuse scandal and claims of corruption in the clergy.FULL STORY
March 19th, 2013
05:55 AM ET
Washington (CNN) – American Catholics are very enthusiastic about the choice of Pope Francis to head the Roman Catholic Church, according to a new national survey.
But a CNN/ORC International survey also indicates that you shouldn't expect them to pay any more attention to the new pope's teachings on issues like birth control than they paid to his predecessors.
"Pope Francis is starting off with a huge reservoir of goodwill in the U.S. Eighty-eight percent of American Catholics questioned in our survey approve of his selection as pope," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
By contrast, an ABC News/Washington Post poll in April, 2005, found only 60% of Americans Catholics approved of the selection of Pope Benedict, the predecessor to Francis.
The new poll's release comes as Francis, known until his election as pope last week as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, is inaugurated Tuesday at a ceremony at the Vatican.
While they support his election as pope, nearly three-quarters of American Catholics say they are more likely to follow their own conscience on difficult moral questions than the teachings of the pope.FULL STORY
March 19th, 2013
05:50 AM ET
By Jose Manuel Rodriguez and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
Buenos Aires (CNN) - Maria Elena Bergoglio was in her home west of Buenos Aires last week when she heard the shocking news: Jorge Mario Bergoglio - her brother - was the new pope.
In the past, she had prayed that the cardinals wouldn't pick him.
"During the previous conclave, I was praying for him not to be elected ... because I didn't want my brother to leave," she told CNN en Español on Monday. "It's a position that was a little selfish."
But this time around, Bergoglio said she changed her tone.
"I prayed that the Holy Spirit would intervene and not listen to me. And it didn't listen to me," she said, laughing. "It did what it wanted."
Last week, soon after the white smoke billowed out from the Sistine Chapel chimney, she heard her brother's voice crackling through the telephone line.
"I almost died," she said. "The telephone rang and my son answered. I heard him say, 'ooooh, God.' I couldn't believe it."FULL STORY
March 18th, 2013
06:54 PM ET
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."
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.