July 2nd, 2013
02:55 PM ET
Vatican: Pope John Paul II close to sainthood
By Hada Messia and Brian Todd, CNN
Rome (CNN) - The Catholic Church is on the verge of declaring late Pope John Paul II a saint, a Vatican source familiar with the process told CNN on Tuesday.
The committee that considers candidates for sainthood voted Tuesday to credit the late pope with a second miracle, the source said, asking not to be named discussing internal Vatican deliberations.
It is not clear which of several miracles under consideration would be credited to the late pope. Pope Francis must now sign off on the decision before it is official.
John Paul was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, and was essentially the first rock star pontiff – drawing vast crowds as he criss-crossed the globe.
July 2nd, 2013
11:58 AM ET
CNN exclusive: Catholic monk not beheaded by Syrian rebels, friar says
By Mohammed Jamjoom and Daniel Burke, CNN
Jerusalem (CNN) - A Catholic monk was not among the men beheaded in a gruesome video circulating online, a friar who oversees Franciscans in the Middle East told CNN in an exclusive interview.
Father Franҫois Mourad, a Syrian, was shot eight times and killed June 23 at a Catholic monastery in Gassanieh, said Friar Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.
Mourad was buried the same day in a nearby village, the friar said.
A nine-minute video, which appears to have been shot with a handheld device, shows three men being beheaded on a grassy hill while a crowd shouts, “Allahu Akbar!” - Arabic for God is great. It is not clear where or when the video was shot.
A number of Catholic websites in the United States have posted the video online, saying that Mourad was among the three beheaded men.
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.