July 27th, 2013
04:58 PM ET
Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - A massive crowd packed Copacabana Beach late Saturday for a prayer service with Pope Francis.
The pope addressed Catholic pilgrims who came for the weeklong World Youth Day celebration.
Organizers said 3 million attended the service. They cited the mayor's office and police for the crowd estimates, which nearly doubled the 1.6 million who came here for a 2006 Rolling Stones concert and matched the 3 million who came for the 2000 millennium celebration.
July 27th, 2013
08:33 AM ET
Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN
(CNN) - At 32, I barely qualify as a millennial.
I wrote my first essay with a pen and paper, but by the time I graduated from college, I owned a cell phone and used Google as a verb.
I still remember the home phone numbers of my old high school friends, but don’t ask me to recite my husband’s without checking my contacts first.
I own mix tapes that include selections from Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I’ve never planned a trip without Travelocity.
Despite having one foot in Generation X, I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation, and because of this, I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.
July 25th, 2013
07:50 PM ET
By Helena Cavendish de Moura, for CNN
RIO DE JANEIRO (CNN) - With a blasting medley of bossa nova music as a prelude, Pope Francis addressed about a million worshippers in Copacabana beach on Thursday, lacing his message to a new generation of Catholics with Brazilian street jargon.
"Bota Fe" - put on faith - was the antidote to what he called growing materialism and discontent, the pontiff said.
"What can we do? Bota Fe," he said. "If we want to have real meaning and fulfillment, as you want and you deserve ... put on faith."
The thread of the pontiff's speech resonated with Brazil's youth, many of whom are expressing disenchantment with their government.
July 25th, 2013
01:12 PM ET
Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - Pope Francis visited one of Rio de Janeiro's most dangerous and impoverished neighborhoods Thursday, saying that no society pushing the poor to the margins can succeed.
"I say: You are not alone; the church is with you; the pope is with you," Francis told residents of the notorious Varginha favela, or slum.
"I carry each of you in my heart, and I make my own the intentions that you carry deep within you: thanksgiving for joys, pleas for help in times of difficulty, a desire for consolation in times of grief and suffering."
Francis, whose concern for the poor has earned him the nickname the "slum pope" in Latin America, is in Brazil through Sunday for World Youth Day, a weeklong Catholic event.
July 24th, 2013
04:13 PM ET
Opinion by Craig Gross, Special to CNN
(CNN) - There are still a lot of details to come out, but here’s one thing we know about Anthony Weiner: He is not a punch line; he is an addict.
I would assume Weiner has always had an uphill battle against being the butt of someone’s joke, just by the nature of his last name. Immaturity has always reigned supreme, and now in the days of Internet memes and Twitter zingers, Weiner seemed ready-made for a scandal.
And yet he managed to get elected to Congress and once had a respectable appearance on "The Daily Show." He was on the rise, a politician ascending.
And then he got busted by the media for tweeting pictures of parts that should remain private to random women.
July 24th, 2013
09:33 AM ET
Rio De Janiero (CNN)– The papal visit is now classified as the highest level of security after an incident involving his motorcade.
The Pope's visit has been raised to "high risk" from "medium risk" after his car got stuck in a crowd of enthusiastic followers on Monday, a Brazilian Federal official told CNN.
The source says the problem in part stemmed from the Pope himself instructing drivers not to avoid the crowds.
July 23rd, 2013
12:47 PM ET
Copacabana Beach, Brazil (CNN) - Don't blame the pope's Swiss Guards if they had nightmares Monday night. There was plenty to disturb their sleep: a mobbed motorcade, a bomb scare and protesters clashing with police.
When Pope Francis arrived here Monday for World Youth Day, a weeklong Catholic event held every few years, the massive security effort was temporarily undermined by a traffic jam.
As the papal motorcade was driving from the airport to the presidential palace, federal officials steered the motorcade into the busiest of several potential routes. As the motorcade slowed, papal admirers swarmed the silver Fiat hatchback carrying Pope Francis, reaching into his open window to touch the pontiff.
A Vatican spokesman said the pope wasn't afraid - but his secretary was.
July 22nd, 2013
04:09 PM ET
By John L. Allen Jr., CNN, and CNN Staff
Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - A small explosive device was found Sunday near a religious shrine in Brazil that Pope Francis is scheduled to visit later this week, Sao Paulo military police announced just few hours after the pope arrived on Monday.
The homemade device was found July 21, during police training in Aparecida, the site of a massive shrine to the Virgin Mary, Brazilian police said. It was constructed out of a small, plastic cylinder and duct tape.
A special tactical group detonated the explosive without causing any injuries, according to the police.
July 22nd, 2013
10:47 AM ET
Rio de Janeiro (CNN) – For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, a Latin-American pope will touch down on his own continent on Monday.
Pope Francis, the 76-year-old Argentine, begins his first apostolic visit Monday in Brazil, home to the world’s largest Catholic population. The pope will be participating in World Youth Day, a weeklong celebration aimed at revitalizing young Catholics, and the church, here and around the world.
Organizers said 400,000 pilgrims from around the world had registered, though the crowds are expected to be much larger as people try to catch a glimpse of the pontiff known as the “people’s pope.” Many of the events with the pope will be open to the public and not just the pilgrims.
July 20th, 2013
10:00 PM ET
Opinion by Reza Aslan, special to CNN
(CNN) - When I was 15 years old, I found Jesus.
I spent the summer of my sophomore year at an evangelical youth camp in Northern California, a place of timbered fields and boundless blue skies, where, given enough time and stillness and soft-spoken encouragement, one could not help but hear the voice of God.
Amid the man-made lakes and majestic pines my friends and I sang songs, played games and swapped secrets, rollicking in our freedom from the pressures of home and school.
In the evenings, we gathered in a fire-lit assembly hall at the center of the camp. It was there that I heard a remarkable story that would change my life forever.
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.