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January 23rd, 2013
05:27 AM ET

Cubans pray for a Chavez recovery

Reliant on Venezuelan oil, Cubans worry how Hugo Chavez's health will affect the country. Patrick Oppmann reports.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Cuba • Prayer

January 9th, 2013
05:38 AM ET

Saint-like prayer for Chavez

Praying for Hugo Chavez has been a divine inspiration for some in Venezuela. CNN's Paula Newton reports.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Catholic Church • Venezuela

Some believe Friday is doomsday on the Mayan calendar; the Mayans don't
Image from Mayan calendar found in Guatemala.
December 20th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Some believe Friday is doomsday on the Mayan calendar; the Mayans don't

By Ben Brumfield and Nick Parker, CNN

Merida, Mexico (CNN) - There may be no one left on earth to say TGIF this week.

Some believe the world is coming to an end Friday - on 12/21/12 - which is when an important phase on the ancient calendar of the Mayan people terminates.

Mayans don't buy it.

At least the ones living in the city of Merida, Mexico don't. Neither does the Mayan village of Yaxuna. They know the calendar their ancestors left them is about to absolve a key phase, which means the end of an era and the heralding of a new one, but they don't think we're all gonna die.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Mexico

August 2nd, 2012
08:20 AM ET

Snoop Dogg is a Rasta now, so what's Rastafari?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Rapper Snoop Dogg announced Monday that he's burying his name and old career, all because of a religious experience with Rastafari, an Afrocentric religion with origins in Jamaica. Snoop Dogg wants to be called Snoop Lion and instead of rapping on his latest album now he'll be singing reggae.

"I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion," he said at a Monday press conference. "I didn't know that until I went to the temple, where the high priest asked me what my name was, and I said, 'Snoop Dogg.' And he looked me in my eyes and said, 'No more. You are the light; you are the lion.'

"From that moment on," Snoop said, "it's like I had started to understand why I was there."

Snoop Lion has a new single, "La la la," and a documentary "Reincarnated," which follows his recent trip to Jamaica and chronicles his conversion experience. It debuts at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

So what exactly is Rastafari? Here are some basic questions and answers:

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Americas • Culture & Science • Media • Music • Race

Ratio of evangelicals in Brazil jumps 44% in 10 years
A shot of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
June 29th, 2012
04:33 PM ET

Ratio of evangelicals in Brazil jumps 44% in 10 years

By Shasta Darlington, CNN

Sao Paulo (CNN) – The number of evangelical Christians s in Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic country, has soared over the last decade, from 15% of the population in 2000 to to 22% of the population in 2010, according to a report issued on Friday.

Over the same period, the proportion of Catholic Brazilians fell from 74% of the population to to 65%, Brazil’s National Statistics Institute reported.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Christianity

My Take: Cuban cars, Santeria, and the spirit of improvisation
A Santeria oricha, similar to a saint, in Trinidad, Cuba.
June 9th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

My Take: Cuban cars, Santeria, and the spirit of improvisation

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - On a recent trip to Cuba, I was surprised to see so many classic cars. I knew Havana was famous for its 1950s Fords, Chevrolets, and Oldsmobiles, but I had no idea how prevalent “cacharros” were in small towns and big cities alike.

When I asked a friend, the proud owner of a 1953 Ford, how Cubans kept all these cars running, he told me that they make things up as they go along. But this spirit of improvisation isn’t limited to adapting blender parts for your Mercedes-Benz engine. It’s evident in Cuban music, the Cuban economy and the Cuban-born religion of Santeria.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Cuba • Virgin Mary

Chavez: 'I still have things to do. ... do not take me yet'
Cuban President Raul Castro, left, greeted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez upon his arrival last week.
April 6th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Chavez: 'I still have things to do. ... do not take me yet'

By Catherine E. Shoichet and Nelson Quinones, CNN

(CNN) - An emotional Hugo Chavez discussed his struggle with cancer Thursday night, tearing up at times as he spoke at a Mass in western Venezuela.

"Christ ... give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country. Do not take me yet," the Venezuelan president said.

At a service in his home state of Barinas billed by state television as giving thanks for his health, Chavez described cancer as "a true threat that marks the end of the path for many people. The end of the physical path, that's the truth."

But Chavez stressed that he was recovering, saying he had "much faith, much hope, much willpower to defeat this threat, as many people have, with the help of God and medical science."

He ended his sometimes somber, sometimes jocular remarks at the Holy Thursday Mass with what he said was his message for God.

"Give me your crown, Christ, give it to me. Let me bleed. Give me your cross, 100 crosses, so I can carry them. But give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country," Chavez said. "Do not take me yet. Give me your cross, give me your thorns, give me your blood. I am prepared to carry it. But with life, Christ. Amen."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Americas • Christianity • Venezuela

March 28th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Pope extols Christ, not politics, at Cuba Mass

From Mariano Castillo and David Ariosto, CNN

Havana, Cuba (CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI spoke in general terms, saying "Cuba and the world need change," but steered clear of political statements during a Mass he celebrated in Havana's Revolution Plaza on Wednesday.

The pope said that such change can come only if "each one is prepared to ask for the truth and if they decide to take the path of love, sowing reconciliation and brotherhood."

Earlier in his trip, the pontiff had prayed for "those deprived of freedom" and told reporters that Cuba's Marxist political system "no longer corresponds to reality."

Many in Cuba and around the world listened closely to the pope's homily at the enormous open-air Mass to see if the pontiff would expand or be more forceful in his apparent criticisms.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Cuba • Pope Benedict XVI

March 28th, 2012
11:32 AM ET

Seminary is Cuba’s first Catholic building since revolution

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN

Havana, Cuba (CNN) - Driving out of Havana on the four-lane and mostly empty Carretera Central, it’s easy to miss the future of the Catholic Church in Cuba.

But on the left hand side of the highway is the San Carlos and Ambrosio Seminary, looking more like one of the many sprawling Spanish resort hotels that dot the Caribbean island.

“We are shaping Cuba’s priests of tomorrow here,” said the Rev. Jose Miguel Gonzalez, the seminary’s rector and a Spanish priest, who has worked in Cuba for 12 years.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Cuba

March 27th, 2012
01:41 PM ET

Gallery: Pope's trip to Cuba

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Cuba

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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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