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Papal diplomacy is not just pomp and circumstance
March 14th, 2013
09:42 PM ET

Papal diplomacy is not just pomp and circumstance

By Jamie Crawford, CNN
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As Pope Francis assumes his role as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, he is also the newest head of a sovereign state that accepts and accredits foreign envoys while sending its own diplomats around the globe to advance its interests.

There currently are 179 diplomatic missions with ties to the Vatican.

To the casual observer, the post may seem like a dream assignment, full of pomp and circumstance in one of the world's most historic and beautiful cities. But there is more to the job than what meets the eye.

"It's really in a unique position to engage with the world's largest faith-based organization," Miguel Diaz, the most recent U.S. envoy to the Holy See, told CNN. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate a successor to Diaz, who stepped down in November.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

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

March 14th, 2013
02:22 PM ET

5 things to know about the new pope

(CNN) - From the Vatican to Buenos Aires, Catholics worldwide rejoiced when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became the new pope.

He's the first Jesuit and the first Latin American in modern times to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

But in some ways, he's just a normal guy.

Here are five things to know about Pope Francis.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

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

March 14th, 2013
02:20 PM ET

On first day, new pope urges courage 'to build the church with the blood of Christ'

Vatican City (CNN) - Pope Francis on Thursday emphasized church advancement in his first Mass with the cardinals who elected him as pontiff a day earlier.

With solemnity, he delivered a homily about moving the Catholic Church forward to the cardinal electors, who were dressed in light yellow robes. Altar servers burned incense in the Sistine Chapel, the setting for the Mass.

He didn't appear to use a script and kept the sermon short, calling on the cardinals to have courage.

"When we don't walk, we are stuck. When we don't build on the rock, what happens? It's what happens to children when they build a sand castle and it all then falls down," the new pontiff said.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

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

March 14th, 2013
10:07 AM ET

Dolan: Conclave 'not all fun and games'

(CNN)–Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, shares details on the papal conclave with CNN's Chris Cuomo.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope

March 14th, 2013
09:07 AM ET

My Take: What it means for one of my brothers to become pope


Editor's Note: Father James Martin is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine and author of the The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

By Father James Martin, special to CNN

(CNN) - Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope in history.  When I heard his name announced, after shouting aloud, my first thought was how improbable it all was.  But why?  Why was a Jesuit pope so hard for people (including me) to imagine?  And what would St. Ignatius Loyola, the 16th-century founder of the Jesuit Order (more formally known as the Society of Jesus), have thought?

Let’s take that first question first.  Why was it so improbable?  For two reasons.

First, most cardinals come from the ranks of the diocesan clergy.  That is, most study in diocesan seminaries and are trained to work in the more familiar Catholic settings of parishes - celebrating Masses, baptizing children, presiding at marriages and working closely with families in their parish.  Their lives are perhaps more easily understood by the public at large.  They begin as parish priests, and later are appointed bishops and archbishops and, later, are named cardinals by the pope.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope

March 13th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

From public transport to the Popemobile: Bergoglio's journey to top of church

(CNN) - For the first time in the modern era, a non-European was elected Wednesday to lead the church as pope.

Stepping into that historic role is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, who will be called Pope Francis. He is the first pontiff from South America.

With its approximately 480 million adherents, Latin America is home to an overwhelming plurality of the world's Catholics. By choosing him, the cardinals sent a strong message about where the future of the church may lie.

Francis, 76, served as the archbishop of Buenos Aires.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

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

March 13th, 2013
06:29 PM ET

CNN Vatican analyst: Pope Francis' name choice 'precedent shattering'

(CNN) - Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, the new pope, is breaking historic ground by choosing the name Francis.

It's the first time the name is being used by a pope, said CNN Vatican expert John Allen.

Pope Francis chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, said Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica.

"Cardinal Bergoglio had a special place in his heart and his ministry for the poor, for the disenfranchised, for those living on the fringes and facing injustice," Rosica said.

St. Francis, one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, was known for connecting with fellow Christians, Rosica added.

Allen described the name selection as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

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

Pope Francis: First Catholic leader from Latin America
March 13th, 2013
02:38 PM ET

Pope Francis: First Catholic leader from Latin America

Rome (CNN) - Pope Francis, the first non-European pontiff of the modern era, revealed himself to the world from a balcony at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Jorge Bergogolio, who served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, took the name Francis shortly after being elected by cardinals in what was apparently the fifth round of voting on the second day of the conclave.

"As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome," Francis told a cheering crowd of thousands packed into St. Peter's Square.

"It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from faraway. ... Here I am. I would like to thank you for your embrace."

The new pope called on the thousands packed into the square - and those watching around the world - to pray for him before he delivered a blessing.

Bergogolio, 76, is the first pope to take the name after St. Francis of Assisi, revered among Catholics for his work with the poor.

The new pontiff is considered a straight shooter who calls things as he sees them, and a follower of the church's most conservative wing.

Live blog: Argentina's Bergogolio elected new pope

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Vatican

Black smoke after first votes on 2nd day of conclave to pick new pope
March 13th, 2013
11:40 AM ET

Black smoke after first votes on 2nd day of conclave to pick new pope

By Laura Smith-Spark, Hada Messia and Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Black smoke poured from the chimney fixed to the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday morning, indicating that the cardinals' first two votes of the day were inconclusive.

The 115 voting cardinals are taking part in the second day of the secretive conclave to elect a new pope.

They will have two more opportunities to vote later Wednesday.

A two-thirds majority is required to confirm a new pontiff to step into the shoes left empty by the historic resignation of Benedict XVI at the end of last month.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

Obama: An American pope would 'preside just as effectively'
March 13th, 2013
10:17 AM ET

Obama: An American pope would 'preside just as effectively'

By Ashley Killough, CNN
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(CNN) – As cardinals gather at the Vatican to elect a new pope, President Barack Obama said he believes U.S. politics wouldn't stand in the way of an American pope doing his job.

"It seems to me that an American pope would preside just as effectively as a Polish pope or an Italian pope or a Guatemalan pope," the president said in an interview that aired Wednesday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Since Benedict XVI resigned at the end of last month, some American names have circulated in media reports as possible contenders for the papacy, including U.S. cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston and Timothy Dolan of New York.

Critics argue an American pope would be controversial, saying the Vatican would then be too closely tied to Washington.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Pope • Vatican

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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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