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March 12th, 2013
04:32 PM ET

Where Christianity grows, Africans make case for African pope

(CNN) - Unity. Faith. Peace. Support.

These words were common among the 20,000 messages received when CNN and mobile technology company Jana.com carried out a mobile phone survey in 11 countries asking Africans: What would be the impact of an African pope on the continent, or you?

The results provide a fascinating insight into faith on the continent, where Christianity is growing.

FULL STORY

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Catholic Church • Pope

BLACK SMOKE: No pope tonight
March 12th, 2013
03:12 PM ET

BLACK SMOKE: No pope tonight

By Laura Smith-Spark, Richard Allen Greene and Dan Rivers, CNN

Rome (CNN) - Black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Tuesday night, indicating that cardinals gathered at the Vatican to elect a new pope had not chosen one in the first ballot of their conclave.

The start of the secret election got underway earlier in the day, as the heavy wooden doors to the chapel swung closed on the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals charged with selecting the next pontiff.

The next round of voting will begin Wednesday morning. Results will be revealed by puffs of smoke from the chimney following each ballot.

Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.

On a day rich with symbolism, the scarlet-clad cardinals entered the Sistine Chapel in solemn procession, chanting prayers and watched over by the paintings of Renaissance artist Michelangelo.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope

Enhance your conclave experience technologically
Want the latest news out of the conclave to pick the next pope? There's an app for that.
March 12th, 2013
01:04 PM ET

Enhance your conclave experience technologically

By Kelly Marshall Smoot, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Hoping to enhance the conclave experience, some new apps and websites are using technology to bring a centuries-old, top-secret tradition of selecting the next pontiff one that still relies on smoke signals to Catholics and pope watchers around the world.

Logos Bible Software designed Conclave, a free app, and had a working prototype within 48 hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced he intended to resign.

"At first we thought we didn't have time for it, and then we decided to go for it," said Andrew Jones, director of Catholic products for Logos Bible Software, about the process of developing the app. "Never before has technology been so accessible for such a specific task. Generating a new piece of software this quickly, or customizing it for such a brief event, was previously unheard of."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

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

Survey: Africans ready for African pope
March 12th, 2013
08:05 AM ET

Survey: Africans ready for African pope

By Sarah Brown, CNN

What are your thoughts on who the next Pope could, or should be? Tell us

(CNN) - Thousands of Africans have expressed their hopes that the next pope will be the first from their continent - with a majority believing it would mean the Catholic Church becoming more conservative.

The survey of 20,000 people, conducted on mobile phones across 11 nations, also exposed big divisions among Africans about the future direction of the church, including faith, homosexuality and race.

"An African pope will bring about more unity on the continent and confidence in Africans," said one woman from Zimbabwe, while a young Nigerian man polled said an African pope "will eradicate immoralities, such as same-sex marriage."

CNN commissioned the survey, partnering with Jana.com, which has pioneered polling in developing countries with fast-growing mobile networks.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

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

Papal conclave: By the numbers
American Cardinals head to a special Mass Tuesday at St. Peter's Basilica before they enter the conclave to elect a new pope.
March 12th, 2013
04:38 AM ET

Papal conclave: By the numbers

Rome (CNN) - The conclave in numbers:

115: Number of cardinal electors in the conclave to elect the new pope

67: Number of cardinal electors appointed by Benedict XVI

48: Number of cardinal electors appointed by John Paul II

77: Number of votes to be elected pope (2/3 of 115, rounded up)

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II

March 12th, 2013
04:01 AM ET

Answering the call to priesthood

(CNN)–CNN's Chris Cuomo chats with two young New Yorkers who, despite sacrifices, are working to join priesthood.

- CNN Belief Blog

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

Cardinals gather one last time before conclave to elect new pope
March 11th, 2013
07:48 PM ET

Cardinals gather one last time before conclave to elect new pope

By Michael Pearson. Richard Allen Greene and Dan Rivers, CNN

Rome (CNN) - The Sistine Chapel is ready. The new pope's clothes are laid out. Now it's up to the cardinals.

The work to elect a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI begins in earnest Tuesday, with a morning Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.

The service - open to the public - will be the last public event featuring the 115 cardinals who will choose the new spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Cardinals taking part in the process will then walk to the Sistine Chapel, chanting prayers as they go, to begin the secret election called the conclave.

After that, the only clue the world will have of what is happening inside will be periodic puffs of smoke from a copper chimney installed over the weekend in the Sistine Chapel.

Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Dolan charms worshippers at Rome Mass
Cardinal Timothy Dolan waves to supporters after celebrating Mass at this titular church in Rome.
March 10th, 2013
11:51 AM ET

Cardinal Dolan charms worshippers at Rome Mass

By Chris Cuomo and Eric Marrapodi, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='ChrisCuomo'] [twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

Rome (CNN) - Crowds lined the walls and spilled out the front door of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Monte Mario on Sunday to catch a glimpse of the gregarious American Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, who smiled broadly as he came into the church, stopping to wave to photographers and kiss a baby whose parents were holding him up.

Dolan has made the short lists of some Vatican watchers as a likely choice to be elected as the next pope by the College of Cardinals, a designation called "papabili" in Italian.

A local officiant began the service by saying it was great to have Dolan at the church close to Easter.

"All these people are showing the power of the church," he said.

Dolan thanked the officiant in Italian.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Italy • Mass • Pope • Vatican

March 7th, 2013
09:03 AM ET

My Take: The pope is irrelevant

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) - Earlier this week I was sitting in my office with a Catholic student discussing the upcoming election of the new pope.  “It’s irrelevant,” she told me, adding that none of her Catholic friends care who the next pope will be, nor should they.

For much of American history, the pope was anything but irrelevant. Throughout the 19th century, Protestants feared him, concerned he and his minions were plotting to take over the United States from afar and replace our Constitution with their canon law. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Polls • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • United States

Celibacy for priests a hot issue, just not for church leaders
A young priest runs through St. Peter's Square before Pope Benedict XVI's final audience.
March 5th, 2013
10:36 PM ET

Celibacy for priests a hot issue, just not for church leaders

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN

(CNN)–For centuries, the Vatican has required celibacy from its priests.

It is a vow the Catholic Church says not only underscores the commitment of seminarians to their vocation but also is a model of Christ’s own celibacy.

But with the election of a new pope, many church watchers are wondering whether church teachings could change to allow all priests to marry.

Currently, the Vatican allows married Anglican priests who join the Catholic Church to become ordained as priests. Young Catholic seminarians, meanwhile, must remain celibate, and church leadership seems unlikely to move on the issue.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope

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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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