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September 29th, 2010
04:44 PM ET

UK political drama follows biblical pattern

CNN's Richard Allen Greene posts from London:

Today's dramatic announcement by British politician David Miliband - once widely expected to succeed Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party - that he is stepping back from front-line politics completes a chapter in a political psycho-drama that has transfixed the British political classes for months.

You see, it's not just any upstart who beat David Miliband (pictured, right) to the leadership post. It's his younger brother, Ed (pictured, left).

Commentators here have been dragging out parallels of other brothers as they struggle to explain what happened, but they seem to have missed the obvious comparison: Jacob and Esau.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Bible • Britain • Europe • Judaism • United Kingdom

September 15th, 2010
06:25 PM ET

Why is Benedict coming to Britain?

London, England (CNN) - As the United Kingdom braces to receive one of the best-known and most controversial figures on the planet, Pope Benedict XVI, a question hangs over the state visit: Why is he coming?

The leader of the world's 1 billion-plus Catholics does not particularly like to travel, Benedict biographer David Gibson says.

Since a high-profile visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories nearly a year-and-a-half ago, he's gone only to a handful of small countries not far from Rome - racking up nothing like the number of air miles logged by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

And the United Kingdom is not a Catholic country. On the contrary, Britain's break from Rome in the 16th century echoes, if faintly, to the present day, with laws on the books forbidding the heir to the British throne from marrying a Catholic.

Read the full story here.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Britain • Catholic Church • Europe • Pope Benedict XVI

September 15th, 2010
06:11 PM ET

Anger awaits pope on landmark UK visit

London, England (CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Britain this week amid criticism over the landmark visit's cost to taxpayers and anger over the Vatican's record on child abuse and human rights.

A huge security operation is being mounted to protect the pontiff during his four-day tour - the first papal state visit to Britain - bumping estimated costs beyond £20 million ($31 million), with over half coming from government funds.

Tens of thousands are expected to greet Benedict at public Masses in the cities of Glasgow, Birmingham, and London and on the sidelines of meetings with political leaders, royalty and bridge-building events with Anglican Church officials

Benedict's September 16-19 trip is scheduled to culminate in the beatification of British Cardinal John Henry Newman, a Catholic convert who died in 1890 and is credited with helping rebuild Britain's Catholic community.

But with apathy and anger denting the UK's Catholic following (estimated at 9 percent of the population), the atmosphere greeting Benedict is expected to be very different from that festivities which met a pastoral visit 28 years ago by his predecessor John Paul II.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Britain • Catholic Church • Europe • Pope Benedict XVI

July 11th, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Women bishops vote threatens to split Church of England

The Church of England inched closer to allowing women bishops this weekend, with a vote that traditionalists warned could split the church.

The church's governing body narrowly rejected a measure that would allow parishes that oppose women bishops to have an additional male bishop.

The proposal, floated by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (pictured) - the titular head of the Church of England - was an attempt to satisfy conservatives.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Anglican • Britain • Christianity • Episcopal

July 9th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

Europe's burqa wars: broad support for banning veils

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Legislation banning full veils for Muslim women is now under consideration across Western Europe.

On April 30, Belgium's lower house voted to ban Muslim women from wearing veils that cover their full faces. On June 30, a Tory MP introduced in the UK a Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill that would make it illegal for anyone to cover their face in public. And on July 6 the French parliament began debating legislation that would outlaw the wearing of burqas and niqabs in public places.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belgium • Britain • Culture wars • Europe • France • Islam • Polls • Religious liberty

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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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