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Vatican official defends Pope Benedict in sex abuse scandal
February 6th, 2012
08:29 PM ET

Vatican official defends Pope Benedict in sex abuse scandal

By CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A top Roman Catholic official opened a conference on protecting children from sexual abuse Monday by defending Pope Benedict XVI, arguing that he deserved thanks for his efforts.

Cardinal William Levada said Benedict, before becoming pope, enacted many of the reforms that followed the eruption of the church's sex-abuse scandal a decade ago.

"But the pope has had to suffer attacks by the media over these past years in various parts of the world, when he should receive the gratitude of us all, in the church and outside it," Levada said in his opening address to the conference.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

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

My take: Why Christians are criticizing my Christian marriage and sex book
January 24th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

My take: Why Christians are criticizing my Christian marriage and sex book

Editor’s note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington.

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

You try to write a book on marriage and sex with your wife and next thing you know there are a lot of ants crashing your picnic.

My wife, Grace, and I recently published "Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together," which quickly became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller.

In it, we’re brutally honest about our past struggles, share the lessons we learned along the way and talk frankly about sex. Criticism has ensued.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion • Sex

January 13th, 2012
03:29 PM ET

Pastor and wife preach married sex with 24-hour 'bed-in'

By Lindy Royce-Bartlett, CNN

(CNN) - A pastor encouraging his congregation to have sex? It may sound unlikely, but it’s what one prominent Texas pastor is doing this weekend, with a 24 hour rooftop “bed-in” with his wife.

To encourage members of his congregation and others to take part in what he calls a “sexperiment,” Dallas pastor Ed Young and his wife Lisa began staging a "bed-in" on Friday morning, laying in a bed on the roof of their Texas church for 24 hours.

They say they want to illustrate that sex begins in heaven.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Sex

January 8th, 2012
11:20 PM ET

Church asks for seven days of sex

(CNN) – Several years ago Texas preacher Ed Young called on married couples in his congregation to have sex everyday for a week. He documents this "sexperiment" in a new book he coauthored with his wife Lisa Young.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Sex • Sexuality • Texas • United States

Pastor’s detailed book on sex divides reviewers, sparks controversy
January 6th, 2012
07:10 AM ET

Pastor’s detailed book on sex divides reviewers, sparks controversy

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Mark Driscoll, the pastor of a megachurch in the Seattle area, understands the uniqueness of a man in his profession coauthoring a book about sex with his wife. From the chapter on biblical approval of detailed types of sex to the chapter titled “Selfish Lovers and Servant Lovers,” the book is far from a timid look at a usually private subject.

And that has struck a nerve with a large swath of believers whose reactions have propelled the book to a trending topic on Twitter and has elicited responses that range from praise to disgust.

“Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship and Life Together” released on Tuesday.  The book was written by Driscoll and his wife, Grace, to, in Mark’s words, “compel married couples to have important conversations about important things.”

In the first half of the book, the Driscolls discuss their own sexual issues using the lessons they learned to discuss how to reignite a marriage whose flame may have gone out. The book’s second half, which is getting most of the negative attention, discusses sex in detail.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Books • Sex • Sexuality

‘Plan B’ decision puts pro-life groups, bloggers in an unfamiliar position
December 9th, 2011
04:21 AM ET

‘Plan B’ decision puts pro-life groups, bloggers in an unfamiliar position

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The decision by Kathleen Sebelius to keep age restrictions on the purchase of the “morning after pill” puts some conservative religious groups in an unfamiliar position – endorsing a move by the Obama administration.

Groups like the Family Research Council, who regularly find themselves on the opposite end of decisions made by the Obama administration, came out in support of the administration and in particular, Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was right to reject the FDA recommendation to make this potent drug available over the counter to young girls,” stated a release by the pro-life Family Research Council.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Abortion • Politics • Sex

My Take: On Thanksgiving, Puritans gave thanks for sex and booze
An 18th century illustration of the first Thanksgiving.
November 22nd, 2011
09:25 AM ET

My Take: On Thanksgiving, Puritans gave thanks for sex and booze

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

When we think of the New England Puritans who gave to us Thanksgiving, we tend to run to predictable nouns, including killjoy and prude.

But Thanksgiving is a festival, which is to say it was made for fun. And New England’s Puritans were by no means allergic to fun.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Holidays • Sex • Thanksgiving

September 13th, 2011
09:44 AM ET

Top Irish Catholic cleric calls for church to end celibacy for priests

By Peter Taggart, CNN

Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) - A respected former Catholic bishop in Ireland is calling for an end to clerical celibacy in the wake of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church worldwide, and says he finds it "heartbreaking" that some prospective priests turn away from the calling because of the celibacy rule.

In his recently published book, "A Troubled See, Memoirs of a Derry Bishop," Dr. Edward Daly said that allowing clergymen to marry would ease many of the church's problems.

There needs to be a place in the modern Catholic church for a married priesthood, said Daly, a prominent figure in the Catholic church in Ireland and the most senior Irish cleric to question the Vatican's celibacy rule.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Ireland • Sex

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
After avoiding talk about sex from the pulpit for years, pastors are now speaking out against porn.
August 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - He is a good Christian, Michael is telling his two therapists. He goes to church most Sundays. He’s a devoted husband and father of two daughters.

“But when I would leave on business trips,” he says, “I knew I was going to get to be someone else.”

“Prostitutes, porn - I took anything I wanted.”

Sitting on a comfortable, worn couch, Michael glances out the window and sees a reflection of himself set against the parking lot of this suburban Atlanta office building. He fidgets, runs his fingers over his closely cropped blond hair and straightens his green tennis polo. He clears his throat.

Above his head hangs a poster covered in words describing feelings - angry, anxious, sad. On it is a big yellow cross.

Therapists Richard Blankenship and Mark Richardson wear solemn but empathetic expressions. Certified counselors and Christian ministers, they tell him they know how to listen and nod for him to continue.

“I’ve had a record of purity since March when I confessed to my wife,” says Michael, whose name has been changed by CNN.com to protect his privacy. “No porn, no masturbation.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

When does a pastor tainted by scandal deserve forgiveness?
Bishop Eddie Long hugs supporter at New Birth Missionary Church after allegations that he pressured men into sexual relationships went public.
June 23rd, 2011
02:15 PM ET

When does a pastor tainted by scandal deserve forgiveness?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - “Who am I to judge?” “That’s between him and God.” “God has already forgiven him.”

When a church is hit by a pastor’s scandal, parishioners face a choice: Remain at the house or worship or move on. Those that stay often cite the reasons above - God has already forgiven the pastor so why shouldn’t I?

That’s the kind of thinking that annoyed a Missouri seminary professor so much that he wrote a blistering open letter in the online magazine Religion Dispatches last week attacking its rationale. Lerone A. Marti, an assistant professor of American religious history at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, wrote that church folks who stick by unrepentant pastors have a lot to learn about forgiveness and accountability.

What set Martin off was the latest entry in the Bishop Eddie Long saga. Long, senior pastor of an Atlanta megachurch, was sued last year by four young men who claimed he pressured them into sexual relationships.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Ethics • Faith • Pastors • Sex • Uncategorized

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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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