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November 11th, 2011
03:59 PM ET

Washington National Cathedral to reopen this weekend

By Chris Ford, CNN

Washington (CNN) - For 20 years, stone mason Joe Alonso has been charged with maintaining and preserving what he calls “the spiritual home for the nation,” the capital’s National Cathedral.

But his charge changed dramatically on August 23, when Virginia was hit by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that damaged the cathedral, along with landmarks like the Washington Monument.

Alonso now faces the daunting task of repairing a traditional Gothic cathedral, which has been closed to the public since the earthquake and which will reopen Saturday, even as repairs continue.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • DC

Jewish chaplains honored at Arlington National Cemetery
Veterans visit the new Jewish Chaplains Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
October 24th, 2011
06:20 PM ET

Jewish chaplains honored at Arlington National Cemetery

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Standing atop the USAT Dorchester after it had been hit with a German torpedo, four "immortal chaplains" handed out life jackets as the ship sank into the dark Atlantic Ocean on February 3, 1943.

After giving their own life jackets to soldiers, the four chaplains linked arms and began to pray. The men stood together as the lifeboats drifted away; they were last seen singing as the ship began to slip into the horizon.

Three of those chaplains - the Rev. George L. Fox, the Rev. Clark V. Poling, both Protestants, and the Rev. John P. Washington, a Catholic - were memorialized on both their faiths' plaques and the World War II plaque atop Chaplains Hill in Washington's Arlington National Cemetery.

Though the fourth chaplain, Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, was memorialized on the hill's World War II memorial, there was no memorial to Goode's faith, Judaism.

On Monday, Goode and 13 other Jewish chaplains joined their interfaith brethren atop the hill at the unveiling and dedication of the Jewish Chaplains Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: DC • Death • Judaism

National Cathedral expected to reopen in time for 9/11 anniversary
National Cathedral was opened to reporters Thursday for the first time since the Virginia earthquake.
September 1st, 2011
06:27 PM ET

National Cathedral expected to reopen in time for 9/11 anniversary

By Padmananda Rama, CNN

Washington (CNN) - National Cathedral officials intend to reopen its doors in time for 9/11 prayer services, a spokesman said Thursday.

The Washington landmark has been closed since parts of its Gothic structure were damaged during last week's earthquake.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to give a keynote address at an interfaith service at the cathedral on the evening of September 11. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will also speak during a service Friday, September 9.

"I think that if the secretary of defense and President Obama are coming, that means it's safe to be here," cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg told members of the media during a press tour of the cathedral's nave, the first since the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • DC

Quake damage to National Cathedral
August 23rd, 2011
06:04 PM ET

Washington National Cathedral sustains 'significant damage' in earthquake

By Dan Gilgoff and Larry Lazo

Washington (CNN) - Washington’s National Cathedral sustained "significant damage" during Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake, the church said Wednesday, and will remain closed at least through Saturday, when it had planned to host a dedication event for the capital’s new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.

Three of the four corner spires on the church’s dramatic central tower lost their ornate capstones, or finials, during the quake, and there are cracks in some of the church’s flying buttresses.

Called the "Gloria in Excelsis,” the cathedral’s central tower is the highest point in the nation’s capital, rising to a greater height than even the Washington Monument.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church • DC

August 17th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

My Faith: Sen. Joe Lieberman embraces 'the gift of the Sabbath'

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, looks forward to Fridays, when he can get home, switch his BlackBerry off and just be Joe - Hadassah Lieberman's husband, father of four, grandfather of 11.

Lieberman is an observant Jew who has long made a point to put his faith before politics - even if that means a post-sunset vote in the Senate will force him to walk the four miles from the U.S. Capitol to his Georgetown home.

In keeping the fourth commandment to honor the Sabbath to keep it holy, he doesn't work or get in a car or turn on a light.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • DC • Judaism • Politics • Torah • United States

July 11th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

The Dalai Lama's Washington peace talk

Thousands gathered Saturday on the National Mall to hear the Tibetan spiritual leader talk about world peace.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Buddhism • China • DC • Tibet

June 25th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

Sacred Spaces: Inside a Hindu temple

Editor's note: Sacred Spaces is an occasional series on the Belief Blog. In this installment, CNN Senior Photojournalist Anthony Umrani takes us inside Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, a Hindu worship space near Washington, DC.

By Anthony Umrani, CNN

Lanham, Maryland (CNN) - On a cool spring evening just outside Washington, a steady stream of worshipers arrive at Sri Siva Vishnu Temple for prayers. People are dressed in a mixture of colorful Indian attire and customary Western clothing.

In this residential Maryland neighborhood about 12 miles from downtown, the temple stands out with a striking white exterior adorned with statues depicting Hindu gods.

In India, a temple is typically dedicated to one particular god, but the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple has many gods to accommodate the diversity of Indian people in the area.

"We have a wide variety of congregation and each one of them says, 'I want this god' or 'I want that god,' " said S. Krishnamurthy, one of the founder/trustees of the temple.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • DC • Hinduism • Houses of worship • United States

Why Ralph Reed matters
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) (L) exchanges contact information with conservative leader Ralph Reed during the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.
June 3rd, 2011
07:09 AM ET

Why Ralph Reed matters

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - On Friday and Saturday, just about every Republican hoping for a shot at the GOP nomination for president will metaphorically kiss the ring of Ralph Reed and schmooze his conference crowd.

The political powerhouse is throwing the event of the moment in Washington, DC - the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference.

Among those pondering or having acknowledged presidential aspirations: Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum are all scheduled to take the stage and address the 1,000 conference attendees and 250 credentialed members of the media. Newt Gingrich, who spoke last year, is sending in a video.

They will be joined by Donald Trump, Glenn Beck and Marco Rubio on the speakers schedule. It is a veritable who's who of Republican presidential contenders and conservative political power players.

They are all coming because Reed is known as an evangelical whisperer.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • DC • Politics • United States

Clinton swears in new ambassador for religious freedom
June 2nd, 2011
10:18 PM ET

Clinton swears in new ambassador for religious freedom

By Jamie Crawford, CNN National Security Producer

Washington (CNN)– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed a "leader in bridging faith and public service" Thursday as she swore in Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as ambassador at-large for international religious freedom.

In her role, Cook will serve as a principal adviser on religious freedom to President Barack Obama and Clinton, as well as head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the State Department.

The office seeks to shine a light on everything from authoritarian regimes that impede freedom of worship for their citizens to violent extremists who work to exploit sectarian tensions.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • DC • Foreign policy • Hillary Clinton • Politics • United States

Report on Catholic priests' sex abuse of minors finds no single cause
Karen Terry, the lead investigator from John Jay College, addresses the media regarding a new report on sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests.
May 18th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Report on Catholic priests' sex abuse of minors finds no single cause

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - "No single 'cause' of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests" was identified in a wide-ranging report released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday.

The report was presented by a group of researchers from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and was commissioned by the bishops group after determining the need for an outside group to review not only the scope of the Catholic sexual abuse crisis in the United States but to try to determine the cause.

The researchers found:

- Less than 5% of the priests who faced allegations were clinically diagnosed as pedophiles.

- Most priests who received treatment following allegations of abuse of a minor also reported sexual behavior with an adult.

- Researchers found no specific markers that would have been apparent across the board to disqualify candidates for the priesthood.

- Sexual orientation, specifically gayness, was not the cause of child sexual abuse by priests.

- The majority of abuse cases happened in the 1960s and 1970s and there was a sharp decline in the number of cases that began in the 1980s and continues today.

- Guidelines set up by the church to deal with the crisis when it came to light, including calling in civil authorities, were not adequately followed by most dioceses.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • DC • Sex abuse • United States

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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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