June 22nd, 2012
03:18 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - A Philadelphia sex abuse trial in which a jury reached a mixed verdict on a church higher-up accused of protecting sexually abusive priests was closely watched for its national implications.
Monsignor William Lynn was convicted of one count of child endangerment on Friday, and victims groups hope that conviction will pave the way for prosecutors across the country to go after church officials - and not just accused priests - in confronting sex abuse.
The three-month trial's more immediate effect, though, is the especially acute toll it has taken in Philadelphia, historically one of the nation’s most Catholic cities.
“The Philadelphia Catholic culture holds the priests in great esteem, and this has really destroyed that pristine image of the Philadelphia Catholic priest,” says Jim Martin, a Jesuit priest who was born and raised in Philadelphia.
June 20th, 2012
02:40 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A Philadelphia jury was unable to reach a verdict Wednesday on four of five charges in a landmark priest sex abuse case, according to a source familiar with the proceeding.
There appear to be two holdouts, and the judge has ordered jurors to keep deliberating, the source said. It is not clear which charges could not be agreed upon.
Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said the panel says it has developed "firm, fixed opinions" and "entrenched positions," rendering it unable to return a verdict after 12 days of deliberations.
Monsignor William Lynn is considered the first high-ranking church official to be charged in the three-month-long trial.FULL STORY
February 21st, 2012
01:03 AM ET
By The CNN Wire Staff
PHILADELPHIA (CNN) - Jury selection begins Tuesday in the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese trial, a case experts have called one of the most sweeping sex abuse scandals in America.
The Philadelphia scandal could open a historic chapter in the abuse crisis, church watchers say, changing the way the American criminal justice system deals with such alleged cases.
A grand jury last year charged four priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care.
February 1st, 2012
07:22 AM ET
By Sarah Hoye and Dan Gilgoff, CNN
Philadelphia's Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua has died at the age of 88, the city's Catholic archdiocese announced.
The announcement Tuesday comes as the archdiocese faces one of the most sweeping sex abuse scandals in America.
The allegations date from the time when Bevilacqua was archbishop. He was not himself accused of abuse, but one of his top officials has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child in a ground-breaking prosecution.
He gave testimony in November for the upcoming trial to ensure that his evidence would be considered despite his age and illness.
November 12th, 2011
05:00 AM ET
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
In the never-ending debate over whether the United States is a Christian nation, recent events support the nay-sayers. I am referring to the troubles of Herman Cain and Joe Paterno.
How we respond to ethical conundrums often boils down to empathy. In the abortion debate, do you identify with the woman who wants an abortion or with the fetus? Concerning the federal deficit, do you identify with the wealthy person who might see his taxes rise or with the poor person who might see her unemployment benefits extended?
April 15th, 2011
01:59 PM ET
By Sarah Hoye, CNN
Philadelphia (CNN) - Four priests and a parochial school teacher pleaded not guilty Friday to sexual abuse and conspiracy charges.
Edward Avery and Charles Engelhardt were charged with allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome Parish in Philadelphia from 1998 to 1999.
Bernard Shero, a teacher in the school, is charged with allegedly assaulting the same boy there in 2000. Avery was defrocked in 2006.
James Brennan, another priest, is accused of assaulting a different boy, a 14 year old, in 1996. Brennan did not appear in court Friday.
Monsignor William Lynn, who served as the Secretary for Clergy under former Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua was charged with endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the alleged assaults.
March 1st, 2011
12:27 PM ET
From CNN affiliate WVVA.
The Giles County School Board voted Tuesday to removed framed copies of the Ten Commandments from its schools - for the second time in as many months. Now some students are speaking out against the decision.
Some students have posted the Ten Commandments on their lockers. One group from Narrows and Giles have ordered t-shirts to express their opinions on the issue.
The commandments were first removed in December, 2010 after a complaint.Read the full story about West Virginia students protesting the Ten Commandments' removal
February 22nd, 2011
02:19 PM ET
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams speaks with CNN's Kyra Phillips about the charges of a sex abuse cover up.
February 20th, 2011
01:33 PM ET
CNN's Susan Candiotti examines charges against Monsignor William Lynn, a Philadelphia priest in a sex scandal.
Editor's Note – The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released this statement on Sunday afternoon:
"Parishioners at Saint Joseph Parish in Downingtown were informed at Masses this weekend that Cardinal Justin Rigali has placed Monsignor William J. Lynn, Pastor, on administrative leave effective Friday, February 18, 2011."
Earlier the archdiocese had said Lynn was voluntarily taking time off to be with his family.
February 16th, 2011
04:57 PM ET
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (CNN) - The Catholic Church in Philadelphia will investigate as many as 37 priests identified in a grand jury report as remaining in "active ministry with credible allegations of child sexual abuse," Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, said Wednesday.
"Sexual abuse of children is a crime. It is always wrong and gravely evil," Rigali said in a news release. "The grand jury report makes clear that for as much as the archdiocese has done to address child sexual abuse, there is still much to do."
He also announced that three priests were placed on administrative leave pending a review.
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.