October 13th, 2014
11:09 AM ET
By Delia Gallagher, CNN
ROME (CNN) – Using strikingly open language, a new Vatican report says the church should welcome and appreciate gays, and offers a solution for divorced and remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion.
At a press conference on Monday to present the report, Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines said Catholic clergy meeting here have largely focused on the impact of poverty, war and immigration on families.
But the newly proposed language on gays and civil marriages represents a “pastoral earthquake,” said one veteran Vatican journalist.
“Regarding homosexuals, it went so far as to pose the question whether the church could accept and value their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine,” said John Thavis, a former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service.
The Rev. James Martin, an author and Jesuit priest, called the report's language on gays and lesbians "revolutionary."
“This is a stunning change in the way that the Catholic Church speaks about gay people.”
"The synod said that gay people have 'gifts and talents to offer the Christian community.' This is something that even a few years ago would have been unthinkable," Martin added.
December 20th, 2013
11:23 AM ET
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - The Robertson family of "Duck Dynasty" fame has rallied around its patriarch, saying his controversial comments on homosexuality are "grounded in the teachings of the Bible." But Scripture is fiercely contested ground, and some experts say Phil Robertson misinterprets a key Bible verse.
A&E, the network that broadcasts the hugely popular "Duck Dynasty" show, suspended Robertson for a now infamous interview with GQ magazine. In the article, Robertson, who became a born-again Christian in the 1970s after a prodigal youth, is asked to define "sin."
Here's what Robertson says: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
Robertson, 67, then paraphrases a Bible passage from the New Testament: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”
September 19th, 2013
11:01 AM ET
By Eric Marrapodi and Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) - Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.
In a wide-ranging interview published Thursday, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.
Moreover, if the church fails to find a "new balance" between its spiritual and political missions, the pope warned, its moral foundation will "fall like a house of cards."
The interview, released by Jesuit magazines in several different languages and 16 countries on Thursday, offers perhaps the most expansive and in-depth view of Francis' vision for the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope's comments don't break with Catholic doctrine or policy, but instead show a shift in approach, moving from censure to engagement.
July 29th, 2013
06:39 PM ET
Opinion by the Rev. Gary M. Meier, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The question of today has been: What's my reaction to the pope’s statement regarding not judging gay priests?
The answer: Cautiously optimistic.
Optimistic because today’s statement comes after years of anti-gay rhetoric from the Catholic Church. In so many ways it is a breath of fresh air.
Someone from the church hierarchy has finally said something about homosexuality that isn’t hostile, harmful, and anti-gay – and it was the pope!
July 29th, 2013
06:30 PM ET
By Kyle Almond, CNN
(CNN) - Perhaps it's fitting that the pope's first news conference was held onboard an airplane. Since Monday morning his comments have soared around the globe at high speed.
His remarks on homosexuality filled many Catholics with hope, especially those longing for the church to accept gays and lesbians more openly.
But they also discouraged others, including those who believe the Catholic Church should ordain women.
Some social media commenters said they were just plain confused.
The pope was flying back from a weeklong visit to Brazil, his first international trip as pontiff, when he talked to reporters about a wide range of controversial topics.
July 29th, 2013
12:21 PM ET
By John L. Allen Jr., CNN
(CNN) - Reaction to Pope Francis’ comments about not judging gays has broken along two lines: Either this is a groundbreaking reversal by the head of the Catholic Church, or it’s basically just a guy talking on a plane.
The truth is, it’s neither. What it really amounts to is a significant shift in tone, though not in substance.
Francis made the remark in the course of a free-wheeling, unscripted press conference at the end of his July 22-28 trip to Brazil for the Church’s “World Youth Day.”
Among a wide variety of other points, he was asked about a so-called “gay lobby” in the Vatican.
June 11th, 2010
04:23 AM ET
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
Ted Haggard is back.
In 2006, a gay sex and drug scandal knocked this former head of the National Association of Evangelicals from his perch as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Earlier this month, Haggard emerged from his own private purgatory, announcing that he has started a new nondenominational church, St. James, which will meet in his home.
Haggard’s resurrection left me with a series of questions, including whether he has done his time and what this unending cycle of sin, confession, and redemption says about America. To answer these questions, I contacted Susan Wise Bauer, an independent historian and author of The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Confession in America—a history of how the high and mighty fall, confess, and (more often than not) bounce back.
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.