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Electing a pope: What's taking so long?
Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment" is seen through the Sistine Chapel doors on April 16, 2005. The painting, on the wall above the altar, was completed in 1541.
March 6th, 2013
01:18 PM ET

Electing a pope: What's taking so long?

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Rome (CNN) - In and around the Vatican these days, there's one question everyone keeps asking: When is the conclave to elect the new pope going to start?

The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church aren't saying, but they're sending a clear message: They will not be rushed.

As of the seventh day after Pope Benedict XVI flew off into the sunset, the voting cardinals hadn't even all arrived in Rome, leaving the world wondering what's taking so long.

But don't be fooled. The conclave matters, but it isn't the only game in town. What's happening now is at least as important.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

February 27th, 2013
08:41 PM ET

Was Benedict XVI the right man for the job?

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Rome (CNN) - Thirty-five years before a German intellectual named Joseph Ratzinger ascended the throne of St. Peter and took the name Benedict XVI, a very different intellectual named Laurence Peter coined a rule which he named after himself: the Peter Principle.

Put simply, the Peter Principle says that people who are good at their jobs get promoted, and if they're good at their new jobs, they keep getting promoted - until they get to a job they're not good at, where they stay.

As the troubled papacy of Benedict XVI limps to a close, it appears very possible that the rule describes Ratzinger's eight years at the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Call it the Throne of Peter Principle.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

February 27th, 2013
11:44 AM ET

Should celibacy end for priests?

(CNN)–Starting Point panel discusses a NY Times editorial suggesting the celibacy vow for Catholic priests is a bad idea.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

Pope's Twitter account to close as he leaves office, Vatican Radio says
Pope Benedict XVI clicks on a tablet to send his first twitter message at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, December 12, 2012.
February 22nd, 2013
03:01 PM ET

Pope's Twitter account to close as he leaves office, Vatican Radio says

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) - At the same time as Pope Benedict XVI leaves office on February 28, his Twitter presence as @Pontifex will also come to an end, according to Vatican Radio.

The news may come as a sad blow to the more than 2 million people who've signed up to follow his tweets in nine languages since his account was launched with fanfare two-and-a-half months ago.

About 1.5 million of those people follow the English language feed, with nearly 700,000 following him in Spanish and just short of 335,000 in Italian. About 22,500 people follow @Pontifex in Latin.

The account will be closed to coincide with the 85-year-old pope's formal departure from office at 8 p.m. local time, Vatican Radio said.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

February 20th, 2013
05:48 PM ET

Where does an ex-pope go?

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on Pope Benedict's plans after he leaves his post and where he will live.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

January 11th, 2013
03:40 PM ET

Hobby Lobby finds way around $1.3-million-a-day Obamacare hit - for now

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

Washington (CNN) - By Friday, Hobby Lobby would have racked up $14.3 million in fines from the Internal Revenue Service for bucking Obamacare. But in keeping with the great American tax tradition, they may have found a loophole.

The company is facing $1.3 million a day in fines for each day it chooses not to comply with a piece of the Affordable Care Act that was set to trigger for them on January 1. The craft store chain announced in December that, because of religious objections, they would face the fines for not providing certain types of birth control through their company health insurance.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Courts

Obama to swear-in on a stack of historic Bibles
President Obama takes the oath of office in 2009.
January 10th, 2013
02:58 PM ET

Obama to swear-in on a stack of historic Bibles

By Conor Finnegan, CNN

(CNN)-– What do the 16th president, a civil rights leader, and Michelle Obama's grandmother have in common? Their Bibles will be used in the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) made the announcement on Thursday that Obama will take the oath of office on the Robinson family Bible on Sunday and on the Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Bibles on Monday.

The 20th Amendment designated January 20 as Inauguration Day. But traditionally, when inauguration falls on a Sunday, the president takes the oath privately on January 20 and in a public ceremony on January 21.

"President Obama is honored to use these Bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies," said Steve Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we've made as a nation."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bible • Christianity • Politics

Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing
January 10th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – After years of marked growth, the size of Americans who identify with no religion slowed in 2012, according to a study released Thursday.

Since 2008, the percentage of Americans who identify as religious "nones" has grown from 14.6% to 17.8% in 2012, according to the Gallup survey. That number, which grew nearly one percentage point every year from 2008 to 2011, grew only 0.3% last year – from 17.5% in 2011 to 17.8% in 2012 – making it the smallest increase over the past five years.

This study contrasts with headlines from previous studies on religious “nones,” including a 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that found the group was the fastest growing "religious" group in America and that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

“Although this ‘rise of the nones’ has increased dramatically over recent decades, the rate of increase slowed last year, suggesting the possibility that there may be a leveling off in this measure in the years ahead,” reports the Gallup study, which is made up of more than 350,000 interviews.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Nones

January 8th, 2013
03:47 PM ET

Giglio: Jesus was the original abolitionist

(CNN)–Pastor Louie Giglio sits down with CNN's Michael Holmes to discuss the Passion Movement's campaign against slavery.  Read more about Giglio being picked to deliver the benediction at the presidential inauguration. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

January 8th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

My take: 'Atheist' isn’t a dirty word, congresswoman

Editor’s note: Chris Stedman is the author of "Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious" and the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDStedman.

By Chris Stedman, Special to CNN

(CNN)—This year, Congress welcomed the first Buddhist senator and first Hindu elected to either chamber of Congress, and the Pew Forum noted that this “gradual increase in religious diversity … mirrors trends in the country as a whole.”

But Pew also noted one glaring deficiency: Religious “nones” were largely left outside the halls of Congress, despite one in five Americans now saying they don’t affiliate with a religion.

There is, however, one newly elected “none” — but she seems to think "atheist" is a dirty word.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, was sworn in a few days ago without a Bible, and she is the first member of Congress to openly describe her religious affiliation as “none.” Although 10 other members don’t specify a religious affiliation — up from six members in the previous Congress — Sinema is the only to officially declare “none.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

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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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