home
RSS
Former Vatican envoy placed under house arrest
Jozef Wesolowski, a former papal ambassador, has been accuse of sexually abusing children.
September 23rd, 2014
05:35 PM ET

Former Vatican envoy placed under house arrest

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - The Vatican announced on Tuesday that it has placed a former ambassador under house arrest while he faces charges for "serious acts of abuse of minors."

Jozef Wesolowski is accused of molesting young boys during his stint as the pope's official representative in the Dominican Republic. Wesolowski had been appointed to the post in 2008 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The former envoy, who was defrocked by the Vatican in June, is one of the highest-ranking church officials to be accused of abusing children during the Catholic Church's widespread and costly sexual abuse scandal. It is the first time a top Vatican ambassador has faced such charges.

Wesolowski's arrest, the Vatican said Tuesday, "is a result of the express desire of the Pope, so that a case so serious and delicate would be addressed without delay."

Francis has pledged to maintain a policy of "zero tolerance" for Catholic clergy who abuse children.

Wesolowski's case provides a high-profile chance for the Pope, who has been accused by some victims' groups of downplaying the sexual abuse scandal, to take concrete action against one of the Vatican's own.

The Vatican said that Wesolowski suffers from an unnamed but medically documented health condition, and will be placed under house arrest in Vatican City, which is a sovereign state.

Pressure had been building on the Vatican to proceed with criminal charges against Wesolowski, a Polish native ordained by Saint John Paul II, since the accusations against him became public.

That pressure intensified when The New York Times reported last month that Wesolowski had been seen walking freely about Rome.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture has also urged the Vatican to move swiftly on Wesolowski. A report by the committee in May noted that Poland had reportedly asked for the archbishop's extradition.

Under Vatican law, Wesolowski, if found guilty, could face a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

September 5th, 2014
04:06 PM ET

In 'hang out' with students, Pope says he was no angel

By Rafael Romo, CNN Senior Latin American Affairs Editor

(CNN) - It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity: teenagers from five continents speaking directly with Pope Francis through a Google video chat.

The students from schools in Australia, Israel, Turkey, South Africa and El Salvador heard advice from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, speaking Thursday from the Vatican in his native Spanish.

“In life,” the Pope from Argentina told them, “you can (do) either one of two opposite things: You can build bridges or walls. Walls separate and divide. Bridges get people closer.”

The Pope also allowed the teenagers to express their views during the video conference using the Google Hangouts platform.

A student from Istanbul reflected on world peace. “People from all nationalities that contain different religions and ethnic groups must learn how to live in peace,” the Turkish student said.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

June 18th, 2014
12:37 PM ET

Vatican denies reports that Pope Francis is ill

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) A Vatican spokesman denied reports on Wednesday that Pope Francis is ill, saying that the curtailment of his public summer schedule is common for popes.

"There is no sickness whatsoever," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office. "If there was, we would be open about that and asking people to pray for him."

Francis made his usual public appearance in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday morning and is planning a trip to South Korea from August 13 to 18.

But the Pope will curtail public appearances in St. Peter's Square during July, as he did last year, and will scale back his daily celebration of Masses at Casa Santa Marta for the summer.

It is customary for popes to vacation during the summers months. Francis, 77, will continue working, Rosica said, while limiting public appearances.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Asia • Catholic Church • Pope Francis • South Korea

March 13th, 2014
09:49 AM ET

December 24th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

CNN Poll: Pope's approval rating sky-high

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - As Pope Francis prepares to celebrate his first Christmas at the Vatican, Americans' opinions of the pontiff appear to be as high as the dome on St. Peter's Basilica, according to a new survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 88% of American Catholics approve of how Francis is handling his role as head of the 1.2 billion-member church.

The popular pontiff has also made a positive impression among Americans in general: Nearly three in four view Francis favorably.  The new survey suggests that the Pope is arguably the most well-regarded religious figure among the American public today, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture wars • Leaders • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Pope John Paul II • Sex abuse • Vatican

Pope Francis is 'person of the year': So what’s new?
Pope Francis was named Time magazine's Person of the Year on December 11.
December 11th, 2013
05:58 PM ET

Pope Francis is 'person of the year': So what’s new?

By Ben Wedeman, CNN

ROME (CNN) - When the white smoke billowed from the chimney in the Sistine Chapel, we ran, along with thousands of others, up the Via della Conciliazione to Saint Peter’s Square to hear the announcement. We waited around 45 minutes, then heard the name “Bergoglio”

“Who?” was my first reaction. I looked around in confusion. CNN Rome cameraman Alessandro Gentile shrugged his shoulders, as did producer Livia Borghese. Others around us, with the exception of an older English woman, who must have been an amateur Vaticanista, were equally mystified.

In the nine months since that night in March, we’ve come to know Jorge Bergoglio, otherwise known as Pope Francis. He keeps us busy almost every day, with his latest pronouncement, his latest gestures, large and small. I have a pile of books about Francis on my desk. The Google news alert I set up months ago for “Pope Francis” now fills up my e-mail box, exceeding other alerts for Italy, Rome, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Israel, Iran, etc. I regularly listen to podcasts about Francis on my phone.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

December 11th, 2013
08:15 AM ET

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - First he won the Internet. Then he won Facebook. Now, Pope Francis has won Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013.

"He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing," Time said in announcing the award on Wednesday. "The septuagenarian superstar is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century."

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Time's announcement came as no surprise.

"It is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious acknowledgements in the field of the international press has been attributed to one who proclaims spiritual, religious and moral values in the world, and who speaks effectively in favor of peace and greater justice," Lombardi said.

"With regard to the Pope, for his part, he does not seek fame and success, since he carries out his service for the proclamation of the Gospel and the love of God for all. If this attracts men and women and gives them hope, the Pope is content. If this nomination as 'Person of the Year' means that many have understood this message, at least implicitly, he will certainly be glad," Lombardi continued.

In honor of Time's award, here are the year's top stories about Pope Francis:

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

The Pope’s bold new vision
Pope Francis during his Sunday Angelus address at St. Peter's Square in April.
November 26th, 2013
12:11 PM ET

The Pope’s bold new vision

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN 

(CNN) - Pope Francis on Tuesday issued a bold new document - in Vatican parlance an “apostolic exhortation” - called Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel.”

In this document, he sets out an exciting new vision of how to be a church. In all my years as a Catholic, I cannot remember a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating. Frankly, reading it thrilled me.

To me, it seems that with each new homily, address, interview, general audience message and letter, Francis is challenging himself - and us - with three questions, each of which flows naturally from the other:

First, why not look at things from a new perspective? Second, why not be open to doing things in a new way? And third, why not have a new vision for the church?

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

November 26th, 2013
10:21 AM ET

Pope Francis: No more business as usual

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Pope Francis on Tuesday called for big changes in the Roman Catholic Church - including at the very top  saying the church needs to rethink rules and customs that are no longer widely understood or effective for evangelizing.

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," the Pope said in a major new statement.

"I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures," Francis added.

The Pope's address, called an "apostolic exhortation," is part mission statement, part pep talk for the world's 1.5 billion Catholics. Francis' bold language and sweeping call for change are likely to surprise even those who've grown accustomed to his unconventional papacy.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis

November 7th, 2013
12:30 PM ET

Even atheists love this Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - With his penchant for crowd-pleasing and spontaneous acts of compassion, Pope Francis has earned high praise from fellow Catholics.

Hell, even atheists love him - as amply demonstrated by the surprising displays of affection tweeted after the Pope publicly embraced a severely disfigured man on Wednesday.

MORE ON CNN: Why the pope's embrace of the disfigured man is so powerful

Here's what some atheists had to say on Twitter:

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Internet • Nones • Pope Francis

   older posts »
Advertisement
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.

Advertisement
Advertisement