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November 7th, 2013
10:59 AM ET

Why the Pope's embrace of the disfigured man is so powerful

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN 

(CNN) - I could barely look at the photos, but I knew that I must.

Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis met, embraced and kissed a man suffering from a rare disease called neurofibromatosis, a painful and disfiguring skin condition.

Photos of the Pope hugging a man whose face was blanketed with tumors struck a deep chord in people across the world. When I posted them to my public Facebook page, I received almost 300 comments in the space of a day.

Why do these photos speak to so many people so profoundly? Let me suggest three reasons. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis

Praise 'Lesus'? Vatican pulls misspelled coins
The Vatican made a little error on its new medal made in honor of Pope Francis.
October 11th, 2013
11:18 AM ET

Praise 'Lesus'? Vatican pulls misspelled coins

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

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(CNN) - For the love of "Lesus," the Vatican needs a copy editor - preferably an infallible one.

In honor of the first year of Pope Francis' papacy, the Vatican issued a commemorative medal Tuesday. The coin-size medals are sold in Vatican City and usually provide a steady stream of revenue for the church.

Just one problem: The Vatican misspelled the name of Jesus on the medal.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Business • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Money & Faith • Pope Francis

June 19th, 2013
03:28 PM ET

How the 'Francis effect' could rescue the church

Opinion by John Gehring, special to CNN

Can Pope Francis save the Catholic Church?

The question is part hyperbole, of course, but perhaps a fitting way to ponder what some are now calling the “Francis effect.”

At a time when nearly 1 in 10 Americans are former Catholics, Pope Francis is using a humble style to set a new direction for the church that could reinvigorate the multitude, many of whom are weary of culture-war Christianity.

While a rising number of young Americans no longer identify with a particular religion, many seekers still hunger for moral clarity and prophetic voices that challenge the shallow materialism and spiritual alienation of our fractured culture.

During his first 100 days, Pope Francis has emphasized the Gospel’s radical and still relevant messages of peace, compassion and justice for the poor. He also just might break through to reach the religiously disaffected where others have failed.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Opinion • Pope Francis

June 13th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) –Pope Francis has challenged his flock of 1 billion Catholics not to be “starched Christians” who chat about theology over tea.

He’s been taking his own advice.

Since his election in March, Francis has delivered sharp and unscripted remarks on everything from homosexuality to atheism to his unlikely election to the seat of St. Peter.

Anyone who bet the 76-year-old Jesuit from Argentina would become Supreme Pontiff likely won a lot of dough, Francis joked on Sunday.

We’re wagering this pope’s got a few more surprises up the sleeves of his white cassock.

Meanwhile, here are six eye-openers Francis has uttered thus far.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Pope Francis

June 11th, 2013
01:35 PM ET

Pope Francis: `Gay lobby' exists inside Vatican

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Pope Francis said a “gay lobby” exists inside the Vatican, a surprising disclosure from a pope who has already delivered his share of stunners, and a resurrection of church conflicts that had bedeviled his predecessor's papacy.

“In the Curia,” Francis said, referring to Catholicism’s central bureaucracy, “there are holy people. But there is also a stream of corruption.”

“The 'gay lobby' is mentioned, and it is true, it is there,” Francis continued. “We need to see what we can do.”

READ MORE: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

Hints that the Holy See contained a network of gay clergy surfaced last year in reports about a series of embarrassing leaks to Italian journalists.

The "Vatileaks" scandal factored in Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV's shocking decision to resign earlier this year, according to some church experts, as it impressed upon the 86-year-old pontiff that the modern papacy requires a vigorous and watchful presence.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Gay rights • gender issues • Homosexuality

Cuban cardinal: Pope's visit aims to revive religious passion
Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in February.
March 14th, 2012
08:04 AM ET

Cuban cardinal: Pope's visit aims to revive religious passion

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN

Havana (CNN) - In a rare speech on state-controlled television, Cuba's Catholic cardinal said an upcoming visit by the pope would reignite the religious fervor in the island.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, the Archbishop of Havana, told viewers that Pope Benedict was visiting the island to "revive a sleeping faith, a somewhat erased faith."

"The pope is determined to revive the faith of Christian countries that need to be re-evangelized," Ortega said.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Church and state • Pope Benedict XVI

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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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