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March 24th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Mexico spends millions to greet pope

By Rafael Romo, CNN

(CNN) - It has been a project of celestial proportions, but it's finally ready. Construction workers have labored nonstop for months.

Their mission? To build an altar worthy of a pope and an outdoor venue that can accommodate as many as 700,000 people.

The altar where Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on Sunday is located at Bicentennial Park in Mexico's Guanajuato state, the heartland of Mexican Catholicism. Guanajuato has the highest percentage of Catholics in Mexico at well over 90 percent.

Benedict is expected to arrive at 4:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET) Friday at Guanajuato's International Airport.
The nation's Catholics have been waiting for a papal visit since Joseph Ratzinger was elevated to the papacy in 2005. President Felipe Calderon invited the pontiff to Mexico when they met in Vatican City in 2007 and then again in May of last year when Juan Diego, a Mexican Indian, was canonized.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

Marxism 'no longer responds to reality,' pope says of Cuba
Pope Benedict XVI, center, is welcomed by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, right, and his wife Margarita Zavala, upon his arrival at Silao's international airport in Guanajuato, Mexico, on Friday.
March 24th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Marxism 'no longer responds to reality,' pope says of Cuba

By Michael Martinez, CNN

(CNN) - Responding to Pope Benedict XVI's comment that Marxism "no longer responds to reality," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Friday that his country respects all opinions.

"We consider the exchange of ideas useful," Rodriguez said at Havana's historic Hotel Nacional, adding that his country is perfecting its system.

The pontiff answered reporters' questions about the Caribbean communist island on the papal plane Friday as he began a six-day trip to Mexico and Cuba, according to the Vatican. He arrived in Mexico on Friday afternoon.

"With this visit, a way of cooperation and dialogue has been inaugurated, a long road that requires patience but that leads forward," the pope said, according to the Vatican.

"It is evident today that Marxist ideology as it had been conceived no longer responds to reality," Benedict continued.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

March 23rd, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Pope's visit overshadowed by predecessor's legacy in Mexico

By Rafael Romo, CNN

(CNN) - It was an exciting day for Laura Dominguez and her 11-year-old daughter Paulina.
They were summoned to their parish, the Saint Cosme and Damian Church in Mexico City to pick up the equivalent of a jackpot for Mexican Catholics: tickets to attend a mass presided by the pope in Gunajuato, about four hours from Mexico City.

Dominguez, a 40-year-old Mexican Red Cross paramedic was elated. "It's very exciting. It's incredible. I never imagined I was going to get the opportunity to attend," Dominguez said.

Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Mexico for the first time Friday. This is also his first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America in his seven-year pontificate. Mexico boasts the second-largest population of Catholics in the world after Brazil, a country the pope visited in 2007 (Brazil's predominant language is Portuguese). He also visited the United States in 2008.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

Was Saint Patrick a slave-trading tax collector?
A man dressed as Saint Patrick waves to spectators during the 2010 Sydney St. Patrick's Day Parade.
March 17th, 2012
10:20 AM ET

Was Saint Patrick a slave-trading tax collector?

By Nick Thompson, CNN

(CNN) - While Saint Patrick's Day has long been the preserve of Guinness-drinking revellers painting the world's towns green while wearing shamrock hats, Irish Catholics have always taken pride in their nation's patron saint.

Now a new study from Cambridge University based on his writings suggests Saint Patrick was not brought to Ireland as a slave, as the legend has it, but that in fact he may actually have sold slaves his family owned to pay his way to Ireland - in order to avoid a job as a tax collector for the Roman empire.

The findings fly in the face of the classic account of the life of Saint Patrick, who grew up as a member of the Roman nobility in western Britain and was supposedly abducted and forced into slavery in Ireland around 400 A.D. According to this history, Patrick escaped and became a priest before having a vision and returning to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Holidays

Crystal Cathedral founder resigns from board
Rev. Robert H. Schuller preaches on March 11, 1998 at the Crystal Cathedral.
March 13th, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Crystal Cathedral founder resigns from board

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The immediate plans of Rev. Robert H. Schuller, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries in Southern California, and his wife are unclear after they resigned from the church's board of directors over the weekend, their lawyer said Monday.

The Crystal Cathedral, a Protestant church that helped spark the megachurch movement in the United States after opening in 1970, entered bankruptcy procedures in 2010 after years of infighting among Schuller's family and church leaders.

The Schullers have been locked in a legal dispute with other board members. Talks to reach a settlement broke down last week, according to a statement from the Schullers over the weekend.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church

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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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