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March 14th, 2013
09:05 AM ET

BishopAccountability.org's Doyle: Pope Francis not a 'promising leader' on sexual abuse within the church

As Pope Francis takes his place as the leader of the church, he faces a growing sex abuse scandal that has plagued the church in recent years. It’s a problem he inherits and one many are hoping he will address more aggressively than his predecessors.

Anne Barrett Doyle offers more on this view live from Rome. She's the Co-Director of BishopAccountability.org, a watchdog group that serves as the largest library of documented sexual abuse within the church.

Doyle explains her hope in the future of the church now, as well as her doubts about Pope Francis reforming the issue of sexual abuse within the church.  “My first concern was that the cardinals chose not to make a statement that clergy sexual abuse would be the next pope's priority,” she says. “They did not choose a cardinal who has dealt extensively with this issue."

Doyle says nothing in Bergoglio's past characterizes him as a "particularly promising leader on this issue,” but she is optimistic. A Catholic who was present in  Saint Peter's Square when the white smoke came out, she says she feels profound hope. “We need someone who is gutsy and outspoken,” Doyle says. “Let's hope this particular cardinal, now Pope Francis, has a change and becomes the leader that we desperately need to resolve this issue.”

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Filed under: Papacy • Pope • Pope Francis • Religion
March 14th, 2013
07:37 AM ET

High hopes for Pope Francis – John Allen and Father Edward Beck on what it could mean for the Catholic church

Today marks the first day of the papacy for Pope Francis, the first Latin American to be elected pope and the first to choose the name Francis.  John Allen, CNN Senior Vatican Analyst, and Father Edward Beck, CNN Contributor, are live to Rome to explain what this means for the future of the church.

Allen believes there are three blocs within the cardinals. He believes one bloc wanted “a pope outside of the West,” a second who wanted a pope “who can speak for the aspirations of the world's poor,” and a group of cardinals who “wanted to shake things up in the Vatican.” “So you wrap all that up,” Allen says, “I don’t think it's that hard to figure out how he got to those magic 77 votes that represented two-thirds of this voting bloc.”

Father Edward Beck reflects on the humility of Pope Francis, who may now have to reconcile the humble life he has led so far in Argentina to the pomp and circumstance in Rome. "This is an amazing testimony," Father Beck says. "This is the man who supposedly gave up his palace where he was living, to live in a simple apartment because he wanted to be more of the common person."

Filed under: Papacy • Pope • Pope Francis • Religion
March 14th, 2013
07:33 AM ET

Pope Francis begins first day as head of Catholic church – Miguel Marquez reports

Thousands of people were thrilled to see white smoke billow from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel yesterday. Then “the largest bell in the basilica signaled the election of a new pope,” Miguel Marquez reports.

The square quickly filled to capacity as the crowd gathered to witness the new pope greet the people. “Argentine Cardinal  Jorge Mario Bergoglio, becomes Pope Francis,” he introduced himself to the world.  “He asked the crowd to pray for his predecessor pope Benedict.  Then in a dramatic and touching moment, he asked for silent prayer.”

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Filed under: Papacy • Pope • Pope Francis • Religion
March 13th, 2013
07:12 AM ET

The 'Super Tuesday' of papal election: Father Beck and John Allen on conclave day two

Today marks the second day of the secret papal election known as conclave.  The cardinals are voting right now as millions around the world watch the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel for the white smoke signal indicating that a new Holy Father has been chosen.

CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen and CNN Contributor Father Edward Beck are following the latest live in Rome with Chris Cuomo. Allen describes the importance of the vote today now that the cardinals have a better grasp of the candidates. “Today becomes what we Americans would think of as Super Tuesday, because it's the make-or-break day for the front-runners,” he says.

Father Beck describes the two things people have told him they desire in a candidate. “One is they want a reformer. Not only if you think of reforming as sexual abuse and cleaning house, but people have seen there's been mismanagement at the top,” Beck says. “So, they want a reformation of that organization. Secondly, they say we want someone who can communicate to the masses. They long for John Paul II again, who can stand up on a world stage and elicit excitement about the church, about the vision of the church, and someone who can inspire youth once again as well.”

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Filed under: Conclave • Papacy • Papal conclave • Religion
March 12th, 2013
08:19 AM ET

Conclave: The vetting process in electing the new Holy Father – Miguel Marquez reports

In Rome today, 115 cardinals from every corner of the earth are preparing to take an oath of secrecy to begin the election process for the next leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. The eyes of the world will soon be on the copper chimney above the Sistine Chapel to see when white smoke signals the selection of a new pope. Inside brews the politics of a monumental race. Miguel Marquez explains the vetting process.

“In the politics of becoming pope there's never been a race quite like this,” Marquez says. The church's problems are enormous. The need for a powerful, unifying pope, have never been greater. “The new pope will have to reinvigorate the church and bring its enormous bureaucracy—the Curia—into the modern world.”

Cardinals in the running “are judged on their intellectual, religious and spiritual heft” as well on their ability to socialize with fellow cardinals and “even their ability to communicate in Italian,” Marquez reports.

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Filed under: Conclave • Pope • Religion
March 12th, 2013
07:42 AM ET

Why the first vote in the papal conclave is so important – Msgr. Richard Hilgartner explains

As the Cardinals wrap up a special mass at the Vatican for the election of a new pope, “Early Start” is joined by Monsignor Richard Hilgartner, the Head of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship.

Cardinals from every corner of the earth will take an oath of secrecy to begin the election process for the next leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Then, the eyes of the world will be on the copper chimney above the Sistine Chapel. While a vote is expected to take place today, it’s all but guaranteed that black smoke will billow instead of white, indicating an inconclusive vote. Monsignor Hilgartner explains the significance of the first ballot and how the voting process works.

Msgr. Hilgartner says the first vote helps to officially establish the names of potential candidates. Prior to today, the cardinals “only talked about broad concepts of issues and concerns. They really don't know who they're voting for until that first ballot is cast and they start to read off the ballots, and they see,” Hilgartner says. “Then they really see the consensus, the sense of the group, and really see what the trends are looking like.”

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Filed under: Conclave • Papacy • Pope • Religion
March 12th, 2013
06:52 AM ET

Buzz, excitement as papal conclave to select new pope begins – John Allen & Father Beck weigh in

Today, 115 cardinals from around the world will take an oath of secrecy and begin voting for the next spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. This morning, cardinals are holding a special mass for the election of the Holy Father. It is the final event open to the public featuring those cardinals.

At 10:45aET, they are scheduled to leave their residence at Casa Santa Marta and head to the Pauline Chapel. They will then enter the Sistine Chapel to officially begin the process of conclave as the world awaits their decision.

Chris Cuomo reports live from Rome for CNN's special coverage of the selection of the next pope. Senior CNN Vatican Analyst John Allen and CNN Contributor Father Edward Beck join him with their analysis of today’s proceedings.

Father Beck explains what makes the mass so special. “With all we've been hearing about the politicking of how a pope gets elected, this is the most important part, in that you are coming to the highest form of worship that we have as a Catholic Christian community,” he says.

The Cardinals are expected to take one vote today, though the rules technically do not require them to do so. Allen offers a reason for that expectation.

“The consensus is there is no clear front-runner. The Cardinals don't know where one another stand,” Allen says. “It's the first chance to get a sense of where things actually stand and which candidacy might have legs.”

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Filed under: Conclave • Pope • Religion • Vatican
March 11th, 2013
05:32 AM ET

Preparations for papal conclave underway in Rome – Miguel Marquez reports


Preparations, both spiritual and practical, neared completion at the Vatican on Monday, where Roman Catholic cardinals will gather to begin the process of selecting the next pope.

The conclave - the secret papal election - begins Tuesday in the Sistine Chapel, which has been closed to the public while Vatican staff readied the ornately decorated vestry for deliberations.

The first public signs of preparations appeared over the weekend as workmen scaled the roof of the chapel on Saturday to install the chimney which will release the black or white smoke that signifies whether a new pope has been elected.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Miguel Marquez reports live from Rome on the final preps before the first vote in the papal conclave.

READ MORE: Cardinals huddle one last day before conclave to elect new pope begins

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Filed under: Papal conclave • Religion • Vatican
August 10th, 2012
10:29 AM ET

A controversial mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee will open this morning

Delayed by years of protests and lawsuits, the mosque will hold its first prayers today, with a week left in the Holy Month of Ramadan. The opening occurs after a mosque was burned down in Joplin, Missouri, which federal officials are investigating as possible arson.

CNN’s George Howell discusses his exclusive look at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

Filed under: Religion
August 7th, 2012
10:51 AM ET

Joplin Islamic Society spokeswoman discusses the suspicious fire that burned mosque to the ground

This morning, the investigation into a suspicious fire that destroyed a mosque in Joplin, Missouri continues.

Investigators from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Jasper County Sheriff's department were at the scene of the fire all day Monday, combing through the wreckage searching for evidence of arson.

This was the second fire to hit the Islamic Center in little more than a month after a man attempted to set the mosque on fire on July 4th.

Although that man has still not been identified, his image was caught on surveillance camera and authorities are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to charges from the FBI.

Islamic Society of Joplin member and spokesperson Kimberly Kester discusses the fire with Zoraida Sambolin on Early Start this morning, stressing that although the mosque has received threats in the past, the members of the center "don't want to jump to any conclusions or lay blame on anyone."

Filed under: Crime • Religion