Abuse victims accuse pope, Vatican officials of crimes against humanity
Pope Benedict XVI appears at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in Plebiscito square in Ancona, Italy, on Sunday.
September 13th, 2011
07:27 AM ET

Abuse victims accuse pope, Vatican officials of crimes against humanity

[Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET] Victims of abuse by Catholic priests asked the International Criminal Court to charge Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials with crimes against humanity, a victims' group announced Tuesday.

The pope and other church leaders "tolerate and enable the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world," said the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a joint statement.

They filed more than 20,000 pages of documents with the international court in the Netherlands to support their charges, they said.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN he was aware of the filing but had no comment.

The International Criminal Court did not immediately respond to a CNN question about whether it believed it had jurisdiction to prosecute the pope.

But Barbara Dorris, the president of SNAP, said it was the natural venue for the case.

"We are convinced this is the proper jurisdiction," she told CNN. "Who else can investigate violent crimes of a global magnitude? The ICC was created to deal with widespread systematic violent crimes against humanity."


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Filed under: Church Abuse • Religion • Vatican
Pope speaks with crew on space station
Astronauts on the international space station gather for a conversation Saturday with Pope Benedict XVI.
May 21st, 2011
09:34 AM ET

Pope speaks with crew on space station

Pope Benedict XVI spoke Saturday with the astronauts aboard the international space station, specifically mentioning Cmdr. Mark Kelly's wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recuperating from recent surgery on her skull.

"I know that Mark and his wife were the victim of a serious attack, and I hope that her health continues to improve," the pope said.

Kelly thanked the pope for mentioning Giffords. The Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt.


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Filed under: Energy • Gabrielle Giffords • Religion • Shuttle • Space • Vatican
On the Radar: Good Friday, Earth Day, Texas fires, Mideast protests
Christian pilgrims carry wood crosses on Jerusalem's Via Dolorosa in a Good Friday observance.
April 22nd, 2011
09:41 AM ET

On the Radar: Good Friday, Earth Day, Texas fires, Mideast protests

Good Friday - Non-Orthodox Christians are observing Good Friday, the solemn commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI will lead a "Way of the Cross" ceremony at 3:15 p.m. ET at the Colosseum in Rome, followed by Mass at the Vatican at 5 p.m. ET.

A prosecutor and a public defender in Richmond, Virginia, will put on a mock trial with Jesus facing capital punishment. The audience will be the jury in the sentencing phase and decide his fate.

Meanwhile, a pastor looks at the connections and possible conflicts between Earth Day and Good Friday.

Earth Day - Friday also is Earth Day, an observance meant to draw attention to environmental issues, including energy conservation. Here's a list of 10 simple things you can do to go easy on your world.


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Filed under: Christian • Environment • Libya • Lindsay Lohan • Middle East • NATO • Nevada • On the Radar • Religion • Texas • Vatican
April 22nd, 2011
07:38 AM ET

Friday's live video events

Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on the government spending battle in Washington.

Today's programming highlights...

8:15 am ET - Papal question-and-answer session - For the first time in history, a pope will participate in a televised question-and-answer session.  Pope Benedict XVI will answer a series of viewer-submitted questions on Jesus of Nazareth.


Filed under: Environment • Italy • On CNN.com today • Religion • Vatican • World
Pope John Paul II: Is he on the fast-track to sainthood?
There is some debate as to whether Pope John Paul II's path to possible sainthood has been quicker than others.
January 14th, 2011
08:21 AM ET

Pope John Paul II: Is he on the fast-track to sainthood?

The late Pope John Paul II is one miracle away from sainthood.

CNN's Senior Vatican Correspondent John Allen reports that a beatification ceremony for the late Pope will take place on May 1. This morning, Pope Benedict XVI credited his predecessor with performing a miracle which is the final requirement for beatification. Sainthood, however, would require that he be credited with performing two miracles.

But today's move does not come without controversy. As Allen explains to Kiran Chetry, some Catholics have expressed disapproval that the late Pope seems to be on the fast-track to sainthood.

Late Pope John Paul II takes step toward sainthood
A worker in Bordeaux, France, carries a poster of Pope John Paul II the day after the pope's death in 2005.
January 14th, 2011
06:56 AM ET

Late Pope John Paul II takes step toward sainthood

The Vatican announced Friday that John Paul II will be beatified later this year, putting him on the verge of sainthood.

The beatification ceremony will take place on May 1, 2011.

The beatification, which will make the late pope "the Blessed John Paul II." probably will draw hundreds of thousands of faithful to St. Peter's Square.

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Filed under: Religion • Vatican
Pope decries attacks against religious minorities
Pope Benedict XVI's comments focused on religious intolerance and discrimination toward Christian minorities.
January 10th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

Pope decries attacks against religious minorities

In his annual "State of the World" address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict XVI spoke Monday about religious intolerance and discrimination toward Christian minorities around the world.

The pope voiced concern about the recent attacks against Christians in the Middle East and urged the region's leaders to take stronger safeguard measures.

"Looking to the east, the attacks which brought death, grief and dismay among the Christians of Iraq, even to the point of inducing them to leave the land where their families have lived for centuries, has troubled us deeply. To the authorities of that country and to the Muslim religious leaders, I renew my heartfelt appeal that their Christian fellow-citizens be able to live in security, continuing to contribute to the society in which they are fully members."

The pope repeated his call for religious tolerance in Egypt. He said an attack on Christians as they prayed in church was another example of the need for governments to protect their religious minorities.

The pope also condemned the recent assassination of the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province and asked Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy laws, saying that they are often used as an excuse for religious attacks on Christians. The kistani governor, Salman Taseer, had spoken in opposition to the blasphemy laws.

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Pope's Christmas message urges peace in troubled lands
December 25th, 2010
08:35 AM ET

Pope's Christmas message urges peace in troubled lands

In his traditional Christmas message delivered Saturday to crowds braving winter's chill, Pope Benedict XVI urged peace in the Middle East and asked for God's comfort upon beleaguered Christian communities in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

The annual "To the City and the World address, known in Latin as "Urbi et Orbi," mentioned other global hot spots.

The pope wished for security in places overcome by conflict like Somalia, Sudan's Darfur region, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula and those nations like Haiti that are grappling with the consequences of disease and natural disaster.

"May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence," Benedict said in the speech delivered in 64 languages, from English and Latin to Maori and Maltese.

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Filed under: Holidays • Religion • Vatican
November 17th, 2010
11:23 AM ET

Pope calls for Pakistani Christian woman to be freed

Pope Benedict XVI called Wednesday for the release of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

He also spoke out about the "difficult situation of Christians in Pakistan," who suffer "discrimination and violence," at the end of his weekly general audience Wednesday.

Bibi was sentenced to death for insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed and for calling the Quran "fake" - a capital crime in Pakistan. She has filed an appeal and asked for bail, the chief prosecutor of Punjab province told CNN. The prosecutor, Chaudhry Muhammad Jahangir, said the appeal will be heard by the Lahore High court and a decision could be months away.

Pakistan has never executed someone convicted of blasphemy, he said, but he refused to predict the outcome of Bibi's appeal.


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Filed under: Pakistan • Religion • Vatican
November 7th, 2010
09:36 AM ET

Pope dedicates famed Spanish church, chides secularism

Pope Benedict XVI defended religion from critics Sunday as he dedicated the Sagrada Familia church, a still-unfinished emblem of the Spanish city of Barcelona.

"This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord," he said.

And he pushed back against what he sees as increasing secularism in the world, saying, "I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him."


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Filed under: Religion • Spain • Vatican
October 5th, 2010
09:30 AM ET

Vatican official criticizes award of Nobel Prize to Robert Edwards

An official with the Vatican criticized the decision to award the Nobel prize for medicine to British doctor Robert G. Edwards for his work on in vitro fertilization, Italy's official news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.

Ignazio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said giving the award to Edwards was "completely inappropriate," according to the news agency.

He said Edwards' work had created a market for human eggs and created problems of embryos being frozen, the news agency said.


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Filed under: Italy • Science • United Kingdom • Vatican
September 21st, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Vatican Bank investigated over money laundering allegations

Italian authorities are investigating the Vatican Bank over possible violations of money laundering regulations, the Bank of Italy told CNN Tuesday.

Another Italian bank alerted Bank of Italy investigators to two Vatican Bank transactions that did not appear to comply with anti-money laundering requirements, the Bank of Italy said.

When Bank of Italy investigators told legal authorities about the transactions, they were told that judicial authorities were already investigating the Vatican Bank, the Bank of Italy said.

The Vatican said Tuesday it is "perplexed and baffled" by the public prosecutor's actions, and that the Holy See aims for "complete transparency" in its financial operations.


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Filed under: Vatican
September 18th, 2010
08:56 PM ET

Men arrested in possible pope plot released, police say

Police say they have released six men arrested in connection with a possible attack on the pope.

Six men arrested on suspicion of being terrorists during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom have been freed without charges, Scotland Yard spokesman Alan Crockford said Sunday morning.

The men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to hold them without charge for 28 days. Searches were carried out at a business in central London and at residential locations in north and east London, police said.

Five of the men were street cleaners for Westminister City Council, the borough of London that includes Parliament, Westminster Abbey and many of the city's tourist attractions, the council said.

They work for one of Westminister's contractors, Veolia Environmental Services, the council said.

Five of the men were arrested early Friday at a business on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, police said. A sixth man was arrested later that day.

The men are ages 26, 27, 29, 36, 40, and 50.

See CNN's full coverage

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Filed under: Religion • United Kingdom • Vatican
September 17th, 2010
07:53 AM ET

Arrangements for Pope's visit reviewed after arrests

Policing arrangements for Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the United Kingdom were reviewed after five men were arrested Friday morning in London on suspicion of terrorism, London's Metropolitan Police said. 

Police said they are satisfied that the current plan remains "appropriate," and the pope's itinerary did not change.

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Filed under: Vatican
September 16th, 2010
09:45 AM ET

On the Radar: Pope's UK visit, tropical weather, Jackson

Pope's UK visit - Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday the Roman Catholic Church has not been vigilant enough or fast enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by priests. Asked about the sexual abuse, the pope said it was inexplicable to him how a priest who has promised at his ordination to act in the person of Christ, as a good shepherd, could "fall into this perversion," CNS reported.

As the visit takes place, we'll be looking at several angles to the story including why the pope is making the visit to the UK; the stories of victims who urged Pope Benedict XVI to turn over information on abuse claims; a look at media reaction surrounding the visit; and the story of a woman who, by the end of the day, will have been blessed by two popes. We'll also be looking for your reactions and thoughts on the visits over at iReport. And you can check out our Belief Blog for even more coverage of the event.


September 16th, 2010
09:21 AM ET

Pope addresses sex abuse scandal as he starts U.K. visit

Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday the Roman Catholic Church has not been vigilant enough or fast enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by priests.

"These revelations were for me a shock and a great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible," he told reporters aboard his plane to Scotland. "How a man who has done this and said this can fall into this perversion is difficult to understand."

He added, "It is also a great sadness that the authorities of the church were not sufficiently vigilant and insufficiently quick and decisive in taking the necessary measures."

A group representing priestly abuse victims promptly criticized the pope's remarks, saying he should have called for more.


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Filed under: Christian • Religion • United Kingdom • Vatican • World
September 8th, 2010
01:33 PM ET

Vatican: Quran burning 'outrageous'

Burning the Quran would an "outrageous and grave gesture," the Vatican said Wednesday, joining a chorus of voices pleading with a small Florida church not to burn Islam's holy book on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The Vatican body responsible for dialogue with other religions said expressed "great concern" about the plan by Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it would be a "disrespectful, disgraceful act." She was speaking Tuesday night at a State Department dinner in honor of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Her statement came a day after the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, warned that the plan "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.

But the pastor of the Florida church, Terry Jones, has rebuffed pleas to call off the event, saying radical Islamists are the target of his message.

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Filed under: Christian • Islam • Religion • Vatican
July 15th, 2010
09:34 AM ET

Catholic Church must name abusive priests, critic insists

New Vatican new rules aimed at stopping the abuse of children by priests do not go far enough, child-safety campaigners said Thursday.

"The pope had a chance to do something really decisive that would affect the situation worldwide," said Anne Barrett Doyle, but instead issued rules that are the equivalent of "bringing a child's sand shovel to an avalanche."

The new regulations give the pope the authority to defrock a priest without a formal Vatican trial, or to hand out other punishments.

They also make it a crime for a priest to download child pornography, and declare the abuse of mentally handicapped people to be as bad as child abuse. FULL POST

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Filed under: Church Abuse • Vatican
July 15th, 2010
06:05 AM ET

World Update: Vatican to update abuse rules

An update from London on some of the international stories we expect to develop on Thursday:

Abuse prevention: The new rules, to be released Thursday a source close to the Vatican told CNN, are a response to accusations against priests across Europe and the United States in the past several years. Read the full story

Landmark vote: Argentina becomes the first Latin American country on Thursday to give same-sex couples equal marriage rights, including the ability to adopt children. Read the full story

Scientist home: An Iranian nuclear expert, who Tehran claims was kidnapped by U.S. agents, arrived in his homeland early Thursday, state-run media reported. Read the full story


July 14th, 2010
01:04 PM ET

Catholic Church to release new rules to prevent abuse

The Catholic Church Thursday will release its new rules to try to prevent clergy from abusing children, a source close to the Vatican told CNN.

They will be aimed more at firming up existing practices than announcing new rules, said the source, who asked not to be named because they were talking about the regulations before they are made public.

The Vatican will add the possession of child pornography to the list of most serious crimes, declare the abuse of any mentally retarded person to be as bad as the abuse of children, and double the statute of limitations on the Vatican's own prosecution of suspected abuse.

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Filed under: Church Abuse • Vatican
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