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Star power ‘bewitches’ those vulnerable to abuse, says human rights lawyer

November 19th, 2014
04:35 PM ET

By Henry Hullah, CNN

We must monitor people with power in order to protect the vulnerable, human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson told Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

An expert on the “culture of silence” surrounding abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Robertson explained the common theme that ran through the church, the media and beyond.

“The revelations started with the Catholic Church in Ireland,” he told the program.

“Then we discovered it in celebrities here and a number of them have been convicted and now we’re finding other examples.”

“And what comes across to me, having studied it is the utter vulnerability of seven, eight, nine year olds to power."

"[In] a sense, in the Catholic Church, the priest as the representative of God – any command is unflinchingly obeyed. The star, entering the star’s dressing room at the BBC, it’s an enormous power.”

“It does bring home how we must ensure someone guards the guardians because the guardians can’t be trusted.”

The power that “bedazzles” the young and vulnerable was something Robertson stressed mustn't be underestimated and should be monitored because it overwhelms its victims almost instantly.

“It’s so easy, and that’s why there must be checks on dressing rooms, checks on all sort of places where people with power over children can bewitch and bewilder them.”


Cardinal hails ‘welcoming’ language on homosexuals

October 15th, 2014
02:36 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As the Vatican signals a tone shift towards homosexuals and gay couples, a key author of a report being prepared for Pope Francis said that the new language fits within existing Church doctrine.

It is “not so much a change in the teaching of the Church, but a way of saying it that is far more inviting, far more welcoming,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington D.C., told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

A group of Cardinals and bishops tasked by the pope with examining issues of the family on Monday said, in an interim report, that “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.”

“It’s saying what the catechism of the church already says,” Cardinal Wuerl said, “that every person has a dignity all of their own; a worth, a value, a God-given dignity. And a person, a homosexual person, a person who has this orientation, has the dignity of being who they are.”

The Vatican, and Cardinal Wuerl, emphasized that the opinion is still far from being an official position of the Church, or from impacting its teachings. But for a religion that has long ostracized homosexuals, it is a stunning shift in tone.


Religions unite over anti-slavery initiative

March 19th, 2014
10:28 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Major religious faiths around the world are joining forces to fight the scourge of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

Australian billionaire and mining magnate Andrew Forrest has signed up major religious heavyweights –Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Grand Imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, Islam's highest-ranking Sunni cleric.

This week their representatives gathered at the Vatican to sign on to Andrew Forrest’s initiative, the Global Freedom Network.

Forrest joined Amanpour in her London studio, along with Archbishop David Moxon of the Anglican Church and Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo of the Catholic Church.

“I got dragged, really, kicking and screaming, into this cause by my daughter, Grace,” Forrest said. “When she was 15, she worked in an orphanage in Nepal and our intelligence was that there was something was suspect about the orphanage.”

When she returned to the orphanage they discovered that the only children left were “severely disfigured” or “mentally handicapped, i.e. could not be sold.”

The Global Freedom Network has ambitious goals: to get 162 governments to publicly endorse the fund, get 50 multi-national businesses to modern slavery-proof their supply chains, and convince the G20 to adopt an anti-slavery initiative.


Filed under:  Catholic Church • Christiane Amanpour • Islam • Latest Episode

Two Popes with one trusted adviser

March 13th, 2014
03:55 PM ET

Did you know Pope Francis and Former Pope Benedict rely on the same man as trusted adviser? They call him Gorgeous Georg for his good looks.

Christiane Amanpour has more.

Pope Francis lives with mind in heaven and feet on earth, says Rabbi friend

November 7th, 2013
09:31 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

One of Pope Francis’ dearest friends is none other than a Jewish Rabbi.

And Rabbi Abahram Skorka, who has known Pope Francis for 15 years, since he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, has a concise description of what makes Francis’ papacy different from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger.

Pope Francis “lives with his mind in heaven and with his feet on Earth,” Rabbi Skorka told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. “And Ratzinger lived totally in heaven.”

Abraham Skorka, a prominent Argentine rabbi, has had frank and open conversations with Pope Francis since he was Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. Those discussions are the topic of a book written by both, “On Heaven and Earth.”


A medieval message of humility for Bling Bishop, 500 years later

October 24th, 2013
08:09 AM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

Imagine a world where a medieval message of humility and reform is delivered five centuries later.

From the moment he first appeared on the Vatican balcony, Pope Francis has challenged his fellow priests to put aside the trappings of wealth and power.

Whether washing feet at Eastertide or carrying his own bag and driving his own little car, the pope has walked the talk.

On Wednesday he made another kind of statement, by suspending a German bishop whose personal excesses had earned him the nickname ‘The Bishop of Bling.’


Filed under:  Catholic Church • Imagine a World • Latest Episode

Pope Francis leading a Vatican ‘revolution,’ Politi tells Amanpour

October 3rd, 2013
03:30 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Pope Francis is leading a “revolution” at the Vatican, Italian author Marco Politi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

The new pontiff is focussing on reforming four “key” areas, Politi said: money, power, poverty, and community.

“He told the bishops and the cardinals,” Politi told Amanpour from Rome, “that they have not to behave like princes of the renaissance. He tells the priests not to forget when they buy a car about children who starve because they don’t enough to eat.”

Pope Francis spoke out on the issues of the Church in a frank interview with Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper.

"This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us,” the pontiff said. “I do not share this view and I'll do everything I can to change it."


The Pope opens up

September 19th, 2013
03:05 PM ET

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour speaks with Father James Martin, editor of the Jesuit Journal "America,” about his magazine’s wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis.

Is Pope Francis endorsing Brazil protests?

July 25th, 2013
10:18 AM ET

By Mick Krever and Juliet Fuisz, CNN

In his first international trip, Pope Francis has travelled to Brazil, a country wracked in recent weeks by massive street protests.

So is the pontiff, with his message of social change and revival within the church, endorsing the activism of Brazilian youth?

“The core message that he's trying to deliver to young people on this trip is that he wants young people to see themselves as inserted into the struggles of society,” CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen told Christiane Amanpour from Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

New direction for traditional faith

May 15th, 2013
05:55 AM ET

Father Thomas Rosica speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the new directions Pope Francis is taking the Catholic Church.

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