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July 19th, 2011
07:56 AM ET

Pope accepts resignation of Philadelphia archbishop amid sex scandal

By the CNN Wire Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) -The new leader of Philadelphia's Catholic community is geared up to cope with the sex abuse scandal rocking the archdiocese and promises to "find a way through it."

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, who takes the reins from Cardinal Justin Rigali as the new Philadelphia archbishop, says he's not intimidated by the challenges dropped on his plate.

Amid American church abuse scandal, Philadelphia stands out

"No bishop will solve any issues on his own - he needs everyone involved. This is not my problem, it's our problem," said Chaput, introduced on Tuesday as the huge region's new archbishop.

"We'll find a way through it, because we really do believe the church is the body of Christ."

Chaput was ordained a priest in 1970. He became a bishop at the age of 43 and has served as archbishop of Denver since 1997. A member of the Prairie Band Potowatami Nation, Chaput is the second Native American to be ordained a bishop in the United States and the first Native American archbishop.

Speaking at a news conference with Rigali in Philadelphia, Chaput said he hopes the church and the community will approach issues of sexual abuse and any future reparations with a combination of pastoral counseling and prudence.

The change comes five months after a Philadelphia grand jury report accused the archdiocese of failing to investigate claims of sexual abuse by priests against children. But Rigali stressed during the news conference that his resignation had nothing to do with the scandal.

"When bishops turn 75, they present their letter of resignation to the pope, and that's exactly what I did. In the meantime, by all means, we've had all of these problems which we are endeavoring to face and to resolve as best we possibly can ... so there's no particular relationship to my resignation," Rigali said.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he felt Rigali tried to do what he thought was best for the church.

"I commend him for promptly removing over 20 priests with outstanding allegations of improper relations with minors ... I hope that Archbishop Chaput follows through on these initiatives," Williams said in a statement.

The grand jury report led to the Philadelphia district attorney's office criminally charging four Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care. A former high-ranking archdiocese official was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children.

All five pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse and conspiracy charges in April. Edward Avery and Charles Engelhardt were charged with assaulting a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome Parish in Philadelphia from 1998 to 1999. Bernard Shero, a teacher at the school, is charged with assaulting the same boy there in 2000. Avery was defrocked in 2006. James Brennan, another priest, is accused of assaulting a different boy, a 14-year-old, in 1996.

Monsignor William Lynn, who served as the secretary for clergy under then-Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua, was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the alleged assaults.

From 1992 until 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.

The grand jury found that Lynn, 60, endangered children, including the victims in these most recent cases, by knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.

In addition to the charges, the grand jury alleged that as many as 37 priests remained in ministry in Pennsylvania despite solid, credible allegations of abuse. Rigali had initially challenged that claim, but eventually 29 of them were placed on administrative leave and no further investigation was warranted on the remaining eight.

"I want to be clear: These administrative leaves are interim measures. They are not in any way final determinations or judgments," Rigali said in a statement in March.

In the months following the release of the grand jury report, Rigali, 76, who succeeded Bevilacqua in 2003, was named in several civil suits against the Philadelphia Archdiocese alleging sexual abuse.

This year's grand jury report is the city's second issued regarding priests' alleged sexual abuse in Philadelphia. The first grand jury report was released in 2003. A gag order imposed by a Philadelphia judge in the case remains in effect, barring all parties involved in the criminal case from talking to the media.

–CNN's Sarah Hoye and Hada Messia contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. SoundOfForest

    A right thing to do.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Jesus

      The "right thing to do" would be to disband and liquidate this cartel and distribute its mega wealth to the poor and hungry as well as compensate those abused at the hands of the Church.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • News Flash

      Agree. At some point, why wouldn't they be prosecuted under the RICO Act ?

      July 19, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • abc

      the amount of work done for the poor by the catholic church outdoes every other group in the world...even bill & melinda gates....

      If you want to disband every group that contains criminals or even those that cover up criminal activity,you're not going to have any groups...

      This has been made clear this week with Media and the government...

      July 19, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • News Flash

      the amount of work done for the poor by the catholic church outdoes every other group in the world...even bill & melinda gates....

      Prove it.

      July 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Newsflash
      In the United States, an organization must give away 5% of it total assets per annum to maintain status as a charity. For Bill Gates' foundation, that would be $1.5 billion at a minimum.
      In 2009, between emergency relief donation, projects promoting "integral human development" and other projects managed by "Cor Unum", the Holy See's total donations neared $10 million.

      July 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  2. univeralsunset

    There are 2 kinds of Priest, Perverts or Undiscovered Perverts

    July 19, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Jesus

      ,,,and those who cover up for perverts.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Larry

      Are you not guilty of Judging, are you without sin, think about it!

      July 19, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Inspector Cluseau

      @Larry
      Damn right I'm judging. I swear when I play golf, but I NEVER mess with kids.
      If a few more people made some more judgements maybe they wouldn't be in this pickle.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  3. Chris

    Oh, great. The pope selected Chaput to succeed Rigali? The same loose-mouthed hypocrite that wakes up every few years at election time to fight for his REAL passion, the GOP, and heavens knows whatever other kickbacks come his way as a result.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Phil in Oregon

      Churches are almost always pro-GOP because the Democrats are pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and anti-God.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Jesus

      Chaput makes Michele Bachmann look like a raging leftist. Apparently, the Pope, a former Hitler Youth, wants a return to the !930s Father Coughlin-type Priesthood.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Old Soldier

      Cardinal Rigali has been a fine Archbishop and is being unjustly maligned; a victim of anto-Catholcism, pure and simple.

      Archbishop Chaput is a fine choice for Philadelphia. He is among the brightest stars in the Catholic Church, and has done a wonderful job in Denver. May God bless him richly as Archbishop of Philadelphia.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  4. Bobby

    No, the teachers unions do not protect teacher pedaphiles. It usually doesn't even get to the union level. Once administration finds out a male or female is having a relationship with a student, the teacher usually "disappears" over night. The administration makes them an offer they can't refuse: " quit or face prsosecution."

    July 19, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Phil in Oregon

      They are being too nice to them. They need to be prosecuted as a deterrent for the one that is after YOUR children. Or maybe your grandchildren. I personally think priests should be married, since starving them of companionship isn't working.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Patrick O’Malley

      Catholics use this excuse – "Go look over there" – all the time. Prove it. They never have any proof.

      Show 10,000 cases of pedophilia and cover up by any other group and you can begin to compare them with the Catholic church's pedophile protection program. You have no proof because there is none.

      July 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  5. Samueltx

    I am a Catholic. It alwasy amazes me what people have to say about the church. There are many pedophile priests, percentage is small, but 1 pedophile is way too many. The church does more good than harm. If you don't like the church, stay away. The person who said that you had to have a Priest deliver the Eurchurist is wrong. So, all you none Catholics, don't spout Catholic "FACTS" without knowing. In other words quit lying. There are many non Catholic, NON CHRISTIAN, pedophiles, it is a huge problem. I believe pedophiles can't change, if someone touched my kid, they would meet their maker. But as far as non Catholics, and non-Christians, you have nothing to say about how Catholics run their church. You do have something to say about some man, that posed as a priest, and is a pedohile. The church is losing large amounts of people because of this, and we do need to change it.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • sbp

      Percentage-wise, there are a lot more pedophile priests than pedophile accountants.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • taxreligion

      "If someone ever touched my kid they would meet their maker" Uhhhm....isn't Thou Shall not Kill some kind of big rule for Catholics ?....."meet their maker"...don't Catholics believe that the "maker" is God ? So you would have the pedo get a chance to meet God then...hmmm, I thought that was a good thing...weird.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Todd in DC

      Peod-priests are bad enough. But if you are an accountant, and know another accountant is a peodphile, you call the police. In the catholic church, they cover it up and more the priest to another parish.

      When you lump all the priests that either are actual pedophiles, know who are and cover it up, or even know who are but don't tell authorities, you probably are including over half the priesthood.

      Anyone who leaves their kid with a priest is an IDIOT

      July 19, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • William Demuth

      I might agree if indoctrinated parents were not permitted to put their children at risk by attending mass.

      Indoctrination becomes subjugation, and NO kids would have been harmed if they had been protected from the risks of their parents indoctrination.

      Cults would die off if we actually protected the children of cult members.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Dan

      The problem is that the RCC since the Middle Ages has seen iself as above temporal power and therefore not accountable to it. Since the days of at least Henry II and Thomas a Beckett, who protected a muderous priest and refused to tun him over to civil authority, bishops have refused to abide by the law of their respetive countries. The Bibe is very clear that the Church is to submit to authority (Romans 13), so it is without excuse.

      Furthermore, it is reprehensible that t he RCC formerly used threats of excommunication to frighten people into not reporting priests to the authorities. The whole reason that this has come out within the last twenty years is hat most people ae no longer afraid of heir threats.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Alex

      People are angery at the church because their is PROOF that they do nothing to stop abuse, support abusive priests, and hinder investigations into pedophiles.
      People are leaving the church because people finally learned better.
      People are leaving the church because they no longer believe the lies.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • GvilleT

      It's all the dogma of this religion that is running it down. Priests and the Catholic leaders should not be celebate. It's going AGAINST God and how he created man. It's nature, they have urges, they're told it's wrong, so they hide it and a young childs life is ruined forever. I blame the entire Catholic religion and their idiotic ideas on all of this.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Daytader4

      Ummammmmmmmmm. I am not Catholic. And I certainly do have the right to stick my nose in your business. Like I have the right to involve myself in the prosecution of any crimina .........l especially those that prey on children. The Catholic church has been protecting pedofiles for decades if not centuries. Time to bring down the whole corrupt church.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Sammy'sHose

      But according to the OP an accountant can hand out the eucharist.
      Hey Sammy you may want to do some research into your own religion prior to you spouting off.-Signed your priest friend_ Father Handy

      July 19, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • tibs

      I would argue that the Catholic church has done far more harm than good in recent history... the Vatican is directly responsible for the loss of several HUNDRED years of scientific advancement – though how very nice of them to apologize to Galileo a few months ago, centuries after his death – and the crusades killed tens of thousands in the name of God.

      More recently in the 20 and 21st centuries the church has greatly hindered the advancement of gay rights by purporting them to be some kind of evil incarnation of satan... the education of youth is under constant attack by those fools who state intelligent design to be factual, and religion continues to play a major part in the election of heads of state regardless of what else they stand for (case in point, Bush the idiot).

      The founding fathers rightly erected barriers between church and state which nevertheless are continually bent or broken. Thank god (lol) I live in a country where the term secular actually carries some weight. Plus free healthcare.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @William,
      I totally agree. The parents are complicit in not protecting their children.

      @Samueltx
      "The church does more good than harm."
      -- Not for the abused people they don't. Who has the "ledger" and is keeping track of the total ? Do you close it down when the score is 51-49 ? Or when ? I think the good people would still do good things even without the structure of the RC church. They would find other structures.
      "But as far as non Catholics, and non-Christians, you have nothing to say about how Catholics run their church."
      -- Yes they do. The church chooses to exist in the midst of, and as a part of civil society, and as such accepts the benefits of government and society (and it's tax free status). This would be the same as people saying we have no business in the Caylee You-Know-Who case because her death did not personally impact us. The bishops and other authority figures chose to attempt to avoid the "light of day" on these scandals, and now get to pay the piper. They ARE civilly accountable, ESPECIALLY since they chose to avoid church judgement, justice, and punishment.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • JustThinkinOutloud

      Telling a non-catholic to not get into catholic problems is sort of like telling non-muslims to not get involved in the war on terrorism or the US not to intervene on genocides in third-world African problems, or a neighbor not to intercede on the relationship where a husband is beating his wife and child, at least in my mind. I know not all catholic priests are pedophiles, but you have to admit there is a tendency for The Church to sweep this kind of thing under the rug. It's shady, and we have enough of that crap in the world as is.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • cykill

      no, the church does not do more good than harm.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  6. hippie power 69

    for the first few hundred years of the catholic church priests were married and so were the popes. it was only when the church began losing land and property and money that the church came up with idea of celibacy. it has nothing to do with jesus christ. who knows he may have been married to mary magdalene. unfortunatly the church has and continues to hate women. so there can be no marriage, no women priests and they then refuse one of gods most beautiful gifts to man kind, and that is love between two people. so until the church denounces celibacy, they will continue to be plagued with pedophiles.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • GvilleT

      I agree.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Honey, AvdBerg is at the door again

      OMG. Pedophila has NOTHING to do with celibacy. One is a choice, the other is a serious mental illness, (which may or may not be treatable).

      July 19, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Dan

      Way more than a few hundred. Priests were allowed to marry well into the 13th century. The reason celibacy was made the rule is that many sons of Bishops were claiming their fathers lands as their own inheritance and taking the land from the church. By making the clergy take a vow of celibacy, any child born to them became a bast-ard, and therefore not legally able to inherit. Problem solved.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  7. AMZ

    This article is clearly meant to simply incite readers. If CNN had any integrity they would realize that another bishop in the US resigned for the exact same reason: age. Canon law, the codified law of the Catholic church, mandates that these prelates submit resignations at age 75. It's inflammatory to suggest that the resignation of this particular prelate is in any way connected to the abuse issues of his diocese. If it were, surely he would've spared himself the trouble and resigned before his subordinates were indicted.

    No one likes that Catholic priests have abused children. I'm sure Catholics like it even less than the rest of the population. But it is the trademark of a predator to put themselves in positions of authority: foster parent, priest, boy scout leader, minister, etc. What these men have done is wrong, but please quit defaming simply for the purpose of defamation, most of us are getting just a little tired of hearing about it.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Stevie7

      Canon law requires submission of a resignation, not acceptance of the resignation. As the article clearly states, the ex-Cardinal submitted his resignation well over a year ago.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • chief

      you know you had me until you went int to the typical ped priest protection defelction all you catholics use to say that oh, yes its bad but hey it all over the place.... ALL THE REST GO TO JAIL .... " positions of authority: foster parent, priest, boy scout leader, minister, etc. "

      July 19, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • John Marshall

      I agree. CNN loves nothing more than an anti-Christian (especially Catholic) story. Funny thing is, every story they put on about the Middle East brings out the worst anti-semites you've ever heard. A lot of people just like to hate religion because it makes them feel like they are never going to die. But they are.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • AMZ

      I never suggested that priests guilty of pedophilia shouldn't go to prison. Priests are subject both to canon and codified law. If they break a law there's no reason they shouldn't be susceptible to those consequences.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • sbp

      Wow, way to bury your head in the sand, AMZ. It's pretty obvious based on the timing what happened. As for "No one likes that Catholic priests have abused children..." – based on the past 20 years of revelations, it would appear the church hierarchy doesn't mind too much. They've been turning a blind eye for at leat decades, and perhaps centuries.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • AMZ

      sbp, you're right, the church hierarchy has utterly failed in bringing these men to justice. These failings are particularly disheartening considering what the role of men who wear a Roman collar is supposed to be. However the Bishop replacing Cardinal Regalia has a somewhat activist viewpoint on the matter. He would say that priests who have committed these crimes deserve to face the music. Which is what, by all means, should happen.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  8. lyingliars

    "The Vatican cited Rigali's age as the reason." The Vatican must think the world is stupid.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • abc

      he applied when he was 75 and they didn't remove him so he could be part of the grand jury...he actually stayed on longer than most bishops who apply for retirement to deal with the situation...this article is trying to tie unrelated material together and you're buying it...

      July 19, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • John Marshall

      I think abc must be a guy who doesn't get any female or male attention.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • RW Kerr

      The Vatican has made piles of money over the ages preying on the gullibility and stupidity of the masses.....why change now???

      July 19, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Jesus

      Seniority counts in the Church. Too bad criminal touching of children does not.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  9. sigmunds

    CATHOLIC TRASH

    July 19, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • John Marshall

      Male trash. 99.9% of pedophiles are men. Men of all different religions and colors.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • abc

      99.9%? what about all the female teachers that are pedophiles that get brushed away...female pedophilia is considered "flirting"

      July 19, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Oh Hello

      99.9% of terrorists are men too. Therefore it is man who are terrorists and it is not a result of their religious ideology!

      July 19, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Dan

      @Oh Hello...Defensive much? Sorry, but Jews and Christians don't strap bombs on retarded women and send them into a crowded marketplace. Only Muslims do that.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  10. Timbo10.0

    The Pope should be indicted next; he was part of the conspiracy to sweep these crimes under the rug before his tenure as Pope. Isn't that the point of the RICO laws?

    July 19, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • John Marshall

      The pope lives in Italy and is not an American. These crimes happened in Philadelphia. They are not Federal crimes. Get out your google and lean some law.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • darntootin

      Right on!

      July 19, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Jesus

      Pedophilia is a perk enjoyed by many in the Priesthood. It's a job benefit for many of those twisted minds.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • anothervoiceinthecrowd

      To assume that this only happens in the U.S. is very naive. This happens all over the world and the Catholic church has ignored it since the beginning. And until they are allowed to marry and have families it will continue to happen. Doesn't the bible say something about not being healthy for man to be alone so God created Eve?

      July 19, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  11. davidmij

    Celibacy has nothing to do with it. These men are freaks after little boys (not girls). They've found a place where they can get what they want, and that protects them. If found guilty in a court of law they should be exterminated so they can not harm another child. What they believe religious wise is not relevant in law. Our judicial system has known about their (racket) for DECADES now. Help these defenseless, scared children!!!

    July 19, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  12. abc

    you all act as if pedophilia isn't an issue with society at large...

    Nice to have a target to make you sleep better at night...pop stars, teachers, your creepy uncle...it's everywhere...the church is an easy target because they're supposed to be on a morally superior level...

    July 19, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • scott501

      You seem to be missing the point. ITS HOW THE CHURCH AND ITS CLERGY COVERED UP THE CRIME AGAINST CHILDREN AND LET IT CONTINUE. over and over destroying childrens lives for a few minutes of selfish pleasure. if thats not evil i dont know what is

      July 19, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • abc

      The same way teachers unions do the same? Don't hear much of a public outcry about that...I'm not saying its right i'm saying go after all of them, not just one group

      July 19, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • William Demuth

      You are an idiot. The church RECRUITS them then The church HIDES them. Then the church tries to PAY OFF the victims.

      No school system or buisness moves predators to other COUNTRIES to hide their crimes.

      No buisness defrauds little old ladies with fake promises of salvation in an attempt to raise cash to support their deviance.

      You are an apologist. I hope they bugger some boy you love, and then we shall see what you really believe.

      STOP defending deviants.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • sbp

      It isn't nearly as prevalent in other occupations, and there hasn't been a history of systematic cover-up in other occupations. Last I heard, the American Bar Association wasn't circling the wagons around pedophile lawyers. Face reality. By being defensive, you are implicitly making light of it. "It's no big deal, everyone is doing it." No, and no.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  13. Ginamero

    This is past gross and should come as no surprise...those Catholic freaks really do attract the pedophiles and they know where they can go and get the freshest meat and that their employer will protect them to the bitter end...and also that they can use God , church and parents against the children to force them to submit. Just plain nasty these people are. I know a Catholic who says its a gay problem, another who says it an inability to marry problem and they have convinced themselves of that...the problem is pedophilia and the fact that the Catholic church hides it's dirty deeds.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • dennis

      No one can say this any better. You are totally on target. The catholic organization is a bed for pedophiles. Eventually the nuns will be exposed as well.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • William Demuth

      Gay men want other gay men. Straight men want women.

      Priests want little boys behinds.

      Crucify anyone who touches a child.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Eucharist:

    The RCC believes that at every Eucharist the body and the blood of Christ is offered again. The priests are like small Christ-Mages or Christ-Wizards. Only on the condition that a priest leads the celebration of Eucharist, it is valid.

    Conclusion: Never attend a RCC Eucharist, because it is an occult celebration, and never eat that crap. Do you want to receive Satan's ghost?

    July 19, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Margaret

      Satan's ghost? Don't try to spread your stupidity all over the internet.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • William Demuth

      Ah, our favorite German zealot has returned.

      Little boys get molested, and you spout your indoctrinations lile someone with Tourette's syndrome.

      How about answering a simple question.

      Do these men who harm children deserve MORTAL punishment for their crimes?

      We always hear about divine punishment, yet they don't stop harming kids.

      How about some HUMAN justice, so future victims might be spared?

      July 19, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @William Demuth

      I think, mainly the pope and the cardinals should be punished. Actually the guilty priests are victims themselves of the higher clergy, who doesn't allow marriage. The true criminals live in Vatican State.

      Not the symptoms of a malady have to be cured, but its true causes. Abolish the Vatican, and a lot of diseases will disappear.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • jaima

      OMG....I have heard it all !!! You are TOTALLY PATHETIC. We should get a "thread" going on you and see
      where that goes. Come to think of it people would probably not want to waste their time just like I have done
      with this !!!

      July 19, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • William Demuth

      Rainer Braendlein

      Abolish the Vatican is a good idea.

      Abolishing ALL churches that trade currency is a BETTER idea.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  15. JPX

    Why would anyone ever let their children around these creepy religious people? Anytime I see a man wearing a dress and a funny hat I head for the hills.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Jesus

      Flash back to 1944, and the Pope, then Herr Josef Ratzinger, Commandant auf Hitler Youth spent his off hours gathering up Jews for the Concentration Camps. Great training for his present position.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Dan

      You're painting with a rather broad brush. Not all religious people are priests, etc. Grow up, please.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Inspector Cluseau

      @Jesus
      I'm interested in where you got that. He was in the Hitler Youth, but I can't find a reference for the rest. Citation ?

      July 19, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Andrew

      Actually young Ratzinger was drafted into Hitler Youth against his will (his father was an opponent of the Nazis) and served in an anti-aircraft unit that had nothing to do with capturing Jews or putting them in camps. He went AWOL at the first opportunity and hid from Nazi patrols until he was eventually picked up by the allies.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    What hinders the pope to abolish celibacy?

    (Note: I suppose the main cause for child abuse is celibacy. Men, not allowed to touch a wife, will finally touch children, because of their lost hormonal balance.)

    If you remove the plug of the bathtub, the water disappears. If the pope would remove celibacy, Roman Catholic Church would disappear.

    How is this possible?

    According to the doctrine of the RCC, every priest is a small Christ (a priest is "in persona Christi"). They believe, an Eucharist is solely vaild on the condition that it is celebrated by a consecrated priest that means by a little Jesus Christ. They believe the blood and body of Christ would be offered again at every Eucharist. They even belief, a once consecrated priest can never become a ordinary man again. By consecration a man gets really changed into a little Jesus Christ. Also they believe, Christ and the Holy Spirit would be solely present in the Church by the presence of the priests and bishops and the pope. The priest and the bishops and the pope are vehicles or bearers of the Holy Spirit.

    They misinterpret Mattew 19: 12: The Lord had told the apostels, it would be very, very hard to remain without wife. Only people, having a very special gift, should risk it. The RCC says, the verse would mean, following Christ would mean to renounce marriage. It seems, they think like this: Either a wife or Christ. Either you marry and become no priest (little Christ) or you renounce marriage and become a little Christ (that is according to paragraph 1618 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where it is written that marriage and the "full-connection" with Christ cannot be united.)

    In conclusion: In the eyes ot the RCC the essence of the Church depends on the unmarried priesthood. The priesthood guarantees the presence of the Holy Spirit within the RCC. Thus, no priesthood, no Church.

    True Christian doctrine about the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is present in every community of sacramentally baptized people, which follow Christ daily. Discipleship and baptism belong together. Discipleship is the consequence of baptism, received by faith. Baptized people elect a pastor or bishop from their midst (he should be a model Christian). Every local congregation has its own pastor and the pastors are not controlled by any hierarchy. Sometimes the pastors and the bishops may gather on great synods, in order to discuss questions of doctrine.

    Let us abolish papacy, celibacy and all the other papal nonsense.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Pablo

      Did the RCC misinterpret it? Or did the many protestant churches that came along over 1500 years later. After years of studying early Christianity, if the RCC is wrong, Christianity itself is probably wrong.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Pablo

      Up to Gregory the Great (600 a. D.), who was bishop solely of Rome, their was only one holy Church on earth.

      After Gregory the Great the Roman See was made the highest on earth by the wicked emperor Phocas. That was a big crime, because according to the Bible any papacy is prohibited. However, after Phocas crime the Church was split into the Roman Catholic Church (led by the pope) and the remaining part (not ruled by the pope, but by the Holy Spirit).

      For 600 years (from Christ to Gregory the Great) there was a Christian Church, led by the Holy Spirit. The Reformers just returned to the doctrines of this Early Church.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Sam

      And the doctrine of the early church was to start 40000 different churches teaching their own doctrines...Read what the early church fathers wrote about the catholic teaching before you write anything on these forums...You are ignorant to the extent of sounding stupid.....It is you Rainer Braendlein who needs to study history.....Your Sola scriptura and Sola Fide theology is what is man made......You are following a heresy that your so called reformation fathers taught and Satan is still working with all you guys creating more and more denominations following their own heresies.....The foundation and Pillar of truth according to the bible is the CHURCH....the one holy Catholic church that Christ built on Peter(Read Matt 16 and Isiah 22:20)

      Also read what Matt 18 says about the authority of the church
      15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

      So what church would you go to for that judgement....Would that be a Baptist church or a Lutheran church? Or the one you have formed on your own?? Any of these churches dont excersise that supreme authority over its members....coz if you dont like their authority you can go form your own denomination....So what church and what interpretation of the bible are you following?? The Bible teaches does NOT teach us a relative truth but an ABSOLUTE truth, the truth that the Holy Spirit has, is and will guide till Jesus returns to marry HIS bride, The Catholic Church (Note that the Roman Catholic church represents just the Roman rite of the Catholic church)

      July 19, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Inspector Cluseau

      You VASTLY oversimplify the early years. The communities began to fight and disagree IMMEDIATELY after the death of JC. There were factions in Rome, in Jerusalem, in Antioch, etc., and they ALL thought they were the ONE TRUE church. It's all BS, right from the start, up to and including when, in a non-unanimous VOTE, they chose the books to be in the bible. What's wrong with this picture ?

      July 19, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Sam

      @Inspector whatever
      'ALL thought they were the ONE TRUE church'

      Give me a citation of that...and what churches were there?? And where did all those churches go after the split that you talk about...The only churches that can go back all the way to Christ are the Catholic church and the Orthodox churchES....And there is division geographically among the Orthodox churches but all of them hold the same faith doctrines....So what is the split that you talk about?? Give me references and citations????

      Besides the word 'Catholic faith' was used in 150AD before even people knew about what the New testament was....And Irranaeus initiated gathering of all the people who were in the Catholic faith and put together the Bible......Jerome and Augustine came up with different versions of the bible but the Catholic church ruled that the books that Augustine had in his bible was the books that the Bible should contain.......They canonized the bible....hence unifying people who were NOT actually split in doctrines but in terms of what they considered divine revelations

      Read history before spurting out ur nonsense here and making a fool of urself

      July 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  17. William Demuth

    So when does the Pope get forced to resign?

    The college of Cardinals could find him buggering Harry Potter and they would look the other way.

    Liars, thieves, deviants and sociopaths: They need to be crucified.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Jesus

      College of Cardinals??? First of all, it's really NOT a college. It's a gathering of high ranking Church executives (called Cardinals) to elect their CEO (the Pope). It is highly political. Very much like the First and Second Councils of Nicea which created the Bible.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Jesus
      The Synod of Laodicea which met in 365, voted on the canon, from among the MANY texts extant at the time. (http://freethought.mbdojo.com/canon.html). It is a popular misconception that it was done at the Council of Nicea.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  18. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the many issues so many churches are facing, especially the Catholic Church, we invite you to read the articles “The Mystery Babylon” and “Popes and the Princes of This World” listed on our website. There are many items on the Current Events page and a number of articles that address the subject issue.
    You can locate our website by entering “a world deceived” on Google. It is easy to find as it has been the number one listing for the last five years out of more than 10 million listings. All of the other pages and articles on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9 and the Bible is true. It is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12).

    July 19, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      July 19, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • AvdBerg

      Sorry but the Book of Revelation is like the rest of Word of God that mankind in its natural state is unable to understand (1 Cor. 2:4). There is a natural body and a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44) and the only thing that separates the two is the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4), meaning: to turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit you are of) unto God (Acts 26:18). Confused? Go back to the website.

      July 19, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Honey, AvdBerg is at the door again

      Just pretend we're not home.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • pt

      You are just another "false prophet" looking to line your own pockets ($$$) on the failings of another church.

      I don't remember Jesus charging for his preaching.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • AvdBerg

      @pt
      In twenty six years of service we have never requested, collected or received a penny from anyone. The book and website project was paid for with our own resources. We do not charge for our time and our Speaking Engagements are free. ince the launch of our Book in 2005 we have had two distributors who went bankrupt and right now there are no distributors for our Book. As you will note on our website, there is no page for "Donations". The next time you falsely accuse someone (Matthew 5:10-12), it would be better served to obtain your facts first. Also, we invite you to read the latest entry of the Gay Marriage foes.... blog.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Paul

      Amazing! People have walked on the moon, explored other planets, conquered (some) diseases and yet, in spite of making more and more sense of the reality we are faced with religious people continue to believe in magic. I have to believe humans are destined for extinction.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • More Lies

      Quote:
      "In twenty six years of service we have never requested, collected or received a penny from anyone. The book and website project was paid for with our own resources. "

      It states right on your website that if you want to read your book it will COST $16.95 USD / $19.95 Cdn
      Kindle Price $10.35

      September 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  19. Reality

    The RCC ship continues to shrink not only from the obviousness of priests, bishops and popes no longer being "can do no wrong" males but also from the continuing aging of said priests and the dramatic reduction in the overall number as the sons of "pew peasants" are now realizing the flaws and falacies in Christianity.

    Some added important reading material:

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed." J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    July 19, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  20. Colin

    I know its unfair to pick on the poor, silly Catholics, given the Dark Ages nonsense they still believe, but, quite frankl, I cannot help myself.

    Ten signs you are a Catholic.

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when speaking on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. geocentricity, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.

    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and heralding the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.

    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.

    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.

    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.

    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.

    7. You criticize gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.

    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.

    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).

    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    And a bonus point, for those who are still not convinced of the deep flaws in this most nonsensical of theologies.

    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.

    July 19, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Reality

      Actually, most Christians and Jews have analogous "signs".

      What some Jews are doing to correct the situation:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument."

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      July 19, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Margaret

      If you disagree with the Catholic Church, that's fine. But disagree with what it actually teaches, not with your made-up straw men.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Brian

      This was great. Thanks for putting in the time.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Colin

      Margaret, perhaps you could be specific. What do you believe I mistated.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • reallyjustagame

      As a recovering Catholic, who asked too many questions similar to what you stated, I applaud you! I am actually now an athiest because I see the same issues with all religions I have studied.

      July 19, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Jaredallas

      Well done Colin! I understand–having once been Catholic–why they have to cling to this insanity so closely, and why they are so quick to respond with wrath (a deadly sin, good Catholics, remember that). The Catechism is taught at such an early age as this unchanging, infallible doctrine that must be followed at all costs, so that by the time a person has common sense and the inclination to engage in a thorough examination of conscience, the nonsense is engrained in them.

      HOWEVER, it astonishes me how many people who do believe firmly in the Catholic Catechism yet still have the cajones to say YOUR ARGUMENT is ridiculous. On top of that, it's disgusting how many people are saying things in defense of these "innocent until proven guilty" clergymen. Pick your battles people!

      July 19, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Larry

      You read too many chick publications.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Colin

      Larry, allow me to ask you what I asked Margaret. Please point out where you think I have mistated Catholic beliefs?

      July 19, 2011 at 11:10 am |
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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.