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Church posts names of Boston clergy accused of child sex abuse
Cardinal Sean O'Malley made public the names of 159 clerics accused of child abuse.
August 25th, 2011
09:10 PM ET

Church posts names of Boston clergy accused of child sex abuse

By Tom Cohen, CNN

(CNN) -
A total of 250 clerics in the Boston Archdiocese have been accused of child abuse in recent decades, according to information made public Thursday by Cardinal Sean O'Malley in an attempt to help resolve an issue tearing at the core of Catholicism.

O'Malley said the archdiocese posted online the names of 159 accused clergy members, while there were 91 others who also faced some level of accusation but were not named for various reasons.

An investigation that began after the crisis over sexual abuse of children in the Boston Archdiocese fully emerged in 2002 has pored over records dating back more than 60 years, with subsequent decisions on who to name based on the nature of the accusations and other factors, according to O'Malley.

The disclosure by the Boston Archdiocese represented a shift in policy in a further effort to reach out to victims and their families harmed by the sexual abuse scandal, O'Malley said in a seven-page letter accompanying the announcement.

"My deepest hope and prayer is that the efforts I am announcing today will provide some additional comfort and healing for those who have suffered from sexual abuse by clergy and will continue to strengthen our efforts to protect God's children," the letter concluded.

However, the director of an advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by priests called the steps announced by O'Malley insufficient and irresponsible, saying only one of the named priests was new to public information.

"We're disappointed with this very belated and begrudging and incomplete list," said a statement by David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Alleging that the names posted by O'Malley deliberately omitted "at least a third of predator priests," Clohessy's statement added that "some kids will be spared some abuse, because some predator priests are now more easily identified, and some victims will feel validation."

"But, many, many more would take comfort if O'Malley released new names instead of continuing the secrecy," the statement said.

O'Malley wrote that the policy change he was announcing "represents the first time that names of accused clerics have been compiled by the Archdiocese in a central location and a readily accessible format."

The letter noted that the searchable lists posted on the website http://www.bostoncatholic.org included what he called "pertinent information" about each member of the clergy listed, such as the individual's year of birth and year of ordination; whether the cleric is alive or deceased; their current status within their church; the date of any disciplinary action, dismissal or criminal conviction; and a link to their assignment history.

"I am acutely aware of the harm that the abuse of children by clergy has caused in the lives of so many," O'Malley wrote in the letter. "And while I know there will be some who believe our policy changes should go further, after careful consultation and consideration of views expressed by many people and groups, I believe that the changes we are making are appropriate."

According to the letter, one list posted includes the names of all Boston Archdiocese clergy who have been found guilty of sexually abusing a child by the Catholic Church or under criminal law, as well as any accused individuals who voluntarily requested removal from the clergy.

In addition, the list also names archdiocese clergy still facing public accusations of child sex abuse, as well as those who died before public accusations of sex abuse against them could be fully investigated or were leveled in the first place.

A separate list includes the names of clergy eventually cleared of public accusations of sexual abuse, O'Malley's letter said. Some of the priests on the second list have returned to active ministry, he noted.

"In the present environment, a priest who is accused of sexually abusing a minor may never be able to fully restore his reputation, even if cleared after civil or canonical proceedings," the letter added.

The 91 accused priests not named on the lists include 62 deceased clergy who were never publicly accused or fully investigated, O'Malley's letter said.

"I emphasize that our decision not to list the names of deceased priests who have not been publicly accused and as to whom there were no canonical proceedings conducted or completed (most were accused well after their death) does not in any way mean that the archdiocese did not find that the claims of particular survivors who accused those deceased priests to be credible or compelling," the letter said. "Indeed, in many of those cases, the archdiocese already has proceeded to compensate the survivor and provides counseling and pastoral care to those individuals."

Of the other accused clergy not named, 22 faced unsubstantiated accusations, four were not in active ministry and face preliminary investigation, and three were already out of the ministry by their own volition or dismissal and never were publicly accused, O'Malley's letter said.

The archbishop's letter pointed out that most of the sexual abuse cases and allegations involve misconduct, real or claimed, from decades earlier, "before the Church adopted its current child protection policies."

It noted that the "vast majority" of complaints to the archdiocese before 2004 involved alleged incidents from 1965 to 1982, and that more recent data showed that only 4% of the 198 accusations received from 2004 to 2010 were alleged to have occurred after 1990.

"I do not say this in any way to minimize the abuse of minors by Boston priests, which is heinous, or the serious mistakes made by the Church hierarchy in responding to it," O'Malley said in the letter. "Nor do I seek to ignore the harm caused to survivors by these historical incidents, harm which is both current and the subject of our ongoing pastoral response.

"Rather I simply seek to place the problem in context and to give the faithful some confidence that the policies adopted by the Church to protect its children starting in the early 1990s have been effective," O'Malley wrote.

–CNN's Samantha Stamler contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church • Sex abuse • United States

soundoff (442 Responses)
  1. RightTurnClyde

    Criminous Clerics 1170 AD (I was ten years off) "T h e . .m u r d e r e r s . .p u r s u e d . .h i m . .a n d . .a s k e d , . ."" A b s o l v e . .a n d . .r e s t o r e . .t o . .c o m m u n i o n . .t h o s e . .y o u . .h a v e . .e x c o m m u n i c a t e d . .a n d . .r e t u r n . .t o . .o f f i c e . .t h o s e . .w h o . .h a v e . .b e e n . .s u s p e n d e d . "" . .T o . .t h e s e . .w o r d s . .[ T h o m a s ] . .r e p l i e d , . ."" N o . .p e n a n c e . .h a s . .b e e n . .m a d e , . .s o . .I . .w i l l . .n o t . .a b s o l v e . .t h e m . "" "T h e n . .y o u , "" . .t h e y . .s a i d , . ."" w i l l . .n o w . .d i e . .a n d . .w i l l . .s u f f e r . .w h a t . .y o u . .h a v e . .e a r n e d . "" . ." "W i t h . .r a p i d . .m o t i o n . .t h e y . .l a i d . .s a c r i l e g i o u s . .h a n d s . .o n . .h i m , . .h a n d l i n g . .a n d . .d r a g g i n g . .h i m . .r o u g h l y . .o u t s i d e . .o f . .t h e . .w a l l s . .o f . .t h e . .c h u r c h . .s o . .t h a t . .t h e r e . .t h e y . .w o u l d . .s l a y . .h i m . .o r . .c a r r y . .h i m . .f r o m . .t h e r e . .a s . .a . .p r i s o n e r , . .a s . .t h e y . .l a t e r . .c o n f e s s e d . . .B u t . .w h e n . .i t . .w a s . .n o t . .p o s s i b l e . .t o . ." " . .h e . .b r a v e l y . .p u s h e d . .o n e . .[ o f . .t h e . .k n i g h t s ] . .w h o . .w a s . .p u r s u i n g . .a n d . .d r a w i n g . .n e a r . .t o . .h i m ; . .h e . .c a l l e d . .h i m . .a . .p a n d e r e r . .s a y i n g , . ."" D o n ' t . .t o u c h . .m e , . .R a i n a l d u s , . .y o u . .w h o . .o w e s . .m e . .f a i t h . .a n d . .o b e d i e n c e , . .y o u . .w h o . .f o o l i s h l y . .f o l l o w . .y o u r . .a c c o m p l i c e s . "" . ."
    """ I . .d o n ' t . .o w e . .f a i t h . .o r . .o b e d i e n c e . .t o . .y o u . .t h a t . .i s . .i n . .o p p o s i t i o n . .t o . .t h e . .f e a l t y . .I . .o w e . .m y . .l o r d . .k i n g . "" . .T h e . .i n v i n c i b l e . .m a r t y r . .- . .s e e i n g . .t h a t . .t h e . .h o u r . .w h i c h . .w o u l d . .b r i n g . .t h e . .e n d . .t o . .h i s . ."
    "m i s e r a b l e . .m o r t a l . .l i f e . .w a s . .a t . .h a n d . .a n d . .a l r e a d y . .p r o m i s e d . .b y . .G o d . .t o . .b e . .t h e . .n e x t . .t o . .r e c e i v e . .t h e . .c r o w n . .o f . .i m m o r t a l i t y . .- . .w i t h . .h i s . .n e c k . .b e n t . .a s . .i f . .h e . .w e r e . .i n . .p r a y e r . .a n d . .w i t h . .h i s . .j o i n e d . .h a n d s . .e l e v a t e d . .a b o v e . .- . .c o m m e n d e d . .h i m s e l f . .a n d . .t h e . .c a u s e . .o f . .t h e . .C h u r c h . .t o . .G o d , " "H e . .h a d . .b a r e l y . .f i n i s h e d . .s p e a k i n g . .w h e n . .t h e . .i m p i o u s . .k n i g h t , . .f e a r i n g . .t h a t . .[ T h o m a s ] . .w o u l d . .b e . .s a v e d . .b y . .t h e . .p e o p l e . .a n d . .e s c a p e . .a l i v e , . .s u d d e n l y . .s e t . .u p o n . .h i m . .a n d , . .s h a v i n g . .o f f . .t h e . .s u m m i t . .o f . .h i s . .c r o w n . .w h i c h . .t h e . .s a c r e d . .c h r i s m . .c o n s e c r a t e d . .t o . .G o d , . .h e . .w o u n d e d . .t h e . .s a c r i f i c i a l l a m b o f G o d in the h e a d . .t h e . .l o w e r . .a r m . .o f . .t h e . .w r i t e r . .w a s . .c u t . .b y . .t h e . .s a m e . .b l o w . . .I n d e e d . .[ t h e . .w r i t e r ] . .s t o o d . .f i r m l y . .w i t h . .t h e . .h o l y . .a r c h b i s h o p , . .h o l d i n g . .h i m . .i n . .h i s . .a r m s . .- . .w h i l e . .a l l . .t h e . .c l e r i c s . .a n d . .m o n k s . .f l e d . .- " "E d w a r d . .G r i m "

    August 26, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  2. Chainyanker

    They are called 'child abusers', that's a wimpy phrase that tries to downplay their acts, I like 'child molesters' and better yet 'PERVERTS'. Why not post their pictures on the web along with their names and addresses...They are too chicken.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  3. harry

    The bible does not teach enforced celibacy, nor were all of Jesus' followers celibate. Peter whom the catholic church is supposedly founded on, had a mother-in-law. It says that if a man can remain to himself and preach, good. If not let him marry. Enforced celibacy is a man made doctrine. What was done by the priests was absolutely wrong and deserving of punishment by the law, but if they were allowed to do what is natural and sanctioned in Gods word things may be different. You will have those with sick, deviant behavior, but again they should be subject to the law.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Celibacy is one of many doctrinal corruptions (and it was already admonished in Revelations) .. infallibility is unimaginable and was adopted in the Council of Trent (but the same is true about saying "the Bible is thew word of God" - that's not so, it is not; Protestants do that one). Absolution is a perversion it was not given (but there are passages to suggest it). Lay vs religious is a corruption (two classes of people), Calvinism is a corruption (not RCC), if you do not know the Apostle creed then you could not have been baptized and are not a Christian (many think they are), transubstantiation is a perversion, Eucharistic adoration is a violation of the 1st commandment, extreme unction is a perversion, ordination itself is not authorized by Jesus (God). Praying to pictures (iconoclasm), statues, gold objects, saints, wafers, beads, stations are pervsersions. Holy water is a perversion. Holy candles are a mysticism and a perversion. Believing that God somehow hangs out in the Lourve is a perversoin - or will heal you there but not in Hilton hotel in New York. Believing that the sun EVER left its orbit (Fatima) is insanity. Scapulas, medals, holy cards in missiles are all perversions. OK .. so it's all one big warped pile of horse p u c k e y ..

      August 26, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • geraldh

      Peter having a mother-in-law is a red herring since celibacy of clergy is not a doctrine but a discipline and there have been married Popes throughout history. There are even married preists today. The Eastern Rite Catholics have married clergy. But you claim celibacy is not biblical. How do you handle Matt 19 where Peter says "then it is better not to marry " and Jesus says "to some this has been given for the sake of the kingdom". Pretty clear that there should be at least some celibates but most protestant denominations have none. Paul also highly encourages celibacy in 1 Cor 7.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • geraldh

      By the way there is far more of this behavior occuring by married men than by celibate priests in society. That is a simple fact. There are 38 million who have been abused as children. Most by married men.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  4. shalom2U

    Colin:

    4. 4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.

    But your knowledge of science is so much less than so many Catholic Priests such as Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) the father of modern genetics, Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) the person who proposed the Big Bang Theory and Stanley Jaki Born in Hungary, he earned doctorates in Systematic Theology and Nuclear Physics, is fluent in five languages, and has authored 30 books. A Distinguished Professor at Seton Hall University, Jaki's work in the history and philosophy of science has brought him a wide audience around the world. In a modern scientific world so steeped in Enlightenment philosophy and so opposed to a relationship with religion, Fr. Jaki's assertion that science and religion are consistent and that scientific analysis can shed light on both scientific and theological propositions is a bold one. They are all convinced of the existence of God using their intellect.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Danteg8son

      No surprise that already fully indoctrinated members of the priesthood, like Lemaître and Jaki, should pursue the study of science for the express purpose of trying to promote a semblance of consistency between their irrational beliefs and the realities of science. The RCC has promoted such practices for over a thousand years in its attempts to be relevant.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  5. The Dude

    Any other group would of been disbanded long ago.

    Time to put an end to the poison that is Religion. All faiths must be destroyed and replace with an earth centric one like Native Americans believe. Only some evil would cause people to support and revere pedophiles.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Chainyanker

      Amen! lol Religion is the root of evil. Much of the worlds problems are due to religion in some way.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • EWGuy

      Oh, yeah, those native americans were SO peaceful.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  6. Danteg8son

    The god of the RCC:

    A God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell - mouths mercy, and invented hell - mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!
    - Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

    August 26, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  7. shalom2U

    Colin:

    3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.

    But you know a lot less about the Bible than Biblical Scholars who have studied the original, Aramiac, Greek and Hebrew texts and a lot more learned and educated than you and still believe: guys like Fr. Mitch Pacwa on EWTN and current Pope Benedict (University professor (while I don't know if he is a Biblical scholar, speaks 5 languages fluently, concert pianist and remembers everything he read)

    August 26, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Robert Johnson

      Great scholars may have studied the Bible, but that does not change the fact that it was written by men whose understanding of the universe was less than that of today's average third grader.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  8. knothead

    PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK!!! The only reason anyone is saying anything about being"molested"by a priest is the MONEY. If it was such a TRAUMATIC experience why do they wait 20,30,40,years to say anything. GIVE ME A BREAK. So you were "touched" by a priest BFD get a grip on it. Catholics make such a BIG deal over this. If they would allow priests to marry ths might not happen but I don't know where they get the idea they can't marry, my Bible doesn't say anything about a man of God not being able to marry. But they have added their own books to the Bible. But REALLY people GET A GRIP ON IT AND GROW UP!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • WEBSPY

      Well it is a miracle, I never would believe it in my life time, but buddy you need a chip or meds or something, seriously trying to be nice here!

      August 26, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Chainyanker

      If it's only the money, why have some committed suicide and others have messed up mental problems? What good would it have done to bring the matter up many years ago before this whole mess got exposed...who would have believed them? These victims came out of the woodwork when the issue became public, if they get money out of it ...great. The Church needs to be punished and what better way than to bleed them dry...their arrogance is astonishing...now they are being made to eat humble pie...I love it. And what fools would worship such a religion?

      August 26, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  9. carl

    Colin well thought out and understandably your opinion and at the end of the day thats all it is is an opinion...bravo

    Now do some real soul searching....within.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  10. Reality

    Another nail in the coffin of the RCC and its "holier than thou" priesthood!!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Reality

      But to be fair about the situation:

      Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?

      FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP!!!

      Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

      Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

      Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

      Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy"

      Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods.

      Neither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

      If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce and alimony payments for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law, B16?) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

      August 26, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  11. Patrick OMalley

    The Catholic church is still the world's largest pedophile protection program, and they will only give you critical safety information if you rip it out of them.

    In any other part of society, if someone is accused in court, it's made public, especially when it concerns child safety.

    Cardinal O'Malley is your typical Catholic bishop. He promised this over two years ago, and finally delivered, but only part of what he promised. He will wait and delay as long as he possibly can to do the basic things that any other group in society would have done years ago. Great religion, horrible church.

    Parents – keep your children away from Catholic priests. It still isn't safe.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Matthew

      Do you also urge parents to keep their children away from other family members and school teachers? Statistics have for decades shown that children are far, far, far, far more likely to be abused by a family member or by a school authority figure than they are by a member of the clergy of any religion. Know who else is on the list? Sports coaches. So, until you are willing to condemn the child's family members, his or her teachers, and his or her sports coaches, get off the soapbox and stop pretending that clergy members are somehow more likely than average to abuse kids. The cold hard data show that that simply isn't true.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  12. Robert Colvin

    How nice! Almost 10 years after the conduct comes to light, they name the priests. It is right that the innocent priests falsely accused are found innocent. The rest should rot in jail and the Bishops who covered their backsides should lead the line to prison. it is no wonder that anyone with half a brain has left this corrupt organization. And this article doesn't even begin to address the hundreds of millions of dollars spent paying for these transgressions. The final insult is that they continue to ask for money to finance their corrupt organization.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Many good points. One who commits a crime ought to be tried (and only if guilty) sentences. (Note that Ms. Casey was fond not guilty but Nancy Grace took exception) .. but the one who aids and abets (and conceals) long after the crime KNOW (has knowledge) and share culpability (compounding a crime).. BUT as in the case of Thomas Becket (1180?) they do not believe in criminous clerica and they forgive each other by confession (absolution) .. Becket was murdered refusing to absolve (Henry) .. so nothing has changed. They do not feel subject to state law and they feel superior to God's law .. so they merely absolve and have done this for centuries.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  13. WEBSPY

    And for all you that think only priest to blame,,, hate to break it to yeah but even your family ancestry has pedophiles in it,,, as no one escapes this horror, and denying it helps enable it!

    August 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  14. ken ambrose

    nothing much more than tax-exempt ORGANIZED PEDOPHILES

    August 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  15. RightTurnClyde

    "I t ' s . .v e r y . .h a r d . .f o r . .a . .r i g h t . .w i n g . .s t r a i g h t . .g u y . .w h o . .l i k e s . .w o m e n . .t o . .u n d e r s t a n d . .t h o s e . .w h o . .d o n ' t . . . . .I . .d o . .c o n d e m n . .c h i l d . .p r e d a t i o n . .a n d . .r a p e . .a n d . .a b h o r r e n t . .b e h a v i o r . .( w h i c h . .t h a t . .i s ) . . . . .T h e . .R C . .c h u r c h . .b r o u g h t . .i t . .u p o n . .t h e m s e l v e s . .b e c a u s e . .t h e y . .h a v e . .p e r v e r t e d . . . .d o c t r i n e . .f r o " "t h e y . .w e r e . .a l r e a d y . .m e s s e d . .u p ) . . . . .L i k e . .a n y t h i n g . .p o w e r f u l . .t h e y . .d o . .n o t . .l i s t e n . .( m a y b e . .t h e y . .d o . .n o t . .c a r e ) . . . . ." " . .I f . .L u t h e r . .a n d . .W y c l i f f e . .c o u l d . .n o t . .c h a n g e . .t h e m . .i t ' s . .a . .c i n c h . .n o b o d y . .t o d a y . .w i l l . . . . .( C a l v i n . .w a s . .a . .m e s s . .u n t o . .h i m s e l f . .. . . .t w i s t e d . .d o c t r i n e ) . .. . . .C h r i s t i a n s . .a r e . .b e c o m i n g . .a n . .u n d e r g r o u n d . .m o v e m e n t . .b e c a u s e . .o f . .t h i s " "W e . .a r e . .f o r m a l l y . .c a l l e d . .e n e m i e s . .o f . .D H S . . . . .w e . .a r e . .b e i n g . .o u t l a w e d . .e v e r y w h e r e . . . . .B u t . .w e . .a r e . .w h a t . .w e . .a r e . .. . . .m o s t . .o f . .u s . .a r e . .n o t . .d e v i a n t . .R C . .p r i e s t s . . . . ." "M o s t . .o f . .u s . .a r e . .n o t . .b i b l e . .t h u m p e r s . . . . .M o s t . .o f . .u s . .d o . .n o t h i n g . .w o r s e . .t h a n . .a n . .o c c a s i o n a l . .s t o p . .s i g n . . . . .T o o . .b a d . .b e c a u s e . .i t . .i s . .a . .w o n d e r f u l . .f a i t h . .( I . .d i d . .n o t . .s a y . .r e l i g i o n ) . r e l i g i o n . .s u c k s "

    August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  16. CDaeda

    Abuse can take on many different forms. Those with the most to hide gang up on individuals.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  17. Tem

    I am a survivor of the spanish inquisition. pray for me............. Cardinal O'Malley 2012!!

    August 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  18. suzu

    no comments in this post.. i am just so surprised,,, where are all those right wing and left wings...

    August 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • WEBSPY

      see I'm right down the middle, see how many directions I go lol...And for all you that think only priest to blame,,, hate to break it to yeah but even your family ancestry has pedophiles in it,,, as no one escapes this horror, and denying it helps enable it!

      August 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  19. HappyMeal

    A good and right thing to do.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Les

      How can you possibly believe this when the Bible clearly states that Satan will appear as an angel of Light doing things that appear good to a man?
      Clearly, these supposed activities by the priests do not fall within this definition of how evil will manifest. Xtians read your bible and lament at your continual misinterpretation and misrepresentation of its message.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  20. carl

    After a lot of research,interactionand connecting the dots I have come to the conclusion that atheists are very ungratful,cynical and suffer from some form of heightened superior intellect...in a nutshell they are fools....a fool saith in his heart there is no God.In a life changing moment why do they cry "my God"...why

    August 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Colin

      Carl, I have come to the opposite conclusion. In fact, you know you are an atheist base don the following.

      1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to appreciate human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.

      2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.

      3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.

      4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.

      5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.

      6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump of a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.

      7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar”.

      8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.

      9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.

      10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,700,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fear (or to feel pain or discomfort) itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Hilarious!

      You accuse atheists of "suffering from some form of heightened superior intellect"? Why thank you, and we appreciate that you recognize what that means for religious people.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • John Dale

      "suffer from some form of heightened superior intellect"

      But surely that applies to everyone from your standpoint Carl?

      August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • ThatGuy

      Wow Colin.... I was going to say something but I believe you have said it well enough for all of us. Kudos to you good sir!

      August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Robert Johnson

      Thank you again Colin, for expressing so well what lies in the minds of rational beings.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      "I . .c a n . .u n d e r s t a n d . .h o w . .t h e . .t e r m .' i n t e l l e c t ' . .c a n . .b e . .m o d i f i e d . .b y . .t h e . .t e r m . .' s u p e r i o r "" . .g i v i n g . ."" s u p e r i o r . .i n t e l l e c t , "" . . . .b u t . .I . .a m . .n o t . .s u r e . ."" s u p e r i o r ' . . . .c a n . .b e . .m o d i f i e d . .b y . .' h e i g h t e n e d . .' . .i n . .t h i s . .c a s e . .a n d . .a d d . .a n . .c l a r i t y . .t o . .t h e . .m e a n i n g . . .I . .w i l . .v i e w . .t h a t . .a s . .a . .n o i s e . .w o r d . . . . .A c t u a l l y . .I . .t h i n k . .I . .w i l l . .v i e w. . .t h e . .o r i g i n a l . .p o s t . .a s . .n o i s e . .w o r d s . .a n d . .a l s o . .C o l i n . .m u l t i – p a r t . .r e s p o n s e . .w h i c h . .I . .d i d . .n o t . .r e a d . . . . .D o e s . .C o l i n . .w o r k . .f o r . .t h e . .S t a t e . .D e p a r t m e n t . .o r . .a . .s c h o o l . .d i s t r i c t ? . . . .R e m e m b e r . .i n . .t h e . .o l d . .d a y s . .h o w . .w e . .h a d" a s u b j e c t and a v e r b a n d a p r e d i c a t e ..."a n d . .t h e n . .p r e p o s i t i o n a l . .p h r a s e s . .( b e g i n n i n g . .w i t h . .a . .p r e p o s i t i o n . .o f . .c o u r s e ) . . .T h e n . .w e . .c o u l d . .m o d i f y . .a . .s u b j e c t . .w i t h . .a n . .a d j e c t i v e . ."
      "a d j e c t i v e . .( o r . .t w o ) . .a n d . .a . .v e r b . .w i t h . .a n . .a d v e r b . .( a d d i n g . .t o . .t h e . .v e r b ) . . . . .W e . .c o u l d . .a l s o . .u s e . .i n f i n i t i v e s . .i f . .u s e d . .c o r r e c t l y . .o f . .c o u r s e , . .a n d . .g e r u n d s . .( w e r e n ' t . .g e r u n d s . .f u n . .t o . .u s e ? ) . . . .W e . .c o u l d . .g o . .b a c k . .t o . .t h a t . .j u s t . .f o r . .g r i n s . . . . ."

      August 26, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Chainyanker

      What Colin says fits me to a 'T' ... amazing and insightful. However I'd like to add another reason, that of an epihany at the age of 10 when all the talk among adults and the news and us kids was the new concept called 'brainwashing' which the Chinese Communists were using on American POWs in the Korean War. While sitting in Sunday school one morning I realized the teacher was trying to brainwash me and after a while I was convinced that was the case...my mind subsequently totally blocked out all things having to do with religion. Now nearly 60 yrs later I still have the same impression...religion is all about feeding and sustaining the Church Organism and what better way for it to survive than to brainwash the young and the ignorant.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Chainyanker

      In several life changing moments I did not say 'my god' I said 'oh s**t'.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:09 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.