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Vatican scandals lift lid on secret power struggle
May 29th, 2012
01:51 PM ET

Vatican scandals lift lid on secret power struggle

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Bad luck comes in threes, even for the pope.

The past week has seen his butler arrested, accused of leaking secret papers from the papal apartment; the head of his bank sacked for incompetence; and a demonstration on his front doorstep by protesters demanding that he reveal what he knows about Italy's most famous missing-person case.

It's bad PR for the Vatican, but it may be more than that, experts say. It could affect who becomes the next pope.

The arrest of the pope's trusted butler, Paolo Gabriele, came just a day before the board of the Vatican Bank fired its director, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.

Two days after that, hundreds of people chanted "Truth, truth!" in St. Peter's Square, holding pictures of Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican employee who disappeared at the age of 15 and has not been seen in the past 29 years.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

No less a figure than the Vatican's chief exorcist said he suspected the girl had been abducted for sexual reasons, adding: "The investigation should be carried out inside the Vatican and not outside."

The timing of the demonstration was probably a coincidence, since conspiracy theories about Orlandi's disappearance have been swirling for decades and police investigations have gone nowhere, said the Rev. Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican."

But the butler and bank scandals are significant, and reveal a secret battle going on behind closed doors, he said.

Nuns at odds with Vatican meeting this week

The effect of each event is the same: to weaken the authority of Pope Benedict XVI's second in command.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, is involved in a power struggle with his predecessor, experts say.

"The reason for this fight is that the secretary of state will have a strong influence over the next conclave which will choose the next pope," said Giacomo Galeazzi, a journalist at the Italian daily La Stampa.

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The late John Paul II's secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, is trying to sideline Bertone and put one of his own proteges in place before Benedict dies, Galeazzi said.

"The leaks will end when Bertone is out as secretary of state," he predicted.

He said he expects that Bertone, who will be 78 in December, would be replaced at the end of the year, but not by the cardinal Sodano wants.

Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, isn't the only one who doesn't like Bertone, Reese said.

Bertone "did what normally happens. He brought in his team, the people he likes, the people he trusts, and he put them in key positions in the Vatican," he said.

"There are people who had hitched their star to the previous secretary of state who thought by now they would become an archbishop or a cardinal, and they didn't," Reese said. "These people are unhappy and don't like Bertone."

Part of the reason for the butler and bank scandals is that the Vatican hasn't been run well in decades, Reese said.

"Clerics don't go to Harvard Business School. Bertone is a theologian. He doesn't have an MBA," he said.

And Benedict is no better, he said.

"He is a German professor. He's a person who is into ideas, not a manager, and yet he is running a 1.2-billion member organization," Reese said.

There's a faction within the Vatican that wants the next pope to be "a better manger who can get the shop in order," Reese said.

"A lot of people think that would be an Italian, of course," after two popes from outside of Italy, John Paul II from Poland and Benedict from Germany, he said.

But the undermining of Bertone may work against that faction, he said.

"Bertone is from the Vatican and is Italian," Reese pointed out. "People may say we need somebody from outside who can come in and knock heads together and make it work."

Reese isn't taking a position on where the next pope should be from, but he has strong views on what Benedict's successor should do: "The place really needs to be restructured and reorganized. It still operates in many ways like a 19th century European court."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope John Paul II • Scandal • Vatican

soundoff (1,326 Responses)
  1. kooolguy

    just another example of how corrupt the catholic faith is. i am a christian meaning i have faith in jesus and try to love all i meet but i am by no means a catholic, i just want to point out that they are two majorly different belief systems. catholics are technically christian but not all christians are catholic, i don't belong to any specific christian religion i simply believe in jesus and try to treat others as he did. if only the world did the same it would be a nicer place.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      That's cool.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      What's this about bearing false witness against thy neighbor stuff?? Naa.. surely if I bash the Catholic Church, they aren't my neighbor right???

      May 30, 2012 at 3:21 am |
  2. Jenny L

    Alien, I feel so sorry for you. I will pray for you tonight. Bless your heart.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Again, no argument, just a silly self-serving statement based on a fantasy. You would do well to study books with factual information. Try speaking with people who are not just as ignorant as you. It is the only way to grow Jenny L.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I feel sorry for you, Jenny L. You're delusional.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Joe

      Jenny, you know whats funny about Alien? He reads and reads and swallow all he reads as factual> Bwaaahhhhh . So according to him, all he reads and only what he reads and the source he reads it from is the truth and nothing but the truth. How ignorant can that be? And he calls you an ignorant. Bwaaaahhhh

      May 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Jenny L

      Alien, I've studied books with factual information. Have you? I'm a teacher. I wonder what you do with your "silly" little life. God has brought me through the most trying times in my life and I thank Him for it everyday. How sad to not believe in anything. Like I said, I will just pray for you and hope you have a good night. God Bless you Alien.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Joe

      Say Tom Tom, ....Tom Tom Tom,, why you say JENNY is delusional? What makes u a judge? So what are you? Mr. Right?, nothing but a punk

      May 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jenny, cite any 'factual information' that proves there's a God.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      Jenny L,

      I will wish upon a star for you tonight. Watch for changes.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Same thing that makes YOU one, dumbazz.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Jenny L

      Thanks Joe. I don't mind people calling me delusional. It just makes me laugh. 🙂 God is good and that all the TRUTH I need.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, then, Jenny the moron, you just stick to that, and shut up about how the rest of us live.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Engineer in Raleigh

      Jenny's right. The truth is truthy, and awesome. The truth is all I need, too. Well, that and the gnomes inside my computer. And the benevolent spirits that conjure up medicine. And the air conditioning pixies, praise be upon them.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Jenny L

      Tom, I never said anything about how you live. I just said that I would Pray and I think it's sad to not believe in anything. I'm not here to judge. I will apologize to anyone who takes offence to what I said. I did say Alien was Silly, but the stuff he's talking about is silly to me.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Warm in Raleigh, is it? 😉

      May 29, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jenny, dear, if you're a teacher, I feel sorry for your students. If you teach in a public school, the taxpayers who fund your salary should fire you. You can't spell and haven't the slightest notion of the rules of capitalization.

      Go get a REAL degree, and stop cheating the kids.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Jenny L

      Good grief, I'm typing on a phone. It's okay because I will be praying for you also. I laugh at you Tom!!

      May 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please. As if a phone causes you to involuntarily capitalize random words, you little liar. You're no teacher. At least, you're not one with any state certification and a Praxis score.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Joe

      Ok here it goes. It all started with Alien and his highly educated thinking. Aha, Yes, Very Highly. Aha. And so, then, Jenny came along and posted her personal thoughts and so on..... And everyone wanted to post their little thoughts and beliefs. But none of you well educated know how to practically carry on an argument. Because the problem is the same old Sh**. We all want to be right and have the truth. That is to be ignorant if we want that. Just like little kids: oh yes, my dad is stronger than yours and we have a cadillac. If we reason with respect and not trying to impose our beliefs on others, it was a different story. But calling the poster delusional because he/she does not see or have your beliefs is irrational and animal, ok? Just think about that. Now, noone, not even Alien, Jenny, Joe, Tom Tom, etc HAVE THE TRUTH !!!! THE UNIVERSAL TRUTH will never be revealed to us in this form, guys. And at the same time: Alien, Jenny, Joe, Tom Tom, HAVE THE TRUTH, because the truth is what you belief !!! but don't impose it to others because it makes us bullies of knowledge. Good night cats

      May 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Dude, stick to the funny pages.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Joe

      Hey Tom , where is Jerry.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Joe and Jenny for Prom King and Queen. And now a little song for them to dance to....

      When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are....when you wish upon a star your dreams come true.

      Sweet dreams my loves.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Jenny L

      Joe, I agree with your post. I hope you all have a good night.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When you actually learn how to write a sentence, Joe, alert the media. Your posts aren't even remotely intelligible. You are unable to express a single thought in any cogent form.

      You're no better equipped to argue a point than is Elmo. In fact, you're less so; at least Elmo is cute and has a funny voice.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Joe

      Ok Alien, Jenny and Tom Tom. Best wishes. Thanks for the thoughts. Good night now.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Crazyhorse

      Is it impossible for God to exist without being physically present in this world?

      May 30, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • Fearless Freep

      Jenny, dont pray for me, just send me a few bucks.
      Im good.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  3. J.Charles

    Read GODgoogledMe on Amazon. Then tell me that this world was created through an explosion. Every living creature including man has gestation period of a multiple of 7. IE: Man's embryo forms in 28 days. Man is born in 40 weeks, that is 7X40=280 days. The Cross of Calvary stood at 777 meters above sea level. On Good Friday, the Federal deficit so far this year was $777 Billion. The U.S. was formed in 1776. The New World Trade Center Tower is 1,776 feet in height. By the way 1776 is also 777. [1+6=7, +7, +7 = 777] WHO put these thoughts in the Mind of Man?

    May 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nobody. They're not thoughts. They aren't even factual, dear.

      Time to get out of the stone age, Cletus.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Ummmmm

      Do you even know how to read? To think? You believe anything posted on the web, J. Charles?

      Are you an idiot?

      May 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Engineer in Raleigh

      "WHO put these thoughts in the Mind of Man"? I'm going to go with LSD. Or bath salts.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Ummmmm

      Bwahahha! Gotta go with bath salts!

      May 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Joe

      You must have not heard of pure coincidence, although I believe in God.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      It was those dam School House Rock cartoons in the '70's.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • yawn

      are you sniffing glue in the bathroom?

      May 30, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Fearless Freep

      Before bashing charles, listen up.

      Do you know what ley lines are ?
      Have you ever seen the layout of Washington DC ?
      Do you understand the mathematics behind the Pyramids and how they align to the constelations ?

      I contribute none of this to god.
      We are just energy and matter but without mathematics all would be chaos.

      Some of the things Charles mentioned are true, and some of it is mind blowing.
      But i doubt it has anything to do with god.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  4. Random Rambler

    The Prophecy of Akita is slowly starting to be fulfilled:

    “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres, churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the
    Lord”.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      No it's not. Stone Age idiot.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • yawn

      chris rock is at it AGAIN?

      May 30, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  5. Ken

    In theory it could affect who becomes the next pope, but Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate decider. Conclave is held in private so that the Holy Spirit can reveal the right decision, as who is fated to be chosen to be pope. The cardinals are encouraged by each other to not put the decision solely on their shoulders or their own opinions. No one truly knows what happens during conclave other than the Cardinals themselves. An Italian pope has always been expected since Vatican City is in Italy; but it's the same way America expects that the next pope should be an American. Catholics believe who becomes pope is out of their hands so to speak. So it could be expected that despite this controversy, it would have little effect on the rest of the Catholic Church and faith.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      And the reason they exist is the fact that they have people like you, who are gullible enough to look at the human processes with your rose colored glasses, and tell yourself "the holy spirit did it", mainly because somehow they have gotten you to think, that what goes on behind closed doors, is somehow "holy", and different than from other HUMAN political fights. If you had ever been groped by a Cardinal, you would feel FAR different. They are just men. Their brains are made of chemical ONLY. The rest is delusional.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Sue

      Ken, some elements of your post pegged the "woowoo" scale on the religiousmumbojumbo meter.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Ummmmm

      Yeah, because there's nothing political about the election of a pope.

      And it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summertime, either.

      What an idiot.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Ken

      Whether it's mumbo-jumbo or not, these are just facts that this article fails to point out that could affect whatever outcome.

      May 30, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • yawn

      and all this time I thought the holy spirit was what they fermented in barrels during Prohibition......dang.

      May 30, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Fearless Freep

      ** Conclave is held in private so that the Holy Spirit can reveal the right decision....

      Meanwhile in the next room votes are for sale.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  6. Aliens are Fallen angels

    1. Prayer works- God will fulfill our prayers and our hearts desire if it is his will and for your own good.
    In contrast Satanist pray to demons and they get demonic powers. They can kill a cow using a cloth and milk tied on a doorknob. And no, im not joking when i typed this i suggest you do some research on this.!
    2. God exists – you don't see ultra violet rays, doen't mean they doesn't exist.
    4. God would not present to you like a beacon that you would as you please, we are not worthy to show ourselves in his presence and our barbaric ways and evil hearts. Would you present yourself to an Ant if he it wants you to manifest yourself anytime of day as it pleases? I hope not

    May 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post exhibits confirmation bias, and contains instances of the Willed Ignorance fallacy plus non sequitur elements and a series of False Analogies.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      May 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Prayer does not work. It's been proven. If it DID work, your god's actions are contingent of an act of a creature. Self refuting. Too convenient. If "doesn't work.', -> "god works in mysterious ways" BS.

      Post the link to the cow. This could be the best laugh of the month.

      2. God exists – you don't see ultra violet rays, doen't mean they doesn't exist. You don't see the Flying Saghetti Monster ..he exists. You just can't see him. He's out in the barn, with the cows.

      " Would you present yourself to an Ant if he it wants you to manifest yourself anytime of day as it pleases?"

      Yes. He's had about 40,000 years. Must be a busy boy.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      I cared enough about the ant to send my son. I made the ant in my image.

      May 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • yawn

      huh? and I thought you said you didn't inhale......

      May 30, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • Fearless Freep

      Wrong.
      Fallen angels are aliens.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  7. bob

    I guess they do not pray enough or maybe they need to sacrifice a goat

    May 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • DeTamble

      We need to sacrifice some sheep.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  8. Alien Orifice

    @uponthisrock

    Thank you for posting the most typical uneducated argument against atheism that we have all heard and easily re-butted successfully a thousand times. Are you related to Bill O'Reilly? I mean really.

    1. You said: And I suppose all the pundits who oppose God believe in "magic". Everything and everybody just happened out of nothing.

    No, we believe we don’t know yet. What does that have to do with magic? Science is far more interesting and amazing than your fairy tales.

    2. Oh I forgot, it was all over a billion or so years so time is the answer. Give it enough time and we can produce anything out
    of nothing.

    This one doesn’t even make sense. Additionally, the beginning of our Universe happened 14 billion years ago.

    3. Here's the catch; when a person who believes in God dies, if there is a God eventually he will know it and rejoice that he was a believer."If there is no God he will never know it. When a pundit dies and there is no God he will never see the proof of no God. But if there is a God you’re in a heap of trouble. Now roll the dice.

    We don’t believe in heaven or hell, so your argument is of no relevance. However, in your world, if there were a God and he was aware you only believed in him “just in case” I don’t think he would be fooled. That is really a dumb argument.

    Lastly you don’t seem to know what the word “pundit” means, but if you do, thank you on behalf of all of us “pundits” and I took the liberty of correcting your spelling too.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Aerick Lux

      Personally, I happen to think Faery tales kick ass, they are some of the most monstrous, stories around... Some say they are evil, others good, others good and evil, it just depends...

      I dont knock folklore there tends to be more truth in it, than most history books...

      May 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • yawn

      finally.....some sanity.

      May 30, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  9. Belief Kills

    Up until approx. 500 CE "god" was understood as the universe, and "jesus" was understood as the sun. Astronomy. Period. This understanding was global. If religionists would bother to read some actual history, they'd drop all that magical god junk.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • DeTamble

      Early man used to worship the "sun".
      Somebody changed it to "son",
      and look what happened.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  10. God

    Prayer doesn't work. Trust me.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Joe

      Say God, I trust u

      May 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  11. Joe

    Alien, you are pathetic and ignorant at the same time. Be open minded and dig dig with wisdom

    May 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Insults without facts? Ingnored.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Joe

      Say Alien, so you got the facts, right? right.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • yawn

      you have an extremely limited vocabulary.....

      May 30, 2012 at 3:25 am |
  12. Alien Orifice

    If you consult the dictionary, here is the first definition of God that you will find:

    "A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

    Most believers would agree with this definition because they share a remarkably clear and consistent view of God. Yes, there are thousands of minor (and some major) quibbles about religion. Believers express those quibbles in dozens of denominations - Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists and also faths. But at the heart of it all, the belief in God aligns on a set of core ideas that everyone accepts.

    What if you were to simply think about what it would mean if there were a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe? Is it possible for such a being to exist?

    Epicures thought about it in 300 BCE, and he came up with this:

    "The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"

    In other words, if you sit and think about who God is supposed to be, you realize that such a being is impossible. Ridiculous in fact.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Joe

      I really do not want to imagine how you live with yourself. Wow, I can see how empty you feel, spiritually dead. You need help.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Joe,
      Your opinion of me is of no interest. Why don't you argue my position, rather than insulting someone you don't know. I live in truth, not fantasy and I am doing just fine thank you.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • yawn

      brilliant .....but wasted on your target audience, as in "pearls before swine"......you won't get through the dense, uneducated, indoctrinated gray matter.....ignore them....it works......reason, intelligence, information...simply wasted. I admire your attempt, though.

      May 30, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • DeTamble

      *** Joe

      I really do not want to imagine how you live with yourself. Wow, I can see how empty you feel, spiritually dead. You need help.
      ---------------------------------------------------–

      You cant be "spiritual" without believing in god ?
      God to me is just the natural universe.
      The fog of religion has been removed.
      I see very clearly now.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  13. Alien Orifice

    Crusades (1095-1291)
    • First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
    • Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]
    • 9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]
    • Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]
    • after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
    Here the Christians "did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies," according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]
    • Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine "the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians" said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]
    • Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
    (In the words of one witness: "there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Savior’s tomb, to honor it and to pay off our debt of grat.i.tude")
    • The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished." [TG79]
    • Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition". One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]
    • Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered "in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ". [WW45]
    • Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
    • Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]

    May 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • kittyzen

      Do you really believe that the people you are trying to reach can read this, let alone understand it? Facts are irrelevant to them, because they believe that anything written outside of the Bible is lies....even if that information has been chronicled and authenticated. They believe in talking snakes, the earth is 6,400 years old and humans ride dinosaurs. I rest my case.

      May 30, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • Fearless Freep

      Christian crickets.

      May 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  14. uponthisrock

    And I suppose all the pundits who oppose God believe in "magic". Everything and everybody just happened out of nothing.
    Oh I forgot, it was all over a billion or so years so time is the answer. Give it enough time and we can produce anything out
    of nothing.
    Here's the catch;
    When a person who believes in God dies, if there is a God eventually he will know it and rejoice that he was a believer."
    If there is no God he will never know it.
    When a pundit dies and there is no God he will never see the proof of no God. But if there is a God your're in a heap of trouble. Now roll the dice.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Fly Swatter

      Is it just me to believe that God rewards the weaklings in society and punishes those who bully the weak? Just wondeering.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Engineer in Raleigh

      Pascal's Wager is bunk. If you're supporting a church that disappears 15 year old girls and preys on choir boys because you think that gets you into heaven, you might want to think long and hard about who (or what) it is you're worshiping.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Rockhead
      Thank you for posting the most typical uneducated argument against atheism that we have all heard and easily re-butted successfully a thousand times. Are you related to Bill O'Reilly? I mean really.

      1. You said: And I suppose all the pundits who oppose God believe in "magic". Everything and everybody just happened out of nothing.
      No, we believe we don’t know yet. What does that have to do with magic? Science is far more interesting and amazing than your fairy tales.

      2. Oh I forgot, it was all over a billion or so years so time is the answer. Give it enough time and we can produce anything out
      of nothing.
      This one doesn’t even make sense. Additionally, the beginning of our Universe happened 14 billion years ago.

      3. Here's the catch; when a person who believes in God dies, if there is a God eventually he will know it and rejoice that he was a believer."If there is no God he will never know it. When a pundit dies and there is no God he will never see the proof of no God. But if there is a God you’re in a heap of trouble. Now roll the dice.
      We don’t believe in heaven or hell, so your argument is of no relevance. However, in your world, if there were a God and he was aware you only believed in him “just in case” I don’t think he would be fooled. That is really a dumb argument.

      Lastly you don’t seem to know what the word “pundit” means, but if you do, thank you on behalf of all of us “pundits” and I took the liberty of correcting your spelling.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      No dear. it was 13.7 billion years ago. The fact that you don't understand Cosmology, does not mean it's not true.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  15. Alien Orifice

    Ask yourself this simple question: Why, when you read the Bible, are you not left in awe? Why doesn't a book written by an omniscient being leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement? If you are reading a book written by the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe, wouldn't you expect to be stunned by the brilliance, the clarity and the wisdom of the author? Would you not expect each new page to intoxicate you with its incredible prose and its spectacular insight? Wouldn't you expect the author to tell us things that scientists have not been able to discover yet? In short, if someone has to explain a book to me because it is so poorly written that I can’t “understand” it or “put it in context” than it is a worthless book.

    Yet, when we open the Bible and actually read it, we find it is nothing like that at all. Instead of leaving us in awe, it leaves us dumbfounded by all of the nonsense and backwardness that it contains. If you read what the Bible actually says, you find that the Bible is ridiculous. The examples showed above barely scratch the surface of the Bible's numerous problems. If we are honest with ourselves, it is obvious that an "all-knowing" God had absolutely nothing to do with this book.

    The reason why the Bible contains so much nonsense is because God is imaginary. The Bible is a book written thousands of years ago by primitive men. A book that advocates senseless murder, slavery and the oppression of women has no place in our society today.

    May 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Charles

      Just another government, just as vulnerable to corruption and self-serving politics. No more holy than my feet.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • kittyzen

      Dang....you are good.

      May 30, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • See Forever Eye

      If God is so powerful that he can create heaven and earth,
      why is it that everything he creates....dies ?

      A Christian always has the answer......
      He works in mysterious ways.

      That answer gets you out of every problem doesnt it ?

      May 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  16. charles

    still trying to hatch an new third secert of fatima when wiil they learn the truth will set you free

    May 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Fearless Freep

      Try hatching some english first.

      May 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  17. catholic engineer

    Have you ever heard of Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology? He believed that the basic dynamic of "magic" is the reaching toward something higher than ourselves. Religious ceremony is an expression of this reach. But you have reduced it to pulling rabbits out of hats. You may think that religion is "only" myth. Myth represents man's first attempt to explain himself, to answer "WHO am I?" Pretty sophisticated for an evolving being ! Later, Darwin stupified the question to "WHAT am I." We've been devolving ever since.

    May 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      What in the world are you going on about CE? Nonsense. Are you drunk?

      May 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      No. The devolution began when your cult changed the myth, and tried to make people believe it was not a myth, but the literal truth. The myth was fine, and full of wisdom. The cult, however, is not.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, you are drunk, ce. And stupid.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • justsayin

      at least Darwin didn't wear a dress, flash gold jewelry, canoodle children, burn folks at the stake or stretch them on the rack....gotta give him that.

      May 30, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • Bullwinkle

      Nuthin up my sleeve......presto.
      Instant religion.

      May 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  18. nate

    Men in fancy clothes.

    May 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Can't be fancy without your pinky being lifted high in the air!

      May 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  19. jeff

    I love this Pope! He is courageously brilliant and such a beacon of hope for humanity. One thing anti-Catholics NEVER ask themselves is this: What would the world look like without the Church?

    May 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      jeff, what would the world look like without the church? It would look exactly like Rome did after its fall and the invasion by the barbarians. And it's heading that way again. The twentieth century was the bloodiest and most Godless century in history, yet stupid people still think that man can hack it all by himself.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      anti-Catholics never ask themselves that question? We LONG to find out. We ask it every day. We HATE the church and what it stands for and dream of happier days without Christian nonsense. What would the world look like?? Wonderful!!

      May 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Airportkid

      The WTC towers would still be standing, absent one church. AIDS deaths in Africa would be substantially fewer, absent another church, the catholic one. The world would be centuries advanced beyond where it is now, absent the retarding, willful ignorance of every church that thinks it has the final answer and will stop at nothing to demolish anything it doesn't agree with.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • charles

      The Pope is a great human being! The song that has lasted so long, the Catholic church is a beacon for humanity. Basically founded the current university system, established the scientific method and turned the muslim invasion of Europe through the battle or Tours and the Crusades. I am fairly sure I am better off in a country founded on Catholic principles (France, Germany, Spain, Italy) than in those founded on other ideals (North Korea, China, Iran, Cuba and others)! You can still drive through the German or French countryside and see the great examples of the Catholic faith. Yeah anytime you involve people in any journey you are going to have problems, but the Catholic body is one of the greatest in history! Much safer than the body of American public schools. Statistically speaking your child is much more likely to be abused by a teacher or a number of professionals and religious leaders (outside of the Catholic church) than by a Priest. Ever watch To Catch a Predator on MSNBC or NBC.....they caught Protestant ministers, rabbis, police officers, teachers and others of course, but they NEVER caught a Preist because it is an infinitesimal amount of Priest that abuse kids compared to any other group. Priest are by large great people! It is sad that the liberal and anti-Catholic media has attacked Catholics so negatively in the past.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Scott

      @catholic engineer: “What would the world look like without the Church?”

      Ok, where is there the most church? Iran and Saudi Arabia .
      Where is the least church? Sweden and Denmark.
      So “What would the world look like without the Church?”

      May 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, nonsense. Cite any stats that show the 20th century is the "bloodiest", you boob.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • atroy

      If it weren't for the Catholic Church, there would be no material for horror stories.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • justsayin

      pretty peaceful place....

      May 30, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • DeTamble

      What would the world look like without the Church?

      I cant wait to find out.

      May 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • DeTamble

      It is sad that the liberal and anti-Catholic media has attacked Catholics so negatively in the past.

      Dont like the message, shoot the messenger.

      May 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Alien Orifice

    When you look at different religions, they usually contain "magic." For example:

    • The Mormon religion contains the magical golden plates, the magical angel, the magical seer stones, the magical ascension of the plates into heaven, etc.

    • The Muslim faith contains the magical angel, the magical flying horse, the magical voices, the magical prophet, etc.

    • The Christian faith contains the magical insemination, the magical star, the magical dreams, the magical miracles, the magical resurrection, the magical ascension and so on.

    The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary." For example, how do we know that Santa is imaginary? Because (among other things) he has eight magical flying reindeer. How do we know that Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairy tale? Because (among other things) the story contains magical seeds. In the same way, how do we know that God is make believe? Because God is surrounded by magic.

    According to believers, God is an all-powerful being who has the divine, magical power to do anything. How do we know that this belief is a fairy tale? One way to know is to try to invoke God's magical power. For example the Bible tells us in many places that God answers prayers. However, whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary. The magical powers ascribed to him are a fairy tale.

    Another way to know is to read the stories of magical events in the Bible. There is the magical flood, yet we know with certainty that the flood never happened. There are the magical miracles of Jesus, but (predictably) none of these miracles left behind any tangible evidence. There is the magical resurrection, yet there is zero evidence that it ever occurred and no reason to believe it.

    God is identical to Leprechauns, mermaids and Santa. God is a magical fairy tale creature. The magic surrounding God tells us that God is imaginary.

    I know many of you are contemplating magical underwear right now.......well to each their own I guess......

    May 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Eli

      Yes my friend, prayers do work. You seek proof but will never get it because you hate God and openly mock Him. Why would He do anything for you? You make quite a few claims above, but you offer no proof of these claims.

      You want proof of God? The watch is evidence of the watchmaker. Contemplate that for a while. God bless you. I will pray for you.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Eli
      1. Prove that a prayer works. Impossible. Silly.
      2. I don't hate God. How can one hate something they don't believe exists? Silly
      3. What did I write above that is not true? What proof do you seek? There is plenty of proof. Silly.
      4. Where is your proof of God? The burden is on you ignorant child.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      If you consult the dictionary, here is the first definition of God that you will find:

      "A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

      Most believers would agree with this definition because they share a remarkably clear and consistent view of God. Yes, there are thousands of minor (and some major) quibbles about religion. Believers express those quibbles in dozens of denominations - Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists and also faths. But at the heart of it all, the belief in God aligns on a set of core ideas that everyone accepts.

      What if you were to simply think about what it would mean if there were a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe? Is it possible for such a being to exist?

      Epicures thought about it in 300 BCE, and he came up with this:

      "The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"

      In other words, if you sit and think about who God is supposed to be, you realize that such a being is impossible. Ridiculous, in fact.

      May 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • mike

      Alien orifice

      Begone Satan!

      May 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I love Epicures' "problem of evil". Haven't seen a single response that actually answers it well without special pleading or arguments from ignorance.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • justsayin

      your intelligence is SO wasted on this crowd.....

      May 30, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • DeTamble

      *** The watch is evidence of the watchmaker....

      I can see the watchmaker.
      Fail.

      May 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
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About this blog

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.