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Nuns' fight with Vatican highlights Catholicism's global struggle
The nation’s largest group of nuns, LCWR, are under fire from the Vatican.
May 30th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

Nuns' fight with Vatican highlights Catholicism's global struggle

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - The charges ranged from promoting “radical feminism” to espousing religious teachings out of step with the Catholic Church. Now, six weeks after many American nuns said they were blindsided by a bruising Vatican assessment, a key nuns' leadership group is meeting to decide how to respond.

The board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents the leadership of the vast majority of the nation’s nuns, began a four-day meeting in Washington on Tuesday, with church watchers dissecting the 22-member board's every move.

It's a fight that pits church men and against church women, and it could have broader implications for the global church.

One side is pushing the nuns to fight back against a church that they think has lost its way. The other is championing the Vatican against a group of aging nuns whom they say are on the verge of extinction unless they reform.

The powerful Vatican office, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, launched an investigation for several years. It issued a report in April charging that America's nuns had largely gone rogue, warning that the American nuns could be a negative global influence on the church.

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The Vatican report said that at an annual gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, guest speakers who preached "radical feminism" went unchallenged. The report also alleged sins of omission, saying the nuns were too focused heavily on social justice and not enough on opposing abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

Many nuns have publicly chafed at the report.

"For myself, the shock made me numb at first, and then I was profoundly sad that my life as a woman religious and my commitment to serving the poor would be so denigrated by the leadership of our church," says Sister Simone Campbell, who heads NETWORK, a liberal advocacy group in Washington. "All we do is work for love."

For the report to say "you don't do everything," Campbell says, is "ridiculous."

Some in the pews seemed to agree with that sentiment, even staging small protests across the country to support the nuns. During a recent stop at Campbell’s office, she showed CNN cards and letters of support.

The Vatican office that issued the assessment said it was a first step in reforming American nuns. “The renewal of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious," the report says, "… is the goal of this doctrinal Assessment."

Pope Benedict XVI, a theologian by training, was the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for decades before he was elevated to papacy. In interviews conducted while he held that earlier post, he spoke often about growing the church by pruning - becoming smaller but more devout before expanding.

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“Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the church’s history where Christianity will be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, seemingly insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intensive struggle against evil and bring the good into the world-that let God in,” he told Peter Seewald in an interview for the book, "Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the End of the Millenium."

That vision has support from ardent Catholics.

"Far from a crackdown, the Vatican is asking the LCWR to prayerfully return to their roots and to the reasons their religious institutes were founded,” says Raymond Arroyo, a host on the Catholic Cable Channel EWTN.

“These monasteries were not founded 100 or 200 years ago to picket and contradict church teaching or the bishops," he says. "They were founded to faithfully serve brothers and sisters throughout society in the spirit of Christ."

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is a group of 1,500 nuns who lead over 300 religious orders. Together, its members represent 80% of the 57,000 nuns across the United States.

Church experts say that the nuns have a few options in responding to one of the most powerful offices in the church. They could accept the assessment, negotiate or resign en masse and form a new group outside the watchful eye of the Vatican.

In a statement, the group said it would conduct this week’s special meeting “in an atmosphere of prayer, contemplation and dialogue and will develop a plan to involve LCWR membership in similar processes.”

“The conference plans to move slowly, not rushing to judgment," the statement said. "We will engage in dialogue where possible and be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit."

Even before the controversy broke, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was already thinking seriously about its future with the church.

Nuns in the conference had long ago removed their habits and shifted away from the traditional roles within church structures, like working in parochial schools and hospitals. Today you are more likely to find a nun in contemporary dress at a soup kitchen than in a full habit cracking a ruler over a grade-schooler's knuckles.

But the leadership conference is shrinking as it ages.

“They’re certainly not getting new vocations, new members, at the rate they had been before the Second Vatican Council,” says Kathleen Cummings, associate director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame. “Since the late 1960s, their numbers have declined dramatically.”

The median age of American nuns is 70, she says, noting that career opportunities once available only to nuns inside the structure of the church are now open to women outside the church.

“Changes for women in America have far outpaced changes for women inside the church,” Cummings says.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious once represented nearly 100% of the nation’s nuns. In the 1990s, though, a number of orders broke away and formed the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, returning to many of the older traditions of religious life, including wearing the habit.

The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious is growing at a faster rate than the leadership conference, but Cummings said the numbers of new vocations there are “miniscule” as well.

Vatican scandals lift lid on secret power struggle

While leadership conference nuns viewed the evolving role of women to give them more of a social justice focus, Cummings says that "Vatican officials, and many Catholics, too, see those changes as startling and disturbing.

“What’s happening here with the doctrinal assessment is just the latest, and will have the most lasting effects, of a Vatican attempt to reassert the power they traditionally held over women’s religious life," Cummings says. "Power that they lost a lot of over the last 50 years.”

But conservative Catholics say the groups that are most beholden to that power are the ones that are growing.

“Some communities are clearly doing something right, others are moving to extinction,” says Arroyo. “Bottom line: a faithful witness is attractive and undeniably draws young people.

"The Vatican is throwing a life line to the leadership of female communities that are not thriving and attempting to facilitate a reform that will allow them to rediscover their initial calling and draw young vocations into the future," he says. "That's not a crackdown, it's a seek-and-rescue mission."

As the sisters debate and pray on how to respond, they realize they are in the center of a broader global power struggle.

“What’s really at stake here, in the larger significance, is the future of the church,” says Sister Maureen Fiedler of the order of Sisters of Loretto,  which is represented by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. “Whether we’re going to go back to the old church before the Second Vatican Council.”

The leadership conference plans to announce its next steps in responding to the Vatican on Friday.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Vatican

soundoff (848 Responses)
  1. Frank

    The rapes of countless thousands of children by their pedophile infested cult doesn't phase them but a dispute over doctrine gets them all riled up. Ridiculous.

    May 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • it is

      shallow

      May 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      You raise an interesting point, Frank, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they suffer from Stockholm Syndrome as well as some actual complicity in the crimes of the men.
      I have read some accounts where the children were cleaned up and given first aid by the nuns after being raped, so some of them knew exactly what was going on and were forced to remain silent for various reasons.
      Also, many women become nuns due to various problems that drive them to the extreme of casting away a secular life for a life of literal slavery, or so I would expect, although there must be some who are just caught up in the religious hype and join out of a sense of extremist devotion or whatnot.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Cat

      I'm off to be fed to the lion for being Roman Catholic.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  2. Everett Wallace

    Well nuns I will tell you this and it's up to you to listen or not, if you want to be saved leave the church and I do mean as of yesterday. You are trying to fight against satan worshippers, take a look around you you see the destruction of the church, GOD THE FATHER has never been in the church. if you were to read the Holy Bible (new international version) it will tell you that the church was persecuted after the disciples were murdered off and JESUS never named a religion, the word "christian" is a way of life not a group of people. JESUS never said HE started the catholic church, that's what benedic "cain" in cognito said. So let your hair down, put on a skirt or jeans however you prefer to dress and be yourself who you really are, you have done all that you can do. GODS JUDGEMENT has come upon the churches.

    May 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  3. dowdotica

    the nuns work for love, even sister vivian did way back when i was a kid. its the pigs at the pulpit that have a different motive! you know what i'm talkin about. they are more worried about getting in everybodys bedroom and telling them what is right and wrong. funny, i was taught something different. hmm, must be why i don't practice catholic anymore....

    May 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  4. it is

    Don't count out the Catholic Church, especially if you are a Chritian of any stripe. Christ himself said that it should prevail. The RCC has only ever proclaimed ( as opposed to what SOME of its MEMBERS have done) what it has been taught by Christ. Wanna scoff? actually do some REAL research and STUDY what it teaches in the Catechism of the Cathilc Church. for other denominations:Riddled wit h scripture. Oh and BTW, orchestrated by Cardinal Ratzinger, (Pope Benedict) and promulgated by PJPII.

    The RCC has been around, teaching the same thing for 2000 years. Christ, the jew, is the fulfillment of the Israelite Prophets, going back aother 2-4 thousand years. The errant whims of the current century arent going to dent undentable truth. The Church isnt going to change teaching what it teaches, it cant,. So it wont win any popularity contests. It isnt run by politicians, but highly educated and spiritual persons, who have dedcated their entire lives to the cause of truth, which isnt always to THEIR personal preferences either. But love for Christ, who by the way didnt enjoy being crucified, compels faithful church members to follow his example.

    Nuns who want to follow the times are completely out of whack. If they have ANY true faith in what they proclaim to, they will, smarten up, pray, repent, study, and get back in touch with the suffering Christ, instead of trying to upholster the cross for a faithless generation. The RCC isnt for whimps.

    May 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Cat

      Thanks.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Jen

      Well hopefully these nuns won't straighten up and the Vatican will excommunicate them. Then any woman with an IQ over 50 will leave the church as well, as it is clear the Catholic church thinks women are worthless.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Frank

      "the RCC isn't for whimps". True, it's for child rapists and their supporters....like you.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • it is

      Not so. The RCC values woemen immensley!. PJPII even wrote an encyclical,specifically praising women. Hoever, the RCC is primarily interested in the intrinsic and unadulterated infinte value of women, rather than the superficial, aethetic or usuary value this generation puts upon then. As this is what you believe about women, you are right, the RCC doens tvalue that much at all.

      For aNyone who believes in an afterlife: Stop whining about this one.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Jen

      Valuing women means giving them equal rights – you can not deny this! If women were valued they would be eligible to become priests, bishops, cardinals and the pope.

      Also, please learn how to spell!

      May 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Religion is for mental and emotional children. Period. You can call yourself "tough" but you cannot face death without holding on to your fantasies of an afterlife.
      So I can call you a wimp in this regard and it would be true....wimp.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • it is

      Hey Jen! Sorry about the spelling, Ipad typos. The logic why women are not priests is along the same lines as why men dont have babies. The FACT is that woemen are not men. This notion of equality today is completely out of whack. Please dont read into what I said that "women are only good for making babies" I agree that that is ridiculous.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Jen

      Sorry, but that analogy doesn't work. Men aren't biologically able to have children. There is no biological reason why women can't serve as priests, etc. Women and men ARE EQUAL. They are not the same but they are equal. Women have always been seen as property by the Catholic Church and in the bible. That is why they are not allowed to hold any position of power in the church. Our job according to the bible is to 'obey'. Well sorry, women are not going to continue to hold to these archaic notions any longer. These nuns have every right to stand up for themselves. Not surprisingly, the men are shocked and disgusted that these women are not putting up and shutting up as women are supposed to. These are the same men that did NOTHING while priests r-ped young boys. And they have the gall to go after the women for spending too much time feeding the poor? There is something seriously wrong if you think the church should even have this on their priority list.

      May 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  5. The Bible is a book of badly written fairy tales

    I find it extremely sad that you're still talking about organized religion in the 21st century. Our descendants will be greatly amused at your ignorance.

    May 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • it is

      you wish. or yours

      May 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Don'tBelieveTheLiesOfReligion

      Sadly, this is unlikely. Most people seem fine with being fed fairy tales, mumbling incantations in groups steered by smarmy leaders, and huddling together against an uncaring universe. We seem to be hard-wired in an evolutionary sense to accept the pronouncements of group leaders, rather than to think rationally. The latter is very powerful and has given us our present level of technology with all of its comforts, but these advances were created by a small minority.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  6. Gabbi

    Im getting older now and had a religious catholic upbringing in a convent so you cant take the catholic out of the girl, but I have a brain and know that there may be something else, an energy, aliens coming first and mating early, metiors bringing the things necessary for life from other planets, anything. As we and our scientists become more evolved, we learn more and I read thru the internet and am open to everything. I will pray in my last moments to my God and if its not him, there will be no anger, mostly hope that its not the end, that somehow we go on in some form.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  7. Luke

    The Catholic church is slowly disintegrating due to the centuries old abuse of children by pedophile priests. How can anyone take their children to a Catholic church when you don't know who is a pedophile or who isn't.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • LouAZ

      Could their god be a pedophile ? Seems acceptable to almost all of them. They never do anything about it . . .

      May 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  8. cucotx

    The reign of the Catholic Church is finally approaching an end here at the beginning of this new Millennium ... It's about time this Cult ceased to exist. The pain that organization has forced on humanity for centuries is unbelievable.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  9. None Needed

    Knowing how deeply indoctrinated some of these women are likely to be, I would give better odds that they will remain with the misogynistic nightmare they have become so comfortable with.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      how many do you actually know ?

      May 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Dougas Hearn

      It seems rather ironic that the papacy is very quick to take action against its American nuns,when for decades it has played deaf, dumb and blind to the outrageous number of Catholic priests who have been proven to be child molesters.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      It's not really a surprise unfortunately. I kind of expect them to be more harsh on the women and sweep what the men do under the rug.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • DJ

      If they were "so comfortable" with it there wouldn't be an issue. They've grown wary of many of the stupider rules of the church and the oppression against women that has always existed, in most religions but overwhelmingly so in the Catholic church. It amazes me (and probably the nuns) that the Vatican is putting so much energy into this issue when they just rolled their eyes at the scandalous behavior of their priests toward altar boys. That wasn't against their teachings? That wasn't a reason for a serious response, but this is? Please, Catholics, if you see hypocrisy everywhere in your church, walk away. Go to another church that doesn't seem as bad, if you need religion in your life to give you comfort. Don't just continue to support this disgusting organization just because your father and your father's father did.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Jen

      I have never understood how women can support a religion that thinks nothing of them. This is a religion that won't allow women to even be priests, let alone bishops, cardinals or the pope. And has a history of murdering women that tried to get an education (the witch trials). And let's not forget how derogatory the bible is towards women (must obey). I just don't get it.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Jen, I rather expect the answers lie in the psychological profiles of each woman rather than trying to guess why they are a group that acts like a group in some ways.
      Poor self-esteem, masochism, all the many ways in which the religion has burned these unhealthy things into their heads, otherwise they would not have gone to the organization to become a nun in the first place, I would guess....but each one is an individual first and foremost. Each story is different. Each one would need personalized therapy to escape the clutches of the cult, too.

      May 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  10. Sifleut

    Religion needs to go away!

    May 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Fly Swatter

      just leave religon and alone and it will go away all by its' self,,,,,,,,,,

      May 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Fly Swatter

      I meant to say, "Leave religion alone and it wll go away all by itself." No need to be a fly in the ointment now do we?

      May 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  11. Bman

    I think it's time to send this Pope back to hell. Things are deteriorating from bad to worse, He's starting to remind me of Ghadafi in his last days. He could have just fired his butler, but instead he has to throw him in a cell and break out all the old instruments of torture leftover from the inquisition. This attack on the hard working nuns is just another sign of dementia, or perhaps he's reliving his childhood days in Nazi Germany.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  12. GayAtheist

    Catholicks are pure trash, but nuns are also totally worthless human beings.

    Such perverts.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • DJ

      That's a pretty harsh generalization. All nuns are totally worthless human beings? I don't think so, fella. I, too, am an athiest, and I think the Catholic church is responsible for a lot of suffering and ignorance, but these people go into it with good intentions, and many of them make great differences in the lives of others.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  13. She-who-lived-the-vowed-life

    The women who founded religious congregations were considered radical in their day. Visionaries who wanted to meet the needs of the time. They were infused with spirituality, matters of the heart and soul, rather than religion, matters of legality. In the end what truly matters for them, and each one of us, is a life well lived, the orientation of one's heart, and whether we sought to promote or inhibit inclusion across all borders. Those who founded spiritual bands of women and men were more concerned with the beating of hearts than the beating of one another. The future of women religious depends upon their ability to act justly, love deeply, and walk boldly with the spirit and one another into the relevance of today.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      🙂

      May 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Are you still in ? or out ?

      May 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Fly Swatter

      No flies in this ointment. Carry on!

      May 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • CM

      It is interesting how radical Jesus Christ was in his day, how he spoke out for the forgotten and abused and yet... those who do so, without any hope of real power in their own organization due to gender, are being attacked for that very life calling.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      CM, thank you for describing what atheists do here.

      May 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  14. LouAZ

    “There are in fact four very significant stumbling blocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear ti-tle to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge.” Roger Bacon (1219-1294)

    May 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Godzilla

      I love bacon....

      May 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      I'm a vegetarian.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  15. Jim Weix

    The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith is just a bunch of useless old men with performance issues. Sort of like the Pope. Nobody seriously cares what they think. I'm Catholic, but dumped the group from Italy along time ago. They are not the Catholic Church in America.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Godzilla

      Yes, I would expect that American Catholics have child-rap.e meetings without that old European style of raping and anticipation that separates the "Old World" of child abuse from the "New World" of child abuse.
      I don't blame you a bit for preferring our American style of bigotry and child abuse.
      I'll bet it's waayyy better than those Eyetalians do it. Shucks!

      May 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • jeff S

      I'm was raised Catholic but dump the whole religion. I never could square myself with the idea that the path to a supreme being was through a flawed man.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • DJ

      Extremely well put, Jeff.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • it is

      Actually, the path is through a perfect man: Christ. who enteusted his message to flawed people. Yes. He KNEW that. Just look at St. Peter. a Very flawed character. but his faith in Christ is stronger than his wieakness. That is why Christ chose him. The Pope, and the rest of the magisterium dont need to be perfectsaints. We all would like them to be. They only need to proclaim faithfully what they have received from Christ. This is what they are doing. AGAIN, Yah, there are some exceptionally bad eggs. Changes nothing. We're All trying to improve.

      inclusion Sounds really sweet doesnt it. Wheres the line?, OH and dont be so foolish as to say there isnt one. You wanns cuddle up Hitler and stalin do you? Alot of facile shallow remarks everytime there's anything to do with the RCC in the news. Nothing ever from anyone who has any clue what the radical spirit of it is about.

      earthy inclusion pales to eternity. For anyone who believes in an afterlife, its not gonna be fun when you relize that you encouraged others to become attached to an illusion.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      "it is", you are such a wimp, such a weak-minded fool. Do you have the guts to question your religion? No.

      Wimp.

      May 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • it is

      Jimmy G. It is because I HAVE questioned my religion and DEEPLY, and HONESTLY, thoroughly and objectively. logically and rigorously, constantly for 30 years. reading, studying pondering, questioning, allowing my own assumptions, desires, comfort zones to be challenged that I am more devout than ever. I didn't start this way, but I am certainly not going to take any self-interested short cut when considering the literature, traditions ans spirituality that have lasted over three millenia. What've u got ? the western civilization since dubious narcissitic "enlightenment"? Puh-leease. The enlightenment is akin to a flashlit in a blackout.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  16. Josef Bleaux

    Albert Einstein was asked in an interview if he believed in God. He replied that he didn't believe in a "personal" god but something more along the lines of "Spinoza's" god. If you look up Baruch Spinoza, what he believed was something similar to pantheism; that there is a "life energy" of sorts that permeates everything, the entire Universe and manifests itself as living things. That life will naturally form from inanimate molecules, given the right conditions, it's just a property of the Universe. Spinoza didn't believe in an intelligence behind this life energy, just that it existed and created life as a natural property of the Universe. To me, that makes more sense than an invisible supernatural being in the sky magically poofing the Universe into existence and then dictating rules and regulation that would either be obeyed, or result in eternal torture if you didn't. A lot of other scientists in Einstein's era (and continuing today) believed in something similar.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • None Needed

      Such scientists are likely to be quite rare, actually.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  17. Colin

    I believe in Leprechauns.

    I believe that the Leprechaun King created the entire Universe about 6,000 years ago. I know there is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that the Universe is significantly older than this, but I think a lot of that evidence comes from bad science, or from a worldwide conspiracy of scientists who want to deny Leprechauns. I know this because it is written in the Leprechaun Chronicles, a book cobbled together from various authors, most unknown, by our church during the Dark Ages.

    The Leprechaun King lives in Leprechaun Heaven, where he where he busies himself answering prayers, running the Universe and recording the lives of humans for their final judgment before him. He is surrounded by an entire society of magical beings – his son Merlin, the Holy Leprechaun Spirit, the good fairy Mary, thousands of Leprechaun saints, fairies, pixies and the souls of many millions of dead people.

    Each Leprechaun saint and pixie has a special task. For example, Saint Christopher is the patron-pixie of travelers and it is his job to intercede with the Leprechaun king on behalf of travelers to keep them safe. Most countries and professions similarly have a special Leprechaun who pays them special attention – even lawyers. There are strict rules governing the roles, responsibilities of the various Leprechauns, elves, pixies and other heavenly beings.

    I believe that the Leprechaun King loves me and hears my prayers. He intervenes in my life periodically by saving me from various ills. All I have to do is think to myself and he reads my mind and answers my prayers. He loves me and when I die, provided I have lived a good life, I will go to Leprechaun Heaven, where I will live happily ever after with all other humans who have ever led good lives.

    I know there is not a lot of evidence to support my beliefs, but that is just the point. The Leprechaun King wants us to have “faith,” so he never reveals himself. To make an unambiguous appearance and settle once and for all the question of his existence would deprive us of free will and, even though he is all-knowing, he would not know who his true believers were.

    In fact, I believe that the Leprechaun King is “beyond understanding”. He is “outside the Universe” and any time I am faced with something about my Leprechaun belief that makes no sense, I don’t dare question it, I just close my mind and tell myself that my mind is too small to understand the greatness of the Leprechaun King. These answers are satisfying to me.

    Some people are called “atheists,” and they are skeptical of my belief in the Leprechaun King. They point out many inherent contradictions and unsupported assumptions that underwrite my belief in Leprechauns. But, they can’t prove he doesn’t exist, so he must exist. And so what! Even if I am wrong, and go my whole life believing in Leprechauns and it turns out I am wrong, I have lost nothing. However, if they are wrong, the Leprechaun King will send them to hell to burn forever in the presence of the Evil Ground Troll.

    Am I convincing you to believe in Leprechauns yet?

    May 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Godzilla

      Some of my best friends are leprechauns! HOW DARE YOU QUESTION THEIR EXISTENCE!!!!! /jk

      May 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Colin .. off topic, but for your "lists library".
      Please see to it that you ABSOLUTELY stick to ONLY the STRICTLY biblical definition of marriage.

      This will include :

      1.Polygymous Marriage
      Probably the most common form of marriage in the bible, it is where a man has more than one wife.

      2.Levirate Marriage

      When a woman was widowed without a son, it became the responsibility of the brother-in-law or a close male relative to take her in and impregnate her. If the resulting child was a son, he would be considered the heir of her late husband. See Ruth, and the story of Onan (Gen. 38:6-10).

      3.A man, a woman and her property — a female slave
      The famous “handmaiden” sketch, as preformed by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-6) and Jacob (Gen. 30:4-5).

      4.A man, one or more wives, and some concubines
      The definition of a concubine varies from culture to culture, but they tended to be live-in mistresses. Concubines were tied to their “husband,” but had a lower status than a wife. Their children were not usually heirs, so they were safe outlets for se'x without risking the line of succession. To see how badly a concubine could be treated, see the famous story of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 19:1-30).

      5.A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
      Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.

      6.A male ra'pist and his victim
      Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been ra'ped must marry her attacker.

      7.A male and female slave
      A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.

      and of course …

      8.Monogamous, heterose'xual marriage

      Any complaints, please see the front desk.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Godzilla

      [looks for front desk with growing bewilderment]

      May 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Nala

      I wear a four leaf clover around my neck, but not to symbolize the death of the Leprechaun Prince you understand. It's a symbol of the everlasting pot of gold each of his lemmings will receive when they morph through the great divide...

      May 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Cat

      No. But you remind me of my cat – very self centered.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  18. ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

    No. It's what happens when people like you jump to conclusions about the motives of others, grasshopper.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • someone smarter

      shut up already.

      May 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  19. Colin

    Can a Christian please help me? I am having trouble distinguishing the third example of circular reasoning from the first two. Perhaps you can explain the difference.

    “I believe Obama is a great man because his biography says so, and the reason I believe his biography is that it is about Obama, who is a great man.”

    “I believe David Koresh was a wise and great prophet because the Branch Davidians wrote a book saying he is. I believe that book because it was inspired by David Koresh, a wise and great prophet.”

    “I believe God exists because it says so in the Bible. I believe the Bible because it is the inspired word of God.”

    May 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Andy Christensen

      They all use the same reasoning. But I believe the Bible, and believe it is the Word of God, because it explains why the world is as it is and why our lives are as they are. It is trustworthy and true on issue after issue.

      For example, why are there conflicts in the world? The world says it is because there are good people and bad people, and the bad people keep bothering the good people, and we just need a little more money, or knowledge, or technology before we can eradicate the bad people from the world. Then conflicts will cease. Problem is, nobody can explain why, after 5,000 years of civilization, with people thinking just about the entire time that utopia is just around the bend, we still have these conflicts.

      The Bible says our sinful desires drive us into conflict with each other. We are all evil in the sense that we have all done wrong. Sin is an evil spiritual force which is holding us back. And we cannot overcome it on our own. We need God's help. To receive His help we need to be reconciled to Him through the blood of Jesus.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  20. Pavloosh

    Such hate being erxpressed here. Is that what having no religion does to a person?

    May 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Colin

      y is it that, whenever you question a belief, its adherents accuse you of "hate"?

      May 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      It's what happens when people like you jump to conclusions about the motives of others, grasshopper.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Godzilla

      It is the believers who are full of bible-driven bigotry, racism, hate, fear, etc.
      atheists only lack belief in your non-existent god, but our anger at your psychotic bigotry is RIGHTEOUS ANGER!!!

      Beware, Pavloosh! One day you may realize that you have been lied to your whole life.
      When that happens, you will also become righteously angry, bitter, and hate what has been done to you like any victim.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Pavloosh

      Some people hate, and some don't. Religious or not plays no part in it. Religion and non-religion can be used to justify hate toward any number of people.

      May 30, 2012 at 8:28 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.