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Could the next pope be from Africa or Latin America?
February 11th, 2013
01:18 PM ET

Could the next pope be from Africa or Latin America?

By Eric Marrapodi and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

(CNN) – Hours after Pope Benedict XVI's resignation announcement Monday, speculation was surging over who might be his successor and what part of the world the new pontiff could be from.

The 118 cardinals who will pick the next pope are also in the running for the job. Those cardinals are from around the globe, but more than half of them hail from European nations, according to Vatican statistics.

Worldwide, the demographic trends among the Roman Catholic Church's nearly 1.2 billion members show a different breakdown, with the church seeing only a trickle of new members in Europe, while membership has grown significantly in Africa.

So this time around, could the pope be from Africa, where growth has surged significantly, or from Latin America, a longtime bastion for the church?

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"It's always one of those exciting things. I bet there will be a line in Vegas, there probably already is," said Randall Woodard, an associate professor of theology at Saint Leo University.

"Especially based on the growth of Catholicism and ... the geographic shifts that have taken place, a lot of smart money would be on Africa or Central America."

Some stressed that the pope's geographic background shouldn't be a factor.

"All of the questions about nationalities are nonsense," said Michael Sean Winters, a visiting fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. "There are 118 men, and all of them have gotten to know one another. ... Their questions are going to be 'who can we see in that chair?'"

For many in Italy, the choice is already clear, according to John Allen, CNN's senior Vatican analyst.

"Around the dinner tables today in Rome, Cardinal Angelo Scola has the pole position," Allen said Monday.

Scola, an Italian, is the archbishop of Milan.

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who heads the Vatican's office of bishops, is also a likely frontrunner, said Allen. And Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, an Argentinian who works as the Vatican prefect overseeing eastern churches, is well-known for his leadership and administrative skills, Allen said.

'The face of Catholicism'

Another top contender for the papacy could be Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, said Woodard, the managing editor of the International Journal of African Catholicism. The 64-year-old cardinal currently heads the pope's council for justice and peace and has experience working with people of different faiths, Woodard said.

"He would be able to respond to global needs and ... the reality of what the face of Catholicism is," Woodard said.

In Brazil - which leads the world with more than 133 million Catholics, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life - many were buzzing about Benedict's resignation announcement Monday.

"The country has a tradition of Catholicism, and any news related to the pope is very important news in Brazil. ... There are those experts saying that maybe the time has come for a cardinal from the developing world, Africa or Latin America, to ascend to the papacy," said Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

Catholic faithful gathered at a religious celebration in Brazil's capital Monday said they were surprised by the news of Benedict's resignation and hopeful that Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz might be picked for the papacy, the state-run Agencia Brasil news agency reported.

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But choosing the next pope is an issue that must rise above geographic borders, said the Reverend Emmanuel Katongole, a Catholic priest from Uganda's Kampala archdiocese who is an associate professor of theology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

"Part of the frustration for me is that there is a thinking that Africa's challenges and the opportunities and the interests can only be advanced if we have an African pope," Katongole said. "I find it extremely frustrating when in my vision, the church is a transnational communion of believers whose identity and loyalty cuts across these geopolitical boundaries."

Cardinals prepare to decide

While people outside the church may focus on nationalities and race, within the church's top ranks, cardinals have "a very global vision," Woodard said.

"The pope has to be the visible shepherd of 1 billion Catholics in the world," said Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. "I don't think going into the conclave the pope has to be of a certain nationality."

Other factors are important, Paprocki said, like the age of the next pope.

"It's a grueling and demanding schedule to keep up with," he said.

Pope Benedict, who is 85 years old, said Monday that he will resign at the end of the month "because of advanced age."

"Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the pope said, according to the Vatican.

Age is also a factor for cardinals. Once a cardinal reaches 80, he is no longer able to participate in the election of the pope or enter the secret conclave where cardinals gather to select the next pope.

Of the 118 cardinals of voting age, 28 are from Italy, 34 are from elsewhere in Europe, 19 are from Latin America, 14 are from the United States and Canada, 11 are from Asia, 11 are from Africa and 1 is from Australia.

Cardinals will meet to choose Benedict's successor sometime after his official resignation on February 28, the Reverend Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said at a news conference.

"Before Easter, we will have the new pope," he said.

Benedict won't be involved in the decision, Lombardi said. But his influence will undoubtedly be felt. Benedict appointed 67 the 118 cardinals who will make the decision.

It's a choice that Cardinal Donald Wuerl said he doesn't take lightly.

"When we go into the conclave, what has to be upper in the minds of all of us is what is God asking of us in making a choice. Who will fill the chair of Peter? And I think that's going to be the only consideration," said Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington. "Who among this body has the qualifications, the characteristics, the spiritual gifts to fill that chair?"

Wuerl told reporters that he was in his study at 5 a.m. Monday preparing a homily for Ash Wednesday when he found out about the pope's decision.

"This is very startling," he said. "I was totally unprepared for it."

Wuerl is a top American contender for the papacy, according to Allen. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, could also be considered, but both Americans would be on the "C or D list" of candidates, Allen said.

While only the church's inner circle will know what goes on inside the conclave, bookmakers were quick to set the odds over who will be the top contenders.

Two online betting sites listed Turkson as a favorite Monday. London-based William Hill plc and Dublin-based Paddy Power both gave him 3-1 odds.

CNN's Michael Pearson, Hada Messia and Kyle Almond contributed to this report.

Full Coverage: The pope resigns

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Africa • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • South America

soundoff (648 Responses)
  1. gatecrasher1

    I really hope that they pick another European Pope.

    Anyone from North and South America is too radical, and would bring more socialist type practices to the papacy. I can't have one of those clowns in there that wrote my high school theology textbooks that glorified those that live in mud huts and looked down on any prosperity or gain. These aged hippies preached collectivism and advocated a weak US foreign policy.

    No way. That is why I stopped going to church. I was tired of hearing Obama speak every Sunday.

    February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • sassysticks53

      You're a racist and I'm glad you left the church! Good riddance!

      February 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  2. 12ax7

    Let me define the real definition of pedophiles vs gays.

    1-A gay person with obsessive perversions is a pedophiles.

    2- A gay person with no obsessive perversions is not a pedophile.

    3- H-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l is by definition, a mentally hill person.

    February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      oooooh...look out for the hill people!!!

      February 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • CrossCountryI

      mentally ill?! wow.

      February 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  3. fred

    Richard Cranium
    You obviously do not see the irony where God says I will use the things of foolishness to confound the wise

    February 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      god never said any such thing...men wrote that.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Richard Cranium

    Peter
    You say we don't believe in Santa Claus because " we have positive evidence deer don't fly.
    Using the same argument that religious people use...deer can fly due to Santa's magic...all things are possible through Santa.

    We've not found Santa at the North Pole
    Using the religious argument...the north pole resides in a different dimesion that you cannot perceive, but it's there.

    Logically impossible for a man....
    using the religious argument...he uses his Santa magic and again all thiings are possible.

    Lets continue with the religious argument as it pertains to Santa
    There are thousands of books written about santa...so he must exist.
    Every year, children open presents from Santa, the fact that these presents exist is evidence that Santa exists.
    I hear news broadcasts about Santa's journey around the world on respected news stations, they certainly wouldn't report it if it weren't true, so Santa must exist.
    The Post Office receives millions of letters addressed to Santa....It is a felony for these letters to get to anyone else, and they are all read...so Santa must be known to the post office, so he must exist.
    Santa stories exist in all parts of the world...How did everyone hear about him?...the fact that every story about him contains the same basic info is evidence that he exists.

    Do you see now why the religious arguments of the existance of some supreme being are ridiculous and have no basis in reality?

    February 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Petra

      Belief in God is not an intellectual issue, but a moral/spiritual one. Intellectuals line both sides of the aisle. Rebellion is at the heart of all humanistic belief. Yes, it takes belief to be an atheist.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      of course belief in god is not an intellectual one as you have to turn off your intellect in order to believe.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      “deer can fly due to Santa's magic...all things are possible through Santa.”
      =>This is children’s fantasy and all adults of normal psychological profile understand the difference between Santa, Rudolph and God.

      “the north pole resides in a different dimesion that you cannot perceive, but it's there.”
      =>fantasy please return to the couch and finish your session.

      “he uses his Santa magic and again all thiings are possible.”
      =>move onto pixie dust you will have larger audience.

      “There are thousands of books written about santa...so he must exist.”
      =>7 billion adults since Neanderthal worshiped God. Adults do not worship Santa, lives are not remarkably changed when someone reads a Santa book. Even if I grant the “spirit” of Christmas as a force it is the spirit which is the force not Santa or verses from Rudolph.

      “Every year, children open presents from Santa, the fact that these presents exist is evidence that Santa exists.”
      =>Gifts that are given are the fruits of the Spirit which are sometimes part of the spirit enjoyed at Christmas. Difference is that the gifts from Christ are eternal not seasonal.

      “Do you see now why the religious arguments of the existance of some supreme being are ridiculous and have no basis in reality?”
      =>do you actually not see the difference between the Creator and the created things?

      February 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      Did the 56 out of 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence turn off their intellect? Did all the presidents of the United Stated turn off their intellect?

      February 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      The same lies spew from freds moronic mind.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      Yes they did....in order to make that all important leap of faith, you must turn off your cognitive processes. You have to ignore the fact that there is NO evidence whatsoever, anywhere, even though people have looked for said evidence for 2000 years (over 1700 hundred in the signers case).

      Yes in order to make a leap of faith, you must abandon logic and reason....otherwise there would be no need for faith.
      So yes, in regards to their belief in a superbeing, they did turn off their intellect...it is required by your belief in order to make that leap of faith.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      exactly where is the lie? Be specific

      February 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      You obviously do not see the irony that you are trying to destroy my argument, when all I did was take the same religious arguments that are used, and applied them to Santa.

      Of course there is a difference in god and santa....at least Santa's myth is partially based in reality.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      Atheists that claim there is no God have turned off their intellect.
      The presidents of the United States understand the difference between Santa and God.
      If an adult believes in Santa they have turned off their intellect.
      The atheist statement “we don’t know why we exist but no God needed” is a statement of complete nonsense. At best the atheist can say we don’t know why we exist and the only proof we will accept is proof that fits into our imaginary limits of science. Those limits are imaginary because the boundaries of knowledge are self limiting boundaries constrained to baryonic matter.
      Agnostics have intellectual integrity and remain open yet are self limited by materialism.
      Faith is not a function where brains are put into a trash can. Faith is the portal that opens the true reality of what is. God is.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      You obviously do not see the irony where God says I will use the things of foolishness to confound the wise

      February 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Oops sorry, I guess I posted it too quickly. I shoud've waited until you posted your same lie that creator in the declaration= christian god as I believe in it. And how all the fouding fathers were christians, and how our constitution is based off the bible. Sorry, but it's your standard bullshit and I jumped ahead of it a bit.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      You are trying to speak for gos now?
      No one knows what or if god ever said anything. Your book is the works of man, no god required.
      your religion is man-made, no god reuired.
      ALL of the other faiths, all the thousands of gods that men have created are all wrong, but your book....your book got everything right....what a load of crap.
      You are better off putting that ridiculous book of myths down, and join in reality.

      And it is obvious that you have turned off your intellect as well fred....none of your arguments contain any form of logic or reason.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      Why do you limit your reason and logic that which is not of God?
      There are those that have a sense that life has purpose. It is reasonable and logical to understand that purpose. Until such a time as a more reasonable or logical understanding is found how reasonable is it to toss that which is self evident to date?
      What is self evident is that beginning with Neanderthal men looked up and worshiped a creator. Even under the pressure of our materialistic driven age of reason 80% of the world believes in a creator. What is completely unreasonable is to claim there is no God on the basis of naturalism which only reflects the results of creation. What is completely unreasonable is failure to comprehend that created things being immersed and having evolved from other created things cannot know anything outside of their created existence. What is unreasonable is to expect the fish in the fishbowl to grasp the purpose of existence on my desk. What is unreasonable is for that fish to demand evidence be produced out of the matter known to exist in his fish bowl.

      February 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Gus

      fred, there is no purpose to your life or the life of your poor goldfish. You cannot comprehend that which does not exist.

      February 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • clarity

      Because, fred, and correct me if I have this wrong, but when you say God, you mean the God of Abraham, the god that was born from ancient mythology and stories where the nature of that character changed over time as man defined, then redefined it. Now if that's not the god you have in mind, then perhaps you can tell us why we should give any time to consider something that, if it were email, would be akin to spam.

      February 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • clarity

      Correction: Now if THAT IS the god you have in mind, then perhaps you can tell us why we should give any time to consider something that, if it were email, would be akin to spam. If it is not, then what god were you speaking of?

      February 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      As I said...your posts do not contant logic or reason, or proper english for that matter.

      Why do you limit your reason and logic that which is not of God?

      I don't....If god did something that made his existance known, then I would see for myself, but all there is is an ancient book that has had enough of it proven incorrect and in some cases impossible, that it cannot be taken seriously.

      February 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      @fred: "Why do you limit your reason and logic that which is not of God?"

      Believe in your god is unreasonable and illogical.

      ***
      "There are those that have a sense that life has purpose."

      This "sensing of purpose" is nothing but emotion, ignorance and curiosity.

      ***
      "...how reasonable is it to toss that which is self evident to date?"

      It is anything but self-evident. It is: "Instead of being scared at the fact I don't understand I will choose a comfortable fantasy."

      ***
      "What is self evident is that beginning with Neanderthal men looked up and worshiped a creator."

      It has been ignorance from the very beginning. In this, you are correct.

      ***
      "What is completely unreasonable is to claim there is no God on the basis of naturalism which only reflects the results of creation."

      What may be "completely reasonable," if one does not want understand reality and wants to assume a god had a hand in things, is to pretend a Pantheistic god. It is completely unreasonable to give it the various and inane attributes every religion ascribes to a creator. The creator of a universe wouldn't be a part of any club. He would not have specialized rules for only certain people lucky enough to have been in a certain part of the world at a certain time. It's just silly.

      ***
      "What is unreasonable is to expect the fish in the fishbowl to grasp the purpose of existence on my desk."

      If there is a purpose. No one knows, even as much as you pretend to.

      ***
      "What is unreasonable is for that fish to demand evidence be produced out of the matter known to exist in his fish bowl."

      Your fish have gotten smart enough to know the fish bowl isn't the end-all of its world. Fortunately it evolved into humans who do understand much more of the universe than even 20 years ago. Why is it unreasonable to seek to understand our new fish bowl? While a creator may exist, we've learned enough to know your god in particular doesn't exist. If "god's special creation" is going to exist we need to find other planets because this one could suffer a cosmic catastrophe at any time.

      February 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • fred

      Clarity
      God is not of matter, time or space that is contained in the fish bowl. The human need to understand purpose exists as science looks hard within the fishbowl the vast majority of mankind knows and have known the answer is outside that bowl. The God of Abraham reveals attributes consistent with those of various cultures and times. That God was revealed in Christ and then the Holy Spirit.
      The laws of science are based on observation of consistent patterns so it is logical to look at consistent patterns in faith the existence of which is self evident. The pattern outside of childish mythology revolves around the spiritual. The best we can summarize is that God is spirit. The effect and affect of that spirit can be seen in the God of Abraham, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Abraham had faith, obeyed which lead to the Promised Land, Jesus likewise modeled faith and obedience that leads to unity in the Promised Land and the Holy Spirit in believers leads to unity in the Promised Land.

      The 80% today that believe are looking up to a promise or hope. That refined hope for the last 6,000 years is centered on the attributes of God as revealed through Abraham which explains that purpose onto God. The other 20% can wish there is no purpose or deny purpose but that requires a strong faith in an accident of unknown matter.

      February 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      How about a few examples of what in the Bible is proven incorrect. Please do not copy the Dawkins list just give me a hand full that stick out in your mind.
      Oh, you are correct in that my writing skills are lacking. God would not let me write or edit the Bible.

      February 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • JustForFun

      Here you go fred....

      nsects do NOT have four feet

      Lev 11:21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth
      upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the
      earth;

      Lev 11:22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and
      the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the
      grasshopper after his kind.

      Lev 11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet,
      shall be an abomination unto you.

      They have six. In fact, NOTHING that can fly has four feet.

      Rabbits do not chew their cud

      Lev 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

      They only appear to, due to mistaken human perception. How could an all knowing God not know this?

      Snakes, while built low, do not eat dirt nor dust

      Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

      The bat is not a bird

      Lev 11:13 These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they are
      detestable: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture,

      Lev 11:19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

      Deu 14:11 You may eat any clean bird.

      Deu 14:12 But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture,

      Deu 14:18 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

      The bat is in fact a flying mammal.

      Snails do not melt

      Psalm 58:8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like
      the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

      The Earth is NOT flat!

      Yet these verses indicate that the Earth must either be flat, square or rectangle!

      Isaiah 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

      Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

      How can the Earth have four corners if it's sphere-shaped? Four corners indicate either a flat, square or rectangular structure!

      Likewise, notice the structural disposition of the Earth assumed by these verses.

      Psalms 67:7 God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

      Psalms 135:7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

      Proverbs 30:4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!

      Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

      Isaiah 41:9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

      Isaiah 5:26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!

      Daniel 4:10-11 These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed: I looked, and there
      before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.

      Zechariah 9:10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

      Mark 13:26-27 At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

      Romans 10:18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

      How can a round sphere have "ends"? Also, in regard to Psalm 135:7, winds do not come from storehouses! So much for Biblical meteorology. And from Daniel 4:10-11, how can a tree be tall enough to touch the sky? Did the infallible Bible writers think that the sky had a roof? Also from Daniel:

      Daniel 4:20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth...

      No matter how tall that tree is, there's no way it could be seen to the “ends of the Earth” on a spherical body! Likewise,

      Isaiah 18:3 All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it.

      Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain,
      and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

      Luke 4:5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.

      Since astronomical bodies are spherical, you cannot see the entire exterior surface from anyplace on it, therefore you could not technically see "all the kingdoms of the world" from one point!

      Next,

      Proverbs 8:29 when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

      Zechariah 12:1 This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth...

      A foundation structurally implies building a basement to the ground first to lay the rest above it!

      Similarly,

      Psalms 75:3 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.

      I guess the foundation of the world has pillars holding it up too?

      Of course, in defense Christians will try to claim that these verses are only metaphors or allegorical, and not to be taken literally. But why don’t they take all the verses of their cherished fundamental doctrines and do the same as well? How do they decide what is allegorical and what is literal? And why should we trust their judgment on that?

      The Earth is not motionless

      Psalms 104:5 The Earth is firmly fixed; it shall not be moved.

      1 Chronicles 16:30 Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

      The Earth is moving constantly 24 hours a day in its path around the Sun!

      The moon is not a light

      Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made thestars also.

      The moon is not a light! You can only see it glow only because of the sun's reflection off of it. During some of its phases, you can't even see it at all!

      Our sun is not the same age as the rest of the stars

      Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

      Scientists have observed and dated many of the stars in the universe to be millions or even billions of years older than our sun.

      Stars are not little balls of light close to the Earth!

      Revelation 6:12-14
      And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

      The Bible authors obviously thought that the stars were little balls of light that could fall to the Earth. They had no idea how big and how far away the stars actually are!

      Wind is not held in storehouses

      Psalms 135:7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

      Anyone with even an elementary knowledge of meteorology or basic science can tell you that wind is not produced from “storehouses”!

      February 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      Noah's ark
      Jonah and the whale
      David and Goliath
      and many more, but those first three are ridiculous and proven impossible

      February 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • fred

      End Religion
      “Believe in your god is unreasonable and illogical.”
      =>no God as revealed in the Bible stands far above any other man made religion or holy book. That debate is only of value once a person believes in a creator not naturalism as their god.

      “This "sensing of purpose" is nothing but emotion, ignorance and curiosity.”
      =>I think you would agree that is speculation opinion and based totally without facts.

      “It is anything but self-evident. It is: "Instead of being scared at the fact I don't understand I will choose a comfortable fantasy."
      =>sorry but you would do well to spend some time with people in their last few moments of life. Some have fantasy, delusion of God or knowledge of God. Their final moments of fear are very different depending on level of faith. Thinking about death when not eminent is a classroom exercise where materialism and naturalism rules. Thoughts of evolution and scientific method lost in the reality of death are not determining factors of the approaching abyss.

      "your god is blah blah blah"
      =>you cannot know if your view of the creator is good or bad because you formed your view in the absence of absolute truth.

      “If there is a purpose. No one knows, even as much as you pretend to.
      =>why do you complicate it? Purpose requires a creator unless somehow you have faith in spontaneous purpose out of a quantum field.

      “Why is it unreasonable to seek to understand our new fish bowl?”
      =>it is not, even the Bible says we were made in the image of God (creative with cognitive capacity required to meet our purpose)

      February 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      The wonders of God revealed in these stories point out the Divine nature of the word of god. The word of God never comes back empty. Your assessment is correct in that one who does not know God or desires to know God will only find the ridiculous nature of these stories. The very character and nature of your heart is opened up.
      In short, all three point to hopelessness in the absence of dependence on God. Yes, all are impossible feats of revival according to everything known by man. The Bible repeats this theme from the beginning. It was faith that allowed Gods purpose to work out.
      "Noah's ark
      Jonah and the whale
      David and Goliath
      and many more, but those first three are ridiculous and proven impossible"

      February 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • fred

      JustForFun
      Not certain if you are really looking for a line by line response as I doubt that would change anything in your heart relative to God. The Bible is a story about God redeeming a people so any response I would give certainly would serve some other purpose.
      Let me just say looking at the bottom you picked some verves out of Psalms which caught my eye because it is a praise Psalm. Storehouse is better referred to as treasuries and in this case “God brings them out of his treasuries”. Verses 5-7 show the power of God over all gods and all nature. God is the source of all things and everything is the result of God so we praise Him.
      This is a hallelujah praise to the wonder of God. Do you hold song lyrics and poetic inspiration up to scientific inquiry?

      February 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Robert

      The worldwide flood described in Genesis 6-9 is not historical, but rather a combination of at least two flood stories, both of which descended from earlier Mesopotamian flood narratives. Note that this does not mean all of the claims made in the Bible are false (or true for that matter); I am dealing here only with the biblical stories of the flood. (Also understand that the “slippery slope” claim of “all of the Bible is true or none of it is true” is simply an unnecessary rhetorical device designed to keep readers from doing precisely what scholars do every day: analyze each claim in the Bible on a case-by-case basis. It is not necessary to accept an “all or none” stance towards the Bible.)

      Most biblical and ancient Near Eastern scholars argue that the flood is a mythical story adopted from earlier Mesopotamian flood accounts. These earlier accounts include the 17th century BCE Sumerian flood myth Eridu Genesis, the 18th century BCE Akkadian Atra-Hasis Epic, and the Epic of Gilgamesh, which are some of the earliest known examples of a literary style of writing. The most complete version of the Epic of Gilgamesh known today is preserved on 12 clay tablets from the library of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (685-627 BCE). This extant Akkadian version is derived from earlier Sumerian versions. In the story, Gilgamesh and his companion, a wild man-beast named Enkidu, travel the world on a number of quests that ultimately displease the gods. After the death of Enkidu, Gilgamesh embarks on a journey to learn the secret of eternal life by visiting the immortal flood hero, Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh how the god Ea (equivalent to the Sumerian god Enki) revealed the gods’ plan to destroy all life with a great flood, and how they instructed him to build a vessel in which he could save his family, friends, and livestock. After the flood, the gods repented for destroying the world and made Utnapishtim immortal.

      These flood stories appear to have been transmitted to the Israelites early in Israel’s history. Contact between the Assyrians and the Israelites is known from the conquest of Israel and its capitol, Samaria, in 721 BCE by Assyrian King Shalmaneser V (727-722 BCE), and from the attempted conquest of Jerusalem by the Assyrian King Sennacherib (704-681 BCE). These stories were apparently modified to conform to a monotheistic faith, but retained characteristics such as the destruction of nearly all living things via a flood, the salvation of a select few people and animals by the construction of a boat, and the regret of the deity for the flood, prompting a promise not to do so again. Thus, like many of the early stories in Israel’s primordial history, the flood story appears to be an adaptation and integration of a previously known myth into the theology of Israel.

      Most scholars will point out that the biblical flood story is actually two flood epics intertwined into one. However, unlike the two biblical creation stories (Genesis 1:1-2:4a and Genesis 2:4b-25), which were set one after the other in the Hebrew Bible, the two original flood stories appear to have been edited into a single narrative. The combined story preserves vestigial indicators that the account was originally two separate narratives. For example, Genesis 6:19-20 states that there were to be one pair of each species of animal on the ark, one male and one female:

      And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive.

      However, in Genesis 7:2-3, which was originally a separate flood account, it states:

      Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.

      Thus, there are two different numbers given for the number of animals on the ark: one pair (male and female) in Genesis 6, and seven pairs of clean and one pair of unclean (male and female) in Genesis 7. The integration of two different numbers is evidence of two originally separate flood accounts.

      Likewise, Genesis 7:17 states that the flood lasted 40 days:

      The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.

      But Genesis 7:24, a portion of the second flood story, states that the flood remained for 150 days:

      And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred fifty days.

      Shortly thereafter in Genesis 8:6, the story switches back to the first flood story, and the number 40 returns:

      At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made.

      Thus, not only are different numbers used for the number of animals on the ark in the two Hebrew flood stories, but different time periods were given for the flooding after the rains: 40 and 150 days.

      Further evidence for the presence of two flood stories comes from the fact that in the narratives that speak about 40 days of flooding, god is referred to as the divine name YHWH, which supposedly was not revealed to readers until the episode of the burning bush in Exodus 3. However, in the portions of the flood texts that refer to 150 days of flooding, god is referred to as elohim, the Hebrew word for “god.” The two different Hebrew flood narratives refer to god by different names rather consistently. Thus, the textual evidence demonstrates that two flood narratives, most likely derived from earlier Assyrian and Sumerian flood narratives, were combined and adapted to fit the Israelite’s monotheistic faith and communicate lessons of a wrathful, destructive god, a regretful (Genesis 6:6) yet repentant god, and the origin of rainbows.

      But for some, the literary evidence is not compelling. So, allow me present some scientific evidence: there could not have been a worldwide flood as described in the Bible because there is simply not enough water in the earth’s atmospheric system to produce such a flood.

      According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, the amount of water in the earth’s atmosphere could not possibly cover the earth. In fact:

      One estimate of the volume of water in the atmosphere at any one time is about 3,100 cubic miles (mi3) or 12,900 cubic kilometers (km3). That may sound like a lot, but it is only about 0.001 percent of the total Earth’s water volume of about 332,500,000 mi3 (1,385,000,000 km3)

      If all of the water in the atmosphere rained down at once, it would only cover the ground to a depth of 2.5 centimeters, about 1 inch.

      Additionally, because only 1.7% of the earth’s water is stored underground, there is not nearly enough water in groundwater storage beneath the earth’s surface to account for the amount of water necessary to flood the entire earth to the extent described in the Bible.

      Simply put: there is not enough water in Earth’s atmosphere to raise the ocean’s levels over an inch, much less to cover Mt. Ararat with water from 40 days of rain. There is simply not that much water in the system.

      Thus, in order to even entertain the possibility of a worldwide flood, one has to bypass all laws of physics, exit the realm of science, and enter into the realm of the miraculous, which many biblical literalists are willing to do. It is hypothetically possible that, say, the polar ice caps melted. This could raise the ocean levels beyond the 2.5 centimeters that all the earth’s atmospheric water could were it to all rain down, but even then the thaw would only slightly affect the world’s coastlines. Additionally, all scientific evidence points to larger polar ice caps in recent history, not smaller.

      Other fantastic scenarios could be offered to explain the flood. For instance, some might suggest that a colossal ice-asteroid could have burst into our orbit and melted, bringing with it an unconscionable amount of water into our atmosphere. But, even this desperate scenario poses a major problem for many biblical literalists who attempt to explain or prove the flood scientifically. The Bible says it “rained” and the “springs of the deep” opened, but mentions nothing about an asteroid. Likewise, were water to enter Earth’s system, where did it all go? To where did the water recede? Earth’s water cycle results in all water residing somewhere on Earth’s surface in the form of oceans, ice, and freshwater lakes, beneath Earth’s surface in subterranean reservoirs that produce springs and geysers, or in Earth’s atmosphere as moisture. So even if water could enter Earth’s closed system, where did it go?

      Simply put: there is no evidence whatsoever for a worldwide flood. In other words, it’s impossible. There is not enough water in the earth’s atmospheric system to even come close to covering all of the earth’s landmasses.

      It is time for Christians to admit that some of the stories in Israel’s primordial history are not historical. It is ok to concede that these stories were crafted in a pre-scientific period and were designed to offer ethical answers to questions of why and not questions of how. Christians and Jews must concede that the Bible can still be “inspired” without being historically or scientifically “inerrant.” As the early church father Origen explained regarding the preservation of empirical truth within problematic documents edited by human hands, “the spiritual truth was often preserved, as one might say, in material falsehood.” Simply because a factual error exists in the text of the Bible does not mean that an ethical truth or principal cannot still be conveyed. It is time for Christians to concede that “inspiration” does not equal “inerrancy,” and that “biblical” does not equal “historical” or even “factual.” Some claims like the flood and the six-day creation are neither historical nor factual; they were written to communicate in an pre-scientific literary form that god is responsible for the earth. It is time Christians conceded that there was no flood. It is time for Reformed Theological Seminary to concede that Bruce Waltke has a point. It is time for groups of evangelical amateurs to stop making sensational claims about discoveries they did not really make. And it is time for people to stop looking for Noah’s ark.

      It’s not there.

      February 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Same old bullshit from fred. All assertions and absolutely no substance.

      February 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Well then give me two thumbs up because substance abuse is not my problem

      February 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Robert

      Fred your posts prove you do have a substance abuse issue, but of course you're in denial.

      February 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • fred

      Robert
      “These flood stories appear to have been transmitted to the Israelites early in Israel’s history. Contact between the Assyrians and the Israelites is known from the conquest of Israel and its capitol, Samaria, in 721 BCE “
      =>possible but that would mean Moses did not write the 5 major books of the Bible or significantly modified by Israelites 700 years later. This contradicts their records. That would make the writer a liar which does nullify the Bible.

      “Most scholars will point out that the biblical flood story is actually two flood epics intertwined into one.”
      =>correct statement would be most secular scholars. This is not the majority opinion.
      =>one pair in Genesis 6 verses 7 pairs in Genesis 7 relate to fruitful relationships and worship sacrifice respectively not a combination of flood stories.
      =>the use of 40days (a biblically significant number) is not reflective of a merging of stories yet important biblical parts of the total 371 days (or 375 if days not inclusive) flood days involved.
      =>” YHWH” usage or “elohim” reflect the relationship of God with his people within the story (personal) or outside of the personal part of the story not a combination of sources.

      February 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      And yet you can offer absolutely nothing to back up your statements. You never have, and you probably never will.

      February 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Moses died in 1406 BC. If they were contrived by the Israelites in 721 BC he could not have written the Pentatude which includes Genesis. Note the thread:
      @Robert:“These flood stories appear to have been transmitted to the Israelites early in Israel’s history. Contact between the Assyrians and the Israelites is known from the conquest of Israel and its capitol, Samaria, in 721 BCE “

      @fred:=>possible but that would mean Moses did not write the 5 major books of the Bible or significantly modified by Israelites 700 years later. This contradicts their records. That would make the writer a liar which does nullify the Bible.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • fred

      In case Tom Tom is turned on tonight make that "Pentateuch"

      February 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      No flood, no Moses, no Exodus. The bible is a fraud.
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3355050,00.html
      http://www.biblicalnonsense.com/chapter12.html
      http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/judaism/TCF2K1C0BPAGF6BVO

      February 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      @robert:“Most scholars will point out that the biblical flood story is actually two flood epics intertwined into one.”
      @fred:=>correct statement would be most secular scholars. This is not the majority opinion.
      here is my source:
      ‘Assyriologists generally reject any genetic relationship between Gen. 1-12 and the Mesopotamian data because of the considerable differences; see (eg.) J.V. Kinnier-Wilson. In D. W. Thomas, ed., Docu-ments from Old Testament Times (London: Nelson, 1958), 14; W. G. Lambert, JTS. n.s., 16 (1965): 287-300, esp. 289. 291, 293-99. and in ISF, 96-113, with addenda; A. R. Millard, TynB 18 (1967): 3-4.7. 16-18, and in ISIF 114-28; T. Jacobsen, in JBL 100 (198 1): 513-29, and translation, both now in ISIF 129-42, plus 160-66.’, ibid., p. 591.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • fred

      End Religion
      You should read your own source(http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3355050,00.html ) all the way to the bottom before posting it as reliable. The article itself admits it has no proof:

      Summarizing the Jewish divide, Carmy observes that liberals hold the biblical text "doubted until independently proven true," while for fellow traditionalists "it is true unless conclusively disproved."

      February 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      fred, so it is true then, thanks. Help me spread the word that Moses didn't exist. I only posted the top 3 links there are many more. There simply were no slaves for Moses to have led. More good news:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-isaacs/passover-in-egypt-did-the_b_846337.html

      February 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • fred

      End Religion
      Dr. Jason Long’s web page (http://www.biblicalnonsense.com/chapter12.html) looks like the atheist version of fred. Suggest you find a reputable source not a weekend blogger.

      And http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/judaism/TCF2K1C0BPAGF6BVO
      Are you serious or just checking if anyone is looking? Why not just reference some of hawaiiguest posts off this site as your source? Or better yet your own posts

      February 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • fred

      End Religion
      Time out………..
      I just realized I do not know squat about some of my sources and they are slanted in my favor as you may imagine
      .
      Perhaps I should just quote God as my source. Ok, God says if you think all our presidents were religious nut jobs, Moses did not exist, Abraham did not exist and Jesus never existed you can just go to hell.
      Oh oh the voices are back………………

      February 12, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • End Religion

      fred I'm not sure where your confusion stems from.... we know the bible is a fraud. We know your god, your jesus and moses didn't exist. There was no global flood, no exodus. We know all these things.

      "Orthodox Rabbi Shalom Carmy of New York's Yeshiva University grants that historians have so far found no documentation on Moses apart from the biblical writings."

      It can't get much more clear than that. Maybe if we write it in crayon you will understand it better?

      February 12, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  5. Katzefrecker

    No one mentioned the name of Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Bertone as a possible candidate for the next pope. Right now he is second-in-command to Pope Benedict XVI. You might want to read "Petrus Romanus, The Final Pope Is Here" by Thomas Horn and Cris Putnam. It's primarily about the St. Malachy prophecy concerning the last pope and is available on Amazon.com.

    St. Malachy was a medieval Irish Archbishop (1094 – 2 November 1148) who experienced mystic visions about the number of popes from his time until the Second Coming of Christ. According to St. Malachy's time clock, there is only one pope left.

    "In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people."

    The two authors speculate about what name the final pope might take. Theoretically, this last pope could take the name of Peter II. Since St. Peter, there has never been another pope named Peter. But there is a new twist to all of this. Supposedly, Pope St. Pius X, who reigned from 1903 to 1914, had a mystic vision in which he saw a future pope with the same name as his (Pius) fleeing over the bodies of dead priests. Nothing like this has happened yet in history. Therefore, the next pope could possibly take the name of Pius XIII. You might then ask how could both the St. Malachy prophecy (about a Pope Peter the Roman) and the vision of Pius X (about another Pope Pius) be correct. Cardinal Bertone's name in English is Tarcisius Peter Bertone. He was born in Romano Canavese, in northwestern Italy, near Turin. Therefore, due to both his middle name and place of birth, he is already Peter the Roman. If he were elected as pope, he could then take the name of Pius XIII, and both prophecies would be fulfilled. His chances are good, considering that he's currently second-in-command and is an Italian. The Italians have a big voting bloc in the Vatican. Of course, the Vatican cardinals are well-aware of these prophecies and could make them self-fulfilling. But it's only conjecture. I don't know whom they will choose. We will have to wait and see what happens.

    February 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Petra

      interesting to say the least...

      February 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Check

      The new pope will be a Greek. He'll take the name Pope Kalamata to fulfill St. Malarkey's "Olive pope" "prophecy"!

      (or maybe from Spain... then he'd be Pope Manzanilla) (or, if from the U.S., Pope Lindsay)

      February 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  6. the truth

    many people post about the dwindling practising religious faithful and opine about the causes. Well first off, if you divorce you cannot practise the religion, if you live common law you cannot practise the religion, most importantly religious based schools continue to push away science and anything to do with other than creationism add to the mix the local parishes have self inflicted hierachies among the civilian population that the common man sees the everyday lives lived by practising members and see the pathetic contradictions-what is the use of belonging or practising if everything preached is contradicted by the church population? you have to be a hypocrite and psychotic to stay a practising catholic. The best preached lie is the one about helping others blindly, when the turn comes to have it returned all are blind. like all religions it is a repressive and evil religion as in the past shows all are born into it and must follow rigid rules if broken death befalls.

    February 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Peter

      most importantly religious based schools continue to push away science and anything to do with other than creationism
      -–
      I object to this sterotype for Catholic schools considering the rich Catholic tradition of science by all of the cleric scientists like Gergor Mendal, Nikolas Copericous and thousands of others (you can google Catholic Cleric Scientists and a big list will come up) and the fact that the Catholic Church accepts evolution and has for a while now. Humani Generis is the papal encyclical that says evolution is not in conflict at all with the Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II affirmed this teaching in the 1990s. Because I know where this is going, Galileo was never in trouble for his science frankly because Copernicus had already figured the science out, Galileo was in trouble for his theology. You can read Cardinal Bellarmine's writing on Galileo since he dealt with it directly. Besides that we still say the sun sets. Bellarmine is also a great read because you see where three seperate but equal branches of government comes from a few hundred years before it hits France and then the American colonies.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Ray B

      What a typical, ignorant, short sighted posting. Contrary to your ramblings, if you divorce you CAN practice the religion, if you live common law you CAN practice the religion...nobody is denied from participating in the faith and Mass.....even non Catholics. What you CANNOT partake of is the sacraments, since to receive a sacrament (such as the Eucharist) you must be in a state of grace.
      As for religious based schools pushing away science? Do you know anything about Catholic Education other then propaganda and lies? Catholic schools have a rich tradition of scientific exploration and advancement. Unlike some protestant faiths, the Catholic Church has never espoused a literal interpretation of the bible. Rather, the Church properly interprets the meaning of the biblical stories based on the time period they were written.
      I just get so tired of the lies and distortions promoted by atheists and enemies of the Church. What I find hypocritical and psychotic are those who believe that there is no God and that everything, including life, formed randomly and without a creator. That, my friend, requires more faith then the most ardent Catholic parishioner.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Petra

      Watch Expelled and see proof of how the atheistic scientific community is closed minded to a creator or intelligent design. The bible explains that before the worldwide flood, it never rained before on the earth, but a heavy dew watered the plants. An explanation of this would be if our earth was shrouded by an atmospheric layer of water much like our current ozone layer. Humanistic scientists will not even consider the possibility which is very closed minded. The door swings both ways.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Peter

      The Catholic Church created the university system, not the Greeks or Romans.

      February 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  7. NorCalMojo

    My money is on a Latin American.

    The Catholics should just write off US and European Catholics. They're not very committed or reliable. Their biggest concern seems to be getting more Latin Americans into America to fill their empty pews.

    February 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Peter

      They wont write of the Americans just yet because the Catholic church in the US is expected to hit 100 million in the next 30 years because of the growing hispanic population and devout Catholics are having more children then they have in the past 30 years. But Americans due to the huge role individualism plays in the US are typically regarded as bad Catholics to the rest of the Catholic Church.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  8. Peter

    At least atheists don't believe in fairy tales from a 2000 year old book and support paedophiles! Na na na na na! LoL you low IQ, naive religious zealots are a great source for comedy.
    ---
    Not for anything I dare you to get into an IQ match with Pope Benedict.

    February 12, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • 12ax7

      Pedophiles are h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-s.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  9. John Illinois

    Seeing what you sick, pathetic atheists and liberals post on here is why there are so many people that can't stand you freaks. Why don't you go pick on Islam, since there are supposedly more followers, or are you afraid of getting a RPG up your wazoo!?!?

    February 12, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • frankb2910

      Hey John Illinois you don't sound very Christian. You are a perfect example why religion makes otherwise normal stable people act and say crazy and wicked things. If your feeling are hurt I really don't care. You will continue to hear our opinions. They call it freedom of speech.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Carl

      At least atheists don't believe in fairy tales from a 2000 year old book and support paedophiles! Na na na na na! LoL you low IQ, naive religious zealots are a great source for comedy.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Peter

      Come on now! Atheists and liberals are still your brothers and sisters, remember there will be more joy in heaven if one of them find their way to the Lord then it will be for the entire group of pious and devout Christians combined. Prodigal Son and the lost sheep parables.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Hypocrisy Hunter

      John Illinois, complaining about people attacking your religeon, while simultaneously advocating attacking followers of another religeon, does fae more than make you the 2-faced hypocrite of the day. Your wishes are completely opposed to what Jesus taught, making you, in every sense of the word, the anti-Christ.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Peter

      "THE Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."

      ~G.K. Chesterton (Illustrated London News, 16 July 1910)

      February 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Ray B

      No Carl, atheists believe the fairy tale that everything in the universe was once contained in a space smaller than an atomic nucleus. They also believe the fairy tale that everything, including complex life forms, formed randomly and without a creator. Now, who is the believer in fairy tales and who has more outlandish claims?

      February 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      No, RayB, that's not what (most) atheists believe. It is one, of many, possibilities. Mostly they say, "We don't know, yet," but as with the idea that an angry god roared, rumbled and spit fire, smoke and lava from volcanoes and some other god threw lightning down from the sky, they (and I imagine you also) have rejected belief in those scenarios. Atheists withhold belief in your god hypothesis, until proven.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • 12ax7

      Atheists are simply gay people in disguise, they have no morals and are evils.

      February 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  10. Mark of Tennessee

    A black pope is next.... Cant wait to see all the Catholics faces

    February 12, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Peter

      Why would that matter? Most of the Catholic Church is not white to begin with.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Mr. J.

      And I bet we Protestants are very open minded regarding race. Believe me, we Protestants are the most racists of all Christians.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Peter

      There are only Protestants and Catholics who call themselves Christians. The Protestants have about 35,000 denominations though but not all of them are racist some are extremely racist but others are very kind.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Judy R

      I predict the next pope will be a man.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  11. JRJ

    His name will be Paul.

    February 12, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Peter

      Do we all freak out if he calls himself Peter II and reinvestigate the Saint Malachy prophecy?

      February 12, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  12. I Am Butters

    Can I have his hat?

    February 12, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  13. Me2

    Is there like a quota before you can get ellected for pope. How many priests do I have to cover molestations for, or commit before the position becomes open for me?

    February 12, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • JRJ

      I'm not a Catholic any longer, but had a 12 year catholic education. Knew a lot of priests through all those years and none of us guys ever had even one do or say anything inappropriate. It's a shame that a lot of good men are being lumped in with the pedophiles the catholic church covered up.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Peter

      You act like this is a majority of the Church, it simply is not. There are 400,000 priests and less than 1% of them have hurt children. I am a young Catholic and I wish priests who hurt children were immediately removed from their parishes and told leave the priesthood because molesting children is about the worst thing you can do and you could not possibly have a vocation to the priesthood if you had any thoughts of doing that. Unfortuntely during the 60s, 70s and 80s it was widely believed you could recover from some those tendencies. I also feel that children who are now adults should be compensated for their pain. I would rather sit in a cold church with no lights if it meant victims were being compensated for the horror they experienced. It ruins people's lives.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Ray B

      There is a much larger percentage of child abusing teachers in the US Government Schools.....but you never hear about that in the media; or from ignorant posters on sites like this.
      No....much more fun for the ignorant to bash the Church since it stands for something they will never understand.

      February 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • End Religion

      Ray, you worship an imaginary being. It just doesn't get much funnier than that.

      February 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  14. jimmy

    I would hope they would choose a Pope who would strengthen religion and faith but I fear they next Pope will be chosen for "political correctness." And religion and faith will continue to decline. The truth hurts.

    February 12, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Peter

      Since the Cardinals in the Conclave have been hand selected by the past two Pope's none of them care about Political Correctness at all – that is an American thing. Don't let secular media in the US, who really know nothing about the Catholic Church make you fear anything. Watch EWTN it is more accurate.

      February 12, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Will

      No by all means, let us hope the church continues its tradition of persecution, now with gay and lesbians, as it has done over the last 500 years.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Peter

      Persecution? Are you confusing Catholics with Muslims? Muslims think gays shouldn't even be allowed to live.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  15. empresstrudy

    Joe Biden. The Popemobile will be an old TransAm.

    February 12, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Peter

      The Pope is the only world leader who drives around in a 100% environmentally friendly ride.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And despite the christian death wish and reward in heaven promise, it is bullet proof. What is Pope-A-Dope afraid of?

      February 12, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And being electric does not mean 100% environmentally friendly. Are you sure no pollution was created during the generation of electricity. Did Pope-A-Dope pray it into existence?

      February 12, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Peter

      The Pope isn't afraid of anything, most of his predecessors were martyrs. Besides that Jesus already forewarned us persecution isn't off the table if you are a follower. John 15:20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  16. Starrface

    Why not a woman for the Pope? At least she might cut down on the good old boys pedophile club activities.

    February 12, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Saraswati

      They need to Change the rules first. And they will change, or the church will become obsolete. The "Brazil's Catholics look to the future" story cites the drop in Catholic numbers there from 92% in 1970 to 65% today...a trend that represents the real changes being seen in most parts of the world. Excluding immigration, only struggling, poorly educated developing countries in Africa and Asia are seeing any rise in their numbers. The church needs to hope for those regions' continued poverty if it wants to maintain any position in the world.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • Peter

      Yeah except that whole part about spiritual fatherhood gets in the way. Ever wonder why Jesus who obviously cared little about social norms never had a woman Apostle even though they were probably better disciples then most of the Apostles? All the Apostles except John abandonded Jesus at the Cross and Peter who Jesus picked to lead his Church, denied him three times. Jesus' mother was the perfect disciple and other women disciples stood with Jesus as he died and yet there was a reason why none of the women were Apostles.

      February 12, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Me2

      By all means let the church CHANGE to accomodate the masses. If it changes enough it will no longer be what GOD intended but what lies in the desires of a mans heart. This is whats wrong with religon today. People are so willing to compromise their principles to appease the masses. After all, arnt the masses the ones paying THEIR bills? Its easy to see what has become their god and master!

      February 12, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Saraswati

      Me2, The Catholic church was changing and evolving long before ghe modern era. Celibate priests were once the "new" idea. Was that just political corectness gone wild?

      February 12, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Peter

      It is one of the downsides of the Reformation and combined with the American belief of individualism, it is a huge problem. The US has one of the most unique religious environments in all of human history because there are literally five new protestant churches with their own set of beliefs added to the equation every week in the US. The American Protestants have 35,000 different denominations and they all believe something different. You can pick a church that suits whatever belief you want. The bigger problem is that because Americans are so wealthy they go and try to evangelize other parts of the world with whatever their belief is and it is greatly confusing and is why religion falls apart and people become indifferent. Who is right? Atheists have a legitimate claim when they call Christians out and point out the obvious that you all call yourselves Christians but you all do things differently. I sincerely believe people are evangelizing with the purest intentions of serving God but at some point we have to ask ourselves did God create this confusion or is it man made? And we all know the answer if we are honest with ourselves.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Peter

      The call for celebate priests comes right from the Book of Revelation as most of the Catholic Mass does.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  17. RICK

    We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine......

    February 12, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  18. Kebos

    One thing we know for sure is that it will be a man. Pathetic little frat club.

    February 12, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Don't blame the Vatican! They're just following what teh Bible says.
      It is very clear as to the role of women in church, which is to sit down and shut up. (1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11)
      Remember, it is because of Eve's trangression that humanity was expelled from paradise and sentenced to die. (Ecclesiasticus, 25:19)
      Sure, God punished women by making childbirth an agonizing process and making her a slave to her husband but is that truly enough? (Genesis 3:16)
      As the esteemed theologan Calvin said, woman is "... more guilty than the man, because she was seduced by Satan, and so diverted her husband from obedience to God that she was an instrument of death leading all to perdition. It is necessary that woman recognize this, and that she learn to what she is subjected; and not only against her husband. This is reason enough why today she is placed below and that she bears within her ignominy and shame."
      A good Christian woman should be silent, submissive, subservient and filled with shame for the curse her gender forced on humanity.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  19. CHIKE CHIKA OGUOMA

    Greetings from Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. First, I will not want anyone to ask me how I got to know but, if my prediction fails, let no one ever listen to me again. Here's my prediction: POPE BENEDICT WILL BE SUCCEEDED BY AN AMERICAN. I've heard people say that it's likely going to go to Europe because more than half of the cardinals are from there. Some others have said that it's going to Africa. Men and brethren, much as I know that statistics do not support my prediction, my prediction is as good as reality because THE NEXT POPE WILL BE AN AMERICAN. There is a reason why the next pope must be an American. Even if there was no American among the cardinals, the catholic church would have had to deal with a situation where a new american cardinal is ordained just for the purpose of taking over from Ratzinger. Watch and see. Remember, THIS MUST HAPPEN FOR JUST ONE REASON. WHEN IT HAPPENS, FIND ME, AND I'LL TELL YOU MORE. HOOHA!

    February 12, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • truth be told

      Hey! Where is the $37,000,000 you promised to send me?!?!?! You said Jesus told you to do it, and if Jesus says it, I believe it. I sent you the $50,000 you needed for processing, and since I had to sell my mother into prostitution, I need the money to buy her back from the pimp.

      February 12, 2013 at 4:19 am |
    • truth be told

      The unimaginative little twit that steals my name fools no one but idiots. All so called atheists are liars and it appears thieves and cowards as well.

      February 12, 2013 at 7:30 am |
  20. CHIKE CHIKA OGUOMA

    Greetings from Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. First, I will not want anyone to ask me how I got to know but, if my prediction fails, let no one ever listen to me again. Here's my prediction: POPE BENEDICT WILL BE SUCCEEDED BY AN AMERICAN. I've have heard people say that it's like going to go to Europe because more than halp of the cardinals are from there. Some others have said that it's going to Africa. Men and brethren, much as I know that statistics do not support my prediction, my prediction is as good as reality because THE NEXT POPE WILL BE AN AMERICAN. There is a reason why the next pope must be an American. Even if there was no American among the cardinals, the catholic church would have had to deal with a situation where a new american cardinal is ordained just for the purpose of taking over from Ratzinger. Watch and see. Remember, THIS MUST HAPPEN FOR JUST ONE REASON. WHEN IT HAPPENS, FIND ME, AND I'LL TELL YOU MORE. HOOHA!

    February 12, 2013 at 2:43 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.