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February 12th, 2013
11:33 AM ET

My Take: Don't bet on a diversity pope

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The United States just finished a diversity election that saw a president elected not by old, white men but by Latinos, African-Americans and Asian-Americans.

Now that Pope Benedict XVI has announced his retirement, the Roman Catholic Church is preparing for an election of its own. Though in this case, the election will be decided not by rank-and-file Catholics but by the College of Cardinals.

It is well known that the demographics of the Catholic Church are changing quickly. Membership is hemorrhaging in Europe and barely stable in the United States, but it is booming in Asia and Africa and Latin America, which together account for two-thirds of the world’s Catholics.

In recent years, the papacy has seen some demographic milestones, as the College of Cardinals moved beyond Italy to tap popes from Poland (John Paul II) and Germany (Benedict XVI). There is now some speculation that an American might be considered, namely Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York.

But the church could take a much bolder step, tapping a pontiff that represents its future in the "Global South" rather than its past in the "Global North."

If you crunch the numbers, it’s astonishing that we have not yet had a Latin American pope.  Today roughly 41% of all Catholics hail from Latin America. And half of all Catholics under age 40 are from Latin America.

In this key region (which accounts for 16% of cardinal electors), possible papal candidates include Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Buenos Aires), who may have been the runner-up in the last papal conclave. But he is 75, and given Benedict’s abrupt retirement for (among other things) health reasons, the College of Cardinals might well want to find someone younger.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri (age 69), an Italian-Argentinian spearheading the Vatican department for Eastern Churches, is more likely. He has also been the Vatican’s chief of staff.

Another Latin American possibility is Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maridiaga (age 70) of Honduras, a rising star in the region who is known as a powerful speaker with a strong commitment to social justice.

Odilo Pedro Scherer (age 63) may be Latin America's strongest candidate. As the archbishop of Sao Paolo, Brazil, he runs the largest diocese in Latin America. But like every other Latin American candidate, he will be hurt by the fact that Pentecostal and evangelical Protestant churches are booming there.

Africa accounts for more than 16% of Catholics worldwide, but this region is Catholicizing quickly.

In Ghana, Peter Appiah Turkson (age 64) is often mentioned as the African to beat. Like Benedict, he is an academic and a conservative. He is well-known for opposing the use of condoms to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. A TV star in his homeland, Turkson is said to have the people’s touch that made Pope John Paul II so popular.

Another widely discussed African is Francis Arinze (age 72) of Nigeria. While leading the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, he became a point person for Catholic conversations with Islam, but he is widely seen as conservative.

One huge barrier to all of these candidacies is the huge imbalance between the worldwide Catholic population and the members of the College of Cardinals. The “Global South” (Latin America, Africa and Asia) is badly underrepresented, and the “Global North” (Europe and North America) is overrepresented. Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of all Catholics (many of them nominal at best), commands a majority (53%) of electors half of them Italians.

I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would wager that the “diversity election” comes next time. Given the strong tilt in the College of Cardinals toward Europe and the United States, I think we are in for another old, white man.

So far, the betters agree with me. The Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada as the front-runner at 7:2 odds.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Africa • Americas • Asia • Catholic Church • Ghana • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Jeb

    Hopefully the cardinals will not pay attention to those clamoring for selection based on whether someone is white, black, or brown and will instead pray earnestly and ask God to reveal his choice. Also, for the author: Jesus is colorblind. He cares what is in your heart not what color your skin is or how politically correct a subject may be.

    February 14, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Saraswati

      Jesus may be colorblind, but the target markets are not. Businesses know that people are influenced by race; that's why those fliers you get in the mail are carefully designed with photos that will appeal to the ethnic groups most represented in your zip code. I've worked in the field and seen both the research and the effects. The pope is a marketing tool and if the electors are savvy they will know how to play the market.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • sam stone

      Jesus is colorblind? Color blindness is an imperfection, and I thought that Jesus was a perfect being.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • sam stone

      A pope from Africa will bring in more Africans. Since it seems that religion appeals most to the poorest people, it would make sense to try to market yourself to Africa, as it has the lowest GDP of any continent. Desperate people seek god.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Ben

      To Jeb, have you seen pictures of the Cardinals the author has mentioned in this article? The Brazilian and Argentines are probably whiter than even you! I assume you're white, because it's usually white guys who say there is no racism and they don't see people as a skin color.

      February 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  2. fiftyfive55

    Now they want religion to be racist in choosing a pope ? What's wrong with these people ? Africa's ONLY PROBLEM is their absolute division into tribes rather than a country,they still fight over things that occurred eons ago instead of moving on.

    February 14, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  3. Kev

    If the cardinals that elect the Pope believe that they were divinely inspired in their voted and if the Pope himself believe that he was also chosen by God to be the Pope, then why does the Pope feel that he should resign? Does he feel God wanted him to retire? Does the Pope believe he has permission from God to retire?

    February 14, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Father Jethro Bob Goober Bob Cleetus Bob Johnson, Assistant Pope

      The Pope is far too busy hand-picking a hard liner as his successor to bother with your questions.

      February 14, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Howard

      Oh my God, did God make a mistake? But God can't make mistakes. But Benedict says he made a mistake.

      Oh, this is giving me a headache ... and a a laugh. It truly is amusing watching Catholics construct rhetorical bridges over the chasms in their circular logic.

      February 14, 2013 at 5:03 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      The holy father has acknowledged that he is too infirm to continue in a role that is demanding. Surely he has earned a rest.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Kev

      @ AnthonyH, Acknowledgment of one's infirmities didn't stop other Popes from serving on until death, so why does this pope get to retire early while the other popes could not? If God wanted those other popes to continue serving until death, why then would God feel it's okay for this pope to retire?

      February 14, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  4. Reality

    And can one get more diverse than Stevie P? After all he loves all the gods but believes in none. Stevie P for Pope Steve the First !!!!!

    February 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  5. Jim

    But I thought God chose the pope...

    February 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      har har har har

      February 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • madonfan

      The office of "Pope" isn't in the bible. Man made.

      February 13, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Hubert

      madonfan

      The bible is man made.

      February 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Athy

      Religion and god are man made. And it's all bullshit.

      February 14, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  6. KEVIN

    I agree with Stephen. The next Pope will be white but MUST be profoundly diplomatic with ALL of the other nations. cultures and religons.

    February 13, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  7. Carl

    Obama is not the anti-christ. He's worse. Satan is more fitting.

    February 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      he's a puppet on strings. that is all.

      February 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • small 'c' christian

      And this has what to do with the subject of choosing a new Pope? You must be lost.

      February 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      no clue. But I am sure Carl has a good response,

      Carl?

      February 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  8. The Truth

    It is very clear the reporter and many commentators are either not Catholic or have no clue what Conclave is. It is the belief of the Roman Catholic Church that the election of the new Pope is through Divine Intervention from God through the College of Cardinals. So the new Pope is selected by God, which by the way the reporter is saying God is racist. Many will ask well why have there been instances of several votes. Thats easy, even though God uses Divine Intervention humans still have fee will. So its a matter of enough Cardinals recognizing God's will to elect the Pope. If you don't believe this you are not Catholic, if you are not Catholic whine about your own religious leaders and your selection process.

    February 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Chris

      I'm glad you know what your imaginary friend wants. It's important to please him. Now, get down on your knees and do nothing, *ahem* I mean pray.

      This reporter simply pointed out facts. He didn't call anyone racist. Your church is under represented by the only people who are still gaining "believers" in their countries. Religion is dying in Europe, Canada and most of the logical world. There is a growing vocal community of atheists in the U.S. that are letting people know it's OK to speak out and say you don't believe in bronze age myths purported by desert goat herders.

      Yet someone like you can still come on here and speak, as if it were a FACT that you know what the magic man in the sky wants. Please, please just open up your mind and realize this is the only life we have and there is nothing to die for, but plenty to live for.

      February 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • TigersClaw

      Chris:

      Why is it necessary to insult those who believe in God? Don't you see you just need to look down on someone?

      February 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Val

      CNN is anti-Christian. Every article either trivializes or sensationalizes the faith. Notice how the Comments section for all the religion articles takes the format where you don't even have to log in? So the minority group of atheist haters can post 1000's of comments.

      February 13, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      Val is trying to kill the messenger.

      Face up to the facts, Val: religion humiliates itself. CNN is just reporting it.

      February 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Drew

      Tiger Claw,

      Because that's how athiests preach their religion, with insults and loud noises.

      February 13, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Akira

      Val. Sweetheart.
      CNN blogs all have the same format...This Just In, Eatocracy, Political Ticker...I don't have to register for any of them.
      It's not just the religious articles. Good grief.

      February 14, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • sam stone

      Christians preach their message with pompous claims of authority, and empty proxy threats.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      Atheists have a god, they don't like to admit it. Their god is government. This why those who want the state to be supreme find religion threatening.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  9. closet atheist

    Does anyone find the glee with which good christians tell others they are going to burn in hell a bit disconcerting..??

    February 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Yuppers

      I really like the Christians who say they get to watch people get tortured for not obeying them.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps they think of themselves as sponsors. Every Christian may sponsor a group of unbelievers in hell.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Yuppers

      They seem to really want ringside seats to get a good view.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Happiness researchers have found that what really counts for making one happy is not, as we would like to believe, our absolute conditions. Rather, once the basic needs of survival are accounted for, the main predictor of happiness is how we see ourselves relative to others, whether we are better or luckier or living a finer life. This doesn’t hold for one group over another; it just is what it is.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      i find it more amusing than disconcerting

      February 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      Tom

      Sponsors! hilarious.

      February 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  10. Topher

    Good morning, everyone! What shall we talk about today?

    February 13, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      What's your take on the Vatican getting struck by lightning the same day the pope announced his resignation?

      February 13, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Topher

      I guess I don't really have a take. Things are hit by lightning every day.

      February 13, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Billy

      Turtles, gasping for their last breath out in the Atlantic trying to make it back to the Galapagos where your ark dropped them off.

      February 13, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Yeah...just a interesting coincidence, but it did get hit twice....just seemed funny to me.

      February 13, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Madtown

      I always wonder why God, who created this incomprehensibly vast, complex, and intricate universe, could only have 1 son? God created the grand natural world we live in, and all forms of life, yet he could only have 1 son? Very simple logic says he could have as many sons/daughters as he chose to. I don't expect you to answer this, you can't. But, an interesting thought to ponder.

      February 13, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • madonfan

      Madtown. Before the fall of man, God had perfect communion with man. After the fall, "THE SON" as second person of the triune God was the only "perfect" union there was left. So it was a huge as sacrifice for God to sever the relationship for that one moment on the cross for us. The Creator actually give up totally perfect oneness with the Son that existed before time began to save created beings. That is noteworthy and I am definitely thankful for it. That is why Jesus is God's "only" begotten Son. Think of it as "THE SON" and not "A SON".....:)

      February 13, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Topher

      Madtown

      Well, the problem is you're saying "son" like having an offspring. Christ was not God's offspring. He was God Himself. When we use the word "son" it is a description of the role of that part of the Trinity ... Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But Christ was not created ... "In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God and the word was God."

      February 13, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Topher

      Richard Cranium

      You know, it's kind of funny, there seems to be lightning strikes whenever something big in religion happens. Remember a year or two ago, one denomination made a major decision at its conference and the place was hit by a tornado.

      February 13, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Topher

      What else should we talk about?

      February 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Madtown

      Topher and Madonfan, the trinity was a concept that had not been created(by man) at the time of Christ. Doesn't seem that's a very good explaination.

      February 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Topher

      Madtown

      "Topher and Madonfan, the trinity was a concept that had not been created(by man) at the time of Christ. Doesn't seem that's a very good explaination."

      Not true. The Old Testament talks about the Trinity.

      February 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Madtown

      Old Testament talks about the Trinity
      ----
      Could be, I'm not sure. I remember reading about it's first use in the 3rd or 4th century. It doesn't really matter when, it's still a creation of the human mind. Jesus wouldn't call out to his father, while on the cross, if he WAS his father. Twisted concept. The greater point that I'm getting at, is that God in all his glory could send as many representatives as needed to send a specific message of redemption to ALL his EQUAL creations throughout all regions of the world. He elected to send 1, and to only a small subset. How convenient for you, that you just happen to follow this supposedly "true" message! You're lucky, moreso than a lot of other humans throughout the world that will never hear of it. Because God didn't import this message to every culture, every person on earth, that means to me that he doesn't care which man-made religious tradition we follow, because none are "correct" universally, for everyone.

      February 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "Not true. The Old Testament talks about the Trinity."

      Well that would be News to the Jews...

      February 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      If you buy the bullshit of Christianity, Jesus was not a very good sacrifice. For crying out loud, god sent himself as Jesus. What kind of sacrifice is that? He knew he'd live forever in heaven and "be reunited with himself". His death on earth means nothing. He knew he was eternal. Since he was a god he could easily just pop out another son if he needed to. It was no sacrifice at all. God is laughing at your ignorance, probably kicked back watching ESPN and having a beer, still giggling away at how utterly imbecilic you are.

      February 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Topher

      Madtown

      Well, Jesus wasn't the Father, He was the Son. So there's no reason for Him NOT to call out to the Father.

      And as for sending as many representatives as He wanted ... why would He need to? The work Christ was sent to do was accomplished. He died for our sins and defeated death by rising again so that with repentence and faith you can be forgiven. And it may have been a small subset that got to see Jesus, it isn't any more. Millions around the world are Christians. He gave us 66 books so that we could know Him and know how to be saved. The Bible is the greatest selling book of all time. Creation demonstrates to us there must be a Creator so that we have no excuse.

      There are very few cultures that haven't heard the Gospel. And if you know of one, you should go and tell them. For the most part, the cultures that know very little of Christ are because the government there has restricted access or completely made it illegal to worship Christ. Whoa to those people.

      February 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • meifumado

      The only trinity worthwhile is Carrots, celery and onions.

      February 13, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • meifumado

      though I am an atheist I would find it cool if they picked the guy from new york

      February 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Topher

      meifumado

      For pope? Yeah, I actually think the office of pope is a heresy, but I think that would be cool, too.

      February 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Madtown

      The trinity is such a bizarre concept, that you've even got yourself confused:

      Topher quotes:
      – "Christ was not God's offspring. He was God Himself"

      – "Well, Jesus wasn't the Father, He was the Son"

      February 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Topher

      Madtown

      "The trinity is such a bizarre concept, that you've even got yourself confused:"

      No, I'm not confused, but it is a difficult concept to understand. Let me try to explain.

      There is only one God. He exists in 3 persons ... The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. But the Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. What you have is 3 persons, one God. They all exist at the same time, but just one God. That's the Trinity.

      February 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      i would be interested in why anyone would want to worship this vindictive pr1ck, if not out of blind fear

      February 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Madtown

      Or, if not another son or daughter, at the very least, he could have created a call center... right??

      February 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Yuppers

      That's silly. One god, but they aren't the same person, but they are, but they aren't.

      How can that possibly make sense to you?

      February 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Topher

      "There is only one God. He exists in 3 persons ... The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. But the Father is not the Son. The Son is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. What you have is 3 persons, one God. They all exist at the same time, but just one God. That's the Trinity."

      How does that NOT sound crazy?

      February 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • meifumado

      Nobody liked my trinity joke?

      February 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Topher

      meifumado

      "Nobody liked my trinity joke?"

      I didn't get it. Sorry, dude.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @sam stone

      "i would be interested in why anyone would want to worship this vindictive pr1ck, if not out of blind fear"

      If I believed in the Christian God, blind fear would be enough. Then I'd carefully select a bunch of other things to make myself feel better about the decision.

      Gods offer a lot of psychological benefits, particularly to people who feel powerless. Folks usually just grab the nearest one.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      meifumado
      "Nobody liked my trinity joke?"

      It seems like you are getting the silence of the yams. Maybe they think it was just medi-okra?

      February 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      Frayed Knot

      I did! clever!!

      February 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • madonfan

      Madtown...:) The triune God is a mystery. The complete union of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is SUPPOSED to be a mystery and the bible says it is. Only those who are spiritually discerned will know it's validity although it isn't 100 percent explained. God compares the marriage relationship to the Godhead or "trinity". The husband and wife become "ONE". In a family you have the husband, wife, and child relationship. That is another triunity. The wife has been called "the helper" as the Holy Spirit has been called "the helper". You just have to dive into the bible as someone who isn't out to disprove it, but one actually trying to find God. He will reveal to you who He is. He even says that those on the "outside" can't see what we do because they aren't looking with spiritual eyes. You only get spiritual eyes by seeking the face of God diligently with the right heart...:) Look at history. Do you think many would die in the name of someone they weren't absolutely sure is who He says He is? Historically the bible can't be questioned. So if we believe the history behind it, why wouldn't we believe what it says in its entirety? I can say that before I was saved I always believed in God but never had a relationship with Him. But the bible says that His spirit bears witness with ours that we are children of God. That is how I 100 percent knew God was real. I was totally born again. It's an awesome feeling to have the Holy Spirit guide your life. And to know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. I love Jesus Christ.....:)

      February 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  11. b riggs

    I will offer my Ash Wednesday fasting for those who hated our present pope, and any future popes who are white men, simply because they are white men, and for any one who is hated because of their gender, and the color of their skin.

    February 13, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      Amen. And I pray that God gives the conclave the moral strenght to make their choice free of influence from the media and politicans.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  12. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?
    =================================================

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    February 13, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Thank you for that appeal to authority.

      Odd, where are the "clever" ppl that would be saying who cares what a bunch of old white men think?

      February 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • clarity

      It is just a snapshot in time; but be reminded of the LCMS minister last week who chastised a minister for participating in a joint service for the shooting victims in Newtown. Juxtapose that with the ELCA. The perpetual splintering of Christianity. Splintering at the beginning. Splintering ever since. But clearly it nagged the key framers.

      February 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • clarity

      And it was only a couple of years ago that the head of WELS (Lutheran) reaffirmed their official position that the Pope had many of the characteristics of the Anti-Christ. Good old Christian love – alive today more than ever.

      February 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Akira

      Appeal to authority? No, it's a reminder that this nation isn't an official Christian one, and it is wholly inappropriate to try and legislate religion into secular law.
      Those who constantly bring up the Constitution as their argument about religious freedom need to be reminded that its authors wrote it this way for a reason, and that it why it is so necessary to have separation of church and state.
      As for the "white old men" remark, the people of color were not in any position to serve in the government, their being enslaved and all.
      Odd you would think this is relevant.

      February 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Robert Palmer

      Of the many and varied contributions on this subject, no one has acknowledged that the Papacy is probably the most political office in the world. The demographic over which the Pope holds domain exceeds the population of any one country.
      Now that's REAL power and one has to hope that the incoming man will be judicious in his rulings and, hopefully, bring the church more into modern thinking.

      Paddles

      February 14, 2013 at 5:59 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    February 13, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your repeated assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      February 13, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      February 13, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  14. Science

    If the new pope would be honest about creation it would be a start !

    February 13, 2013 at 6:56 am |
  15. Nietodarwin

    Forcing a child into a RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE. The catholics are experts at it, but other religions are keeping up. These "believers" are just victims themselves, perpetuating the cycle. That's all belief really is, spouting out the same brainwashing one was abused with as a child. People taking kids to church is so sad, and should be made illegal.

    it is a telling fact that, the world over, the vast majority of children follow the religion of their parents rather than any of the other available religions.
    Richard Dawkins

    February 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Bernie

      What does your comment have to do with the article?

      February 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Larry Bob

      Bernie, in any article here, the majority of the responses will not have anything directly to do with the article. They may be responding to an earlier digression, or they just might want to say something. Both sides do it.

      Why do you feel the right to show up and set the rules? That's pretty arrogant.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      There is an article?

      February 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • VanHagar

      People who don't take their children to church should be put in prison!

      See what I did there...I made an absolutly moronic statement just like Nietodarwin. O.k. now we're all even.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Bernie

      Well, Larry Bob, I guess I "just might want to say something" with my comment. Who are YOU to set the rules?

      February 13, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • Hubert

      Then hurry up and say it.

      February 13, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Larry Bob

      Show me where I set a rule. Go for it. Look long and hard. It must be there somewhere.

      February 13, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Vittorio

      I think I might have seen an article up near the top of the page. A religious article, I think.
      Yeah, there's a title and everything...

      February 13, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • anthonyhantonh

      Forcing children to attend the government run indoctrination centers called public school should be child abuse. The garbage that gets pumped into young minds nowadays!

      February 14, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  16. Nietodarwin

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    Seneca the Younger 4 b.c.- 65 a.d.

    February 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Appeal to Authority. Care to tell us why the opinion of some ancient guy from Greece is more relevant than anyone's opinion on here?

      February 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • meifumado

      #Fallacy Spotting 101

      They are very wise words that still hold true.

      February 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Fallacy Spotting 101

      I'm glad you're branching out and calling fallacies on a diversity of opinions, but this is not in itself a fallacy. It's only a fallacy if it's used as part of an argument, as in "Seneca the Younger, so therefore it is true." You can't just fill in the premise(s) and conclusion(s) and then declare fallacy. As likely as not this person is saying "Here's an interesting way of looking at things that I like; you might want to toss this idea around too." Failing to quote it would just be plagiarism.

      February 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      I was taken to task recently for using this quote. Apparently it cannot be directly attributed to Seneca at all, but is perhaps a paraphrase of some of his thoughts. See: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Seneca_the_Younger

      I like it anyway, no matter who said it first.

      February 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Fraud Spotting 101

      That is, of course, a phony Fallacy Spotter. The real one includes a reference link, and never expands with a question.

      February 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      @Fraud Explain what makes one the true of anything.

      @Saraswati It's clear that they cited the original author, if he even said it, because they thought it carries some weight. How many people dismiss the quotes of Moses, Jesus or Paul on here for the same reasons I gave yet are not called out on it? The writer could have put the same thought out there without just a straight quote with no purpose or reason.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      @meifumado- are they? Seneca's opinion has no facts to support that any of those three undefined groups feel the way he implied at all.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Fallacy Spotting 101
      "It's clear that they cited the original author, if he even said it, because they thought it carries some weight. How many people dismiss the quotes of Moses, Jesus or Paul on here for the same reasons I gave yet are not called out on it? The writer could have put the same thought out there without just a straight quote with no purpose or reason."

      I think you are missing a large part of why people quote things. While I agree with you that (assuming he said this) Seneca's opinion would have no extra validity, people use quotes because they prefer the way the original author's words sound to their own. When, for instance, one quotes poetry, it is not to make an argument. These famous quotes are quotes for a reason: humans have found them to be attractively worded. Most people are not going to spit out something as well worked on their own while engaging in internet discussions under, quite often, the watchful eye of their coworkers.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Fraud Spotting 101

      Chad is posing as Fallacy Spotter.

      Just use your ususal name, Chad.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      @Saraswati- Let's say you are correct about that. Then the writer is performing a different kind of fallacy. One where he offers no context with the quote he gave or why. His "point" is left to reader to figure out.

      February 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Fallacy, the same could be said about anycomment posted here.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  17. Nietodarwin

    I look forward to the last pope, the end of the church, and all it's protestant relatives. BRAISE THE LORD

    February 12, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
  18. Bernie

    I do not think the cardinals think along the lines of race or national origin. They did in centuries past when the Church would be allied with political factions or even families but I don't think that's been the case for some time. Even when it was mostly Italian popes it was by presumed fashion more than anything else. I believe the cardinals look for intellectual and spiritual depth more than anything else. That more than anything, I think, impresses them. Beyond that they more than likely consider a man's ability to communicate, convincingly. Capable of being a good manager probably comes next, then age, health, multi lingual... I'm not even sure they worry about how long the man might reign. Race and nationality? I doubt race is considered at all and nationality perhaps only in that they might be unlikely to elect pope someone from a superpower country like the USA unless there was no one equal in intellectual and spiritual gifts. The cardinals just don't think like secularist politicians and pundits, at least not nearly to the same extent.

    February 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Lenny

      Nonsense. They choose based on who will advace their political ideology, or who will benefit them personally. Popey stepped down so he could sway the choice of successor to be a hard-liner like himself. That's what's really going on.

      It is impossible to see how the Vatican has decided and behaved in regards to the abuse scandals and still think they are acting out of anything but political self-interest.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  19. HeavenSent

    You catholics and atheists believe in the lies of the talmud. It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus and understand that God's word, the Holy Bible, is the Truth. My camel-toe applied for disability but will have to return to work. End of days taught in Jesus' truth is nothing new to Christians.

    Amen.

    February 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      How's that Jake leg since you switched over to Sterno squeeze?

      February 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ha ha, very funny tommy tom, cough, scotty. Have you found a new job being a web master to harass Christians and get thrown off another blog? My 12-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty but they still made her take the tests. I know from my bosses that you can't fight the stupid atheists, you will just burn in hell.

      Amen.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • bobk52

      Welcome back Heaven sent. I think I luv u !

      February 13, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  20. kousa

    Well, there's one thing I'm sure of, they will not select a black pope. Why? Look at what President Obama has to go through. People have been calling him the Anti-Christ. If they select a black pope, people will think the world is coming to an end! To be honest, it would be nice to have a Latin american pope because they represent the largest group of Catholics in the world. Sadly, I don't even think any pope of color will be selected. Just saying....

    February 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Kousa.... are you so sure people call Obama the anti-christ becuase he is black? What, then, do you make of the same people who called Clinton the Anti-Christ, or for that matter Gorbachev (sp?) because he had that silly birth mark on his head. If you have evidence that people are calling him the anti-christ merely out of racist rants, you're proof would be most helpful.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.