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Records detail cardinal's failings in abuse scandal
Cardinal Roger Mahony will be deposed Saturday, then head to Rome to vote on next pope.
February 22nd, 2013
07:15 PM ET

Records detail cardinal's failings in abuse scandal

By Wayne Drash, CNN

(CNN) – Told by two families that a visiting priest was suspected of molesting their children in 1988, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not immediately notify police. Instead, Cardinal Roger Mahony’s right-hand man alerted the priest – a heads-up that allowed him to flee the country for Mexico.

He remained in the priesthood there for another 21 years, allegedly continuing to molest. He has denied the accusations and remains a fugitive.

Newly released church documents show the behind-the-scenes machinations of top officials within the Los Angeles archdiocese making decisions on how to deal with pedophile priests, hindering police investigations and saying, in private, something completely different than what they said in public.

Mahony, one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church in America at the time, received constant updates on molesting priests and sometimes gave orders on how to deal with cases, including once telling subordinates to deny a police request for a list of altar boys. In at least one case, minute details like retirement benefits were discussed for an admitted molester.

On Saturday, Mahony faced a deposition, answering questions on his handling of the abuse scandal for the first time since the documents' release.

He will journey next to Rome to join the conclave to decide the next pope - a decision that has stirred controversy among advocates of abuse victims and many Catholics.

Anthony De Marco, an attorney who has spent decades representing abuse victims, said the newly released documents surprised even him, because they show “how frequently there was correspondence back and forth between Cardinal Mahony and his top assistants and others after a priest was accused.”

"We know a lot more about his conduct and his words now than we ever have, and I believe that's going to make for a much more thorough deposition," said De Marco, ahead of the deposition he was scheduled to lead.

The archdiocese had fought for years against the documents' being made public. But a judge ordered the release of the material – more than 12,000 pages that detail the extent of sexual abuse within the archdiocese dating back to the 1930s.

“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading,” Archbishop Jose Gomez said in rebuking Mahony, his predecessor.

Still, Gomez supports Mahony on his journey to Rome, where he will join the papal conclave in the Sistine Chapel to choose the next pope. In a letter to priests within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Gomez asked them “to pray for Cardinal Mahony as he fulfills this sacred duty as Cardinal Elector.”

“I am confident that Cardinal Mahony’s accomplishments and experience in the areas of immigration, social justice, sacred liturgy, and the role of the laity in the Church will serve the College of Cardinals well,” Gomez said.

‘The children are not traumatized’

The case of the Rev. Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera is a microcosm of the larger abuse crisis within the church. It will be at the heart of the deposition.

At a time when the archdiocese was widening its base within the ever-growing Latino community in Southern California, Aguilar-Rivera came to the United States from Mexico, in March 1987. Aguilar-Rivera’s bishop in Mexico had asked the Los Angeles archdiocese to take him in.

The archdiocese welcomed him and found a spot for him in two parishes where parents trusted him with their children, unsupervised.

“He even used his status as a newcomer, his need to learn English, as his ruse for getting children alone," said Terry McKiernan, founder of the church watchdog group BishopAccountability.org. "It’s one of the most extreme combinations of devout Catholic people very open to a priest, very respectful of him, and the callousness and carelessness of hierarchy on both sides of the border about the dangers that this priest posed."

McKiernan added, “This is a man who was a total predator, whose entire life and being seemed to be focused on abusing children.”

Once in the United States, Aguilar-Rivera was first sent to work at Our Lady of Guadalupe, a church with a largely Mexican-American population in East Los Angeles. The bishop for that area, Juan Arzube, Mahony’s vicar general for the San Gabriel Region, had once been accused of molestation and often lobbied on behalf of molesting priests, arguing they deserved to be forgiven, the documents show.

Arzube denied molesting any children himself, but admitted under deposition to being alone with altar boys on many occasions in his rectory apartment. His name was part of a massive civil lawsuit settled with accusers in 2007.

Arzube’s cavalier attitude toward sexual abuse is summed up in a 1980 document in which he lobbied for reinstatement of a priest who had been stripped of his duties, for a second time, because he molested altar boys. “How many priests are there completely guiltless over a period of 10 years?” said Arzube, who died on Christmas Day in 2007 at age 89.

The first inkling of Aguilar-Rivera’s alleged ­actions in America came on Friday January 8, 1988, when two families – “all trustworthy people” – informed their pastor that they believed their children had been molested. The priest, in turn, told Thomas Curry, the vicar of clergy and Mahony’s second in command.

One incident “happened at Christmas when Father visited the other family,” Curry told Mahony in a letter dated January 10, 1988. “There was a good deal of drinking, and the family asked him to stay. He slept in the room with the children and is supposed to have gotten into bed with one of the boys that night.”

The principal of the boys’ school, Curry noted, had been informed of the accusations and “will be obliged to report it to police.”

But the church didn’t respond by first alerting police. Instead, Curry met with Aguilar-Rivera at the church the day after the allegations were made, a Saturday morning, and informed him that a police investigation would be launched.

“I offered to find a place for him to live until he could make other arrangements, but he volunteered that he would stay with his sister here and leave for Mexico on Monday or Tuesday of this week,” Curry wrote Mahony.

“… He asked that his bishop not be told, and I said that would not be possible. I told him the charges as I knew them, although I did not give the names of the families. He denied all, although he admitted that there was a good deal of drinking at Christmas. I told him that it was likely the accusations would be reported to the police and that he was in a good deal of danger.”

The documents show no suggestion on Curry’s or Mahony’s part that Aguilar-Rivera stay in the United States, cooperate with authorities and face the allegations.

Armed with the information, Aguilar-Rivera skipped town before police were notified on Monday, apparently by the school principal. That day, a detective asked an official within the archdiocese if Aguilar-Rivera intended to flee to Mexico.

“I said I was not sure,” said the official, who is not named in the documents. “I also said that Nicolas knew that it would probably be reported to the police, and that I had explained that some people were bound to report.”

Law enforcement took the allegations seriously and launched an investigation, even accusing the church of not fully cooperating with its efforts – an accusation that would eventually go public in a story in the Los Angeles Times.

One document says that a boy’s relative “had heard” that cops had accused church officials of a cover-up. “The family does not want any trouble,” said the memo dated January 21, 1988. “They want [Aguilar-Rivera] to receive help and that he not be able to do this again.”

The memo added, “The children are not traumatized.”

Five days later, police pushed for a list of altar boys at St. Agatha’s, the second parish where Aguilar-Rivera worked. This request sent archdiocese officials into a frenzy.

Curry wrote Mahony that he believed the church should not cooperate. “We have no evidence that Father Aguilar-Rivera was involved with altar boys as such,” Curry wrote on January 26, 1988. “All the boys involved were members of families he was friendly with in Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the alleged abuse took place while he was visiting these families or while they were visiting him.”

The pastor at St. Agatha, Curry continued, had no knowledge of abuse on his premises and “his concern is that if the police come and interview the boys, the matter will spread around the parish. The parish there is a black-Hispanic one, and he finds his situation as an Anglo pastor a very delicate one.”

“The whole issue of our records is a very sensitive one, and I am reluctant to give any list to the police,” Curry concluded. “We are being friendly but firm.”

At the bottom of the typed letter is a handwritten message from Mahony. “We cannot give such a list for no cause whatsoever,” he scrawled on the page, initializing it with “RMM.”

He underlined “cannot” for extra emphasis.

None of the archdiocese officials were ever charged with obstruction of justice.

Police eventually got the altar boy list, with no help from the archdiocese. Investigators learned the extent of Aguilar-Rivera’s alleged crimes by interviewing boys ranging in age from about 9 to 13.

In all, police said, 26 boys were molested in just nine months, many of them repeatedly. Aguilar-Rivera would eventually be charged in a felony complaint relating to 10 boys, with 19 counts of committing a lewd act with a child.

A Los Angeles Times reporter asked the archdiocese for comment at the time; its public statement stands in direct contrast to what the newly released documents reveal. “He was asked to stay in the country to face the accusations against him, but he chose to leave,” said Joseph Battaglia, the spokesman for the archdiocese.

In the article, police said the church was being less than forthcoming with investigators; a father of two of the alleged victims said simply, “The church shouldn’t be telling lies.”

With the allegations now in the open, the tone of archdiocese officials shifted. Three days later, Curry wrote Aguilar-Rivera’s bishop in Mexico and included a copy of the Los Angeles Times’ story.

“May I request that if you know of the whereabouts of Father Aguilar-Rivera,” Curry said, “you urge him most strongly to return here to answer the allegations that have been made against him.”

While on the run, Aguilar-Rivera even called the home of one of the boys he allegedly molested.

“Don’t you know everybody is looking for you?” the mother said, according to a March 11, 1988, memo.

“For what?” Aguilar-Rivera responded.

Aguilar-Rivera would remain in the priesthood in Mexico - for another 21 years. He would be dogged of more molestation allegations while there.

A civil suit filed in the United States in 2010 by a Mexican citizen alleged Aguilar-Rivera raped him when he was a 12-year-old altar boy in Mexico. The suit alleges Mahony and a Mexican cardinal conspired to hide Aguilar-Rivera between the two countries with full knowledge of his alleged pedophilia, putting an untold number of children at risk. Mahony has denied the allegations.

Aguilar-Rivera was convicted in Mexico in 2003 of a misdemeanor sex abuse charge, but was allowed to walk free while the case was under appeal, according to the Dallas Morning News.

He remains on Mexico’s federal prosecutor’s Most Want List wanted on charges of rape and indecent assault.

Aguilar-Rivera was finally stripped of his duties in 2009 by the Vatican, which approved his removal from “clerical state, a priest who has been accused of the sexual abuse of minors in Mexico and the United States,” the Catholic News Agency reported on July 31, 2009.

Attorney De Marco said it’s disgusting church authorities did nothing to stop him.

“He was able to walk around with the authority of the collar in a country where that authority carries more significance than it does here,” De Marco said. “How could anyone ever justify that 21-year delay? This man molested 26 children in nine months in the United States. How many more were there over 21 years?”

Aguilar-Rivera, now 71, is believed to be alive, a free man in Mexico.

Mahony prays for humiliation

Mahony, who turns 77 next week, was appointed archbishop of Los Angeles by Pope John Paul II in 1985, overseeing the archdiocese until 2011 when he retired. In 1991, he became a cardinal, the highest-ranking Catholic clergy below the pope.

McKiernan, who launched BishopAccountability.org in 2003 to keep track of the widespread church abuse, said the recently released documents show the scope and magnitude of Mahony’s and Curry’s efforts in “intentionally evading the authorities.”

“We didn’t have evidence of that before. It’s actually more stark,” he said. “You can tell from these documents Mahony was trying to keep abused priests away from police. ­… The document record is a disgraceful one.”

Curry stepped down earlier this month as the regional bishop of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and “publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as vicar for clergy,” archbishop Gomez said in announcing the resignation.

Mahony has said he has long acknowledged mistakes in the 1980s and that he improved the reporting mechanisms of priestly abuse in the years that followed.

He has recently taken to his personal blog, scribing an array of posts about praying for humiliation.

“… I am for the first time realizing that I should be praying for the very things from which I cringe, the disgrace I abhor, the fool that I seem,” he blogged on February 15.

In a post this week, he asked followers for “your prayers and your encouragements in my own life to handle all of my mistakes, omissions, and commissions as God asks, and as Jesus and Mary lived out: to take in what swirls around me, to hold it, to carry it, to transform it and to give it back as grace, blessing and gift.”

De Marco, the attorney conducting the deposition, said Mahony should feel one emotion far greater than humiliation: shame.

Amid calls for Mahony to not travel to Rome, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles remains steadfast in its support of his trip, saying canon law dictates that he attend.

Catholics United, a liberal-leaning group that pushes for social justice within the church, and SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) said they delivered a petition with close to 10,000 signatures to Saint Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood on Saturday, asking for Mahony not to attend the conclave.

"His participation in the conclave would only bring clouds of shame at a time that should bring springs of hope. Cardinal Mahony, please, stay home," said Chris Pumpelly, Catholics United's communications director.

There is no indication he will.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Catholic Church • Mexico • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (459 Responses)
  1. AvdBerg

    Spiritual Truth

    The following is according to the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him (John 14:17).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Vatican and of abuse in the church we invite you to read the latest entry 'Cover-Up by L.A. church leaders' on the Current Events page of the website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    We also encourage you to read the article 'Files show how L.A. church leaders controlled damage' listed on the website.

    The church hierarchy refers to the Pope as 'Holy Father', while the Word of God teaches us to call no man your (spiritual) father upon the earth (Matthew 23:9). The Pope was never appointed or ordained by God but rather by men and a quick study of the Papal Office will confirm that it is not 'Holy' at all.

    For a better understanding of the history of the Papacy and the spirit the Pope serves, we invite you to read the article 'Papal Infallibility, Contradictions and Spiritual Blindness', listed on our website.

    The following is an excerpt from the article.

    "All of the ceremonies and celebrations of the Catholic Church, including the Mass, Baptism and all of its doctrines and dogmas are an abomination in God's eyes and stand in opposition to the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:24-26). For a better understanding of the history of the Church we invite you to read the articles 'The Mystery Babylon' and 'Popes and the Princes of This World'.

    The dogma of Papal Infallibility, which states that the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error, is a claim that he has bestowed upon himself while he does not know what spirit he is of (Luke 9:55), as he continues to err in the scriptures (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24; 1 John 4:6)."

    We also invite you to read the second item (Scarlet and Purple Colour) on the Recent Revelations Page. It simply and clearly explains the deceptions that for centuries have been hidden and have now been revealed, confirming what is written in Matthew 10:26 that there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14).

    February 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • TROLL ALERT

      AvdBerg is a troll on this blog and a proven liar, they are only here to sell their book and website to support their cult.

      Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll!`

      February 24, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  2. Correctlycenter

    " But people who aren't Christians cannot understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means." 1st Corinthians 2:14...

    February 23, 2013 at 7:25 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 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  3. stpbybay

    crucify him by his nuts religion kills !

    February 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  4. Rich Edwards

    This is ridiculous, he aided and abetted several felons, how is he NOT arrested yet? I know why, the church has power and with power they are completely and utterly corrupt.

    February 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      It is amazing that these men covering up terrible crimes are still treated as pillars of the community, while they wander around in dresses condemning men who like to wear dresses, and talk to imaginary creatures. It's like bad fiction.

      February 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  5. Nature

    Maybe the wrath of nature is going to get them all when they meet for the conclave,

    with another bolt of lightning then we can have peace !

    February 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  6. empresstrudy

    If you feel that strongly about it don't send your kids to Catholic school.

    February 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Doobs

      Better yet, arrest the accused pedos, have them stand trial, and if found guilty, put them in prison. Then go after the ones who covered it up and try them for obstruction of justice.

      February 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Multiple acts of obstruction of justice could expose those involved to prosecution under the RICO Act, could they not?

    February 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      RICO Act, yes.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act

      They'd have trouble with The Vatican itself since it is a sovereign entity.

      February 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
  8. Chuck

    No wonder so many CNN Catholics have left the company

    February 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things;

    February 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • charlie bensinger

      It seems to have never changed the pedophiles or those within the church who have protected them.

      February 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • MC

      Oh give it a rest, you sad little half-wit.

      February 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • 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 24, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  10. The Beagle

    Attorney De Marco got it exactly right. There is a big difference between humiliation (as Mahony understands that term) and shame. I went to Mahony's blog and his posts on the subject are all about his own feelings of humiliation. He did not write one word about the humiliation suffered by the abused boys. Shame is what he ought to be feeling.

    Much more about it here: PathOfTheBeagle.com: Humiliation vs. Shame

    February 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • The Beagle

      The link didn't take. Here it is in raw form. http://pathofthebeagle.com/2013/02/23/humiliation-vs-shame/

      February 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  11. cindy lou who

    t..OBAMAhtyh...is....the....asjANTICHRIST.nmkj

    February 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  12. End Religion

    Why do folks continue to use WordPress when it sucks so bad?

    February 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  13. The Ghost of Warren Zevon

    Send guns to the Vatican – the shit has hit the fan!

    (They're OK for the money and lawyers.)

    February 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  14. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill would not is not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well and don't want to violate their silly beliefs.

    Recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    On sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    =====================================================
    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 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      The following is an exerpt from the article 'The Mystery Babylon' listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

      16. The celibacy of the priesthood was decreed by Pope Hildebrand Gregory VII in the year 1079 AD. Jesus imposed no such rules nor did any of the apostles. On the contrary, Peter was married and Paul states that bishops were to have one wife and could have children (1 Tim 3:5,12; Matt 8:14-15).

      February 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Yeah right

      Several early Christian apologists were faced with having to explain the gospels looking so much like earlier pagan writings. All they could come up with as an excuse was 'diabolical mimicry', otherwise known as plagiarism in anticipation. They claimed that the devil disseminated the earlier 'fake' pagan stories in advance of the true gospel stories. Yeah right – nothing like getting the devil to make plagiarism work in reverse. wink wink.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  15. Rainer Braendlein

    "Newly released church docu-ments show the behind-the-scenes machinations of top officials within the Los Angeles archdiocese making decisions on how to deal with pedophile priests, hindering police investigations and saying, in private, something completely different than what they said in public."

    What actually is special about that? Every averagely intelligent man knew it ever that this was going on in the Catholic Church.

    However, we should not assume that Obama, Merkel and Hollande behave in a different way. Certainly they are the same hypocrites telling us any lies.

    Peoples have suffered a lot from the reign of the popes (after 600 a. D.) and from the reign of the Caliphs and Muhammad. Yet, the popes and the Caliphs have been only forerunners of the Antichrist, and I guess that at the moment we experience how the Antichrist gets rid of his rivals. The Antichrist will torture us in a more perfect way than Muhammad and the popes could ever do it.

    Ever the rulers of the world knew that Catholic priests, bishops and the popes themselves committed heavy crimes but they cast a veil of silence over it because they cooperated with the Catholic Church. Seemingly the Catholic Church loses its protection by the temporal rulers. They want to get rid of this insti-tution which reminds them still too much of Christianity although she (the Catholic Church) forsook The LORD arround 600 after Christ, and became a wh-ore (she commited adultery with Satan and the world).

    Convert! Leave the materialism and capitalism of the Antichrist, and become a Christian who loves God and his fellow human beings. Don't spend all your time with earning money and consumption but contemplate a little and think about God and the Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ. You are welcome!

    February 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Rainer Braendlein", but "God", "Christ", and the "Antichrist" are all elements of mythology, therefore your assertions 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: "EMBARRASSING EPIC FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to…

      February 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • jasondhavilandfirestone

      Help me. I like talking out of my an'al cavity. I cannot stop myself from doing an'al rantings. I prove this every day, over and over.

      February 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • will fargo

      Sorry but your writings read like a seizure.

      February 23, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Daws

      "we should not assume that Obama, Merkel and Hollande behave in a different way." Um...sorry but I usually assume most people don't protect child molesters. Why in the world would you as a default think they would? Fortunately as a safeguard against paranoia we have something called, innocent until proven guilty. It's not just a good law, it's a good idea for social interaction in general. A little bit of caution is okay though mind you, but this is taking it to extremes. You think a religious person would have a little faith in humanity...

      February 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  16. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill would not is not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well and don't want to violate their silly beliefs.

    Recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    On sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    ==================================================================
    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 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    How does the Antichrist, the successor of the pope, torture the mankind? I guess it has much to do with lies which he tells us.

    For example, in nearly every speech Obamba, Merkel, Cameron, etc. claim that it would not matter what exactly you believe. They acknowledge every religion, that is a crime of lie.

    The Only One who can set us free is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born by the Virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, man and God at the same time. We all have inherited the inclination to sin from Adam. The sin (sin is the opposite of Christian love or selfishness or egoism) dwells in our limbs that means that we are condemned to sin, even when we actually don't want to sin. From this curse we can only be set free by Jesus Christ, the great Redeemer.

    All religions, excepted Christianity, justify the sin. Buttom line they don't lead their believers to a life of love towards God and the human neighbour but prescribe certain idiotic rituals which dispense you from the duty to love God and your neighbour. For example the Catholics say a rosary in order to calm down God, and the Muslims go to Mecca sometimes. There is a saying in Arabia that the more one goes to Mecce the worse he becomes. I guess the saying is true.

    To sum it up: If we don't believe in the releasing Gospel of Jesus Christ we more and more become beasts which harm each other. Day by day we struggle to survive even on the cost of our neighbour and God's holiness. Our common religion is: "The survival of the fittest!" Actually the whole mankind should cooperate and be a large organism but through the lies of the Antichrist God's wonderful body dies, and corrodes.

    Besides, it is outrageous how the politicans of today promote gay marriage, same-se-x relationships, etc.. God has yet wiped out from the earth Sodom and Gomorrah from the earth because of their gayness, idolatry and other crimes. He will also punish us when we try to pervert the divine or natural orders. Ain't that the reign of the Antichrist – the total perversion of the divine orders? I guess, yes!

    February 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Rainer Braendlein", but "God", "Christ", the "Son of God", "God", "Virgin Mary", "Holy Spirit", "Adam", "sin", "the great Redeemer", and "Antichrist" are all elements of mythology, therefore your assertions 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: "EMBARRASSING EPIC FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to…

      February 23, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  18. jaron kadek

    Too Big To Fail, be it a bank or a church, is an invitation to disaster.

    February 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • TROLL ALERT

      AvdBerg is a troll on this blog and a proven liar, they are only here to sell their book and website to support their cult.

      Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll! ..

      February 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Pete

      "'CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times'"

      Don't bother some of us have read it and it's full of lies that it's actually funny. This poster is so stupid they don't know how the internet works and lies about CNN. LOL!

      February 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • ..

      I coudn't even find it, however: why would anyone in their right mind want to visit a web site that has Bill O'Reilly and his ilk as commentators? You have got to be kidding. And John of Patmos was higher than a kite when he wrote Revelation. Stop spamming, asshole.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  19. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill would not is not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well and don't want to violate their silly beliefs.

    Recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    On sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    ===========================================
    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 23, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    Some people assume Hitler alone had been responsible for the Holocaust and the World Wars but that is a nonsense.

    The issue is that in the 19th century the Jews in Germany got integrated too much. The ordinary German could really get the impression that his homeland is ruled by Jews. Furthermore, adverse for the Jews was also that many socialist and communist leaders were Jewish. People knew of their immoral lifestyle, and probably could not believe that they intented something good with their labor movement. I mean the labor movement was indeed very corrosive for the European society, and the former monarchal rulers tried to combat it. The stab-in-the-back legend played a big role: It pretended as if Germany had lost WWI because of socialist and communist strikes in the homeland during the war, and many labor leaders were Jews. Prorbably Germany had lost he WWI even without the strikes but the German military used this legend, and promoted it. The puppet and mouth of the German military became Hitler which they had sought and found.

    To sum it up: Responsible for the Holocaust and the World Wars was not alone Hitler but also the socialists and communists which had destabilised Europe.

    Hitler and the German military made a great mistake: For the weakness of Germany the made responsible alone the Jews but in fact German became weak when millions of people went from the countryside to the big cities in order to work there. In the cities nobody took care of their souls and the became victims of socialist and communist and later Nazi-ratcatchers.

    Even today the large cities are the hotbeds of the evil, where people live in loneliness losing all their faith. Aslo the capitalist played an important role in this satanic game with their satanic mills which the built in the German cities.

    February 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • frank

      Rubbish. Pure rubbish.

      February 23, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • ..

      I'll sum it up: you are a anti-semitic asshole who is talking out his ass, actually believing that anyone is fooled by his revisionist history. Your mother should have aborted you.

      February 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • The other side

      Believable to say the least. Unfortunately, only the winners get to write history. Well, the winners and the folks in Hollywood.

      February 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.