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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. and it just gets worse and worse

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/23/cardinal-keith-o-brien-accused-inappropriate

    February 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  2. AvdBerg

    Spiritual Truth

    To find the truth go to http://www.gaychristian101.com

    Ask; and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).

    February 24, 2013 at 9:13 am |

    • spammer selling a book

      February 24, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • JWT

      I already know my truth and it has nothing to do with your sale product.

      February 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  3. The Butler maybe

    Papal resignation linked to inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/21/pope-retired-amid-gay-bishop-blackmail-inquiry

    February 24, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  4. Science

    Billions of years ago ! Enjoy, good education and the pope should know about this with all the gold they have. !

    And god(s) DID NOT CREATE IT, (gold) ! Lead to gold NO !

    Geologic Journey 3 of 5 – The Canadian Shield

    February 24, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  5. Sara Howells


    ..

    February 24, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • Garbage Alert

      This person is only posting to get hits for their garbage youtube video site.

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

      February 27, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  6. ronvan

    ALWAYS INTERESTING: To read comments about religion. As I have said before, FAITH AND BELEIF, for me, are the two words to be used. They apply to beleivers and non-beleivers. I was raised as a christian and therefore I have faith and beleive in my savior. IF you want to say I am "brainwashed", or anything else, it is a mute arguement! For the vast majority of us, what we beleive in and have faith in, is why we see so many different comments. Does it make one side or the other wrong or crazy? NO! Again, while I beleive in my savior I have MANY unanswered questions! ALL religious books have been and continue to be written by HUMANS. Stories embellished, changed, ommitted, as interpreted by the HUMAN writting, depending on their time in history. IF a certain religion is "the true one" then why do they change their stance and preachings to meet "modern day standards"? "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" YET, we have religions that WORSHIP their religious leaders as if they were God?

    February 24, 2013 at 5:34 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      believe...not beleive
      moot... not mute
      omitted...not ommitted

      February 24, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Continuing...
      argument...not arguement
      writing...not writting

      February 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      why do you believe you need a savior? is it not a function of being raised to believe that?

      February 26, 2013 at 7:45 am |
  7. Cortanis

    Anyone else think that this particular cardinal is going to stay in Rome?

    February 24, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Yessiree

      That's what they did with Bernard Law: promote him so that he cannot be extradicted.

      February 24, 2013 at 2:18 am |
  8. Correctlycenter

    " How great is our LORD! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! The LORD supports the humble, but He brings the wicked down into the dust." Psalm 147:5-6...

    February 24, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Would have been nice if the Lord brought the wicked down before all those children were r@ped, looks like he didn't do squat....or doesn't exist.....I pick "B".

      February 24, 2013 at 2:23 am |
    • sam stone

      corruptlycenter: your lord is a vindictive little pr1ck. thanks for playing

      February 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Rabbit

      Altar boys are so very, very wicked.

      February 25, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
  9. Correctlycenter

    It is REASONABLE and LOGICAL to comprehend SCIENTIFICALLY that the elements listed on your periodic table were created by the Intelligent Designer described in Genesis chapter 1 as the LORD God Almighty and not by false atheistic theories about matter just forming from nowhere to something some 3.5 billion years ago (add/subtract a billion or so) out of nitrogen, ammonia and co2 to form algae and then to tadploes to apes to humans. What nonsense the theories of Evolution must be to an intelligent mind. Biogenesis scientifically says that only life can produce other life. You have your parents DNA and they had your grandparents, so on and so forth. We did not come from apes but by God...

    February 24, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Good grief. I'm speechless.

      February 24, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • 4sanity

      Willful ignorance in full view. Let's pray you evolve at least a little.

      February 24, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Kenchandammit

      Yes, it makes WAY more sense that a giant, invisible magician went 'Poof' and matter and mankind were created.

      February 24, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • Science

      Correctlycenter learn someting today and read this article it might help,

      Has Evolution Given Humans Unique Brain Structures?

      Feb. 22, 2013 — Humans have at least two functional networks in their cerebral cortex not found in rhesus monkeys. This means that new brain networks were likely added in the course of evolution from primate ancestor to human.

      Peace

      Ps did your vision come to you in a dream state ?

      February 24, 2013 at 4:42 am |
    • Science

      Oops source for above

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130222120753.htm

      February 24, 2013 at 4:43 am |
    • InformD1

      Nonsense.

      February 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  10. Jeff

    His continued denial brings continued shame upon the Church. “… 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,” Mahony seems to me consumed with "I" instead of the victims. "The fool I seem." His words reveal that he still has no idea of what HE has done. Mahony is listening to his heart and not Jesus. Mahony is a child rapist. He has been for 30 years and it will continue until the priest he protected are dead. To believe that Jesus wants a child rapist to play any part in deciding the next Pope is beyond comprehension.

    February 23, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Dave, CA

      Mahoney and the current pope are every thing that is wrong with this arrogant cult. They're guilty up to their filthy necks.

      February 24, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  11. vatore

    Is it no wonder how the very fabric of human spirituality has been destroyed and emaciated by a very powerful collection of insensitive and hypocritical individuals? The effects are so devastating to the common person attempting to seek out a connection with God, knowing at the heart of all ceremony and ideology of Catholicism is a approved and tainted system which allows the ultimate sin of human compromise to take place. HOW is it possible for these individuals, who when faced with the news of aberrant behavior, absolutely counter to the spiritual tenants of their creed, bound by God, do nothing! I do not think God will punish them, I think the heart of each person will. In the end God will allow those who are guilty to experience their own personal anguish-regardless of how many prays they request.

    February 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  12. reasonablebe

    don't let him go. the vatican will offer him refuge, like they did the cardinal under investigation and later indictment in Boston. LA should arrest this pedophile before he has a chance to leave, and if he is released on bail, the judge should make it conditional to turning over his passport, wearing an ankle monitor and being bared from going any where near an airport, pier or border.

    February 23, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  13. LOYAL NORTHERN DEMOCRAT

    This is why Michael Jackson should have been made pope.

    February 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  14. kerberusII@aol.com

    genesis in greek does not refer to " create" ; rather "came into existence". it is a middle voice verb.

    February 23, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  15. Grinning Libber

    He should be in prison.

    February 23, 2013 at 9:33 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 9:01 pm |
  17. Correctlycenter

    "In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1...

    February 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Got evidence that doesn't need a Bible verse?

      February 23, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Bullshit. How can anyone believe a 2000 year old myth? You've been thoroughly brainwashed.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Keith

      Did he pull them out of a hat in the traditional manner.

      February 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • 4sanity

      And who created God ?

      February 24, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  18. Correctlycenter

    Non-matter, a "what", elements just cannot form themselves and create living things and organisms. Reason, logic and science clearly points to an Intelligent Designer Who created all things in the universe. Atheists are just plain in denial of the truth. Construction workers build a house, apartment, warehouse etc. They just aren't formed over millions of years. A ford mustang is built by assembly line man and women, designed by smart minds. The same no less, did the ultimate Designer create everything we see...

    February 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. The fact that you don't know how the universe began is not proof that some fairy snapped its fingers and created it.

      Nice try. Fail.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      Correctly, you haven't the slightest clue of how evolution works. And trying to explain it to you would be futile.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Typical uneducated, or purposely stupid crhistian

      "Reason, logic and SCIENCE clearly points to an Intelligent Designer"
      Ok Mr. Wizard, please post references to even 1 paper in a respected, peer reviewed scientific journal that maintains science clearly points to an intelligent designer of the universe

      February 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      you asked who created the heavens and earth. We understand the overwhelming probability it was a "what" not a "who". note I am not talking about the initialization of the big bang, but afterward we're about as clear as we can be what happened to form the planets and earth. God is no where in that equation.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • stan the man

      if you had a brain, you would be a very dangerous person

      February 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition

      So apparently he's harmless.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Keith

      You poor fool, who told you that fairy tale. Of course there is an intelligent designer it is GRAVITY.
      When JC was born he was known as the son of GRAVITY, that FACT did not suit the catholic church so like everything else that did not suit the fiction that the church had invented, they simply suppressed it.
      Now do you understand.

      February 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  19. Correctlycenter

    End Religion: Where you around then when you witnessed your "what" creating the heavens and the earth and all living things on it? I don't think so. I'll stick with the truth from God's word, and not some atheist's ridiculous and unscientifically based opinions which are flawed, sorry...

    February 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

      I just love it when fundies invert the truth and try to claim science is unscientific!

      And it converts people to secularism far better than anything I could say.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • End Religion

      It's just the same stupid arguments over and over. Refute it, then they assert it again.

      We understand you prefer to believe in magic. That's the point. It's a farce you believe. There's no reason anybody else should buy into it. It must be devastating for you that religion commanded so much respect and now you are living during the time when that is disappearing.

      If you knew anything at all about history you'd know THIS is the time for you to find another god to worship. Gods come and go and yours is on the way out. This is the time to get on another boat. Some other god will fill the void. Figure out which one and jump on that ship.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "End Religion: Where you around then when you witnessed your "what" creating the heavens and the earth and all living things on it? I don't think so. I'll stick with the truth from God's word, and not some atheist's ridiculous and unscientifically based opinions which are flawed, sorry.."

      Were YOU around when the universe began, CC? If not, why would anyone care what you believe?

      You don't know. You want to put your faith in the bible, by all means, do so. I prefer to accept that we don't yet know and may never know, to accepting that some giant genie created all.

      February 23, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • stan the man

      What a crock. Hey, I own a bridge that spans the East River. I need to raise some cash to make some repairs, would you like to buy some shares?

      February 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • The christian religion is splintering itself into oblivion

      In the year 900AD there was 1 christian denomination. In the year 1300AD there were 2 christian denominations. In 2013AD there are over 30,000 different christian denominations. The once all powerful church has torn itself into thousands of impotent sects and the trend is continuing. In the near future it will have shredded itself into total nonexistence

      February 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • End Religion

      and don't you know they're each the "one true path"!

      February 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Keith

      Which laws of science support your fairy tale that some old fart in a white sheet pulled the universe out of a hat in a puff of smoke.
      I am staggered that you have the nerve to use the word TRUTH.

      February 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • InformD1

      Correctlycenter: You are blowing smoke and you know it. Keep dancing son, but someday you will realize you have been a pawn in keeping a corrupt system alive, so it could continue its abuse of the innocent and its scamming of the gullible.

      February 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Rabbit

      Correctly, I genuinely feel sorry for you. The world must be a scary place for you to have retreated so far into lunacy and lies. It's not really that bad, dude. When you're ready for the truth, you'll find it.

      February 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  20. Correctlycenter

    A question an atheist cannot properly answer. Who created the heavens and the earth? Hint: Genesis chapter 1...

    February 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      It wasn't a who but a what. The process of the universe's natural evolution is well understood.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can't answer it, either, you lying pos. You don't know how the universe came to be. You simply choose to believe that "goddidit" because it's easier for your pea-brain to assimilate. If you're satisfied with magical explanations, bully for you. I'm not.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No atheists HAS to answer it. The onus is on you to prove your statements. Do so.

      I don't claim to know how the universe came to be. To do so would be a lie. And that is what you're doing–lying.

      February 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • stan the man

      Answer-Jepordy style: What is the Big Bang?

      February 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • BennyK

      Any who created God?

      February 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Keith

      Correct science cannot answer that question and science acknowledges it. However religion can't even tell you the time of day, the answer to everything is "you must have faith". HAAAAAAAAA!

      February 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Science

      Correctlycenter fossil record works ! over 550 million years pld

      Geologic Journey 5 of 5 – The Atlantic Coast

      Peace

      February 24, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • sam stone

      You consider that a proper answer, Corruptlycenter?

      February 26, 2013 at 7:52 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.