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June 13th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) –Pope Francis has challenged his flock of 1 billion Catholics not to be “starched Christians” who chat about theology over tea.

He’s been taking his own advice.

Since his election in March, Francis has delivered sharp and unscripted remarks on everything from homosexuality to atheism to his unlikely election to the seat of St. Peter.

Anyone who bet the 76-year-old Jesuit from Argentina would become Supreme Pontiff likely won a lot of dough, Francis joked on Sunday.

We’re wagering this pope’s got a few more surprises up the sleeves of his white cassock.

Meanwhile, here are six eye-openers Francis has uttered thus far.

1) There’s a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican

Meeting with Catholic leaders from his native Latin America and the Caribbean on Sunday, the pope said that there’s a lot of holy people in the Curia, Catholicism’s Rome-based bureaucracy.

But there is also a “stream of corruption,” Francis said, including a “gay lobby.”

"We need to see what we can do," he added, somewhat cryptically.

Only the pope knows exactly what he means. The Vatican has clammed up, refusing to explain.

Catholic experts believe Francis was referring to a secret dossier presented to his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI that investigated a series of embarrassing leaks from Vatican insiders to Italian journalists.

The dossier referred to a Vatican network of sexually active gay clergy who might have been subject to blackmail, according to Italian reports.

2) All atheists go to heaven?

During a homily in Rome on May 22, Francis said that God redeems everyone – not just Christians, but atheists, as well.

“We must meet one another doing good,” the pope said. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

So, was the pope saying that people can go to heaven, even if they don’t believe in God?

Probably not, say church experts.

Catholicism has long held that salvation is open to everyone – but with a really big caveat. If you know about the church and don’t become a member, the door to heaven is likely closed, a Catholic spokesman later clarified.

Many American atheists say they appreciated the olive branch from the pope, however unclear his remarks may have been.

3) “I didn’t want to be pope”

Meeting with Catholic students from Italy and Albania on June 7, Francis ditched his “boring” speech and instead took questions from the children.

A little redhead in a blue scarf elicited laughter by bluntly asking, “Francis, why did you want to become pope?”

“I didn’t,” Francis answered. In fact, “a person who wants to become pope doesn’t love himself. And God doesn’t bless him,” the pontiff said.

4) Sleepy prayers

In May, the pope shared intimate details about his spiritual life with a crowd of 200,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Every day, Francis said, he prays at an altar before he goes to bed. On occasion, the sandman arrives before the end of his prayers, the pope said.

“Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but God understands,” Francis said.

5) Christians should mind their own beeswax

In some of his sharpest comments as pope, Francis criticized Christian busybodies in May.

“We all chat in church,” the pope said. “As Christians we chat.

“It is as if we want to put each other down,” Francis continued. “Instead of growing, one makes the other feel small while I feel great. That will not do.”

Gossip, the pope said, is like honey. It tastes sweet at first, but large doses deliver stomach aches.

6) Throwing food away is stealing from the poor

The first Latin American pope has made fighting poverty a top priority of his papacy. Scarcely a speech or homily ends without a mention of the homeless and disabled.

On June 5, Francis lambasted a “culture of waste” in which consumerism trumps compassion, people become just another disposable object, and little care is given to those who need help.

“This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. ” Francis said.

“We should all remember, however, that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,006 Responses)
  1. *

    What's a "pedarast"?

    June 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  2. I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

    To be fair, lots of people were arrested. Barely anybody from the upper echelons though, the ones who actually did the covering up, which is almost as bad as what the pedarasts did.

    June 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  3. Wind-Bag, Badger-God and Typist of the Cosmos™

    @Colin
    I hereby award you an honorary wind-bag bag, made of recyclable materials, to be bought at your convenience and decorated as you like, relying upon your personal initiative to finalize the award-giving at your end.
    Do to security requirements, I am unable to present you with this award in person and regret the inconvenience to you in getting your own bag made up and handed to you, but that's the internet for you.
    Or, if you like, you could simply find a picture of a large bag and copy it to your device. That might do as well and with less trouble, or you could just ignore my long-winded award speech and carry on. I'm not picky, just long-winded.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  4. CK

    None of the Catholic charities made the 50 worst charities list:
    http://www.tampabay.com/americas-worst-charities/

    June 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Druncle

      Whoa, those are mostly secular charities. I thought without God people were better? Why did I trust that agnostic!

      June 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why is that newsworthy? Do you expect them to be? No atheist charities on the list either.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • CK

      I never said they were atheistic charities. A number of the top rated charities are Catholic. Why do you all so against Catholics?

      June 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Again, why is this newsworthy? Why did you think it important enough to post here? Are there usually catholic charities listed? Given that religious cults are supposed to make people behave better, I would be shocked to find any religious charities listed – that not beng listed would be the norm and not worthy of being mentioned.

      June 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Stop crying persecution!

      To quote Archie Bunker – "I'm not prejudiced, I hate all of them equally"

      June 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      That was directed at CK

      June 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • JMEF

      One sermon for every bowl of soup, a Gideon Bible if you need some real help, and if you end up an orphan in a catholic facility watch out for the reach around; Catholicism and Christianity are not the same thing.

      June 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      drunk uncle, you can trust anyone given enough alcohol

      June 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • CK

      I'm allowed to point out what I choose to about the church.

      June 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • CK

      Catholic Relief Services have an A+ rating from Charity Watch:
      http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html

      June 14, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • CK

      Catholic Charities was ranked # 3 and had a four star rating from the following list.

      http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Guide-to-Giving/America-s-Top-50-charities-How-well-do-they-rate

      June 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • CK

      That last one is from The NonProfit Times

      June 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      CK: You can like whatever you want about the Cult of Pedophiles and maybe when this cult turns over every single last ped to be rightfully persecuted, will I give a rats ass. It's hard to have any respect for a church that knowingly covers up this type of crime. You supporting these pigs in any form does not speak very highly of you.

      June 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • 2sc1970

      Again, no need to remind you that the majority of those priests are gays if not all.

      June 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • CK

      If you want to start a topic go right ahead. Of course what they did was horrible. I am discussing charity.

      June 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      2sc1970

      Proof?

      June 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • 2sc1970

      @I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Proof?
      Where are you from? I mean from which planet?

      June 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • 2sc1970

      I'm sorry Dave, I'm a liar. Can't get enough gay bashing in, so I'm gonna lie about ALL priests being gay. I'm latent, ya know. And I know that gay and pedophile are two different things, I just like muddying the waters. It's fun to insinuate and hope that people believe me.

      June 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      I'm from the planet that acknowledges the difference between being gay and being a pederast.

      June 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  5. Joe

    CNN still thinks it can defeat an entire religion.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      No CNN is just another outlet; we also have numerous facebook pages and other websites to go to.
      Felling a little persecuted? Maybe worried?
      This like many other religions before it will go to the past one day and something else will replace it.

      June 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Joe..............if you like Facebook.

      The Light...is...Science Wins God Loses | Facebook................from the little blue box.........think outside the box. https://www.facebook.com/ScienceWinsGodLoses "Creationists make it sound like a ‘theory’ is something you ... are all over it. ... that says I must submit to him or suffer agonizing punishment for all time? 8,000,000 results Any time.

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/04/atheists-to-start-1-800-hotline/#comments

      Your request was successfully submitted.

      Bing will come and visit your site soon. To find out if your site is indexed and receiving traffic from Bing or to submit more URLs, sign up for a free account with

      Bing Webmaster Tools

      June 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Canderson

      Since when is the truth uttered by the pope himself the news outlets fault?

      June 16, 2013 at 3:11 am |
  6. Indra Andrews

    Anyone else tired of the media singling out the Catholic Church? No other faiths are bash worthy? Isnt the media supposed to be neautral? For those eager to respond with "well the Catholic church does this or that...." Trust me no faith or organized religion is without fault. Its a clear planned attack and its pathetic.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      There are several articles here on the Baptists... and a couple on Lutherans. The Catholic Church is very large and very powerful in the environs of the readership here. Of course they are going to get the most attention.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Lefty

      CNN has a gun pointed at its head to essentially take an opposing viewpoint of conservatism, no matter how stupid they look while trying. The Catholic church is probably the most obvious of examples. They are even more subtle in other areas. Usually any articles regarding children or their upbringing or usually negative, typically focussing on how difficult it is (i.e. anti-family).

      June 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • derp

      And yet here you are clinking on this link and commenting on the story, thus increasing their ad revenue and perpetuating the bias.

      Idiot.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • *

      Its, not it's.

      June 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Indra Andrews: So you support them covering up pedophiles? Intolerance of intolerance on the media's behalf of this Cult of Pedophiles is not a bad thing.
      Pull your head out of your ass and think about the kids, they're far more important than your precious group.

      June 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • bill deacon

      Soor to disappoint you sam but the art collection at the Vatican is not worth millions. It is virtually priceless. Meaning it cannot be bought and it should not be bought. Most of that work reflects the history an culture of the Christian world. A great deal of it was used as a method to communicate the Gospel before people could read and it is still used today by the faithful for meditation and inspiration. And your idea is what? Sell it to someone who wants to put it in a jar of urine and use the proceeds to buy Big Macs? I think I'll stick with the stewardship of the Vatican, thank you. They've preserved that treasure for a long time; no sense rocking the boat. Now if you want to talk about who actually feeds more people on the planet or hospitalizes more AIDS patients or cares for more homeless, perhaps we can talk.

      June 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Science

      Come on Bill.................Rubbers and the RCC and you mention aids ?

      June 17, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Science

      Come on Bill.................Rubbers and the RCC and you mention aids ?

      Scientists Discover How HIV Kills Immune Cells; Findings Have Implications for HIV Treatment

      June 5, 2013 — Untreated HIV infection destroys a person's immune system by killing infection-fighting cells, but precisely when and how HIV wreaks this destruction has been a mystery until now. New research ... > full story

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/search/?type=news&keyword=Hiv+and+aids&section=all&filename=&period=30&sort=relevance

      June 17, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • sam stone

      Paranoia getting to you, Indra?

      June 18, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  7. lionlylamb

    Stories told make the picture.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  8. LILONGO

    Maybe you think you're right... but then again, JESUS IS GOD!!! Amén!!!
    No point comparing....

    June 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  9. lionlylamb

    Charge me!

    June 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      With what?
      Verbal diarrhea is not crime, unfortunately.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Wind-Bag, Badger-God and Typist of the Cosmos™

      If word-salads were a crime, you would be beaten with large wooden salad forks in public. Alas.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      When lionly goes bananas we just provide the raspberries...

      June 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Pope one-liners

    “We are not part-time Christians.”

    June 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  11. Pope one-liners

    “Long faces cannot proclaim Jesus.”

    June 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Who's your daddy now?

      Wide mouths lain open are big mouthed.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      If horses had gods they'd look like horses.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  12. nfclrd

    I hope this Pope becomes a living and true legend for all to admire and respect, religious and atheists alike.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      He is either mentally ill or a huge fraud. Either way, I hope he and his dead jew zombie vampire cannibal death cult go away soonest.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • HotAirAzz

      @HotAirAce

      You seriously need help.

      June 14, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why? I am not delusional – I do not have any imaginary friends nor do I go around tryin to convince anyone that there are unproven supernatural beings.

      June 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
  13. bostontola

    "Call it a con, a scam, compare it to Santa. What if you are wrong? ... God gives us free will."

    What if Christians are wrong? The hubris is annoying.

    You think you have free will but that doesn't make it true. Science has shown that many mental functions are subconscious and in fact we make some decisions subconsciously. When asked if they would make the same decision if they had time to think about it, subjects often said no. It's yet another manifestation of hubris to be sure that what you know and feel is all you are.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • derp

      Most christians have never hear of the hypothalamus or autonomic nervous system.

      They don't like big words.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • HotAirAzz

      @Derp

      Not every religious person is dumb as much as an atheist.

      June 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  14. Julie MS

    10 times worse and opposite of Jesus.

    June 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  15. felimarie

    I love this guy! It is so nice to finally have a major leader in religion teach about love and not hate and judgment. I have always loved the leaders in the Catholic church (nuns, priests), they have such a peacefullness and they are so down to earth (the ones I have met) it has always been the parishioners who made me hate religion. Having a leader the world respects speak to this is a relief. There is hope in this world.

    June 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Wind-Bag, Badger-God and Typist of the Cosmos™

      Were that "wonderful guy" decide to follow all the rules at his disposal, he would gladly and most reverently burn you alive at the stake for heresy. But I bet you don't consider that sort of thing. The RCC is nothing but men in dresses using terrorism to further their personal agendas. But then why would you ever think of them that way when you've been brainwashed to adore them? So sad.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  16. True or False?

    "Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God."

    Heywood Broun

    June 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • True

      .

      June 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Wind-Bag, Badger-God and Typist of the Cosmos™

      Those of us who speak to those caught in a web of deceit will of course mention the deceit itself in a bid to open your eyes to your errors in judgment even though you may be incapable of facing the truth. We want to help but you love your pit of hell.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • nfclrd

      Oh God! Oh, shoot, I just said it.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • True

      *Wind-Bag, Badger-God and Typist of the Cosmos™*

      Thanks for trying to fix me. Maybe you should work on yourself first?

      June 14, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Wind-Bag, Badger-God and Typist of the Cosmos™

      @True
      I am almost always willing to improve myself in consideration to my own individual limitations.
      Did you have something in particular? Is there some personal shortcoming of mine you perceive in need of correction?
      Do share it with me, as I enjoy most attempts in this direction. Well??

      June 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  17. Colin

    Actually, if you believe any givev Christian Church, that is true. Think it through. I don't have to kill, I don't have to steal, hell, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is have a reasonable, honest and rational disbelief in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty upon me an infinite times worse than the death penalty.

    Approximately one hundred and ten thousand million (110,000,000,000) people have lived on Earth. Given all those who have, over the centuries, rejected the Christian god, or who have otherwise committed mortal sins, there must be literally thousands of millions of people burning for all eternity in the cosmic oven of hell set up by their all-loving god. Some must have been burning for thousands of years by now.

    About 100,000 people die every day. There must be a constant stream of thousands of forlorn souls every day into the one way pit of hell their “all-merciful” god set up and maintains.

    But, far, far worse than sheer overwhelming numbers is the extent of the punishment. There is no way out, no parole, no time off for good behavior. You don’t just burn, you burn for all eternity. Billions of people and thousands of daily new arrivals burning for all eternity!

    No criminal justice system in the history of the Human race, even those established by the most despotic of tyrants, comes close to matching the unfathomable barbarity of their “infinitely benevolent” god.

    Hitler murdered six million Jews in his concentration camps, but compared to the Judeo-Christian god, Hitler was a bleeding-hearted wimp. A goose-stepping girlie-man. Their “all-caring” god not only burns billions more than Hitler, Pol Pot and all other dictators and tyrants added up, he keeps doing so to them for all eternity! I would not wish a bad sunburn on a person simply because they have a different religion to me, let alone fry them for all eternity.

    It is also odd that their all-loving god is also all-knowing and knows which souls will go to hell before they do. He even knows it before they are born, and yet he still creates them. He is worse than a psychopathic teenager than breeds litter after litter of kittens so he can slowly roast them in ovens.

    I would love a Christian to point out to me what I have wrong here, but they never can

    How they believe this utter garbage in the 21st century completely eludes me.

    June 14, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Doug

      God made hell to punish satan and the other fallen angels, not for mankind, who he created. God loves all his creation, but he also gave us free will. The right to choose. Those who reject God, and his son Jesus, freely make that choice. It is each individual that through rejection of God, send themselves to hell. Read the second coming warning prophesies, and you will see what God is doing to try and save all his children from hell. In the end it is still our free will where we go after death. Accept Jesus into your heart, and forgiveness and eternal life is yours.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  18. mzh

    @ "All atheists go to heaven"

    With due respect to my atheists friends...

    Is Pope re-writing the gospels having this statement? So there will be another version of bible... like constantinople added the trinity concept in early third century? i hope my Christian friends see what i see...

    Peace!!!

    June 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      No we don't but it's understandable that you have a skewed view.

      June 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • nfclrd

      Ah mzh! People who call themselves Bill Deacon (see his reply) will use words such as "skewed" just to justify themselves. They want to sound "smart" by showing a part of life that they deem real, their reality. Just ignore them, as most of us do anyway. They can fight if they want. They'll just lose that peace that we all, the normal ones, are trying to achieve. I'm sure he will now reply to me with more "smart" words, as to prove that he knows "the truth", amen, and if he doesn't reply, it's because he's so full of himself, and so full of it, amen to that too.

      June 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • mzh

      May The Lord The Almighty guide us all the entire mankind...

      We all make mistakes and the door for repent is always opens till the moment we end our this earthly life... and The Almighty is so mercyful than we can imagine of...

      June 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  19. 2sc1970

    And i thought i have heard it all.

    June 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  20. Brian

    The point about being careful about gossiping is very important, and it is good that Pope Francis also addressed this. Other major world religions such as Judaism and Buddhism treats gossiping and careless speech as a serious sin, as extremely poisonous to one's character and to wider social relations.

    June 14, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
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About this blog

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