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Is Pope Francis the Catholic Princess Diana?
Taking a page from Princess Diana's playbook, Pope Francis has taken the papacy into the streets.
July 14th, 2013
12:25 AM ET

Is Pope Francis the Catholic Princess Diana?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–It was a shipwreck of African migrants off the coast of Lampedusa, a small island in the Mediterranean, that spurred Pope Francis into action.

In the past 18 months more than 500 people have died, or gone missing at sea, trying to escape Africa. The world barely noticed.

Standing on Lampedusa on Monday, Francis prayed for the victims and cast a wreath in the water to commemorate the dead. More importantly, he drew attention to the desperate plight of migrants, in his country and around the world.

“We have fallen into a globalization of indifference,” Francis said, as he stood near an altar made from the salvage of shipwrecks.

The pope wore purple – a color that symbolizes penance in Catholicism - and prayed that world leaders who ignored the plight of migrants might be forgiven.

“The fact he wore purple and asking for forgiveness was very powerful,” Christopher M. Bellitto a church historian and Associate Professor at Kean University said.

“This is a guy that socks you in the gut and touches your heart.”

It was his first trip outside of Rome since Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected in March as the head of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. And it showed how quickly he is learning to shine the megawatt spotlight of his popular papacy on issues dear to his heart.

There are obvious differences between a Catholic pontiff and a princess.

But watching Francis’ first few months in office, it’s hard not to notice that he seems to have taken a page from the late Princess Diana’s playbook.

The Princess of Wales knew where she went, the media followed. Her activism brought global attention to homelessness, HIV/AIDs, and, most prominently, land mines.

Just as Diana ventured far from Buckingham Palace to wrap her arms around landmine victims in Africa and elsewhere, Pope Francis has taken the papacy out of the the Sistine Chapel and into the streets.

Through acts such as embracing a child with cerebral palsy, washing the feet of juvenile delinquents and celebrating Mass on a migrant island, Francis is using the power of his celebrity to bring media attention to dark forgotten corners of the world.

Spiritual life requires more than meditating and reading books, Francis says. Catholics and other people of faith don’t need a “refresher course” to “touch the living God,” he said.

“All we have to do is go out onto the street.”

Taking it to the Streets

On the streets of Lampedusa the pope scaled back on the pomp
to be with the migrants, many of whom were Muslim.

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Canadian priest close to the Vatican, said the pope had wanted to go to Lampedusa with just a small group, flying commercial.

“There was a simplicity to this that is not normally given to papal visits.”

But challenging messages come with the pope’s simple style.

While Francis was praying at the harbor, a tweet was sent from his @Pontifex account: “We pray for a heart which will embrace immigrants. God will judge us upon how we have treated the most needy.”

The tweet was a 140-character shot across the bow at global leaders wrestling with immigration, most notably in Europe and the United States, said Rosica.

“I think he was giving a very clear signal to many countries, including the United States, about its outreach to refugees and all the blocks that are put it,” Rosica said. “He’s not just speaking as Jorge Bergoglio; he’s speaking as the leader of the Catholic Church addressing the world.”

The world has taken notice.

Italian Vanity Fair named him “Man of the Year” this month in a cover story calling him “Pope Courage.” In the article, rock star Elton John called Francis “a miracle of humility in a era of vanity.”

John hasn’t been the only non-Catholic to sing the pope’s praises.

“It’s time to admit it; Pope Francis is kind of Awesome,” Stephen Marche, an atheist, wrote in Esquire Magazine’s website last week.

Pilgrims pack St. Peter’s Square when Francis delivers his Sunday speeches. The crowds are noticeably larger than his predecessor Pope Benedict had been drawing. Twice as large, by some accounts in Rome.

Despite his popularity, Francis continues to live in at Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican hotel, instead of the opulent papal apartment. He prefers to drive through St. Peter’s Square to greet the masses in an open-topped Jeep instead of the bulletproof bubble.

Last week he said that priests shouldn’t drive fancy cars. After his speech, Francis visited the Vatican garage to inspect his own fleet, according to The Associated Press.

During Mass on July 3 at Casa Santa Marta Francis explained why he has been so hands-on, so insistent on greeting the disabled, the poor, the refugee, and the prisoner.

"The body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked, because it is humiliated, because he is a slave, because he's in jail, because he is in the hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus today,” he said.

Setting up charities to solve society’s problems is not enough, he said. Catholics and other believers have to get their hands dirty.

“We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and this literally.”

Big preparations for Brazil

World Youth Day, which will be held in Brazil later this month, has the potential to show the full measure of the new pope’s popularity.

Brazil is home to the world’s largest Catholic population, but in the past 10 years the church has been steadily losing ground to evangelical churches.
Could the first Latin-American pope’s homecoming reverse that longterm trend?

Some 60,000 volunteers have signed up to help for the weeklong pilgrimage the week of July 22, 2013.

Events include an opening Mass on Copacabana beach for pilgrims, Catholic DJs spinning records at a beach festival, and a final Mass that is open to the public at a giant field west of the city.

Benjamin Paz Vernal, director of communications for World Youth Day communications said for the week they have ordered 4 million hosts for Holy Communion.

Paz Vernal said site where the final Mass will be held is 2 1/2 times bigger than that of the last World Youth Day in 2011. At that Mass, Spain’s National Police estimated the crowd was 1.5 million people.

The pope will be busy in Brazil: and it’s a typical itinerary for Francis.

He will visit a drug rehabilitation hospital, a Marian shrine, hear confessions from young inmates, and tour a slum in Rio de Janiero that the Vatican notes was “recently pacified.”

But what everyone will be watching is what is not what on the itinerary from a pope who seems to relish improvisation.

“I’ve utterly given up trying to figure out what he’s going to do,” said the Rev. Paddy Gilger a newly ordained Jesuit priest who runs the website “The Jesuit Post.”

In Francis he sees a pope unafraid to push the boundaries and keep his minders – as well as the media - on their toes.

“It’s very Jesuit: whatever it takes,” Gilger said. “He’s unafraid to use any tool he can to share the gospel. If it wasn’t so sincere it’d be very manipulative.”

Back to the clown Masses?

Francis’ style is not without critics, most notably in his approach to worship.

When he first stepped out on the balcony to meet the world as pope, Francis wore a simple iron cross instead of one made from gold. The throne of St. Peter has literally been stripped of its jewels and the brocaded papal cape left with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. In its place: a simple white cassock.

“Benedict, in his relatively short papacy of eight years, worked very hard to bring back a lot of things that were identified with Catholicism. With the Vatican it was splendor, it was dignity,” Kenneth Wolfe a writer for traditionalist Catholic publications such as Rorate Caeli.

“Francis is more of a … American Protestant,” he said with a sigh. “Not in beliefs but in demeanor and approach to religion. Dressing as one of the people.”

The pope’s trip to Lampedusa was charitable, Wolfe said, but the Mass there summed up what Wolfe dislikes about Francis.

“The Mass was pretty much a joke. I mean to have an altar made out of a boat, a wooded chalice, a lectern that had a ship’s steering wheel on it and altar girls?” he said. “It resembles the clown Masses of the 1960s. It’s not a serious way to present liturgy.”

After the Second Vatican Council, Latin was dropped from the Masses in favor of local languages, opening the door for a host of new hymns and practices, some of which traditionalists derisively refer to as “clown Masses.”

And, as Wolfe notes, it also opened the door for Masses that featured actual clowns.

“I would be lying if I said I hadn’t seen a little disgruntledness,” Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association said about the response to Pope Francis.

But the distaste is limited and mostly concerns matters of liturgy, according to McGuire.

“The overwhelming response has been positive,” she said.

The path forward

When he returns to the Vatican after World Youth Day, the new pope will finally have some down time, the Vatican said.

But Francis still has an ambitious to-do list – and no one expects the 76-year-old to slow down.

In fact, he’s already pledged to reform everything from the Vatican bank to the Curia, the professional staff at the Vatican.

Monsignor Kevin Irwin, a theology professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, offered some insight into why the pope has been so busy.

“The clock is ticking. He’s got one lung. You’d better do it now.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

soundoff (523 Responses)
  1. Bryan

    "But watching Francis’ first few months in office, it’s hard not to notice that he seems to have taken a page from the late Princess Diana’s playbook."
    I very much disagree with this statement. Jorge Bergoglio was reaching out to the marginalized long before Princess Diana took to the international stage. To say they he is taking a "page" from her book...that just does not jive right with me.
    But though I do say this, I commend Princess Diana for her humanitarian efforts. We, as global citizens, are fortunate to have experienced both of their concerns for the world. May many more such people follow in their footsteps.

    July 14, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      A good afternoon to you Bryan,,

      Many humanists still today have strange fascinations with princes and princesses and Kings and Queens. Our worldly systemic rationalisms are as brooding lemmings falling off the proverbial cliff's edge. The papacy throws out wooden nickels which can be redeemed for a beer at your local tavern. I see no wisdom in this blog post,,, just an elongated ritual of premeditated conjuring to cast a spell of misinformation upon the infidel masses.

      July 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • .

      " I see no wisdom in this blog post,,, just an elongated ritual of premeditated conjuring to cast a spell of misinformation upon the infidel masses."

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      July 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      What season are we now found within? Is it dolt-jot hunting season? My slingshot has been in the closet for a long time,,,

      July 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  2. lionlylamb2013

    Christianity has been seeking the emotional attributes of the particular variations while the RCC and its Papacy feed such emotionalisms and never speaks upon the issues of paternalistic deviations contritely contrary to main spread churches augments of the divine measuring. Why should anyone who knows full well that the "True Churches" are our physical embodiments; become a fundamental enumeration set apart to devotional beliefs that manmade churches are of God?

    I would never put any faith let alone beliefs in any manmade church and their antebellum prognostic order that only tends the tenure and never receives the intelligence of mindfulness grazing the scriptures of revolutionary wisdom. The whole world is demonstrating yet no one is righteously taking notice. Nothing never is ever beneficial yet all things will ever become broken. God is not watching the masses anymore then God is being servile toward one's selfishness ideals.

    July 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      It seems to me that I have a lithesome admirer of the negative varieties! Such a puppy dog of jolting servility is as a common mongrel who barks precipitously with little bite. Keep up your good works dolt-A-dot! If only this world had more puppies like you,,,,

      July 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Yo!

      Stop picking on lionly they suffer from low self esteem issues, everyone gets that when this person is posting, they're here to make themselves feel better about who they are, so grow up.

      July 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Perversions of protagonists are of life's blemished misfortunates. My 58 is doubled that of most poster toasters. I love my breads lightly brazed and buttered with real butter and not the marginal marinades of embittered flotsams ,,,

      July 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • .

      Thanks for proving you are a pseudo intellect, you are the one that need's to grow up.

      July 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • *

      Yo,

      It's more (and different) than low self esteem with LL - and @. is incorrect. It's not within our power to provide real therapy, but maybe providing positive reinforcement by responding only when he is being rational (it happens now and then!) and ignoring the gibberish-filled tirades might help.

      July 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • !

      " ignoring the gibberish-filled tirades"

      Now that's the truth but those type of posts are a reflection of the emotional immaturity of this poster.

      July 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  3. Krepukulo

    The pope Rocks!

    July 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  4. What a stupid article!

    This article reaffirms my suspician that The Belief Blog is staffed by the mistresses and ne'er-do-well nephews of senior CNN executives. All the articles based of freaking twitter are bad enough, but really now, the Princess Diana of Catholicism?

    July 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The twitter thing makes me think decisions are made by out of touch folk who think just using the word "twitter" will appeal to a younger generation.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  5. manhandler1

    Yeah, but who has the better dress?

    July 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I believe the Pope has narrower hips but a larger bustline

      July 15, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Observer

      Speaking of not being healthy for children:

      The Bible tells parents to beat their children with rods.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • justice for all

      It is unfortunate your parent did not love you enough to see you properly disciplined.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Akira

      When "discipline" involves beating a child, it passes out of discipline mode and into child abuse mode.

      It is unfortunate that you cannot see the difference. I am sorry for you.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Religion is a tool for controlling the ignorant masses.

      Religion developed as a tool for elite groups of people to control the masses of the population and garner support and power. The reason it features so prominently in our world over the last few centuries is because it has proven to be a useful method in rallying troops for war, as it promises them that any soldiers who happen to die fighting will be rewarded by some 'god' in an afterlife.

      Atheism is completely healthy as it encourages the exploration and investigation into the world. The majority of the material world we live in today would not exist if we continued to worship an old man in the clouds believing that everything has been created for us and should not be changed.

      Religion is harmful to the future of the human race and will continue to keep us ignorant and stunted.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • bostontola

      justice,
      Your enthusiasm for strict parental discipline in the bible begs the question, do you also agree with biblical slavery policies?

      July 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • justice for all

      What is not to agree with?

      July 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • truthsayer

      pray not to get a disease or get a vaccine against a disease.... NO BRAINER

      July 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • justice for all

      Akira,no one has said anything about "beating" a child until it passes out, except you.

      July 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Observer

      justice for all:

      News for you. If you have to beat your kids into submission to get them into your religion, your religion is a total failure.

      With every strike of a rod, the kid is thinking "Wow! God loves me", right?

      July 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Observer

      justice for all,

      SInce you obviously haven't read the Bible, here's what it says:

      Proverbs 23:13-14 “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.”

      July 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Testosterone

      justice for all,

      So when is your fantasy "God" character going to come up with some distinct rules and equitable punishments - clear and obvious to everyone (at least as clear as gravity and mathematics - he should know that we are not all that smart) - instead of the ambiguous cr@p from the ancient Middle Eastern Hebrew tribes and their schizo monster creature?

      July 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Trinitarian issues are a Christian issuance of religious infidelities of finite resources extolling randomized wisdoms among the seething masses whose barbarisms are comely reaching of absurdities. Eat the pleasurable foods and drink little of humanisms breweries for is it not nobler to be filled up in good measures of wholesomeness attributes then to be left upon the distillations of the common alcoholics' waywardness shortcomings?

      July 14, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, don't bother reading their posts it's not worth it, just laugh and move on.

      A pseudo intellect is someone who acts pretentiously and wishes to impress, rather than modestly trying to communicate effectively uses rhetoric over content.

      July 14, 2013 at 3:26 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!!

      July 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      July 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  7. bostontola

    I hope this pope reforms his church. They have plenty of room for improvement with se.xual misconduct, financial misconduct, etc. My impression is that he is sincere. He leads a lot of Christians in the world so he can move a significant portion of the population if they let him. I like the fact that the Catholic Church seems more science friendly than many other Christians. If he straightens out the moral issues in his church, he could lead a closer tie to secular society.

    July 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  8. yogi

    The only comparison hat can be made is with St. Francis, who's name was chosen by the Pope. I hope that the simple hand painted wooden cross the Pope is carrying is symbolic for the gradual changes ahead, where the circus, that the Vatican has become, will change from the gold and power to the fundamental teachings of Christ. A change from churchianity back to Christianity.

    July 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  9. Magic_Hat_Vinyl

    Southernsuga
    "Of course you would. Your comment is typical of a pagan and heathen. You're comment is vulgar."

    Really? I'm a pagan and I'm a big fan of this Pope. If he came to my door, I would certainly let him. It seems that Jesus has taught you nothing. Such a shame to be judging others when you could be doing much more, like also helping to feed the poor and leading by example just as this pope is doing.

    July 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think he means well and will do some good. The question is really whether that good can outweigh the harm that has been done, and will continue to be done, by their years of failure to support condoms in Africa, their opposition to birth control, and their marginalization of the gay community. The negative impact they've had on both the AIDS crisis and overpopulation and economic misery in the developing world is huge. The damage they've done by forcing almost all Catholic priests to remain unmarried is also enormous. Unless they are ready to make real changes where they have caused global damage their efforts to feed people in countries the church helped overpopulate ring hollow.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  10. Thought Purification

    Someone is really working hard to promote Francisco; what is he going to be next ......Vin Diesel of Catholic The Fast and the Furious !!

    July 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  11. LouAZ

    Only thing they have in common, Di and Poope, is they both wear dresses.

    July 14, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • John Riley Goldsmith

      Until the current Pope explains what he did with the generals in Argentina and cleans up the gigantic continuing child abuse mess in the Catholic clergy that has cost the church hundreds of millions of dollars any comparison with Princess Diana is premature and senseless.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  12. Fleur de LIs

    “The Mass was pretty much a joke. I mean to have an altar made out of a boat, a wooded chalice, a lectern that had a ship’s steering wheel on it and altar girls?” In his one sentence, Kenneth Wolfe has summed up what has been driving away many Catholics. Does Wolfe believe that Jesus carried with him a marble altar, a gold chalice, and fine robes to preach to his followers? Remember the Sadducees and Pharisees of Jesus' time, in their fine robes? "You brood of vipers!" Jesus called them.

    July 14, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • langky

      The symbolism of these items may have been important to people there, hence they used it. I don't understand why it should bother you that much. People wear and use many objects to symbolize something that is important to them, or that they hold dear, or has personal meaning. Why is it so difficult to respect that?

      July 14, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Akira

      Kenneth Wolfe seems to be outraged that this Pope is trying to reach people in a more matter-of-fact manner; but the thing that struck me the most strange is his odd emphasis on the altar girls.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Akira

      Langky, your post would be better served addressed to Kenneth Wolfe, rather than Fleur. Fleur isn't the one talking smack about the Pope's method of serving mass. Wolfe is.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  13. Reality

    Francis and Diana? Hmmm, the only similarity is that both forgot the "first things first" principle.

    Diana should have put the royal family in its rightful place, the myth pile. She did not and therefore we still have this family conning the British and rest of us with their divine right absurdity to the tune of millions of dollars in support each year directly or indirectly with the expenditures of tourist dollars.

    And Francis, he continues the absurdity of Christianity to the tune of millions if not billions of dollars wasted each year on pomp and circu-mstance.

    July 14, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • tom LI

      did you really think he would dismantle the RCC? If so you're being absurd...and very silly, and very naive.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Reality

      With or without Francis, Truth marches on !!

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • God Save The Queen!

      The Royal Family provides Britain it's fellow commonwealth realms with stable, uncorrupted democracy by giving us an impartial head of state that our armed forces serve. This prevents the rise of a dictator that might use the army to overthrow the government and what not.

      They also serve as a rallying point for our country and as a source of national pride. The bring in masses of tourist money and cost a small fraction to maintain, far less in fact than other heads of states upkeep such as the presidents of America or France.

      July 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Reality

      So why does England need Parliament and a Prime Minister? And you honestly believe Queen E et al have some kind of divine right to lead a religion and a government?? Give us a break !!!

      July 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  14. faith

    Colin
    A First Century apocalyptic Jew whose religious beliefs, from what we can tell, were so different to what Christians believe today that he would not even be considred a Christian.

    what were his religious beliefs and how do they differ from today's beliefs among christians?

    July 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Dan Anderson

      Re: ur comment on the "First Century apocalyptic Jew". Haven't u noticed. It's the belief as it's evolved till today and what u see now, that people seem to care about. No one really cares what that apocalyptic person thought.

      July 14, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • richunix

      Your referring to what group Jesus belong to, Ebonities (been study early Christian history for the past 15 years). Amazing how much it is more about the religion of the Christian ands less about the man called Jesus.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • lively and courteous discussion

      I care about what Jesus said and thought. He's the hand of God, saving people, the most important person anyone could ever have met or known.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Allegedly the hand of (some) god. . .

      July 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • just me.

      So-the discussion is going well,and becoming interesting.Then someone makes a completely unfounded,religious assertion hence:destroying all credibility this thread may have had.Thanks.

      July 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  15. Dorothy

    I think it is a little narrow minded not to acknowledge the fact that Pope Francis has his heart in the right place when it comes to social justice issues and a true desire to assure there is honesty and integrity in the Church. It appears that he is, at heart, a good man. There is not going to be true reform in the church, however, until there are leaders who acknowledge that there is no way that man can ever assume to know the "mind of God." While I am admittedly agnostic and would never deny the possibility of some type of supreme being I would also have to say that there is no way that any true reflective person would presume to be able to comprehend the desires of such a being. If (s)He is all-good and all-knowing, I doubt if (s)he would care if I regulated my reproductive capacity with latex, hormones or my cycle. I'm most certainly sure that (s)he would not care what I did with my tally-wacker and who I loved.....so long as I truly loved. The more the church tries to "control" the meaningless, the less likely it will be able to influence the "goodness."

    July 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  16. Southernsuga

    I lover Pope Francis, but going to a coastline to pray for people of unknown origin (in reality), was just a bit too much. He could have done that at the Vatican. The bible says that we don't need to be showmen with our prayers.

    July 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • langky

      I doubt very much that Pope Francis was doing it for show. I think he is trying to bring awareness to the issue. Prayer and action are two different things, but together they bring positive results.

      July 14, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • just me.

      @langty.I am puzzled-could you please explain the positive and concrete effects of prayer.Please,try to be brief.

      July 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  17. Stephen

    This CNN writer must be illiterate. You can still be an atheist and know that the Christian religion set the standard for charity and the Catholics are chief among them (I am neither). The writer is either illiterate and stupid, or he has a hate game and is deliberately disrespectful. I saw it CNN, other readers will also. When does news become a rag magazine...

    July 14, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Really? Christians set the standard for charity? Everywhere? In Saudi Arabia?

      Oh, and "non-rag" newspapers have Opinion pages with articles about like this one. Your post seems far too heavy on criticism to contain such little substance.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  18. Ramon F Herrera

    Diana:

    Still selling after all these years....

    July 14, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  19. HotAirAce

    I have way more respect for Princess Di than for Pope-A-Dope. If he showed up at my door, he'd get the same "Fuck Off!" all religious charlatans get. I wouldn't think of saying that to Di.

    July 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Southernsuga

      Of course you would. Your comment is typical of a pagan and heathen. You're comment is vulgar.

      July 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • langky

      Faith is personal. What may be fake to you could be real to me and to someone else. No one forces you to believe, but you should be respectful of the beliefs of others. To each his own.

      July 14, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • HotAirAce

      If believers stopped coming to my door and stopped creating laws based on their unfounded myths, their personal feelings would not get hurt.

      July 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  20. tony

    The first pope to acknowledge that religious belief is about a fake god, will be the first really good pope.

    July 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • davessworks

      That's a truly idiotic position. You're welcome to your beliefs but there's no need to insult the beliefs of others in a matter that neither you nor they can prove with any degree of certainty.

      July 14, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • langky

      If our God is fake, then we won't need a pope. But we believe in what we believe, so we have a pope. At the minimum, he deserves respect as a human being, even from people who do not share the same belief, in much the same way that you are owed respect just by being a part of the human race.

      July 14, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • tony

      Why are religious beliefs "sacred" and requiring respect from non believers?. Believing in a flat earth or ghosts or "mediums" isn't treated as a matter of tolerance or respect, but there's equally the same lack of evidence and basis for those beliefs too. And those beliefs usually cause less harm. Especially if held by powerful politicians or leaders of violent groups.

      July 14, 2013 at 2:53 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.