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Pope condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria
Pope Francis has called for peaceful resolution to Syria's escalating civil war.
September 2nd, 2013
11:39 AM ET

Pope condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - As President Obama rallies support for a military strike on Syria, Pope Francis condemned chemical weapons and called for an international day of fasting and prayer to press for a peaceful resolution to Syria's escalating civil war.

The pope tweeted an anti-war message to his nearly 3 million Twitter followers on Monday, repeating a theme he has sounded with increasing urgency in recent days.

On Sunday, Francis devoted much of his Angelus address in Rome to Syria.

"There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry," the pope said, "but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming."

However, the pope also said that people who use chemical weapons - as the Syrian government has been accused of doing - will face divine judgement.

"With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable!"

The pope also proclaimed September 7 a day of prayer and fasting for Syrian peace, and invited the world's 1.5 billion Catholics, as well as other Christians, followers of different religions and "all men of goodwill" to join him.

From 7-12 p.m. in Rome, Francis said, "we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world."

"Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace!" he said.

On Monday, the pope met with a delegation from the World Jewish Congress as Judaism's High Holidays approach. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins September 5.

“Pope Francis’ leadership has not only reinvigorated the Catholic Church but also given a new momentum to relations with Judaism," said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

"Never in the past 2,000 years have relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people been so good."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Foreign policy • Pope Francis • Syria

soundoff (516 Responses)
  1. Lionly Lamb

    Hemp Cutting August 2010

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yy8UTcftvo&w=640&h=360]

    September 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  2. Lawrence of Arabia

    A plea for peace from the pope? This coming from the church that used to burn Christians at the stake for the crime of translating the Bible into English...

    September 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • ME II

      We probably should be grateful that this Pope won't be calling for any crusades.

      September 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Lawrence...

      Have not socialized groups from religious to irreligious made moralizing mistakes against other social groups..? Where does blame end and unity arise from if all anyone can remember is the vileness from issues once long ago made..? Everyone has issues in their life they would sooner forget and all social orders are of the same conceptual premise... Should we the people quit the blame games and turn toward rational reasoning instead of bringing up dead horses..?

      September 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        There's a difference between merely "remembering wrongs" and attempting to correct error. As long as there are those stuck in sacramentalism and sacerdotalism, Christians will continue the reformation.
        "Ecclesia reformata et semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei"

        September 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sire Lawrence...

          Are not people creatures of being habitually minded entrepreneurs meaning they find usefulness in doing things habitually in order to get better in such as practices in playing a musical instrument..? The sacraments are a creature of habits way for staying in touch with godliness amid the many vices and virtues that humanisms entail... Toward one seeking negativities within the multi-religious constructs of humanisms does more harm to the individual than the religion(s) they are opposed towards... JMHO anyways

          September 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Lionly Lamb, but you've got to understand that the idea behind sacramentalism is that the act of performing some work imparts grace to the participant, but according to Scripture, nothing could be further from the truth. No work can save, no work can impart grace to the believer. Catholicism had gone far astray from the true teachings of scripture when it began to believe that justification follows sanctification because this would mean that justification before God is based upon works. The reformation sought to correct this, and reestablish the correct, Biblical teaching that we are justified at the moment of salvation, by faith alone, and that sanctification is a lifelong process after that. That we are justified apart from works as a free gift from God.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          I hereby admit to you sired Lawrence my inability to fathom you words...

          September 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Psalm

          According to EWTN–" Catholics do not believe that a man can by his own good works, independently of the Merits and Passion of Jesus Christ and of His grace, obtain salvation, or make any satisfaction for the guilt of his sins, or acquire any merit."

          September 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Psalm, nope, not of their own accord, but by performing good works AND applying the merit of Mary, Saints, and Christ, then they can get to heaven. It's the addition of works as being a necessary part of salvation that makes it unbiblical. The reformation was about "Scripture alone, Grace alone, Faith alone, Christ alone, to the glory of God alone."

          September 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Lionly Lamb, that wasn't my intent, I was just trying to explain the idea behind the Reformation.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • Psalm

          You may want to check your last update, you might have it wrongly interpreted. Check their websites. The earlier post was from EWTN site which clearly contradicts your understanding.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Psalm, but your quote post was admitting that Catholics believe that their works help get them into heaven. Re-read the post...

          "Catholics do not believe that a man can by his own good works, independently of the Merits and Passion of Jesus Christ and of His grace, obtain salvation, or make any satisfaction for the guilt of his sins, or acquire any merit."

          They agree that works ALONE can't merit salvation, but its works PLUS merits and Christ...

          The Bible teaches that it is Christ alone... He grants us faith, and our rightful response is repentance, but there are no works involved at all, either helping or determining our salvation.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • Psalm

          Ok, got it. You're saying that they add the word 'in addition to', didn't read that part in your last post earlier. Agree with you if that is the case.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
        • Psalm

          Along the same line, good words probably doesn't hurt, that must definitely count for the ultimate reward and not salvation per se, don't you think?

          September 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          This is a reasonable discussion of Catholicism, which will probably eventually go astray. But from the Catholic perspective I can tell you that sacraments are not considered "works", as such. A sacrament is an outward sign, instiituted by Christ which reflects an inward reality. Thus, for instance, Baptism which is the first sacrament is an outward sign (dunking in water), of an inward reality (washing away original sin). After many decades of dialogue the Catholic and Anglican communities have reached a joint declaration of faith. The Catholic started with "Man is saved by grace" The Anglicans came with "Man is saved by faith". The joint declaration reads "Man is saved by grace, through faith". The concept of sola scriptura is Martin Luther's counter to the Magisterium, not the basis for theological exclusion of sacraments. The Lutheran church is sacramental also, as are others. My question for sola scriptura advocates is two fold. First, how was the Gospel shared before the canon was settled? And secondly, how do you respond to the sixth chapter of John, commonly called the bread treatise?

          September 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Psalm

          BD–

          Thanks for clarifying the part about sacraments, that clears up some of the points.

          September 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Thanks to you Psalm. What about you Lawrence? Will you eat of his flesh and drink his blood?

          September 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  3. Bob

    Some good news here is that the pope and his cult-in-decline are of less and less significance every day.

    September 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Bob...

      What are the social implications of the wars upon the Cannabis trades... Was there not a Hemp Industry running the USA until 1913 or somewhere thereabouts when federal laws were enacted thru a misleading campaign whereby the general populace were fooled into believing the evils of drug users would be our nation's downfall..? This wholly run organized campaign against drugs being used was based upon deceptions and ridiculing conditionings toward leading the nation's herds away from the beneficial uses of cannabis sativa... When with the government run war on drugs end..?

      September 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        When will the governmentally run war on drugs end..?

        September 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        There is a growing group of Law Enforcement that is all for the ending of drug prohibition...

        Go to http://www.leap.cc/ if you are curious to learn of a growing movement making a stand to legalize all drugs...

        http://www.leap.cc/

        September 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  4. ME II

    @Pope,
    Oh, so fighting and killing each other is *not* good? Ok, we'll stop, thanks for telling us.

    September 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  5. Lionly Lamb

    Construction Tech: Hemp As Building Material

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOZSGOiSoCo&w=640&h=360]

    September 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  6. Tea Party Patriot

    A growing number of us are convinced that Sarah Palin is the only one who can heal and re-unify our country. But first she must return to her motorhome and resume her cross country tour. She will have to visit cities both large and small, being careful to speak only to real Americans, dispensing her sage advice and folksy, homespun common sense solutions. We can be a great nation again if we all follow the "Palin Path".

    September 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Akira

      Seriously? No.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Hillary and Palin in 2016... May the Forces of matriarchies infest the downtrodden to being more perky without resilience nor clarity of mind... Let the emotionalisms rule and out with intellectual drool... Let the fetish be free and the foolish have bended knee... War..? What exactly is war good for..?

      September 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • Akira

        You know that they're not in the same party, right?

        September 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Akira...

          Yeppers I know they are not of the same party but I could not tell anyone which party they are affiliated with... Seems to me that there is no real party differences between dems and repubs... Both parties run on the same industrial complexes and pharmacological venues... Until changes of the industrial complexes toward hemp usages and medicinal cannabis becomes our nation's normal way of doing business, the USA will continue to roll downhill...

          September 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • Akira

          Big money interests do drive both parties, but Hillary is a Democrat, and Sarah Palin is a Tea Partier Republican. They'll never run on the same ticket.

          I don't think hemp is the only answer, but it wouldn't hurt.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Akira my young lady...

          Cannabis Sativa has thousands of uses which would affect much of the oil industry's stranglehold upon the world's economies... Anything that is made with fossil oils from fuels to all petroleum byproducts ranging from nylons to lipstick to textiles and more products would send the oil industries waging an ever escalating war which is now on its 70 plus year... When will the world wars against hemp or cannabis sativa reach an end..? Maybe when big business quits waging it..?

          September 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Akira

          While I am in agreement with the many, many uses of hemp, I don't think it would cure all that is wrong with the US. Just saying.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Lady Akira...

          While I agree with you that there will always be negative social issues to be dealt with the legalization of cannabis and opening it up for industrial uses and medicinal considerations are the first two steps in walking the walk...

          September 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      TP Patriot...

      The only issue that can rejuvenate the USA is the Hemp's building construction industry and cannabis sativa's uses within the medicinal fields... Sure the construction trades as they are today would be changed but not so much that a builder would hardly even notice any differences... These views are societal wars and until the vast majorities of voters gain enough hindsight recognition and they vote into office those who would back cannabis sativa to be made nationally legal, the war will never end...

      leap

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LayaGk0TMDc&w=640&h=360]

      September 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Observer

      Linking "Palin" and "common sense" is just a fantasy.

      September 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  7. Alfred

    From 7-12 p.m. in Rome, Francis said, "we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world."

    - A very wise move and very comforting words from the "People's Pope"

    September 3, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      " ... and here in Syria all fighting has stopped. Assad has met with the generals of the resitance army and has decided that he will peacefully step down as ruler of Syria and help in the transition of Syria to a democratically based government"
      Oh wait ... that would be if prayer actually worked.

      September 3, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      'A very wise move and very comforting words from the "People's Pope"' to whom? I'm guessing Syrians as a whole couldn't give a crap less what the Pope or any of his plebes think or say...

      September 3, 2013 at 9:03 am |
      • hharri

        They care about you, observer.

        September 3, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Pray for the President!

      We also have to remember our President in our prayers, for God to grant him wisdom as he makes important decisions.

      September 3, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        God is always on the side that is victorious... coincidence?

        September 3, 2013 at 9:16 am |
      • sam stone

        if god has a plan, how is intercessory prayer not blasphemous?

        September 3, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • keith

          SAM STONE, your problem is that you THINK, their problem is that they PRAY.
          As we all know no prayer in the history of mankind has ever achieved ANYTHING, meanwhile THOUGHT has been responsible for every accomplishment that man has achieved.
          You ask a very pertinent question and I bet everything I own that the sheep will all start bleating and run around in circles.
          They will all mutter about "we cannot know gods purpose" or "god works in mysterious ways" etc. etc. etc. and then settle back in a stupor of stupidity saying "praise the lord" or other meaningless garbage.
          You will NEVER get a rationale answer.
          STOP PRAYING AND START THINKING.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Doobs

      "A very wise move". Oh, good grief.

      What did you think he was going to say, "Bomb those Allah worshipping heathens off the face of the earth!"?

      Why, that would be like conspiring to hide child molesters or something....oops.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • hharri

        Koo koo

        September 3, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Doobs

          LOL!

          September 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  8. Doc Vestibule

    War!
    Good God.
    What is it good for?
    Absolutely nothing.

    Amen.

    September 3, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "Look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky"

      September 3, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • Akira

      Is that Edwin Starr? Too lazy to Google it, lol.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Akira

        Okay, Googled it. The memory is intact still.

        September 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  9. Brother Maynard

    hmmm 'prayer and fasting' ...
    See this is yet another reason why religion is such B S
    This doesn't "DO" anything. If the pope were serious about "No War" He would travel to Syria, meet with Assad, infuse the 'Holy Spirit' into Assad ... problem solved. But even the leader of the largest christian 'nation' knows that will not work. He himself doubts his own beliefs, but doesn't have the guts to take it all the way.

    September 3, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Doobs

      Oh, but, Brother Maynard, god is not like a candy machine, his ways are not our ways, we can't understand the mind of god, and he has a plan.

      The only thing prayer does is make the one praying feel as if they have done something. Even easier than a "Support our troops" bumper sticker. You have to make a trip to Walmart for that.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:42 am |
      • Akira

        Where do I go to buy a "Boycott Walmart" bumper sticker?

        September 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Doobs

          Target.

          September 4, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  10. saggyroy

    "Pope Francis condemned chemical weapons and called for an international day of fasting and prayer to press for a peaceful resolution" – Prayer and fasting, now why didn't think of that. I guess that's why he makes the big bucks.

    September 3, 2013 at 6:02 am |
    • Sara

      What, you don't think fasting, prayer, bumper stickers, marches and demonstrations can bring about world peace?

      September 3, 2013 at 7:13 am |
      • saggyroy

        Not at all. I am just bummed I didn't think of it first.

        September 3, 2013 at 7:54 am |
        • Sara

          I'm sure there's always room to make money on t-shirts.

          September 3, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Apple Bush

      I call the incense and shave ice booths.

      September 3, 2013 at 8:10 am |
  11. children of Israel

    *Psalm 74:20 Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. *Romans 1:29-31 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: *Psalm 81:15 The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: *Isaiah 58:4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. *Matthew 6:17-18 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. *Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    September 3, 2013 at 5:44 am |
  12. children of Israel

    *Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. *Ezekiel 13:10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; *1st Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. *Daniel 8:25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: *Micah 5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: *Exodus 22:20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed. 1st Timothy 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan. *Revelation 18:23 for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. *Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. *Jeremiah 8:15 We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!

    September 3, 2013 at 4:54 am |
    • guest

      I think it strange that when something bad (war, accident, disease etc.) happens, God is blamed, but if something good happens, it is just a coincidence—God had nothing to do with it.
      In a nutshell: the purpose of this planet Earth is to vindicate God. Satan accused God of being unfair and oppressive. When God created man on this tiny planet he [man] was given every opportunity to love and serve God and warned of the wiles of Satan. Man sinned by submitting to Satan’s lies (“…you shall not surely die…”) since then all men are born with the propensity to sin, but given the choice to love and serve God. (Mankind dosn’t choose to sin, but mankind can choose to love and serve God). Man has chosen to followed the lies of Satan and continually gone deeper into sin, so now we are to prove what sin will do to God’s creation. When man’s cup of inequity is filled God will put an end to sin. God is not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.
      I also think it strange that there are those who think the world is getting better, not worse. The days when a person could leave his house unlocked and not worry about thieves, a merchant could leave goods out overnight and not worry about someone stealing anything, a person could leave the keys in the ignition switch of a car and not worry about it being stolen are not too far in the past. Why have things changed?

      September 3, 2013 at 6:13 am |
      • Brother Maynard

        "I think it strange that when something bad (war, accident, disease etc.) happens, God is blamed, but if something good happens, it is just a coincidence—God had nothing to do with it."
        Strange - I see the opposite occuring much more frequently. God getting the credit for something GOOD but getting a pass when bad things happen.
        For example when a natural phenomenon happens ... like Katrina. All interviewers and interviewees all give credit to God for saving their lives. The one time an interviewee did NOT give God credit ( remember that atheist mothere in Oklahoma interviewed by Wolf Blitzer ), she was ridiculed by her so called Xtian loving neighbors.

        September 3, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  13. Douglas

    Thank you Pope Francis for showing everyone the way!

    War for peace is an oxymoron.

    Let us follow the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, and turn swords into plowshares.

    September 3, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Can I just say this? Those frozen Smuckers brand peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are good. There, I said it. They are just dang good.

      September 3, 2013 at 1:00 am |
      • saggyroy

        They might be good, but how lazy do you have to be to buy frozen pb & j sammiches?

        September 3, 2013 at 5:59 am |
      • Apple Bush

        With two teens in the house, it is not lazy. It is common sense. Plus I get to eat.

        September 3, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • sam stone

      prince of peace......priceless

      September 3, 2013 at 6:46 am |
    • Akira

      This is the sanest thing I have ever read from this poster.
      At least he's not talking about gay coitus, for once.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • sam stone

        maybe he tried it and liked it. it's not like we didn't know he was deep in the closet

        September 3, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  14. skytag

    It's a noble sentiment, but given that over the entire course of human history there have been less than 200 years without war I find it highly unlikely we've seen the last war humans will ever fight. If there really were a god and he created the human race he sure did a lousy job on us.

    September 2, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  15. Reality

    Peace requires rational thinking. Religion is not rational. Problem solved !!!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    September 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You made two statements that offered no solutions Then declared "problem solved". I like the way you think.

      September 2, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Well, at least we know the problem; it just can't be solved.

      September 3, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Sara

      What do you mean by "rational"? If it is logical in achieving one's ends you'll have a hard case to prove that war has never succeeded in getting people what they want.

      September 3, 2013 at 7:32 am |
      • Bill Deacon

        Sara, I know that the insult of "religion is irrational" is popular among some. But, I think a more accurate description might be "counterintuitive". How could praying for your enemy and turning the other cheek be productive? It seems irrational to the concrete thinker but I say it is merely counter-intuitive and can be quite productive and rational. Evidence the overthrow of Rome by Christianity

        September 3, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • Doobs

          Plus, it keeps the shakes away.

          Have an A1 day, Boof Deacon.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • ME II

          @Bill Deacon,
          While "loving your enemy" may be counter-intuitive, it may well be rational. Regardless, asking a god to make something happen would still be irrational.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Alias

          Overthrow of Rome by Christianity?
          Bending the truth just a little there, aren't you?

          September 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Added details on bringing peace to the current world:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      September 3, 2013 at 7:44 am |
      • Reality

        Some added benefits: (only for the eyes of the new members of this blog)

        In order to pay down our $16 trillion debt, we need to redirect money used to support religions especially the christian and islamic cons and put it towards paying off our obligations..

        To wit:

        Redirecting our funds and saving a lot of "souls":

        Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
        There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

        – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

        – Eighteen billion dollars/yr. to Pakistan will stop.

        – Four billion dollars/yr. to Egypt will end.

        Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
        There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

        – The Mormon ti-the empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

        – the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama will be eliminated saving $385 million/yr. and another $2 billion/yr, in grants.

        Giving to religious groups mostly Christian in 2010, totaled $95.8 billion,

        – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:

        Abraham and Moses never existed.

        – Four billion dollars/yr. to Israel saved.

        – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

        Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

        September 3, 2013 at 7:48 am |
  16. HotAirAce

    I'm sure he engaged in another "selfie" before (or while?) taking his own picture.

    September 2, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  17. Alias

    Crusades, god's will and perfectly acceptable.
    Anyone else fighting, never again.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Deus Vult

      September 3, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  18. Bootyfunk

    i'm sure the pope is excluding his war on children's innocence...

    September 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  19. EX catholic

    Really, who has ever listened to any of these clowns? Wars and rumors of wars will continue till the very end.

    September 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Jerry

      You speak the truth, my friend.

      September 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.