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November 26th, 2013
10:21 AM ET

Pope Francis: No more business as usual

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Pope Francis on Tuesday called for big changes in the Roman Catholic Church - including at the very top  saying the church needs to rethink rules and customs that are no longer widely understood or effective for evangelizing.

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," the Pope said in a major new statement.

"I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures," Francis added.

The Pope's address, called an "apostolic exhortation," is part mission statement, part pep talk for the world's 1.5 billion Catholics. Francis' bold language and sweeping call for change are likely to surprise even those who've grown accustomed to his unconventional papacy.

"Not everyone will like this document," said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author in New York. "For it poses a fierce challenge to the status quo."

And it's not just a verbal challenge, the Pope said on Tuesday.

"I want to emphasize that what I am trying to express here has a programmatic significance and important consequences."

Since his election in March, Pope Francis, the first pontiff to hail from Latin America, has made headlines by decrying the iniquities of modern capitalism, embracing the poor and people with disabilities and reaching out to gays and lesbians.

At the same time, the 77-year-old pontiff has sought to to awaken a spirit of joy and compassion in the church, scolding Catholic "sourpusses" who hunt down rule-breakers and calling out a "tomb psychology" that "slowly transforms Christians into mummies in a museum."

"An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!" the Pope said.

Officially known in Latin as "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), the 85-page statement released on Tuesday is the first official document written entirely by Pope Francis. (An earlier document was co-written by Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.)

Although Francis sprinkles the statement with citations of previous popes and Catholic luminaries like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, the new pontiff makes a bold call for the church to rethink even long-held traditions.

"In her ongoing discernment, the Church can also come to see that certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated," the Pope said.

"Some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid to re-examine them. At the same time, the Church has rules or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time, but no longer have the same usefulness for directing and shaping people’s lives."

Such statements mark a sharp break from Benedict XVI, a more tradition-bound pope who focused on cleaning up cobwebs of unorthodoxy in the church.

By contrast, in "Evangelii" Francis repeats his calls for Catholics to stop "obsessing" about culture war issues and to focus more on spreading the Gospel, especially to the poor and marginalized.

READ MORE: The Pope’s bold new vision

The outside world, particularly its economic inequalities, didn't escape Francis' notice either.

In a section of "Evangelii" entitled "some challenges to today's world," he sharply criticized what he called an "idolatry of money" and "the inequality that spawns violence."

The Pope also blasted "trickle-down economics," saying the theory "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."

“Meanwhile,” Francis said, “the excluded are still waiting.”

But the bulk of Francis' statement addresses the church, which, he said, should not be afraid to "get its shoes soiled by the mud of the street."

The Pope also hinted that he wants to see an end to the so-called "wafer wars," in which Catholic politicians who support abortion rights are denied Holy Communion. His comments could also be taken as another sign that he plans to reform church rules that prevent divorced Catholics from receiving the Eucharist.

"Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason," Francis said.

"The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."

Even so, Francis reiterated the church's stand against abortion, defending it against critics who call such arguments "ideological, obscurantist and conservative."

"Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question," Francis said.

The Pope also reiterated previous rejections on ordaining women, saying the topic is "not open for discussion."

But that doesn't mean the church values men more than women, he said.

"We need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church," the Pope said.

Francis also said he expects other parts of the church to change, and called on Catholics to be unafraid of trying new things.

"More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving."

Francis didn't mention specific reforms, but he suggested that it could include changes at the very top of the church.

"Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy," he said.

READ MORE: Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

The church's centralization, where all roads lead to Rome, and the "we've always done it this way" type of thinking have hindered Catholics' ability to minister to local people in far-flung places, Francis suggested.

"I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities," the Pope said.

Martin, the Jesuit priest and author, said he could not recall ever "reading a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating."

"The document’s main message is that Catholics should be unafraid of new ways of proclaiming the Gospel and new ways of thinking about the church."

MORE ON CNN:

The disfigured man in popular photos talks about the Pope's embrace 

Opinion – the Pope’s revolutionary message 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis

soundoff (2,437 Responses)
  1. JJ

    Did Frank just take a massive bong hit in this pic? You can see that he's holding it in very well like a pro. I bet he can afford the best Colombian with all the hordes of gold at his disposal.

    November 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Observer

      We'll take your word for it.

      November 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  2. pourmonamijc

    Do you wash your clothes when they are clean or dirty? Obvious, isn't it. Same thing with the Eucharist; you don't come to Christ when you feel clean but to be cleansed. 2013, about two thousand years later, and most Christians don't get that. We, the Church, have a major communication job to do.

    November 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  3. remymarco

    I hate the papacy but I love the new pope. The church had found it's savior.

    November 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  4. children of Israel

    Why is the Pope waving incense, that is satanic *Isaiah 1:13 incense is an abomination unto me; (Revelation 8:4-5) *St. Mark 12:29 And YASHIYA answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; (Genesis 49:2)

    November 26, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • KP

      I believe this picture was taken as he was blesssing the bones of St. Peter.

      November 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Christy

      Actually the first commandment is "God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." Genesis 1:28

      November 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • JJ

      Oh...I just assumed he had just smoked up and taken a big bong hit.

      November 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  5. abbydelabbey

    Ahem - "business as usual" - good way to phrase it - Organized religion is BIG business and maybe the church is worried about losing money ....

    November 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  6. thegadfly

    As a recovering Catholic, I think this bishop of Rome is a very dangerous man, whom I applaud.

    November 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  7. drcid777

    No more business as usual? Have your car take me to the airport. Mr. Corleone is a man that insists on hearing bad news at once.

    November 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  8. SoCalMatt661

    I really like this new pope, but I just cant get behind the whole artificial comfort that is religion.

    November 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  9. JeniW

    Too bad that the pope and the Catholic Church do not believe women are good enough answer God's call to serve as priests. This is part of the reason why I left the Catholic Church, i.e., the pope and the church in general do not think I am good enough.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Heavensent

      Your proof, madame?

      November 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • Lisa

        It's in their doctrine, deeply within their doctrine disguised as "roles" no doubt. Roles that are termed equally valuable but to "assign" a role to people based on their gender is entirely discriminatory and wrong.

        November 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • Topher

          I don't see it as discriminatory. It is just a matter of roles (at least that's how it works in my church). Even Christ was submissive in His role as Son to the Father. And as the Holy Spirit is submissive to Christ.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • Where

          Of course you don't. You don't know the meaning if the word discrimination of it doesn't affect you.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
        • Observer

          The Bible is full of discrimination against women. One of the worst examples was when God's righthand man Moses said that women were prizes of war.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
        • sam stone

          topher wants to limit some people's rights because he feels allowing them equal rights is justifying their sin

          he is a pious bigot

          November 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
      • JeniW

        The proof is in the fact that there are not any priest in the Catholic Church who are female, or is recognized by the Catholic Church. What the church is failing to do is to utilize the talents and skills of women who by choice or force do not have children. Secondly, the Catholic Church is telling the women who receives God's call to be ministers, that their calling is not real or is not important , thus the calling is to be dismissed by humans.

        November 26, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • David

          Why do you want a rank or position to serve the Lord? Don't you know that having a rank in serving the Lord only limits the coverage of your service? Jesus Christ didn't choose a single woman when He chose the 12 Apostles. Collect sinless days in your life and ask Him why.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
        • hearties

          The first to preach that Jesus had risen, were women. The male apostles didn't believe them.

          The first to preach that Jesus would be born, was a woman.

          Of course the angels were on board with this, but still... women can easily preach the good news, just get a New Testament, and start reading it to others, or tell them you believe Jesus. Nothing wrong with that.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          David, "Why do you want a rank or position to serve the Lord?"

          Why do religions promote a hierarchy? Given that they do, why should women be excluded?

          November 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • Observer

          According to Moses, women were a PRIZE of war.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Topher

      So when you left the Catholic Church, where did you go?

      November 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • JeniW

        Presbyterian.

        November 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
        • Topher

          Good. As long as that's a good church and they are preaching the Gospel, stay right there. Don't worry about going back to the Catholics.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Where

          Stop being a religious bigot. For that is what you are espousing.

          If you don't know anything about the Catholic religion other than what your Protestant brethren have told you, you need to realize that they engage in religious propaganda the same as any other opponent.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • JeniW

          I was a Catholic for 15 years. I do know something about the Catholic Church, the beliefs and rituals. I have not met anyone who is Protestant speak against the Catholic Church. I learned by what I saw and heard by the Catholics who are/were hypocrites.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • sam stone

          where: topher cannot help but to be a bigot. he has his bible shoved so far up his rectum, it is cutting off his reasoning and empathy abilities

          November 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
        • sam stone

          after all, topher speaks directly for god

          November 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • karek40

      If the church is going to be true to scripture it is not possible to get around let the women keep silent in the church.

      November 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • Where

        Did Jesus specifically say women were to be seen but not heard?

        November 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
        • Topher

          Whether those verses are in red letters or not doesn't really matter. Jesus wrote the black letters, too.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • Where

          In other words, he didn't 't say it; the world according to PAUL the misogynist.

          Poor answer.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
        • Topher

          Paul, just like all other writers of Scripture, wrote under the inspiration of God. So his words, at least the ones recorded in the Bible, are also God's. NOT a poor answer.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
        • JeniW

          Considering that it was women who good enough to have held vigil at Jesus' tomb, and who really started the first church by doing so, it would seem to me that women would be considered good enough.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • Topher

          The whole situation with the women at the tomb just lends more credibility to the Bible in my opinion.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • Sara

          Christianity definitely has its fair share of sicko power reinforcing bigotry. It's not particularly special in that, just fairly typical of the human tendency to justify and reinforce ones position of power.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
        • martiniano

          Topher, oh Topher, you do not really believe that do you? The Bible is the inspired work of God? God guided Constantine's hand in selecting the canon? God caused Saul's psychotic break on the way to Damascus? Was God "Q"?

          November 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
        • Topher

          martiniano

          "Topher, oh Topher, you do not really believe that do you?"

          Yes, I do.

          "The Bible is the inspired work of God?"

          Yes.

          "God guided Constantine's hand in selecting the canon?"

          Nope. Constantine didn't select the canon.

          "God caused Saul's psychotic break on the way to Damascus?"

          psychotic break?

          "Was God "Q"?"

          No. Q was lame.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
        • barbara morrissey

          think it was Paul

          November 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Oh Topher, the Bible is the same for you as blinders on a horse. You really can't see anything beyond it can you?

          November 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom

          What is beyond it that I need to see?

          November 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Really you only need to be fed, clothed and sheltered, Topher. And you should be at honest work. You don't need anything other than that. It may be wrong of me to hope that you'll see more and, maybe, get to the truth of your religion one day.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
        • Topher

          I have those things. So what am I missing?

          November 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          A young aristocrat asked Jesus that question. You know his answer. If you are asking me, I would say that you are preventing yourself from approaching the truth about most things.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
        • Topher

          You claim I am missing things by not looking past the Bible. I reject that. So if there's something more, please tell me.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
        • Topher

          Truth about things like what? I know the Bible is truth. Christ is truth. So what things are you talking about?

          November 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          OK, Topher. You are not eternal. There is nothing for you after death. Would you ever be able to live your life knowing that is so? What you do while you are alive may last and matter to people. Do you live as though that were of first importance?

          November 26, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          " You are not eternal. There is nothing for you after death."

          How do you know that?

          "Would you ever be able to live your life knowing that is so?"

          I was an atheist for a good chunk of my life.

          "What you do while you are alive may last and matter to people. Do you live as though that were of first importance?"

          Funny. Statistically, your memory to others is gone in two generations. I think that's too conservative. I have hardly any memories at all of several grandparents. I live my life with God as my first importance. How can I not considering what He did for me.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          How do I know that that there is nothing eternal about you? You can't point to anything about yourself that has the potential for being eternal. You are nothing more than a sort of program or collection of programs running on the resources of your brain. That will vanish when your brain stops working.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          My body will perish, true ... for awhile. And I know you don't believe in the soul, but how do you KNOW it doesn't exist and will live on?

          November 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Where and what is the soul? You are essentially saying that something about you is eternal and have given it a name. You can't provide anything that shows that it exists. You are only denying what is evident.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • Sara

          Nobody knows, but the options are hardly limited to naive materialism and Christian biblical literalism. Not by a long shot.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "You can't provide anything that shows that it exists."

          I know it exists because I know God exists. I see Creation — its complexity and order — and thus KNOW we aren't here because of an accident or explosion. I also have a Conscience to know He exists. He then revealed in His Word about our souls ... why they deserve punishment and what He did so they didn't have to be.

          "You are only denying what is evident."

          I haven't denied anything evident.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You've reason to entertain the idea of a soul, Sara? What is there that suggests that there are souls, that we need to take up the soul as a possibility?

          November 26, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom

          Don't tell me you're a materialist.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You do not know that God exists, Topher. You know that the Universe is complex and often mysterious. That does not imply God.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "You do not know that God exists, Topher."

          I absolutely do.

          "You know that the Universe is complex and often mysterious. That does not imply God."

          Actually, it does. Not only do we see the science behind it matching up with scripture, but the current beliefs on how it supposedly happened naturally doesn't match with itself.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          My computer is material, like your brain, Topher. What runs on it, and particularly what has the potential to run on it, is not material. By analogy, you are not material Topher, but you are only expressed through the operations of your brain.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • Topher

          Good. So you're NOT a materialist.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • Topher

          There's hope for you yet, dude. 😉

          November 26, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • Observer

          Topher,

          "we see the science behind it matching up with scripture"

          Please go read the Noah's ark fantasy and read about the moon and the sun suddenly STOPPING. Then you won't waste anymore time trying to link the Bible and science.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You say you know that God exists, Topher. Then you are or wrong, or it is a fact that God exists. How did you gain access to that fact?

          November 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
        • Topher

          As I said, Creation and a conscience is all I need. But it is also revealed through the Scriptures and to those who repent and trust.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • sam stone

          Wow, under the INSPIRATION OF GOD.

          Pretty fvcking big claim to make

          November 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          The essential facts are revealed to you then, Topher? What you know is based on that?

          November 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          Creation and conscience is the only proof Topher needs

          In other words, he believes it so it must be true

          Now, he is going to spew his nonsense on an innocent little mind

          Hopefully, he or she will quickly see Gopher for the blathering lunatic he is

          November 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
        • Topher

          What I know about God is from the Bible, yes. Is that what you mean?

          November 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          The Bible can only say that it is a fact the God exists and that it is a fact that you have (or are) a soul. Stating things are facts doesn't make them so.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
        • sam stone

          "I haven't denied anything evident."

          Yes you have, gopher

          you deny that free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

          you are either a liar or an idiot

          in any case, you are a pompous fool

          November 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "Stating things are facts doesn't make them so."

          I agree. But here's the rub. Jesus said He is Truth. Not just that His existance is truth, but that He IS Truth. And everything He did here on earth was witnessed and written down by those eyewitnesses. He told us about the soul and all the things I stated earlier on this subject. He's completely trustworthy.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Why do you believe that there were eyewitnesses, Topher? Again it is something your Bible tells you. But why do you believe it?

          November 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Your soul is that little girl or boy inside you, or at least that is as close to describing it as I can get. Check this out, http://m.voices.yahoo.com/how-our-inner-child-relates-our-soul-5046030.html

          November 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "Why do you believe that there were eyewitnesses, Topher? Again it is something your Bible tells you. But why do you believe it?"

          True, the Bible does tell us the eyewitnesses wrote the books. But we also know this from history ... ie, sources outside the Bible. For instance, we know these people went to their deaths for it. So they at least believed them true. And we also know the early church from their own writings ... people who sat at the feet of the apostles. For instance, Polycarp tells us that John wrote Revelation, where he wrote it and when. Because Polycarp was there.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          You mean my inner bastard, Robert?

          November 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I'm not aware of anything written by Polycarp about what the Apostle John said and did.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          No Tom I mean the little boy. Check that link if you get a chance it is pretty good.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "I'm not aware of anything written by Polycarp about what the Apostle John said and did."

          Also look into (I might not have this spelled correctly) Eusebius. All I can tell you is to look into it. I don't have my resources in front of me.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I did read the article, Robert. I pulled two statements from it. One which I can agree with and the other with which I do not agree except in the light of the other:

          "The inner child is really only a metaphor for all your past programming's in your subconscious mind, and that are still controlling you through its programming."

          "You are soul, and you have many other lower bodies which are all learning on their respective planes."

          November 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Topher- Perhaps you are thinking of Irenaeus who said that Polycarp was associated with the Apostle John.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          That is why I said it was as close as I could get to a description. I disagree with the physical part. The spiritual aspects of the article are pretty good. Sorry to interrupt. You guys carry on.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • Topher

          Could be it. I don't remember. Last post from me for the night. Thanks for the conversation. Have a good one.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I think Topher's gone off for a bit, Robert. It's always good to talk with you.

          My conviction that I am not a soul began early on with my experiences with profound anesthesia. As a child, I was deeply impressed that I did not exist for all the time that I was under. I began to imagine what it would be like if that had gone on forever. No me. So now I feel that there is nothing eternal, and, at each moment of my life, the possibility of no more me.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          That would certainly scare the crap out of anybody. Death is a terrible monster. I don't think most normal humans want to die. The flesh wants to live, so does the soul. The flesh has to die someday.

          November 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
        • Sara

          TTTOO, "Soul" isn't a word commonly in my vocabulary, and I believe it could mean a few different things so you'd have to be more specific.

          November 27, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • sam stone

          death is a terrible monster, robert?

          wow, that explains much

          death is as natural as life

          if you cannot see this, you need to take your blinders off

          many people wish to die. primary among them are old and infirm (and this is not saying that all old and infirm want to die, but many do)

          November 27, 2013 at 5:45 am |
    • Lisa

      I'm torn. I guess he can't make all changes at once but by continuing to deny women their rightful role as leaders in the church, he's missing out on some help he could get with these changes.

      Don't see it as discriminatory – just a matter of roles ? Okay, I'll create a company where men cannot be supervisors and are kept away from other leadership positions based soley on gender. They must be submissive to the women who work for me. How many men want to sign up?

      Fool yourself all you want but to assign roles based wholly on gender instead of who the person *is*, instead of their skills and strengths, toss in the word submissive, and you've got one of the ugliest forms of discrimination.

      I would advise all women to leave the church until it changes.

      November 26, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • Topher

        I'm not sure I've talked with you before, and I apologize if I have, but what is your position. Are you a Christian?

        November 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • martiniano

          Why is that relevant? Jesus himself was not Christian, he was a Jew. Paul was a murderer who stood and watched as Stephen was stoned and seems to have been an angry gay man. Just what IS a Christian? As Gandhi said "I love your Christ, but I do not love your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ".

          November 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
        • Topher

          martiniano

          "Why is that relevant?"

          Just asking so we know each other's stance.

          "Jesus himself was not Christian, he was a Jew."

          So ... He didn't believe He was God? Didn't know about the new covenant?

          "Paul was a murderer who stood and watched as Stephen was stoned and seems to have been an angry gay man."

          Murderer, yes. Gay man ... there's no reason to believe he was, but even if that was so, so what?

          "Just what IS a Christian?"

          Someone who believes Christ is the Son of God, that He lived a perfect, sinless life and voluntarily went to the cross to pay for our sins so that we don't have to ... and that three days later He rose from the grave defeating death ... that He is the only way to the Father ... and that repentance and faith (not works) are the standard for salvation.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • Observer

          "that He is the only way to the Father"

          As usual, "tough luck" to those who never heard of him.

          November 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
        • Topher

          Then go tell them.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
        • Observer

          Topher

          "Then go tell them."

          God already did. BILLIONS of good people in hell thanks to him.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
        • Topher

          There are NO good people — in Hell or otherwise.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • Observer

          Topher,

          "There are NO good people".

          Do you mean like the Bible says? Do you mean those who support slavery, discrimination against women, beating slaves and helpless children, support dozens of children beating eaten by bears because they teased an old man, support killing 10 children just to WIN A BET, etc.?

          I sure hope you are right.

          November 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
        • sam stone

          NO good people, gopher?

          you are a delusional, self loathing punk

          and you are going to infect your baby with your delusion

          what makes you think your preaching does anything but turn people off to your supposed message?

          November 27, 2013 at 5:52 am |
      • Sara

        People might as well find or create another belief system when one is that fundamentally flawed. And there is always a risk of regression when a fundamental text has things like this in it, even when you appear to have temporary progress.

        November 26, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Southernsuga

      I'm sorry you feel you HAD to leave the Holy Catholic Church, but I'm sure your problems were greater than not being allowed to be a priest. I hope you are guided by the Holy Spirit, in the future. God Bless.

      November 26, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
      • JeniW

        She did not have to leave the Catholic Church, she left by choice, as I did, because to me, being a hypocrite is deceiving and wrong. If your body is present during a Mass, but your spirit is not, the attending Mass is meaningless.

        November 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • abbydelabbey

      The CC is a patriarchal system that is threatened by women.

      November 26, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Heavensent

      I c. The problem is this. Where is the evidence that god considers women inferior?

      November 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • Heavensent

        Exactly. U made it up

        November 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • FredInIT

      I feel that religion (organized or not) is a deeply personal endeavor. Therefor, go to where you feel warmth and comfort. Be it RCC, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, Church of the Subgenious, Spaghetti Monsterism or Atheism. If the RCC is not for you – go somewhere that is.

      ELCA Lutheran (Religion)
      Tao (Philosophy)

      FredInIT

      November 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  10. Teresa

    This is great! As a Catholic I have a hard time believing that it is okay to judge people who choose Freedom of Choice, or who choose to have a divorce, or who is gay by refusing to give them the eucharist. Pope Francis is saying what the Gospel states, "Thou shalt not judge". It is no longer a do as I say, not as I do prophesy. Everyone should be welcomed into the Catholic Church. God is our only judge. Kudos Pope Francis!

    November 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • Heavensent

      God is cool

      November 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Realist

      so you were unable to think for yourself? Understood, childhood brainwashing with fears blocks sensible reasoning.

      November 26, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Answer

      That god would be "Allah" or it could be "Thor", and let us not forget about "Zeus."

      November 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Mrs. Travis

      Teresa, we are taught to use good judgement, become wise and exercise discernment even shrewdness. We are expected to hate what is bad (Proverbs 8) Perhaps its condemning that is wrong.

      November 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  11. Dr. Curt Schmidt

    Given this call for change in the way the Church does things, it is hard to imagine that Pope Francis will refuse to change the man made law of celibacy. There are roughly 20,000 married priests in the United States, perhaps 100,000 worldwide, each one of whom can be permitted back in the active ministry tomorrow morning, merely by the stroke of Pope Francis' pen.

    Given that this Pope has encouraged all of us to reach out to the marginalized of the world, I can't imagine that he would want to maintain a rule of mandated celibacy that prevents so many from having acess to the Eucharist. But we shall see.

    Unlike the issue of women's ordination, the Church views the law of obligatory celibacy as very much open to discussion. The very nature of its obligation affects its purported witness to the transcendent, since it is not clear how a mandated witness is truly a witness at all.

    John Paul II was fond of calling it a "gift to the Church," without ever explaining how something that is enforced as an obligation can truly be considered a gift. It is senseless to have these issues when the Pope can simply change the law to one of a choice. Optional celibacy would leave far less doubt about the level of witness and the genuiness of the gift. And it could alleviate the 'shortage of priests' in an instant, by restoring married priests to the ministry. They were, in fact, ordained priests forever, with the indelible mark of ordination on their souls. And no imaginable amount of laicization nor other juridical steps can change that ontological reality.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Heavensent

      Who was Jesus? Why/upon what do you base your belief?

      November 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Southernsuga

      It was not a man-made law, to be celibate. It was a request made by Jesus Christ. Read your bible and learn what Jesus asked of the apostles and his followers.

      November 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        It was a man made law. It wasn't required of priests for centuries.

        November 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  12. noillusion

    No kidding, it's a business,

    November 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Heavensent

      Who was Jesus Christ?

      November 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  13. Abused

    ** To those who are unaware. PLEASE NOTE!

    The US catholic bishops are actively lobbying to stop laws which help children victims of abuse. They are doing so under the approval of this pope.

    Victims denied, yet the truth is the greatest healer. Nothing like being denied as a child, being called a liar by your once catholic peers and now by laws which deny you again by the successful lobby efforts of this religion.

    This pope is NOT a nice person.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Evidence?

      Link it.

      November 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
      • Abused

        I'm in Albany every year. I see it first hand.

        http://stopabusecampaign.Com/feature/elmos-victory-is-a-loss-for-children-abused-in-new-york-state

        November 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
        • Evidence?

          Where is your evidence that this Pope, Pope Francis I, specifically approved of this?
          What you are talking about happened under the previous Pope, if you are going by the article you linked.
          New York is not nationwide. New York isn't even close to being the Capitol of our nation.

          Give this Pope a chance.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      True in the past, not in the present. Look it up – real changes are happening. A case of child abuse reported to the vatican was passed on to the police – you KNOW that never was happening before. They are making changes.

      November 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        And... by "past", I mean recent past, before this pope was chosen.

        Benedict was horrible, worst possible choice, the head of the coverup.
        JPII – a pretty facade, some nice words, no more than that.
        Francis – there are REAL changes happening, don't let your bitterness and anger destroy your ability to see.

        November 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • Abused

        Look up Margret Markey CVA. This year as well, the bishops lobbied to stop the Bill from becoming law.

        November 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  14. Bob89

    Pope Peter the Roman: No more business as usual. We are going to support Satan now; God is too inflexible.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  15. Kitty

    Wow this pope just keeps getting better, though I personally am not a member of the Catholic church I am all for the idea of the higher ups being made to go out of their safe and secure little cloisters and experience the lives of those they claim to care for.

    Right on Pope Francis!

    November 26, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Abused

      OK priest.

      November 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
      • *

        Get some therapy. Not all Carholics are priests.
        Where were your parents?

        November 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        You need to accept reality. Hiding from it will not make things better, and will not help your cause. Many people, who are not Catholics, are not priests, and are not fools, do like this Pope. This is reality.

        Bitterness is a self inflicted wound, stabbing yourself in the heart, and expecting your enemy to die.

        November 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  16. dave

    Maybe some of the self-righteous atheists should ask anyone who has escaped a communist country what it means to live in a country with religious freedom.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Realist

      Actually, wonder why a catholic in a free country would live under a vatican dictatorship. Rather odd behavior.

      November 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Observer

      dave,

      Ooops.

      Most atheists support religious freedom. It's believers who want to IMPOSE their religion.

      November 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Sara

      Equating atheism with communism is like equating Gadaffi's Islamic Socialism with theism. As an aside, I know dozens of people who left communist countries, and none of them did so for religious reasons.

      November 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  17. Fit to be Tied

    Let me say in the strongest terms: Until this Church declares all out war on the BIG elephant in the room, priestly abuse, nothing else it does would impress me. Nothing short of having a zero tolerance profile on abuse, bringing out all the offenders as well as the hiders and declaring the CHURCH POLICY to hide these degenerates is now abolished, then name names and deport the long list of offenders. Banish then and turn the church's back on them, then turn and embrace the flock and make believable promises to never let them down again. Then WALK THE TALK and prove it DAILY.

    Then we can start with attracting RELEVANT clergy and allowing priests to marry. But first things first.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  18. Fit to be Tied

    Until this Church declares all out war on the BIG elephant in the room, priestly abuse, nothing else it does would impress me. Nothing short of having a zero tolerance profile on abuse, bringing out all the offenders as well as the hiders and declaring the CHURCH POLICY to hide these degenerates is now abolished, then name names and deport the long list of offenders. Banish then and turn the church's back on them, then turn and embrace the flock and make believable promises to never let them down again. Then WALK THE TALK and prove it DAILY.

    Then we can start with attracting RELEVANT clergy and allowing priests to marry. But first things first.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  19. Abused

    -To those who are unaware. PLEASE NOTE!-

    The US catholic bishops are actively lobbying to stop laws which help children victims of abuse. They are doing so under the approval of this pope.

    Victims denied, yet the truth is the greatest healer. Nothing like being denied as a child, being called a liar by your once catholic peers and now by laws which deny you again by the successful lobby efforts of this religion.

    This pope is NOT a nice person.

    November 26, 2013 at 6:26 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.