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What the Pope's choice of new cardinals means
Pope Francis has named 19 new cardinals and shifted the balance of power in the church.
January 13th, 2014
09:19 AM ET

What the Pope's choice of new cardinals means

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, special to CNN

(CNN) Pope Francis' selection on Sunday of 19 new cardinals, the men who will select the next pope, seems aimed to help rebalance the church in important ways, passing over at least three influential American archbishops and naming several from the Southern Hemisphere.

First, there is a decided emphasis on Africa and Latin America, including poorer countries like Haiti and Burkina Faso.

Remember that the cardinals' most important duty is to elect the next pope. Francis is making sure that all parts of the world are adequately represented and today the majority of Catholics are in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sixteen of the 19 new cardinals named by Francis on Sunday are younger than 80, which means they would be eligible to vote to the next pope. Of those 16, four are from the curia, or Vatican bureaucracy; two are from Europe; three are from North and Central America; three are from South America, including the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis' position before his papal election; two are from Africa and two from Asia.

The Pope's picks show that he wants the voice of the poor represented in the next conclave. Archbishop Chibly Langlois, 55, for example, will be the first-ever cardinal from Haiti. The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, echoed this: “The choice of Cardinals of Burkina Faso and Haiti shows concern for people struck by poverty.”

Second, some selections were foregone conclusions. That is, the heads of two of the biggest Vatican offices: Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state, and Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the church's chief doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It would have been almost unthinkable not to have the heads of those two offices named.

Third, the naming of Loris Capovilla, age 98, the kind and gentle former secretary to Pope John XXIII, is a lovely nod to Good Pope John and to the Second Vatican Council. (Naming a man over 80 as cardinal is purely honorific; he cannot vote in a conclave.)

And to those who may downplay this, remember that there were many elderly priests, bishops, archbishops and theologians he could have chosen for this honor: the pope chose Capovilla, one of only three over-80 prelates so honored.

Fourth, no Americans were named. (The most obvious candidates would have been Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles; all head archdioceses where a “red hat” is traditionally given.) This probably indicates the Pope thinks the United States already has enough cardinals at least for now.

Finally, there were no dramatic surprises. There were no women cardinals (the possibility of which the Pope himself set aside in a recent comment about not wanting to "clericalize" women); there were no theologians known for a particular body of work, like the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, one of the founding fathers of Liberation Theology; and there was no passing over of top church officials like Mueller or Parolin.

But this is only Francis' first consistory; he may have wanted to avoid giving people heart attacks on his first batch of selections.

The Rev. James Martin is editor at large of America magazine and author of the forthcoming book "Jesus: A Pilgrimage."

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (383 Responses)
  1. flordel

    The new cardinal appear to represent the world. This is a realization of the growing influence of the Vatican around the World.

    January 15, 2014 at 8:39 am |
    • tony

      They can't be. If they were of average intelligence, they'd be atheists.

      January 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    The Cardinals are doing all right. I don't think they need the Pope picking for them, but maybe if he could get a closer, maybe Craig Kimbrel, he can do them some good.

    January 14, 2014 at 8:15 am |
  3. illinidiva

    Ugh.. Don't care because he celebrated the traddie Mass and made the ugly traditionalists who I hate upset on Sunday. His idea of baptizing children was a stuffy as yucky reactionary Benedict's. Francis is of no use to me if he is not upsetting the people who I dislike.

    January 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
  4. Robin

    Holy Disappearing Threads, Batman! Looks like the Report Abuse Abuser has been at it again!

    January 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  5. myweightinwords

    I hate to post and run, but seeing as I just got my edits back and have a deadline to meet, I'm off to deal with work stuff. I may be back on later this afternoon/evening, but I may not.

    Peace to all, may the day be bright and filled with good things.

    January 13, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  6. Reality # 2

    What it means? Francis is still an autocratic dictator just as all the popes have been. But then he also believes he talks to god and his god listens. What inanity !!!

    January 13, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • guest

      I’m not sure that Francis is “autocratic”, but he does occupy a very powerful position that I think others have been very instrumental in putting him there. I’m talking about the Jesuits. The history and ambition of the Jesuits have always been the same—power and control and they work through other agencies other than the papacy which makes them very dangerous. They are seeking to gain control of the U.S. and I think Francis is only one link in the chain.
      As for him talking to God—well he may like for the people to believe that, but I don’t think he does, nor do I think he is insane, he knows exactly what he is doing and why.
      He is a very good con-artist.
      P.S. I’m not against Catholics, there are many very fine Catholics, I’m against this pope and all who are behind him.

      January 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Please reference reliable sources to back up your conclusions about the Jesuits?

        January 13, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • Alien

          Read something about history of Europe?

          January 14, 2014 at 6:15 am |
        • Reality # 2

          What does the dark age history have to do with the present Jesuits? Might want to read up on the Rules of Discernment of St. Ignatius of Loyola. A good starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_Exercises_of_Ignatius_of_Loyola

          In today's world, said rules are obviously a waste of time and energy as there is no god listening to said prayers. And there never was.

          January 14, 2014 at 8:11 am |
    • Dandintac

      Good point–something we should not forget. The Vatican have given us a warm smiling pope–by all accounts a nice guy, and he's saying a lot of nice things. But regardless, structurally, the Vatican is an autocracy. They have never given up the notion that the pope is infallible. The pope is saying some nice things–well and good. But will there be any real, long-term reform? Give the laity some say-so over who becomes their priest. Who becomes a bishop or a cardinal, or Pope. Now THAT would be some real reform, and then the Vatican can finally enter the 21st century as a democracy. There are a lot of other things I can think of that I would consider some substantive reforms rather than just nice talk.

      January 14, 2014 at 1:47 am |
  7. Stanley

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • Stanley

      John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

      January 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
      • Bob

        The whole Jesus-sacrifice thing is nonsense. How is it that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

        Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
        Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
        http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

        January 13, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
        • God is Good

          Read the book of John. Then tell me again whatever it is you want to say. Jesus is alive. Even to this day.

          January 14, 2014 at 1:22 am |
        • sam stone

          god is good: can you offer any evidence other than the bible that supports the claim that jesus is alive now?

          January 14, 2014 at 5:16 am |
        • Bob

          Actually, given the horrid guidance purportedly from "god" in the Christian book of nasty, book of John included, the god of the Christian horror tales would be quite the ass hole. Here are some fine examples. From both foul testaments, and note my comments about "context" and "interpretation":

          Numbers 31:17-18
          17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
          18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

          Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

          1 Timothy 2:11
          "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

          Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

          Leviticus 25
          44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
          45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
          46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

          Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

          Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

          And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

          So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          January 14, 2014 at 9:18 am |
        • Dylan Lutz

          Why did God send Jesus as the redemptive sacrifice for mankind? God in His omnipotent wisdom knows what He had to get done to save mankind.

          You don't get to choose how God could and should redeem mankind. The only choice at your disposal is to accept or reject Him and that choice you make has eternal consequences.

          January 14, 2014 at 9:27 am |
        • Dylan Lutz

          As to Leviticus, references you make, you have no clue as what you are talking about. You simply copy/paste verses from anti-Bible websites blindly without bothering to understand the context.

          In those days, the only form of organized labor was a Master/Slave relationship.In the absence of automation and industrial revolution workers had to organize themselves to get the job done through manually intensive means.
          Master/Slave relationship no longer exists, as labor is now organized in the form of Employer/Employee legislatives and the Bible does not teach people to go around treating people as 'slaves' in the way you understand modern day 'slavery'.

          January 14, 2014 at 9:40 am |
        • Johnny

          Really? It goes so far as to mention that it is o.k. to beat your slaves as long as they don't die right away. Also, it gives instructions on where you should buy slaves, and points out that as long as they are foreigners you can own them for life and even pass them on to your family after you die.

          January 14, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • Dylan Lutz

          The management technique of "Carrots and Sticks" approach to dealing with labor is nothing that is uncommon.

          These days you will simply get fired for doing a sloppy work. Slavery during those times was perfectly normal in those labor conditions where the supply of labor far exceeded the demand for labor/supply of food for sustenance. People were chasing too few resources for their sustenance and Master/slave relationship was perfectly normal under those economic conditions.

          Slavery as understood in the 21st century is an abhorrent practice and the labor market and the economies of the world is different.Christians fight against slavery and rightfully do so, as they understand from the Bible that God is no respecter of persons and he loves all of mankind equally.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • Jim

          @Bob.

          The price of sin is death.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • andrew

          Sadly if one excepts Catholic man made doctrine (they don't use the bible) one misses the point of the Ransom completely!! In fact it's for this very reason the term 'Ransom' fell into disuse many years ago! So since you've asked the question please allow for an answer. The teaching of the Ransom really is incredibly profound & perfectly logical. Let me explain: Gal 6:7 says "whatever a man is sowing this he will also reap" God's adherence to this law can be seen in the laws passed to the Jews i.e. eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. God's laws being perfectly just require perfect balance. Cause & effect bare this out to some extent but it is absolutely undeniable in the observable physical universe: Every action has an equal & opposite reaction. Where do you presume mankind gets his sense of justice from? What would happen if God was to ignore his own universal laws? In a word – Chaos! God has the right to make the rules! To set the unmistakable presidence for right & wrong! He did this in the Garden of Eden. He made it clear that if Adam (the first man) eat from a particular tree he would DIE. Adam's sin (Hebrew: missing the mark) results in death. Rom 5:12 says: 'through one man sin entered into the world & death through sin, & so death spread to all men...' – Like an incurable hereditary illness, sin results in death.
          The Ransom was necessary to save humanity because it is impossible for God to break his own universal laws for 2 reasons: 1)It's impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18) 2) God is perfect in justice.
          In Rom 6:23 God tells us that 'the wages sin pays is death' – LAW! So what could possibly redeem mankind from sin & death? Well Psalms 49:7-9 shows that imperfect man cannot redeem himself because "the ransom price is too precious" so on the principal soul for soul or life for life in De 19:21 shows that in order to redeem mankind a ransom equivalent to Adam's PERFECT (sinless) life would need to be presented. 1 Tim 2:6 makes this clear when it tells us (the Christ) "gave himself a corresponding ransom for all" [It's interesting that in order to support the pagan presupposition of a Trinity most bible translations leave out the word "corresponding" but the Greek expression here is "anti-lutron" (corresponding ransom) as opposed to "lutron" (ransom) Of course it would be impossible for almighty God to ever 'correspond' with a created being Adam] So God's perfect justice demanded a ransom sacrifice. God's incredible love was manifest in that he gave his special son "the firstborn of creation" (Col 1:15,16) his "only-begotten son" – John 3:16 (the only being created by God alone) to die a sacrificial death & hence redeem Mankind. Of course the fact he chose his closest most trusted first born son for this purpose as opposed to another angelic creation underscores his love for mankind & the gross injustice on the part of any that refuse to acknowledge his Sovereignty (or even to bother searching for Truth)

          January 14, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • Hmmm

          Andrew –
          "Sadly if one excepts Catholic man made doctrine (they don't use the bible)"

          You clearly know nothing about Catholicism–why are you pretending you do? Most people who post here know much more about it than you do. It seems you're just parroting something you've repeatedly heard, and you're just making yourself look foolish.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • andrew

          sorry "accepts"

          January 14, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • Merlin

          Andrew,

          Satisfied by a "blood ransom"? You worship a vile thug, Andrew.

          You would trust such a monster character not to come up with more vileness in eternity? Wow.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
      • Dandintac

        If God loved the world so much, why did he condemn everyone to hell in the first place? Please don't give me the babble about how God can't stand sin, and we are sinners. I'm a mere mortal, and I can forgive my children without demanding a human sacrifice. I don't see why God can't do the same.

        God makes us flawed, blames us all for Adam and Eve's disobedience, and has created a warm place called Hell where he intends to roast us all for all eternity for being "sinful", i.e., not being perfect all the time and chaste in both thought and deed (again–the way he made us). Oh, but to solve this problem, since he loves us, he'll allow his best kid to be nailed to a cross by the Romans, and that will make everything good again.

        An astonishingly preposterous story, obviously mythical, and designed to guilt everyone into submission.

        January 14, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • andrew

          Read my reply above about why a ransom was necessary.
          As for Hell it is a Catholic teaching they inherited from greek & babylonian mythology. Not taught in the bible!
          Some bibles use the word Hell from the latin but the 4 actual words that are translated such are the Hebrew word Sheol & the Greek words Hades, Gehenna & tarsus. None of those words convey the sense of eternal punishment. In fact the bible clearly teaches "the soul that sins dies" (Eze 18:4) that the dead are "conscious of nothing" (Eccl 9:5) that when one dies "his thoughts do perish" (Ps 146:3,4) In Rom 6:23 it tells us clearly there that "the wages sin pays is death" & in Rom 6:7 that "the one who dies has been acquitted of his sin" Now since the bible clearly states in Gal 6:7 that "whatever a man is sowing this he will also reap" it would be unthinkable for God to burn or subject anyone to suffering. He gave the nation of Israel 'eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life – that represents the clear divine justice of scripture. Because the bible teaches a resurrection back to paradise on earth anyone of an opposing nation that was subject to death for say Idolatry or breaking another command of God (God surely sets the mark for what is right & wrong) then he was clearly doing them a favour as the bible teaches a resurrection of both the righteous & the unrighteous – To them it will seem like they have instantly been transported from a battle seen into a peaceful new world!
          The outcome for people not interested in searching for truth (Prov 2:1-6) will ultimately be destroyed (2 Thes 1:7,8) revelation calls this the second death or Gehenna. Now does the expression "second death" conjure up any thought of everlasting life?

          January 15, 2014 at 1:11 am |
    • Madtown

      Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense that an omnipotent God could only have "1 son". Couldn't he have as many as he wanted?

      January 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
      • fred

        No. There can only be one absolute truth. I cannot conceive of more than one perfect goodness. If there were another perfect goodness that perfect goodness would be indistinguishable and identical. If God is all things at all time etc then another God would be equal or less than such absolute presence thus only one. God could allow the existence of or create other gods

        January 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Johnny

          Then he could have sent Jesus to ever continent so that everyone on Earth would have known about the only way to avoid hell. Or did god just not care about the rest of the world?

          January 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Madtown

          I cannot conceive of more than one perfect goodness
          ---–
          But, God is God, perfect and omnipotent, right? Not even sure what you mean by this(you probably aren't sure either), if he begot more than 1 son, the offspring wouldn't be "as perfect" as just 1? They're God's offspring, and he's God, so each would be as perfect as the other, and as perfect as God wanted them to be. You must doubt the power of God.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Science Works

          fred

          As the skeleton comes out of the closet ?

          The Loom:
          3 hours ago

          How We Got On Land, Bone by Bone
          by Carl Zimmer

          http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/13/how-we-got-on-land-bone-by-bone/

          January 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • fred

          " I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live."
          "not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
          "God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him"

          =>Based on what the Bible says God wants everyone (not just a select bunch) to be saved. If God wants it then it would be done I would assume.
          =>Suggesting that God never gave say the atheist in Russia or the Hindu etc. a chance would go against what we know about God. Madtown would have been blessed if she was born of an atheist family in an atheist village never having heard or had opportunity to seek God. Yet this was not her path thus she has greater accountability due to location rather than less opportunity.

          January 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Madtown

          Based on what the Bible says God wants everyone (not just a select bunch) to be saved.
          -------
          The irony in this statement! You suggest you know what God wants "based on the bible", that he wants everyone saved. But, that's the point, the bible isn't freely available to everyone God created!!! LOL. If the bible is a way to learn to be saved, and God wants everyone saved, why doesn't God ensure all his human creation has access to it? The only reasonable explanation, is that christianity is just a creation of the human mind, and God doesn't care at all if we follow it. Of course, since this conclusion is rational, you'll immediately discount it.

          January 13, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • fred

          Madtown
          The Bible is the revelation of God over the past 6,000 + years concerning the redemption of His people. If God cannot do that then there is no God (or at least not the God of the Bible). That same Bible says man does not know who those people are and that we will be surprised who is and who is not in the kingdom. Physical location is not an issue for God but the condition of the heart (soul) is the focus.
          As I said if you never had an opportunity (includes the chance to read the Bible) you also never had the opportunity to reject God. This is a blessing because you are only held accountable for what you were given. If someone never had opportunity to seek God then they are not in that different of a position than say a 5 year old in an atheist home. God would not sent a 5 year old out of an atheists home to hell anymore than a 1 year old. Everyone will stand before God and give an accounting of what they did with what they were given.

          January 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
        • Science Works

          fred there is no hint of Adam's bone it the article above or below ?

          6,000 years ?

          by Carl Zimmer

          Travel back far enough in your genealogy, and you will run into a fish.

          Before about 370 million years ago, our ancestors were scaly creatures that lived in the sea, swimming with fins and using gills to get oxygen from the water. And then, over the course of millions of years, they began moving ashore, adapting to the terrestrial realm

          January 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • fred

          Science Works
          I do not have a problem with the theory of evolution. I have a problem when people extrapolate that theory into a world view that there is no God. I looked at your link and yes there is evidence where current dating methods establish likely existence of a fish millions of years ago. I said 6,000+ years so as to include all possible Biblical ranges. Adam is not fixed in any year certain unless assumptions are made concerning genealogy.

          Salvation of the soul is not a function of radioactive decay.

          January 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
        • Science Works

          Yep fred and you sound like one of them ?

          Friday, Jan 10, 2014 01:54 PM UTC
          Why this satanic goat statue has the Christian right so freaked out
          The pagan idol reveals the hypocrisy at the heart of so much fundamentalism
          Amanda Marcotte, Alternet

          http://www.salon.com/2014/01/10/why_this_satanic_goat_statue_has_the_christian_right_so_freaked_out_partner/

          January 13, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
        • fred

          Science Works
          Hypocrisy is not limited to fundamentalist Christians it is a common failure of mankind.

          January 13, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • Science Works

          Yeah fred

          A whale of a myth/story the bible/church has but together over the years ?

          The Jonah mentioned in II Kings 14:25 lived during the reign of Jeroboam II .... concerning Jonah, who is said to have been three days in a whale's belly?

          International science news !

          'Walking Whale' Fossil Discovered In Peru: 40-Million-Year-Old Specimen May Be Link Between Aquatic and Land Mammals

          http://www.isciencetimes.com/articles/6094/20130920/walking-whale-fossil-ocucaje-peru-40-million-years.htm

          READ MORE:

          15-Million-Year-Old, 1000-Pound Baleen Whale Skull Unearthed Along The Potomac River In Virginia [VIDEO]

          January 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
        • Madtown

          The Bible is the revelation of God over the past 6,000 + years concerning the redemption of His people
          -----
          Oh, so only to "his people". Arrogance. You think you're better than other human beings who've never heard of Christ. You think God loves you more, even though God created all. Foolish arrogance.

          January 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • fred

          Madtown
          The Bible is a book about the salvation and that salvation are for Gods people (i.e. children of God). There is absolutely nothing arrogant about that. You reject God and reject Gods plan that is your choice. Throwing up some hypothetical situation where some poor innocent person would not be saved is founded on your lack listening and rejection of truth.

          God is not going to drag you kicking and screaming into His kingdom. You can do what Adam ,Eve and everyone else who rejects God do that is your choice. You want God to conform to the demands of Madtown that is arrogant.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • fred

          Madtown
          I never said the children of God were "better than". As a matter of fact it was who thought themselves "better than" who were corrected by God. The theme of the Bible is that arrogant, prideful behavior is not a characteristic of one that knows God.
          God did not reject you. You rejected God and you were given the greatest of opportunity to know God. Yes, you will be held to a higher standard than the poor innocent villager in a remote atheist village.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
        • fred

          The arrogant trump card played so often by those who demand God conform to their ideals of morality and justice.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
        • sam stone

          there is no reason to believe is a god, evolution or not

          January 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • sam stone

          no reason to believe there is a god, was the way that was supposed to read

          and, repeating ancient stories about salvation and resurrection mean nothing to those who do not believe

          January 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • fred

          sam stone
          You are correct it means nothing to you. As I was saying it is a blessing never to have heard about Jesus than to hear and reject out of hand because your knowledge concerning God is greater than Jesus.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
        • sam stone

          not to mention the arrogance of those who feel that the ideas of morality and justice held by bronze age man represent "god"

          January 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
        • fred

          Sam Stone
          No, not arrogance but humble recognition that we are sinful, humble in asking for forgiveness of sin, acknowledgement that we do not have a clue about why or how this existence became or the scope of eternity. We recognize we are nothing, while you demand God conform to man

          January 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
        • Science Works

          Make sure you park your talking donkey at the curb when you need a break fred !

          January 13, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • JB

          fred – "As I said if you never had an opportunity (includes the chance to read the Bible) you also never had the opportunity to reject God. This is a blessing because you are only held accountable for what you were given"

          A god who's supposed to know everything can't put a better system than that in place? If the system works as you describe it, it's amazingly cruel for Christians to evangelize to people who never heard of Jesus! Since most of them aren't going to believe what they hear about it, you're dooming people who were going to go to heaven if Christians never showed up to eternal torment! What a twisted idea!

          January 14, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • fred

          JB
          I never said all those who never heard of Christ are going to heaven. There are some who would reject Christ regardless because that is the bent of their soul. In that case it is best they never had the opportunity to do so. If you object to the word soul then it is the general disposition of their being. There is full accountability for what one does with their experience in the physical world.

          If you have a better way for people to reveal who they truly are than what our world presents I would love to hear it.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • sam stone

          humble recognition that we are sinful?

          sounds more like biblical inspired guilt to me

          January 14, 2014 at 5:22 am |
        • sam stone

          i am not demanding that god comform to man

          i believe god is mythology

          i believe that this mythology DOES conform to man

          as this "god" possesses human frailties such as anger and jealousy

          January 14, 2014 at 5:26 am |
        • sam stone

          fred: if god knows whether we are going to accept jesus before we are even born (being omniscient and all), why would he allow those who he KNOWS (no free will with an omniscient god) will not accept jesus to be born, if not just to get the rather morbid thrill of torturing them for eternity?

          January 14, 2014 at 5:33 am |
        • JB

          fred – "I never said all those who never heard of Christ are going to heaven. There are some who would reject Christ regardless because that is the bent of their soul. In that case it is best they never had the opportunity to do so. If you object to the word soul then it is the general disposition of their being. There is full accountability for what one does with their experience in the physical world."

          Sorry, I didn't follow that at all. What does happen to those who never hear about Jesus? Are you saying some will go to heaven because God knows they would have accepted Jesus and some won't go because God knows they wouldn't have? If that is what you're saying, what's the point of evangelizing?

          January 14, 2014 at 8:16 am |
        • Johnny

          Fred, you mean like assuming that the Bible was right when it listed the genealogies from Jesus to Adam?

          January 14, 2014 at 9:53 am |
        • CharlesP

          Gen 6:2, Job 1:6 , Job 38:7, and Psalm 29:1 all mention "Sons of God".

          January 14, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • Madtown

          The Bible is a book about the salvation and that salvation are for Gods people (i.e. children of God). There is absolutely nothing arrogant about that.
          -------
          "Children of God". No, nothing arrogant there at all. Good grief. Right.....only people who think the same way as you do are preferred by God, even though God continually creates many HUMAN BEINGS throughout the world with literally no concept of the things you say are crucial for salvation. The great degree of your pathetic sadness is actually quite comical, so I thank you for the entertainment.

          January 14, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • fred

          Johnny
          The assumptions for a young earth see the genealogies where Adam was the first physical man and includes the assumption that all lines were mentioned. Neither assumption needs to be correct but can be assumed. Some think Adam was the first representative Hebrew others see Adam as the first modern human with the spirit of God while others the representation of mankind (no a physical human). This does not change anything

          January 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • fred

          Madtown
          Children of God are those who were from Abraham and those "grafted" into the "family" tree by belief in "the way". Jesus was our example of "the way" and simple belief in Christ by faith is all it takes. Nothing arrogant about recognition that we are saved by grace and not anything of our doing. In the old testament the line of Abraham had the main fault of being a stiff necked people where their pride and arrogance ended with the high priests being the ones who took Jesus to the cross for crucifixion.
          If you are an atheist was it arrogant for Homo Sapiens to be the preferred over H. rhodesiensis? You are a hypocrite to claim a selection by God as arrogant and natural selection as not arrogant. If there is a God it was God who created natural selection so I guess God is arrogant while the creation is not according to your view. Is it arrogant for a Lion to be King of the jungle verses a mouse?

          You are given the opportunity to enter the kingdom and choose not to enter. This would be ignorance on your part or arrogance on your part but no fault of the plan or process. One who chooses to go to college and become educated is not arrogant but one who is given the opportunity to enter and refuses because they believe they do not need or want it will always cast dispersion on those who choose what is right.

          January 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • fred

          CharlesP
          Sons of God can refer to children of Seth or their line and can also refer to children of God. This is very different from son of God.

          January 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      John 3: 16 as with all of John's gospel is historically nil. Added details available upon request.

      January 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • JB

      How exactly did he "give" his son? His son is still with him, isn't he? And how do you reconcile that with the idea of a triune god? One part of god sent another part to earth to be tortured to death? What gives that part authority over the other part?

      January 13, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
      • sam stone

        jeebus had a bad weekend for your sins

        January 14, 2014 at 5:27 am |
        • Bob

          Good one, Sam. Heard similar before. Have a good day.

          January 14, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • CharlesP

          In line with God spending just under a week on creation. That's what the standard DIYS project takes, like building a shed. Maybe God's wife had to nag him first too?

          January 14, 2014 at 10:10 am |
      • andrew

        No triune God exists in scripture! The most quoted scripture in the bible is John 3:16 "for God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son..." Now what part of that clear statment conveys any idea that God & the son are the same ontological being? Rather than do that it shows clearly that Jesus had a beginning... he was brought into existence or begotten – the only creature created soley by God alone (Col 1:15,16) The Greek scriptures clearly distiguish the father from the son all the way through! In fact in John 14:28 Jesus says "the father is greater than I" When about to die he said in prayer to the father "let not MY WILL but YOUR WILL take place! Since Jesus is acknowledged by Christians for his teaching ability why would he use a father & son relationship if he was trying to convey the thought to his disciples that he & his father were in some way the same being? Wouldn't he have been cleverer using say saimese twins?? The trinity is pagan mythology from ancient babylon & Greek Platonism of which emperior Constantine (pretty much the founder of the demonic catholic church) was a huge advocate! The Trinity doctrine is arrived at only by massively convoluted exegesis!

        January 16, 2014 at 1:50 am |
        • JB

          andrew – "No triune God exists in scripture!'

          I agree, and have always wondered how people who like to quote John 3:16 resolve what it says with a triune god. It doesn't really make sense anyway, since Jesus is still with his father so I don't see how he is supposed to have "given" his son, unless it was just for a few days, but if that's the case, what's the big deal?

          January 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • CharlesP

      So, he sells you the antidote after first poisoning your well, and that makes him your "saviour"?

      January 14, 2014 at 10:18 am |
      • JB

        Nice analogy! I'm sure the rebuttal goes something like "God didn't poison the well, people did", but really, the VERY FIRST person he created supposedly messed everything up–he couldn't anticipate that (or know it, since he's supposed to know everything)? What a lame "plan" this god has.

        January 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Johnny

          Not only that, but Adam didn't even know the difference between good and bad until after he ate the apple, so he couldn't have even known that what he was doing was wrong in the first place.

          January 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • JB

          And then after they eat the fruit the first realization they have is that being naked is somehow "bad". Well if that's the case, why was God letting them run around naked (i.e., doing something bad) in the first place? And God's question to them isn't "Who told you being naked was bad?", it's "Who told you that you were naked?" Why wouldn't they have already known they were naked before eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Lots of holes in Genesis..

          January 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • andrew

          Not true. In Gen 3:1-6 you notice a serpent or snake proposed that Eve eat from the forbidden fruit. Since snakes cannot talk something was giving the snake that ability. That person is revealed to be Satan the devil in Rev 12:9 "...the ORIGINAL SERPENT the one named devil & Satan who is misleading the entire inhabited Earth" The bible clearly pins the Earth's woes on him. 1 Jon 5:19 calls him "the God of this world" True, if Adam had not disobeyed God, then God would not have needed to respond to Satan's challenge presented 1st in the Garden of Eden (what Satan in effect was saying is that God does not have the right to make the rules – the tree of the knowledge of good & bad clearly stood for God's universal sovereignty) 2nd in the book of Job. There we see Satan makes the claim that mankind would only worship God for selfish reasons.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:12 am |
        • JB

          Andrew – If Satan has the supernatural ability to cause snakes to speak, why isn't he considered a god?

          January 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
  8. EX Catholic

    What does it all means? Means nothing to me, just more bureaucracy in the Politico-religious organization commonly known as the RCC. Probably more SINE CURA posts to fill.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  9. 00 00

    fellow believers, i'm astonished not one of u discussed our pharisee's lies. there is still time. what do u have 2 say observer? i mean lie4him

    January 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Live4Him

    If you submit you will have freewill

    January 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • igaftr

      resistance is futile?

      January 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Ignorance is strength.
      Freedom is slavery.
      War is peace.

      January 13, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • Anonymous

        Up is down. Left is right. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

        January 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        @Doc,

        I guess "Anonymous" isn't familiar with the source of your comment. I though it was pretty apt.

        "If you submit, you will have free will." Fodder for Room 101 indeed.

        January 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • ME II

          I didn't catch the reference, thanks. Very apt, indeed.

          January 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "We have always been at war with Oceania"
          The Word of God has never changed.

          "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
          God is omniscient. Humans have free will.
          God is Love (omnibenevolent). Sinner go to Hell.

          “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
          All humans are born sinners, doomed to eternal damnation unless they accept Christ as their saviour.

          “We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”
          Cognite intrare (compel them to enter) – convert or suffer.

          And perhaps the most apt:
          “Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

          January 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Anonymous

          Well, pardon me; I read 1984 MANY years ago, and didn't catch the reference at first.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Yes,

          "Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." is very apt.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
      • igaftr

        wait...what was money again?

        January 13, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Jesus = doubleplusgood bellyfeel

        January 14, 2014 at 8:29 am |
    • Al

      Whaaaat.....?

      January 13, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I thought the 'gift' of free will was given with or without faith.

      January 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Orlando

        Yeah, L4H really seems to be off his game today.

        January 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • G to the T

      Sorry L4H, my irony meter exploded. Can you repeat that? I think I've got it calibrated now...

      January 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • Live4Him

      copy-cat. Reported

      <><

      January 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        The deliberate handle-stealing that goes on here is very tiresome.

        January 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • bostontola

          I agree, that's why I got a WordPress account.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Live4Him

          This is why I try to add some mark (like the fish) to my post – to try to show authenticity. However, it doesn't mean that it could not be mimicked.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • <

          I like mine better.

          <.

          January 13, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • <

          Well, boogers. It didn't post. Oh, well. Yours is okay lol.

          January 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      comedy gold! LOLOLOL

      January 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
  11. Another View

    A Dangerously Incurious Pope

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/01/08/a-dangerously-incurious-pope/

    January 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
  12. Tired of the Cray Cray

    I'm so glad Jesus was so specific with how he wanted the hierarchy of his "church" to be.
    He always seemed like one of those guys who liked rules, money, lawyers, and merchandise to he sold under his name and whatnot.
    I really don't remember Jesus preaching much, but I do remember him being specific on the tax rate he wanted charged for crucifixes of his likeness, and assorted "holy" merchandise.
    Catholic Church of the early 21st century, You go Girl...ya'll are preaching the truth $$$$

    January 13, 2014 at 1:06 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.