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Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions
Pope Francis speaks at St Peter's square on December 11, 2013.
March 5th, 2014
10:04 AM ET

Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.

The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."

States, for instance, justify civil unions as a way to provide economic security to cohabitating couples, the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Seraan Italian daily. State-sanctioned unions are thus driven by the need to ensure rights like access to health care, Francis added.

A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriage, including Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, according to reports in National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times.

Behind closed doors, pope supported civil unions in Argentina, activist says

But Wednesday's comments are "the first time a Pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions," according to Catholic News Service.

Later on Wednesday, a Vatican spokesman sought to clarify the Pope's remarks.

"The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office.

"In his response to the interviewer, he emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens."

"We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words than what has been stated in very general terms," Rosica added.

Pope Francis, who marks his first year in office on March 13, has sought to set a more tolerant tone for his 1 billion-member church and suggested that a broad range of topics are at least open for discussion.

In January, the Pope recalled a little girl in Buenos Aires who told her teacher that she was sad because "my mother's girlfriend doesn't like me."

"The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand," the Pope told leaders of religious orders, adding that the church "must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them."

The Vatican later denied that those comments signaled an opening toward same-sex unions.

Last June, Francis famously refused to judge gay priests in comments that ricocheted around the world. He has also said that the church should not "interfere" in the spiritual lives of gays and lesbians.

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

Support of same-sex unions of any type is fiercely contested by many Catholic church leaders.

In Wednesday's interview, Francis also addressed several other controversial issues, including the Catholic Church's ban on contraception, the role of women and the devastating clergy sexual abuse scandal.

On contraception, the Pope praised Pope Paul VI for having the "courage" to "go against the majority" when restating the ban in 1968. But, Francis said, the church must also be "merciful" and "attentive to concrete situations."

Contraception and church's ban on divorced Catholics receiving holy communion, will likely be addressed at major meetings of Catholic bishops in Rome in 2014 and 2015.

“We must give a response. But to do so, we must reflect much in depth,” the Pope said Wednesday.

On the role of women in the church, an issue of particular concern to Catholics in the United States, the Pope hinted that changes could be in the works.

"Women must be present in all of the places where decisions are taken," Francis said in the newspaper interview, but the church must consider more than "functional" roles for women. To that end, Catholic leaders are engaged in "deep reflection" on women's role in the church, he said.

On the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, a scandal that has rocked the church in the United States, the Pope said the abuse has left "very deep wounds" on victims.

In response, the church has done more than other institutions to be open and transparent about sexual abuse by its employees, Francis said. “But the Church is the only one to be attacked."

A United Nations panel criticized Catholic leaders last month in a hard-hitting report on clergy sexual abuse.

The report said the Vatican "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The Vatican said it would study the U.N. report.

Kick out those who sexually abuse children, U.N. panel tells Vatican

On Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has surprised church-watchers with public appearances after saying he would live a cloistered life in retirement, Francis said he considers his predecessor a "wise grandfather."

"The Pope Emeritus is not a statue in a museum," Pope Francis said. Rather, the two men have decided that Benedict should participate in the church's public life rather than live a shuttered life.

"I thought about grandparents who with their wisdom, their advice, strengthen families and don't deserve to end up in an old folks home," Francis said.

Finally, he may sometimes wear a cape, but don't call Pope Francis a Superman, the popular pontiff said.

"To paint the Pope as a sort of Superman, a kind of star, seems offensive to me," Francis told Corriere della Sera. "The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps soundly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."

Earlier this year, graffiti depicting a muscle-bound and flying Francis appeared on walls near Vatican City, but the Pope said Wednesday that he doesn't like the "mythology" surrounding his papacy, which marks its first anniversary on March 13.

For instance, Francis debunked the idea that he sneaks out of the Vatican at night to feed the homeless.

"It never occurred to me," he said.

(CNN's Delia Gallagher assisted in translating Pope Francis' remarks from the Italian.) 

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,591 Responses)
  1. Semper Cogitatus

    Why does anyone care what a church they are not a member of thinks of their marriage? My wife and I were married in a secular ceremony, the Catholic church does not recognize our marriage as valid, nor do the Mormons, and I assume many other churches are the same. Who cares? We recognize it as valid and don;t really care what some church thinks.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      There are members that belong to that church that are fighting for equal rights. If you are a Catholic who happens to be gay it might be important to you. It matters to some people. To some people it doesn't matter. Yes.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
      • seedenbetter

        Which begs the question of why would you belong to a religion that you know views you as flawed? But then again, Christianity views all people as flawed disgusting sinners deserving to burn for eternity unless you follow their doctrine.

        March 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I am flawed. Imperfect with shortcomings and defects. I often fail and don't live up to my own ideals. A religion didn't just tell me that I was that. I've experienced it to be true. I have never been told by my religion that I'm disgusting or deserve to burn for eternity unless I follow its doctrine.

          Nor would I say that to anyone else.

          “God's grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings. My failings hurt me and others and even the planet, and God's grace to me is that my brokenness is not the final word ... it's that God makes beautiful things out of even my own sh.it. Grace isn't about God creating humans and flawed beings and then acting all hurt when we inevitably fail and then stepping in like the hero to grant us grace – like saying, "Oh, it's OK, I'll be the good guy and forgive you." It's God saying, "I love the world too much to let your sin define you and be the final word. I am a God who makes all things new.”

          – Nadia Bolz-Weber

          March 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • Alias

      It matters because he will change a lot of other people's opinions.
      This could help bring equal rights to all 50 states sooner.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  2. Dalahäst

    ~None of us is free until all are free. ~
    -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

      ~Denis Diderot

      March 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        nemaR!

        March 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        "Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people"—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims."

        Albert Einstein

        March 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You mean like the intolerance of Jesus?

          March 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes. Just like the intolerant Jesus.

          March 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • otoh2

        Blessed are the Cheesemakers,

        Heh, I used that quote one time and some of the believers were horrified at the imagery. Imagine - someone who has actually read that Bible being horrified at imagery!

        March 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Well you are making a big assumtion they have read the bible...

          but yeah, the Bible's imagery is awful, and its teachings are equally poor.

          March 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • derado8

          I'm impressed that you two could decipher it enough to come to those conclusions.

          Words I learned: begat, covenant, concubine, thee, thou, sepulcher (which is nothing like a chipotle surprisingly).

          March 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
  3. Austin

    God started life and interveined.

    His covenant with abraham involved 3 aspects. Family or seed. Land or government. Blessing or salvation.

    The church cannot get involved in the defiling of the God following family.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Doris

      He put veins in rocks and trees and such as well?

      March 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  4. lean6

    No problem with the man's beliefs, but he really should have gone into a different line of work. These mixed messages from him is similar to what would happen if a PETA person was appointed head of the Butcher's Union.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:41 am |
  5. auntiekale

    Wow...and he let the atheists into his heaven, wonder what trick he'll perform next? Thank goodness this nice white man represents god on Earth :)

    March 5, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • snuffleupagus

      Slam dunk, auntie! :-)

      March 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
  6. Ian's Rushtache

    guy250677
    When you can rationally explain why a baby cannot develop outside a woman's womb
    _________________________________________________________________

    This has to be the single most ignorant statement ever made on CNN. You literally have to have 0 thinking skills to ask this question.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • guy250677

      The fact is that there are many things that Science and man cannot explain, yet a lack of explanation does not equate to their existence being questioned.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      • MidwestKen

        @guy...,
        But the very existence of those things are not in question; the existence of gods is.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:49 am |
      • ifhorseshadgods

        You do realize that the term "GOD" is in fact the epitome of "lack of explanation" .. don't you?

        March 5, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Nope.

          Not all have a "God of the Gaps". I don't.

          March 5, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Doris

          Dalhast: "Not all have a "God of the Gaps". I don't."

          Well, I believe you believe you don't.

          But that concept was presented to illustrate that many, at some point in time, felt as you do now for an explanation for something is attributed to God; where some time later in history, a scientific explanation became evident and often rendered the details of a previous belief silly.

          March 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • Doris

          Excuse me, that last reply was to Dalahäst, not "Dalhast".

          March 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I understand the concept, but it isn't a fact about me or my belief. No scientific explanation has made my belief in God look silly.

          March 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • otoh2

          Doris,
          "where some time later in history, a scientific explanation became evident and often rendered the details of a previous belief silly."

          Yes, and even those verified explanations have not always been instantly accepted by all, for example:

          Benjamin Franklin was roundly castigated by Christians for his discoveries about lightning and the invention of his lightning rod.

          "As late as 1770 many religious Americans still felt that, since thunder and lightning were tokens of the divine displeasure, it was impiety to prevent their doing their full work. It took a few decades for the devout to abandon their religious prejudices regarding the use of the lightning rod, but eventually it was demonstrated to all but the most dense that both the "vengeance of God" and the "Prince of the Power of the Air" were forced to retreat before the lightning-rod of a heretic." – A. D. White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology & E.T.B.

          March 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • colin31714

          If you do not have a"god of the gaps" god, what kind do you have? I mean, what draws you to conclude that the Judeo-Christian god exists?

          March 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Experience. I believe God authored science, there is nothing in science that suggests God does not exist. So it is not like new scientific discoveries are making God smaller and smaller.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        But that does not mean that "a god did it"; it just means humans do not yet understand.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • guy250677

      By the way Ian, I have 2 PHDs and 3 other degrees of education.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:42 am |
      • ifhorseshadgods

        Oh, I'm calling BS on that .. A guy with 2 PhD's and "other degrees" should have something better to do than post arguments in favor of omnipotent deities on a news blog.
        BTW .. I have 3 PhD's and a number of other degrees in astrophysics and theology and philosophy.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • Doris

        Really? And you wrote this: "the fact that the earth has an atmosphere in contrast to other planets,"

        LOL! Wow- just how far in the galaxy have you traveled?? :roll:

        March 5, 2014 at 11:49 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        In what fields?

        March 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        How many degrees of separation from reality?

        March 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • ilikestealingducks

        Degrees from clown colleges generally are not recognized as an indication of education.

        March 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        Yes, a Bull-Schitt, More of the Same and a Piled higher and Deeper, plus one from Kelloggs, or is that from Charmin?

        March 5, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
  7. Ian's Rushtache

    That sound you just heard was the entire right wings heads exploding in unison.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:30 am |
  8. jdogfunk100

    Clearly, they're just making this up as they go along. When the church doctrine goes against the norms or society, they change the rules; even though it's supposed to be the word of god. This is exactly why religion is so bogus.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • micahdabica

      Yet when they stick with their doctrine, you call them inflexible and ignorant for believing a book that was written 2000 years ago.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
      • otoh2

        micah,

        It's almost as though no god is/was/ever has been guiding them - no, it's **exactly** like that...!

        March 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
  9. Austin

    Water ......immersion into freedom from sin. The old man is immersed and the new man comes up. The old man never comes back without the holy spirit.

    Fire.......the judgment that the holy spirit brings to convict you.

    This is the supernatural deliverence from sin.

    You are saved from every sin .

    March 5, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • Doris

      There is no evidence that sin is anything other than a man-made concept.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      • micahdabica

        There is no evidence that you are even a real person.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Doris

          Well you know I don't argue that point. Especially since these days, we have web bots and such...

          March 5, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  10. Peaceadvocate2014

    Position on civil union, gay marriage, contraception, divorce should not be changed.

    Child abuse accusation is an attack by other powers to discredit the Vatican. UN is being used.

    Position on allowing or empowering women and gays to spread the good word of God should be considered.

    I do not think the Vatican should consider changing the teachings of God. I understand these issues needs to be addressed but let us address it ourselves. Do not use the Vatican, other churches or God. What we could do is be more tolerant and compassionate due to all these issues we now face. Teachings of God.

    Peace

    March 5, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • guy250677

      The Vatican does not have to "change" its position in order to encourage acceptance. Acceptance is just as constant a theme throughout Christianity as any other principle. Does the church not allow divorced individuals to attend service? Ofcourse they all them to attend service. Does the Church endorse laws against any other type of sin, which they bible refers to as one not being greater than the other? No they do not.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:23 am |
      • Austin

        God started the family. And the church.cant defile the covenant.

        Family church governme

        Land seed blessing

        March 5, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Guy,

        I agree. Do not use God to promote selfish agendas. Use our agenda to promote God.

        Peace

        March 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      "I do not think the Vatican should consider changing the teachings of God."

      There are no teachings of a god; it's all the creation of humans to control over other humans. You can't even decide which god (hundreds of religions) or which interpretation (thousands of sects).

      "Child abuse accusation is an attack by other powers to discredit the Vatican."

      They are more than accusations and the Vatican deserves any discredit it gets (and more in my opinion) for its poor response and cover-up.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • guy250677

        You "know" so much? Do not assume to know everything about anything.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Are you saying there are not hundreds of religions and thousands of sects? Or is that like all believers your's is the one – I'll accept that when you provide evidence of a god and evidence that it is your god (as opposed to the thousands of others).

          Are you saying that there was no child abuse? Or no cover-up? I hope you're not that deluded – there is plenty of evidence and some punishment.

          March 5, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Santa,

        If there are no teachings of God. Our future is bleak. Survival of the fittest, no morality. Dont ask me again why god is morality :)

        Child abuse is human sin not Gods.

        Peace

        March 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          There is no evidence of a god, no evidence that is your god, and therefore no evidence that there are teachings of a god. Morality can be observed in animals other than humans; no evidence that a god is required for morals.

          Child abuse is a crime which should not be covered-up largely unpunished; the Vatican has made enormous mistakes in their handling of this and that is especially hypocritical given that they claim to serve their god and that they believe that that god provided morals for them to live by.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • rabbitcommarogerindyreader

          The existence of survival of the fittest in nature does not imply that we can't come up with a better morality. The more advanced forms of Utilitarianism and Consequentialism are more consistent and far less arbitrary than religion as a source for ethical behavior models. It's a huge shame that some reasonable amount of philosophy isn't taught universally in primary school; if it were, a lot more people wold understand this.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • joey3467

          I don't know how anyone can claim that our morals come from the Christian god. If they did then genocide would be moral.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Santa,

          I know, i know, no evidence but what was written and how it applies to our daily lives is evidence enoigh for me. See i did not even read the whole bible. I went through a few stories and figured the message would be the same.

          Vatican got the message regarding child abuse all we hope for is for them to do better. Some people just wont be satisfied until the inst:tution is abolished. What about the others in the inst:tution that really want to do good? Get rid of them as well?

          March 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Rabbit,

          No matter what kind of ism we humans establish it would still have flaws. Why? Because of our capability to sin. Only a rigtheous, perfect, moral God could achieve this. We just have to determine who this God is.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Joey,

          First of all, you are the same Joey who keep posting the sky diver with techo music in the background. As i said i like techo music coz of its message oneness. Unity. Just dont over do it :)
          Too much of anything is bad for anyone.

          Now, regarding your post, genocide is immoral and will always be. The ones who commited the genocide are humans not God. Not the teaching of the God i believe in.

          March 5, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Child abuse accusation is an attack by other powers to discredit the Vatican."
      Yeah – all those studies that cite facts and stuff are nothing more than tools of Satan.
      1. In 1962, The Vatican relased the 'Crimen Sollicitationis', which outlined how the church is to handle accusations of se.xual impropriety against clergy.
      The stickiest point for most people is that not only was the doc.ument itself Top Secret for decades, it explictly stated that anybody involved in this type of investigation, including the accuser and potential witnesses, are sworn to secrecy regarding any and all details, upon penalty of excommunication (a fate worse than death for the devout).
      This preoccupation with secrecy significantly slowed the investigative process – the backlog of referrals to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action against se.xually abusive priests is so large that it takes 18 months to get a reply.
      According to the John Jay report, 918 of 1872 (49%) substantiated allegations of abuse against Catholic clergy were addressed by sending the priest off for psychiatric counseling and then moving him to another parish, with nary a whisper to law enforcement. This number does not include priests relocated for reasons other than charges of se.xual impropriety.
      The Irish Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse from 2009 came to the conclusion that ""the Dublin Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child se.xual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its as.sets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities."

      Jose Barba Martin of Mexico tried for years to have his accusations against the founder of the Legionaries of Christ heard by the congregation. In the end, it took eight years for Rome to discipline the Rev Marcial Maciel, and require him to live a life of reserved prayer. Maciel died in 2008 before the Legionaries admitted he had fathered at least one child and molested young seminarians.
      A letter written by a now-dead Canadian bishop shows church officials knew of se.xual abuse allegations involving a priest before his promotion to a top Vatican post and then discussed with Vatican officials how to keep the scandal from becoming public.
      There is also Catholic priest who was defrocked after a nun accused him of rap.ing three children in Bolivia who has been living with his family in Uruguay for more than a year – with the full knowledge of Uruguayan church officials – despite an Interpol warrant for his arrest.

      Who would ever believe independently verified facts from reputable sources?
      Buncha heathens.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:35 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Doc,

        Humans running the Vatican are imperfect, capable of sin.

        I'll cite more examples. Vatican position during the medieval inquisition, spamish inquisitions, holocaust. Why the upkeep is too expensive? Why not give it to the poor? Etc, etc.

        Abuse. We see it everyday, not just in the Vatican.

        Peace

        March 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          True, but any religious hierarchy needs to unambiguously live by the moral code that they claim that their god demands.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Santa,

          I totally agree. They should live up to their beliefs. But nobody can coz of our imperfections.

          I see priest, pope, religious leaders, cross, saints, as a reminder of Gods teaching shown through Jesus. I follow God.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • ifhorseshadgods

          These "sins" are not due to being imperfect human beings ... these are cold, calculated choices to do terrible things. Sins of human imperfection are minor slip-ups, what we're talking about here are easily avoided (especially so by those who have a line to their Gods). When a person CANNOT make the distinction between right/wrong they are by all means mentally Ill .. & I'd say that's certainly the case when it comes to the historical crimes perpetrated by religions.

          March 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Ifho,

          I like the part when you said, if a person cant determine what is rigth or worng they are mentally ill.

          We always see it in the media, when a someone run amock and kills a lot of people like Columbine, Newtown
          the media immediately focus on their mental health and we say oh yes the guys mentally ill. We need an explanation for the horror. Suicide bombers, oh mentally ill.

          What about hitler? Mentally ill. What about truman who ordered the dropping of the atomic bomb? What about other sinful acts done by others? Are they all mentally ill?

          There is a reason for their actions, may it be their belifs, to care for loves ones, or poor upbringing. A lot a reosons we would not know except God.

          March 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Ifho,

          Just want to add in the mentally ill excuse. It is an excuse that could be used to divert the blame on guns or any weapon of use for killing.

          March 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
    • moemontye

      If anything goes why even have religion. When common men start to interpret Gods will and people stop listening it says something about god plan working.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • midwest rail

      " Child abuse accusation is an attack by other powers to discredit the Vatican. UN is being used. "
      Absolute nonsense. How and why do so many defend the indefensible ? It is mind-numbingly pathetic.

      March 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Mid,

        It may it may be not. In my opinion it is.

        Why the Vatican?
        A lot of followers. Threat to other powers, govt, religion.
        High moral standard. Good story for the media.

        March 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " Why the Vatican ? "
          Perhaps because of the cover-up ? Are there plumbers, electricians, doctors, etc, who are abusers ? Absolutely. Do any of those groups have a parent organization transferring them from jurisdiction to jurisdiction to avoid detection and/or prosecution ? No. When will folks realize that as bad as the abuse is, it is the cover-up and "blame the victim" mentality that is so reprehensible ?

          March 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Mid,

          It is our culture, our society that I think needs corrections. Dont you agree?

          March 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • observernow

          Peaceadvocate2014,

          Our culture is getting us further and further from some of the "immorality" supported by the Bible. Slavery is gone; discrimination against women and the handicapped is pretty much gone and discrimination against gays is rapidly failing. Things are actually getting better.

          March 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
  11. Austin

    Matthew 3
    King James Version (KJV)
    3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

    2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

    3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

    4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

    5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

    6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

    7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

    8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

    9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

    10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

    March 5, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • Doris

      (Gullible's Travels, Part 2)

      March 5, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • ausphor

      Austin
      When the FBI shows up do not resist, just hand over all you prophecies and tell the truth freely so you can avoid getting baptized FBI style (better known as waterboarding). And for gods sake take your meds on schedule so they won't catch you in one of your episodes. Good luck.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:42 am |
  12. ifhorseshadgods

    Looks like the "new" Catholic church is getting ready to jump the dolphin (gay shark) .. in an effort to remain relevant, keep butts in pews and $'s in the coffers!

    March 5, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • guy250677

      I suppose some said the same thing about minorities in the priesthood.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:24 am |
      • ifhorseshadgods

        Of course .. it's a continuous effort to stay in business.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • lean6

        It always cracks me up when this same argument is so often thrown out there so matter-of-factly with such finality...as if minorities have taken over and rule the world or something.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:48 am |
  13. Doris

    I guess when Pope Benedict accepted the Christmas gift from Uganda's senate representative that they would "kill all the gays" in Uganda, I think that speaks a lot to the result we see today – widespread panic and fear for ho-mose-xuals living in Uganda, knowing that they can be jailed or killed at any time since this recent bill passed there. I think it also is very telling about Catholicism – I mean if you start from the top down...

    I suppose when the only Anglican bishop that was making a different to quell hysteria and fears there over gays was stripped of his position, that only contributed to the result we see today. I think that is also very telling about Anglicanism.. if you start from the top down….

    I suppose when Scott Lively and his team of evangelicals from the U.S. traveled to Uganda and incited hysteria and violence against gays, that had a lot to do with the situation we see today. That's a bit different. There doesn't seem to be a "top" of evangelicals. And so we just see more divisions, more conflict of interpretation, more difference in judgment upon one another.

    Why should we be at all surprised at what is going on in Uganda and elsewhere?

    Has the new pope publicly expressed his view of the crimes against humanity in Uganda? I'm not impressed by complacency when people are dying, being jailed and committing suicide in large parts of Africa and elsewhere because of an uneducated stance on hom-ose-xuality from alleged "righteousness".

    March 5, 2014 at 11:07 am |
  14. Doc Vestibule

    The Catholic Church isn't opposed to hetero civil unions, though they believe that those in them are unrepentant sinners bound for the Lake of Fire. Why would they be against gay civil unions?
    Civil unions are a legal matter – God (and therefore His priests and other assorted clergy) don't sanctify that kind of relationship anyways.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:03 am |
  15. jdogfunk100

    This is exactly why religion is so bogus, when their doctrines become so against the norms or society, they change the rules; even though it's supposed to be the word of god. Clearly, they're just making this up as they go along.

    March 5, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • thecryptowizard

      Manipulative men change thing as they go along. With or without a translated Bible, all that matters is each person's individual relationship with God. The reason Christians come under fire so often isn't because of discrepancies in the Bible or a lack of evidence proving the existence of God. It's because most self-proclaimed Christians these days are so self-righteous and judgmental they are counter productive.

      March 5, 2014 at 11:07 am |
      • ifhorseshadgods

        With the number of discrepancies and severe lack of evidence/proof of any kind ... why would anyone have a relationship with a god anyway? Why have a relationship with a being that there is no reason to believe exists to begin with?

        March 5, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • guy250677

          When you can rationally explain why a baby cannot develop outside a woman's womb, the existence of mediums, the fact that the earth has an atmosphere in contrast to other planets, and a list of other things, your rant about no proof of there being a God will hold more water. Its called faith and its a beautiful thing with which your life is more fulfilling than you ever imagined.

          March 5, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • ifhorseshadgods

          guy250677 .. can you explain how a baby (fetus) can develop outside a womb?
          Um .. other planets DO have atmospheres. Your statement say A LOT about where your head is.
          I don't think you know what the word "rant" means.

          March 5, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          In 2011, Nicky Soto from Arizona gave birth to a child that developed outside of her womb.
          More than a decade ago, Dr Hung-Ching Liu of Cornell University's Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility developed an artifical womb to which embryos attached and developed.
          A full foetus hasn't been grown because experiments had to be terminated after a few days to comply with in-vitro fertilisation regulations.

          Other planets have atmosphere.
          In our own solar system, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune have atmospheres.
          The atmosphere of Venus is about 96 percent carbon dioxide with clouds of hydrochloric acid.
          Mars has a thin atmosphere composed of about 95 percent carbon dioxide, with the remainder being mostly diatomic nitrogen and some water.
          Earth, Venus and Mars have atmospheres that were primarily formed as a result of volcanic gas emissions, although the evolution of these gases on each planet has been very different.

          If you're referring to "Earth like atmosphere", we've only just developed the means to detect such things on distant planets, but we're finding more and more of them each day.
          For example, there is a planet about 20 light years away which orbits a small, red star called Gliese 581. Astrologists have determined that it's atmosphere is very Earth like.

          March 5, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Sorry – "Astronomers", not "astrologists".
          The Zodiac has nothing to do with it. lol

          March 5, 2014 at 11:53 am |
      • guy250677

        This man or woman is correct.

        March 5, 2014 at 11:25 am |
  16. onthebeech

    The Church bending to political pressure? Oh say it isn't so!

    March 5, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  17. seedenbetter

    How can Christians not see that it's all a scam? The pope can just make it up as he goes and they just follow like sheep and pay the til.

    March 5, 2014 at 10:39 am |
    • Alias

      You have to realize that if you believe the bible is true, you will interpret everything differently.
      Until people can see that the bible is not a perfect word of some god, they will continue to follow it.

      March 5, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  18. mpoidvin

    This is another example of Religion bowing to it's creator, man. Religion evolves as it's position becomes untenable to the society it seeks to control. That said, good for him.

    March 5, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • seedenbetter

      Christianity has always had to evolve to keep up with the morally superior secular society. They then claim they led the charge and secular caught up with them.

      March 5, 2014 at 10:40 am |
      • thecryptowizard

        Morally superior secular society? That's is obnoxiously comical. You're either a troll or simply uneducated. Religious or not, everyone derives their sense of ethics and morality from a variety of sources. Just because someone basis their values on something that cannot be proved does not mean you, or "secular society", are any more morally superior because of your values that may not be based on something you cannot disprove. Don't be ignorant.

        IN RESPONSE TO
        seedenbetter:
        "Christianity has always had to evolve to keep up with the morally superior secular society. They then claim they led the charge and secular caught up with them."

        March 5, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The Journal of Religion & Society published a study on religious belief and social well-being, comparing 18 prosperous democracies from the U.S. to New Zealand.
          #1 on the list in both atheism and good behaviour is Ja.pan. It is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world. It also has the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy of any developed nation. Over eighty percent of the population accept evolution.
          Last on the list is the U.S. It has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and homicide rates are at least five times greater than in Europe and ten times higher than in Ja.pan.
          Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious.

          March 5, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I especially like sects like the Mormons and their rotating cast of prophets.
      They were horrendously and unabashedly racist right up until they opened their first Temple in a country full of dark skinned people. All of a sudden, their prophet receives a divine message that black folk can be clergy.
      It is awfully hard to find volunteers to staff your business when you tell all the locals that they're inherently inferior.
      Or when they had the magical, divine revelation that polygamy is bad – right after the US Government made the banning of polygamy an official requirement for entry into the Union.
      Then there's the 7th Day Adventists and other offshoots of the Millerite movement. Guess what – Jesus didn't come back on any of the dates that Miller prophesied. Why does the religion still exist if it is predicated on a failed prophecy?

      March 5, 2014 at 10:52 am |
      • Alias

        It was when the christians needed to recruit non-jews that Acts was written. Without removing all those strict rules they never could have converted other people into their faith.

        March 5, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Seriously.
          There's something like 600+ rules for conduct in the OT – some of them are quite practical, especially given the time and place in which they were applied – but most of them are simply absurd.
          Why does God put such an emphasis on facial hair anyways?

          March 5, 2014 at 11:05 am |
  19. Austin

    Baptized by water and fire.
    Repentence.

    That is the doctrine.

    March 5, 2014 at 10:12 am |
  20. the0g0to0the0t

    Oh good – another pope story. I was starting to get worried...

    March 5, 2014 at 10:08 am |
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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.