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9 Reasons Pope John Paul II mattered
Pope John Paul II in a file photo
January 14th, 2011
03:14 PM ET

9 Reasons Pope John Paul II mattered

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Pope John Paul II is in the news today in a big way, with the Vatican announcing he will be beatified in May - the last step before sainthood.

Most people know that John Paul was hugely important - one of the most consequential popes in history - without exactly knowing why.

Here are 9 reasons:

1. John Paul II turned the role of pontiff into global celebrity. "He was the first pop pope," says Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor. "Although rather conservative theologically he was the first to marry the papacy to the cult of celebrity."

2. He made people rethink the Catholic Church, updating its image and strengthening its influence with everyday people and world leaders alike, through a vigorous campaign of global engagement. "For the most part popes had been viewed as old Italian guys in white sitting on some gilded baroque throne in Rome," says David Gibson, who has authored multiple books on the papacy. "But in demonstrating a willingness to think and act outside the papal box, John Paul inspired many Catholics and, just as important, he made billions of others look at the Catholic Church in a new way."

"John Paul II embodied in change in so many ways," Gibson says, "that he seemed to signal to the world that the Catholic Church could be as agile as any institution in the modern world."

3. He left Rome. A lot. John Paul II was the first globetrotting pope, drawing huge crowds in corners of the world that no pope had ever visited. "He broke out of the golden cage of the Vatican and its protocols and took the papacy to the world rather than expecting the world to follow the road to Rome," says  Gibson. And people responded. When John Paul II celebrated mass at Grant Park in Chicago - a city no pope had visited before - in 1979, 1.2 million people showed up.

4. He helped end Communism. A year after his election to the papacy, John Paul returned to his native Poland to "strengthen the brethren" there in the face of Soviet rule. His visit, in which he repeatedly told Poles "Don't be Afraid," helped inspire the launch of the Solidarity in Poland, the most powerful anti-communist movement until that time, which in turn triggered similar resistance across the Soviet Union. When Communism collapsed in 1989, many credited John Paul with helping lay the groundwork.

5. He was one of the world's great communicators. Fluent in 8 languages, the John Paul II often addressed audiences in their native tongue. "He spoke everyone else’s language, and his Latin wasn’t so great," says Gibson. And he wasn't shy about using the media to get his message out. 'If it doesn’t happen on TV, it doesn’t happen,” John Paul used to say, according to Gibson.

And he was even more effective in person. "Almost everyone who ever met him describes it exactly the same way, that when he was speaking with you, it was as if you were the only person in the world," says Joseph Zwilling, who directs communications for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. "He saw in every person a real reflection of the image and likeness of God, and lived that out in a radical way."

Even when he was suffering from Parkinson's late in life, Pope John Paul was unafraid to be seen. "His willingness to appear in public bearing the effects of Parkinson's reminded the world that for the Christian, suffering is nothing to be ashamed of, or hidden away," says James Martin, a Jesuit writer.

6. More than previous popes, he inspired young people, the lifeblood of any religious tradition. John Paul II "logged hundreds of thousands of miles in tours that brought vast crowds of adoring adolescents," says Prothero. Adds Tom McClusky, director of government relations for the conservative Family Research Council in Washington: "He empowered youth throughout the world to make holiness a part of their lives."

7. While revolutionizing the papacy, he strictly adhered to traditional church teaching. "Change is often seen as a dirty word in the church, as though altering the smallest custom or tradition would start a crack in the entire edifice of faith," says Gibson. But John Paul reaffirmed the church's conservative stances on social issues like abortion and contraception, signaling a change of course after what some saw as the more liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"He ended the dominance of liberation theology... revivified the grandeur of traditional Catholic liturgy, and he reconnected Catholic social teaching to the witness of scripture," says Deal W. Hudson president of Catholic Advocate.

"John Paul II energized the 'evangelical' wing of the Catholic Church, meaning Catholics who embrace church teaching and want to take it to the streets to change the culture, which in the United States you see most clearly on the 'life issues' such as abortion and gay marriage," adds John Allen, Jr. CNN's Vatican analyst. "There’s now a whole generation of younger 'John Paul II' priests and bishops who share that mindset.

8. John Paul reset Catholic relations with other religious traditions. He was the first pope to visit a synagogue and a mosque. "Many Jews think of him as the greatest pope in history," says Allen. "He also managed to pioneer better relations with Islam - two pretty remarkable things to have accomplished at the same time."

He also improved Catholicism's relationship with other Christian traditions. "John Paul II won an unprecedented level of respect for the Catholic Church among evangelical Christians, removing the anti-Catholic tinge of much of their preaching, teaching, and cultural commentary," says Hudson.

9. He de-Italianized the papacy, the first pope born outside of Italy in centuries.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Leaders • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

soundoff (465 Responses)
  1. Bob

    He was 58 when he first became Pope. It always puzzles me when they elect a Pope in his late 70's and all.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  2. John Flower

    It never ceases to amaze anyone with a brain and decent values at the arrogance, stupidity and idiocy of many of the comments on these blogs. Pope John Paul II was a very Holy man who may have done more for humanity over his tenure as Pope than any of his predecssors with the exception of John XXIII. Not just his humanitarian efforts but working with Reagan, William Casey , etc. to bring down Communism in the East. Pius the XII was in a tough position during WWII but God knows what might have happened if John Paul had been in the Papacy! Hitler would not directly challenge the Vatican but what if there had an active antogonist as Pope?

    January 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  3. Steve

    Lett a deep spiritual imprint in my soul. Great teacher, true philosopher.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  4. vtxrider

    Religion aside (I believe that is everyones personal choice), I'm glad the article included Item #4. Many people in the US forget the Pope John Paul, Lech Walensa, and even Mikail Gorbachov all had a part in the fall of the USSR. While a very important part, Ronald Reagan was only a part of this. All for deserve the credit.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  5. Tim

    Good reasons. #9 should have been #1 and # 4 should have been #2 though.

    January 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  6. Greg T

    Sorry to see some negative comments in here; but I guess people wh have been hurt or wronged, or are sour for other reasons, always will do that. Overall, great to see something good about JPII again. He was and still is an extraordinary man, and even though he did not feed India and did not care for people in Africa directly, I put Him upthere with Mother Thereasa, Ghandi, and other such people of goodness and peaceful influence to make this blue ball, called Earth, a better place. Let's remember the good things he accomplished and try to make a difference, a good difference, in this world – it needs it desperately!

    January 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Marlene

      I have not been wronged by Catholic Church. As a matter of fact, I very much enjoyed my Catholic education albeit skewed in one direction. I will thank the Jesuits for their emphasis on using reasoned arguments to arrive at sound conclusions. As the philosopher (and emperor) Marcus Aurelius wrote: "Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

      January 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Marlene,
      Your Catholic education should be in the One direction, the One path, to the One Way if it was truly Catholic! You are fortunate that your education was true to the Faith.

      January 16, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  7. Nad

    The Greatest Pope in history.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      When you look at some of the atrocities committed by popes throughout the ages, that ain't sayin' much.

      January 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      EuphoriCrest,
      1. You can read the history behind each pope. Start reading!!! Then you qualify to comment on them.
      2. St. Peter (32-67)
      3. St. Linus (67-76)
      4. St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
      5. St. Clement I (88-97)
      6. St. Evaristus (97-105)
      7. St. Alexander I (105-115)
      8. St. Sixtus I (115-125) Also called Xystus I
      9. St. Telesphorus (125-136)
      10. St. Hyginus (136-140)
      11. St. Pius I (140-155)
      12. St. Anicetus (155-166)
      13. St. Soter (166-175)
      14. St. Eleutherius (175-189)
      15. St. Victor I (189-199)
      16. St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
      17. St. Callistus I (217-22) Callistus and the following three popes were opposed by St. Hippolytus, antipope (217-236)
      18. St. Urban I (222-30)
      19. St. Pontain (230-35)
      20. St. Anterus (235-36)
      21. St. Fabian (236-50)
      22. St. Cornelius (251-53) Opposed by Novatian, antipope (251)
      23. St. Lucius I (253-54)
      24. St. Stephen I (254-257)
      25. St. Sixtus II (257-258)
      26. St. Dionysius (260-268)
      27. St. Felix I (269-274)
      28. St. Eutychian (275-283)
      29. St. Caius (283-296) Also called Gaius
      30. St. Marcellinus (296-304)
      31. St. Marcellus I (308-309)
      32. St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
      33. St. Miltiades (311-14)
      34. St. Sylvester I (314-35)
      35. St. Marcus (336)
      36. St. Julius I (337-52)
      37. Liberius (352-66) Opposed by Felix II, antipope (355-365)
      38. St. Damasus I (366-83) Opposed by Ursicinus, antipope (366-367)
      39. St. Siricius (384-99)
      40. St. Anastasius I (399-401)
      41. St. Innocent I (401-17)
      42. St. Zosimus (417-18)
      43. St. Boniface I (418-22) Opposed by Eulalius, antipope (418-419)
      44. St. Celestine I (422-32)
      45. St. Sixtus III (432-40)
      46. St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)
      47. St. Hilarius (461-68)
      48. St. Simplicius (468-83)
      49. St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
      50. St. Gelasius I (492-96)
      51. Anastasius II (496-98)
      52. St. Symmachus (498-514) Opposed by Laurentius, antipope (498-501)
      53. St. Hormisdas (514-23)
      54. St. John I (523-26)
      55. St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)
      56. Boniface II (530-32) Opposed by Dioscorus, antipope (530)
      57. John II (533-35)
      58. St. Agapetus I (535-36) Also called Agapitus I
      59. St. Silverius (536-37)
      60. Vigilius (537-55)
      61. Pelagius I (556-61)
      62. John III (561-74)
      63. Benedict I (575-79)
      64. Pelagius II (579-90)
      65. St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604)
      66. Sabinian (604-606)
      67. Boniface III (607)
      68. St. Boniface IV (608-15)
      69. St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)
      70. Boniface V (619-25)
      71. Honorius I (625-38)
      72. Severinus (640)
      73. John IV (640-42)
      74. Theodore I (642-49)
      75. St. Martin I (649-55)
      76. St. Eugene I (655-57)
      77. St. Vitalian (657-72)
      78. Adeodatus (II) (672-76)
      79. Donus (676-78)
      80. St. Agatho (678-81)
      81. St. Leo II (682-83)
      82. St. Benedict II (684-85)
      83. John V (685-86)
      84. Conon (686-87)
      85. St. Sergius I (687-701) Opposed by Theodore and Paschal, antipopes (687)
      86. John VI (701-05)
      87. John VII (705-07)
      88. Sisinnius (708)
      89. Constantine (708-15)
      90. St. Gregory II (715-31)
      91. St. Gregory III (731-41)
      92. St. Zachary (741-52)
      93. Stephen II (752) Because he died before being consecrated, many authoritative lists omit him
      94. Stephen III (752-57)
      95. St. Paul I (757-67)
      96. Stephen IV (767-72) Opposed by Constantine II (767) and Philip (768), antipopes (767)
      97. Adrian I (772-95)
      98. St. Leo III (795-816)
      99. Stephen V (816-17)
      100. St. Paschal I (817-24)
      101. Eugene II (824-27)
      102. Valentine (827)
      103. Gregory IV (827-44)
      104. Sergius II (844-47) Opposed by John, antipope (855)
      105. St. Leo IV (847-55)
      106. Benedict III (855-58) Opposed by Anastasius, antipope (855)
      107. St. Nicholas I (the Great) (858-67)
      108. Adrian II (867-72)
      109. John VIII (872-82)
      110. Marinus I (882-84)
      111. St. Adrian III (884-85)
      112. Stephen VI (885-91)
      113. Formosus (891-96)
      114. Boniface VI (896)
      115. Stephen VII (896-97)
      116. Romanus (897)
      117. Theodore II (897)
      118. John IX (898-900)
      119. Benedict IV (900-03)
      120. Leo V (903) Opposed by Christopher, antipope (903-904)
      121. Sergius III (904-11)
      122. Anastasius III (911-13)
      123. Lando (913-14)
      124. John X (914-28)
      125. Leo VI (928)
      126. Stephen VIII (929-31)
      127. John XI (931-35)
      128. Leo VII (936-39)
      129. Stephen IX (939-42)
      130. Marinus II (942-46)
      131. Agapetus II (946-55)
      132. John XII (955-63)
      133. Leo VIII (963-64)
      134. Benedict V (964)
      135. John XIII (965-72)
      136. Benedict VI (973-74)
      137. Benedict VII (974-83) Benedict and John XIV were opposed by Boniface VII, antipope (974; 984-985)
      138. John XIV (983-84)
      139. John XV (985-96)
      140. Gregory V (996-99) Opposed by John XVI, antipope (997-998)
      141. Sylvester II (999-1003)
      142. John XVII (1003)
      143. John XVIII (1003-09)
      144. Sergius IV (1009-12)
      145. Benedict VIII (1012-24) Opposed by Gregory, antipope (1012)
      146. John XIX (1024-32)
      147. Benedict IX (1032-45) He appears on this list three separate times, because he was twice deposed and restored
      148. Sylvester III (1045) Considered by some to be an antipope
      149. Benedict IX (1045)
      150. Gregory VI (1045-46)
      151. Clement II (1046-47)
      152. Benedict IX (1047-48)
      153. Damasus II (1048)
      154. St. Leo IX (1049-54)
      155. Victor II (1055-57)
      156. Stephen X (1057-58)
      157. Nicholas II (1058-61) Opposed by Benedict X, antipope (1058)
      158. Alexander II (1061-73) Opposed by Honorius II, antipope (1061-1072)
      159. St. Gregory VII (1073-85) Gregory and the following three popes were opposed by Guibert ("Clement III"), antipope (1080-1100)
      160. Blessed Victor III (1086-87)
      161. Blessed Urban II (1088-99)
      162. Paschal II (1099-1118) Opposed by Theodoric (1100), Aleric (1102) and Maginulf ("Sylvester IV", 1105-1111), antipopes (1100)
      163. Gelasius II (1118-19) Opposed by Burdin ("Gregory VIII"), antipope (1118)
      164. Callistus II (1119-24)
      165. Honorius II (1124-30) Opposed by Celestine II, antipope (1124)
      166. Innocent II (1130-43) Opposed by Anacletus II (1130-1138) and Gregory Conti ("Victor IV") (1138), antipopes (1138)
      167. Celestine II (1143-44)
      168. Lucius II (1144-45)
      169. Blessed Eugene III (1145-53)
      170. Anastasius IV (1153-54)
      171. Adrian IV (1154-59)
      172. Alexander III (1159-81) Opposed by Octavius ("Victor IV") (1159-1164), Pascal III (1165-1168), Callistus III (1168-1177) and Innocent III (1178-1180), antipopes
      173. Lucius III (1181-85)
      174. Urban III (1185-87)
      175. Gregory VIII (1187)
      176. Clement III (1187-91)
      177. Celestine III (1191-98)
      178. Innocent III (1198-1216)
      179. Honorius III (1216-27)
      180. Gregory IX (1227-41)
      181. Celestine IV (1241)
      182. Innocent IV (1243-54)
      183. Alexander IV (1254-61)
      184. Urban IV (1261-64)
      185. Clement IV (1265-68)
      186. Blessed Gregory X (1271-76)
      187. Blessed Innocent V (1276)
      188. Adrian V (1276)
      189. John XXI (1276-77)
      190. Nicholas III (1277-80)
      191. Martin IV (1281-85)
      192. Honorius IV (1285-87)
      193. Nicholas IV (1288-92)
      194. St. Celestine V (1294)
      195. Boniface VIII (1294-1303)
      196. Blessed Benedict XI (1303-04)
      197. Clement V (1305-14)
      198. John XXII (1316-34) Opposed by Nicholas V, antipope (1328-1330)
      199. Benedict XII (1334-42)
      200. Clement VI (1342-52)
      201. Innocent VI (1352-62)
      202. Blessed Urban V (1362-70)
      203. Gregory XI (1370-78)
      204. Urban VI (1378-89) Opposed by Robert of Geneva ("Clement VII"), antipope (1378-1394)
      205. Boniface IX (1389-1404) Opposed by Robert of Geneva ("Clement VII") (1378-1394), Pedro de Luna ("Benedict XIII") (1394-1417) and Baldassare Cossa ("John XXIII") (1400-1415), antipopes
      206. Innocent VII (1404-06) Opposed by Pedro de Luna ("Benedict XIII") (1394-1417) and Baldassare Cossa ("John XXIII") (1400-1415), antipopes
      207. Gregory XII (1406-15) Opposed by Pedro de Luna ("Benedict XIII") (1394-1417), Baldassare Cossa ("John XXIII") (1400-1415), and Pietro Philarghi ("Alexander V") (1409-1410), antipopes
      208. Martin V (1417-31)
      209. Eugene IV (1431-47) Opposed by Amadeus of Savoy ("Felix V"), antipope (1439-1449)
      210. Nicholas V (1447-55)
      211. Callistus III (1455-58)
      212. Pius II (1458-64)
      213. Paul II (1464-71)
      214. Sixtus IV (1471-84)
      215. Innocent VIII (1484-92)
      216. Alexander VI (1492-1503)
      217. Pius III (1503)
      218. Julius II (1503-13)
      219. Leo X (1513-21)
      220. Adrian VI (1522-23)
      221. Clement VII (1523-34)
      222. Paul III (1534-49)
      223. Julius III (1550-55)
      224. Marcellus II (1555)
      225. Paul IV (1555-59)
      226. Pius IV (1559-65)
      227. St. Pius V (1566-72)
      228. Gregory XIII (1572-85)
      229. Sixtus V (1585-90)
      230. Urban VII (1590)
      231. Gregory XIV (1590-91)
      232. Innocent IX (1591)
      233. Clement VIII (1592-1605)
      234. Leo XI (1605)
      235. Paul V (1605-21)
      236. Gregory XV (1621-23)
      237. Urban VIII (1623-44)
      238. Innocent X (1644-55)
      239. Alexander VII (1655-67)
      240. Clement IX (1667-69)
      241. Clement X (1670-76)
      242. Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89)
      243. Alexander VIII (1689-91)
      244. Innocent XII (1691-1700)
      245. Clement XI (1700-21)
      246. Innocent XIII (1721-24)
      247. Benedict XIII (1724-30)
      248. Clement XII (1730-40)
      249. Benedict XIV (1740-58)
      250. Clement XIII (1758-69)
      251. Clement XIV (1769-74)
      252. Pius VI (1775-99)
      253. Pius VII (1800-23)
      254. Leo XII (1823-29)
      255. Pius VIII (1829-30)
      256. Gregory XVI (1831-46)
      257. Blessed Pius IX (1846-78)
      258. Leo XIII (1878-1903)
      259. St. Pius X (1903-14)
      260. Benedict XV (1914-22) Biographies of Benedict XV and his successors will be added at a later date
      261. Pius XI (1922-39)
      262. Pius XII (1939-58)
      263. Blessed John XXIII (1958-63)
      264. Paul VI (1963-78)
      265. John Paul I (1978)
      266. John Paul II (1978-2005)
      267. Benedict XVI (2005—)

      January 15, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • CatholicMom

      EuphoriCrest,
      the numbers are off...St. Peter is #1 then follow through..............

      January 15, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • EuphoriCrest

      CatholicMom: Apparently you are no student of history but you have mastered the art of copy and paste! I am very familiar with papal history and since you are not, I strongly suggest you go to a library (it's a big building with lots of books) or just google "papal atrocities." You'll find a disgusting litany of heinous, unspeakable crimes. Remember, millions of others have lost their misplaced faith and have lived happy, productive and moral lives. You can too!

      January 16, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  8. jt

    These 9 reasons doesn't qualify him in the least bit to be anything. According to the Bible many of these reasons would actually condemn him. Such as Jesus commanding Christians to be no part of the world. And this guy is promoted for being a celebrity and getting involved in politics?

    January 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      TJ,

      The Church in no way condones the use of condoms. Pope Benedict XVI said that if a prost!tuted who had AIDs used a condom so his partner/victim would not get AIDs from him, the prost!tute would be showing that he was having a conversion of heart in that he was starting to have concern for another’s well-being. That is all!

      In Africa and other places where the use of condoms was pushed on the people there showed a significant increase in AIDs due to a variety of reasons….mainly…more people felt safe so ‘had more s3x’; the condoms failed due to poor quality or other reasons…improper use, and not using every single time but, having false hope in safety… Just like when seat belts came out….now everyone thought they were safe and drove even faster so more horrific crashes and death.

      January 15, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  9. elidude

    9 reasons he mattered: 1. He thought it was still 1939 and Poland; 2. He told Catholics they'd go to hell if they put a thing on their things, so lots of people died of AIDS; 3. He hid pedophiles; 4... the first three were enough, really, weren't they?

    January 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • KB

      Like, like, like and completely!

      January 15, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  10. holly

    To GSK...
    I have read your posts and you seem quite the hater. I truly feel sorry for you.
    To other people ripping into the Catholic faith... unless you have read and are educated in the Catholic Catechism, your comments are rooted in sheer ignorance. Yes, the Catholic church made mistakes, but is working very hard now in defrocking priests who are suspected of molestation. And are all of you so perfect that you have so much time to condemn others. "You fault your brother for the splinter in his eye, yet you ignore the log in your own." -jesus

    January 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Gidgit

      Only after decades of prodding when they realized that they were losing members and influence like crazy, as well as running a risk of facing some very real legal sanctions. Sorry, they've known about the problem since the '60s at the latest, and are only now trying to do something about it because of what a public issue it's become.

      January 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • YAHASAPAH TZABAH

      YOU SOUND LIKE A SPIN DOCTOR "THEIR WORKING TO DEFROCK" LOL, LADY QUIT!

      January 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  11. MAR

    Pope John Paul II, is one of the greatest popes! A person embibed with full humility and touch of blessedness for world unification and peace. I saw him personally when he visited my country, Philippines in 1995. Let us pray for him for his beatification, and canonization. Pacem in Terris. That in all things God may be glorified. Viva il Papa!

    January 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • YAHASAPAH TZABAH

      NO!!! LET'S NOT PRAY FOR A PERSON WHO DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO THE PERVERTED CATHOLIC CURSE(CHURCH)!

      January 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • elidude

      WHen I first read your post I thought you typed: JP2 was one of the greatest POOPS. I thought, Yes! Then I reread. NO!

      January 15, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  12. Believer

    Reason 10: He invented the Pope-Mobile! Pope John Paul II was only a man with faults and demons within his own church. Nevertheless, he was touched by God and his miracles, leadership and faith galvanized the people of the world. He deserves saint-hood. Pundits, non-believers and those with little faith should realize the good he brought to the world.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Eliot Rosewater

      The Popemobile: Because nothing says "I have faith in God" like 3 inches of bulletproof glass.

      January 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Margeaux

      Eliot...great! I am laughing so hard, I am crying....

      January 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  13. Logi

    none of the matter.. its all a cesspool of child abusers

    January 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  14. rrb333

    GSK stop reading Hitchens and Dawkins and using youtube for your info. You really don't know all the facts. Really.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • GSK

      what facts?

      January 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • rrb333

      Exactly

      January 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • GSK

      exactly what? what facts? you got some facts about existence of Jesus and Christian GOD? please present it to us.. present us your evidence that proves his existence..

      January 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • GSK

      the fact is that NO RELIGION has proof of their claims.. CASE CLOSED..

      January 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • paxman2

      If you want scientific ‘proof’ that God exists, check out information on Medjugorje. Six kids, ages 10 to 15 seeing Mary starting in what was then communist Yugoslavia. Arrested, threatened, and then psychologically and scientifically tested, eeg tests, bright lights flashed in eyes with no response, etc. Search for the truth. There are scientific studies which give information on the tests and results. It’s only ‘proof’ if you don’t want to blindly write it off as fake tests and brainwashed kids who have been living very religiously and lying for the past 29 years!

      Read and look at the pictures under the link to 'scientific studies' at w w w (dot) medjugorje (dot) com. Also youtube has videos of Mirjana, some of her during apparitions. More fasinating reading at medjugorje (dot) net and medjugorje (dot) hr.

      Pax.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Paul

      Want proof? Search Youtube for "Milagro Eucaristico Buenos Aires Argentina".

      January 15, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Here are some more miracles!
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7uPLx8PM8c&w=640&h=360]
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi9_sASaMd8&w=640&h=360]
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdU9SMNfodM&w=640&h=360]

      January 15, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Eric G.

      Sorry to all that are posting what they perceive as miracles, but I must call a logic foul. You are making an argument from ignorance when you are saying that an event cannot be scientifically proven. Then you are making an argument from as-sumption when you claim that because an event has not been scientifically proven, it must be a miracle. In order for you to make any miracle claim, you must provide test results that can be verified that clearly define what a miracle is. Sorry, but if you want to be taken seriously in this debate, you must play fair and by the rules. You do not get to make up facts to support your theory. You must provide evidence to support your theory.

      January 15, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • thinker

      II highly respect Pope John Paul 2, but CatholicMom is a highly deluded person. her examples of 'miracles' shows that she has been indoctrinated to believe any hogwash, and doesn't have the logical brainpower to escape this hogwash.

      January 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • thinker

      paxman2, personal revelation is not 'proof'. you are ignorant on what proof science needs. the proof needs to be testable and falsifiable! your example does not meet these requirements.
      what u said is equivalent to me saying that i had a revelation that i saw an eight-legged god while praying and i refuse to be convinced otherwise. the experience was so real that it had to be true. not matter what tests i was given to rid me of this, i never denied seeing this 8-legged god.
      since what i saw is not testable and not falsifiable, it must be true, right?

      January 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  15. Pam

    Shocking that this man with his backwards views did NOTHING about all the priest abuses. He's a saint? Really? Apparently, credentials for sainthood are pretty easy to get. In that case, since I know people who are much more in tune with society and who have legally prosecuted child molesters, I guess that would make them more worthy of sainthood than this pope. Sainthood? Has anyone actually read the history of the Catholic Church and not found it shameful? Or histories of any religions, for that matter. Religion has done more harm throughout history and caused more wars and murders than anything else. Sheep.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Tratheist

      Good call Pam, good call.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Paul

      Catholicism is not in itself bad. However that being said there are some bad Catholics. But it's unfair to judge the teachings of the Church based on a few bad Catholics. With that logic you could argue that the English school curriculum is bad for everyone simply because there are a few bad teachers.

      January 15, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • DeAguaDulce

      Same tire ol' screed, Pam. Human atrocities are cause by human greed. Nothing more, nothing less.

      January 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Mike

      Pam – ever heard of Stalin and Mao? Baaaaaaaaa

      January 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  16. Gregor

    He was a great Pope.

    Some comments here show that Catholic-bashing is still alive in the U.S. What a shame.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  17. Jack

    hmmm not of that matters to me...

    January 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • KB

      *Like*

      January 15, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  18. Ron

    A magnificant person of faith. Truly inspirational. A man who not only showed us how to live but also how to die. I loved him.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Marlene

      I have faith in our ability to bring positive change to everyone. The best and most recent example of the best that we can achieve when we truly work together is the Chilean mine disaster which could have been a real disaster if egos and ulterior motives had won out. Instead, the Chilean people gather their resources, were humble enough to seek and accept assistance from others and achieve the goal-to bring every miner out alive including the rescue crew. That is the true measure of faith-faith in our very imperfect selves that sometimes, yes, sometimes we can achieve truly great things–together.

      January 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Yes, Marlene,
      and I think there was much praying going on all around the world!

      January 15, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • thinker

      what does prayer have to do with the chilean miners being saved? prayer had nothing to do with it. it was through experience with previous mining disasters that they started building safe rooms in mines for disasters just like that. and with the help of science and other PEOPLE, they were able to be rescued.
      iif prayer worked, what about the miners in texas, why did they die amid all the prayers? im sure they were devout catholics too, so why did their prayers go unanswered? seems to me that you ignore when prayer doesn't work and only praise prayer when it seems to work (by chance).

      January 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      thinker,
      Tell it to the miners that their prayers had nothing to do with it.
      God answers all prayers. We do not always understand His answers because we do not have a mind like God’s mind.

      January 23, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Don

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      Hands that help are better than lips that pray.

      Prayer is nothing more than doing something to make YOURSELF feel better, rather than doing something to make OTHERS feel better.

      January 23, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  19. willie

    Reason #10
    stupid people need something to believe in.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Gregor

      And more stupid people don't believe in anything.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Tratheist

      Hahahahahaha! Good call.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • gregory (atheist)

      I dont believe in nothing and smarter than you.
      By the way this pope was great!!

      January 15, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Margeaux

      Willie....how true.... LOL

      January 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  20. kuwait_999

    To all of the Nagative posters,

    you have a-lot of hatred inside of you. Hatred will destroy your inner peace
    ... and make your family suffer.

    May peace be with you and your familly

    January 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • 4mercy

      I agree. If they only knew how much evil is brought about by sin after sin after sin. The sickness and catastrophes are brought about in this world by our own sinfulness, hatred toward others, and lack of reverence toward God. Prayer could change many things....hearts, minds, the world....if only they would believe.

      January 14, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Don

      There's no such thing as sin, and nothing fails like prayer.

      January 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • rigel54

      Oh, you guys, evil is brought about by obedience to dogma without reason, and valuation of self over society (not limited to either believers or unbelievers).

      January 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Todd

      So if I molest your children and run away, you would still love me? Very noble of you.

      January 16, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Margeaux

      Typical threats coming from religious people. Nice try, but I don't respond to threasts either from you or your church. Seems to work on a lot of people though....

      January 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
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About this blog

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