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January 19th, 2011
10:50 AM ET

Church letter warns against mandatory reporting of child sex abuse

A 1997 letter from the Vatican's representative to bishops in Ireland warns them to follow church law in investigating cases of suspected child sex abuse by priests and expresses "serious reservations" about requiring that such cases be reported to the police.

The Vatican has responded by calling the letter "deeply misunderstood."

And a spokesman for the Conference of Irish Bishops said they have since 1996 had a policy of reporting suspected abuse to the police.

The two-page letter, written by Apostolic Nuncio Luciano Storero, was sent to bishops in Ireland in response to a document they had sent to the Vatican that recommends mandatory reporting of cases of suspected child sex abuse by priests.

Read the full story about the letter here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Europe • Ireland • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Philip

    NL...true. They are only friends of Jesus until they are drafted. Then it's off to go kill some fellow Christians somewhere just because some man professing to be a Christian leader says "go".

    January 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • NL

      Philip-
      I don't think they're anything so dramatic. They haven't the guts, nor the confidence in their faith required to do as you say. They're just the smug elite who wear the mantle of ultra-piety and who live to lord it over non-believers, people of other faiths, and more moderate Christians. They enjoy their imagined status as God's only children and relish in using the threat of His vengeance to put everyone else down. For people who profess a desire to shed this life they are altogether enjoying the benefits of their present position way too much. I don't think that the character of Jesus, the wandering rabbi who opposed the Pharisees in the gospels, would approve of them either.

      January 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  2. JameJame

    Who freaking cares? so what if someone chooses to believe In God or not? if believing in god makes people die in peace, so be it. if not believing in god makes people live in peace, so be it. look, the world would be a much more enjoyable place if people on BOTH sides stopped shoving their beliefs down peoples throat. i don't care why you choose to believe or not. give me the credit that no matter what i think, i came up with it on my own. i don't need convincing from any of you goons.

    January 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  3. Philip

    @NL...your comparison fits. Pharisees tried to meticulously keep to a perfect law code and turned it into a burden for their own followers. Jesus exposed them, and was murdered for it. The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee who admitted to being foremost as a persecutor of Christians, he even hunted Christians for sport, murdering many as was customary for Jews.. But Paul repented and became a Christian. He left the false Jewish religion and went about exposing it to the world, even using his status as a Roman citizen to accomplish this. Paul nor any of Jesus early followers ever voted, ran for political office, or joined any army. There are very few people like this today. Most people have confused faith in man-made religions with faith in God. No wonder there are so many athiests with these false religions portraying God as they do.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • NL

      Philip-
      Yes, Jesus would have disapproved of fundamentalists and extremists of all religious stripes. Many of these 'personal relationship with Jesus' types unfortunately also fall within this field, I'm afraid.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  4. Philip

    About this letter: it is the 'smoking gun' we've all been waiting for. The Vatican has in fact maintained a church policy protecting criminal pedophiles, and now what we've all known to be true can finally be proven in court. It's not like when the Vatican helped smuggle Nazi war criminals out of Europe, for they were doing a service for various governments, especially our own. The Vatican is of little use to world powers who no longer need church leaders to preach young men onto the battlefield for them. And certainly do not need priest's molesting prospective soldiers.

    January 20, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  5. Philip

    @NL...Jesus had no "mantle of tolerance" as you say. Jesus condemned all false-religious practices, especially those of the Jewish religion. He called Jewish religious leaders "offspring of vipers" and demonstrated publicly on numerous occassions exposing these greedy men who had twisted God's word for their own gain. Religious tolerance did NOT originate with Jesus. The idea that Jesus wants his true followers to be tolerant of false religion is laughable.

    January 20, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • NL

      Philip-
      Tell me, when you look around at the modern religious scene, what group has slipped into the same role of dogmatic observers of traditional and written law? Who also shares the Pharisees' pretension towards superior righteousness? Fundamentalists see themselves as the radicals, but that is totally absurd really. As I see it, they really are our modern day Pharisees.

      January 20, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  6. Doc Vestibule

    There have also been difficulties with the Catholic clergy in Africa, which have been ignored in the face of ped.ophilia scandals.
    The National Catholic Reporter broke the story of five reports submitted to the Vatican doc.umenting se.xual abuse of nuns by priests in 2001.
    In its statement, the priests noted that opportunities for advanced education had been available to priests but not nuns.
    “African nuns have often been financially disadvantaged. Unlike the priests who have always had some kind of significant allowance, the private use of a vehicle, a private (often spacious) house and many other material privileges, many African nuns have had to live with very little, even when they have been involved in diocesan ministries very similar to those of priests,” the statement said.
    On the issue of se.xual abuse, the priests noted that in many cases where a pregnancy resulted from “an unhealthy relationship between a priest and a nun,” the nun had to leave religious life while the priest was allowed to continue.
    There are plenty of scandals surrounding the Catholic church.
    The Vatican has found itself in a public relations firestorm and the population at large will no longer tolerate letting the Clergy police itself.
    It is refreshing to see that even religious folk now agree that Shamans are not above the law and should have to face secular investigation and punishment.

    January 20, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  7. Evolved DNA

    This has every thing to do with protecting the business of the catholic church than any children. Catholicmon seems to think you actually need a" policy" to report abuse.. no morals in the church then.. no one thinking for them selves? It is utterly appalling that religions try to spin horrors like this faster than a quasar.

    January 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Q

      Has there ever been a religion which consistently promoted morality over obedience to "divine" edicts rather than simply trying to conflate the two?

      January 20, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  8. HeavenSent

    David Johnson, it must be nice to automatically believe all this propaganda against Jesus. God definitely knows how the earth is formed because He created it. You will find this propaganda on the Internet, in the libraries, any book any author wants to hawk to make a few shillings. I suggest researching His truth for yourself. Then we can debate Truth versus Fiction.

    Amen.

    January 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Eric G.

      Ok, it's a slow night so I will take the bait.... What verifiable evidence can you provide to prove that your god exists? You asked for a debate, so please avoid logical fallicies or you will be called out on them.

      January 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Mike

      Eric, don't bother. To these people "evidence" is what the bible says, everything else is unproven theories.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • NL

      HeavenSent
      " any book any author wants to hawk to make a few shillings."

      Have you ever been to a Christian bookstore? Believe me, there's more than a few shillings being traded about in propaganda FOR Jesus.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @HeavenSent

      For some time now, I have "debated" virtually all who desired a debate. I have experienced burnout. These blogs, for the most part bore me, now. I know how Jesus felt when He was confronted by all the lepers. I just can't heal all the fundies. I, like Jesus, am only human.

      Cheers!

      January 20, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      I know what you mean but, for me, it's more like being Jesus confronted by all the Pharisees. That's the role these 'fundies' play in todays' religious climate. The moderates, who really ought to be the ones fighting to reclaim the faith, remain silent, so it is left to us to challenge these folks. I suppose you could call that rather ironic that we atheists are the only ones interested in taking up Jesus' mantle of tolerance and liberal interpretation.

      Hang in there, buddy! 🙂

      January 20, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Steve the real one

      Eric G,

      Nice question coming from some one who believes in the fable AKA evolution! Where proof of that? Every shred of "evidence" folk like you present are but fossils. Why are monkeys in zoos not evolving? Where is the lizard sprouting feathers? Where is the LIVING proof? I asked this of some else before and all I got was the sound of crickets! I shall assume you have no answers either! Prove me wrong!

      January 20, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Eric G

      @Stevetherealone: Sorry, logic foul. You are making an argument from ignorance. The evidence supporting evolution theory is demonstrative. Genetic mapping has made it so. Your lack of ability to understand the evidence does not make it invalid. Try harder next time.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Smite Me

      Heh, just noticed... when you string Steve's name together like that, it becomes, "Steve There Alone"! 🙂

      January 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Eric G

      @Stevetherealone: Sorry, logic foul. You are making an argument from ignorance. The evidence supporting evolution theory is demonstrative. Genetic mapping has made it so. Your lack of ability to understand the evidence does not make it invalid. Try harder next time.
      -----–
      Sorry NO logic foul. The primary issue is you cannot answer my question! Again,where is the living evolving creature? Your lack of ability to understand the evidence (of Christianity) does not make it invalid. So feel free to try harder next time. No shame in not having an answer unless you are attempting to use evolution to try to discredit Christianity!

      January 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Smite Me
      Heh, just noticed... when you string Steve's name together like that, it becomes, "Steve There Alone"!
      -----
      I never noticed that before either! Consider this thought:

      Matthew 28:20 KJV
      Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo , I am with you alway , even unto the end of the world. Amen.

      Not alone in my faith my friend! I have Jesus and my Brothers and Sisters in Christ! So I am far from alone! one! Seriously nice catch, I never noticed before!

      January 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Stevetherealone: All living organisims are evolving. I said nothing about trying to disprove your religious beliefs. I have presented the demonstrative evidence (Genetic Mapping and genome sequencing) which proves the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution and the theory of creation are separate theories. They both require their own verifiable evidence to support them. I have once again presented the verifiable evidence to support evolutionary theory. I once again state that you are making an argument from ignorance because you have not studied the evidence presented to support evolutionary theory. I will now ask you to present the verifiable evidence to support your creationist theory.

      January 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Eric G,

      I have noticed something. You claim to have presented "evidence" that support evolution yet you continue to call it a theory. You have not yet used the word "fact". Why is that? As for creationism: Why is it the earth is placed JUST in the right place. Any closer to the sun and life cannot be supported, any further away and the same is true. Isaiah wrote this several thousand years ago:

      Isaiah 40:22 KJV
      It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.

      Exactly how would Isaiah know the earth is a circle? What science was avaialble to him to let him know?

      Job 26:7 KJV
      He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

      How would Job know that the earth hung on nothing? Hubble did not snap a picture! How did these men know.

      Don't even try to complain that I am using a book (the Bible) to prove my point. That is exactly what you are doing! You are embracing what you read in a book. Your trust that it is true! While the Earth STILL hangs on nothing! Where is the monkey-man? Where is the lizard-bird? Why is everything you call evidence dead? Is nothing evolving today? Is there NO living proof today? In short, there is none because God made a man a man, a monkey a monkey, a lizard a lizard and a bird a bird!

      January 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Eric G

      @stevetherealone: The word theory, when used by scientists, refers to an explanation of reality that has been thoroughly tested so that most scientists agree on it. It can be changed if new information is found. Theory is different from a working hypothesis, which is a theory that hasn't been fully tested; that is, a hypothesis is an unproven theory.
      The word theory also distinguishes ideas from practice. The words empirical and clinical are also used to distinguish theory from practice. This is different from laypeople's use of the word theory which is usually used to mean an idea that isn't certain, that is not reality. The verifiable evidence provided by genetic mapping proves evolutionary theory as fact. What you have provided as evidence to prove creation theory is observation. You will now need to prove that life could not exist if the conditions observed were changed. You are now making an argument from ignorance and dishonesty. Ignorgance because you do not understand the evidence, and dishonesty because you refuse to gain the knowledge provided in the references necessary to understand the evidence. Let me know if you need me to explain it using smaller words.

      January 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      You seem to be under some sort of misapprehension about theories. Much of our best and most useful scientific knowledge is described as theories. If you really think that a scientific theory has less weight than a fairy tale then please give up almost every bit of technology we have created using those theories. Or learn about science. Its not scary.
      Science is just a way to describe reality, it is not a religion with all the answers. Scientific knowledge can never be complete and will always grow and change.
      If you need answers right now about the things we do not yet know for certain, please see your local clergy. If you are interested in what is really going on, then be patient and also understand that you will die without knowing everything.

      January 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Eric G and MarkinFL,

      No offense intended. I am asking why! That is howwe learn! As a Christian I will always believe in the story of creation! I still want to know where is the living evidence of evolution. Why can't I see it? I beleive i the thing of God, through faith and you believe in evolution, in faith. Can I assume you never seen living evidence as well? MarkinFL,trust me I know that I will go to my grave without full knowledge of pretty much anything! I am straight on the word theory! Thanks for that. Eric G, you getting a little snippy there buddy! Calm down! I still don't consider what you presented as evidence though and I am being completely honest!

      January 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @stevetherealone: You asked for an answer. I gave you an answer and the evidence that supports it. You then said you don't believe in the evidence presented. That is dishonest. Evidence does not require belief. As for living proof of evolution, I suggest you research the humble flu virus. It evolves rapidly. I am still waiting for your verifiable evidence to support your belief in the creation theory.

      January 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Eric G,

      I will answer you this way

      Faith: The substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen. That, my friend is the bibical definition of faith! That is what I will stand on! As far as the humble flu virus. You say it evolves, I say it mutates! It does not change into anything else. It stays a virus! It does mutate, become drug resistant and such but remains a virus!

      January 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Eric G

      @stevetherealone: Thank you for your response, but you did not answer my question. To make a claim of fact because you hope something is the way you want it, while refusing to consider verifiable evidence to the contrary is dishonest. You have every right to "believe" what you will. Faith is, per your definition, wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is not based on fact.

      Just out of curiosity, did you do any research on genetic mapping?

      January 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Luke,

      If what I believe is wishful thinking so is your belief in evolution! I will explain: You accept research written by somebody you have never met and know nothing about as true! You accept theories written and researched by people you have NEVER met as true. You trust what they say and thus you believe. I did not witness the creation just as you did not witness any evolution! You are taking somebody's word in belief what they was said is true! I am taking the words of Christ and the apostles and prophets as true as well. What you don't realize is we are doing the same thing although the targets of our faith is different! Somebody says bones found are - years old and writes about it and BINGO many believe it although they witnessed no digging and handled no bones themselves! Yet Christians are called to task when we say we believe in an event and a God we have not seen. I have not researched genetic mapping. You are exercising you faith as well as I am. Again, the target or emphasis is different

      January 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Sorry not Luke but Eric G!

      January 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @stevetherealone: I am sorry, but you are confused. I can verify the test results. I can take their data and confirm it myself. That is what makes the evidence verifiable. It requires no belief. Please try harder.

      January 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  9. Reality

    Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?
    "
    FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP!!!

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not as-surance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of ped-ophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have s-ex with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy"

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan since ped-ophilia is present in all walks of life.

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for ped-ophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce for adu-ltery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law, B16?) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

    January 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  10. Peace2All

    Seems like the RCC has been continuing its 'cover it up' campaign. It is certainly 'not' the job of the Catholic Church, or any Church or Religious organization to cover up crimes such as child abuse.

    These are matter for 'law enforcement' and the court systems.

    Not sure what all the arguments are about here...?

    Peace...

    January 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Eric G.

      Well said my friend. Even the most stout follower of the Catholic church must admit that the evidence is mounting. The problem I hear from Catholics is that they do not want to know if the Church is guilty of systematically covering up the ra-pe of children because that action is morally indefensible.

      January 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      My understanding is that it is current Church policy calls for cases to be reported to the police.

      January 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @CatholicMom: What if the Catholic Church is found guilty of covering up se-xual abuse of children in the past? What do you think should happen to those who were guilty of the crimes that are still as-sociated with the Church?

      January 19, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Catholic Dad

      They should all be forgiven and everyone waves and smiles and affirms that the Catholic Church is the center of the universe.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      The real question is why wasn't it always Church policy to report cases to the police? Why did they have to decide to follow the law of the land?

      January 19, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Eric G.

      My understanding of the situation is that the Church has always followed the norm in handling s3xual abuse cases at the earliest known onset of it. The Church was told how to handle it by psychologists/doctors/laws of the land, and it conformed to the standards that were set at the time and has progressed up to this point in time complying to the fullest in protecting children and expelling criminals when they are found.

      I am sure you know how the laws were surrounding s3x cases of all kinds over the years….at first they were taboo to even discuss so progress has only gotten better [but not perfect] for victims in our most recent history.

      I realize that it is hard to agree with my statement because so many are set on convicting the Church no matter what…but if you think about it….if there was truth to all the allegations of cover-ups and the eagerness with which this is being pursued I think we would have heard of arrests being made left and right. If they find any truth of such things I am hopeful that it will be handled within the law.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,
      When there were no laws to deal with s3x problems people did what they could with what they knew about pedophilia. No one follows a law that doesn’t exist until it exists.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Those laws were in place long before the church was ever FORCED to follow the law.

      i.e. Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974

      January 20, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I have a serious question. Is the church your moral leader? If so why is the church FOLLOWING the rest of society instead of leading when it comes to such a clearly moral issue. The church should have been way out front on this, no?
      I think the term "moral bankruptcy" pretty much fits.

      January 20, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Ah, very good point. Many of the cases involved boys aged about 10 and older and the "age of consent" laws were mainly concerned with girl's virtue.

      January 20, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      What role do you think Catholic pride, and the average Catholic's aversion to airing out the abuse for public ridicule of their faith, especially in the old days, had in this? From personal experience I know that certain priests were known for this, but it just wasn't something that anybody was willing to confront them on. I think the average parish would have turned against the accuser a few decades ago, right?

      January 20, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Eric G

      @CatholicMom: I am sorry, but your statements are disgusting. Your defense of your church in this matter is morally unacceptable. I will never find it necessary to respect your belief on any religious matter in the future if you find it acceptable to explain away the criminal cover-up of the ra-pe of children. There is no defense of these actions and you, as a church member, should be screaming for the church to surrender these pedophiles to the authorities. You should be ashamed.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Know What

      MarkinFl:

      "Is the church your moral leader? If so why is the church FOLLOWING the rest of society instead of leading when it comes to such a clearly moral issue. The church should have been way out front on this, no?"

      Absolutely. An organization which claims 'infallibility in matters of faith & morals'... and they needed to wait for a civil law? These crimes weren't committed in some remote jungle outpost of the Church, where the hierarchy might have been unaware of them. Knowledge of them went right to the top.

      January 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Thorton Whittleston

      CatholicMom, I am with Eric: Your whitewashing of utterly heinous behavior by the Catholic church utterly disgusts me. I cannot believe a human being could put out such a perverted distortion of what the church did as you did in your astounding statement:

      "The Church was told how to handle it by psychologists/doctors/laws of the land, and it conformed to the standards that were set at the time and has progressed up to this point in time complying to the fullest in protecting children and expelling criminals when they are found."

      That is just so opposite the truth and downright cruel to the victims of this widespread atrocity that you have earned nothing but contempt.

      January 21, 2011 at 2:27 am |
  11. GSA

    @DavidJohnson – may anger isn't with one group but with certain ppl in any group that affiliate themselves with that said group then committ these sorts of acts and give all a bad name.
    My comment above was just a slight jab at all of those ppl who will condemn all in a group for their negative actions (which is completely wrong to label all as "bad) yet in this case many of those same ppl will not label all Catholics. Every Catholic I have met has been nothing but decent and upstanding but to those who like to label why do Catholics get a pass from the hate and say Muslims or Democrats/Republicans do not get a pass?

    January 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  12. And the winner is...

    Lol, well this is too funny, the irony is unspeakable. Whether divinely appointed or not, the basic fact is that it is not up to the church to become a law enforcement agency. The history books are filled with the remnants of that, it didn't work out. It doesn't matter if it is only suspected it must be reported. The US is filled with public professionals that are mandatory reports. Any suspected abuse in any sense must be reported. While the justice system is not perfect it does have its merits. If this does nothing else it shows that the church's priorities do not include the well being of its lambs.

    January 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  13. David Johnson

    This is exactly like the Evangelicals do with the bible. If a passage clearly says something that is uncomfortable or downright damaging to their beliefs, then the offending verse is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is a translation error; means something other than what it actually says; or is magic.

    Only if a verse bolsters the Evangelical belief system, will it be taken as a literal statement. Otherwise it is changed to meet the requirements. By hook or by crook.

    Only faith could keep the religious Humpty Dumpty egg together. Patching up the cracks is a full time job. LOL.

    Believers are idiots. They have no gag reflexes. They can swallow anything.

    Love and Prayers!

    January 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @David Johnson
      Don't forget that if one of us heathen non-believers uses a biblical reference to bolster a point, we're spouting hateful propaganda – but when the faithful do the same, they're speaking Truth.

      January 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      David,

      I respect your opinions, although I respectfully disagree but let me ask a question:

      You seem to know quite a bit about howwe as Christians wrongly interpret the Bible. Since you know so much about correct interpretation, why are you not a Christian, living by the bible?

      January 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Bob

      > Since you know so much about correct interpretation, why are you not a Christian, living by the bible?

      Because he has the correct interpretation? I'd suggest that the christians have it wrong.

      January 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Don't deflect Bob! If we have it wrong then who has it right?

      January 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Doc,

      Read any of my posts. I have said nothing like that. I will admit somethings both sside got out of control! I have never written anything like that! In fact, I don't recall you calling me any names at all, like some do! We can disagree and be respectful as we explain our beliefs or lack thereof!

      January 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve the real one

      You said: "You seem to know quite a bit about howwe as Christians wrongly interpret the Bible. Since you know so much about correct interpretation, why are you not a Christian, living by the bible?

      Because, Christianity is a farce, like all other religions, past and present.

      I point out how the bible is used by Christians (several thousand different denominations), to "prove" that their beliefs are the one true faith. Am I wrong on this? Is there really only one Christian religion? You know that isn't true.

      In truth, your only evidence for your god and long dead Jesus, is a book that contains errors, and is difficult to interpret. You would think an all wise, all powerful god could have done better. Yes? God could have inspired a book that no one could have misunderstood. He could have given us proof that creation and the whole redemption story actually happened.

      I am not a Christian, because reading the bible has given me the understanding that It could not be anything but a work of men.

      I have not come to these blogs to praise religion, but to bury it! I shine the light of truth upon the ignorance and give you peace! I ride my iron chariot and chase the gods from the blog! Grrrrrrrrr!

      Have a nice day!

      January 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Doc Vestibule

      Yep, and we will burn forever and ever while Jesus and his followers watch from Heaven. The aroma of our smoking bodies, making a sweet fragrance unto the lord. Our screams blending with the eternal praises of the cherubims.

      I made this statement as an Evangelical would, hopping from one foot to the other, a look of happiness and rapture on my face.

      Love what you post!

      Cheers my friend!

      January 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Steve the real one
      You comport yourself with dignity, do not spout hate, and know the difference between debate and argument. Because of that, you have the respect of many of us here.
      The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of many of your Evangelical brethren.
      There are plenty of folk on both sides of the fence here who resort to rhetoric and name calling – I know I've been guilty of it at times! – and it can sure get frustrating. After a day of butting heads with the likes of CW, I can start to get bitter.

      Sincerely,
      Dr. Humoladonne Vestibule
      – Word Fabricating Engineer and Champion of the Gay Lifestyle (lol)

      January 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • LJ

      @David Johnson
      I think a person's belief in a God starts with if you believe your consciousness is truly a soul or not. For those that believe they do have a soul then creation testifies to God’s existence everything in nature is so definitely planned and has such a purposeful design that it shows intelligent planning. It has taken the best minds of great scientists to discover only a few of the laws of nature. The scientific laws are not made by accident. Look at the intelligent planning that exists about earth…. The sun’s distance from the earth is just right. The moon’s distance from the earth is just right. The earth is tilted on its axis just right. The mixture of gases is just right. The relationship between plants and animals is just right. Animals take in oxygen, exhale it again combined in carbon dioxide while plants take in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Its that intelligent planning of the very thing that gives us all life that a spiritual person uses to believe in the existence of God.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      I have not come to these blogs to praise religion, but to bury it! I shine the light of truth upon the ignorance and give you peace! I ride my iron chariot and chase the gods from the blog! Grrrrrrrrr!
      Have a nice day!
      --------–
      Your honesty is appreciated but I MUST say better men than you have long tried to bury Christianity yet it has and will forever endure because the foundation, Jesus Christ reigns forever! I can also say both you and I will be long buried before ANYONE is ever successful! The question is where will you go? I am going to heaven and there is room enough for you, my friend and all those who think and believe the way you do! It is your choice and yours alone!

      January 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Bob

      LC, you said:
      > The scientific laws are not made by accident. Look at the intelligent planning that exists about earth…. The sun’s distance from the earth is just right. The moon’s distance from the earth is just right. The earth is tilted on its axis just right. The mixture of gases is just right. The relationship between plants and animals is just right. Animals take in oxygen, exhale it again combined in carbon dioxide while plants take in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Its that intelligent planning of the very thing that gives us all life that a spiritual person uses to believe in the existence of God.

      There are two comments I have for you.

      Firstly, of course the laws would have to be "just right" for you to exist. If they weren't, you wouldn't be here now to consider it would you. You're looking at it from the wrong perspective. Let me help you along.

      What are the odds for a specific individual winning the lottery where you pick 6 numbers out of 49. It turns out to be about 16 million or so. What are the odds of 16 million people playing the lottery and having one random person win? Probably close to 100%.

      You're taking the standpoint of "What are the chances that the earth would have been placed in a good spot for life". The real question is "What are the chances any planet in our universe would find itself in the right situation to allow life." That is to say, how do you know earth was selected and not just a random planet that had the conditions to allow life?

      Second of all, how do you determine intelligent design? Have you seen a non-intelligent universe to compare it to? What qualities exist in the non-intelligent that are different in the intelligent one. What I'm saying is that for you to say "it's intelligent" you'd have to know by default what "not intelligent" was.

      Thus endeth the lesson.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Bob

      > Your honesty is appreciated but I MUST say better men than you have long tried to bury Christianity yet it has and will forever endure because the foundation, Jesus Christ reigns forever!

      Better men have existed, but they did not have the tools I do. I can reach more people with a single blog post then Mark Twain could by touring the country. We're seeing decreasing numbers in believing in faith. Coincidence? I think not.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Know What

      LJ,

      All of your 'just right' conditions only account for the way we *are* due to them. Perhaps if any one of them were a slight bit different we might be even better - larger brains or sturdier bodies - no weather disasters nor other natural accidents... or who knows what.

      January 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Bob

      > Your honesty is appreciated but I MUST say better men than you have long tried to bury Christianity yet it has and will forever endure because the foundation, Jesus Christ reigns forever!

      Better men have existed, but they did not have the tools I do. I can reach more people with a single blog post then Mark Twain could by touring the country. We're seeing decreasing numbers in believing in faith. Coincidence? I think not.
      ---–
      From the faithful ABSOLUTELY NOT!
      From the fair weathered, perhaps!

      January 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • LJ

      @Bob

      The question you need to answer first Bob is do you believe you have a soul? Then we can debate intelligent planning of our earth that has been done through scientific research program, a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature.

      January 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      Well said. No reason for me to reply further. This type of argument for god's existence is absurd.

      Cheers!

      January 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @LJ

      I'll play, but I will have to answer your comments later. Leaving work now. Will check back in a few hours.

      There is no evidence for a soul. All that we are, is contained in our brains. When we experience brain death, we simply no longer exist.

      Do you have proof of such? Do you have any proof that any god exists or ever has existed?

      Cheers!

      January 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • LJ

      @David

      There are many that believe they have a soul, a consciousness that hold our minds together. We can't physically observe thoughts, but we can understand they exist, especially by reading this thread. LOL! The foundation of the soul is love and we can’t actually prove love really exists. When we dream we touch on our subconscious and some feel it reaches out to the universe but there is no actual proof of the subconscious either. Yet, we can believe in thoughts, we can believe in love, so can a person believe in their soul. It’s a personal choice, just like you personally choose your thoughts, you personally choose who you are going to love. For a religious person they will point to their soul, you will point to your mind. This debate has been going on for centuries.

      January 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • ybs

      The only correct interpretation of the bible - it's a fairytale!

      January 20, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  14. GSA

    All Catholics are not pedophiles but all pedophiles are Catholic......wait that's not how it goes.

    January 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @GSA

      You said: "All Catholics are not pedophiles but all pedophiles are Catholic......wait that's not how it goes."

      My anger isn't so much with the priests who attacked the children. There are thousands of good priests in the Church.

      My anger lies in the churches effort to hide these crimes and the priests who committed them. I think some of these Bishops and Cardinals, and even Popes, should be sent to prison for their actions. I think any Pope who knew of these cover ups, should not be a Saint.

      Cheers

      January 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  15. HeavenSent

    Reality (NOT), Jesus' truth is perfect. No flaws. It is human man/women that are flawed. Born of sin. Humans are mortal beings. Therefore, we are all sinners. Have you not heard this truth? Some of us however, repent, are remorseful for our sinful ways, learn Jesus' Truth. Comprehend His truth, apply His truth by putting away our sinful carnal lusts and aspire to practice His spiritual teachings/truth/wisdom.

    Amen.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      "Jesus' truth is perfect. No flaws." Sorry, but that's not true. Jesus repeatedly said that the Kingdom of God would come down upon the Earth within the lifetime of some of his listeners. Jesus was wrong. Repeatedly.

      The "born of sin" thing comes from Paul, not Jesus. Paul seems to have been unaware of much of what Jesus taught, because he contradicts those teachings. The whole "Jesus died for your sins" thing is pure Paul – Jesus never said his death would be important in any way.

      As to practicing his teachings, have you sold all your possessions and given the money to the poor? Jesus repeatedly instructed his followers to do so. If you have not done it, you are disobeying Jesus' direct command.

      January 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Dude! You are the first one on these blogs, that has admitted that Jesus made his incorrect prediction about His return.

      And your talk about Paul! Yes! Yes! My brother. Most Christians practice pauline Christianity. And many think was not the exclusive teachings of Jesus.

      I love you like a brother, man!

      Cheers! May you live 10,000 years! May you receive 72 virgins when you perish! Or, at least a room with a view in the Heavenly mansion.

      January 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • claybigsby

      too bad the "truth" you speak of was written by 30+ fallible mortal men.

      January 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Uh, I guess you mean well, David, but I don't want any damn virgins; send me the Wild Sorority Girls of Planet Playtex.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  16. HeavenSent

    Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger and the rest of you non-believers ... if you ever find time in your lives to read Jesus’ truth (the Bible) He speaks about how the priesthood got polluted 400 years before He was born. You can read Jesus’ truth on this fact in The books of Ezra and Nehemiah

    Besides, there isn’t anything new under the sun that happens to man (meaning women too) that Jesus hasn’t explained in His truth, the Bible.

    Amen.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bob

      You always assume that people who are unbelievers are because they haven't read the bible. I have, 4 times. I'm an unbeliever because of what the bible says.

      January 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @HeavenSent

      Nothing new that Jesus didn't talk about, you say? Hmmm...

      Evidently Jesus, or at least the biblical authors, thought the earth was flat. People of the Middle East thought this during the Bronze Age. Funny that Jesus/God didn't correct this OOoopsie.?

      Love and Prayers!

      January 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  17. Reality

    Nonimus,

    Thanks for the reference. I read it and it does not appear to be a "smoking gun". The way I read it, the letter emphasizes to be careful in making accusations as not to have false accusations come back and put the archdiocese at risk of a false claim lawsuit.

    That being said, the Vatican waited much too long to address this global issue. Said "foot dragging" has started the long overdue review of the RCC and its flawed history and theology which is the only good thing that has come out of these shameful abominations.

    And the situation only emphasizes the following:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life e.g. Do No Harm.

    No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, popes, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired. Ditto for houses and classes of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    January 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Reality,

      I will say this, although I disagree with your views, you seem to at least be even handed in this!

      January 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      The 2nd part of your post is classic Reality! As usual, I disagree! No worthless worship when it comes to worshipping the one true God!

      January 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bob

      @Reality you wrote: The way I read it, the letter emphasizes to be careful in making accusations as not to have false accusations come back and put the archdiocese at risk of a false claim lawsuit.

      But it's not the churches decision on what is and isn't valid. It's law enforcements. Regardless of their "intent" they are subverting the legal system which is unacceptable.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  18. Nonimus

    why is there no link to, or text of, the actual letter? It's difficult to evaluate if you can't even read it.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Nonimus

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/the-1997-letter-vatican-message-sent-to-irish-church/article1874546/

      January 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • ybs

      CNN recently took out our ability to post links that you could just click .http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/the-1997-letter-vatican-message-sent-to-irish-church/article1874546/

      Be cool & put it back, CNN!

      January 20, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  19. Bob

    That's all it takes. Devout catholics won't actually read the letter, they'll accept that the church's intentions weren't evil simply because they say so.

    Being sheep has never been a more apt description for some.

    For those of us who enjoy thinking however, this letter is the final nail in the coffin. It's clear that the church is putting itself above our laws. Laws written by the people for the people. Legal action should be taken. There has to be laws that can be applied to organizations that subvert the law of the land.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Bob,

      Have you read the letter? Have you even read the article by CNN, every word right to the end? If you made it to the bottom you would have read this:

      CNN Senior Vatican An-alyst John L. Allen Jr. stated, ‘"It's not a smoking gun because it is not a directive. Not an order. This is one Vatican official giving his opinion. It is not a policy docu-ment."

      It must have been hard for CNN to say ‘it was not a policy doc-ument’ and waited until the end of the sentence to tuck it in! CNN loves to stir the pot to boiling and just hates to have to throw in a word that would cool it down.

      Just like so many articles like this….they build you up into a frenzy, Bob, causing you to post before you get the truth possibly thrown in at the very end….but it wouldn’t be much fun writing if they couldn’t manipulate readers…….

      January 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Bob

      @CatholicMom, you asked: Have you read the letter? Have you even read the article by CNN, every word right to the end? If you made it to the bottom you would have read this: CNN Senior Vatican An-alyst John L. Allen Jr. stated, ‘"It's not a smoking gun because it is not a directive. Not an order. This is one Vatican official giving his opinion. It is not a policy docu-ment."

      I could care less what a senior analyst has to say. Doesn't mean he's right. And yes, I have read the letter. Any indication of "not reporting things to the police" is unacceptable. Do you honestly think this letter wasn't vetted before going out? The church as an organization approved the message.

      January 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Bob,
      Current Church POLICY calls for cases to be reported to the police.

      January 19, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "Current Church POLICY calls for cases to be reported to the police."

      and just because it is "POLICY" doesn't mean they abide by that policy. How do you know that the fallible humans who run the church aren't telling their priests to deviate from this so called policy? How do you know that fallible humans who are priests aren't acting rogue and deviating from this "policy"?

      January 20, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  20. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    And there it is. Proof that the Catholic Church committed conspiracy and obstruction of justice as a matter of policy, right up to the top. Why would anyone expect anything else from the happy religion that burned people at the stake, was a prime instigator of highly unjust wars, ran a horrific inquisition for years, and so much more.

    We all knew it, of course. But the holy lying and denying has been fun to watch. "Deeply misunderstood" – that's a good one.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • mollyd

      Why is anyone surprised at this? Religion is evil.

      January 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • EB

      And how is Islam not doing that now?

      January 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Quite right, EB. All religion is evil. Thanks for pointing that out.

      January 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • ybs

      Fish rots from the head.

      2000+ years and 1.5B sheep later, why stop the subjugation now? 🙂

      http://bit.ly/godsucks

      January 20, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • rrb333

      And there it is....proof that everything CNN reports must be true. It must be because it confirms your already head believes. No need to further. The countless people in the church working with the poorest of the poor, people you won't go near. But it's in CNN so it must be all true and the complete story. No, don't bother look any further, you are comfortable were you are.

      January 30, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • 21k

      not sure how any thinking person can apologize in any manner for this. comparisons to other religions, veracity of cnn reporting, the good that some in the religion have done. the church leaders used their medieval-era "cannon law" thinking to actively hide these crimes. real xtians would own up to the reality, fix the problem and move on. isn't that what jahsus would do?

      January 30, 2011 at 10:02 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.