February 21st, 2011
07:41 AM ET

Italians losing faith in prime minister

CNN's Diana Magnay takes a look at how Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could lose the Catholic vote.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • Italy • Mass • Politics

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Obviously, today's Mary like the other Mary is a victim of the Great Angel Con.

    To wit:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
    Some added references to "tink-erbells".

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.


    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:
    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

    For added information see the review at:

    February 22, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  2. Mary


    @Mary, a friendly word of advice. Grab your bible and hold on tight. Your silly statements/responses are about to be shredded – not by me, but by David J. I'm an absolute lightweight compared to David J. If you are really lucky, Doc V won't jump in. J EX actually gave you good advice earlier today – whenever a believer opens their mouth, they are likely to utter something obviously stupid or false. I shall now sit back, eat popcorn and enjoy the show.

    Thanks for the tip,lol. Enjoy! Stupid or false is in the eye of the beholder....wink!

    February 22, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  3. Reality

    The simple, preacher man aka Jesus existed but his resurrection and ascension fail rigorous historical analyses using attestions, publication dates and rational thinking: Conclusion: his body still lies a-mouldering in the ground somewhere near Jerusalem.

    From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

    "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

    “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

    “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

    See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

    Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

    Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

    There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

    See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

    From ask.com,

    "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

    Then there are these scriptural references:

    Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

    Added suggested readings:

    1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter

    3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
    – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
    4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
    6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
    7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
    8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
    9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
    10. 7. The Gnostic Jesus
    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
    by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
    11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
    Presented on March 18, 1994
    12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
    13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
    14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
    15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
    16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
    17. Diseases in the Bible:
    18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
    theologians, ethics, etc.
    19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
    20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
    21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
    22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
    23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
    24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
    25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
    26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
    27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
    28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
    29. NT and beyond time line:
    30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
    31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
    32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
    33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
    34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
    35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

    February 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  4. Mary

    Oh my...c'mon David...because he never existed? I am laughing So, all the apostles and others that saw him, talked to him, heard him talk, etc...they were all having a mirage?
    What about the apostles, Matthew, Mark, John?
    you said: The stories in the Gospels, are similar to "gods" that preceded Jesus. Google: Krishna, Mithra, Attis and Horus. You will find similarities that will astound you.

    I have read them...nothing so similar, and they did not have any God who died for me, and rose from the dead..
    If you want to read some myth thats not credible, you just named it.

    You said:

    Read some Greek and Roman mythology. Gods having $ex/offspring with humans, was not unique to the Christian god.

    When did our Lord Jesus Christ ever do that? He didn't!

    February 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Mary, a friendly word of advice. Grab your bible and hold on tight. Your silly statements/responses are about to be shredded – not by me, but by David J. I'm an absolute lightweight compared to David J. If you are really lucky, Doc V won't jump in. J EX actually gave you good advice earlier today – whenever a believer opens their mouth, they are likely to utter something obviously stupid or false. I shall now sit back, eat popcorn and enjoy the show.

      February 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  5. Mary

    LOL Good post Heaven Scent!

    Not only that Reality, Your professors aren't to swift,lol.
    I quote you:

    So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    There were no bones! Can you say RESURRECTION!
    You people go to any lengths to try to "prove" your empty theories!

    February 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • David Johnson


      There may have been no bones, not because of the resurrection, but because Jesus never actually existed.

      The entire New Testament is propaganda for Jesus being the Messiah and the Son of God. There is no mention of Jesus in any secular writing, that is not suspected of being a later insertion or hearsay. Most of the alleged writings, were written by people who were born after Jesus died.

      There is no eyewitness testimony of Jesus. Nothing was written about Jesus until about 30 years after he died. Many think Paul, not Jesus, was the "father" of most of the Christianity (Pauline Christianity) practiced today. Paul never, ever met Jesus.

      The Gospels were written by unknown authors.

      The stories in the Gospels, are similar to "gods" that preceded Jesus. Google: Krishna, Mithra, Attis and Horus. You will find similarities that will astound you.

      Read some Greek and Roman mythology. Gods having $ex/offspring with humans, was not unique to the Christian god.


      February 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  6. Reality

    The Italians should also lose faith the Catholic Church as they, like all Catholics, have been been victims of one the great con games:

    The Great Resurrection Con Game:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."
    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    "Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    February 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Same for you Reality. What part of Jesus' truth written in Jeremiah 5:4 thousands of years ago do you not understand?

      February 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  7. roberto garzeni from italia

    when there are articles about the church can not fail to fossilize on facts, of course, be condemned as child abuse, but I just could not get out of these stereotypes? It is obviously immoral and it is obvious that the church condemns these regrettable incidents, but please get over it. I seem to read those mediocre people, and there are many who consider you the avid consumers of resources and make war to ensure that energy resources using democracy as an excuse. WHEN I VISITED YOUR COUNTRY CAN I FIND THE WONDERFUL WONDERFUL AS I FIND all Americans, although I prefer to live in Italy, but I love you and that is why I make this criticism
    sorry for my English

    ma sono italiano e faccio del mio meglio, ciao a tutti carissimi

    February 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  8. HotAirAce

    Italians can get rid of their PM when they next vote. Too bad they can't do the same for the criminal pope-a-dope who continues to protect child abusers.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  9. Nick Gonzalez

    If you pray to God, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, you will get the exact same results. Wake up people!

    February 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Nick, you are just another one that doesn't know how or care to read the Bible as is stated in Jeremiah 5:4.

      Amazing, Jesus spoke His truth thousands of years ago and it holds true to this day.

      February 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "Amazing, Jesus spoke His truth thousands of years ago and it holds true to this day."

      You mean the truth, that Jesus didn't know the earth was not flat?

      Remember when Satan took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth?
      Obviously, the biblical authors thought the earth was flat. Otherwise, Jesus would not have been able to see all the kingdoms of the earth, no matter how high the mountain. Satan and Jesus/god should have know this. Yes?

      Oh, Oh, Jesus made a OOoopsie!

      Here is another OOoopsie!
      Jesus Predicted 1st Century Return.

      I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” – Matthew 24:34

      This controversial verse is in all three of the Olivet Discourse accounts. (These accounts are to be found in Matthew 24:1-51, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-33). For some time, critics of the Christian faith have argued that Jesus explicitly said here that all of the events prophesied in the Olivet Discourse, including His return, would happen before the last person living at that time died.

      Jesus promised, that He would return within that generation, but He did not. Since He was wrong, He could not have been God, so the Christian faith, is based on error.

      To bolster the argument, in all of the other places in the Gospels where Jesus used the term “this generation,” he was referring to people living at that time.

      These guys also feel Jesus was "mistaken" LOL!

      The respected Christian apologist and author, C.S. Lewis 1960 essay "The Worlds Last Night"
      “Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”

      Bertrand Russell, in his book, 'Why I Am Not A Christian',
      He discredits the inspiration of the New Testament: "I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospel narrative…He certainly thought that his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at the time. There are a great many texts that prove…He believed that his coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of his earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of his moral teaching." Russell later reasons that it would be fallacious to follow a religious leader (such as Jesus) who was mistaken on so basic a prediction as his parousia.
      parousia = second coming
      eschatology = •the branch of theology that is concerned with such final things as death and Last Judgment; Heaven and Hell; the ultimate destiny of humankind

      Albert Schweitzer in his 19-century book, 'The Quest of the Historical Jesus', summarized the problem of "Parousia delay" as follows: "The whole history of Christianity down to the present day... is based on the delay of the Parousia, the nonoccurrence of the Parousia, the abandonment of eschatology, the process and completion of the 'de-eschatologizing' of religion which has been connected therewith."

      Yep, that Jesus was sure amazing! LOL


      February 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  10. doctore0

    What??? What about the pope then, what about the child abuse in the catholic church.
    Throwing stones from glass houses

    February 21, 2011 at 9:23 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.