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My Take: Welcoming the GOP-Catholic exchange on the budget
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
May 25th, 2011
10:05 AM ET

My Take: Welcoming the GOP-Catholic exchange on the budget

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A couple weeks ago, some Catholic leaders called out House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan and House Speaker John Boehner for neglecting Catholic social teachings in their proposed 2012 budget.

Boehner avoided the issue in his recent commencement address at Catholic University, but Rep. Ryan tackled it head on in an April 29 letter to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Dolan responded in a letter dated May 18, and Ryan responded in turn. All three letters are now available on the House Committee on the Budget website.

I think of Ryan as a follower of the philosopher/novelist Ayn Rand more than a follower of Jesus, so I was surprised to see him offer such a thoughtful response, addressing such traditional topics in Catholic moral theology as “the well-being of the family, subsidiarity [more on that later], the preferential option for the poor, and the dignity of the human person.”

Throughout the four-page letter, he addresses topics—including hunger and homelessness—rarely addressed today by Republican politicians. In fact, he sounds at times like a throwback to President George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism."

Ryan begins by sounding the alarm. Our economic situation is dire, he argues, largely because of unsustainable deficits and debt. And this dire situation by no means affect only the rich.

“Ultimately the weakest will be hit three times over,” Ryan writes, “by rising costs, by drastic cuts to programs they rely on, and by the collapse of individual support for charities that help the hungry, the homeless, the sick, refugees and others in need.”

I must say I find some of Ryan’s writing disingenuous, most notably his claim that his budget “reforms welfare for those who need it,” including the poor and the sick, while it “ends welfare for those who don’t—entrenched corporations, the wealthiest Americans.”

I also don’t buy that his budget is “aimed at strengthening economic security for seniors, workers, families, and the poor.” Ryan and other Republicans have repeatedly insisted that the aim of their budget is reducing the deficit and jump-starting the economy by coming to the aid of “job creators” who “encourage expansion, growth, and hiring.”

Still, I have to commend Ryan for taking his Catholic critics (and his Catholicism) seriously enough to respond with some care.

Ryan argues that his proposed changes to Medicare are “consistent with the preferential option for the poor” long articulated by Catholic theologians and rooted in the Gospel of Luke (“Blessed are the poor”).

He claims that his budget is “rooted in the dignity of the human person” because it gets citizens off the dole, and he finds support for this view in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus.

Ryan’s cleverest twist is an effort to justify his interpretation of federalism via the church’s “principle of subsidiarity,” which says it is wrong “to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.” I am going to have to leave that one to the theologians to parse, but I have never thought of Roman Catholic governance as particularly attuned either to localism or to states' rights.

Archbishop Dolan’s response to Ryan's letter is, unfortunately, conciliatory to the point of fawning. In essence, he lauds Ryan for articulating his budget in terms of the church's social teachings. But he never really challenges Ryan’s highly unorthodox interpretations of those teachings, and at times he seems to endorse them.

After quoting from the Centesimus Annus encyclical, where John Paul II writes “the defenseless and the poor have a claim to special consideration,” Dolan basically takes at face value Ryan’s assurance that his budget "would be attentive to such considerations.”

And when it comes to subsidiarity and federalism, he meekly reminds Ryan that solidarity, too, is a Catholic value—taking care to act “with a view to the common good.”

Dolan writes that “a singularly significant part of our duty as pastors is to insist that the cries of the poor are heard,” and now some Catholic groups are taking Dolan to task for shirking that duty by being too conciliatory toward Ryan and his budget.

Yesterday Catholics United called on the Archbishop “to defend the poor, not tax breaks for the wealthy,” saying his letter to Ryan “shocks the conscience of all Catholics and people of faith who care about the poor and vulnerable.”

A similar but less strident challenge from Catholic Democrats is calling on Dolan to clarify his response, noting that his letter “is being interpreted by some as an endorsement of Ryan’s budget.”

I know that defenders of a strict separation of church and state will wonder why Ryan engaging in this public exchange with a Catholic bishop over what might seem to be a purely secular matter. But I welcome it.

All too often, politicians on both the left and the right cloak their public policy positions in vague claims that they are based in the Bible or Christian theology. Ryan's letter is not vague. He thinks his budget is in keeping with Catholic social teachings, and he has now told us why.

The next step in what Ryan is rightly calling a "constructive dialogue" is for American Catholics to weigh in. What do they think of Ryan's efforts to claim the imprimatur of Catholicism for the GOP budget? I am eager to hear.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Economy • Poverty • United States

soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. annasmum

    I have a hard time listening to an "advocate of the Poor" aka the Catholic Church when they are one of the richest corporations in the world. The whole point of Jesus's teaching were that the church should take care of the people, not fill its coffers while the less fortunate starve. The government is not here to take care of the people; it is here to govern the people. The function of the "church" is to take care of the people, no matter who the people are hence that "love thy neighbor" thing. Maybe we should just shut up and love our neighbor.

    May 27, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      (I HATE the CNN (WordPress) "moderation" program ! The least they could do is let us scan our posts ourselves to do a "pre check" with "downloadable" option for the "naughty" letter strings. I have wasted so much time with this. It's ridiculous. You need to call in the troups, sit down, and get this thing figured out, CNN. There are other places to go, you realize. Actually we could post our posts sentence by sentence, word by word, letter by letter if that 's what it takes, if that's what you want.)

      Part 1.

      Actually, the RC's are not all THAT rich. They do have billions of dollars of "book value" real estate, but it's not as though they bought it as an investment or that it's a liquid as-set. It was originally purchased because in many cities they were treated like the other second or third cla-ss citizens, and had to build their own schools and hosp-itals, because no one else would take them, just like the Je-wish people had to. The "Empire Builders" (often nuns), who started the schools and hosp-itals literally counted the pe-nnies to get them started. The simple pa-ssage of time has left them "unintentionally" wealthy, but they never set out to "get rich".

      If you travel in Italy (and Rome) and are "scandalized" by the "embarra-ssment of riches" in the Vatican Museums, and the environs of St. Peter's, remember (as one of my Getty Museum Board member friends once told me), "Do you realize what it would do to the art market if they decided to dump all that on the market at the same time, (even over the period of 10 or 20 years) ?" It would be a disaster. Also many of their as-sets were left to them in legally specific ways which determine exactly the ways the wealth can be used and maintained, and is not open to manipulation by their present custodians, (as was the perfect right of the generous donors to specify). Anyway, I don't spend my time defending this insti-tution, and I have my own issues with it.

      I do try to remind myself that, stati-stically, 27% of the people in the world with HIV/Aids are cared for in RC insti-tutions, and that alone is worth much.

      May 29, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      Part 2 of 4

      If you are interested, they are actively interna-lly debating the loss of their own "moral credibility" with the s-ex ab-use st-uff, and that is another subject which could take all day, (see the latest issue of "America"). They KNOW they have a BIG problem.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      Part 3 of 4

      I find your di-chotomy of roles to be interesting. When and who decided that each would perform the roles you propose ? I don't necessarily disagree, but when did THAT get settled, (or is it?)

      May 29, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      Part 4 of 4

      The thing I find interesting about THIS ins-t-i-tution, and SO many of it's followers, is that EVERY time, (just look at this board), they reduce, (simplify) EVERY co-mplex matter and question to the ab-ortion issue, like a "knee jerk". I do understand that the co-mplex uncertain world is easier to face if one has ONE SIMPLISTIC black and white issue to grab on to. In reality the "ground is sh-ifting" under their feet, while they keep their eyes so intensely focused on one aspect of one issue. There are many reproductive choices becoming more available to both single and co-mmitted couples in 2011, and the trends there are only towards the more diverse and numerous. (Just see the CNN article 2 weeks ago about "in vi-tro" fertilization). The ab-ortion option will, in years to co-me, be relegated to a smaller and smaller corner, and to those who do not have the resources to avail themselves of the mult-itude of other reproductive options, that are available for those who want families with children. (There is now, today, many "medications" available which will prevent pregnancy, even as an "emergency" option). The percentage of American RC women who TODAY use birth control is huge, but that is another question, (why they do NOT accept the "authority" of their own group on this matter as authentic is another interesting issue), that also would take all day to discuss. I do think in years to come they will come to regret that they spent so much time focused on this one seemingly simplistic issue, as the world around them changes and moves, and they are left behind, grasping this one straw.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  2. CatholicMom

    TessTyFy,

    The reason I was so blunt about bg not voting is because his stance [as a democrat] will just prolong the killing of human life. You said, ‘Jesus told us to follow law, to live amongst others, to help others, to take responsibility.’ Let’s look at what you just said…did Jesus say follow His commandments and you will have life everlasting? Yes, He did not say to kill your unborn child. He did say to live amongst others but how is that possible if we kill them off in the womb before we can fully live with them? How is killing someone helping them? How is killing them taking responsibility?

    I am sorry but abortion has only increased our self-centeredness, our selfishness, our me-first-mentality. Out of this kind of thinking comes death, wastefulness, and lack of trust in man-kind. Where is the love when we can so easily say ‘get rid of it’ just like we do our trash?

    America is having a hard time holding up its head over this one. And to continually say, ‘we will make it possible to reduce abortions’ only proves we know it is totally wrong. How much longer are people going to pretend that we are just fine in what we are doing to one another? We need to stop encouraging women and men to kill their babies…

    We need to increase our love of neighbor which went out the window when abortion came in through the back door.

    May 27, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  3. Natsarim

    Funny how pushing a socialist agenda is always veiled as helping the poor. Funny how the Catholic (universal) Church is always pushing these social values. When you start leaving our children alone and stop your PAGAN pratices then mabey you could give your two cents. Until then keep drinking from your cup HARLOT and stay in ROME.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Natsarim,

      Funny how some people think the Catholic Church is ‘pushing’ socialistic agendas….that is, taking from all and redistributing as they see fit; the Church advocates that each give from their heart to help their neighbor…that is, love thy neighbor as thy self which is not at all socialistic.

      The Catholic Church is not only in Rome….we are billions of people all over the world!

      May 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • malasangre

      i'm willing to bet you know nothing about the Catholic Church other than what some other idiot told you. I grew up in a Catholic house in NC where my Dad (adopted) died in a shootout with the Klan over crap like your spewing. My sister was adopted by a Presbyterian minister who molested her for years and got her pregnant at 14 so save your pompous arrogance for your family. Myself? Your gonna need something more than somebodys word to convince me an invisible old man living in the clouds is going to torment me forever if I don't do as some preacher tells me.

      May 27, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • big bill

      Just remember the first 1600 years of Christianity we were all Catholic. There are no pagan ceromonies all are rooted in the history of the jewish traditions. You would know this if you new the old testament. And the church abuse is sad but it isnt any greater than any other religious or secular orginization out there. The church is just more tranparent about it. It was the Catholic church that first started the push to end abortion other christians took along time to finally climb on board. I guess it took the rebulicans to finally say it was wrong for the rest to join in. But what bothers me is with all the republican congresses we have had why have none of them come forward and made it a law that life begins at conception? because there is to much money to be made in it. I dont trust republicans and will never vote for one ever again. And slowly the dems are also being looked at as I will vote independent. But all have to remember not only is there life in the womb there is life outside of it too! and this also needs to be taken care of!~

      May 27, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Stevie7

      "with all the republican congresses we have had why have none of them come forward and made it a law that life begins at conception?"

      ---------

      I would argue that the right never makes any significant or realistic movements toward ending abortion because it would then lose, in my opinion, a substantial amount of single issue voters who would otherwise support democratic social programs. I see the right as holding the single issue voters hostage. The irony is sad.

      May 27, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  4. Weighing in...

    In Milwaukee, we know all too well of Dolan's tendency to (forgive the expression) schmooze. In the early-mid '90's, Dolan's predecessor in Milwaukee took to task CEO's of corporations who embraced globalization and began the process of moving their industries to Mexico and overseas in order to take advantage of environmental disregulation and a cheaper labor force(you remember Briggs and Stratton and the like?). Well, when Dolan became archbishop of Milwaukee he was put in charge of cooling those efforts and refocusing on "other issues" (an anti-abortion and more conservative agenda). Of course, those CEO's who had previously been called to task became Dolan's buddies, and, you'd better believe it, strong contributors. SO, this letter should not be too surprising. Perhaps what is surprising is that Ryan took advantage of the opportunity to use the letter as an endorsement, assumably without Dolan's consent. Yes, corruption is everywhere unfortunately.

    May 26, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Interesting. I have watched him "schmooze" all the way down the isle a few times on TV. I should have known. You do know he will be Cardinal Dolan shortly, (as I'm sure he does). He does seem to be quite the jolly soul.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  5. MikeTX

    Churches don't pay certain taxes: property taxes, sales tax, like other non-profit organizations. In order to have those benefits, they must comply with the conditions the IRS places on all non-profits, not just churches. Take those away, there will be less money to be used for the hospitals, free/low cost clinics homeless shelters, food banks, emergency response churches provide.
    All this money comes from the congregations who attend that church. No tax money is given to churches for these services they provide.
    If you don't want the Church or any church to have your money, don't give to it.
    None of anyone's tax money is given to churches.

    May 26, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Stevie7

      The church receives tax money for its charities. Then the church discriminates. I don't want my tax money to go to a hospital that will not give the morning after pill to ra pe victims. I don't want my tax money to go to charities that discriminate against gays.

      I also don't think its hard to argue that the church is violating, or at least really walking the line, on current rules on 501(c)(3) organizations (http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161131,00.html). Church officials regularly come on during election times and criticize candidates for their views. Their attempt to influence politics, especially during campaign times, certainly seems like a violation to me.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Stevie7,
      Catholic Charities USA was founded in 1910 on the campus of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as the National Conference of Catholic Charities. The National Conference was created to promote the creation of diocesan Catholic Charities bureaus, to encourage professional social work practice, "to bring a sense of solidarity" among those in charitable ministries, and to be the "attorney for the poor." Catholic Charities USA is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies and affiliates nationwide. As a professional association and social justice movement, Catholic Charities USA supports local Catholic Charities as they provide help and create hope for over 9 million people each year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  6. sdowst

    I have yet to see any specific examples of ryan's proposals, including “reforms welfare for those who need it” or the impact of the voucher system he proposes for Medicare recipients. Instead of vouchers, why not just cap individual medical costs, as they once were in the private domain? For example, one million in any single year, 5 million lifetime.

    May 26, 2011 at 5:38 am |
  7. bg

    Only atheists would think that wanting to help the poor and less fortunate as a "political stance" smh..oh and Im catholic and a democrat and pro choice and believe in evolution and gay rights..so your belief of wat a catholic is, is completely off friends

    May 26, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • TessTyFy

      Err, you mean audit those that have the audacity to say that!

      May 26, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • TessTyFy

      Sorry bg, that last comment was for bobo below, but CNN's program goofed again and placed it here and tells me when I try to place it in it's proper place, that it's a duplicate. But we should audit those that are criminal enough to tax the churches rather than income.

      May 26, 2011 at 7:17 am |
    • Stevie7

      bg,

      That's great that you have those beliefs, but evolution (at least regarding Adam and Eve) and gay rights are not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholic charities can and do discriminate on the basis of the teachings of the Catholic church. I wouldn't want some church influncing a politician in such a way – I'm sorry, but your stance as an individual, while likely in line with many if not most Catholics, isn't going to change the Catholic catechism.

      May 26, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Stevie7,
      What would you like changed in the Catholic Catechism?

      May 26, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • CatholicMom

      bg,

      You did not describe a Catholic. A Catholic does not believe that anyone has the right to choose to kill a baby in the womb; you should also know that the Church is not against gays any more than they are against other people…just actions that place them in sin. The Church is not against Truth and we love science as it makes new discoveries, and thank God for it!

      You can say you are a ‘democrat’…. if you are then you shouldn’t vote unless you do not care about babies in the womb; you shouldn’t vote unless you want the government to grow bigger and require more funds which we do not have; you shouldn’t vote unless you think the government should take from others to give to you; you shouldn’t vote unless you are not interested in getting a job and don’t care if your neighbor has one either.
      Oh, another thing, you are not Catholic….saying you are does not make it so. Sorry.

      May 26, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Stevie7 (I hate robot moderators)

      @CatholicMom. I don't think that the catholic catechism should change – I'm not arguing for that. As someone who is no longer Catholic I'm perfectly aware that its none of my business. I also left the church in part because my views differed so greatly from the church's teaching. I do feel, however, that the church – or any church for that matter – should stay out of politics and trying to promote its agenda on a political stage. Representatives are supposed to represent their consti tuents, not their church.

      I would also add, though, that the church loves science so long as it doesn't disagree with its current teachings, and sometimes it takes a long time for the church to recognize the validity of modern science. Pope Pius' encyclical on Adam and Eve is not consistent with the science of evolution.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Stevie7(I hate robot moderators),

      I misunderstood your statement, ‘I'm sorry, but your stance as an individual, while likely in line with many if not most Catholics, isn't going to change the Catholic catechism.’

      You must realize that every person has a religious belief of some sort…either for God, or gods, or magic or not of that God or gods or magic but maybe a bang or not a bang…but they do believe something inside their heads about life. That means that politicians and non-politicians have beliefs and we vote [or do not vote] people into ‘office’ and they take action or inaction based on their belief system inside their heads because we said we believe they will do things the way we want them to because we voted them into this position.

      As a Catholic, I listen to all kinds of people and listen to what they have to say when they are seeking to fill a political position as best I can... with what the media gives us; and what is withheld, we may learn later on. But we make choices according to our religious beliefs because we realize certain things about life…sometimes we learn these things about life right away, sometimes we learn it later on. Whether we hear Truths from our Bishops, Priests, or Pope or hear Truths through the media, or friends or strangers, we have to make choices in life about what we think is THE Truth. Every person whether they are Church leaders or tv station owners, or the girl next door, they can speak what they will and those of us who wish to listen must decipher the Truth of it. We can all campaign in this country all we want.

      One of the choices we realize that we do not have is a choice about someone else’s life…whether that life should continue or not….whether it is in the womb or not…and only should that person's life be stopped if it is a definite threat to other’s lives and only if there is no other way to hold it back from killing others. There are people who think human life is sacred.

      So with just this one fact of Truth for me, it eliminates a field of people that I would not want in a political position, and it brings another field of people into prominence as likely candidates for the political position where they would have opportunity to bring about what I believe is right. Evidently when someone gets voted into office they demonstrate actions of those who voted them in or they should. You may not always be happy with those voted in but that is our system. If people with a ‘Church view’ get voted in, some are happy and some are not. Campaign harder next time….it’s the way this country works.

      On your last comment, I would have to say that the Church recognizes the validity of science as a gift from God. The wonders of God are revealed to us as we can bear them!
      John16 12:13 I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. [13] But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. [This is Jesus talking to His Apostles. He meant this for those who would replace the Apostles as they died, for all successors of Peter. It is for us to know that He will reveal the fullness of Truth as we can bear it!]

      May 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • TessTyFy

      CathlicMom, I disagree with your assessment to bg, that if he is a democrat, he shouldn't vote because they are pro-abortion. That is way wrong. Jesus told us to follow law, to live amongst others, to help others, to take responsibility. TO NOT VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS, leaves us in a position of being responsible for Republicans possibly winning every election! Which is the greater good, to just ignore the millions upon millions of people who will suffer not enough grocery to live, who will get sick along with the elderly and disabled, and die without the Medicare, and later SS they worked and paid for? You have to vote for the greater good. God/Jesus knows your heart. You will not be judged for voting for a Democrat. Maybe that is how this country ended up where it is today if Catholics do not believe they should vote.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      TessTyFy,

      My response went to the top of the page...sorry....things don't always turn out the way we plan.................

      May 27, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  8. Bobo

    TAX ALL RELIGIONS.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  9. Krehator

    The party of Moral Value$....

    May 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  10. peter nuent

    the ryan plan in no way mirrors the teaching of the church or the bible. If ryan is truly a catholic he should know the teaching of the church better. Jesus would in no way support the ryan plan.

    May 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • TessTyFy

      I think Ryan is an atheist. It is Boehner who claims to be a Christian belonging to the Catholic church, yet still defies Jesus. That is not a believer, or he would follow lead.... but he is one in sheep's clothing for his own gain. Similar to those Jesus addressed at John 5:41-44 41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[?

      Does John Boehner not cry over himself and his accomplishments, yet turn on the people? He seeks his own glory, he has no fear of God, he has no real strength or belief in Jesus. The claim is just a tool to get what he wants, our votes. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

      As for Ryan, he is just a very selfish man, working for the corporations who pay him well. It simply doesn't matter what happens to others. Any other man who turns on the people this way is nothing less.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • TessTyFy

      Sorry, forgot to add, Ryan uses the late Pope's Centesimus Annus as a reference to align himself and his actions with the belief of Catholics. He is trying to say, this budget and taking away all types of care for the people, they left without jobs, is in line with the Catholic Church... his way of trying to fool the people yet again. He does not reference a belief at all. I believe this is why Boehner doesn't respond. He's stuck, he has claimed to be a Christian, yet defies God in a very ugly way.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Reality

      The real Jesus:

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched in the head". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would approve of?

      May 26, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • TessTyFy

      Realty, I really feel sorry for you, I hate your comments, they are a little rank, but I still pray for people like you. I pray now, that Jesus touches you on the head and wakes you up.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Tess,

      For added thought, here is what JD Crossan has to say about atonement theology: (from his book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      May 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  11. Denise

    I did not know that a second letter was written to Ryan and that he had responded...I imagine Ryan felt compelled to respond to stay on the safe side of Catholic voters but his answers still do not justify his cruel plans at a time when so many poor are suffering and our taxes are not fairly being utilized or even collected...The Bishop was not trying to step on anyone's toes but stating what had to be said to the GOP Catholics, who seem to be conveniently ignoring what they were taught before age 6.. "right from wrong" .

    May 25, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  12. RightturnClyde

    If highly paid well-to-do Catholic professors and church hierarchy want to care for the poor they are FREE to do so (and in truth .. they have built hospitals and schools and universities .. that have done some good for the poor). They can also manage their personnel (priests) more responsibly (that will help the poor) and they are FREE to solicit alms in their communities and pool them into programs for the poor( Archbishop Cody did some strong arm solicitation in Chicago in the 60's) .. but it is not the duty of the US government to underwrite largess for the poor whether to please Catholic elitists or Protestant or Jewish or Muslim sources. There's been too much spend and the Federal government is flat broke. It is time for the Congress to be fiscally accountable and responsible and to CUT WAY BACK fort the U.S. economy to survive.

    May 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  13. Reality

    Christian economics 101:

    The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the "dunking". The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added "healing" as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree.

    Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters for a fee and "Gentilized" the good word to the "big buck" world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!!

    Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them "free".

    The Holy Roman "Empirers"/Popes/Kings/Queens/evangelicals/ Camping et al continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today's richest organizations on the globe i.e. the Christian churches (including the Mormon Church) and related aristocracies.

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

    "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."

    In conclusion, money is a major foundation of Christianity to include Mormonism. Ditto for Islam. Ditto for Judaism.

    It is time to shut down all religions because of their flawed histories and theologies. Asset sales to be used to pay down the national debt.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      it's also possible that he saw that submitting to execution, which he must have known was possible, was the way to prove to his followers, to him, it was NOT about the political, (when he decided to go, (sneak), back, to Jerusalem, for the final time), and which he knew was dangerous. When they asked him, (the writer placing these words in their mouths), in Acts 1:6, "Lord wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?", (......and whoever is interested can look up his answer). Just a thought. Loved your post as usual.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Ed

    Amazing the church says to the governmetn help the poor the old , the hungry and all of the atheist humanist say the church is bad. So much humanist ideas

    May 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • JohnR

      So an organization with billions upon billions of dollars tells the gov't to sepnd taxpayer money on the poor. Kinda easy, no?

      May 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Ed

      The catholic church is the largest charitable organization in the world and has been for quite some time. So the church telling the wealthy congressman to think about the poor, and just just their campaign financiers seems very reasonable. What seems out of place is the self proclaimed humanist atheist complaining about it.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Ed:
      It seems you are equating the philosophical objection to the existence of God with a lack of consideration for those less fortunate or those who would care for them. But that is inaccurate. Atheists and humanists are different things entirely. An atheist might object to an inst!tution that promotes the unfounded claim that God is real. A humanist might object to the mistreatment of the poor. Atheist humanists might look at enticing the poor with aid with the caveat that allegiance is required to their God before aid is given, or giving aid only as a means of propagandizing one's religion, as immoral and inhumane.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Ed

      @Frogist, you might be right but it seems most of the ateist on these blogs claim the a better people the religious becasue the are humanist. Maybe some atheist don't make that claim I'm just going by what I see on the blogs. In either case The church is trying to convince congress to help the poor which is in line with past behavior of the church and catholic beliefs. The church has done a great deal world wide to help people. When the church makes no comment people say where is the church. When the make a comment people say how dare the church. From the article what did the Bishop do that was so bad. He told congress to pass spending bills to help the poor. They probably won't listen becasue the church has no real power in America (not saying it should). But still it was a normal this for the church to do and all the atheist have said is how dare they

      May 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • RightturnClyde

      The catholic church is out of line taking partisan positions .. it is time for them to repent, amend their ways and return to being a church. They always have been lousy in politics (all over Europe). They have not been responsible or accountable in managing their own sordid affairs ... now have they?

      May 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  15. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    A lot of the "indignation" on the part of the bishops is due to their own evisceration of programs in their diocese that assist the poor, homeless, disabled, etc. I have a lot more respect for someone like the Archbishop of Boston, who still wears his Franciscan Monks robes than I do for someone who wears stuff the cost of which could support a family of 4 for a year, when they talk about helping those less fortunate than the norm.
    Of course, if these same bishops didn't keep having to move child molesting priests, then pay to defend themselves for moving them, maybe they could afford to keep those same programs operating. In Hartford, the Archbishop ordered a soup kitchen downtown closed because it didn't present the "image" the Church felt should be downtown. Of course, the Cathedral for that city is down the street from Aetna's corporate headquarters uptown in a "nice" neighborhood, so he could safely speak from there instead of downtown, where the action is.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Ed

      " Of course, the Cathedral for that city is down the street from Aetna's corporate headquarters uptown in a "nice" neighborhood"

      or would you prefer the sepnd the money to move it so its in the neighborhood you would like to balme them for it not being in. A neighborhood that probably wasn't their when the cathedral was built.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Chicken Little

      Hey, Eddy's back And with him, his perfect English grammar, and wonderful spelling skills.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      I assisted a few months ago in the preparation for the funeral of one of my elderly aunts, a fantastic cranky lady who was a rather famous nun, here and nationally. The sister in her community whom we spoke to about the retired archbishop who was "officiating", said of him, "Oh he's great, no crozier, no miter, no little red beenie". Am still laughing about that one. Just because some, maybe most (?) of the clergy, are PR ignoramuses, doesn't mean they all are.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Joe from CT, not Lieberman and Bucky Ball,

      Here are a few verses from the Bible, to help those who do not understand the meaning in robes, mitres, etc., which have always been a part of the priesthood in the Church that Jesus Christ founded, the Catholic Church.

      Jesus Christ, our High Priest, had his robe which was highly prized as being fit for a king. Jesus Christ is our King. Ordained priests of the lineage of the first Pope, St. Peter, in the Church that Jesus Christ founded, stand in for Jesus Christ [persona Christi] so that Jesus Christ may continue His priesthood here on earth. All the robes, mitres, embroidered sashes, beautiful Churches, Cathedrals, all over the world are all for the glory of God.

      John 19:23
      The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

      Leviticus 16:4
      He shall be vested………for these are holy vestments: all which he shall put on, after he is washed.

      Leviticus 16:32
      And the priest that is anointed, and whose hands are consecrated to do the office of the priesthood in his father’s stead, shall make atonement; and he shall be vested with the linen robe and the holy vestments,

      Exodus 28:4 And these shall be the vestments that they shall make: a rational and an ephod, a tunic and a strait linen garment, a mitre and a girdle. They shall make the holy vestments for thy brother Aaron and his sons, that they may do the office of priesthood unto me.

      Exodus 28:37
      And thou shalt tie it with a violet fillet, and it shall be upon the mitre,

      Exodus 28:39
      And thou shalt gird the tunic with fine linen, and thou shalt make a fine linen mitre, and girdle of embroidered work.

      Exodus 39:30
      And they fastened it to the mitre with a violet fillet, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

      Leviticus 8:9
      He put also the mitre upon his head: and upon the mitre over the forehead, he put the plate of gold, consecrated with sanctification, as the Lord had commanded him.

      Ecclesiasticus 45:14
      And a crown of gold upon his mitre wherein was engraved Holiness, an ornament of honour: a work of power, and delightful to the eyes for its beauty.

      1Chronicles 15:27
      And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that carried the ark, and the singing men, and Chonenias the ruler of the prophecy among the singers: and David also had on him an ephod of linen.

      Revelation 7:9
      After this I saw a great mult!tude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands:

      May 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @CatholicMom

      Ya I know all about that. You do realize that of your 11 quotes, only 2 are from the NT ?

      "Here are a few verses from the Bible, to help those who do not understand the meaning in robes, mitres, etc., which have always been a part of the priesthood in the Church that Jesus Christ founded, the Catholic Church."

      How do all the OT things relate to the RC ?. I do think that the remarkable similarity of your present costuming to these ancient hats and robes is fascinating however. I also wonder why The Great High Priest never wore any of that get up himself. He also never spoke, directly, about any "priesthood". That was a later development, when the cult had developed further, and had put in some distance from his original teachings, and they decided that it was in their interest to continue the ancient traditions of human sacrifice, (and consumption of said corpse), in their repeated attempt to make sure the original, ('once for all") act would actually "take" one day.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • gerald

      BuckyBall,

      Paul speaks of presbytrs in Timothy. That word is the same word for priest in the English (England) language so it has biblical roots. Jesus was a rabbi and so there is no reason to believe he may have at times worn some of those garmets of the old testament. These things are not condemned anywhere in scripture as you would like them to be. You really should read the historic writings of the early church by the likes of ignatius of antioch, polycarp, clement, didache, justin martyr, etc. etc. They don't back up your brand of religion at all. In fact nothing does in the first 1500 years of Christianity if you want to talk about later development.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @gerald, Hi.
      I may have not made myself entirely clear. I never condemn this kind of thing. If that's what "floats their boat" they are free to do whatever, (as long as it's not hurtful or illegal etc.). But I do think it's a fascinatingly consistent pattern of behaviors. It's almost always only men, and they always get to go into the sp-o-oky, "holy of holies", in their "sacred" dresses, to secure the atonement, which, conveniently enough, only they and and their funny hats, (which look a whole lot to me like King Tut's crown, (of Upper and Lower Egypt), can attain. Good job, if you can get them to buy the need for it. I certainly don't want this stuff condemned. I never said that. As you point out, in confirmation of my point, Paul did speak of that, later, (just as I said).
      BTW, every morning when I jog, after I workout, I listen to tapes of the "heresies", and many other topics. I am well acquainted with this history, which you incorrectly assume I have not read, (Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, Justin the Martyr, etc. I think the heresies are also very interesting cu-ltural developments, and what is even more enlightening is the methods that the communities used to "filter" them, out, to arrive at their consensus. I don't have a "brand" of religion. But that's another discussion. Thanks for the very interesting civil reply.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Catholic Mom: The salient point in Joe's post is why wear costumes and have expensive churches when money from those lavish things could go to those who need food and shelter? It's a fair question. Is the moral obligation of helping the poor less important than the wealth of the ceremony you claim is justified by the bible?

      May 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Bucky Ball,

      Then you also know that the New Testament lies hidden in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. There is much in the Old Testament which prefigures and prophecies happenings in the New Testament.

      There were priests in the OT but when Jesus Christ, our High Priest, inst!tuted Holy Orders at the Last Supper, He gave His new Order of Priests the power to do as He was doing there right in from of them…presenting them with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in a clean oblation and He was commanding them to ‘do this’ in memory of Him. Where did Jesus get His power? From God the Father who Sent Him. He was now sending out His priests to do as He did with His power to cause transubstantiation.

      When Jesus was crucified, his seamless robe was not divided by the men ‘fighting’ over who got what of Jesus’ belongings. Priests robes are also seamless since they stand in for Jesus Christ by persona Christi.

      In the Book of Exodus, the robes are mentioned in detail and how they should use them.....

      'And Aaron and his sons shall use them when they shall go in to the tabernacle of the testimony, or when they approach the altar to minister in the sanctuary, lest being guilty of iniquity they die. It shall be a law for ever to Aaron, and to his seed after him.

      The robes, mitres, and such had meaning in the OT and do so still today.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Frogist,

      What did Jesus say when …….

      Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. John 12:3

      For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her. Mark 14:5

      The answer can be found in:
      John 12:8 and Matthew 26:11 and Mark 14:7

      May 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @CatholicMom
      The part about his seamless robe is a "legend", told only in John. It only says they didn't divide it because it was woven as seamless, and didn't want to rip it. (I have actually knitted seamless mittens, nothing "magical" there). When I was an altar boy I saw plenty of seams in the vestments. You just made that up.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Bucky Ball,

      Seems you have forgotten much about the Mass except seams which you believe were on the vestments.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  16. Adelina

    Neautrality on morality always brings immorality. Church cannot go with Democrats anymore. Church should call on people to help the poor instead of relying on government to do that.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • ScottK

      "morality always brings immorality." You are so right. Without the concept of morality there would be no immorality. Not that all creatures great and small would still be @#$#ing like, well, wild animals, but no one would consider anything immoral. Sounds like a nice place to live.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      You're kidding right? The Republicans are the ones that want to cut and/or eliminate programs that help the poor!!! We Democrats are the ones that are trying to save them!!!

      May 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  17. Ron

    The GOP concerned about the poor, needy, old, etc.,? That's a good one!
    Unless you're wealthy or big business, the GOP doesn't care.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • ScottK

      You know they are concerned about the poor, heck, they are against more taxes on cig's...

      May 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  18. Colin

    10 SIGNS YOU ARE A CATHOLIC
    1 – You believe that the Pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when speaking on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former Popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by Pope after Pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it. Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution.

    2 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local gods and disdaining the silliness of Catholic beliefs.

    3 – You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated.

    4 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary and thousands of named saints and angels, all with magic “godly” powers of some kind.

    5 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” as original sin that never happened.

    7 – You disdain hommo$exuals as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in-cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be ra-ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the pleas-ures of the Egyptians to save his own skin.

    8 – You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.

    9 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).

    10 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Stevie7

      Trying to avoid the robot 'moderators' is really annoying.

      Anyway – Colin, your third point is incorrect, at least for those following official church teaching. Pope Pius the twelfth clearly states that there was an actual adam and an actual eve.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Colin

      Thanks Steve. I could be wrong, but I thought they now accept it? No?

      May 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Ed

      You obviously don't understand anything about catholics. I would try to help you but have seen your posts before. Just like your vision of catholics you are to busy saying don't confuse me with the fact my minds made up.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Stevie7

      http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve_and_Evolution.asp

      Check out the section on Adam and Eve

      May 25, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • JohnR

      Excellent work, Colin.

      And for those Christians who cry about being ridiculed. Try not being a ridiculous for a change.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • gerald

      One comment on your 10 nonsenses of bigots. Evolution was proven? Micro-evolution has been, but Macro-Evolution is far from proven and that is neccessary for an ameaba to become a human. Evolution has a long way to go in proving this.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Colin

      JohnR – thanks, but not all my work. There was a similar posting I adopted. In fact, I wish I could remember the person's name, to give him/her credit.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Colin

      Gerald, there is no bilogical difference between macro and micro evolution. It is all acc-umulating genetic change. Believing one, but not the other is like believing in inches, but denying the existence of miles.

      But, being a creationist, I doubt your view will be changed by anthing that calls into question your "talking snake" theory, no matter how compelling. I say that not so much as a criticism, but with amazement at how you internally reconcile it all.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @gerald, what would consti tute proof for you? There is overwhelming scientific consensus for macro-evolution. Do you know better than the experts? The old 'evolution is a theory' argument is tired and misguided.

      BTW – what do you define as the line between macro and micro-evolution?

      May 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • gerald

      Colin, nice theory about mciro and macro evolution. I have heard it before. Now prove it. It is not at all proven.

      I am not a creationist and accept evolution as a theory.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Colin

      LOL...!!! THANK YOU, my friend... !! I have been waiting, (not so patiently as you know) for another one of your 'brilliant' "Top 10 Lists" ...Love 'em...!! 🙂

      Peace brother...

      May 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • gerald

      Steve,

      Sorry to have attached your religion. Again I am fine with micro-to-macro as a theory. But of course you must try to prove it and can't..

      Ah the get on the bandwagon fallacy. I'll bet your in to global warming as well because a bunch of scientists say it is true. Over 35,000 say it is not. When I was a kid scientists said we were headed in to an ice age. Perhaps you could provide that list of scientists for me and then show that there are no reputable scientists who disagree with this theory. Where is the line? Well you tell me. Life is abundant in the world. That is clear. So one can find species that are close to other species. That does not prove they came from each other. Show me where the union of one species becomes another and we'll have our line. It must happen somewhere out there. Show me.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • gerald

      Peace2all,

      You love ridicule, distortion, and mispresentations of other peoples beliefs in a prejudice manner. Man that is really peace promoting.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Colin

      Gerlad, I am going against my better judgment here to engage anybody who still needs "proof of evolution" but try dinosurs and the fossil record, ealry hominiods, diseases that mutate and become resistent to anti-biotics, DNA mapping, oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels, all the various breeds of dogs, horses, cattle, vegetables, fruits and cereals that never existed a few centuries ago, or the billions spent on genetically modifying food every year by Monsanto and other large food companies.

      I don't see how one can accept that species change over time, but then cringe at the thought that they might change so much as to no longer be able to breed with the original population from which they evolved. What "magic line" allows the former but not the latter?

      May 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Ed

      @Colin,"
      diseases that mutate and become resistent to anti-biotics"

      This is not proof of evolution. A person can eat small amounts of some poisons until the build up an ammunity. That person as not evolved their body as just become used to the poison and its effects.

      "DNA mapping" also not proff just because we have mapped it does mean it changed.

      "oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels" examples on decaying biomatter not evolution

      "or the billions spent on genetically modifying food every year by Monsanto and other large food companies." dilderate genetic enginering is not evolution which is a natural process.

      Buttom line evolution while it is probably correct is not yet a proven fact. It is accepted as fact by many but it has not been completely proven yet. It will likely one day be proven but for now it is still a theory not a fact.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • gerald

      "diseases that mutate and become resistent to anti-biotics, "

      Colin,

      Didn't I say I am okay with micro evolution. And I am even okay with macro-evolution as a theory. None of your examples prove macro evolution. I don't know of anyone who had the flue virus and it was later shown that that same virus mutated in to a measles virus. It became another flue virus. Breading of dogs is hardely a case for macro-evolution as are not the other examples you site. I think your confusing genetics with evolution, though they are interrelated. There are not different species created from the breading of dogs, horses, chickens, etc. etc. They never created peas out of beans. Show me where such breading has caused a new species and I'll sign up for the Koolaid your drinking.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Colin

      Ed – the reason diseases build up immunity is those few bacteria that are not killed by the relevant antibiotic breed and pass this favorable trait on to their offspring. Gradually, after many generations, the population of the particular disease in question is predominantly made up by the resistant strain, as the compet.ition (the non-resistant strain) has been killed off by the antibiotic. That is very different to a person (one generation) becoming resistant to a particular dr.ug or poison.

      DNA mapping – we can tell from DNA mapping approximately how long ago two species diverged – and it coincides with the fossil record. It seems absurd that two independent fields could both be wrong by exactly the same amount.

      Oil etc – yes, but from the phu.king Cretaceous Period.

      Monsanto- it would only work if species could evolve.

      Bottom line – would it even be question if it wasn't a threat to the superst.itions of silly Christians?

      May 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • gerald

      "but then cringe at the thought that they might change so much as to no longer be able to breed with the original population from which they evolved. "

      Cringe at the thought? Once again it is your broad brushing prejudice getting in the way of having a rational conversation. I hardly cringe at the thought of evolution. Even if it were proven it would not disprove God as evolutionists claim. But macro evolution again is not proven and you should be able to show me in your confusing of gentetics with evolution that a dog breader could take some dogs, keep a poplation of those dogs with the same characteristics and genetics and over time breed the poplation with other groups of dogs and eventually get a different species that cannot breed with the first group for genetic reasons. Your post implies that such an experiement could be done, yet I know of no such experiement.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Ed

      @Colin, yes it would still be questioned, infact it is the questioning of things that created science. People wanted to know how things worked so they ...get this... questioned it. Then the study it it a learned things about it. That is in a overly simplistic way science. But science is not infallible, so we should still question science. As I stated I think evolution will eventually be proven but till then its a theory not a fact. We can't all of you open minded humanist accept that its still being tested. Many of us closed minded religious people can accept it is probably true, but you can't accept it needs further testing. Your very dogmatic about your faith in science. So much so it seems like its ...well... your religion.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • gerald

      By the way, my beans to peas is only an example. One should be able to come up with a creature in the breeding of dogs that is not dog, nor wolf, (which are considered of the same species, though some tried to use their breeding as a proof of macro-evolution in the past) and can breed with neither and is clearly a different species. I know of no such creatures.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • gerald

      Colin,

      By the way I saw a very interesting genetic experiment one night on public TV where they took the most docile foxes and breed them with like foxes and likewise the most aggressive foxes. They ended up with foxes that were good pets and those that you didn't come anywhere close to that were down right nasty. They didn't create any foxalows and to my knowledge the hot tempered ones breed quite nicely with the docile ones.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • gerald

      Peace2all except Catholics, I hope my rebuke hasn't gotten lost in all the posts. See above.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Colin

      Gerlad, Ed – try the Hawthorn Fly. Evolved as a new species after the introduction of apples into North America. No longer capable of breeding with original fly population. Also, Larus gulls and The Greenish Warble of the Himalayas. Also the Pacific Robin in Australia. Also, fruit flies are regularly speciated in laboratories after a number of generations, as are micro-organisms. It goes on all the time, all around us.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Ed

      @Colin,
      excellent examples and one day they will more than likely help to prove evolution fact. Till then its still a theory.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • gerald

      "It goes on all the time all around us".

      Again you have no smoking gun evidence. The Hawthorn fly for instance is not considered a new species from the breif reading I did. Interesting though.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      @Peace2all, @DocVestibule (and any others)
      BTW, did you happen to save Bucky's 10 reasons why same s-ex marriage should be outlawed from about two weeks ago? I need it. Thanks.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Colin

      10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

      01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

      02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

      03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

      04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

      05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. My parents ran out and got divorced the minute they heard about a gay couple getting married in Vermont.

      06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

      07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

      08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. yes, we really should base 21st Century social policies on a collection of Bronze Age myths from the Middle East, that were cobbled together during the Dark Ages.

      09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

      10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

      May 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      @Colin,
      You are a lifesaver ! Thank you SO much ! 🙂

      May 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • JohnR

      Gerald, careful selective breeding has been going on for several centuries at most. Even on the punctuated equilibrium model, speciation takes tens of thousands of years. You are simply being obtuse.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Ed – I know it's waaaay up there in this post but you said "Just like your vision of catholics you are to busy saying don't confuse me with the fact my minds made up." I just wanted to ask, are you claiming that your religion, or any religion for that matter, bases its faith on facts? As far as I know, the only fact we know about every religion in the world is that some guys were born, wrote some stuff down and then died. And as to the "facts" of what they actually meant in their writings is a whole other debate. As Colin points out "you have no problem believing in the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary and thousands of named saints and angels, all with magic “godly” powers" this is nothing more than a traditionalist society based on some amazing ancient Harry Potter series that you worship and live by, not that thats a bad thing for many, it gives them structure and morals when no others are to be found, but still a bit silly to continue to base your life on once you accept the reallity of our existence.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Ed

      @ScottK I was commenting of Cloin's top ten list which showed an incedible lack of understanding of all of the things he was commenting on. Many of the atheist accuse the religious of being to close minded to accept facts. They often suggest that because we believe in God we are too stupid to believe in anything else. They often say we ignore facts and evidence just because we don't want to face it. Colin's original post and many posts I've seen by atheist shows the same lack of open mindedness or willingness to learn about the other side of the discussion.

      From what i have seen on the blogs atheist are just as dogmatic and agressive in the attempt to evangelize their point of view as they claim the religious are. The are just as hateful and nasty. They also don't want to hear the other side of the discussion they just want to berate the religious and complain about the church. I admit many religious do this too but the atheist hold themselves out as the free thinkers but seem unwilling to let anyone think freely unless they agree with them. In other words many people on both side seem to say I don't care what you say or thiink unles you agree with me.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Ed – "From what i have seen on the blogs atheist are just as dogmatic and agressive in the attempt to evangelize their point of view as they claim the religious are." But is there no difference between the group on the beach screaming and yelling about an incoming Pirate attack, running around trying to get others to work, donate, fight all in the name of their Benefactor... and the ones on the sidelines not participating because they see no Pirate ships on the horrizon, even with their best telescopes? And should the ones on the sidelines just keep quiet as they are constantly poked, prodded and affected on a daily basis by the doomsayers?

      May 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Ed

      @ScottK not a christians are doomsayers. Must of us don't go around screaming about the end of the world. We do beleive it will happen one day, but then science would agree one day or sun will go nova and the planet will burn. In the mean time must of us wnat to live our lives and try to be decent people. Most atheist I know personally are the same way. Most of us don't spend large amounts of time trying to convert people to our side. This is the belif blog and yet it is filled with atheist trying to convince religious not to be religious. So on this blog who are the peoplr running around scream. Not the believers who came to the belif blog to have a conversation about ...Belief... I know shocking on the belief blog right. But the group that comes on and dogmatically attacks believers on the belief blog all the while complaining about how believers beheve. All the while behaving the same way they are complaining about. They complain the religious are forcing their vioews on the nonreligious on the belief blog but can not see they are acting the same way.

      May 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      I for one am Catholic and I not only believe in Evolution (which the Catholic Church supports), I am also pro GLBT, prochoice, and accepting of other religions. Clearly you've never met a Catholic before.

      May 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Christy

      I applaud you!! Im going to save this and make a tee shirt!!! That's the catholic church in 10 points!! Great work!!! Well done!! Ha!

      May 26, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Stevie7

      @ Patrick,

      "I for one am Catholic and I not only believe in Evolution (which the Catholic Church supports), I am also pro GLBT, prochoice, and accepting of other religions"

      The church teachs that we all came from one Adam and one Eve. They're ok with evolution otherwise, but the Adam and Eve position cannot be reconiled with the theory of evolution. You also differ with the RCC on major fundamental teachings of the catechism. How, then, would you define a Catholic? I don't know that anyone here has been saying they have a problem with individual Catholics, but most Catholic views are not consistent with the teachings of the church. It is the catechism of the church that concerns most people when they see the RCC devle into politics becasue these are the teachings that matter and the teachings that the church will promote – not the individual beliefs of some members.

      May 26, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Ed

      @Stevie7, "but the Adam and Eve position cannot be reconiled with the theory of evolution"

      Ok so in the theory of evolution there is primordal ooze at some point the ooze had a single cell in. That single cell split and became 2 cells.

      Adam and Eve, God created Adam then took part of Adam and created Eve. Some on split and became 2.

      You can't see any similarity there?

      May 26, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Fordham Jock

      @gerald
      You do seem really hung up on that "amoeba to human" thing, which is essentially the same argument that the "Intelligent Design" camp uses.: "Just look, it makes no sense, "cuz we can't see it happening, (right now)", or "how could something so complex as an eye have 'evolved' because I can't see it happening" ?
      It has been shown that for a group of cells to acquire the ability to become light sensitive takes about 40 generations, at a minimum. You will never be around long enough to see that process complete itself. That much has, I think been observed in nature, (as well as in super-computer simulations). I know I need to do some checking on that, but the 40 generation thing is generally accurate.

      @ Ed : Evolution will NEVER be "proven". Don't hold your breath. It will always be a theory. That's the genius of the scientific method. (Please see the few simple steps of that method.) The word "fact" does not appear in any of those "steps". That term, (a scientific "fact"), is a popular misconception. When that "theory" outlives it's usefulness, it can, and will be replaced by one which is more useful. Meanwhile, it stands, for now, as the one which seems to be supported by the preponderance of the EVIDENCE, (and as JohnR was saying, it IS useful, every day, in the hospital lab where I occasionally work, as we try to figure out which antibiotic to suggest for use against the bugs we grow out, and which are always changing, and which we observe, every day, collected from our patients). No need to enshrine it, (evolution), as a "religion". We all know, one day, there may be a better theory, and when the EVIDENCE for that is recognized, bring it on.

      The "peas to beans" thing is a "reductio ad absurdum" argument.
      Peas are a Dicotyledon, and beans, (Leguminosae), are both Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons. The millions, if not billions of flowering plants diverged millions of years before either of them developed into what we observe today., and they will NEVER be observed to reverse that process. Also THAT process is not one which will ever be actually "observable", (in the sense of a completed process, start to finish), in the very very extremely tiny, short lifetime of a modern Ho-mo Sapiens. It's the same intellectually (mind) altering concept, that occurred when humans figured out that the earth was about 4.69 billion years older than they knew about when they, a very very short time ago in earths overall history, became literate, and began to write down some of the many different explanations for themselves that they IMAGINED how the world around themselves had come into being, (to make sense of it for their brains, which seem to NEED to be able to "sort out" their observations).

      May 26, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Ed

      @Fordham Jock
      First if what you just described is correct then scienctist are indeed not different then religious leaders they create the theory tell every one it correct then change it at their convince and startth echarade again. This is exactly what the atheist claim religions do and for the same reason too power and money.

      Second if it can't be proven then believing in it the way many followers of science do is in reality just faith again they seem more like a religion the the nonreligious they claim to be.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Fordham J
      Right on. It's the same as "The aliens must have built the pyramids", (because we don'tt see how exactly it was accomplished).

      May 26, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Stevie7 (I hate robot moderators)

      @ Ed:

      "Ok so in the theory of evolution there is primordal ooze at some point the ooze had a single cell in. That single cell split and became 2 cells.

      Adam and Eve, God created Adam then took part of Adam and created Eve. Some on split and became 2."

      -----------

      This is not what the church teaches. The church, in an encyclical from Pius the 12th, clearly states that there was one Adam and one Eve, that they were human, and that every human has descended from them.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Ed
      First, I'm just guessing here, as your post is bizarre, to say the least. Did you even read it ? "convince and startth echarade again" ??? Say what ?
      Anyway, you seem to have missed the point.
      Scientists don't change things because of "convenience", at least they ideally aren't supposed to be doing that, (if that's what you meant by "concince"). I can't really tell what you meant to type there. But scientists require evidence to make changes, and changes are not made for "convenience's sake", (although there ARE examples of academic and industrial scientific misconduct, (("for convenience" or as you may have suggested, (again I can't tell : "do and for the same reason too power and money" ???), but that's another topic entirely)).

      You ARE correct when you conflate belief/religion and science, but only in the sense that they are bothl human approaches to apprehending "reality", and some find one approach may be more productive than the other, (and some, obviously, continue to choose to use both), and some neither.

      BTW, I am also confused about you. Are there more than one "Ed"s on these boards ? One seems to be a fairly conflicted Catholic, one a skeptic. Just curious Are we "off base " on that ?

      FJ is in class right now, I'll tell him to reply also when he gets back.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Ed

      Bucky there is more then one Ed on the blogs. I'm the one that can't type or spell to say me life. I really need ver-bal rec-ogn-it-ion soft-wa-re. I am a con-fl-icted cat-ho-lic. While I be-li-eve in the ide-alog-y of the faith I have tro-uble with the church and its han-dl-ing of cer-tain sc-an-dals and past mis-ta-kes. Bla-ming other groups for your groups fail-ings seems wrong to me. I am also a ske-pt-ic on most things and en-joy a good deb-ate. I bel-ie-ve reli-gion and science are com-pati-ble which seems a rare point of view on these blogs. I also think we can learn from one another as by dis-cu-ss-ing our diff-er-ing points of view. I try to do that on this blogs.

      @Stevie7,

      Adam was made from clay the God took one of his ri-bs to make Eve. After she was cre-ated they then cre-ated they hu-man ra-ce in the rel-ig-ious te-xt. While I think evo-lu-tion is more likely there does seem to be a sim-ila-rity to the exp-lain-ati-ons of each.

      Sorry if its a double post the moderator fla-gg-ed it first time

      May 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      @Ed
      This is a h-ell of a long thread.
      Anyway, you don't really buy that "clay" stuff do you ? No clay DNA has ever been found in us. (How lame was THAT thought).(Well maybe they would be "rock crystalline" structures ? Anyway, not compatible with cellular structures).
      Anyway, the clay version is the second one. Earlier in Genesis is another one, how did you decide to go with that one ?

      May 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Ed

      @Fluffy actually I believe in evolution I was just trying to make the point that in the story on genesis and the beginnings of evolution there are similarities. I was not real advocating the clay story per say just pointing out that in that story man is made the from man woman the from both all. In evolution a cell is made then from that cell another then from them all, see its similar.

      May 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  19. John Richardson

    This is so out of line. If the Catholic church wants a voice in how tax dollars are spent, let them pay taxes!

    May 25, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • gerald

      Um. The Bishop does on any income he recieves from the Church. He is a US Citizen and has every right to make his views known.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Gerald – The bishops didn't speak as private citizens. Grab a clue, man.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • gerald

      Liberals who disagree always want to silence the oppisition any way possible. When they can't the resort to ad hom. "get a clue". Back at ya. 😉

      May 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • JohnR

      I don't consider myself a liberal. I tend to be liberal on social issues, conservative on fiscal issues and therefore describe my politics as "more libertarian than not", but am not a doctrinaire libertarian, either.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I took the comment to be that the CC is taking a political position, and thus the Church should be taxed. The bishop is a spokesperson of the church and is using church doctrine to make a political stance.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • ScottK

      If telephone marketers have to pay taxes then all religions should as well. They are both just selling something, some are just better liar's, er, I mean salesmen than others... and I don't mean the telemarketers...

      May 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I'm not a big fan of taxes and there are special problems with income taxes. Yes, income and/or asset taxes may be the fairest of taxes, but they are also among the most intrusive re the government sticking its nose DEEP into everyone's business. So I'm not anywhere near as enthusiastic about taxing churches as many of my non-believer friends and allies are. But evangelical churches have been criticized, and rightly so, for crossing the line between issue advocacy and partisan politics, and the US bishops can be seen as hopping right over the same line here, as addressed a specifically Republican bill on what may be the preeminent partisan issue of the day. Also, my libertarianism leads me to put out a "self serving BS" alert whenever people get sanctimonious about how other people's money should be spent. When the sanctimonious don't even CONTRIBUTE to the funds in question, it's an even emptier exercise in self-righteous sanctimony than usual.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  20. How to Yodel the New Testament in 10 Easy Lessons

    Religion tries to force itself on everyone again. Gosh, what a surprise.

    May 25, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • gerald

      And perhaps you could read the good Bishop's letter and tell me where he is forcing views on anyone about anything? I'll be waiting for your reply.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • ScottK

      After youv'e had a few glasses of sacramental wine and they will deny anything was forced...

      May 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • DfromWink

      If you don't like it go protest.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.