July 19th, 2011
07:56 AM ET

Pope accepts resignation of Philadelphia archbishop amid sex scandal

By the CNN Wire Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) -The new leader of Philadelphia's Catholic community is geared up to cope with the sex abuse scandal rocking the archdiocese and promises to "find a way through it."

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, who takes the reins from Cardinal Justin Rigali as the new Philadelphia archbishop, says he's not intimidated by the challenges dropped on his plate.

Amid American church abuse scandal, Philadelphia stands out

"No bishop will solve any issues on his own - he needs everyone involved. This is not my problem, it's our problem," said Chaput, introduced on Tuesday as the huge region's new archbishop.

"We'll find a way through it, because we really do believe the church is the body of Christ."

Chaput was ordained a priest in 1970. He became a bishop at the age of 43 and has served as archbishop of Denver since 1997. A member of the Prairie Band Potowatami Nation, Chaput is the second Native American to be ordained a bishop in the United States and the first Native American archbishop.

Speaking at a news conference with Rigali in Philadelphia, Chaput said he hopes the church and the community will approach issues of sexual abuse and any future reparations with a combination of pastoral counseling and prudence.

The change comes five months after a Philadelphia grand jury report accused the archdiocese of failing to investigate claims of sexual abuse by priests against children. But Rigali stressed during the news conference that his resignation had nothing to do with the scandal.

"When bishops turn 75, they present their letter of resignation to the pope, and that's exactly what I did. In the meantime, by all means, we've had all of these problems which we are endeavoring to face and to resolve as best we possibly can ... so there's no particular relationship to my resignation," Rigali said.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said he felt Rigali tried to do what he thought was best for the church.

"I commend him for promptly removing over 20 priests with outstanding allegations of improper relations with minors ... I hope that Archbishop Chaput follows through on these initiatives," Williams said in a statement.

The grand jury report led to the Philadelphia district attorney's office criminally charging four Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care. A former high-ranking archdiocese official was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children.

All five pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse and conspiracy charges in April. Edward Avery and Charles Engelhardt were charged with assaulting a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome Parish in Philadelphia from 1998 to 1999. Bernard Shero, a teacher at the school, is charged with assaulting the same boy there in 2000. Avery was defrocked in 2006. James Brennan, another priest, is accused of assaulting a different boy, a 14-year-old, in 1996.

Monsignor William Lynn, who served as the secretary for clergy under then-Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua, was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the alleged assaults.

From 1992 until 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.

The grand jury found that Lynn, 60, endangered children, including the victims in these most recent cases, by knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.

In addition to the charges, the grand jury alleged that as many as 37 priests remained in ministry in Pennsylvania despite solid, credible allegations of abuse. Rigali had initially challenged that claim, but eventually 29 of them were placed on administrative leave and no further investigation was warranted on the remaining eight.

"I want to be clear: These administrative leaves are interim measures. They are not in any way final determinations or judgments," Rigali said in a statement in March.

In the months following the release of the grand jury report, Rigali, 76, who succeeded Bevilacqua in 2003, was named in several civil suits against the Philadelphia Archdiocese alleging sexual abuse.

This year's grand jury report is the city's second issued regarding priests' alleged sexual abuse in Philadelphia. The first grand jury report was released in 2003. A gag order imposed by a Philadelphia judge in the case remains in effect, barring all parties involved in the criminal case from talking to the media.

–CNN's Sarah Hoye and Hada Messia contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. Here's A Riddle

    Q. What's the difference between the Pope and Rupert Murdoch?
    A. The hat.

    July 20, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Johnny Blammo and His Exciting Band of Incompetent Poodle Enema Technicians

      Hey, do you know why Popey got into the God racket? Check it out:

      "At the age of five, Ratzinger was in a group of children who welcomed the visiting Cardinal Archbishop of Munich with flowers. Struck by the Cardinal's distinctive garb, he later announced the very same day that he wanted to be a cardinal."

      Yep, he got into it for the fashion. Probably the same reason he joined the Hitler Youth.

      July 20, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  2. Henry VIII

    "But [Cardinal] Rigali stressed during the news conference that his resignation had nothing to do with the scandal." Oh.

    When cardinals talk like politicians caught with their hands in the cookie jar, the Church is in deep trouble.

    July 19, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  3. SoundOfForest

    We're in a digital age. Can't every home and every in-sti-tution be monitored for crimes? I think Cathlic Church is being targetted unfairly.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Well the pro*blem is ac*tually bi-ggr than cov-ering up a few bad prie*sts (that's bad but the prie.sts have been sent-enced and the vi-cti-ms are get-ti.ng the-ir mo-ney re-me.dy). The "problem" is that some time be-fore the Re-for.ma.tion the RCC became the obj.ect of wor.ship and not the Trinity. the same hap.pen-ed qu-ick.ly but dif.fer-ently in the Protestant den.omi-na.t-ions .. (and p-e.o.pl.e see.m to do this) and then po.w.er cor.rup.ts

      July 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • SoundOfForest

      I want everywhere to be a perfect Jesus police state with hidden cameras everywhere, just like I have all around me all the time. And everyone should have microphones put in their heads to hear their thoughts, just like the Jesus did for me.

      Police states are good if they are for Jesus.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Honey, AvdBerg is at the door again.

      Deary, if they could monitor all crimes with monitors there would be one on your wall pointed at your computer.

      July 20, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  4. SoundOfForest

    Church, buckle up for the impact from the hatred of the hedonistic secular society of the West.

    July 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • SoundOfForest

      I hate hedonists for thinking that hiding and protecting pedophile priests is bad. Evil West.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  5. mdblanche

    Confiscate the ex-archbishop's passport. If they don't, he'll be in Rome by this time tomorrow, laughing it up with Bernard Law about being beyond the reach of extradition treaties. Appointing a hardliner like Chaput archbishop sends a clear message that the church has no intention of changing a thing and is just trying to make sure Rigali ends up in a Vatican sinecure instead of a jail cell.

    July 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  6. Buddy R

    Gay men who molest alter boys are the culprits.

    I'm not Catholic but I know the RCC teaches gay se_x is sin, all se_x outside marriage is sin, and pedophilia is sin. So blame the gays doing the sinning, not the RCC.

    July 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  7. Gullible

    FYI: There were more gay men in red velvet at the Pope's funeral then in all of New York's gay pride parades combined. Let us pray.

    July 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  8. Gerald

    Purgatory does not in any way deny Jesus atonement. The Bible is very clear that there is a process of sanctification that is needed. There is no guarantee that sanctification is completed at death so something has to give. 1 Cor 3:15 is a clear stateemnt of purgatory. "if any man's work is burned up he will be saved but as if through fire". Fire represents purification and this passage is clearly after death at judgement.

    July 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      But if one passes out of space-time at death, into the "eternal now", how is it possible that one "transitions", (ie changes from one state to another) in a timeless environment ? Oops.

      July 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  9. Gerald

    All you protestants who want to gloat about this go to reformation dot com or stop baptist pedophiles dot org. Easy to find on the net. You can also look in to the research of Phil Jenkins, a Protestant, who shows that the problem is as serious in protestant churches. Yes the CC needs to clean up it's act.

    July 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Colin

      Hmmm, maybe its believing in the christian sky-fairy that makes one a pedophile.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • gerakd

      Well your use of logic is clearly flawed because atheists can be peds also. No the problem is clearly the human condition as stated in the Bible. We are all sinners in need of a savior. Christianity is a hospital for sinners rather than a hotel for saints. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

      July 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      The reason the Episcopal Church has far less problems with this, is that they have chosen to implement effective risk management procedures to safeguard their children and vast assets. The policy of "Safe Churches" which states that "no child is ever alone with an adult" has been stringently enforced. There IS a way to stop this. That some just talk and do nothing, or nothing effective, speaks volumes.

      http://wwwn dot ang-md dot org/mend dot php

      July 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  10. Tim Jordan

    Yes, I'm not a Christian. It confounds me how these "men in dresses" express being contrite but never go to jail. You'd think the same organization that was so successful with the Spanish Inquisition would be able to arrest the guilty.

    July 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Tim Jordan, they were successful in a that large scale land grab called the inquisition for the same reasons that are successful now. The powers in the church are covering up and the local authorities are acquiescing to the "higher Power" of the church.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  11. Ryan in SF

    Being a former Roman Catholic and an altar boy when I was young I can say that it is not correct to judge all Catholics or priests by what a few do. However, those offenders should be arrested and given trial. It is not right what they are doing at all.

    Jesus taught that Christians should judge at least the doctrine of other so called Christians. This is where the real heresy and deception of the Roman Catholic church can be uncovered. While claiming a line of succession all the way back to Peter they do not even preach most of what the apostles taught. Most of their doctrines come from the third century and were developed over the centuries. Off the top of my head, some of the chief heresies that are not Biblical are:

    1) The doctrine of the Trinity. God is not three persons, the only number valid for God is one.
    2) Adoring or praying to anyone other than Jesus Christ.
    3) Veneration and belief in the sinless nature of Mary. Kudos to her for her role but she had to receive the Holy Spirit for salvation just like the rest (Acts 2). Nowhere in the Bible does it say prayer should be addressed to any human living or dead.
    4) Baptism by any other means than immersion and in any other way than invoking the name of Jesus Christ is a deviation from what the apostles taught.
    5) Confessing and receiving forgiveness of sins to anyone other than Jesus, ie a priest, is unscriptural and will not give forgiveness.
    6) The idea that communion actually becomes Jesus' body and blood. It was a ceremony done in remembrance of him until he returns, nothing more.
    7) The existence of purgatory, from which a person then can go to heaven is unscriptural. Either Jesus' atonement was enough or it was not. The Bible is very clear you either go to heaven or hell upon death.

    July 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • fred

      OK, but, as to the Trinity we have the father, son and holy spirit. Box it up however you wish but we have a trinity.
      As to pary only to Jesus – God can sort this out if the heart is right, heck I pray to all 3
      Reagaring Baptisim it is not necessary to get into heaven and once again it is a dying to self and living in Christ not the water or depth of it.

      July 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Ryan in SF, would you agree that Anyone that tried to cover this up or knew about it but did nothing, are as guilty and should pay as will?

      July 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Anyone theology that worships a trinity and still calls itself monotheistic is capable of rationalizing anything.
      Like praying to God "through" saint. Seems that like the King of Laputa, God needs flappers to get His attention.
      And though there may be countless statues of Mary before which the devout prostrate themselves and pray in her name, they're really just "venerating" the Virgin Mother, not worshipping.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Another view. The myth of the mother goddess is as old as the hills. The civilizing affect of "The Courtly Ideal", (the Lady, chivalry etc.) was valuable in the West coming out of the barbaric Dark Ages, and may still be. 😈

      July 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Nonimus

      What's the article got to do with theology? If Archbishop or others in the hierarchy are guilty of crimes, such as conspiracy to commit a felony, then they should be prosecuted, regardless of the theological positions.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • fred

      Bucky Ball,
      Most do not worship the Greek Gods of the Sun, Mars etc. today because that is myth. We worship a living God.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Show me your god and I'll show you Zeus and Apollo.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      fred (I know this is a bit off topic) there is no difference in what you believe today and what others believed yesterday (imagine what folk will believe in another 2-3 hundred years?

      July 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Ed

      @Ryan, Couiple of points

      first adoring an praying are not the same thing. Pray is altin word it means speak. So you pray(speak) to other humans evey day. Catholics only adore or worship God.

      Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained
      Christ told Peter and the other apostles " Giving the authority to forgive sins since the Catholic church has followed the succession the authority was passed down.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • fred

      So how many people have died in the name of Zeus lately ? none ! Today people are still fighting for God and over God, for what the Bible says and what it does not say. My God is very much alive, yours is but a myth

      July 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Gerald

      1) The doctrine of the Trinity. God is not three persons, the only number valid for God is one.

      So who is talking in John when Jesus is baptized and a voice says "this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" and then of course there was the dove. God is one but you want him fully defined and humanly understood. Such a god is an idol fashioned by man. The Trinity is very scriptural.

      2) Adoring or praying to anyone other than Jesus Christ.

      We don't adore saints first of all. That is forbidden. However Rom 8 says nothing can separate us from the love of god including death. We are also told that all members are part of the body of Christ in Rom 12. Well those who died have not been separated from the body. They are in heaven and Heb 12 says they are witness to what goes on on earth. 1 Tim 2:1-4 says it is good to interceed for one another. Rom 5 and 8 tell us (incense mixed with our prayers represents prayers of those in heaven) that those in heaven pray for us. We merely ask their prayers.

      3) Veneration and belief in the sinless nature of Mary. Kudos to her for her role but she had to receive the Holy Spirit for salvation just like the rest (Acts 2). Nowhere in the Bible does it say prayer should be addressed to any human living or dead.

      There are two ways to be saved from a pit. One can be pulled out of it or one can be prevented from falling in. The angel said to Mary "hail full of grace". To be full of grace means no room for sin. It was a special grace given to Mary. Yes it depends completely on Jesus Amen as her savior.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Gerald

      Purgatory does not in any way deny Jesus atonement. The Bible is very clear that there is a process of sanctification that is needed. There is no guarantee that sanctification is completed at death so something has to give. 1 Cor 3:15 is a clear stateemnt of purgatory. "if any man's work is burned up he will be saved but as if through fire". Fire represents purification and this passage is clearly after death at judgement.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      If it is alive, why did it let all those babies die in Japan a few monts ago. And don't say "God works in mysterious ways". There is no more evidence for your myth than the older myth. If there is, what is it ?

      July 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Gerald

      Ed already answered 5 very well.

      6> in John 6 there is ample evidence for the Eucharist. Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you shall not have life within you.... My flesh is true food...my blood is true drink". He says it for times but that is not enough for some. Even some of his disciples left in v. 6:66 but he let them go. In Matt 26 the word "remembrance" in greek is anemesis which is much deeper than just a memorial. It made the event present to the jews.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • fred

      I need some help on this. The verse you refer to is John 20:23 I assume and that verse did not give the apostles authority to forgive sin but gave them the power of the holy spirit and through this in preaching the gospel sinners are freed from sin

      July 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Gerald

      Fred, you seem to be having trouble reading. It says "WHOSE SINS YOU FORGIVE....". Pretty clear.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Ed

      Yes all forgivness comes from Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit Christ gave the apostles the authority to extend that power. They became the bishops as the chruch grew they need more clergy so they inturn ordaned the priest and extended that authority again. The sacrament of reconciliation(confession) if for us not God it is so we can hear we are forgiven because we humans need that sometimes. Now your taking me all the way back to RCIA class

      July 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "So how many people have died in the name of Zeus lately ? none !"
      So it's a popularity contest, is it? Careful, Islam is the fastest growing religion worldwide. It outnumbers Catholics, which is the single largest denomination of Christians.

      Are you prepared to become Muslim when they outnumber your own sect?

      July 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Nobody knows what Jesus actually taught, nor should anyone care. Whatever a historical Jesus may or may not have thought and taught has been irretrievably garbled in transmission and the politics of putting together a canon. But more importantly, it doesn't matter. The historical Jesus, if there was one, was just another fallible man from long ago whose views, though perhaps revolutionary in some ways, were still steeped in a religious tradition that is of no more relevance than any other. The more I hear Christians debate theology, the more I envision angels dancing on heads of pins. It's truly absurd.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • fred

      Bucky Ball,
      I see you agree that God is alive because people still fight for God and over God and His Scripture today. I Cannot recall the last time someone put his life on the line for Zeus or Santa or some other myth often quoted on this site.

      July 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Ed

      @Fred, Yes but God does not call us to fight in his name he calls us to teach and help in his name that fact that we fight in his name shows we don't listen to him very well

      July 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Nope. Just want you guys to be consistent.

      check your catechism. It says THREE persons in ONE god.

      July 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  12. TC

    I love it – the self dillusional one here are ridiculously hysterical. Check out Demuth and Ranier – both are as big a lunatic as one could get and Demuth ic calling Ranier a madman – classic! Both of these wierd souls spend so much time on Catholic issues and neither has a clue what it means to be Catholic or spent anytime learning about Catholics. Wasted energy from wasted minds.

    July 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  13. Patrick O’Malley

    Rigali was a disgrace to God, and was typical of the dishonest, pedophile protecting bishops that run the Catholic church today.

    Rigali's signature moment was worse than portrayed. In February of 2011, he said there were "no priests credibly accused of abusing minors" in ministry, then suspended 21 after the truth came out in a Grand Jury report.

    He lied to their face about the safety of their children. Of course, the truth came out less than a month later or he might have gotten away with it. He is symbolic of the lack of concern the Catholic church has about keeping their pedophile priests away from children.

    Google "Philadelphia district attorney grand jury report" and read just the first 6 pages, and you’ll see what these pedophile priests did to children, and its horrifying.

    July 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  14. Realilty

    The RCC ship continues to sink and shrink not only from the obviousness of priests, bishops and popes no longer being "can do no wrong" males but also from the continuing aging of said priests and the dramatic reduction in the overall number as the sons of "pew peasants" are now realizing the flaws and falacies in Christianity.

    July 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • fred

      So Reality, you subscribe to the same beleif system as Hitler?

      July 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • TC

      And the unflawed belief you subscribe to? Nothingness?

      July 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • fred

      tc, Hitler thougt of Christians much as Reality does "pew sitters" usefull idiots. What is wrong with nothingness some choose this and seek after it their whole life. You, I and Reality will find exactly what we have been seeking. If we seek nothing we find it, seek Jesus and find the light that would shine in the darkness. What are you looking for

      July 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."
      – Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941
      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. ...Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross."
      – Adolf Hitler, speech on April 12, 1922

      Sorry dude. Hitler = Catholic

      July 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Andrew

      Doc, perhaps Hitler kept the facade of Catholicism to appear moral, but the Vatican's response to him and his actions against the Church say otherwise. Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (published in German so it could be read from pulpits throughout Germany and largely written by the cardinal who would become Pope Pius XII), condemned Nazism and anti-semitism. Hitler later tried to have Pius XII kidnapped and assasinated. When a prominent bishop in Austria publically supported Hitler and the Anschluss, Pius XI called him to Rome and forced him to print a retraction. Hitler responded by outlawing Catholic groups. Plenty of politicians today say that they're Catholic too, but now as then actions speak louder than words.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @fred Such arrogance in proclaiming that you will automatically find whatever you seek. It'd frankly be an improvement if the "god fearing" actually feared god. You all talk like you've got your gods locked into an iron clad contract. Don't be surprised if you are surprised!

      July 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Hitler, Franco and Mussolini were given veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy. In turn they surtaxed the Catholics and gave the money to the Vatican. Hitler wrote a speech in which he talks about this alliance, this is an excerpt: “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church. This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism [Nazism] is hostile to religion is a lie.”
      Adolf Hitler, 22 July 1933, writing to the Nazi Party

      A few years prior to that, Hitler had this to say about the Vatican and fascism:
      "The fact that the Curia is now making its peace with Fascism shows that the Vatican trusts the new political realities far more than did the former liberal democracy with which it could not come to terms. ...The fact that the Catholic Church has come to an agreement with Fascist Italy ...proves beyond doubt that the Fascist world of ideas is closer to Christianity than those of Jewish liberalism or even atheistic Marxism..."
      – Adolf Hitler in an article in the Völkischer Beobachter, February 29, 1929, on the new Lateran Treaty between Mussolini's fascist government and the Vatican

      Nobody can ever know the true, exact nature of Hitler's relationship with God. All we can go by are his published statements, in which he repeatedly proclaims his faith both publically and privately.
      He wasn't a villain in his own eyes and by the end most likely believed himself to be holier than the pope himself by the end of his reign.

      July 20, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  15. jjue

    Not having a belief can be just as dangerous as having a belief. Many times people become victims of their own beliefs or beliefs of others, it doesn't matter. Conversely, those who have no beliefs are very often overpowered by those who have beliefs. Voting is a perfect example of those who believe in a process and those who don't believe, as those who don't believe don't take part in the process. Belief or no belief is a double edged sword. The big problem is those who force change based on their beliefs are often times very bad people. Being meek and not having a belief is a receipt for extinction.

    July 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Having no belief IS a belief.

      I think you are refering to indiffernce, which can be dangerous.

      July 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Pete

      I think you're pointing out that religious nuts are controlling the political sphere in the US (and most Muslim countries).

      July 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • jjue

      There is an old saying: "divide and conquer". Many battles are won just on confusing or dividing the enemy – no united front, perhaps a demoralized opponent or one that does not believe they can win. The U.S. is by far the most divided nation in the world, primed for take over, even without one shot fired, in this case, maybe by simple population displacement, much like France and some of Europe is experiencing. War and battles havemany different facets. It does not have to be all about killing.

      July 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tim Jordan

      @William Demuth - "Having no belief IS a belief." Um, you mean that "not collecting stamps" is still a hobby? Makes no rational sense.

      July 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • gerald

      Tim, except that those who don't collect stamps don't feel compelled to talk about the superiority of not collecting stamps. Those who don't believe in God still feel compelled to try and explain the universe.

      July 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • JasonInKC

      "Tim, except that those who don't collect stamps don't feel compelled to talk about the superiority of not collecting stamps. Those who don't believe in God still feel compelled to try and explain the universe."

      Kind of like those that believe in god feeled compelled to butt into everyone's business and tell them how sinful their lives are (while conveniently looking over how sinful their own lives are)?

      July 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • JasonInKC


      July 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  16. JohnQuest

    I don't understand, you can be excommunicated for getting a 9 year old an abortion after she was rap-ed and impregnated by her stepfather. But it's okay to rap-e countless kids for decades. And these are the leaders of you church. (Thank God I'm not a believer).

    July 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Thats why the Church insists on same gender buggery.

      No risk of abortion, no seed of the fruit on the ground, and another preacher who becomes a cult member for life.

      July 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    We should no longer get fooled by the big glamour of the pope.

    I wonder, why nobody attacks the pope. It is a matter of fact that the RCC is a strict hierarchy with the pope as it's head. The pope is really personally responsible for all the mess in his body (RCC).

    Maybe we are witnesses of a historical event: Child abuse could be the end of papacy.

    Papacy is built on the unmarried priesthood. The pope, the bishops and the priests together are the unmarried "Christhood".

    According to paragraph 1618 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a priest (little Christ) must be unmarried like the big Christ. Celibacy is essential for the Christ-likeness of the priesthood. The RCC depends on the unmarried priesthood.They are vehicles of the Holy Spirit (according to the RCC doctrine). No priesthood, no Spirit, no Church.

    I am very glad that the pope has blundered into a quagmire.

    I hope, the pope will not incite the secular states against each other, as he has done in former times. A third world war would catapult us back to the Middle Ages, and the pope would use his chance to take over rule again.

    July 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I understand you are German, so I accept you may not understand your postings in english have a creepy quality to them.

      You may mean well, but you sound like a mad man.

      July 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • gerald

      Rainer, you misstate para 1618. It says that celibacy is the preferred way just as Paul does in 1 Cor 7 and Jesus himself does in Matt 19 (to some this has been given for the sake of the kingdom". If what you say were true there would be no married priests in the CC. But the fact is that Eastern Rite priests can and often are married. There are even many married priests in the Latin Rite, for instance over 500 priests came in from the anglican church in the 90's and were allowed to be Catholic priests, though married. You don't know as much as you think you do about the CC.

      The Pope is not in fact the dictator of the CC as you have described.

      July 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • gerald

      As for child abuse being the downfall of the papacy, we are told the gates of hell shall not prevail so it is not likely that your prediction will come true. There have been bad popes and scandal throughout church history and the Church survives despite it. That is because Christ is the head and it's life does not depend on the men who run it.

      July 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Gerald Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism have all been around longer than Christianity. The RCC's longevity is nothing remarkable in the history of religion and doesn't need an occult explanation.

      July 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Henry VIII

      Herr Braendlein: Ich weiB nicht.
      The RCC has more than one billion followers, and I suspect it is not about to disband.
      But a major reformation–even a mega-restructuring and/or schism? Quite possible now.
      Such ecclesiastical cataclysms seen to pop up for the Church every 500 years or so.

      July 20, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  18. jjue

    Wars, conquests of any sort, even in sports, is accomplish by belief. It doesn't matter what that belief is, whether it is the belief that you can win or the belief that your lucky charm is working or some fortune teller made you believe that this would happen, or the belief in your version of God being more powerful than the opponents version of God. Belief maybe hard to define for some, but it boils down to getting people to focus on something. Sometimes that something is killing or conquest of some designated lands or people, but it really goes back to control of the masses for the purpose of power over others. Again, the word "others" means those who oppose as well as those who are under the control of. The stronger the belief of one over the other causes change, whether that change is for good or for bad, it is still changed created by belief.

    July 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  19. Viki

    So, where is the post I filed half an hour ago?

    July 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      The just disappear ... they have a strange censorship "bot" that eliminates most posts

      July 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Actually it has to do with DNS.

      It seems they are losing the ability to recognize the IP of the poster.

      Reboot and return, and you might be good

      July 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  20. Realilty

    The RCC ship continues to sink not only from the obviousness of priests, bishops and popes no longer being "can do no wrong" males but also from the continuing aging of said priests and the dramatic reduction in the overall number as the sons of "pew peasants" are now realizing the flaws and falacies in Christianity.

    Some added important reading material:

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed." J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions

    July 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      I agree with some of the things you say (up to a point so to speak) but not all. I think the RCC in particular and Christian denominational religions are in big trouble (predicated on their own self-serving policies) .. this includes RC priest scandals, TV evangelist scandals, inter-faith conflicts, political behaviors (e.g., versus clinics and health care people)(picketing funerals, etc.) and it is very clear that they (Christian denominations) have no inclination to change (they actually get worse every day). They will evaporate (and quickly). There will be a remnant though who are well motivated (and unaffiliated). I do believe in God and I do believe God rules. We (brilliant as we are) cannot understand MOST of physical reality and almost NONE of spiritual reality .. we are very limited .. so our "take" on things (as they like to say here .. is minimal.

      July 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Pete

      Indeed – it's a challenge for any religion to objectively point to any good work done, while the bad work done is legion.

      July 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • TC

      You point out the obvious – wherever one is born is the likelihood of being that region or cultures religion. And that's OK. Next point that makes faith pointelsss? Oh that's right you never have one.

      July 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Reality

      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 (pointless)."

      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 professor’s 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:

      o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
      o p.4
      o "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. "

      o 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, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
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About this blog

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