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Church extends authority to absolve sin of abortion for papal visit
August 18th, 2011
02:13 PM ET

Church extends authority to absolve sin of abortion for papal visit

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Vatican has given authority to priests who are in Madrid during the pope’s visit there to give absolution to women who confess to having had an abortion - and has empowered priests to lift excommunications for such women.

Typically, only certain priests have the power to grant absolution for the sin of abortion and to lift excommunications that have resulted from terminated pregnancies, according to a Vatican spokesman.

“All the priests that are administering the sacrament of confession during World Youth Day have the general authority to give absolution from the penalty of excommunication for abortion if someone comes to confession… if someone has this need,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi told CNN on Thursday, referring to the event that brought Pope Benedict XVI to Madrid on Thursday for a four-day visit.

Madrid Archbishop Antonio María Rouco Varela announced the extension of such authority to more priests in a statement on the archdiocese's website, saying the move was made in hopes that "all of the faithful who attend the celebrations of the 26th World Youth Day in Madrid can more easily attain the fruits of divine grace, that the doors to a new life open for them."

The church has set up 200 confessional booths in a Madrid park for priests to hear confessions in.

Varela said the Roman Catholic Church “has conferred to all the priests legitimately approved to hear sacramental confessions, who are in the archdiocese of Madrid during August 15 to 22, the delegated power to remit during the sacrament of penance the excommunication… corresponding to the sin abortion, to the faithful who are truly sorry, imposing at the same time a convenient penance.”

Benedict’s Spain visit coincides with a weeklong series of religious events that the Roman Catholic Church organizes every three years.

Lombardi said that the Vatican often extends authority to absolve certain sins and to lift excommunications at big papal events. Any woman who knows that the church considers abortion a sin and goes through with the procedure is automatically excommunicated, Lombardi said.

"This is not only for women," Lombardi said. "If a man has given the pressure on the women to do an abortion then he's guilty in the same way."
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Spain said that the extension of priestly authority around abortion applies only to priests who are in the Madrid archdiocese for World Youth Day festivities.

On Thursday the pope was greeted by a large crowd of followers, including youths from all over the world, but his visit was not without controversy. With Spain suffering a deep economic crisis and nearly 21% unemployment, the amount that the pope's visit is costing the country has been top news in recent days.

The pope arrived in Madrid as protests took place in the city over that cost. The economic crisis has previously sparked protests in the country.

- CNN's Al Goodman and Mariano Castillo contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Catholic Church • Spain

soundoff (1,031 Responses)
  1. Colin

    This borders on the comical. Some 70 year-old fools in Rome unilaterally decide that more priests have magic powers to cause a Bronze Age sky-fairy not to be mad at women who have an abortion.

    What's next? Will the Pope decide that more priests have the power to forgive Harry Potter for mas.turbating?

    August 19, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Frogist

      @Colin: Hey! Harry doesn't mastur-bate. Not when he's got Ron to help him out anyway. 😉

      August 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  2. herbert juarez

    @observer
    Hypocrisy is a human failing ,we all have it to one degree or another.Christians are not perfect,if man could achieve perfection,we wouldn't need salvation.We all have a sin problem.We can dull our conscience but we can never fully recover from the sins we have committed.If you lie once you're a liar ,that's a lifetime achievement award.It doesn't matter how much good we do ,the fact we lied is still there.You can apply any sin you have committed to the example i've given.Even Christians make mistakes and yes Christians sin, but we have found a resolution to the problem in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.I can stand before God, not because I am perfect, but because someone paid the penalty for all my sins in full.When we find ourselves, alone with ourselves, late at night or in solitude, and the conscience kicks in,and you have to face yourself as being less than perfect.Yes , i did a lot of good, but that day I lied and maybe someone innocent got hurt.How does one deal with that ?The loneliness, the emptiness, the pain of just knowing the wrong you did.For me I have found an answer and that answer is Jesus.I find freedom ,and the strength to try again and the ability to forgive myself and go on.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Observer

      So if you are so easy to forgive yourself, why are you on here picking on gays? Just pick and choose the sins?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @ Don't recall that, what was your example and when was it posted.
      not all posts ,under the name used are mine.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Observer

      My mistake. I was looking at another blog.

      So do you support equal rights for gays even though you don't believe in their lifestyle, just like you don't believe in other religions?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      You out pick'n fights again? Ok, should identical twins or only unidentical twins be allowed to marry?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @observer
      You appear determined to put words in my mouth.Why?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Observer

      So do you support equal rights for gays even though you don't believe in their lifestyle, just like you don't believe in other religions?

      Simple yes or no question. It's not putting words in your mouth.Yes or no?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      "Ok, should identical twins or only unidentical twins be allowed to marry?"

      What in the world are you basing this nonsensical question on?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      Hey -Fred...

      Hope that you are doing well.

      You Said to @Observer..." should identical twins or only unidentical twins be allowed to marry? "

      If you wouldn't care to come back and elaborate a bit on this, I would certainly appreciate it.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 19, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • fred

      Peace@all
      Observer thinks God is unfair by not allowing gay marriage . I said what man thinks has no bearing on what God (if their is one) determines brings glory to His Name (i.e. if gay marriage brings glory to God then I am ok with it). I further stated that what man does with his civil laws is up to man, call it civil union / gay marriage or whatever. Now if man determines this should family members be allowed to marry each other also?

      August 19, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • fred

      Peace@all
      Observer thinks God is unfair by not allowing gay marriage . I said what man thinks has no bearing on what God determines brings glory to His Name (i.e. if gay marriage brings glory to God then I am ok with it). I further stated that what man does with his civil laws is up to man, call it civil union / gay marriage or whatever. Now if man determines this should family members be allowed to marry each other also?

      August 19, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      Thanks.

      Peace...

      August 19, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      "Observer thinks God is unfair by not allowing gay marriage ".
      Please actually read what I have said so you don't have to claim I said something I didn't. My comments on other blogs to you were that many Christians were hypocrites about which sins they CHOOSE to support and which sins they CHOOSE to ignor. Many hom-ophobic Christians pick verses that foster hatred towards gays when they could have chosen the love expressed in the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is what the law and the prophets are all about, but Christians frequently CHOOSE to ignor that.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      Jesus blasted the religeous leaders for all their silly nit picking and rules to get around what God specifically and simply told them was the truth. My impression was that you and LOL were tag teaming to get me to say gay marriage was of God and brings glory to God thus should be embraced by Christians everywhere. My reply was do what the state allows for civil purposes and do what is right before God if that is where your heart leads you.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Observer

      "My impression was that you and LOL were tag teaming to get me to say gay marriage was of God and brings glory to God thus should be embraced by Christians everywhere."

      Your impression was 100% wrong. I never talked about whether I thought anything was specifically to "bring glory to God". That is your OPINION. I have NEVER claimed that the Bible supported gay marriage. I am talking about HYPOCRISY – the subject of the other blog.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      Will you deny the civil rights of twins that want to get married?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Herbert Juarez So you hurt someone, but muttering some mumbo jumbo about Jesus makes it all okay again. Does the person you hurt agree? Grab a clue: It DOES matter how much good vs bad we do. Nothing matters more. But yes, we all do bad at times. It serves no useful purpose to brood in self loathing for our failings in perpetuity. But glib self forgiveness in the name of any deity or pseudo-deity and claiming such forgiveness only for co-believers is one of the creepiest doctrines any religion has ever come up with,

      August 19, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @john r.
      You missed the point completely , but then you really wanted to miss it, so you've accomplished what you set out to do.When possible one does try to make amends to anyone they hurt,but you can't unscramble eggs and you still have the original problem to deal with.One lie and you are a liar,forever.

      August 19, 2011 at 7:10 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @stevie7
      Didn't bother to read the post before commenting did you?Or did the part where i said no firm proof,prove too profound for you?

      August 19, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, the twin scenario is a good question. If male and female twins marry, their descendants would likely suffer from genetic problems, as like hemophilia in the royal houses of Europe when they interbred so frequently. There are valid reasons why incest is not a good idea.

      However, two consenting adults who are not related present no problem, despite the fact that a 2000 year old book of bronze age myths says that they are sinners if they are the same gender. It's just another case of science vs. religious bias.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • fred

      Tallulah13
      Most states at one time actually took blood tests to detemine if dangerous conditions exist for the marriage or pregnancy. Not sure they still do that but I note some still ask questions about is the groom / bride related.
      So, you think we should violate the rights of unidentical twins. Should we violate the rights of identical twins that want to marry (one couple in San Francisco who are identical twins plan to marry when the courts overturn prop 8)

      August 19, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Frogist

      @fred: Fun conjecture about identical twins this. But it's besides the point. You cannot disallow marriage between consenting adults on the basis of a holy book that cannot be authenticated and has no bearing on public policy.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Stevie7

      There are laws against incest that exist for scientific, verifiable sound reasons that don't rely on some text written thousands of years ago in an ancient land. Using the slippery slope argument to deny people civil rights is just sad. It was sad several decades ago when used for interracial marriage, and it's sad now. Give it up.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • fred

      Frogist,
      Agreed cannot dissalow based on The Divine Word of a Holy God (which we refer to as the Bible). This post stems from a previous agrument where I said states can do whatever the poeople allow but what God has joined together in marriage is a completly different issue. You may be able to bribe a priest to do a weding but you cannot twist the arm of God (whether or not God exists).

      With god out of the picture states will not marry unidentical twins but will marry identical twins. I think the politicians are doing a much better job of giving and taking away civil rights than Chrstians ever did.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  3. herbert juarez

    @Martin
    Why do you suspect anger?That was humor, for goodness sake, you can't be that bad off.There are two legitimate arguments for the existence of God.Creation and the human soul,the inner being,the heart,the conscience.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Martin T

      Herbert, neither of those "arguments" are valid. First there is no evidence of a human soul, none. Creation, that myth has been defeated by science as far back as Darwin.. Fail again... You need some new material.

      As for humor, I'm afraid I don't often get "Christian" humor, I find it rather lowbrow...

      August 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @martin
      pulling knowledge from an orifice is highbrow?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Observer

      herbert,

      You are zero for two. You have NO proof. Got any proof at all?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • herbert juarez

      The soul of man dates to the dawn of time,throughout history there have been those that accept the inner man,and those that don't.Neither position has firm"proof"but i suspect the soul believers are in the majority.The post i left for observer may shed some light on my position.
      As to creation, i wasn't aware that science had been able to offer anything but theories,not all of which are incompatible with the Bible.Side note;there are no fewer than nine theories offered based on Biblical creation.Kind of sad you can't or won't see God in His creative splendor.Bottom line=no "proof" from science either.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Observer

      herbert juarez,

      For you to believe in Creation, you need to decide which of the two versions of the sequence of events in Genesis is wrong. Then explain how serpents understand language and talk. Then explain who created the parallel civilization of Nod, where Cain went and married after he slew Abel (was it Steve?). Answers please.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Herbert Juarez

      Hello -Herbert...

      Could you please list, or provide some links to the 9 + ideas offered on biblical creation you spoke of directly above here...?

      I'd like to read them.

      Thanks...

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 19, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @peace2all
      Years ago I encountered a man teaching ,a creation /destruction,creation/ destruction scenario etc. for the earth.Rather than challenge his presentation unawares i sought out information on his material.I believe it was in a Bible dictionary,possibly Erdmans.This was pre-PC.Try googling Biblical creation theories and see what comes back.

      August 19, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @observer
      In the previous post ,i referenced selective ignorance of Biblical passages that are used to support your point of view.That pretty much addresses what you are trying to do. There is much more to the passages you reference, and in due time with God allowing I will reply to those issues.Probably not directly to you ,as you tend to go round and round never learning or coming to a conclusion.

      August 19, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Stevie7

      "Neither position has firm"proof"but i suspect the soul believers are in the majority."
      --
      Earth-is-flat believers used to be the majority as well. Didn't make them right. You're using your position as proof of god, but you have no evidence for this. Calling this a 'proof' of god is, therefore, ridiculous.

      August 19, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  4. herbert juarez

    @martin t
    There is a wide gulf between atheist and agnostic.As to polls, they are only relevant to the control group you're talking with.On these blogs it is likely to get a"higher" percentage of self proclaimed atheists,because they appear drawn to "religious " conversations or topics like moths to a flame.I suspect and have found that most people,that would be included in the "atheist" column are in fact indifferent.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Observer

      herbert,
      "You first have to lie to yourself to become a true atheist"

      Explain that statement. Be exact.

      Then please address the MASSIVE hypocrisy of Christians who only pick and choose the verses they like and ignor the rest.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Herbert, Care to share where you are getting this vast amount of knowledge.. perhaps pulling it from a certain oriface? Just curious... See, making stuff up, or even having an opinion about it, does NOT make it so... Proof my dear man, proof.. where is it? Where is the evidence for god? Where is your deity? Perhaps he is off playing golf with Osiris and Zeus????

      August 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      You're obvious pretty ignorant. Agnosticism is a proposition of knowledge. Atheism is a proposition of belief. The two are NOT mutually exclusive. You can be an agnostic theist or you can be an agnostic atheist. You have a lot to learn.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      However, there are almost no agnostic Christians (or Muslims) because they're so brainwashed with the idea of hell, so they can't allow themselves any thoughts of doubt. Therefore almost all agnostics are atheists in reality. Some just don't want to be labeled atheists because of social pressure.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  5. LillySnow

    How forgiving to excommunicate a woman who's already struggling with such a decision as abortion, and then for this particular visit to Spain forgiveness is offered? What about the women in the rest of the world? Do they need to pay a 70 million dollar price tag for a papal visit, in order to get forgivness and re-instatement from the church?
    http://postmodernrevelation.com/

    August 18, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Martin T

      You know Lilly, my wife just said she'd be happy to confess to an abortion if it meant she'd get kicked out of the Catholic Church. She grew up in the church, I did not, so I guess she'd understand better than I on that topic.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  6. Dennis

    It wasn't the Vatican ... CNN get your facts straight! It was the (Arch)Bishop of Madrid who has the authority to do this ...

    August 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  7. gupsphoo

    Hey Pope, how about encouraging pedophile priests to confess?

    August 18, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  8. Martin T

    I know we all take pot shots at religion on here, but has anyone actually read this story. My goodness, this story is FREAKY. What in the word of Lucifer is the POOP doing? Absolving women who had abortions, but only while he's in Madrid... oh boy, and people around the world think this guy is sent from god.... wow.. I think at no other time in my life have I been happier to be an atheist.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • ryan

      Martin, you better re-read the story, or better yet, learn about it from a reliable source (not CNN). Bishops around the world have the authority to absolve women who had abortions and they've granted this authority to certain priests as well. It just so happens all priests have been given this authority for this big event. "Absolving only in Madrid" is not the case.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Ryan, regardless it's still pretty silly if you ask me. First you throw someone out of the church, then if they come to you and BEG to get back in, you will allow it, but only during a "special" time... how silly is that.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Martin T

      Never heard of limited time offers for returning customers?

      Transfer you phone number back to us and for this month only we'll waive the activation fee and give you 2 months of free service!

      Sounds pretty similar to me. 😉

      August 19, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Observer

      It's as ridiculous as marriage annulments where people go through the service, swear in front of God, sign all the legal papers, live together, and then months or years later pretend it didn't happen.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  9. Reality

    Said absolution will not erase the significant sin of stupidity as a great percentage of abortions are the result of not taking the Pill daily as spelled out in large letters on the package and/or not using a condom.

    ---------------------------------------–

    August 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Observer

      If stupidity was a sin, heaven would be empty. Get serious.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • fred

      Observer
      Atheists must believe that existence is meaningless and the universe came about for no purpose whatsoever. When an atheist says that is not true they lie because they could not know life is meaningless and without purpose unless they knew meaning and purpose to begin with. Sensing that this really does not make sense they move to destroy God / Creator by claiming some foolish thing like a Creator would not allow injustice. How does justice or injustice fit a meaningless existence?

      August 19, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Observer

      "How does justice or injustice fit a meaningless existence?"

      Very easily. Some people are intelligent enough to figure out what is best for mankind without having to read a book. Deciding to follow the concept of the Golden Rule doesn't have any required link to know about it's existence. Every civilization has it's own morals.

      Actually, atheists and agnostics deserve more credit for being "good people" than believers because they have decided what is right without bribes (heaven) and threats (hell).

      August 19, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • fred

      So your "goodness" is just but Gods goodness is meaningless

      August 19, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      You said "Deciding to follow the concept of the Golden Rule doesn't have any required link to know about it's existence"

      Once again how do you know "good" without a link

      August 19, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Observer

      fred,
      "So your "goodness" is just but Gods goodness is meaningless"

      I NEVER said any such thing. Read what I said. We are talking about a relative scale here. Stick with what I said.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      "Once again how do you know "good" without a link".

      You certainly underestimate people's intelligence. It doesn't take a whole lot of brains or a book to tell people that it's probably a good idea to treat people with respect so they will treat you with respect. It doesn't take a book to convince intelligent people that anarchy is probably not best for everyone in a group. How ignorant do you think people are?

      August 19, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      You cannot have a relative scale without a base measurement or it is irrelevent. So you say you are "good" how good would you say on a relative scale if perfect goodness is the base?

      August 19, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      Whatever book you are talking about toss it in the trash please because you do not believe what it says so it is meaningless. Now without a book in your hands of any kind what is the meaning and purpose of life?

      August 19, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      By "good" I mean the characteristics that most people believe in: honest, kind, considerate, generous, etc.

      You certainly can't be under the delusion that you have to be a Christian to have these traits.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      So you are saying you were born good and goodness just flows from you. Is that not meaningless and without purpose if the very existence of life has no meaning or purpose? You see I understand agnostic, I do not understand atheist. To say there may be a god I just have no proof is different than to say there is no God no Creator nothing, no purpose, no design, just a cosmic poof .

      August 19, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Observer

      "So you are saying you were born good and goodness just flows from you. Is that not meaningless and without purpose if the very existence of life has no meaning or purpose?"

      PLEASE read what I say so you don't have to make up things I didn't say. I think most people are BORN with enough intelligence later to decide what is best for themself and mankind. It sounds to me that you are assuming that the children of God are born bad and need the Bible to shape them up.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, the thing about being an atheist, is that I don't see any proof of god or need of god. Science shows he isn't necessary, and history makes him, like every other god, like a human invention. Hinduism predates judaism

      August 19, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yikes. Posted without permission. Anyway, hinduism predates judaism, therefore there are still gods being worshiped that existed before your god did. Do you believe in the hindu pantheon, too? Christianity could make a compelling case had it developed independently and simultaneously on separate continents, but the truth is, the christian god never went anywhere unless he was taken by humans. So your god is indifferent, weak, or invented. Because god couldn't be bothered with other populations, 1500 years after the birth of your religion the Spaniards slaughtered the indigenous people of South America, because apparently it's okay to kill and rob non-christians. Kind of convenient, don't you think?

      For me, everything I've learned from studying history (which I do a lot) and from learning what science I can has led me to not believe in god. I can't make myself believe and it would take some really compelling, bullet-proof evidence to make me change my mind. Sorry.

      If it makes you feel any better, I can't figure out why anyone with a lick of common sense would believe in a god.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      You said" I think most people are BORN with enough intelligence later to decide what is best for themself and mankind'
      1) just looking around the world you see reality proves to be the opposite of what you say
      2) If there is no purpose for the universe there cannot be purpose behind mans failure (bad) or mans best (good) then good or bad are meaningless.
      You argue or just said you were born to decide best which means the universe must have purpose. So back to square one what is your purpose in life Observer, why are you here?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      I don't know who you hang around with, but I know plenty of people who are bright enough to decide what is best for civilization without having to be brainwashed. Your picture of the total lack of intelligence by the people you think a perfect God created is amazing. Carl Sagan, for instance, was a genius who was an atheist. Was he an immoral anarchist? Get real.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • fred

      Tallulah13
      Science never proved God was not necessary and It is open and shut that you cannot prove or disprove God via Science simply because of the rules imposed by Scientests on themselves. God revealed HImself the only way man (limited by time and space) could posible understand based on where man was at various points in mans development.
      You cannot say there is no God because you see injustice without first taking the time to know God as he has revealed Himself.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Observer

      fred,
      If God could be proved or disproved, these discussions wouldn't exist. Neither side can PROVE their points.

      Atheists and believers could BOTH be wrong. That's why I am an agnostic. Maybe there is a God, but maybe he is much more like the loving Jesus than the often vain, arrogant, mass-killing God of the Bible.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • fred

      Observer,
      How do you know what Sagan did will end up being the best for our world? I can give a list of people that did what they thought best and you would dissagree.
      If you do not know the purpose of the universe you cannot know if your best or Sagans best if of any value whatsoever.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • Tallulah13

      Fred, you make a lot of as-sumptions about the will of god. You're telling me that god was unwilling to use his boundless powers to make his presence known to the South American natives, or indeed to anyone but people in a relatively small geographical area in a way they would understand? The Inca, the Aztecs, the Maya - these were fairly sophisticated cultures. Had god shown up, I'm sure they'd have figured it out. Frankly it sounds like you're making excuses.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • fred

      Tallulah13
      Yeah, the Bible setting starts in what most agree to be the cradle of civilazition. Personally I find it amazing that 10,000 + years ago Moses (or for the argumentative types the "author") noted the location of early man that science just verified a few hundred years ago. The bible then goes on to lay out the scattering of the people over the world but only focuses on the chosen ones. Remember the bible is a story of God redeeming a people for Himself. There is no need to discuss the peoples of America since they have no bearing on the chosen. When Jesus was born the Roman Empire had brought a stable government system where commerce flurished and knowledge could be exchanged. Man was ready to move forward with a personal relationship in Christ and the Holy Spirit indewell. Before that God was revealed through Prophets, smoke, fire, lightning ......things that a simple minded developing nomadic peoples could comprehend. Perhaps the best example I found was if Moses saw one of our space sattlites with solar wings extended fly by he would cal it an Angel floating across the sky. In short man continues to evolve and has greater comprehension skills.
      Back to your American Indians, remember what happened when they saw their first white man? They bowed down and worshiped "god" and this "god" took everything he could until we whipped them out. They were not ready. Contrast this with Jesus who came in the form of an ordinary jewish man who talked of deep spiritual truths that still resonate and remain true 2,000 years later. Certainly God could have sent a giant angelic being and stomped out all injustice in the world ....but that being would need to continue to stomp out bad people the moment they turned bad. What do you have? A tyrant being surrounded by people who do not know how to love. The current set up allows those with hearts filled with love of God to continue their joy and worship of God in their own free will.

      August 19, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  10. herbert juarez

    Atheists are a very extreme minority.Blogs like these give those few atheists or atheist wannabes,a forum for their voice ,disproportionate to their numbers.It must really stroke their collective egos to suppose they have others like themselves,even though for the most part they are as individually separate and disjointed as any other small group.It brings me to mind of a line from an old movie. "it's the same tired old guys running the same tired old scams."

    August 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Martin T

      Actually, Atheists/Agnostics are growing at a faster rate than any other group tied to religion. Face it, religion is dying and what we are hearing are the death throes... so sad, NOT really.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Martin T

      And I agree, we are a VERY diverse group and you know why? Because we aren't tied to one ideology like faith heads are, we all have the freedom to explore all kinds of really interesting ideas. We don't have to buy into an ideology that is forcefed to us like most religious groups do. We get to have our own opinions and our own views, you should try it, actually. IT'S A BLAST...

      August 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @martint
      Self deception,the first danger sign.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • PB

      I am an atheist.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Herbert, my friend you are worth a laugh at least once a day, thank you.... Tell you what, how about you give me just ONE piece of empirical evidence of the existence of god, something that I can test or prove under a scientific scrutiny. IF you can do that, I'll fall down on my knees and acknowledge your god, otherwise, its all just a case of B.S.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Observer

      herbert juarez,

      In a recent poll/test, that "very extreme minority" on the average, knows more about the Bible than the average Christian and have higher educations. Same for agnostics. What was that about "self deception"?

      August 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Martin T

      Also @ Herbert, where do you get your data from on the decline of atheism? Can you share this data and the perhaps the site where you got it from.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @pb
      Really? I would have guessed a sandwich spread that goes with jelly.
      The world wide web and you "atheists" can only muster a few dozen?Most probably don't even know the definition of the word,one guy wants to bring in agnostics ,for what ,a quorum?

      August 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Martin T

      Again @ Herbert, in a recent study done by the Pew Center and the City University of New York, atheism was the fastest growing group who were affiliated with some religious group. Nearly 20% of all Americans associate themselves as either atheist or agnostic. At the same time, those attesting to be Christian fell at about the same rate as those claiming to Atheist grew. What says thee about this?

      August 18, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @ observer
      I find most "atheists" to be selectively ignorant of Biblical passages and over eager to jump on any "new"theory that comes along to "support " their point of view.
      You first have to lie to yourself to become a true atheist,that is self deception.Thinking of atheism as a growth movement is the actual deception referenced.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Herbert, yet again... face it dude your dog won't hunt. There are two main reasons why Christianity is failing. ONE: the entire religion is based on a lie, and TWO: Christians can't debate or defend their religion without it becoming a personal fight and eventually starting the name calling.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Observer

      "You first have to lie to yourself to become a true atheist"

      Explain that statement. Be exact.
      Then address the MASSIVE hypocrisy of Christians who only pick and choose the verses they like and ignor the rest.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • fred

      Martin T
      Well that is great news ! It makes the Bible true and relavent since the Bible says in the end times men will praise their own creations and deny the Creator. This must happen before Jesus returns to gather the elect.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Martin T

      What is self deception is when theists won't debate the issues because they can't win. What is self deception is when theists, even when faced with overwhelming evidence against them, refuse to admit they are wrong; what is self deception is when theists ignore the facts and make up what they want to be true and accept that as fact.

      The statement that atheists don't know the bible is absurd. MOST atheists have done more reading and are actually more articulate about the bible than theists. Making demeaning statements about Atheists does not make what you say any more accurate because you say it. Another case of self deception.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Observer

      fred,

      2,000 year old news. They expected the world to end during the lifetimes of contemporaries of Jesus. Nothing new. They've been wrong for 2,000 years.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @martin t
      The word is God, capital "G".Nothing falls off your body if you use proper grammar.
      The heavens declare His handiwork.
      Your conscience.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Fred: That is GREAT news for you then, isn't it. Hey I got a secret to tell you, there have been atheists in the world since man began to think for himself. Some of the greatest minds of each of the last twenty centuries have been atheists, so I guess Jesus is just taking his sweet time to return. Oh yeah, and didn't he say something about returning before his disciples died, ooops missed that deadline, too it seems.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Martin T

      Herbert, I only use proper nouns when refering to something or someone that is REAL.. since god is is a work of fiction and until he either goes on Leno, puts out a book, or makes an appearence on my living room, he's just plain old god to me. No better or worse than zeus or any number of other gods of myth.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Martin T

      "The word is God, capital "G".Nothing falls off your body if you use proper grammar.
      The heavens declare His handiwork.
      Your conscience."

      See, now you are getting all personal and angry and starting to show it. When you lose your temper, you lose any chance at winning a debate. Also, the above statement, for the most part didn't make a lick of sense to me, please explain.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Religion is on the decline in almost every 1st world country. UK has just become the latest country that has a population of over 50% non-religious people. Canada will follow soon. The US still has a long way to go, but it has made progress during the last 20 years. Religion will fade out. It's only a matter of time.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @martin replied a couple times to your comments ,posted above as I did not enter the reply option to myself ,sorry.Do not mistake my way of speaking for anger or personal attack,let me assure you,nothing is farther from the truth.I will debate you anywhere, anyplace ,time and God allowing without malice,but not without an occasional zinger whether the dog hunts or not.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • fred

      martin t
      Observer
      Atheists must believe that existence is meaningless and the universe came about for no purpose whatsoever. When an atheist says that is not true they lie because they could not know life is meaningless and without purpose unless they knew meaning and purpose to begin with. Sensing that this really does not make sense they move to destroy God / Creator by claiming some foolish thing like a Creator would not allow injustice. How does justice or injustice fit a meaningless existence?

      Observer

      August 19, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, just because you think an atheist's life is meaningless doesn't make it so. Being aware that this is the only life I will have has made me appreciate the world around me. I feel no reason to hurt another because I don't like to be hurt myself. Empathy 101. It makes the Earth more precious to me to know that this is all humanity has (unless we develop space travel and find a habitable planet) so we had better protect it.

      I find it somewhat horrifying that there are so many people who would, by their own logic, kill, steal and hurt others if they didn't have a book of bronze age myths to promise eternal paradise or threaten eternal suffering. I don't see any morality in ignoring fact, personal observation and education, and instead using a book written thousands of years ago by humans to hurt and discriminate, just for the sake of your own hypothetical reward.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • fred

      Tallulah13
      All kind of people all kinds of religion someone is going to missuse or abuse. The Bible for example taken as whole (which you must because we live in 2011 AD not 4000 bc) warns of harming others. That same Bible warns us to be on the lookout for others that twist the words to do wrong. The fault is with man not the Bible.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Frogist

      @fred: Just curious, but how do you know when someone is misusing or twisting the Bible and who is getting the correct message? It seems no one can agree on what the correct message is.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • fred

      Frogist,
      You put the whole works together from "in the beginning God created.......... then end with Revelations The Lord Jesus be with Gods people". It all works or it all falls apart as a whole. What ever someone throws at you does it fit with who God says He is (according to His own word)? Does it fit with how God interacted with His creation? Does it glorify a Holy God in all ways? Is the Holy Spirit alive today in you?
      Answer NO to any one of these you are probably wrong.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  11. Jorge

    Thousands of young people are gathering in Spain to celebrated teheir faith and CNN like the rest of the media make an extra effort to just publish news that are atractive to those that look down to the Church. CNN fails to investigated fairly and misguides the public to what it is convenient to its own interest. Please go and investigate responsibly that what the Catholic Churchs teaches about the sacrament of confession, and what Lombardi and Varela are talking about it has to do with faculties and not with limitations from some priests to absolve or refrain from absolving in the Sacrament. And the article is signed by the ´"Religion Editor"... please!!!

    August 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  12. Marc Mountain

    – – GUYS, OPINIONS OF THE WORLD, ARE ALWAYS WIDER ! !

    August 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  13. Marc Mountain

    I HAVE ADDED SOME NEW THINGS ( FOR THE REALITY OF REAL MEN THAT WE ARE – IN A FREE WORLD AND ALWAYS INTELLIGENTLY-ENCHANTING ONE – IN OUR CULTURES AND ALL FREEDOM FOR REAL ! ! IN ALL THAT WE ARE ! !

    Actually, let's be frank ! ! A crisis as Spain's can only be defeated by its own crisis over the reasons which've led to such a reality! A primary-base factor on which the realness of what should be changed is to count in first, over the sharpness that it carries!
    Spain, has been in crisis now, and realities like unplanned pregnancies are foremost, an already-long-had combat, which priors to this, and can't be defeated by this time – For, every woman in Spain is aware of how to avoid such, and medication for it, is low-price status as ' State provided ', though in the crisis ( in a good number of locations ) – as far more are to come. – People are to be up to their realities in theses cases, ultimately – and really helping themselves as an integrity for an individual!! We have to be whole, we can't really be just a part of our all-world ! !
    The Papal visit and its cost – have most likely been – looked into for their meaning of a wide-case-standard – – It has been brought that the expenses are to be covered by the local commerce in their recovery, and even more, to the SPREAD of Spain's worldwide condition as a touristic place – Tourism, in its all, is more highly granting than petroleum as a reality ! !

    – 1 – Great new tourism avalanche – 2 ) Money coming in right now, by the visitors themselves – 3 – Tourism to be spreading in growing terms, under his worldwide media attention, and 4 – The need of Spanish character of esteem and belonging – Worldwide attention – Special New Businesses Arriving due to the development of such country in the public eye – as a very visiting location – and – renewed watch-over – as – a – developed – new -status ! !
    It's all been calculated and all "set ready to go" ! !

    – Tourism especially, makes it all ! !

    – Trust is what it takes – And this can be given by a papal visit, more than anything else in the world ! !

    – It is a helping nuance and a real giving-exchangeable-momento ! !

    To finish: – – ' Women can be absolved ( from abortion ) – or freed from guilt – as by love and new-life-care and aspiration anytime, anywhere in the world – whenever wanting to use their body – 'again', in a new reality status of a fully-had woman ! ! Where dignity and patterns really take place and re-make it all in care and life in real ! ! '

    He is encouraging, therefore, a new vision of women on themselves, from there – Spain – as an example of dignity – NEW ACTS – NEW ESTEEM – AND PRACTICE – GOVERNMENTAL DEMAND – AS NEW DIGNITY-DEMAND TO WHAT THEY ARE – IN ALL THEIR ACTIONS AND REAL NEEDS AS TOTAL INDIVIDUALS IN THE WORLD – > ' WITH A GREATLY-SUPREME GIFT OF REALLY GIVING LIFE ! !

    ' ' THAT'S WHY CHRIST IS VISITING SPAIN RIGHT NOW ! ! – BECAUSE HE KNOWS BEST THE ONES WHO REALLY NEED HIM ! ! ' '

    – ' THE CHURCH HERE IS GIVING IT ALL FOR FREE AND FOR REAL PEOPLE – IT IS A CHRIST'S GIVING COMMUNITY THAT UNDERSTANDS THAT GIVING PEOPLE THE WORLD OF WORDS – AND ACT OF LOVE AND FORGIVING – ' IS A REAL HUMANITY TOGETHERNESS OF LIFE AND LOVE ! ! '

    August 18, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  14. Peace2All

    What... is this like a 'one time only offer' or something...? A 'get out of hell free card'...? Last minute 'stay of execution'...? 😯

    So, if they do this 'now'... they are somehow absolved...?

    Good christ... what nonsense.

    Peace...

    August 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Good point.

      Cheers!

      August 18, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • LinCA

      Here is an even better solution. No religious nonsense required.
      http://www.getoutofhellfree.com/

      August 18, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @DJ

      Thanks bro !

      @LinCA

      LOL... !! O.K... now those are just too cool. Thanks for the link !

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 19, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  15. Marc Mountain

    Actually, let's be frank ! ! A crisis as Spain's can only be defeated by its own crisis over the reasons which've led to such a reality! A primary-base factor on which the realness of what should be changed is to count in first, over the sharpness that it carries!
    Spain, has been in crisis now, and realities like unplanned pregnancies are foremost, an already-long-had combat, which priors to this, and can't be defeated by this time – For, every woman in Spain is aware of how to avoid such, and medication for it, is low-price status as ' State provided ', though in the crisis ( in a good number of locations ) – as far more are to come. – People are to be up to their realities in theses cases, ultimately – and really!!
    The Papal visit and its cost – have most likely been – searched for in their meaning of wide-case – – It has been brought that the expenses are to be covered by the local commerce in their recovery, and even more, to the SPREAD of Spain's worldwide condition as a touristic place – Tourism, in its all, is more highly granting than petroleum! ! – 1 – Great new tourism avalanche – 2 ) Money coming in right now, by the visitors themselves – 3 – Tourism to be spreading in growing terms, under his worldwide media attention and 4 – The need of Spanish character of esteem and belonging – Worldwide attention – Special New Businesses Arriving due to the development of such country in the public eye – as a very visiting location, and, renewed watched-over – as – developed – new -status ! !
    It's all been calculated already ! !
    – Tourism especially, makes it all ! !

    – Trust is what it takes – And this can be given by a papal visit, more than anything else in the world ! !

    To finish: – – ' Women can be absolved – or freed from guilt – as by love and new-life-care and aspiration anytime, anywhere in the world – whenever wanting to use their body-again to the reality of a full-had woman ! !
    He is encouraging therefore, a new vision of women on themselves, from there, as an example of dignity – NEW ACTS – NEW ESTEEM – AND PRACTICE – GOVERNMENTAL DEMAND – AS NEW DIGNITY-DEMAND TO WHAT THEY ARE – IN ALL THEIR ACTIONS AND REAL NEEDS ! !

    ' ' THAT'S WHY CHRIST IS VISITING SPAIN RIGHT NOW ! ! – BECAUSE HE KNOWS BEST THE ONES WHO REALLY NEED HIM ! ! ' '

    August 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Genie

      That ain't Christ that's visiting Spain pal.
      His spin is that he is the Vicar of Christ and Christ's stand in.

      Ain't so though

      August 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Marc Mountain

      " THAT'S WHY CHRIST IS VISITING SPAIN RIGHT NOW ! ! – BECAUSE HE KNOWS BEST THE ONES WHO REALLY NEED HIM ! ! "

      W T F ????

      Peace.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • el condor

      This ying yang is on some good drugs.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Dude, I'm not a christian, and even I know this joker isn't Christ.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  16. Genie

    When will people wake up and realize they don't need priests, Popes, Bishops, Middlemen between them and the Life Force?

    We don't need a priest's absolution or their get out of jail free cards. Not much has changed since the Catholic Church sold plenary indulgences, get out of hell deals and get out of purgatory deals.

    If someone wants forgiveness for something, they don't need a priest to grant it to them. The Catholic Church is a tough old cancer and a parasite sucking life out of its enslaved parishioners.It is a Church based on myth and deception and nothing good comes form deception.

    If you want forgiveness, then forgive yourself. If you want forgiveness, forgive your neighbor.
    See how easy it is?
    You don't need priests or pedophiles to forgive you. If you want God to forgive you, tell that to your God; no middleman needed, especially not an unrepentant pedophile.
    Just forgive yourself for whatever it is that you did. No need to say 10 Hail Marys either. All one needs to do is to acknowledge the error, and try to do better. No priest needed for that. Peace to all who read this

    August 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Orestes

      Totally agree!!! Thanks for putting it out!!

      August 19, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  17. Alex

    Sounds like business to me.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • m76539

      What pathetic old child molesters.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  18. John

    I have a question about this. Can women from other countries go to Spain and be absolved, or is this limited time offer for Spanish women only?

    August 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Genie

      🙂
      What if a woman visualizes that she is in Spain? Is she absolved by imagining that she is in Spain?
      🙂

      August 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • mabel floyd

      i like this post
      i

      August 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  19. Anne

    I think the Catholic Church should apologize for cost of World Youth Day because the money for this event should go to help women with unplanned pregnancies. The pope is wasting money and contributing to the poverty of Spain.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Genie

      SELL THE VATICAN
      FEED THE WORLD

      August 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  20. Tom

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5X4N2exOsU&w=640&h=390]

    August 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
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About this blog

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