November 4th, 2011
03:43 PM ET

Big changes to Catholic Mass spur confusion in the pews

By Gabe LaMonica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The Roman Catholic Mass is undergoing a major overhaul.  In an effort to unify how the global church prays, the English translation of the church's worship service is being modified in order to more accurately reflect the Latin from which the Roman Missal is translated.

The Catholic Church is known by some as a bastion of permanence that has not often yielded to the forces of change in the modern era. In many ways the changes harken back to the Mass spoken in Latin, as it was in the United States prior to the 1960s.

“There is an Italian proverb,” said the Rev. Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin, a professor of liturgical studies at the Catholic University of America, “that ‘every translator is a traitor.' "

“Every translation is less than the original,” he said.

The liturgical changes are “all within the responses and the language of the Mass. In the grand scheme of things, they’re fairly minor,” said Mary DeTurris Poust, whose book The Essential Guide to Catholic Prayer and the Mass, on the subject came out in March.

“It will be a great chance to think about what the prayers mean again,” said Theresa Leyva, a choir member at St. John Neumann Parish in Gaithersburg, Maryland, as she browsed new translation of the missal at a book store.

“I’m sure the first few weeks, it’ll be a little rough, but we’ll slip into it,” said Sara Hulse, a student at Catholic University from Milford, New Jersey, on her way to Mass on Thursday.

Experts acknowledge mixed reactions to the changes in the mass amongst members of a Catholic Church unaccustomed to change.

“Part of what’s going on is just the way human beings deal with changes,” said the Rev. Michael G. Witczak, an associate professor of liturgical studies at Catholic.

“Some people love change and some people hate change and some people deal with it as it comes and they’re not really hot or cold about it,” said Witczak.

The alterations in language are drastic enough that for longtime Catholics “it will be a big change to have to use a sheet of paper or a worship aid to say prayers,” said DeTurris Poust.

Some of the changes include, instead of responding, “And also with you,” to the priest when he says, “The Lord be with you,” Catholics will now respond with, “And with your Spirit.”

During the penitential act, where Catholics once said, “I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault,” they will now say, “that I have greatly sinned.”

In the Nicene Creed, where once Catholics said that God is the “Maker…of all that is seen and unseen,” they will now say God makes “all things visible and invisible.”

And in that same prayer, where Jesus was once “Begotten, not made, one in being with the Father,” He is now, “begotten, not made, con-substantial with the Father.”

Where Catholics once said, “Lord I am not worthy to receive you,” they will now say, “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.”

The Second Vatican Council, a meeting of the world’s Catholic bishops beginning in 1962 under Pope John XXIII and ending in 1965 under Pope Paul VI, “made some tentative decisions about translating the liturgy into the vernacular languages of the people,” said Witczak, “but once the process started, people really liked it, so bishops around the world, not only in English speaking countries, but also other countries, began making more and more requests to have more and more of the sacraments in the vernacular, until finally everything ended up in the vernacular.”

“It wasn’t exactly what the bishops had wanted,” said Witczak, “but the dynamics of the process ended up with that as the outcome, and different languages translated the Latin differently.”

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), formed in 1963 by 11 English language speaking countries, wrote a liturgical constitution called "Sacrosanctum concilium" that same year. Their initiative was to translate “texts from a form of Latin that dates back 1500 years,” said the Rev. Msgr. Rick Hilgartner, executive director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Some of these prayers have been maintained in our celebration of the Mass since the fourth and fifth centuries. We have many source texts that come from the sixth, seventh, eighth centuries,” he said.

That first generation of translators, in the aftermath of Vatican II, relied heavily on a philosophy of translation called “dynamic equivalence,” originating in a 1969 French document, Comme Le Prevoit, and emphasized a style of translation that focused on the language into which the Latin was translated (French in this case), rather than Latin. The first complete English translation of the Roman Missal, what was called The Sacramentary, dates to 1973.

The changes, put into motion in 2000 by then-Pope John Paul II when he announced an updated addition of the original Latin book, the Missale Romanum, affect not only the U.S., but “really the church in the English speaking world: the Catholic church in Australia, New Zealand, England, Wales, and Ireland and Canada, in various other parts of the world, in India, in some countries in Africa, and in Asia - this is also happening around this time, some are a little bit ahead of us, some are a little bit behind us,” said Hilgartner.

“This is a moment that’s not just about the church in the United States,” he said.

“In 2001,” said Irwin, “the Vatican published a document, Liturgiam authenticam, in which all countries which use the vernacular, their native language, in the liturgy would need to make sure that their translations from the Latin were as accurate as possible.”

This “new” document, new in the relative sense of “church time,” as DeTurris Poust so accurately characterizes the speed at which change is implemented in the Catholic Church, de-emphasizes the dynamic equivalence philosophy of translation, which, according to Witczak, “led the first generation of translators to choose to translate text in a way that in retrospect may have been a little bit too simple in not paying enough attention to the richness and content of the Latin prayers.”

“The watchword has been fidelity to the Latin ... and every vernacular translation needs to revisit their translations in light of the document,” said Witzcak, meaning that Catholics in English-speaking countries are not the only ones who will be seeing liturgical changes.

On the first day of Advent, November 27, on the beginning of the church year, “the new translation of the liturgy will be implemented,” said DeTurris Poust.

And, she said, “there’s no going back, except that we’re going way back.”

“Every diocese and each parish will prepare for and implement the changes as they deem proper,” said Irwin.

“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's website has posted information about and resources on the new translation for over a year and a half,” he said.

The old books, which cost up to hundreds of dollars each will be sent to libraries and archives or buried in church cemeteries.

“There’s specific guidelines on how to retire older books because they’ve been used in liturgy and there’s a blessing on them. You can’t just throw them onto an ash heap,” said Witczak.

“I’m keeping mine because I teach liturgy,” said Witczak.

CNN's Eric Marrapodi and Athena Jones contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Church • Mass • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • United States • Vatican

soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Liar Detector

    Here is a quote from one of Tom Tom Piper's Son's post. It says and I quote,
    "I have never claimed to be an atheist and in fact I don't consider myself one. end quote.

    But if you would read all his/her/its post, comments, replies etc. and how he/she/it have been OVERLY reacting to all the posts against atheists/atheism. Even a three-year old would know that he's/she's/it's an utter LIAR!

    November 8, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      he/she is extremely limited .. uneducated and unable to express himself/herself in a refined and intelligence manner. He/she is gutteral and ignorant .. basically out-shouting .. out-cussing everyone else. It is a tactic but it has no substance. All those things only reveal the lack substance. There are atheists who have done some reading (and it is evident) and have formed their opinion, different as it is, by having read the material. I respect those people although it does not change my own Christian faith. We each have an individual experience with things. Our perceptions may be based upon a variety of experiences such as military service, parenting, vocation, peers, study .. trauma, injury, sickness, recovery. We each have a right to believe what we believe. Derrogation and castigation are pejorative rather than persuasive. So he/she is just an ignorant and mannerless individual.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm in favor of gay rights, yet I'm straight. I'm in favor of maintaining a woman's right to choose, yet I've never had or sought an abortion.

      Get it through your skull, numnuts. Just because I can't abide Bible thumpers like you and Clod doesn't mean I don't believe in a god. I just don't believe in your idea of him.

      November 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Liar Detector

      And you try to convince yourself to believe of what you are saying? How pitiful lad.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Liar Detector

      I meant...WHAT a pitiful lad!

      November 11, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  2. Liar Detector

    Here is a quote from one of Tom Tom Piper's Son post. It says and I quote,
    "I have never claimed to be an atheist and in fact I don't consider myself one. end quote.

    But if you would read all his/her/its post, comments, replies etc. and how he/she/it have been OVERLY reacting to all the posts against atheists/atheism. Even a three year old would know that he's/she's/it's an utter LIAR!

    November 8, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son



    November 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor baby. You must be really hurt.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I do love how you managed to misspell "awesome", though. Really impressive, honey.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Tom Piper'Sr.

      Son, go back to North Korea.

      November 8, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  4. Gabriel

    Darth Sidious wants to ensure his loyal subjects say their magic words correctly.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  5. Iqbal Khan


    November 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  6. Iqbal Khan


    November 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  7. Rev. Rick

    As a former Catholic, and now an independent minister, I believe it's these statements of self-loathing (I am a undeserving sinner) that Christians need to work through and recover from. Yes, we all sin (literally meaning 'miss the mark') when it comes to our treatment of others, but we are all children of God and we are fully deserving of His love and mercy. Priests and preachers who brow-beat us with threats of he-ll and condemnation have themselves 'missed the mark' as they attempt to gain converts through spiritual intimidation and the tool of fear.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Sara

      Dear Rev. Rick,

      I am a Catholic and would fully agree with your sentiments. However, what is interesting is that Catholicism, in its doctrine and truest form, sees human nature as fundamentally GOOD...tainted by sin but not utterly depraved. This utter depravation you are speaking of, as I'm sure you are aware of, emerged as doctrine for Luther and Calvin. In my opinion, it is this very point that distinguishes Catholicism and Protestantism in their truest sense–the Catholic view of nature and the human person as good versus an utterly depraved point of view of Protestantism. (I say this in humility and to you as my brother!). An interesting read on this subject: John Paul II's Theology of the Body...a beautiful exegesis on Genesis and the goodness of the human person.


      November 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Sara – Thanks for your thoughtful response. I totally agree with your views on Martiin Luther, Calvanism, and the protestant reformation in general. I, too, believe man is basically good. However, as a student of comparative religion, the Catholic Church is not without fault. The early church fathers were rather ruthless in tracking down and destroying any early church scripture that did not fit orthodoxy. In doing so, they also destroyed any early perspectives on Jesus that reflected other ways of looking at Jesus' teachings on compassion and love. Keep in mind that the first of the Synoptic Gospels (M,M,L & J) were not written until 30 or 40 years after Jesus' death – and they were written by men who never met or knew Jesus personally. While I do not mean to minimize the importance of scripture in faith, the traditional scripture we ended up with is an orthodoxy that was contrived and cobbled together by men with socio-political agendas, and the teachings of today's churches (both Catholic and Protestant) likely shows little resemblance to Jesus' original teachings. Layer upon layer of theology and ritual have been laid down on top of Jesus' basic message of love, compassion and forgiveness. Fortunately, scripture from other followers of Jesus is now surfacing (The Gnostic Gospels, for example) that delievers a competing message regarding Jesus – some of it aligns with the Synoptic Gospels, but much of it is VERY different from both Catholic and Protestant orthodoxy. My personal belief is that we are each responsible for our own "salvation", but not in the traditional meaning of the term. Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." If he truly meant what he said, a simple faith is sufficient. Theology and ritual are simply window dressing.

      November 8, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Sara

      Dear Rev. Rick,

      Yes, I am familiar with the Gnostic Gospels and have checked them out. However, I always go back to the fact that there was a reason certain accounts of the life of Christ were rejected if they did not fit a certain orthodoxy (which, as you know, means "right belief" or "right praise"). These men were so close to the "real Jesus" that they knew what was true of Him and what was not. And He had also sent down the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to keep them in check. Reducing it to limiting the Gospel selection to the 4 due to an assumption of mere socio-political reasons would indeed presuppose a reductive anthropology, no? (mirroring the negative view of human nature you were speaking against?). The Catholic Church takes so seriously the fact that God took on flesh...in His descent to human nature, He raised it up human nature, restoring the likeness it bears to the divine. This inbreaking of God in the flesh, in addition to the sending of the Holy Spirit, has allowed the Catholic Church to trust the decisions of the Fathers (who, by the way, have written beautifully on the supreme calling of the human person and the image of God we bear...check it out if you have not, I think you would enjoy it). This Event has in a real way assumed all of time and reality.

      Also, I have heard (though check into this...I am not 100% on this!) that the 4 chosen Gospels were written the earliest? Though again, that one I would need to verify. Something to look into.

      Regardless of when they were written, we can trust even oral tradition or the years in between the Event and the recording of the Event of Christ because of this lifting up of our nature vis a vis the Incarnation of God in the flesh, and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the writing and the Fathers. If Jesus came to earth to communicate the Father's love, would He let them get it wrong right off the bat?

      I am curious...you did quote Scripture and you do, seemingly, profess faith in Christ. What led you to this decision if the Gospels cannot be trusted? What weight do they/can they carry if they were chosen for socio-political purposes? I don't say this to be facetious! I am genuinely wondering!

      Thanks Rev. Rick. I am enjoying this dialogue.



      November 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Printlight

      To Sara and Rev. Rick,
      Sara, I do not mean to answer on behalf of Rev Rick, but the easy answer could be that one does not have to have the complete set of gospels to believe. My apologies here since I am speaking as a non-Christian but using simple logic, the basis of your many beliefs is that you can interpret Jesus' message in so many different ways. Did Paul have the gospels? He did not. But, since I hopefully have both of you here, why are you both so tied up in this narrative? How about if Jesus is a Jewish-type of messiah? The Jewish messiah is not divine. Consider also the most important commandment which Jesus uttered. It is the Shema! Jesus would have been appalled at the idea of your Trinity. Again, the most important commandment: Shema! Do consider it.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  8. doctore0

    The gullible get more gullible; Religion is for retards

    November 7, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Omar

      the bible warns of nonbelievers like yourself, right before the coming of Jesus and the plagues that will befall you. It is you that is deceived. it is your mind that has been dumbed down. it is your foolishness which will ultimately destroy you. warning upon warning upon warning upon warning. you have no excuses left. let those that are holy stay holy and let those who sin continue to sin.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • BRC

      Can you explain why tomorrow is any different than the proceeding 1000 years when it comes to the Bible's threats?

      November 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Printlight

      Omar, the comment by doctore0 is certainly different. But, your comment Omar is the very reason that a lot of people don't want anything to do with your religion. Omar, do you recall a little parable about being a stumbling block and the consequences for those who are stumbling blocks? Well, Omar, if doctore ever had a chance to be converted to your religion, then you just made sure the chance is diminished.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  9. Kebos

    Religion is man-made. Tweaks to Catholcism are being made to keep man interested so the money keeps coming in. Very pathetic. A farce!

    November 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  10. Diane

    I'm a practicing Roman Catholic and these changes, which are very slight, aren't confusing at all. The so called changes aren't saying anything different, they are saying the same things, only a little more clearly. I think this article's headline is a little too dramatic. Heads up, the sky isn't falling at all.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • TC

      Exactly – sensationalism. Very minor changes that are more literal to the Latin – that's all.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • geraldh

      I am Catholic as well. I don't hear anyone having conipisions over this at all. The changes are not big. CNN just needs something to overdramatize about the Catholic Church.

      November 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Omar

      "Come out of her my people" The book of revelation pleads you to leave that church or partake with the plagues set aside for her. The Vatican IS the little horn, IS the beast, and their mark IS Sunday.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Robert Rowe

      Why the change all of a sudden? Is it that the Protestants can't wait to infiltrate The Catholic Church fast enough. Please keep to our own Denomination. That way your can tell GOD how guilty you should feel and how to punish you. This world is in enough trouble, let it alone.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • myklds


      Nice quote Mike! It NAILED it, right on the HEAD!

      November 8, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Marc

      I'm also a Catholic, and while I'll agree that the changes are essentially minor, some are disturbing. I liked the idea that we used to say, "I have sinned through my own fault.." It was an act of contrition before God in which we acknowledge our sins as our own. In this newer version, there is no claim of self-responsibility. And yes, the changes to prayer are minor, but we're going back to the 12th century plainsong in the songs of the mass. And yes, the congregation is supposed to sing along. By being "true to the Latin," we're being true to a long-dead language. What does that subtext mean? Are we pushing our prayers back to the language of the dead, to a place where only the cantor is holy and the rest sinners with downcast eyes who cannot take their spiritual journey in their own hands? That participatory role in one's spiritual quest in a life in pursuit of Christ's mysteries is what Vatican II was all about. Now it's like we're trying to push the Church back into a dark age, and I don't like it. I'm sure others will be put off by this return to "us" and "them" at a time when we Catholics- lay and clergy- need to come together and heal after the scandals which have wracked us.

      November 8, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Printlight

      Great defense Diane. You just forgot to mention that the person who was in charge of the changes quit because the changes that American bishops made were not accepted by Rome. Rome forced the changes upon the bishops and the bishops had to comply. So, your comment is most interesting since your own bishops think that the changes are lousy.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  11. Maybe Billy Joel was right all along ....

    I mean, he did say "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun." I mean, really – explain to me why those of you who are SO sure you're going to heaven are getting so bent out of shape by posts written by atheists? I mean, if you're right, shouldn't you be turning the other cheek, or praying to God FOR the athiests, as Jesus did for his Roman tormentors, "Forgive them, they know not what they do."???
    I mean, wake up people, the atheists are having a hell of a good time – why wouldn't you let them have that? It's where you think they're going to end up anyway, right? Yeah, well before you start doing some bible high fives, I have to tell you, if I hadn't already left the Catholic religion, reading your self righteous, "anti-women, ultra-conservative, idiotic public school don't teach as good as catholic schools comment" (SOOO WrongTurnClyde) might have pushed me over the edge all by itself. It's amazing how many the over the top "Christians" conveniently manage to "forget" the quote from the bible that say, "JUDGE NOT LEST YOU BE JUDGED!!!"
    oh, and p.s. to the athiests – forgive me for the Billy Joel reference – I'm not throwing you all in the "sinners" category – but those of you who have been posting here definitely fall into the "much more fun" category ..... hmmm, maybe Catholic girls do start much too late ... 🙂

    November 6, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • AGuest9

      I wouldn't know. I always dated protestant girls.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      I've seen more judging and condemnation from bitter atheists than from those professing faith in God. The atheists even get angry at wishing them well. These are angry (bitterly angry). They are intolerant with anyone else and frequently using gutteral implications and insults. If anything most of us Christians would not want to follow THAT life pattern. You only get one life on this earth and it is a shame to waste it in bitterness and hate. But the choice is theirs .. (not .... by the grace of God... ours).

      November 6, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then you're blind as well as stupid, Clod. You're the one who thinks a world with me in it is "hell".

      You don't like the way others talk to you? Guess what, azzhole? They only respond in kind. You and your ilk are the judgmental prigs who think your halo shines so brightly we should all shade our eyes in the light of your wisdom.

      Self-righteous jerks, every one of you.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Maybe, I agree with you. Who in his right mind would prefer the company of a creep like Clod or a nutjob like HS to that of someone who actually believes others are not going to hell just because they don't agree on how to get to heaven?

      Clod is a dolt.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Robert Rowe

      Nice blog. God helps those who help themselves. Maybe many Americans wish to express their rights and voice themselves as the Atheists do.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • MikeVega

      If there were no God, there would be no atheists. –G.K. Chesterton

      November 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • myklds


      Nice quote Mike! It NAILED it, RIGHT on the HEAD!!!

      November 8, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Nailed it"? Is that the first time you've heard that canard? Idiot.

      November 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  12. Reality

    Again, for the next change:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    November 6, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Jerry

      How in the blue blazes did you come up with the Name Reality ?,you are so far out of reach of reality you stink. you dig your opinion out of marvel comics and make believe you have some inteligence.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Reality

      (from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

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

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

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

      November 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/Disease:

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

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

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology 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:

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


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

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

      November 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Printlight

      A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You quote Crossan. So, have you figured out why Crossan still calls himself a Christian?

      November 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  13. Amalia Sheran Sharm

    Quick- rearrange the deck chairs! That will get rid of the iceberg!

    November 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Stan

      Very apt.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • TC

      Very unapplicable to the conversation – better comment would have been very daft!

      November 6, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      TC, that breeze you feel is the point flying over your empty noggin.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  14. pikerover

    Like I always say ... Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe in the same "God". They can't all me right but could all be wrong.

    November 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Printlight

      I don't think they would agree. Islam and Judaism are strictly monotheistic faiths. Neither of them would accept Christianity as a pure monotheistic faith. Islam accepts Jesus as teacher and prophet while Judaism accepts him as a teacher, at best. Without recognition of Jesus' divinity, by Islam and Judaism, there is no way that they can believe in the same higher power. There are other differences and they stem in the philosophy of Rambam and Avicenna vs Aquinas. In fact, Islam and Judaism are much closer in belief than Christianity is to either one of them.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  15. Answer

    Watching theists 'bless' and 'amen-ing' someone online is too funny. "Look at me I have the power." 🙂


    November 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I have the ego. And I'm sticky and stinky.


      November 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  16. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Like some of the other posters, I grew up with the Tridentine Mass. I served as an Altar Boy during the transition between that and the English mass. About half our prayers were still in Latin (opening of the Mass, Offertory, Canon), and we were expected to have them memorized (at least the simple ones – the complex ones had a cheat sheet). Most of us didn't mind the adaptation to English. The problem was in trying to translate what was effectively 5th Century CE Vulgate Latin to 20th Century English. If you try to do a word-for-word translation, it can be difficult to understand, as the use of words evolve over time. While some of the new translation quoted in the article is a more accurate literal translation, I feel it looses context and spirit. The new language just doesn't have the same impact.
    Of course as the last two popes have been lamenting the changes since Gallileo proved the Earth revolves around the Sun, I am surprised that Benedict (former head of the Holy Office of the Inquisition) hasn't forced the Tridentine back on everyone!

    November 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      "Everyone" is not the same group these days. Things have changed since Vatican II. Many of us left the RC church and are not about to go back. Many (unfortunately) left Christianity (as you can see on this BLOG). Many never got introduced to Christianity (and are lost). So the pope cannot force much of anything. Add, then, the pedophile crimes and the stupid decisions covering them up and it is a real mess. They cannot doctor it up by changing a mass ritual (but they will try). They will not (and cannot) address the real problems because it would end their facade. Too bad. Every individual has to find their own pathway (in this life) and there is no cookie cutter where one-fits-all.

      November 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Robert

      The notion that the mass changes are an attempt to cover the pedophilia scandal seems a bit of a stretch.

      November 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • northern light

      "Many never got introduced to Christianity"

      Some of us have been very fortunate.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • cucklebur

      67 years cradle catholic (grade 1 through B.A. English catholic schools) Grad school was secular. Use of "Consubstantial" seems to be red flag that this is political rather than liturgical.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • TC

      Right turn clyde comment are a bit of a stretch but he feels wronged by the RC and really who doesn't. However, I have never met a person or and organization that didn't let me down or fail in some way becasue we are all flawed and make mistakes. I am disgusted with American leadership and a lot of RC leadership but I am not going to leave and start my own country or church – I am going to have some pride and demand change and better leaders.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Printlight

      I commend you for your spirit but note that your American bishops could not get what they wanted. The head of the committee quit over the proposed changes that the Vatican insisted upon. Vatican had its way. TC, you need to realize who is the Vatican. Yes, they are a religious organization but they are first a political organization. Take a look who is in charge at the Vatican. Any voices of dissent have been silenced and not because of theology. There was a secret vote couple of days ago and two bishops voted against something that the new Nuncio proposed. Dolan made a joke about wanting to know who the two upstarts were. It was not a joke. Vatican gets what it wants. Right now they are trying to steal land from a Balkan country even though courts have declared the case closed on several occasions. TC, these people don't care about their people. If they had learned anything about the abuse then why is it still happening? Yes, here in the US. You will have to choose America or a foreign power, in the guise of religion, called the Vatican.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  17. myklds

    May God Bless all the atheists.

    November 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, save it, moron.

      November 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      @mykids .. Tom Tom is an example of the "human relations" aspect of atheism. He makes friends and influences people by calling them moron. Not quite what Dale Carnegie teaches in his course one how to succeed. Tom Tom not only rejects the NEXT world, but this one too. He uniformly despises his barren life. You do not have to look very hard to see that he has no spouse and no kids and is a miserable loner. He does not believe in God and God does not believe in him either. Hence not only a miserable loner, but a miserable loser too. Misery loves company so he's trying to spread it.

      November 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • myklds

      May God touches his heart and open his mind and bless him the spirit of humility.

      November 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Whodathunk


      Pay attention, will ya'. Tom, Tom has said numerous times that she is a married woman... I'm not sure about kids. Your post is total garbage.

      November 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Dr. Zeuss

      mykids, thanks for nothing.

      November 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • AGuest9


      November 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, goodie, Clod is pretending to be an analyst again. *yawn*

      November 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Here's a news flash for Clod and mydumbazz: I'm female. I have a spouse and a family. I have never claimed to be an atheist and in fact I don't consider myself one.

      But seeing azzholes like the two of you making whoopee with each other on the web might well make me into a non-believer, for sure.


      November 6, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Tom Piper'Sr.

      Oh! There you go again SON! You're obsession of having a stinky hole had been pushing your sanity to the limit. Go back to the assylum, they're missing you there.

      And wait...be sure to bring back with you the straitjacket you were bringing when you escaped. I badly need my refund!

      November 6, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      If Tom Tom is a female and married with a family then there really is hell on earth

      November 6, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There's no hell anywhere except in your fevered little skull, Clod. You're dumber than a bag of hair if you were unaware of my gender, considering the time you spend here every freakin' day.


      November 6, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Senior Moment, when are you going to buy a decent dictionary and learn to spell the place you call home? Here's a clue, dummy: it has ONE 's', not two, ya witless wonder.

      You're like Chard, digging a deeper hole every time you post.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      One of the many blessings for which I will thank Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is that of all the many mistakes i have made in my time it was not my fate to be tied to someone like Tom-Tom (in fact, I never even heard of - a woman(?) like that - except in jokes). I pity the poor fellow who wakes up looking at her every day .. but that is his fate). Coyote ug-a-lee and ornery as home made sin.. together with arrogant, mouthy and dumb. Any decent judge would grant that divorce and Lord Jesus would forgive it. Her old man has done his penance times over. Thank you Lord .. she found the man she has (with the patience of Saint Francis and the long suffering nature of Cardinal Mindzenty.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Maya

      Um... have you ever considered that the reason that atheists get upset when Christians "bless" them when they know they don't believe in God is because those Christians are being rude? That isn't a blessing. It is a passive-aggressive way of saying, "I'm better than you because I believe in Jesus." It isn't good will, it is condescension. It makes it even worse when they pretend that they have no idea what we're talking about, adding insult to injury by acting like we're too stupid to figure out the extremely obvious intent.

      You're not fooling anyone, so knock it off.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Omar

      I've beenr eading through these posts and if Tom Tom really is a mother and wife then I feel really bad for her family. There is no light that leads the way. To live in that darkness must be unbearable.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What "darkness", you moron? You and Clod are similarly graced with a lack of brains.

      Clod is such a muttonhead he makes HS look good by comparison. I can only hope his wife, if he ever had one, grew up and kicked his hairy azz to the curb like the fecal matter he is.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  18. Daniel

    @ AGuest9 – that's "hoc est corpus", actually. ;3

    Really, if they want to be true to a medieval liturgy, they should just go back to Latin.

    Ever notice we don't hear doctors going on about trying to get closer to 4th Century practices? Think about it.

    November 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  19. KittyKatz

    AGuest9...........: Wow.....that's a little harsh, don't you think?!

    November 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • AGuest9

      Not after putting up with 11 years of parochial school to wake up in college and think that something's not right – why all of the obvious contradictions? The final nail was 9/11. People coming into my kids' school trying to push their religious agenda as "science" hasn't helped their cause.

      November 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  20. AGuest9

    No matter how accurately you say "Hocus Pocus", it doesn't change the fact that it is a bunch of nonsense.

    November 5, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Dr. Zeuss

      good one.

      November 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • northern light

      The "Magical Mystery Tour" would also be an apt description of journeys in faith.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • TC

      Agreed, that's why it is so strange that atheists believe in magical universe and science appearing out of no where. Atheist agenda predicates their beliefs on what others cannot prove through science – flawed agenda from the beginning.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Nope

      TC - "atheists believe in magical universe and science appearing out of no where."

      Where did you get that idea? Atheists have no belief that a god or gods is responsible for the universe. We do not know (yet, if ever) the real deal. We have not stopped investigating with the idea of a supernatural being who just happens to have human-like characteristics.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      TC, explain why it's flawed. Go ahead. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:34 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.