Pope prays for Syria and Myanmar in Christmas message
December 26th, 2011
12:23 AM ET

Pope prays for Syria and Myanmar in Christmas message

By the CNN Wire Staff

Vatican City (CNN) – Pope Benedict XVI prayed for peace in Syria, reconciliation in Myanmar, and comfort in flood-stricken Thailand and the Philippines in his annual Christmas message "To the City and the World" on Sunday.

Addressing a packed St. Peter's Square on a glorious sunny day, the pope pleaded with God to "bring an end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed."

More than 5,000 people have died in Syria since President Bashar al-Assad began a brutal crackdown in mid-March on anti-government protesters calling for his ouster, the United Nations said earlier this month.

In his Christmas morning speech, Benedict also urged the international community to help those suffering hunger and insecurity in the Horn of Africa, a reference to famine and violence in Somalia and Kenya.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christmas • Holidays • Pope Benedict XVI • Syria • Vatican

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Boy does that Joe Ratzinger love to play dress up. One of the reasons that popes and bishops love to dress in medieval costumes is that they believe that it gives their sometimes bigoted and sometimes banal comments some real weight. The other reason is that they just look so darn pretty.

    January 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  2. chief

    its ridiculous to see someone in his jeweled gold chair, elvis suit, santa claus cape, soprano ring who is called the vicar of Christ...... the look he portrays is the last thing i could imagine Christ would have looked like..... but then again, Christ wasnt about money, power, control, and hiding peds....

    January 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  3. O D




    December 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    The pope is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He looks like a Christian bishop, but in fact he his a beast, which murders souls.

    I wonder why the pope is still that acknowledged by the media and by politicians, although we live after enlightenment.

    It is high time that enlightenment reaches its final aim: May the Beast abondon the wh-ore, may Europe abandon the pope and the RCC.

    Better (it is, of course, not better, but I merely want to express, how I am vexed at the pope) a totally profane Europe, which is ruled by the Blasphemer, than this soul murder in the clothings of a bishop.

    Christ come again!

    December 27, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Reality

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      December 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • O D




      December 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • O D




      December 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  5. TR6

    Just another demonstration of the power of prayer.

    For as long as I can remember (and I’m a bit over 50) every year the pope (Christ’s vicker on earth, the most powerful prayer in the world, Mr. religion himself ) has prayed for peace in the Middle East every Christmas and it hasn’t done a bit of good. He might just as well have wished upon a star. So if decades of praying by Mr. Big doesn’t change anything, then I’ m left to the conclusion that either god does not answer prayer (if not for the big guy then for who?) or there is no god to answer at all

    December 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Abinadi

      God does not answer our prayers because we do not keep his commandments. If we all kept his commandments then he would answer our prayers and we would have peace.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • catholic engineer

      If God does not answer prayer or is not listening, then that places the blame on the Middle Easterners themselves, and maybe Imperialism. With God out of the picture, now we have to ask "what in Hell is wrong with human nature."
      With God out of the picture, we can get a good test of what humans are capable of. And we got that test. The Twentieth Century, was the most godless and the bloodiest hundred years in the history of humanity. And only two hundred hears into the Age of Reason at that.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Dennis Fung

      @catholic engineer, the world has always been 'godless'. Mudslinging debate over what caused each war is a never-ending argument, but religions including yours have played a big part even in many of the recent ones, WWII and the ongoing conflicts in the ME included

      So, I have to ask, how can a 'catholic engineer' possibly do his/her job competently without putting aside religion? Or do you put logic and training aside and pray to god for guidance on specs and design decisions? When your bridge fails, do you blame god or your own failings for it?

      Please keep your reason-less religion out of your engineering, for public safety's sake.

      A Professor of Engineering

      December 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  6. Fleeced Navidad

    Wow, Felix, and now ANOTHER News Flash, (News Flash !). How confusing.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Felix The Navidad

      Do you not ever get tired of being stupid? Or is it that you do not realize how stupid you are?

      December 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    Christianity will be victorious finally, because truth prevails always.

    Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Rainer is a scheisskopf

      That's right, Rainer! Zombie Jesus is coming for you!

      December 26, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Why does Christ need to come again if he is already risen. Also, is he God? Is he God's son? Is he Ghost? Is he/was ha zombie? When he comes back, will he be God or Jesus or a ghost? If he is ghost is he really technically back? What is he waiting for? Why doesn't Jesus talk to us anymore? Will you recognize him when return from wherever it is he has risen? I think he will look like Antonio Banderas. I hope he likes Irish people.

      December 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I hope he sounds like Antonio Banderas but looks like Pu.ss In Boots. I love it when he does that innocent eye thing.

      December 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      My bunny can do that and I am pretty sure she is satan.

      December 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wa/sscally Wabbit.

      December 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  8. That's One Ugly Pope !

    You can wrap him in all the gold and silk you want, Popey still looks like Nosferatu

    December 26, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Hey, leave the ugly bas.tard alone, it is not nice to comment on people's personal appearance.

      December 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  9. News Flash!

    This just in: Pope prays for lots of things, and just like every other time a Pope has prayed for things like peace, nothing happens. Nothing changes. Millions still believe he has special powers.

    Follow-up story: Despite all evidence to the contrary and no evidence in support, billions of religious people still believe in their own particular myth. These same people easily see how absurd everyone else's myths are, but get really angry at people who find all myths impossible to believe.

    December 26, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Felix The Navidad

      Do not confuse tired of stupid for anger.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Trellix The SoccerMom

      Do not confuse your words with audience that not sequence intended to chosen.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Bob

      Another accurate News Flash!. Hoping for more in 2012.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • JohnR

      @Trellix Auf, Englisch, bitte?

      December 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Praying is ridiculous.

      What would happen if we get down on our knees and pray to God in this way:

      Dear God, almighty, all-powerful, all-loving creator of the universe, we pray to you to cure every case of cancer on this planet tonight. We pray in faith, knowing you will bless us as you describe in Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

      We pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways.

      Will anything happen? No. Of course not.

      This is very odd. Jesus makes specific promises in the Bible about how prayer is supposed to work. Jesus says in many different places that he and God will answer your prayers. And Christians believe Jesus, "54% of American adults believe the Bible is literally true." In some areas of the country the number goes as high as 75%.

      If the Bible is literally true, then something is seriously amiss. Simply look at the facts. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:
      Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

      If "every one who asks receives", then if we ask for cancer to be cured, it should be cured. Right? If "our Father who is in heaven gives good things to those who ask him", then if we ask him to cure cancer, he should cure it. Right? And yet nothing happens.

      In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

      For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

      If "nothing will be impossible to you", then if we ask to cure cancer tonight, cancer should disappear. Right? Yet nothing happens. Note that if we take the Bible less-than-literally here, the statement "nothing will be impossible to you" becomes "lots of things will be impossible to you," and that would mean that Jesus is lying.

      In Matthew 21:21:

      I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

      If "you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer", then if we ask to cure cancer tonight, cancer should disappear. Right? Yet nothing happens. Note again that there is not a non-literal way to interpret "you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer", unless you replace "whatever" with "nothing" or "little."

      The message is reiterated Mark 11:24:

      Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
      If God says, "believe that you have received it, and it will be yours," and if we believe in God and his power, then what should happen if we pray to cure cancer tonight? It should be cured. Either that, or God is lying.

      In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus tells all of us just how easy prayer can be:

      "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

      Look at how direct this statement is: "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." This is the "Son of God" speaking. Have we taken him "too literally?" No. This is a simple, unambiguous statement. Have we taken his statement "out of context?" No – Jesus uses the word anyone. Yet Jesus' statement is obviously false. Because when we ask God to cure cancer tonight, nothing happens.

      We see the same thing over and over again...

      In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says:

      Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

      In James 5:15-16 the Bible says:

      And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

      In Mark 9:23:

      All things are possible to him who believes.

      In Luke 1:37:

      For with God nothing will be impossible.

      Nothing could be simpler or clearer than Jesus' promises about prayer in the Bible. Yet, when we pray to eliminate cancer, nothing happens.

      And keep in mind that this is Jesus talking here. These are not the words of human beings. These are not the words of "inspired" human beings. These are supposedly the words of God himself, incarnated in a human body. Jesus is supposed to be a perfect, sinless being. And yet, it is obvious that Jesus is lying. What Jesus says is clearly incorrect.

      Jesus is supposed to be God. God is supposed to be perfect.
      When Jesus speaks, he should speak the truth.
      Yet when we look at what Jesus says about prayer,
      he is clearly lying.

      If you would like additional proof, gather a million faithful believers together into a giant prayer circle. Have them all pray together in Jesus' name that God cures every case of cancer on the planet tomorrow. Pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways. Now, we certainly have two or more people gathered together, and they have asked in Jesus' name, and we have not one but a million faithful believers who, by definition, have faith and believe. We have fulfilled every one of Jesus' requirements.
      Will Jesus answer the prayer now? Of course not. Your prayer will go unanswered, in direct defiance to Jesus' promises in the Bible. In fact, if you pray for anything that is impossible, your prayer will always go unanswered.

      If you are an intelligent, rational human being, all of the examples mentioned above show you that the God of the Bible is imaginary. What Jesus says about prayer in the Bible clearly is not true.

      In fact, we have ample scientific evidence to demonstrate that the belief in prayer is nothing but pure superst-ition.

      December 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein


    Hi Reality,

    I understand that you criticize everything, which is connected with faith.

    However, Jesus said that wolves in sheep's will enter the Church and obviously it has occured. Hence, the most Churches of today keep distorted doctrines, which were invented by the bad wolves.

    You should not make the mistake to equate the honorable and good Jesus Christ with the bad wolves, which have widely destroyed Christ's Church.

    I wish you a happy new year and that God may give you faith for free.

    The Christard.

    December 26, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I meant wolves in sheep's clothing.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Trellix The SoccerMom

      Do are not confuse your words with audience that not sequence intended to chosen.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Abinadi

      You know, I think I am beginning to see Unreality in a very positive light. He and the other trolls give us an excuse to talk about our faith and explain our beliefs. Thank-you fellows. God bless!

      December 26, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Reality

      Matthew's gospel has been analyzed thoroughly by many contemporary NT scholars. Some of their conclusions:

      Professor JD Crossan's analysis for Matt 7: 15 ("sheep's clothing etc.) (from his book, The Historical Jesus)

      Item: 401
      Stratum: III (80-120 CE)
      Attestation: Single
      Historicity: negative
      Common Sayings Tradition: No

      Professor Gerd Ludemann (Jesus After 2000 Years p. 153) on Matt 7: 13-23:

      "With the possible exception of Matt 7: 17-18, these passages are inauthentic and have been formulated by the community or by Matthew himself. "

      December 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    What is actually the real faith?

    The real faith was restored by Luther. The Protestants of Luther's time were true Christians according to the Bible.

    Regretably the German Evangelical Church or Protestants corrupted very fast after Luther had died and they adopted the heresy of the cheap grace (the more I sin, the more grace will I get).

    Bonhoeffer made a new Reformation and the Confessing Church was established. The Confessing Church was a true Christian Church and they even resisted Hitler and the Nazis. Regretably, after the Second World War the Confessing Church disappered immediately, because the Confessing Church was united with the German Evangelical Church, which had supported Hitler during the Second World War. Of course the reactonary powers prevailed and the German Evangelical Church (EKD) of today preaches the cheap grace again.

    In order to get to know the real faith, you should read the book "The Cost of Discipleship" by Bonhoeffer or "The Large Catechism" by Luther.

    I know of no current church body, which keeps the true doctrine. Maybe some Russian or some Greek churches keep the true doctrine.

    December 26, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Reality

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      December 26, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • .........

      Hit report abuse on reality whenever it appears

      December 26, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Bob

      "I know of no current church body, which keeps the true doctrine." -yeah, none of those church bodies do all that required goat sacrificing these days that the bible demands. Rainer, you actually got that right.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Bob

      Go, Reality, go. Keep up the great posts.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      "real" + "faith" = Fallacy

      December 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    Catholicism and modern Protestantism cannot save us. That, we have yet proved.

    What about the re-baptizing Free Churches like Baptists, Pentecostals, Brethren assembly, etc.?

    They are damned cults.

    They are even worse than the Roman Catholic Church, because they don't even keep the sacramental baptism, but re-baptize.

    They believe that baptism is merely an act of obedience or of public confession of the personal faith, after someone has become a believer. By there second adult baptism they void the first baptism of someone (infant baptism). That is an abomination in God's eyes and leads to eternal fire.

    They do not grasp that sacramental baptism is the gateway or entry door to Christian life. They also don't grasp that faith is something supernatural and must be caused by the Holy Spirit. They confuse regarding something as true with faith, but even the demons and the devil know that Jesus had been crucified. Will the devil get saved for that?

    The real faith is the faith, which is assured by the sacramental baptism. I may have heard that Christ died for me on the cross and has borne my sins there, but after sacramental baptism I can be sure that Christ died also especially for me. The sacramental baptism confirms the doctrine of salvation by faith and grace alone.

    Only the sacramental baptism empowers us to follow Jesus according to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

    December 26, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Reality

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      December 26, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  13. JT

    I laugh at this leader of pedophile central...as if the leader and protector of child rapists has any legitimacy to speak of issues outside his own cult.

    December 26, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    At the feast days Jesus suddenly becomes important for the society. Seemingly, the Western World limits Christianity on the feast days.

    I think many of us would like to meet Christian people in daily life. But this is, what happens extremly seldom. Although most Germans are still (nominal) Christians, Catholics and Protestants, most of them behave pretty secular or profane and you are not supposed to mention the name Jesus during the workweek too often. Most Germans are nasty Babbitts and assume that a "good" Babbitt would yet be a good Christians. They make a terrible mistake.

    What is it that people call themselves Christians or Catholics or Protestants, but behave very secularly or profanly in daily life?

    To a certain extent people don't want to suffer the drawbacks, which would be connected with true Christianity, but on the other hand they don't hear the true doctrine in the Churches, where they go:

    First, the Roman Catholic Church:

    Fortunately they keep the sacramental baptism, but unfortunately that is yet all, what they keep. They distort the true doctrine of baptism as follows: They believe that you have lost the saving power of faith and baptism, after you have committed sins. Because of that they add on a second "baptism", which are the so-called "good deeds". They claim you could gain God's favour again, when you go on certain pilgrimages, or when you fast, or when you pray, etc..

    This Catholic doctrine is an abomination in God's eyes. According to the true doctrine, our first baptism (infant baptism) is still valid after we have committed any sin. We shall not try to compensate our sins by good deeds, but we shall return to faith in Christ and abandon the certain sin, which we have fallen in. God will welcome us again and again and again ... and again ... .

    Conclusion: As the Catholic doctrine of "good deeds" is not according to God's will, it cannot release anybody. Catholics are damned to be slaves of their sinfulness and thus we can hardly expect them to behave as true Christians in daily life.

    For this all the pope is responsible, who has access to the records of the ecu-menical councils and the epistles of the fathers of the true Early Church and of course the Holy Bible. The pope had the power to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but he doesn't do it.

    December 26, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      What about the Protestants?

      I want to focus on the German Protestants, which keep the sacramental baptism (they do not re-baptize).

      At Luther's time the German Protestants were true Christians. Luther had restored the true doctrine, whereby he did not only refer to the Bible, as many assume, but he also refered to the Early Church, the fathers of the Church and the ecu-menical councils. Thus, Luther was in line with the Early Church, which had been founded by Jesus Christ himself and thus was and is the true Christian Church. Luther did not found a new Church, but he wanted to reform the Roman Catholic Church. All congregations, which became Protestant, had been Catholic before.

      Luther condemned the false doctrine of the Catholic Church, that we could gain God's favour by good deeds. Luther went back to the deliverance and forgiveness, which we can gain by faith and baptism or by mere faith (baptism is not more than an act, which facilitates the faith). Thus Luther said that we get saved by faith alone.

      How did Luther mean that?

      Did he mean that we, after we have started to believe in Jesus, can sin without limit?: "Let us sin more, so that we get more grace!"

      Never. Luther meant that the whole Christian life depends on faith and baptism. Baptism assures us that Christ did exactly for me and for you. Assumed, there would be no baptism, on could claim: "What has Christ's death and resurrection to do with me!" Here baptism is the solution. After baptism it is absolutely sure and assured by God, who cannot lie that I am connected with Christ's atonement, that means with the releasing power of his death and resurrection. After baptism I am empowered to overcome my personal sin. Assumed, I committed a sin, I can return to God again and again and again and God will welcome me again. There is no need to do good deeds, but to repent from certain sins and to believe in God's grace and love again.

      However, the German Protestants have perverted the gospel and thus they believe that God's grace is cheap and we are allowed to sin without limit. Allegedly, God is obliged to forgive us.

      Conclusion: A Protestant, which believes in the Cheap Grace, will not overcome his personal sinfulness and thus he is hardly discernible as a Christian in daily life.

      December 26, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Hamster12

      The only way you can defend your own arrogant and convoluted beliefs is to attack others. Yawn.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Reality

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      December 26, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  15. Reality

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror

    -One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    -Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    -Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    -The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    -Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    -All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    December 26, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • .........

      for sanity hit report abuse in all reality bull sh it

      December 26, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • Abinadi

      Thank you for mentioning the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Reality. I am one and I just want to say that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has brought me and my family great happiness and a wonderful life. I am so grateful for it! If anyone out there is dissatisfied with his life and wants something better, go to mormon.org. There are kind volunteers there who will help anyone find his solutions. We all serve without pay so there are no ulterior motives. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to all our problems!

      December 26, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Reality

      The leaders of the Mormon Church/"Cult" are not paid? Actually, they are paid via being executives of the large Mormon-owned businesses:


      "The Quorum of Twelve's president Ezra Taft Benson was a director of Beneficial Life Insurance Co. Apostle Howard W. Hunter was president of the Polynesian Cultural Center (Hawaii), and director of Beneficial Life Insurance Co., of Continental Western Life Insurance Co., of Deseret Federal Savings and Loan, of First Security Bank of Utah, of First Security Corp., of Heber J. Grant & Co., of PHA Life Insurance Co. (Oregon), of Watson Land Co. (Los Angeles), and of Western American Life Insurance Co. Apostle Thomas S. Monson was president and chairman of the board of Deseret News Publishing Co., vice-president of LDS Social Services and of Newspaper Agency Corp, and director of Beneficial Life Insurance Co., of Commercial Security Bank, of Commercial Security Bankcorporation, of Continental Western Life Insurance Co. (Iowa), of Deseret Management Corp., of IHC Hospitals, Inc., of Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co., of Murdock Travel, of PHA Life Insurance Co. (Oregon), of Pioneer Memorial Theater, and of Western American Life Insurance Co. Apostle Boyd K. Packer was chairman of the board of Utah Home Fire Insurance Co., while also director of Murdock Travel and of Zion's First National Bank. Apostle Marvin J. Ashton was president of Deseret Book Co., chairman of the board of ZCMI, and director of Beneficial Development Co., of First Security Bank of Utah, of First Security Corporation, of Laie Resorts (Hawaii), and of Zion's Securities Corporation. Apostle L. Tom Perry was director of American Stores Co. (which operated Skaggs Drugs and Alpha Beta supermarkets), of ZCMI, of Zion's First National Bank, and of Jewel Companies, Inc. (Chicago), and trustee of LDS Social Services and of Nauvoo Restoration. Apostle David B. Haight was director of Bonneville International Corporation, of Deseret Management Corporation, of First Security Bank of Utah, of First Security Corporation, and of Valtek, Inc., while also a trustee of Deseret Management Corporation Foundation. Apostle James E. Faust was vice-president of Deseret News Publishing Co., director of Commercial Security Bank, and of Commercial Security Bank Corporation, while also a trustee of Ballet West and of LDS Social Services. Apostle Neal A. Maxwell was director of Mountain Fuel Resources, Inc., of Mountain Fuel Supply Co., and of Deseret News Publishing Co. Apostle Russell M. Nelson was director of Zion's First National Bank. Apostle Dallin H. Oaks was chairman of the Public Broadcasting System (national), while also director of O.C. Tanner Jewelry Co. and of Union Pacific Railroad."

      Bottom line: Mormonism is a business cult using religion as a front and charitable donations and volunteer work to advertise said business.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Abinadi

      I am not an expert because I don't much care. We all serve the church without pay. Naturally, all us have to make a living and do something on the side to pay the rent and the leaders of the church are no different and usually come from the ranks of successful and talented business people who have a lot to contribute to the Kingdom of God. It doesn't bother me that the church may be the main stock-holder in some or all of those businesses, so what? The church has to maintain and operate 152 temples and counting and tens of thousands of chapels. It operates BYU and other colleges and universities. It maintains a force of 50,000 or so missionaries who work without pay, but need supporting infrastructure, and the church is moving into humanitarian efforts in a big way. All the money the church makes is used to serve mankind. What is bad about that? Really, unreality, you are trying so hard to dig up dirt on the church you fail to see all the good it does. It is a blessing to be a member and I love being involved in a good cause!

      December 26, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Bob

      @Abinutty, "We all serve the church without pay. " No, I don't serve your creepy insti-tute and its Chief Sicko Rat-slinger or whatever the current head child-abuser-hider's name is.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Bob

      Oh, you're a Moron. Got it. How are those magic golden tablets in Joe Smith's magic underwear tasting these days?

      December 26, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Abinadi

      The Church of Jesus Christ of the latter days was set up by Jesus Christ himself with the same organization and is run the same way. Peter and his brothers were successful businessmen and owned a fishing boat. When Christ told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat, they recovered several boat loads of fish which they were undoubtedly able to sell for a good profit. Those proceeds probably were able to maintain the brothers families for quite some time while they accompanied Christ in his ministry. It isn't clear what the leaders did after that to maintain their families, but they must have worked from time to time.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Reality


      A business/religious cult based on Joseph Smith's hallucinations which has bought respectability with a $30 billion business empire, the BYU "mission matured" football team and a great choir.

      From: lds-mormon.com/time.shtml (Time Magazine review)

      "The first divergence between Mormon economics and that of other denominations is the t-ithe. Most churches take in the greater part of their income through donations. Very few, however, impose a compulsory 10% income tax on their members. Ti-thes are collected locally, with much of the money pas-sed on informally to local lay leaders at Sunday services. "By Monday," says Elbert Peck, editor of Sunstone, an independent Mormon magazine, the church authorities in Salt Lake City "know every cent that's been collected and have made sure the money is deposited in banks." There is a lot to deposit. Last year $5.2 billion in t-ithes flowed into Salt Lake City, $4.9 billion of which came from American Mormons."
      "The Mormons are stewards of a different str-ipe. Their charitable spending and temple building are prodi-gious. But where other churches spend most of what they receive in a given year, the Latter-day Saints employ vast amounts of money in investments that TIME estimates to be at least $6 billion strong. Even more unusual, most of this money is not in bonds or stock in other peoples' companies but is invested directly in church-owned, for-profit concerns, the largest of which are in agribusiness, media, insurance, travel and real estate. Deseret Management Corp., the company through which the church holds almost all its commercial as-sets, is one of the largest owners of farm and ranchland in the country, including 49 for-profit parcels in addition to the Deseret Ranch. Besides the Bonneville International chain and Beneficial Life, the church owns a 52% holding in ZCMI, Utah's largest department-store chain.

      All told, TIME estimates that the Latter-day Saints farmland and financial investments total some $11 billion, and that the church's nont-ithe income from its investments exceeds $600 million. "

      "Members of the church celebrate the Lord's Supper with water rather than wine or gra-pe juice. They believe their President is a prophet who receives new revelations from God. These can supplant older revelations, as in the case of the church's historically most controversial doctrine: Smith himself received God's sanctioning of pol-ygamy in 1831, but 49 years later, the church's President announced its recision. Similarly, an explicit policy barring black men from holding even the lowest church offices was overturned by a new revelation in 1978, opening the way to huge missionary activity in Africa and Brazil. "

      December 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Abinadi

      T ithing is not compulsory. I know several members in my congregation who pay nothing. I don't know any members who do pay who don't have strong testimonies of it. I pay it and consider it an absolute joy and privilege. I know God has blessed me and my family financially and in every possible way because of it. In this troubled economy, my large family have all had jobs and are prospering and thriving. I see people around me who don't pay and they are not doing well at all. I make sure t ithing is the first check I write each month!

      December 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Reality


      Some excerpts:

      "I stopped paying t-ithing several months ago. My wife asked me yesterday if I still planned to go with her to t-ithing settlement at the end of the year. It made me shutter.

      I can't think of any other religion that shakes down members for contributions the way the Mormons do. Yes, other churche pass around baskets and pressure you into giving money. But the Mormons require (yes, it is required) that members attending a meeting with the bishop at the end of the year to state, on the record, if they have paid a full t-ithe. If you have not, for any reason, you will be lectured on the need to repent and come back into compliance with the law of t-ithing.

      I spoke with my wife about how odd ti-thing settlement is when you think about it. She said it is largely to get tax records and so the bishop can socialize with you for a few minutes. That is so obviously silly that it is not worth the effort to refute. The church has way too many personal worthiness interviews. T-ithing settlement, temple recommends (which have a big t-ithing component) and PPIs. I think t-ithing settlement is the worst.

      Someone once told me in the early days they would have people stand up in sacrament meeting and declare if they were a full t-ithe payer in front of everyone. I don't know if that is true. Does anyone know the history of t-ithing settlement as we know it today? When did the church start calling everyone in to make them state on the record if they are paying a full t-ithe?

      Subject: power-freak bishop
      Date: Oct 26 15:35
      Author: Alison_is_free

      "I think t-ithing settlement is a complete invasion. I bristled every time I had to do it. It just reinforces the fact that you have to pay your way into the temple and into the "celestial kingdom". Back when I was a member, my bishop once withheld my recommend because I was a month behind on paying my t-ithing. I was working my ass of in ward and stake callings, taking my kids to church every week by myself, doing my visiting teaching, etc., but he felt I wasn't worthy to go to the temple, that I was "stealing from the lord." I missed my cousin's wedding because I didn't have the recommend. I was devastated and completely embarrassed to miss the wedding. I was so ashamed because of the things the bishop said to me.

      I am so relieved to be out of that mental, emotional, financial trap. "

      December 27, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  16. The Phist

    The pope is relevant to nothing. I bet he shares a bunk with Ray Comfort.

    December 26, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  17. JohnR

    "Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God's humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity," Yeah, let's all lead a simple life, bedecked with gold and jewels, like the pope!

    December 26, 2011 at 5:45 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Hi JohnR,

      I agree with you that the pope is a hypocrite. Isn't that, what you meant?

      However, there are nevertheless true Christians and the doctrine, which was pronounced

      be Jesus and the apostles, is good.

      Don't make a mistake: Catholicism has nothing to do with true Christianity.

      Catholicism is just a distortion of true Christianity.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • The Phist

      .....you forgot to add that all religion is a myth.

      You're welcome.

      December 26, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Ya beat me to that one. It is amusing to see him talk about humility and simplicity bedecked in gold vestments, and sitting on a throne, acting like the Medieval/Renaissance king that he is. Can you image what the actual poor, simple, wandering preacher he supposedly acts as the vicar for, would do, if he saw all that excess ? But this is the 21st Century. Every time I see all the GUYS, in their multicolored dresses and "high-priest" hats, all lined up like birds-on-a-wire, I think, "what a scandal in 2011" ! (and WHERE ARE THE WOMEN ?). As for this years prayers...well, since last year's didn't do anything to improve anything, they are nice "affirmations", but since "prayer" is only "self-talk" anyway, and praying doesn't work, (as science has proven), don't hold your breath. 😈

      December 26, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Well said, but there must be any true religion.

      Should it be true that we are soulless bodies?

      I cannot believe that.

      What about the doctrine, which was pronounced by Jesus and the apostles?

      Couldn't that be the real faith?

      December 26, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • JohnR

      @Bucky Balll I LOVE the "birds on a wire" metaphor!

      December 26, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Initial post by Rainer Braendlein is the all-too-common No True Scotsman fallacy.


      December 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  18. Timothy P

    Bleh. Just more fake nonsense from the head Satanist himself. Anything to keep the money rolling in. It's like heroin I bet.

    December 26, 2011 at 1:14 am |
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.