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My Take: Catholic bishops against the common good
The American Catholic bishops celebrating Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
April 15th, 2012
08:00 PM ET

My Take: Catholic bishops against the common good

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

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN)–The U.S. Catholic bishops who claim, increasingly incredibly, to speak on behalf of American Catholics hit a new low last week when they released a self-serving statement called “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.” As this title intimates, the supposed subject is religious liberty, but the real matter at hand is contraception and (for those who have ears to hear) the rapidly eroding moral authority of U.S. priests and bishops.

On Easter Sunday, Timothy Dolan, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CBS that the controversial Health and Human Services contraception rule represents a “radical intrusion” of government into "the internal life of the Church.” On Thursday, 15 of his fellow Catholic clerics (all male) took another sloshy step into the muck and mire of the politics of fear.

In “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty” there is talk of religious liberty as the “first freedom” and a tip of the cap to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. But first and foremost there is anxiety. “Our freedoms are threatened,” these clerics cry. “Religious liberty is under attack.”

But what freedoms are these clerics being denied? The freedom to say Mass?  To pray the Rosary?  No and no. The U.S. government is not forcing celibate priests to have sex, or to condone condoms. The freedom these clerics are being denied is the freedom to ignore the laws of the land in which they live.

When I first heard of the HHS rule requiring all employers to pay for birth control for their employees, I thought it should include, on First Amendment grounds, an exemption for Catholic churches. And in fact it did.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Moreover, when Catholic bishops and priests opposed the contraception mandate, HHS modified its rule, exempting not only Catholic churches but also Catholic-affiliated hospitals, universities, and social service agencies. (For these organizations, employees would receive contraceptive coverage from insurance companies separately from the policies purchased by their employers).

Once the Obama administration presented this compromise, I thought Catholic clerics would withdraw their objections. I was wrong. Instead they acted like political hacks rather than spiritual authorities, doubling down on the invective and serving up to the American public an even deeper draught of petty partisanship.

The bishops refer repeatedly in their statement to “civil society.” But think for a moment of the sort of "civil society" we would have if religious people were exempt from any law they deemed “unjust” for religious reasons.

Mormon employers who object to same-sex marriages could deny life insurance benefits to same-sex couples.

Jehovah’s Witnesses who object to blood transfusions could deny health care coverage for blood transfusions.

Christian Scientists who oppose the use of conventional medicine could refuse to cover their employees for anything other than Christian Science treatments.

And Roman Catholics could demand (as the bishops do in this statement) state financing for foster care programs that refuse to place foster children with same-sex parents.

As the Roman Catholic Church has taught for millennia, human beings are not isolated atoms. We live together in society, and we come together to pass laws to make our societies function. Virtually every law is coercive, and care must be taken not to violate the religious liberties of individual citizens. But care must also be taken to preserve the common good.

In their statement, Catholic bishops accused American political leaders of launching “an attack on civil society.” They also attempted to cloak themselves in the mantle of Dr. King. But theirs is a vision of an uncivil society, and their cause has nothing to do with the civil rights movement.

The civil rights movement succeeded because its cause was just, and because its leaders were able to mobilize millions of Americans to bring an end to the injustice of segregation. The effort by male Roman Catholic leaders to deny contraception coverage to female employees who want it does not bear even a passing resemblance to that cause. And even the bishops behind this so-called "movement" must admit that it is failing to mobilize even American Catholics themselves.

At least since the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s, Catholics worldwide have been asking, “Who is the Roman Catholic Church?” Is it the hierarchy–a collection of priests, bishops, and cardinals overseen by a pope? Or is it the "People of God" in the pews whom these leaders are ordained to serve?

In recent years, this question has jumped by necessity from the realm of Catholic theology into the rough and tumble of American politics. Does American Catholicism oppose contraception? It depends on who speaks for the Church. The 98% of American Catholic women who have used contraception?  Or the 15 male clerics who issued this statement?

According to “Catholics for Choice,” which has published a rejoinder to "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," “The bishops have failed to convince Catholics in the pews to follow their prohibitions on contraception. Now, they want the government to grant them the legal right to require each of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to set aside our own guaranteed freedom from government-sanctioned religious interference in our lives."

The bishops' statement gives lip service to “civil society” and the “common good,” but what these 15 clerics are trying to do here is destructive of both. To participate in civil society is to get your way sometimes and not others. To seek the common good is to sacrifice your own interests at times to those of others.

I will admit that the HHS contraception rule does ask these Catholic clerics to sacrifice something. But what is this sacrifice? Simply to allow the women who work for their organizations to be offered contraceptive coverage by their insurers. To refuse this sacrifice is not to uphold civil society. It is to refuse to participate in it.

Toward the end of their statement, the 15 bishops who signed this statement called on every U.S. Catholic to join in a “great national campaign” on behalf of religious liberty. More specifically, they called for a “Fortnight for Freedom” concluding with the Fourth of July when U.S. dioceses can celebrate both religious liberty and martyrs who have died for the Catholic cause.

As Independence Day approaches, I have a prediction. I predict that rank-and-file American Catholics will ignore this call. They will see that the issue at hand has more to do with women’s health than with religious liberty. And in the spirit of Vatican II, which referred to the church as the “People of God,” they will refuse to allow these 15 men to speak for them. Whatever moral capital U.S. bishops have in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that rocked the nation for decades will be insufficient to win over lay Catholics to what has been for at least a half a century a lost cause.

These 15 clerics write that American Catholics “must have the courage not to obey” unjust laws.  I think the courage called for today is something else—the courage not to obey those who no longer speak for them.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Health care • Leaders • Politics • Religious liberty • United States

soundoff (783 Responses)
  1. catholic engineer

    Prothero wants no special laws for the bishops. Let's look at it the other way around. Time and again, pro-ab*rtion politicians like Biden and Pelosi go to mass and go to communion. The priests know full well the stance of such people about human unborn life. In church law, participating in an abortion or encouraging it is grounds for excommunication, and yet the church refuses to start proceedings against pro-abor*tion and pro-contr*aception "Catholics". Time and again the Church extends clemency to many people who deliberately violate church law. But now? Let the excommunications begin. Comments, Prothero?

    April 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • J.W

      He said they should be excommunicated?

      April 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • chief

      you state that the church extends clemency time and time again...... and on what basis?

      April 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      J.W. Not sure the meaning of your reply. Prothero doesn't call for excommunication. But he probably doesn't realize that the church, too, has laws which can be acted upon. If the bishops did start excommunication, they'd suddenly become highly relevant. Journalists would never stop commenting on the "awful treatment" the church is handing to those who break her laws. Note: the church hasn't burned anyone at the stake in many hundreds of years and possesses no army other than the Swiss guard.

      April 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @chief "you state that the church extends clemency time and time again...... and on what basis?' Chief, the contraception and ab*rtio*n debate has been going on a long time. There have been many politicos who support prot-ab*ortion legislation. Such politicos are subject to excommunication. Yet the church doesn't do this. The church feels it's better for them to be in the church than out of it. It's the same with the rank and file. True, most Catholics use some form of birth control. Yet the church has yet to deny anyone (that I know of) sacramental life because of it. Better they be in church than out of it. In my experience, the Catholic church has the toughest teachings. But the church has been big enough to accomodate doubt.

      April 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things,

    April 18, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!.!

      April 18, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  3. Kebos

    Men with funny hats. How can we in this day of age take any religion seriously. So totally pathetic.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Jarvis.Lorry

      Garbs to impress the gullible.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ...and at the same time they are wondering how ones can not have Faith.

      Great world and society huh. 🙂

      April 18, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Kebos, can I borrow your logic for a second? During gay pride parades, aren't there men dressing as women? Is this pathetic?

      April 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • John

      To catholic engineer – Using your logic – I kind of enjoy these parades and have gotten used to their female get-ups. It would be pathetic, however, if I sought the spiritual counsel of someone based on their inclination to cross dress and bordering on psychotic and maybe criminal if I then gave them money for this "service".

      April 25, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  4. IZZY

    ... Heh heh heh.

    General ignorance from the general public. Atheists still can't prove that God doesn't exist, and Protestants like to use quotes from the Bible... even as its books were gathere and transcribed by Catholic monks.

    1.4% of priests have committed pedophilia; to automatically assume that all priests should be stigmatized is something which I would like to call an overgeneralization, a stereotype into a full-blown prejudice.

    And now the ridiculing of the bishop's attempt to make their audience realize that history is merely repeating itself...

    Brush up on your history and facts, kids, and take good care of yourselves! 😉

    From the female critic of everything,
    IZZY

    April 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"From the female critic of everything"

      Izzy, since you are a critic.... should I spend my money to see Ti'tanic 3D or The Hunger Games?

      April 18, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • victim

      far more that 1.5%.. Your numbers are from the bishops, the con men. They paid John Jay to produce a report for them that will now fool everyone, since John Jay is a justice school. The rules were that the data was gotten from the bishops,, mmm, one priest who sod-om-iz-ed me at age 8 is one of those bishops. Yep, this is the propaganda the catholic church spreads along with their zombie parishioners. The icing on the cake.. the worst crimes are the cover ups as demanded by the pope and bishops, imagine that! Small children denied help to protect the reputation of the church. The REAL data is from victims, but the church lobbies to stop laws that would deny the truth exposed, yes, the truth is the greatest healer – too bad, since the church doesn't like the truth, they deny healing. Many victims mentally ill due to the abuses and others committed suicide. Now watch the corrupt behavior of the most evil, they'll tell you everyone else does it.

      April 18, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • victim

      BTW: according to the FBI, less than 10% of victims will ever come forward. In fact we haven't come close to 10% since the church lobbies to stop laws that would enable most of the victims to come forward. So tell us all here, how can you cap the number at 1.5% when MOST victims are not even counted and 4 of my abusers are not listed anywhere? And how would John Jay ever find out about them?

      April 18, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • victim

      No worry, John Jay has since stated that the doc-ument they produced according to the catholic bishops guidelines is well under-reported and those who make statement here are just spreading gross inaccuracies. Likewise, other victims have said their pedo priest are not listed.. Does this mean the catholic church is a big lie? Facts sure point that way.

      April 18, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • TR6

      “Atheists still can't prove that God doesn't exist”.

      Typical pointless Christian attack. You can’t prove the Easter bunny doesn’t exist either. In fact there is as much solid evidence for the easter bunny existing as there is for your Christ.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Typical pointless Christian attack."

      I guess it must be a effective attack because for years Atheist have made a claim of God or Gods not existing and then saddled the believer with the burden of trying to disprove the Atheist claim.

      As you can see, more and more Faithful are beginning to challenge the Atheists to prove their point and now the Atheist want to whine foul that we can not challenge them.

      Sorry, its a new game now.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @victim "BTW: according to the FBI, less than 10% of victims will ever come forward..." Well, now's their chance. In my state, a priest is doing forty years in prison for pedo acts. His victim was awarded $5 million. And we never find out the victims' names. Where are they?

      April 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • victim

      depends on what state you live in.. In NY, Ohio, Pa and others, the catholic bishops have been successful in stopping laws through their lobby efforts. They use catholic votes to get their way. California changed their laws and they discovered 900 child abusing priests. In NY there are over 1,000 and most around children today. The likelihood is they won't touch the kids in catholic schools because they are watched more closely because those parents are aware. However, expect them in parks and around places other kids hang out.

      April 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jarvis.Lorry

      @Mark from Middle River
      The Christian states that God exists. It's not that the atheist claims that God does not exist. But until the Christian can prove that God exists, the atheist will not believe that God exists. Can you provide a proof of the existence of God? I'm sure the Pope would be most interested in hearing about it.

      April 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  5. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    To be fair:

    Putting the kibosh on all religions in less than 500 words:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    No clerics, imams, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired. Time for Stevey P to find honest work.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

    April 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  6. Freedom Fighter

    I am sick of living in a country where so-called religious people can claim to be against this or that! Take for example abortion . . . why should anyone or any organization be allowed not to either be for it, or pay for it, or have one. What do these kooks think this is, a theocracy? NO! I say, if we want it for ourselves, EVERYONE must be compelled to do it. That's what freedom is. No exceptions. If something, like, say, slavery, is legal, everyone must own a slave. Wake up people. Your freedoms are disappearing

    April 17, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • victim

      how about a catholic church where the bishops have power to stop laws that would expose pedos???? Time to tell these bishops and the pope to take a cr_p for themselves.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Freedom Fighter

      I agree with you victim. This so-called power that the bishops have, out to be taken away from them. That is, they should not have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, or even be allowed to vote. Let's shut them up once and for all so we can be the country we were meant to be!

      April 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • KeninTexas

      Freedom Fighter says "his so-called power that the bishops have, out to be taken away from them. That is, they should not have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, or even be allowed to vote. Let's shut them up once and for all" You claim to be a Freedom Fighter yet you advocate denying others their freedom simply because you disagree with them? You ought to change your name to "Freedom Denier if you don't agree with me". A bit wordy, but more accurate.

      April 18, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  7. MashaSobaka

    Fantastic article. Thanks for writing it. I get a very angry feeling when I hear these people claiming "religious liberty" when they attempt to violate federal law, particularly when they make it abundantly clear that their version of "religious liberty" is "protection of Catholic dogma and the requirement that everyone, Catholic or not, follow our rules." It's disgusting and offensive. Everything they are demanding is a slap in the face of true religious liberty.

    April 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Soopy

      what an ignorant hose bag.

      you offend me!

      April 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  8. The Vicar

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjlzS3WbFH0&w=640&h=360]

    April 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  9. Nii

    WILLIELOVE
    I'm not a Roman Catholic. However their teachings r for those who'll follow them. If u wish to debunk their doctrine then u must be prepared to understand them be4. Just love your neighbor as yourself. A Mormon n Roman Catholic will go 2 Heaven for doing this. Don't be left behind.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  10. bob

    If you run a business, you follow business law. End of story, no exceptions for anyone. The only people who are exempt are not-for-profits and charities.

    April 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  12. WillieLove

    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Venerating/worshipping images. Pope bows to statues of Mary, Catholics worship the eucharist and have statues/candles in their homes and churches.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS – It is idolatry to venerate images. We are not even supposed to make them.

    Exodus
    20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
    20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God...

    April 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Soopy

      Turnip truck meet Willie. Willie, meet turnip truck!

      April 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  13. WillieLove

    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Purgatory, nuns, popes.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS – None of these is mentioned in the Bible. It is a sin to add to the Bible.

    Proverbs
    30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
    The pope is a man who takes upon himself honor which belongs to no human being. Even the very name by which he allows himself to be called (Holy Father) is highly presumptuous and blasphemous (see above).

    One does not need the pope to determine what God's will is. The Bible says that God has given the Holy Ghost to each believer and that He (the Holy Ghost) guides and leads us into all truth. All a believer needs is the Bible and the Holy Ghost to know the will of the Lord. Popery has been treacherous, but worse, each pope has been the blind leading the blind. Jesus said that both will fall into the ditch. Catholics, come out of this system that cannot save and know Jesus for youself, intimate and up-close.

    NOTE: Purgatory is supposedly a place where a person is purified of sins–even popes supposedly go there. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the one that purifies us of our sins. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.... When a person dies their eternal home is sealed–heaven or hell–no in between. Hebrews 9:27 ...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  14. WillieLove

    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Mary is the mother of God.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS – Mary is the mother of the earthly Jesus, not God. Jesus pre- existed from everlasting as God (see John 1:1). When He came to redeem mankind, He laid aside His glory and was made like unto sinful man so that He could take our punishment (Hebrew 2:9). God has no mother. He has lived from everlasting which means He had no beginning.

    Isaiah
    43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. [If Mary gave birth to God, she'd be God.]
    Psalm
    93:2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

    Micah
    5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler [Jesus] in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

    Philippians
    2:6 Who [Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

    April 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  15. WillieLove

    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Mary is the queen of heaven.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS – Worshipping the queen of heaven (which is not the Mary of the Bible) is worshipping another god and it provokes the Lord to anger.

    Jeremiah
    7:17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
    7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
    7:19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

    April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  16. WillieLove

    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Mary never had other children after the Lord Jesus. She remained a perpetual virgin.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS – After Mary delivered our precious Lord Jesus Christ into the world Joseph did know his wife. Joseph and Mary indeed had children together, plenty of them. They were the Lord's half brothers and sisters for their father was Joseph and mother was Mary.

    Matthew 1:24-25 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not TILL she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
    Matthew
    13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
    13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

    Mark
    6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  17. WillieLove

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS –

    Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
    * * * *
    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Forbidding the priesthood to marry.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS –

    1) It is a doctrine of devils to forbid God's people to marry.
    1 Timothy
    4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
    4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
    4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

    2) Peter was married (remember the pope is supposedly continuing the apostolic line through Peter).

    Matthew
    8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

    Mark
    1:30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

    Luke
    4:38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.

    3) Paul, a great apostle, remained single; however he made it very clear that he could marry if he wanted to.

    1 Corinthians
    9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

    April 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  18. WillieLove

    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Call priests father, e.g., Father McKinley.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS –

    Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  19. WillieLove

    But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
    But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

    And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

    Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many

    April 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  20. WillieLove

    Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.