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My Take: Vatican is unjust to condemn nun's 'Just Love'
The Vatican publicized its condemnation of Sister Margaret Farley on Monday.
June 4th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

My Take: Vatican is unjust to condemn nun's 'Just Love'

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A few years ago I sat on a book prize jury and weighed the merits of the book "Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics" by Margaret A. Farley, a nun in the Sisters of Mercy order. I thought it was well-researched and well-argued, and I was not surprised when it won the 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Religion (and with it a $200,000 prize).

On May 21, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith forwarded to Sister Patricia McDermott, president of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a Notification condemning Farley's "Just Love." On Monday, the Vatican published that Notification online.

Not surprisingly, the matter preoccupying the Vatican here is not poverty or hunger or oppression. It is sex.

“Among the many errors and ambiguities of this book,” concludes the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “are its positions on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions, the indissolubility of marriage and the problem of divorce and remarriage."

"Just Love" surveys sexual ethics from various philosophical, historical, religious and anthropological perspectives before turning to its central topic: the ethics of love and sex.

When it comes to love, Farley argues, love itself is not enough. “The question ultimately is, what is a right love, and a good, just, and true love?” she writes.

Her answer? Love is just when it meets three criteria: “it is a true response to the reality of the beloved, a genuine union between the one who loves and the one loved, and an accurate and adequate affective affirmation of the loved.” In short, “persons are not to be loved as if they were things.”

Turning to the ethics of sex, Farley advances a parallel argument, though this time she articulates seven norms: “do no unjust harm,” “free consent of partners,” “mutuality,” “equality,” “commitment,” “fruitfulness” and “social justice.”

So if you are looking for a libertine line here, you are not going to get one. But as the Vatican noticed and Farley herself admitted in a statement Monday, this is not toeing the traditional Catholic line, either.

Instead of grounding her thinking here simply in scripture and tradition, Farley draws as well on secular perspectives and contemporary experience. And she is alive to the possibility that same-sex relationships can meet her criteria for justice, including that of “fruitfulness,” rightly understood.

Once again, I must admit that I cannot make sense of what the Vatican is doing here.

In recent weeks, the Roman Catholic Church has gone after U.S. nuns for fighting poverty rather than fighting gay sex. Now, the Vatican is targeting a nun individually.

A cynic might say that the Church is trying to distract us from a sexual abuse scandal that continues to fester. If so, it isn't working, and few are buying the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's claim that Farley is somehow a renegade Catholic whose writings must be shunned by the faithful.

Dozens of theologians are supporting her publicly, noting (among other things) that the Vatican didn't even do Farley the courtesy of meeting her argument with an argument of its own. Meanwhile, McDermott has expressed the “profound regret” of the Sisters of Mercy over the Vatican’s decision to issue a Notification against the book.

As I took "Just Love" down from my bookshelf Monday morning and paged through its arguments, what stopped me up short was this introductory passage:

In Western culture, at least since its Christian formation, there has been a perduring tendency to give too much importance to the morality of sex. The sexual has threatened to take over the moral focus of whole generations of persons. Everything about the “sexual” is considered “moral” or “immoral,” and “morality” is almost reduced to “sexual morality.” All of this is to the detriment of concerns about economic justice, the oppression of whole peoples, political dishonesty, and even theft and the taking of life.

Farley goes on to argue for the importance of thinking and writing about sex, since we "frequently harm or betray ourselves and one another precisely as sexual beings." But the point stands. As does this question: Why is the Vatican so focused on an issue Jesus himself almost entirely ignored?

I acknowledge the right of the Roman Catholic Church to police the thinking and writing of its own. But I will continue to be disappointed by the Vatican until it shows me that it is at least as concerned with economic and social justice as it is with masturbation and gay sex.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ethics • Homosexuality • Opinion • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality • United States • Vatican

soundoff (577 Responses)
  1. stan

    Um, both the bible and science state we were made from 'mud' (primordial ooze). Graviton is a theory. Big-bang is a theory. The way water freezes top down is a scientific mystery. The binding of the second chromosome is scientifically problematic. The list of scientific unknowns is still pretty large even in this day and age.

    The science believers are as equally based on 'faith' as the religious. In pure unadulterated science you cannot make a definitive while there are 'known unknowns'. There are a lot of 'unknowns' in science, are there not? Science has been proven wrong time and again in exactly the same manner as 'religion'. Think alchemy. Think snake-oil. Think racial superiority. Think slavery. Yeah, science is far from infallible itself. Science is a creation of the human mind, which of course limits the capacity of science to the minds capacity to understand.

    You either subscribe to the faith of the Church, which is its very dogma, or you do not. Pretty bloody simple. No person will know the truth until they die.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Veronica13

      Dang! You go Stan! Nice.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • sam

      Typical logic fail.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Frank

      "science believers"...lol. It's amazing how many people who do not even know what science is and spew their ignorance for all to see.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Stan, I understand what you are trying to say here, but I must strongly disagree with your assertion that science and religion require the same type of "faith" and are therefore "equal in usefulness" ! I will readily admit that there are times when a scientist becomes too infatuated with a given theory or assumption to see its faults and incongruencies and that scientist begins to treat his pet theory like a "religion"! This is unfortunate, but it is simply human nature to defend and protect an area of research that one has spent so much time and effort to analyze and develop! But that is precisely where the similarities END! Because this scientist or some other scientist WILL eventually identify and publicize the faults of the theory and will properly apply the "Scientific Method" to correct the faulty assumption or erroneous result! This is the MOST IMPORTANT PART of science! The constant re-evauluation of scientific models is the crux of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD! In other words, SCIENCE continually UPDATES and CORRECTS itself and thereby improves and increases the accuracy and usefulness of science itself! RELIGION DOES NOT DO THIS! RELIGION is STAGNANT! Religion has NO SUCH mechanism to correct its faults, flaws and inaccuracies! Religion NEVER IMPROVES! This makes Religion OUTDATED, INACCURATE and IRRELEVANT to current society! See the difference? No? I didn't think you would, which further illustrates my point!...

      June 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Huebert

      Gravity and the big bang are theories but that does not mean that they are unsupported guesses. A theory is an explanation for a set of observed facts. As far as water freezing top down, that is because the polar nature of H2O causes it to freeze in a crystal structure that is less dense than water in it's liquid form, this is high school chemistry. Yes, scientific theories have been wrong, but when science discovers an incorrect theory it is changed. Catholic dogma hasn't had a substantial change in 2000 years. Additionally, scientist do not claim infallibility religion does that.

      June 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  2. bct21

    Stephen,

    To understand the Catholic church's teachings on this you'll want to brush up on The Theology of the Body. It was a huge portion of the last pope's teachings. Their concern with the current culture is the objectification of life. Which is why they place such a big emphasis on it.

    Not saying I agree, just saying there are a lot of Catholics & we all have to get along! 🙂

    June 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  3. Ray Simard

    Item: Staff Sgt. Robert Bales sneaks out and murders a number of Afghan villagers.
    Conclusion: Army Staff Sergeants are murderers.

    Item: Several Marines urinate on dead enemy combatants.
    Conclusion: The U.S. Marine Corps is a morass of corruption and inhumanity.

    Item: Some Occupy protesters engage in very inappropriate public behavior.
    Conclusion: The Occupy movement is a bunch of scofflaws who should all be jailed.

    Item: Environmental activists sabotage construction projects they don't like.
    Conclusion: All environmentalists are childish, petulant vandals.

    Item: Rogue union workers slash tires and commit other destructive acts on the property of non-union workers.
    Conclusion: Union workers are also childish, petulant vandals.

    Is there anybody here who doesn't get the pattern here?

    Right. Then why do you persist in identifying the clergy of the Catholic Church only by the actions of a small number which happen to make the news? If the integrity of the Marine Corps is not defined by the actions of a small number who committed an atrocity, why should Catholic priests be defined by the atrocities of a few, and some others who tried to avoid embarrassment by covering it up and trying to deal with it internally?

    Oh, in case you've forgotten: There was quite a flap some years ago about some Congressmen doing to pages in their service exactly what those rogue priests are accused of doing. Yet, as much scorn is routinely heaped on our representatives, pedophilia is rarely mentioned. Why priests and not them as well?

    June 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Veronica13

      Well said.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • tj

      Firstly because an intern is not comparable to a child. Secondly, the church has chosen to make the morality of others it's pervue. It is not. It is possible to be ethical without being religious and without hurting others. It is not possible to be a religious and be unethical without hurting someone profoundly. My government is not in any position to school me on my religion and I most certainly do not take my ethics from same.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Ray Simard

      The morality of its members is most certainly within the purview of the Church; in fact, properly, churches are primarily about morality. You're right: governments have no business dictating your religious choices (Obama and Sebilius, are you listening?) We're not talking about human governments here. How does that pertain to the injustice of defining the Catholic clergy by the actions of a small fraction?

      June 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Les

      Agreed. The "sin" of the nun has nothing to do with "love". It has everything to do with "lust" and adultery. Love itself has absolutely nothing to do with lust; and, since the good sister is wearing a wedding band that signifies her marriage to Christ (and/or the Church) she has lusted in her heart and committed adultery against her "husband". Both things actually "sins" and she should have resigned as soon as she became aware of her inability to control her sinful thoughts and actions. It's that simple. She knew what she was doing when she became a nun.

      Better that she go instead of influencing children into thinking it is OK to break marriage vows, lust and commit adultery when they "feel" like it.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      Les, that makes no sense whatsoever! Nuns are FORCED to "MARRY" an imaginary being! I'm not even sure what that so-called "marriage to Jesus" is supposed to mean, but to presume that a REAL LIVING women should completely forsake her own needs and emotions due to a prefunctary "marriage" to an imaginary make-believe being is utter nonsense! Lets ignore the fact that thousands of OTHER nuns are also alledgedly "married" to the same mythical character making this the most ridiculous and absurd polygomist cult that has ever existed! The nun's actions cannot rationally be construed as "adultry" since their make-believe "husband" does not even exist! Your complete lack of rational logic is pure LUNACY!

      June 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • 2011 Eyes

      Ray-good for you. I don't understand why non-believers are so miserable about God, religion, RCC and people that are believers. Does it have to do with morals, hate or fear? We all have choices in life, and it sounds like Agnostic/Atheists think they are the only ones with brain cells. If people don't believe in God or religion, it's their right; but maybe a decent discussion would be more appropriate than trying to belittle or demean people of faith.
      And Stan is right; no one will know the truth until they die.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  4. JohnnyC

    Prothero is a deconstructionist. One of the creepiest books I've ever read on religion is his "God is Not One." Prothero is a subversive designed to tear at the fabric of Orthodoxy, which is why he is featured on CNN's Luciferian "Belief" blog. He is probably on the Devil's payroll. Get behind me Satan.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Joseph

      Would you actually expect CNN to feature anyone of any faith in "belief blog" that actually espoused orthodoxy of any kind to any faith? Silly man!

      June 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Huebert

      The devil is just as imaginary as your god.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  5. shawbrooke

    This book provides very bad advice. Pretty well everyone knows it, which is why other religious bodies that offer similar advice, like the United Church, are not doing well.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Which God??

      @Shaw. Have YOU read it? If not how would you know?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  6. keb

    The Church needs to lay off the nuns and the girl scouts and attend to its own broken house.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • S

      Agreed. Besides, I watch The Borgias, they're all a bunch of hypocrites.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  7. tokencode

    Once again the Catholic chruch shows how irrelevent they have become in a modern world were people follow logic, science and their heart rather than tradition and dogma.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Just a Thought

      Catholic teaching is very logical, unlike most of the opinions on this page, including those expressed in the original article.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Veronica13

      The Church follows the direction of God....unchanging. The decisions and teachings are not the Pope's, but that of Jesus in his command to his apostles. This is why so many follow – they know their God and He knows them. Rogue priests who have done evil do not represent the Catholic Church. They represent evil and are opportunistic. They should be prosecuted along with any that covered up or moved them around. Promiscuity, abortion, and the like cause harm to our society. Killing our own people can never be the right thing to do. Promiscuity devalues all people in that it objectifies and removes the connections important to build a strong society.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Alverant

      Veron, you're making the assumption that what god said and does is good. That's an assumption that is not supported by the evidence.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  8. cc423

    Since when has the Catholic Church EVER been about love? They are about suppression, coercion, damnation and bigotry. They are about excusing their own awful behavior while judging others. They are about taking from the poor to bolster their own obscene wealth back at the Vatican. They are about colonization and forcing people to believe what they pretend to believe. They are about a lot of things... but love is NOT one of them.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Kathi

    The Vatican bashing on nuns won't be winning any followers any time soon. In my opinion, the Catholic church has always had issues with women, purely because they are not men. This is why I left as a young teen. The writing was on the wall . . . I was not "Mary" and never would be. The idealistic comparisons of girls to Mary are unattainable and unrealistic. As a woman, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I chose a religion that enabled me to grow and feel respected as a person and never looked back. Maybe if the Pope and his collegues came down off their pedestals and related to the every day, then maybe they wouldn't need to be so defensive and off putting.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Just a Thought

      In my experience, the Catholic church, including our current Pope especially, holds women in very high esteem. In fact this is evidenced through our observance of Mary as queen of both heaven and earth, and our general adoption of Mary as our blessed Mother. No saint receives more devotion than Mary. Our society has become so accustomed to denigrating women. The traditional views of the Church paint women in a more beautiful light than women are generally used to in today's society.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Alverant

      @Just
      If what you said had an iota of truth, where are the female priests, bishops, popes, etc? Why does the RCC insist on denying equal rights to women including denying them medicine? The idea that they hold women high is crazy and is not supported by their actions.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  10. ACatholicWhoStays

    As an observant Catholic, my response is to those in this thread who suggest one must leave a church (organization, country, family?) with whom one does not agree or to whom one is unable or unwilling to be subservient. As Christians, our highest calling is to stay in relationship with our sisters and brothers. We believe that in relationship we will be sensitive to each other's needs and be changed by each other's struggles. Segregation is always hierarchical and leads to the kind of tribal, us vs. them, wrong vs. right destruction from which this world is reeling. It's hard to imagine that we can survive more. The right thing to do is stay and work it out. Whether it's a family, a church, or a nation.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Ray Simard

      In spirit, your points are well-taken. Our calling, as human beings, is as you say.

      However, when you group family, church and nation, you introduce a discord. Families and nations are human constructions and the ultimate authorities in both are human. The ultimate authority in a church is God. While one may well dispute whether a particular policy or doctrine is truly reflecting God's will or just the ideas of some human authorities, in the overall picture, where God is the guide, humanity is not free to rationalize deviation, even by the noblest of human principles.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  11. carlyjanew6

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    June 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  12. Edwin

    This appears to be excellent writing on a very deep subject. Good theology can transcend dogma; unfortunately the Catholic Church seems focused on dogma right now rather than deep thinking or doing good works.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It is not excellent writing. It is carefully crafted to stigmatize the Catholic faith in a bad light. I can truthfully say, having been a non-believer who has studied and accepted the faith for a number of years, that people outside of the Church will probably never understand Her teaching. This lack of understanding coupled with the abject human failures of some within the Church contributes to the misinformed opinions expressed on these pages

      June 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Bill

      So you used to be an atheist. I'm curious, what evidence did you find in support of the existence of god?

      June 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Huebert. The point is not scientific evidence. I believe there is good and there is evil. That ultimate good (love) I comprehend as God. The evidence of His love for me was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ who chose to die for my transgressions (which I will not enumerate) so that I might be free. The evidence of His Passion is that today, I am a new creation, no longer bound by my own ways but freely given to His.

      Keep on truckin' brother or as St Paul said "Let us press on to know our God."

      June 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Bill

      You missed my point so I'll rephrase. According to you, at one point you did not believe in god, and, again according to you, you do now. What caused you to go from a state of non-belief back to a state of belief.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

      So, Bill, you say that your change of heart results from your belief in "good" and "evil" and that "god" is the "good", right? You realize that the concepts of "good" vs. "evil" only exist in the hearts and minds of humans! Good and evil are human judgements and evaluations of human decisions and human intentions! Good and evil do not actually exist anyhere else in the universe other than our own minds! They are entirely HUMAN CONCEPTS! There is absolutely no good nor evil anywhere else in the plant or animal world! Plants and animals do what they must to survive according to INSTINCT and are neither BENEVOLENT nor MALICIOUS! Only Humans can be benevolent or malicious based on personal BEHAVIOR and INTENT! Good and evil are not "magical" forces but are simply human evaluations and judgements! These concepts are particularly useful for teaching and improving human civility and social interaction! These are the very concepts that helped humans to establish CIVILIZATION! Nothing more and nothing less. It was from these concepts that humans invented gods! Humans wanted something to blame their selfish behaviors on AND they needed some way of explaining NATURAL DISASTERS! If we pretend that there is a "magical" force that compels us, then we do not have to accept responsibility for own own selfish ways! And if we pretend that there is a capricious, unpredictable imaginary force that controls celestial objects like the sun, moon, earth, and weather events, then our dangerous and unforgiving natural world seems less scary and gives us the comforting illusion that we can "ask favors" of nature and thereby PREVENT disasters! Wouldn't that be nice! Unfortunately, we are indeed at constant risk from random forces of nature! Our only hope is knowledge and understanding of the forces of the natural world! This referred to as SCIENCE!

      June 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sorry Huebert, I thought I had given a better explanation. In my moment of awareness that God exists, I came to realize that my own sinister heart had constructed a prison for me and left me both a broken victim and the evil persecutor of my own soul. When I turned to face Jesus, I was confronted by the ultimate selfless, pure and innocent victim. He who is without evil. At that moment I knew the apostles were correct. "He died for our transgressions and by His stripes we are healed." I walked away from the crucifixion a new man. As Paul said, "Not I but Christ who lives within me." This probably cannot be empirically evidenced to you unless you knew me before and after but it cannot be denied in my existence. Peace be with you.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Religion – what i realize is that events are deemed good or evil based on conceptions derived by man. This I do not argue. But there is no doubt that good exist and that evil exist. We may agree or disagree that the death of a loved one is good or evil in our own eyes but we are actually not equipped to know. This is why people become confused with the question "why would God allow this?" We don't know why but we can be assured that He is good and that encourages me enough to comfort you as best I am able in the event of your loss.

      June 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  13. RAMBLE3144

    She's a Nun. Not the Pope. So, she has vows to obey. Or get out.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Huebert

      Do you believe that thoughtless obedience is a virtue?

      June 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      She is not bound to thoughtless obedience. She is bound to her own conscience first, as are all Catholics. She has presumably taken vows of obedience by which she submits herself voluntarily to her Superior

      June 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Bill

      But if she honestly believes that her superior is mistaken should she still obey?

      June 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  14. Bill Deacon

    So, Mr. Prothero, is there EVER an issue on which you are apt to say "You know the Catholic Church has carefully considered this issue for a thousand years and taught from a perspective of human well being. Perhaps they are correct." Or are we to assume that the Church is automatically wrong even though Christian though has essentially formed the very society in which you are allowed to continue your diatribes against Her creed?

    June 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Just a Thought

      Well said. Two-thousand years of history, in fact.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • jqent

      Go tell that to Galileo, a million women burned as "witches,' native tribes destroyed in the name of "salvation" and modern populations trapped in poverty by rampant overpopulation.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Former Marine

      The catholic church, and christians, have done some truly terrible things in their time. Evil, horrible things. All in the name of God of course. Just because it's something they considered for a thousand years doesn't make it correct. Slavery is wrong, correct? But the church didn't speak out about it for over a thousand years. So were they correct in owning and using slave labor to build their massive and gaudy temples, simply because they considered it for a long time? Being old doesn't make you right. Thinking about something for a long time doesn't make you more correct than someone who hasn't though about it as long.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • cc423

      You can believe all their nonsense all day long and by all means support this church in any way you see fit. But when YOUR church begins to stomp on MY rights... you better believe I will not stand for it. Keep your church out of politics and you will be fine. This is NOT a theocracy... it is a democracy.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      lol, is that an argument? they have done it this way for 2000 years so it must be right? wow.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The fact that something may be an ancient teaching doesn't make it correct by default. Just as the fact that an idea is the latest thing doesn't make it correct. I merely ask you to concede that some very intelligent and sincere people, for a very long time, have given a great deal of thoughtful consideration to these teachings. All things considered, I place my confidence in the wisdom of the ages over the impulses of the current crowd.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  15. francisco

    The whole celibacy for life thing that nun's and priest follow, didn't become something that catholicism or christianity practiced until around the dark ages. Monogamy was also not practiced until later. Love, is something every human yearns, even priest.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Priest and nuns also experience love. Perhaps not in the way you might define it but their choice is to seek a deeper connection beyond human sensuality.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Just a Thought

      This is false. In fact, Church tradition holds that the apostles practiced celibacy soon after the Pentecost immediately following Jesus's death. The definition of marriage as a monogamous relationship between a man and woman was present in Jewish society, and predates Christianity.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • JohnnyC

      Luke 14:25-26: "Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. ...Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." The Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded, period.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  16. WDinDallas

    I see the liberals are still ganging up on the Catholic Church. Guess that's why most of us will be voting Republican in November.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • jqent

      What you mean-um, "us," white man?

      June 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Turtleguy

      What you see is educated people poking holes in unfounded beliefs, in response to uneducated people's attempts to stifle their voices by screaming their religious BS over and over. Keep your religion in your church were it belongs, and you'll never hear from us again. Wave it around like a flag and try to control our government, and you bet your backside you'll hear from us.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  17. KAS

    Because this is the Catholic Church and what the pope says, goes. This is how religion works; you either follow what the guy in the funny hat says, or you take a hike.

    What, you thought the Catholic Church was a democracy? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    June 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Crazyyyy

      Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
      1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • shawbrooke

      Actually, the response is consistent with how people think and understandable in our culture. People believe that organizations should be able to promote a clear vision and clear policies. Try going against your boss in any organization, and the response received will be way stronger than what this lady got. Not to mention informal social groups, that can drop you for far less reason.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  18. LouAZ

    “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the appearance of being right.” ~Thomas Paine

    June 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  19. anna

    How the dress of nuns has changed, now they even wear dangle earings.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • LouAZ

      But they are not near as well "dressed" as the Chief Gold Horder and his surrounding men in dresses.

      MEN IN DRESSES !

      June 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • LouAZ

      Sorry – HOARDER not Horder.
      I can spell, I cannot type.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      LouAz Those vestments which you refer too actually have a religious significance. They are not dresses. They are cassocks and there are different ones which signify different aspects of liturgy. I wouldn't expect you to know that. It's much simpler just to call them funny hats and dresses. That way you get to hate without being informed.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • shawbrooke

      Nuns stopped wearing habits over 40 years ago. You know that. And your point is????

      June 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      My point is stop denigrating people just because you think they dress funny.

      June 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  20. whocares

    Maybe the priests were jealous that week because they did not get any little boys to molest.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:13 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.