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Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns
The Vatican and the American Catholic Church have issued three reprimands of Catholic nuns since last year.
June 5th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Vatican denies there's a connection, but its reprimand of an influential American nun, at a moment when the Holy See is already engaged in an intense fight with most American nuns, sends a clear message: The Catholic Church’s leaders think America’s nuns have gone rogue and must be reined in.

The Vatican on Monday censured Sister Margaret A. Farley, who teaches at Yale Divinity School, over a 2006 book she wrote that the church said is out of step with official church teaching on human sexuality.

Just weeks before, the Vatican issued a major report condemning the groups that represent most American nuns, saying those organizations had promoted “radical feminism” while neglecting teachings against homosexuality and abortion.

“The Vatican believes that there is a climate of dissent in some quarters of the women’s religious life in America,” said John Allen, CNN’s Vatican analyst. “They are trying to deal with that, and both these developments speak to that.”

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In its reprimand of Farley, the church focused on her book “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” which it said condones masturbation and homosexuality.

“Masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action,” the church said in a statement Monday that characterized “homosexual acts” as “acts of grave depravity.”

The reprimand warned church officials not to use Farley’s book, raising eyebrows in Catholic circles because she is one of the country’s most respected female Catholic theologians.

The Rev. Brian Linnane, a Jesuit priest and president of Loyola University Maryland, did his doctoral work in theology under Farley.  He said the notification could have a chilling effect on academic freedom at Catholic institutions.

“There’s a sense that the vocation of the theologian is diminished in this notification to where it’s just, ‘Keep repeating what we’ve already said and don’t question it, don’t critique it, don’t try to help us make it more adequate.’  And I think that’s troubling,” he said.

Linnane said people who read the book knew that Farley was departing from Catholic teaching in certain areas.  

“She did not write a book about sexual practices.  She wrote a new framework to think about sexual ethics, which looks at justice, instead of procreation or abstinence, which have been part of the tradition,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s a question of right or wrong so much as I think it is of the ability to raise critical questions, to try and develop new understandings of the theological tradition and in this case of the moral tradition.”

Linnane said the Vatican is right to be sure that public ministers such as priests and nuns be on the same page doctrinally as the church leaders, and he noted the rebuke was specifically against the book, not the author.

“There’s no silencing of Sister Farley in the notification, there’s no threat to her membership in her religious community; it’s just about the book, which everyone agrees probably shouldn’t be taught in Catholic seminaries, certainly shouldn’t be taught in religious education classes for young persons. Everyone agrees it’s theological speculation,” he said.

The censure came days after the leadership that represents most American nuns concluded a meeting in Washington to devise a response to an April Vatican assessment that accused the nuns of hosting speakers who preached “radical feminism” at an annual gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The group represents about 80% of American nuns.

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The report also said the nuns were too focused on social justice and not enough on opposing abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

The recent reprimands come about a year after U.S. Catholic bishops rebuked another nun, Sister Elizabeth Johnson at Fordham University, for her writings.

The bishops said that Johnson falsely claims the Catholic Church’s names are “metaphors that do not apply to the reality of God within the traditional Catholic understanding.”

“In the last 12 months you’ve seen two of America’s leading Catholic nuns who are theologians in the cross hairs,” Allen said. “I’m not sure there’s anyone left of their stature to go after.”

Many parts of the American nuns’ community and the Catholic academic world have come out swinging against the Vatican critiques. In a statement, Farley defended her work, saying it was not meant as an official church teaching.

Farley said she feared the Vatican “misrepresents (perhaps unwittingly) the aims of my work and the nature of it as a proposal that might be in service of, not against, the church and its faithful people.”

On Friday, the leaders of the American nuns whom the Vatican had criticized said the Holy See’s report was “based on unsubstantiated accusations and (was) the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency” and that the report had “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community.”

Representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious are flying to Rome this week to try to chart a course forward with Vatican officials. Church experts said that the nuns could accept the assessment, negotiate or resign en masse and form a new group outside the watchful eye of the Vatican.

The reprimands originate from the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict XVI led for decades before his elevation to the papacy.

In interviews conducted while he held that earlier post, Benedict spoke often about growing the church by pruning - becoming smaller but more devout before expanding.

It is hard to know what the reaction to the fight between American nuns and the Vatican is within the American Catholic community, but there have been some pockets of protest against the Vatican’s actions.

“It’s one thing when the Vatican goes after a theologian, because most rank-and-file Catholics don’t know any theologians,” Allen said. “But so many have been educated by sisters in a school, taken care of by a sister at a hospital or know a nun in their parish that is running the office."

He added, “When there’s a perception that sisters are under fire, there’s a tendency to support them.”

There is evidence that the reprimand against Farley has raised her profile as a theologian. Her "Just Love" was the best-selling religious studies book Tuesday on Amazon.com.

- CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sexuality

soundoff (2,186 Responses)
  1. Rick Springfield

    Leave US nuns alone. I've dated on for about a year and they are just fine the way they are.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  2. beall

    My problem is the speed and vigor of the Churches' response to this situation as opposed to the "pulling teeth" response to the "rogue behaviour" of its' male religious members.Catholic Dogma is equally against the concepts of both situations.In addition I can conclude that the dire lack of knowledge of what was occuring over decades or the failure to act on the abuse situation must not have been considered "rogue behaviour".The use of the analogy "pruning"I found particularly interesting and should have been implemented years ago as they would have found themselves smaller but stronger now. This neglect has left their unattended vine dying,as this form of abuse and the overlooking of it is universally considered most vile-easily out trumping female priests and condom use.Even in the face of overwhelming scientific facts-such as the Earth is not the center of the Universe etc. the Church has historically stubbornly refused to change its' views-until it had no other choice but to accept these facts .I think we are seeing much the same situation now concerning the role of women in the Church and the birth control issues. The Catholic Church must closely inspect what basic truths it considers timeless and unquestionable or risk the population questioning all its' teachings.If I were them I would place myself as far from Taliban ideology and comparisions as possible.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      It takes a good woman to get a bunch of testy old men this worked up. Since they obviously don't have wives to tell them which end is up.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  3. JeanneLH

    The Catholic Church will not survive another decade, unless they start listening to women. I saw a picture of a Muslim protest with not a women in sight. I then saw the meeting of the US Cardinals...not a women in sight. I converted to the Catholic church back in the 70's, was very active and met some really fine priests. Then we had a run of really domineering priests. I was on the Parish Council representing Education when one priest eliminated the Parish Council, saying he was going to reorganize it...which he did...with all men. I pretty much quit going and started walking at a loca State Park on Sunday morning. Best decision I ever made. God and I walk and talk and I have him all to myself.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      The bishops and cardinals are wrong, and the Church really ought to incorporate women much more (not just listen to them), but all the people who think the Church is somehow going to go away are smoking something a lot stronger than what I have.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • ron

      Jeanne, your experience and mine are very similar. I was a convert. After a few years I discovered that I could no longer overcome the distractions of the all-male language, the Vatican pronouncements, the rigidity. I still deeply respect the work the nuns do. I discovered that what I was looking for in the Catholic Church, a sense of intrigue, mystery, and awe, I could find, without the distractions, in the 35 million year old volcanic rocks near my house, in watching a butterfly or a lizard, in the germination of a tiny plant, in lying on a flat rock in a stream listening to the gurgling water, and in looking at the colors of the sunlight through my closed eyelids.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  4. KMW

    I am thrilled that the Vatican is cracking down on these crazy nuns. I had a crazy nun teach me years ago and I left the school. I am a practicing Roman Catholic and feel we will survive without these women. We do not need them in our Church. Please do not give the wonderful nuns (who taught me at a Catholic College in Florida) a bad name. It is a pity that such a tiny minority can blacken the majority of nuns who do follow the tenets of the Church. Please Pope Benedict XVI continue on your mission to rein in on these wayward nuns.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      You're actually trying to generalize from your one bad experience umpteen years ago to the rntire US now? Boy, that's pretty bold.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • KMW

      N,

      I do not think you read my entire comment. I do love the nuns from college just not the ones from today who are extemely left-wing and meddling where they should not be meddling. I am glad the Vatican is reining in on these troublesome nuns.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      Not to mention protecting the altarboy boinking priests

      June 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      you chastise nuns for meddling where they should not be, but your f'ing church wants to control women's reproductive rights?

      June 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Mother

      This *always* happens when you play your supernatural fantasy game, kids. Play nice.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  5. Len Harris

    I am an 87 year old atheist educated by the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Jesuits. Ordinarily I am totally indifferent and unconcerned by anything the Catholic church says or does.. Biut when they attack nuns like Sister Florina, an elementary school educator of mine, they make my gorge rise, and a gorgeous one it is. I'm not looking for a fight with the church, but they're breeding one. They haven't progressed from the first Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. They're still running scared of Mary Magdalene.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      God love ya, Len. Even if you're an atheist.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Engineer

      The Council of Nicea, I remember that one. Let's see, that was the time when a particular gent translated the holy bible from latin to a common language and burned him alive only to dig his bones 15 years later to burn them again (at the Council). Forgive me, it has been years since I went to that side of the brain. Like you, I have been through the Catholic school system.

      I agreee with you. They are unwise to attack the American Nuns in this matter. They will lose the moral high ground they so desperately need. They are treading on a slippery slope. This new Pope would be wise to heed the example of Pope John Paul II who the world loved dearly. I consider him a Pope's Pope.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  6. bob

    The catholic church telling people how to live is like the OX telling the EAGLE how to fly!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  7. catholic engineer

    Judas was a Zealot who wanted the Romans thrown out and Israel returned to its former glory. He thought of Jesus as "our man", the one who would do this. He thought that Jesus was RELEVANT to Judas' time. But Judas found out otherwise, betrayed Jesus, and committed suicide. Today we have people who want the church to be "relevant to the times". These people are suffering from the Judas Complex. When the Church makes itself relevant to the latest cultural tide, it will recede with that tide. Our culture demands "relevance" from the church, betrays the church when relevance is not found, and appears to be committing suicide.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Topher

      Well said. I know when my wife and I were church shopping, if their website even used the word "relevant" in its statement of faith or to describe the pastor's sermons, we didn't give it another thought.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      At least you traditionalists aren't suggesting that we burn people at the stake any longer. But the Chur h has never been very good at internalizing dissent. Trying harder might make some sense. The "Judas Complex" name calling stuff is just that, though.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Smell This

      I stand by my statement. I will suffer the consequences after I am dead.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Topher

      Smell this ... IF there's a Heaven, are you good enough to go there? Are you a good person?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • phoodphite

      The problem is the church, though. It is the church that betrayed Jesus right from its inception. It is as if Jesus' words went into Paul's ear and right out the other side. Jesus tried to make things very simple – follow his one commandment if you really believed and loved him. But no, it sure didn't take long before Paul was out there spouting off all kinds of ridiculous rules that, for the most part, were the opposite of Jesus' lessons. And of course, Christian religions, especially Catholicism, when it comes to disenfranchising various groups of people, have to point to words that are from stories told by people who told other people that maybe came from Paul and others. Why? because you won't find that disenfranchisement in any words attributed to Jesus.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Topher

      phoodphite

      I'm curious what you mean. First, Jesus didn't preach just one commandment. Second, what did Paul say that was opposite of Jesus' teachings? I'm not being snarky, I'm just trying to understand where you are coming from.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • phoodphite

      topher

      After his disciples missed his point most of the time, Jesus told them they could just get one thing right, it was to love one another as he loved them. In all of his lessons, he constantly preached not to judge others. Now go read all of Paul's letters and tell me how much judging is going on and what it is based on.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      Yeah, nothing more relevant than 2,000 year old mores

      June 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      topher: what has being a good person got to do with it? i thought christianity was all about accepting jesus as a savior, and good works not mattering

      June 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Topher

      phoodphite

      "After his disciples missed his point most of the time, Jesus told them they could just get one thing right, it was to love one another as he loved them. In all of his lessons, he constantly preached not to judge others. Now go read all of Paul's letters and tell me how much judging is going on and what it is based on."

      Jesus never said not to judge. The Bible says judge not lest you be judged. He also said to take the plank out of your own eye before you help take the splinter out of your brother's. But He never said not to judge.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "topher: what has being a good person got to do with it? i thought christianity was all about accepting jesus as a savior, and good works not mattering"

      You are right. Good works cannot save you. I ask about being a good person because most of us proclaim all the good things we do. But the problem is none of us are good according to God's standard. We've all lied, stolen, blasphemed and looked with lust. That's just 4 of the 10 Commandments. None of us deserve Heaven ... we all deserve Hell. But that's why God came to Earth and died on the cross. He took the punishment that you and I deserve. Then He defeated death when He rose from the grave. What a wonderful gift!

      June 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  8. Smell This

    Yet another reason why they Church is NO LONGER RELEVANT.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  9. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Considering that most of the actual work in the Catholic Church is done by women, the Vatican would be in deep kimchi if the nuns decided to walk.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      Practicality has never been one of the Church's strong suits.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Jefri

      I think you need to read Quite Ugly One Morning and leave it there. In fact, the first twenty pages of that book were the best he ever wrote. Or am I being too cycainl?

      July 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  10. Steve from Wisconsin

    I don't bother going to priests for spiritual advise anymore. They are a disgrace.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I don't use accountants either. Or plumbers

      June 6, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Who could possibly be more qualified to give advice on your marriage than a man who took a vow of celibacy?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Doc, possibly someone who recognizes that marriage is about more than physical relationship?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • sam stone

      Bill: And how are they qualified to offer counseling on other ascpects of marriage?

      June 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  11. Left Coast Agnostic

    Seriously... is there anything more irrelevant in this day and age than the vatican and this former Hitler Youth pope?

    June 6, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  12. mendacitysux

    Nuns Gone Wild??
    I'd pay to see that.
    Wait, I think I have.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  13. Laurie in Spokane

    The vatican and catholic church in general are living, operating, and acting as if this is the 15th. century. Laughable really.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  14. Paul

    Yes lets focus on the nuns not the priests who molested little boys or their compatriots who covered it up... makes a lot of sense.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Anita Bongtoke

      Its a deep seeded culture within that cult... sickening as it is...

      June 6, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Jesus

      Exactly what I was thinking my son.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  15. Jay

    this why I believe in God but not Relgion! Religion is a man-made thing subject to the man in power's whim and fancy. I personally fully 100% believe that there is a God who created the universe and that I can turn to for guidance and comfort. I also know that he has comforted me. I also know that the same God will never give me the winning lottery ticket or provide me clothing and shelter – those are my responsibilities. Thank God I also have figured out that I don't need the church to act as a middleman! AMEN

    June 6, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Topher

      Hi, Jay. So, are you born again?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • sam stone

      Jay: God is manmade too

      June 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jay

      Topher – I do not refer to myself as Born again – I really don't like labels. It is live and let live.

      Sam – it is your right to believe that God is man-made and I respect your right to that opinion. I choose to believe otherwise that God does exist and that is my right and you must respect my right to that believe in so much as my belief does not effect you in any way shape or form which it doesn't!

      June 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • sam stone

      Jay: You have a right to believe what you wish. But, God is every bit as man made as religion

      June 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      Also, Jay, people's beliefs do impact others if they use those beliefs to influence public policy

      June 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jay

      Sam – I stated my opinion as it relates to this article on CNN. I am not a politician – I am not out trying to convert anyone to what I believe. I stated my opinion and therefore what I believe has ZERO bearing on you. I don't even know where in the world you are just as you don't know where in the world I am therefore my opnion and my belief does NOT effect you.

      And again – you can believe forever that God is man-made but stating it as reply a 2nd time does not change my belief that God exists. So go ahead and reply a 3rd time that God is man-made and a 4th and 5th I don't care because God is not man-made in my opinion!

      June 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Also, Jay, people's beliefs do impact others if they use those beliefs to influence public policy"

      Are you saying your beliefs don't impact how you vote?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Topher

      Jay

      "Topher – I do not refer to myself as Born again – I really don't like labels. It is live and let live."

      I don't mean to put a label on you. But you do realize Jesus said you must be born again, right?

      June 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jay

      Topher – re: Born Again – you say "JESUS SAID. . . " – again religion according to man. THere is no way to know what Jesus said or didn't say! What we have is a written history of an oral history based on "interpretations". Again I will say what works for me is that I believe in God. I do not need to be Born Again as it is defined by man!

      Just my beliefs and my communication between the God that I believe in and myself. I respect anyone's right to believe anything that they want to believe but if I am respecting yours and everyone elses beliefs then my right to believe should be respected as well. Hence not born again!

      June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Max

    Too MUCH social justice? The pope is off his rocker. I can't believe there aren't more people scratching their heads at this.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Max, the Church teaches us that our relationship to God is most important. Our bodies and what we do with them are a primary vehicle for this relationship. Until and unless we are oriented toward the affirmation of life, there is no foundation on which to build true social justice. The Vatican is merely pointing out that the nuns have gotten the cart in front of the horse

      June 6, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  17. catholic engineer

    THe American nuns in this article should separate themselves from the Catholic church and proceed as they have been doing. Otherwise, they show a lack of integrity by claiming to be Catholic while misrepresenting genuine Catholic teaching. If I claim to be an American while preaching Marxism, I would be living the same lie.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • JayS.

      Actually, being an American involves one's nationality whereas Marxism is a political belief system. Fortunately our system is expansive enough to allow the existence of numerous, often contrary, belief systems that have nothing to do with one's nationality. The Catholic Church remains as it has always been, a hierarchical, authoritarian, repressive system (religion or cult, they are one in the same) in which any form of dissent is a punishable offense, Fortunately, there is no longer an Inquisition or we all know precisely what would happen to the nuns who dared to use their brains and speak their minds.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • mdreader

      If all of the priests, monsignors, pastors, bishops, archbishops left the faith for "misrepresenting Catholicism" because of their pedophila cover-up, there would be no one left. You are blind.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      You're pretty judgmental. How's it working out for ya? Getting along well with everyone, are we?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  18. Topher

    Anyone have any questions on Christianity?

    June 6, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Frank

      Why, are you the expert? Which one of the thousands of denominations are you a member of?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Does he have to be an expert to entertain a question?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Topher

      I'm no expert. I'm just a Bible-believeing, born-again Christian.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Born-again christards are the worst type of christards out there. Topher has lost his ability to think for himself!

      June 6, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Frank, don't let the thousands of denominations surprise you. The scriptures are extremely compex. So are humans. When unfathomable humans are handling complex scriptures, your bound to have diversity and resulting dialog. It's not like science, in which outmoded theories won't go away until the last proponent of that theory dies.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Topher

      Full disclosure ... I'm an independent fundamental Baptist.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Hear This

      The Bible is nothing but a collection of stories from the ancient Middle East... a bit of history of the Hebrews, maybe, but mainly historical fiction, morality tales, and old Hebrew superst!tions and fantasies.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Topher

      Hear This
      So ... what you are saying is you don't believe the Bible?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Engineer

      There is no such thing as an authority on religion or else, one should ask mighty Thor of Asgard with his hammer of power. People only have an opinion. Doesn't make it factual, and while it may mean something to one person, it may mean nothing to another but that would be due to experience, intellectual capability and position of that person at the moment. Topher has a right to his opinion and so do all of those who disagrees. They are all equally valid in the subject of religion (or no religion). Good luck :>

      June 6, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Busted

      Busted is Topher the troll! I bust joo!

      June 6, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      Is God:
      1) Anthropomorphic
      2) Anthropocentric
      3) Omniscient
      4) Omnipotent
      5) Omnipresent

      June 6, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Jesus

      Christianity and Islam preach falsehoods......the truth lies in the Vedas . So says the Christ

      June 6, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • The Mighty Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Topher,

      I would say that Hear This has shown that he doesn't believe in the Bible, as well he shouldn't. The question is, why do you?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Hear This

      Topher,

      Correct... I do not believe the supernatural tales from that book.

      Perhaps the stories served to help civilize the primitive tribes in that area of the Middle East, but it is also quite ethnocentric with its "We da' best" theme. The NT of Paul of Tarsus and the few other first century cult evangelists is: Judaism, The Sequel. Supernatural bunk, for which there is no evidence of fact.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Topher

      Hi, Monster
      Well, it's a question that deserves a very serious answer. More so than I could possibly put on here. So I'll try to answer this the best I can and as honestly as I can. I already believe in a god. Maybe it's not the Christian god, but a god of some sort. Then I think, if there's a god, he'd have to be all-powerful. After all, this god created the universe in one way or another. And if this god exists He would have to be our highest authority and thus we should listen to Him and follow Him. So if He exists and is our ultimate authority and of a flawless character and gave us His word (the Bible) by inspiring the writers of the Scriptures then the Bible also is flawless and becomes our ultimate authority.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • The Mighty Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Many logical fallacies there Topher, so maybe this breakdown of what you're saying will help. It might be a comfort to you that Thomas Aquinas also made this mistake. http://www.philosophybro.com/2011/09/thomas-aquinas-summa-theologica-q2.html

      June 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      why do you feel that christianity is more valid than any other belief system?

      June 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      why does a creator have to be synonymous with a judge of human interaction?

      June 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      topher: are you going to answer the question?

      June 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Topher

      Sam, Sorry, I went to lunch with my wife ...

      "why does a creator have to be synonymous with a judge of human interaction?"

      Well, because He calls Himself a judge. The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment. Also, because He is the Creator of everything, He gets to set the rules and the standards. When we break the rules, we deserve punishment.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  19. Gerry Daley

    We have a Church run by pedophile protecting, women hating old men in dresses. Let's consign them to the dust heap of history – where they belong.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  20. southernwonder

    u.s. may be able to conquer the insult throwing vatican just by sending an army of our nuns after a week of training at the west point.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • ?

      huh?

      June 6, 2012 at 11:13 am |
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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.