Liberal Catholics use election results to battle bishops
Archbishop Timothy Dolan sounded a nuanced tone on politics at a recent bishops meeting.
November 13th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Liberal Catholics use election results to battle bishops

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Emboldened by the re-election of President Barack Obama, a cadre of liberal Catholic activists and groups is waging a campaign alleging that America's Catholic bishops are out of touch with Catholic laypeople.

The Catholic bishops, who are in Baltimore this week for a quarterly meeting, spoke out against the Obama administration during the election cycle over what they said were White House violations of religious freedom.

Some bishops also spoke out against legalized gay marriage and abortion rights, positions embraced by many Republicans.

A Sunday opinion piece in the National Catholic Reporter by Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown University, hammered the bishops for their public proclamations during the campaign, saying the church leaders' “political strategy … is not working.”

“A majority of Catholics voted for Obama, and gay activists won every referendum,” Reese wrote, referring to initiatives legalizing gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington.

Exit polls showed that Catholics narrowly voted for Obama, by 50% to 48%.

Reese also noted that Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana who voiced very conservative lines on abortion were defeated.

Catholics United and Catholics for Choice, two liberal Catholic groups, released statements around the meeting decrying the bishops' “failures” during the 2012 campaign.

“The bishops had a miserable return on investment of Catholic people's money and we demand an accounting of how they spent it campaigning on measures that Catholics clearly did not support,” wrote Catholics for Choice President Jon O'Brien.

Catholics United is delivering a petition to the Catholic bishops that calls on them to "reconsider their alliance with the Republican Party and refocus their attention on caring for the poor and vulnerable.”

In remarks to the 250 bishops assembled in Baltimore, bishops conference President Timothy Dolan touched on politics, sounding a nuanced tone.

“The premier answer to the question ‘What's wrong with the world? What's wrong with the church?’ is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming,” Dolan said.

"The answer to the question ‘What's wrong with the world?’ is just two words: ‘I am,' ” he continued, quoting author G.K. Chesterton.

Other archbishops at the meeting seemed to double down on the fight for religious liberty and same-sex marriage, according to the Catholic News Service.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, in a report to a committee on religious liberty, stated that “whatever setbacks or challenges in the efforts to defend religious liberty we may be experiencing, we're going to stay the course.”

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone addressed the spate of successful gay marriage initiatives, saying that “people don't understand what marriage is.”

“This is not a time to give up but rather a time to redouble our efforts,” he said.

The fight between liberal and conservative factions of the Catholic Church has been simmering for years, playing out in parishes, in college campuses and on the national political stage, with the vice presidential candidacy of two Catholics: Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

In their sole debate together, Biden and Ryan gave different reads on how their faith shaped their politics. Biden focused on Catholic social teaching about helping the poor while Ryan talked about his belief that life begins at conception.

Steve Schneck, a Catholic University scholar who was supportive of Obama's candidacy, disagreed with liberals who are criticizing the bishops, saying most bishops did not weigh in on the election.

"Only a handful of bishops were involved, and it is about the same number that was involved in 2008,” he said.

“Most Catholics, whether they are politically liberal or politically conservative, are not interested in seeing their priests become politically involved,” said Schneck, the Obama campaign’s national co-chairman for Catholics. "They want their parishes and archdioceses to become politics-free zones.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Politics

soundoff (569 Responses)
  1. Liberal Catholic

    "Pope Benedict XVI has said, 'The new evangelization ... begins in the confessional!'"

    In the Gospel of John after Jesus arose and told the Apostles: "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose si.ns you forgive are forgiven them."

    "In the sacrament of penance and reconciliation, we meet the Lord, who wants to grant forgiveness and the grace to live a renewed life in him. In this sacrament, he prepares us to receive him with a lively faith, earnest hope, and sacrificial love in the Eucharist. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we repent, let go of any pattern of si.n, grow in the life of virtue and witness to a joyful conversion."
    USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis

    November 16, 2012 at 3:35 am |
  2. Rethink

    Newton's law is not to be decided by popular vote. Gay marriage is a threat to the law of nature, it will create a wierd society and crazy neighbouhood. Only person with right to vote has the right to live, is this the progressive democratic ideology?
    Person/parties with convition will not change policies based on vote bank.

    November 16, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      And how exactly is it a threat. You people keep making these claims with nothing to support it.

      People practicing ceremonial cannabolism (Christian communion) is far more weird.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Liberal Catholic

      Bishop links respect for environment to church's sacramental life


      November 16, 2012 at 3:50 am |
  3. CCC

    Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness. Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: "Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips." Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: "I will not execute my fierce anger... for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst." The apostle John says likewise: "We shall... reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."

    November 16, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  4. louis

    To Bill Deacon: the thought "to be a Catholic is to be uneducated" is incorrect. Perhaps the writer was confusing George Orwell's words, "one cannot be a true Catholic and be a grownup", which, of course, is true.

    November 16, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Catholic guy

      Matt 18: 1-3
      1 At that time the disciples* approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
      2 He called a child over, placed it in their midst,
      3 and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,* you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
      4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

      November 16, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  5. Bishop Hairy Palms

    The Catholic church has such a shameful and disgusting history, they have no moral authority whatsoever.

    November 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tadeja

      Yes and on the other hand, without the history, how would you have the Scriptures, the Holy Bible provided through the living church. Read more history the church gave us many riches as well.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  6. shawbrooke

    Do these lefty Catholics ever sit in a pew? Maybe the Bishops have the support of church attendees.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Suzy

      Yes they do and they are also valuable volunteers who take their call to stewardship seriously by serving in various ministries, musicians, lectors, liturgical ministers, bereavement counselors, food pantry volunteers, youth ministers, outreach ministries to homeless shelters and the list goes on and on.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  7. Mary

    "They want their parishes and archdioceses to become politics-free zones.” Really? I changed churches because the pastor talked against the president with every homily (sermon) he gave. As a Catholic, we were reminded to support the church's positions during the election. Every Catholic knows what the expectation is regarding birth control and abortion. But helping the poor was a message that somewhere got lost. No one is forcing anyone to use birth conrol or have an abortion. Somewhere the chuch hierachy got hung up on these two issues, ignoring things like healthcare or human rights.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You have not studied the source of human rights have you?

      November 16, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Tadeja

      Yes, why get hung up on the dignity of all human beings? Why feed them,shelter them,educate them etc. if not allowed to come into the world -that makes good reason. Perhaps that unborn child wanted his or her 'reproductive rights' protected? Perhaps they wanted to live and have a family? The church has to follow logic- DNA says it is human life, it will not be anything other!
      Also, the government should not impose it's will on the church and limit Her witness of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world. The HHS Mandate does that-this is all they were trying to get across. Of course, it will be our job to change the thinking of society before we change the laws. Laws reflect values of culture. We just did not want a president that agrees with the killing of a 9 month infant. I think one is Catholic first.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  8. 4sanity

    San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone addressed the spate of successful gay marriage initiatives, saying that “people don't understand what marriage is.”

    No, I think we understand it quite well. Catholic archbishops only understand their own narrow Christian version of it. The essential essence of marriage is love, respect and commitment – and if that happens between 2 people who are gay, so what ?!

    I have no problem with the Catholic Church continuing to promote the idea that a religious version of marriage for their faith is between a man and a woman, but that's not the point. Marriage as recognized by the State is not a religious issue – it is only a contractual and public acknowledgment of its principles.

    November 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Liberal Catholic

      Sorry. You're wrong on this one.

      November 16, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • Everyman

      how so Liberal Catholic?

      November 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Liberal Catholic

      @ Everyman:
      Love, respect and commitment are all things that make a relationship pleasant. They are not the definition of marriage.

      If two people who are gay have love, respect and commitment how nice for them. They don't have a marriage.
      If two straight people have love, respect and commitment, but that's all they have in the relationship. They don't have a real marriage either.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Liberal Catholic

      Your church doesn't get to decide what a marriage means. You may want that, but that doesnt mean that you get to define a governmental civil contract.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  9. tony

    It's looking more like they are going to "stay the course", but without any significant congregations, and hopefully, empty collection plates.

    I couldn't believe the Pope's new action on his "Latin University". How could anyone get their priorities so screwed up? Of course, living in the relative care-free lap of luxury in the Vatican may have something to do with it.

    November 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  10. theoriginaljames

    Dolan: "I am and anachronism, a stale, fat, useless nothing."

    November 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  11. RadicalModerate

    I used to admire Catholics for their consistent ethic of life where they defended the life of: the unborn and the born; the guilty and the innocent; the poor and the rich; the local and the foreign; the healthy and the sick. Unfortunately, they too have taken idealogical sides. How sad.

    November 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • junior

      Really, How so?

      November 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  12. Owl96

    "Reese also noted that Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana who voiced very conservative lines on abortion were defeated."
    Murdock, in Indiana, was defeated by Donnelly, a pro-life Democrat. You cannot judge that race from the Catholic pulpit.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • niknak

      Only thing one can judge from the pulpit, in any church, is how much one will make via the collection plate.
      That is the one things all religions have in common, (other then the god dilusion).
      The cross or star of david or sicle and moon are just corporate logos like the Nike Swoosh.
      And whatever gets the flock to come and give up their hard earned money is what will be spoken from their pulpit.
      The consumer is always right, right?

      November 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • junior

      niknak you do not understand religion and ultimately faith.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  13. Reality

    For all members of Christian churches: Please post the following on your church doors.

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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

    (references used are available upon request)

    November 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Owl96

      "Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven?"
      Yes, you should.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • niknak

      Why should anyone believe in anything that cannot be proven?
      If it can't be proven, then it has to be considered false.
      Your god hypothesis is just that, unproven. And is considered false.
      Just because you want something to be true, does not make it so.
      Until you can bring us some proof of your god myth, we will consider it a myth and move on.

      November 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other: (Proof that there is no god????)

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      November 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  14. John

    The thing is that it is a fact that gay people don't choose to be gay. For the catholic church to demonize these poeple is reprehensible. Meanwhile they protect pedophiles. I went to Catholic school for 12 years but these days organized religion absolutely disgusts me. Why do these Bishops care more about people before they're born than after. Republicans don't care about feeding and clothing the less fortunate and obviously the Catholic church doesn't either or the Pope would sell of a painting or two and feed thousands of starving children. Organized religion is a business preying on the weak minded.

    November 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Owl96

      How do you account for organizations like Catholic Charities, The Christ Child Society, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and The Catholic Worker? Those and other agencies founded by members of the Catholic Church are some of the largest support centers for those in financial need.

      November 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Liberal Catholic

      As a graduate of Catholic school, you were taught and should know the Church's teaching. Your post, however, sounds like you are still confused.

      To uphold God's intent for marriage, in which s.exual relations have their proper and exclusive place, is not to offend the dignity of ho.mos.exual persons. Christians must give witness to the whole moral truth and oppose as im.moral both ho.mos.exual acts and unjust discrimination against ho.mos.exual persons.The Catechism of the Catholic Church urges that ho.mos.exual persons "be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" (no. 2358). It also encourages chaste friendships. "Chast.ity is expressed notably in friendship with one's neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite s.ex, friendship represents a great good for all" (no. 2347).

      November 16, 2012 at 5:20 am |
  15. the AnViL

    liberal catholics are JUST as delusional as EVERYONE who believes in imaginary men in the sky.

    November 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  16. the AnViL

    there are no gods but it's perfectly ok for people to wallow in delusional thinking – they can believe in whatever imaginary friends they choose.

    the problem is when they attempt to dictate their morals onto the rest of society and work overtime to secularize their ridiculous theology.

    there should be new legislation bringing punitive measures against those religious organizations and idiot moralists who seek to deprive others of their liberties, freedom, and equality. those very people deserve no freedom, liberty, or equality.

    tolerance of religious idiocy has to end.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yeah because really "Thou shalt not kill" is so repressive

      November 15, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Phil

      Yet, Bill Christians continue to kill each other all the time, guess it's not working so well now is it?

      November 15, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      So because some people can't or won't obey, we should discard the rule? Is that you're argument?

      November 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Which God?

      @ Biil Deacon. You like to throw out bullschitt, don't you? It's 'thou shall not commit murder.' You catholics, as well as the rest of you so-called xtians are fond of murder, especially if it forces those to comply with your beliefs. You have modern day xtian militias ready to kill for some fake sky fairy. Xtians have been killing for centuries and are willing to do it it in this one. News flash, boy. We're armed too, and some of us understand, and have been in close quarters, combat. Your goD, and the catholic religion, are poison to anyone with half a brain and can think..

      November 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Seems you've reached your goal of the end of tolerance

      November 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • delusional

      Yes, Which God?, lock and load, you may need all you have against people who follow Jesus. Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;…”

      November 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Observer

      Bill Deacon,

      Did it take a 2,000 year old book to convince you not to kill or were you able to figure it out all by yourself?

      November 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Observer, that is a common argument for the concept that a moral compass is intrinsic to man's psyche. I would propose that what seems easily recognizable as common self realized morality is actually the conditioning of society by the imposition of external morals over the ages. Certainly early man had no compunction against murdering his neighbor if it were to enhance his own survival. If at some point, one advanced, enlighten Cro-Magnon deduced that it was more profitable to live in peace than in violence he would have had to teach that to his fellows. This means he would have codefied it somehow into a teachable context. A law, or commandment or some such. We'll call him a rabbi for the moment He would not have been able to just wait until everyone else understood what he had become aware of because they would have killed him first, at which point we may choose to call him the Christ. So, at this stage to say we just "know" right from wrong completely ignores the fact that we have been taught such by those who saw more clearly and transmitted that awareness to us building on the ethics and morals passed down to them. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethic.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill it is easy to throw around the moral values that almost everyone agrees with regardless of religion...no murder, no stealing, things that hurt others. But what about the supposed moral rules about s.e.x that have nothing to do with hurting others that christians want to impose on everyone else by claiming they are moral issues when they have nothing to do with morality?

      November 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "We call this the Judeo-Christian ethic."

      And I call this line of "logic" bullsh1t. Civilizations that have had no knowledge of Jewish or Christian theology have had the same ethics...but then people like you try and annex those as specific to the "Judeo-Christian" teaching. What a load of self serving drivel.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Which God?

      @ BD Yes, I have reached my end, but I'm patient and at ease. I don't fly off the handle, but I'm alert. As for the buybull thunper, Matthew sukxs, big time. So do the rest of the gospel nuts.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Blessed, I'll grant you that other cultures have developed similar moral codes without benefit of Judeo-Christianity. That is not my point. My point is that morality is not intrinsic to the human animal. It has to be taught. The mere fact that we now accept as normal morals which we have inculcated into our society for generations does not mean we would spontaneously generate those morals without external guidance. In fact many of us do not accept them today even with acceptance by the broader population. Which brings me to your second question. If person "A" is wiling to reject teaching "X" for their own reasons then it stands that person "B" can reject teaching "Y" for their own reasons. I believe Christianity calls this the doctrine of conscience. The fact that any moral teaching is rejected by one or by 50 million people does not mean the moral value is obscured. This is the difference between Christians and humanists. Christians believe that morals are appointed by a higher authority while humanists believe that humans are the highest authority.

      November 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Rant

      to Bill Deacon
      Did you read the story of the woman in Ireland that was murdered, yes murdered, by the RCC's position that they imposed on a state? A state that is one of the largest victims of you, the defenders of the RCC and its disgusting practices, I loath you, and your defence of your corrupt orginizations, although I do not believe in after life. if it exists it will be populated by the likes of you. Have a nice day you filthy hypocrite.

      November 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV



      "Christians believe that morals are appointed by a higher authority while humanists believe that humans are the highest authority."

      is a distinction without a difference. Morals are determined societally – they are a consensus of conscience for a society, irrespective of any attributed "source".

      Sometimes consensus is difficult. Abortion is such a topic:

      Take this case reported today where a Hindu woman died of septicemia due to pregnancy complications:

      An abortion would have saved her life and she could concievably have a child in the future. Why was it moral to allow her to die? Her fetus was doomed anyway.

      I noted one comment saying that a vetinarian would never even think twice over this question.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers


      Please provide evidence that morals come from any higher power, then provide evidence they come from the Christian god specifically.

      Please list one ethic or moral specific to Christianity that is positive.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I have to laugh because the premise is always "Hey Christian, you set 'em up, I'll knock 'em down." How about this Blessed you show me a moral value that has contributed to society by forming law or value which is not rooted or at least ratified in Christian ideology? Go ahead, what other philosophical system has given us anywhere near what Christianity has?

      November 16, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      Equality and individual freedom, equality of woman in society. And I don't accept your "ratified" portion. So what if the christians reluctanly came around to the correct moral position. You claim the source of morality comes from your god therefore I am only interested in morals and ethics that are specific and original to christians. I answered your question now answer mine.

      November 16, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  17. Atheism is healthy for children and other living things

    DEar bishops: It is God's will that Obama won the election again. Don't mess with divine intervention ;0

    November 15, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  18. Gerald

    The gates of hell shall not prevail. Even from within,. These liberal Catholics just don't get it. They should get out.

    November 15, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      How many choirs of angels are there again?
      It can be hard to keep track of the all angels, sub-angels, saints, cherubim, serephim etc.
      The Vatican should really give out a Celestial Organizational Chart.

      November 15, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I did, I got all the way out to atheism. And my hope is your extemist views will push others down the path to rationality.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • tallulah13

      I think you're right, Gerald. It is impossible to be both a catholic and a compassionate, educated person. If an intelligent person truly feels the need to be a christian, they should find a church that is based on the words of Christ, not on centuries of artificial dogma created to bolster the importance and wealth of church bureaucracy and figurehead.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Here Tallulah. i know you wanted to research this before you posted but your opinion was probably too urgent:

      Catholic scientists
      Galileo Galilei
      Nicolaus Copernicus
      René Descartes
      Gregor Mendel
      Pierre Gassendi
      Blaise Pascal
      Marin Mersenne
      Louis Pasteur
      André-Marie Ampère
      Antoine Lavoisier

      Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799) – Mathematician who wrote on differential and integral calculus
      Georgius Agricola (1494–1555) – Father of Mineralogy[11]
      Albertus Magnus (c.1206-1280) – Patron saint of natural sciences
      André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836) – One of the main discovers of electromagnetism
      Amedeo Avogadro (1776–1856) – Noted for contributions to molecular theory and Avogadro's Law
      Roger Bacon (c. 1214-1294) – Franciscan friar and early advocate of the scientific method
      Daniello Bartoli (1608-1685) – Jesuit priest and one of the first to see the equatorial belts of Jupiter
      Antoine César Becquerel (1788-1878) – Pioneer in the study of electric and luminescent phenomena
      Henri Becquerel (1852–1908) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his co-discovery of radioactivity
      Claude Bernard (1813-1878) – Renowned physiologist who helped to apply scientific methodology to medicine
      Jacques Philippe Marie Binet (1786–1856) – Mathematician known for Binet's formula and his contributions to number theory
      Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774–1862) – Physicist who established the reality of meteorites and studied polarization of light
      Bernard Bolzano (1781-1848) – Priest and mathematician who made important contributions to differentiation, the concept of infinity, and the binomial theorem
      Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-1679) – Often referred to as the father of modern biomechanics
      Roger Joseph Boscovich (1711–1787) – Jesuit priest and polymath known for his atomic theory and many other scientific contributions
      Thomas Bradwardine (c.1290-1349) – Archbishop and one of the discovers of the mean speed theorem
      Louis Braille (1809–1852) – Inventor of the Braille reading and writing system
      Jean Buridan (c.1300-after 1358) – French priest who developed the theory of impetus
      Alexis Carrel (1873–1944) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for pioneering vascular suturing techniques
      John Casey (mathematician) (1820-1891) – Irish geometer known for Casey's theorem
      Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712) – First to observe four of Saturn's moons and the co-discoverer of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter
      Augustin-Louis Cauchy (1789–1857) – Mathematician who was an early pioneer in analysis
      Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598-1647) – Churchman known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri's principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus.
      Andrea Cesalpino (c.1525-1603) – Botanist who also theorized on the circulation of blood
      Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) – Published the first translation of the Rosetta Stone
      Guy de Chauliac (c.1300-1368) – The most eminent surgeon of the Middle Ages
      Albert Claude (1899-1983) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicince for his contributions to the study of cells
      Christopher Clavius (1538–1612) – Jesuit who was the main architect of the Gregorian calendar
      Mateo Realdo Colombo (1516–1559) – Discovered the pulmonary circuit,[12] which paved the way for Harvey's discovery of circulation
      Carl Ferdinand Cori (1896-1984) – Shared the Nobel Prize with his wife for their discovery of the Cori cycle
      Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis (1792-1843) – Formulated laws regarding rotating systems, which later became known as the Corialis effect
      Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736–1806) – Physicist known for developing Coulomb's law
      Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) – First person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology
      Johann Baptist Cysat (c.1587-1657) – Jesuit priest known for his study of comets
      René Descartes (1596–1650) – Father of modern philosophy and analytic geometry
      Pierre Duhem (1861–1916) – Historian of science who made important contributions to hydrodynamics, elasticity, and thermodynamics
      Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800–1884) – Chemist who established new values for the atomic mass of thirty elements
      Christian de Duve (1917–present) – Nobel Prize winning cytologist and biochemist
      John Eccles (neurophysiologist) (1903–1997) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the synapse
      Stephan Endlicher (1804-1849) – Botanist who formulated a major system of plant classification
      Bartolomeo Eustachi (c.1500-1574) – One of the founders of human anatomy
      Hieronymus Fabricius (1537–1619) – Father of embryology
      Gabriele Falloppio (1523–1562) – One of the most important anatomists and physicians of the sixteenth century
      Mary Celine Fasenmyer (1906-1996) – Roman Catholic sister and mathematician, founder of Sister Celine's polynomials
      Pierre de Fermat (1601–1665) – Number theorist who contributed to the early development of calculus
      Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) – Awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work in induced radioactivity
      Fibonacci (c.1170-c.1250) – Popularized Hindu-Arabic numerals in Europe and discovered the Fibonacci sequence
      Hippolyte Fizeau (1819-1896) – The first person to determine experimentally the velocity of light[13]
      Léon Foucault (1819–1868) – Invented the Foucault pendulum to measure the effect of the earth's rotation
      Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826) – Discovered Fraunhofer lines in the sun's spectrum
      Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788–1827) – Made significant contributions to the theory of wave optics
      Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) – Father of modern science
      Luigi Galvani (1737–1798) – Formulated the theory of animal electricity
      Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655) – French astronomer and mathematician who published the first data on the transit of Mercury and gave the Aurora Borealis its name
      Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) – Chemist known for two laws related to gases
      Paula González (1932-present) – Roman Catholic sister and professor of biology
      Francesco Maria Grimaldi (1618–1663) – Jesuit who discovered the diffraction of light
      Robert Grosseteste (c.1175-1253) – Bishop who has been called "the first man to write down a complete set of steps for performing a scientific experiment."[14]
      Johannes Gutenberg (c.1398-1468) – Inventor of the printing press
      Jean Baptiste Julien d'Omalius d'Halloy (1783–1875) – One of the pioneers of modern geology[15]
      René Just Haüy (1743–1822) – Priest, and father of crystallography
      Eduard Heis (1806-1877) – Astronomer who contributed the first true delineation of the Milky Way
      Jan Baptist van Helmont (1579-1644) – Founder of pneumatic chemistry
      Charles Hermite (1822–1901) – Mathematician who did research on number theory, quadratic forms, elliptic functions, and algebra
      John Philip Holland (1840–1914) – Developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy
      Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748-1836) – The first to propose a natural classification of flowering plants
      Athanasius Kircher (c.1601-1680) – Jesuit scholar who has been called "the last Renaissance man"
      Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1713–1762) – French astronomer noted for cataloguing stars, nebulous objects, and constellations
      René Laennec (1781–1826) – Physician who invented the stethoscope
      Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736-1813) – Mathematician and astronomer known for Lagrangian points and Lagrangian mechanics
      Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) – Biologist whose theories on evolution preceded those of Darwin; also divided the animal kingdom into vertebrates and invertebrates
      Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943) – Nobel Prize winner who identified and classified the human blood types
      Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827) – Famed mathematician and astronomer who has been called the "Newton of France"
      Pierre André Latreille (1762-1833) – Pioneer in entomology
      Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794) – Father of modern chemistry[16]
      Jérôme Lejeune (1926-1994) – Pediatrician and geneticist, best known for his discovery of the link of diseases to chromosome abnormalities
      Georges Lemaître (1894–1966) – Father of the Big Bang theory
      Marcello Malpighi (1628–1694) – Father of comparative physiology[17]
      Étienne-Louis Malus (1775-1812) – Discovered the polarization of light
      Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937) – Father of long-distance radio transmission
      Edme Mariotte (c.1620-1684) – Priest who independently discovered Boyle's Law
      Pierre Louis Maupertuis (1698-1759) – Known for the Maupertuis principle and for being the first president of the Berlin Academy of Science
      Gregor Mendel (1822–1884) – Father of genetics
      Marin Mersenne (1588–1648) – Father of acoustics
      Charles W. Misner (1932-present) – American cosmologist dedicated to the study of general relativity
      Gaspard Monge (1746-1818) – Father of descriptive geometry
      Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682–1771) – Father of modern anatomical pathology[18]
      Johannes Peter Müller (1801–1858) – Founder of modern physiology[19]
      Jean-Antoine Nollet (1700-1770) – Discovered the phenomenon of osmosis in natural membranes.
      William of Ockham (c.1288-c.1348) – Franciscan Friar known for Ockham's Razor
      Nicole Oresme (c.1320-1382) – 14th century bishop who theorized the daily rotation of the earth on its axis
      Barnaba Oriani (1752-1832) – Known for Oriani's theorem and for his research on Uranus
      Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) – Created the first modern atlas and theorized on continental drift
      Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) – One of the most famous mathematicians of all time
      Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) – Father of bacteriology[20]
      Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580–1637) – Discovered the Orion Nebula
      Georg von Peuerbach (1423–1461) – Has been called the father of mathematical and observational astronomy in the West[21]
      Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826) – Theatine priest who discovered the asteroid Ceres and did important work cataloguing stars
      Jean Picard (1620–1682) – French priest and father of modern astronomy in France[22]
      Jules Henri Poincaré (1854 – 1912) – French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science, who discovered a chaotic deterministic system which laid the foundations of modern chaos theory and was one of the founders of topology
      Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934) – Awarded the Nobel Prize for his contributions to neuroscience
      René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (1683-1757) – Scientific polymath known especially for his study of insects
      Francesco Redi (1626-1697) – His famous experiments with maggots were a major step in overturning the idea of spontaneous generation
      Henri Victor Regnault (1810-1878) – Chemist with two laws governing the specific heat of gases named after him[23]
      Giovanni Battista Riccioli (1598–1671) – Jesuit priest and the first person to measure the acceleration due to gravity of falling bodies
      Wilhelm Roentgen (1845-1923) – Discovered X-rays.
      Theodor Schwann (1810–1882) – Founder of the theory of the cellular structure of animal organisms
      Angelo Secchi (1818-1878) – Jesuit priest who developed the first system of stellar classification
      Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865) – Early pioneer of antiseptic procedures and the discoverer of the cause of puerperal fever
      Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729-1799) – Priest and biologist who laid the groundwork for Pasteur's discoveries
      Nicolas Steno (1638–1686) – Bishop, and father of stratigraphy
      Francesco Lana de Terzi (1631-1687) – Jesuit priest who has been called the father of aeronautics
      Louis Jacques Thénard (1777–1857) – Discovered hydrogen peroxide
      Theodoric of Freiberg (c.1250-c.1310) – Gave the first geometrical analysis of the rainbow
      Evangelista Torricelli (1608–1647) – Inventor of the barometer
      Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli (1397–1482) – One of the most distinguished scientists of the fifteenth century
      Richard Towneley (1629-1707) – Mathematician and astronomer whose investigations and correspondence contributed to the formulation of Boyle's Law
      Louis René Tulasne (1815-1885) – Noted biologist with several genuses and species of fungi named after him
      Louis Nicolas Vauquelin (1763–1829) – Discovered the chemical element Beryllium
      Pierre Vernier (1580-1637) – Mathematician who invented the Vernier scale
      Urbain Le Verrier (1811–1877) – Mathematician who predicted the discovery of Neptune
      Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564) – Father of modern human anatomy
      François Viète (1540–1603) – Father of Modern Algebra[24]
      Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) – Renaissance anatomist, scientist, mathematician, and painter
      Vincenzo Viviani (1622-1703) – Mathematician known for Viviani's theorem and Viviani's curve as well as his experiments to determine the speed of sound
      Alessandro Volta (1745–1827) – Physicist known for the invention of the battery
      Wilhelm Heinrich Waagen (1841–1900) – Geologist and paleontologist
      Karl Weierstrass (1815-1897) – Often called the Father of Modern Analysis[25]
      E. T. Whittaker (1873–1956) – English mathematician who made contributions to applied mathematics and mathematical physics
      Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768) – One of the founders of scientific archeology

      November 15, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • .

      Bill Deacon = Chad they're using wiki which has been proven to be 60% inaccurate and not used in public schools.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      Did you notice that all those people listed are famous for discovery using science.....not one of them used their christian religious belief to discover anything.....their religion was absolutely meaningless to what it is that made them important. They could all have been Buddhists or atheists and it would not make a difference....their religion was irrelevent.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Well her statement was that it is impossible to be Catholic and well educated. The direct and immediate failure of that assertion swamps the nuanced dismissal you render on my rebuttal.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      you left off Giordano Bruno. He was a Catholic scientist too. The church burnt him at the stake for the heresy of his science.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I will grant you that this statement: "It is impossible to be both a catholic and a compassionate, educated person."

      Is unfair and inaccurate.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Did a search on Buddhist scientist. Came up with several scientist who absorbed Hindi or Buddhist thought as academic exercises but no scientist who were Buddhist monks or Hindu brahmans.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      There is probably no religion, government, race or any otherwise organized group of people on which one cannot find records of atrocities. My responses are aimed at people who use bigotry and hate coupled with inaccurate representations of history and fact to smear the Catholic faith. If you are going to hate us, at least hate us for what we are, not for what you think we are of for those who have transgressed our creed while wearing our colors. It's dishonest.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Some assessments suggest that Bruno's ideas about the universe played a smaller role in his trial than his pantheist beliefs, which differed from the interpretations and scope of God held by the Catholic Church

      So, you can use Bruno to claim the Church was violent against religious heretics but not necessarily that it is against science or education. To use someone else's logic, the fact that he was a scientist had nothing to do with his immolation.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Which God?

      More cr.ap from BD. He fails to note that those scientists didn't use religion in their studies and calculations, etc. He also neglects to let you know that the church loved to try and supress most scientific findings as it contradicted church teachings. Bill likes to play semantic word games and is adept and using strawman arguments and statements that lead one in another direction. BD has nothing of value to contribute.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Show me the link to the scholarly study which substantiates the Church is scientifically repressive over time.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • the AnViL

      i encourage you to google-up a list of atheist scientists. if you look at the list of scientists who believed in imaginary men in the sky... you'll notice most of the names on that list lived and died a very very very very long time ago.

      if you look at the list of atheist scientists.. you'll see something different.

      obviously – humanity is slow catching on.

      tolerance of religious ignorance and idiocy has to end. enough is enough.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " If you are going to hate us....at least hate us for what we are rather than for....those who have transgressed our creed while wearing our colors. " In a single sentence, Bill absolves the church of any wrong doing anywhere, anytime. The transgressors were obviously just posers "wearing the colors". Talk about dishonest.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      My mistake midwest. i did not intend to advance the "no true scotsman" fallacy. But i think two points deserve attention. The first is that often the facts of a given situation have become distorted for one reason or another and the distortion is used either mistakenly or deliberately to slander the Church. Secondly, historical perspective of events often do not take into account contemporary dynamics such that people do a lot of "Monday morning quarterbacking" of seismic events in our history. What looks like an inexplicably atrocious scenario to us today may have seemed the only prudent and reasonable course 500 or 1000 years ago. Lastly, if those two types of argumentative errors, which comprise the lion's share of people complaints against the Church, can be eliminated from the discussion, we are still left with the actual and substantial crimes, mistakes and errors committed by Christians. I would still argue though that these individual situations even when added together do not create a case for dismissal of the Christian ethic as a force for good in the world. So, again, hate us for what we are if you will and often you are right. But I will contest distortions and inaccuracies as best I am able.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "even when added together do not create a case for dismissal of the Christian ethic as a force for good in the world."


      That is entirely dependent on the ethic. The ethics that are actually specific to christians as opposed to those ethics that are claimed as beling specific but really aren't. Murder, stealing, treating others as you would want to be treated pre-date christianity though they are positive ethics. S.exual "morality", the idea of requiring salvation, original sin, ect. that are ACTUALLY specific to christianity are not a "force for good". You like to muddle these 2 as if they are one in the same.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I haven't the time (nor the inclination) to research the whole list of Catholic scientists you list, but you'll note that the overwhelming majority of them are from the distant past – during a time when pretty much only churchmen were literate and any kind of research required the church's approval.
      And just off the top of my head:
      Galileo Galilei – Condemned by the Vatican
      Nicolaus Copernicus – The Vatican only admitted he might have had a point 300 years after his death
      René Descartes – All his writing banned by the Vatican

      November 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • John

      LOL. If the liberal Catholics left the church would die out. They already can't get new priests and are closing parochial schools and churches left and right. I think they would do much better if the conservatives got out!

      November 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      curiously Jews represent a disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners in science and Muslims a disproportionately low number.

      Neil DeGrasse Tyson has a very interesting talk on the effects of fundamentalism on sciences in the Muslim world. Muslims were the world leaders in science during the church-dominated European 'dark ages'. The church struggled to embrace science with the onset of the renaissance, but once they started accepting science things really changed.

      I found it to be really worth watching.


      When Muslim philosphy turned to fundamentalist "It is written" thinking with the ideas of Al-Ghazali their science died.

      The modern resurgence of fundamentalism in the west could have the same effect – denial of climate change, 'young earth' nonsense, anti-evolution teaching etc.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      GOP, I've read similar papers describing the lapse of intellectual advancement in Islamic culture. While religious influences are a big part of the problem in Muslim countries there are other factors involved as well. I believe the mistake a lot of western people make is conflating all religions into one over arching repressive system. I would disagree with that and I think the fact that western civilization has not lagged as has the Islamic world is testament to the difference between, at least those two, religions

      November 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I am not conflating religion with repression.

      Empirically, the medieval church did squash science. We don't call them the dark ages for nothing. The difference is the renaissance. The church and its relationship with science were dragged into the renaissance kicking and screaming but ultimately did allow reason to prevail, largely I think for two reasons:

      1. Catholicism was (and is) not bent on fundamentalism and
      2. the self interests of the church hierarchy who stood to gain with the ascendency of the Italian city states they were incestuously connected to.

      My point was not about religion, but fundamentalism.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Observer

      There isn't one single scientific advancement in the Bible. Instead we get support for the earth being flat; that pi is equal to 3.0; and the incredible nonsense of Noah's ark.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  19. tallulah13

    Here's a nice article on how the catholic church did their part in letting a woman die in agony rather than abort her dying fetus:


    November 15, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • OC

      This awful story is haunting me today. The Catholic Church, cowardly politians, and unethical medical professionals conspired to murder that woman–no doubt about it. Gallway Hospital is "sympathetic" to the family's loss. Garbage. They don't want your sympathy; that family wants their daughter, wife, mother. SHAME.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • tony

      Don't forget the extra children she probabaly wanted afterwards and thus missed giving life to subsequently. That could be as many as five murders the "good catholics" chose to make.

      November 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Tadeja

      The story is not providing all accurate info regarding actual story – oh how the media manipulates.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  20. Jon

    What does "defend religious liberty" even mean? Are you not free to worship any god you choose? Can you not practice whatever religion you want without fear of persecution from the government? Are you afraid of being imprisoned for being a Christian? Is anyone forcing you to take birth control or have abortions? They're not? So you mean those 2 things, legal or illegal, don't affect your daily lives at all?

    Well that's strange. Doesn't sound like your religious liberties are being attacked at all.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
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About this blog

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