#AskPontifex: Twitter questions for the pope touch on faith, sex scandal and lunch
December 13th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

#AskPontifex: Twitter questions for the pope touch on faith, sex scandal and lunch

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

(CNN) – Pope Benedict XVI's first tweet from his new personal Twitter account on Wednesday was simple: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”

But the social media response to the pope's first day of active tweeting has been anything but straightforward.

The pope’s Twitter account quickly swelled to over a million followers and tweets about @pontifex – meaning “bridge builder” – swirled around the Internet. Thousands of the pontiff’s Twitter followers replied to his message, which was retweeted more than 50,000 times.

By Thursday morning Eastern Time, the pope had sent seven tweets, including three responses to Twitter questions from people on three different continents, according to the Vatican.

"How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?" one of the pope's followers asked via Twitter.

"By speaking with Jesus in prayer," the pope tweeted back, "listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need."

Many tweeters this week are employing the hashtag “#AskPontifex,” with questions ranging from the personal to the mundane, from the controversial to the deeply spiritual:

[tweet https://twitter.com/HowardKLW/status/278996173400969216%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/mattleeanderson/status/278967624883392512%5D

Many Catholics welcomed the pope's foray onto Twitter.

“It couldn't hurt,” says James Martin, a Jesuit priest and an editor at America magazine. “The Holy Father's embrace of new technology reminds people that the church is trying to meet people where they are, just like Jesus did.”

Though Martin may not be as popular on Twitter as His Holiness, he is an avid tweeter, with 15,000 followers at @JamesMartinSJ.

Some tweeps – as people on Twitter are known – asked His Holiness tough questions:

[tweet https://twitter.com/Rainzford/status/278943711159808001%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/Filip_ugh_lol/status/278920057801830400%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/DylanCarragher/status/278905654368956417%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/nancy_tg/status/278998635541323777%5D

There were also many questions about the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal:

[tweet https://twitter.com/HarrietTubgirl/status/279001645193494528%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/Mowgli3/status/278881141937799169%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/pyrojoe711/status/278874486760165376%5D

Martin says these sorts of questions should not be surprising.

“It's a huge problem, so it makes sense that people would bring it up to the pope," Martin says. "Something similar happens in presidential press conferences: the most pressing problem is usually the topic of the first question.”

Earlier this year, a study commissioned by the Trenton Archdiocese in New Jersey found that the main reason people were leaving the church was because of what they considered its inadequate response to clergy sex abuse.

As is common with Twitter, Benedict received plenty of tweets from dreamers:

[tweet https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/278977328602820608%5D

And also from the sports obsessed:

[tweet https://twitter.com/ByThomasOToole/status/278994800626257920%5D

And from the politically inclined:

[tweet https://twitter.com/scottklimek2/status/278988260292820992%5D

Many tweeps asked Benedict personal questions:

[tweet https://twitter.com/Todoleo/status/278965372684750848%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/anna19nicole96/status/279002457969926144%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/realjeffreyross/status/278942677729439745%5D

After the Pope sent his first tweet, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Paul Tighe, told Vatican Radio that it marked "an extraordinary moment."

The attention it sparked within the Twitterverse was impressive, Tighe said, with more than 2,000 retweets in under two minutes.

Some tweeps, however, were unimpressed with pope's reach so far – especially compared to other religious and cultural figures:

[tweet https://twitter.com/BrandonVogt1/status/278854814828470272%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/LopezOnSports/status/278841011260760067%5D

- CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Mohammad A Dar

    @Pontifex – nice hair transplant job Papi!!!

    December 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  2. Madtown

    Regarding other cultures, the Church teaches:
    This is great news! Of course, those humans that we're referring to won't ever hear it, because they have no access to the teachings of your church. But, I'm sure they'd be relieved to hear this if they could! I think it's good news, because it means that your religious choices are not the only "correct" and relevant choices. Others are equally valid.

    December 14, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Lou

      If other religious choices are valid then so is the choice to be a Christian who accepts gay marriage and abortion, right?

      December 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Madtown takes liberty with his interpretation.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  3. Mohammad A Dar

    @Pontifex – my son is failing in Math, Science, English, History, Sports, everything, except Bible classes, what we do with him Pope?

    December 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Brayden

      my cousin has problems alike where he is behind in almost all of his classes. it is a sad thing to see a child in need of help and not givin it. my choice would be to get him a tutor. help him understand the value of education.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Ze Pewp

      Nothing my son. He can become the new cardinal archbishop of New York, (as long as he's a jolly fellow).

      December 14, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  4. ??????????

    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms ..Figure it out.

    December 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  5. lionlylamb

    Questions for the Pope to ponder,

    1. Is it not written at Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."?

    2. Is it not also written in John 18:36 "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world "?

    3. Now is it not written at Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within/inside you."?

    4. If the kingdom of God is literally inside our bodies, on what scale is this kingdom of God to so be?

    5. Is it not written in 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."?

    6. Being made as a building are there not residents of one sort or another residing deeply within the structures of our body-like buildings?

    7. This is as simple as I can elaborate my thoughts so do you or anyone want to say that these questioned words are as being but mindless 'gibberish'?

    December 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  6. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    A new tool for hindu sanatan crook goon pope to hunt down more hindu's, ignorant s to pray to him as god. SHOWER ME WITH YOUR WEALTH FOR ME TO BLESSED YOUR 8 YEARS OLD SON.

    December 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  7. Mohammad A Dar

    Pope accepted the challenge and proved the old saying "old dogs can't learn new tricks" had been wrong all along, please tweet congratulations to Pope, goons

    December 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  8. Mohammad A Dar

    @Pontifex, Sir could you provide us a proposal to repair a small bridge in our town?

    December 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The bridge is free. You can pick it up at a hill on Calvary

      December 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  9. Reality

    So onward we go with another summary:

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons(father, son, holy ghost/spirit) and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

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

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

    December 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    Are you better able to commune with God when wearing the bigger, more ornate hats?
    Does the heavenly haberdashery work like an antenna?

    December 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      that thing on his head is a lightning rod, goon, just in case God gets upset and strikes his head with lightning bolt, Pope does not trust the God, at all, when comes to his own head.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  11. Madtown

    what makes you think he hasn't?
    The fact that there are large numbers of people(our human equals) who live in regions and societies where christianity essentially does not exist. They have no access to it, probably never will. With God as all-powerful as he is, seems to me if there was only 1 "right way", all humans would have equal access. Is God not all powerful? Why only 1 son? Something wrong with the inhabitants of North America at the time of Christ, that God didn't choose to send a representative to them?

    December 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Madtown

      Doh! This was to be a reply to Bill, at the bottom of this page. I'm going to blame it on my new mouse.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    tweet: why do you protect child molesters?

    the pope could stand up and say, from now on, the catholic church will help the police to prosecute all law-breaking priests that hurt and abuse children. they could help police investigations instead of hindering them and paying off the family to shut up. but the pope chooses instead to protect the most disgusting people in his ranks - people who hurt children. the pope should be ashamed. he's lucky there is no god. if there was, the pope would go to the lowest level of hell when he died. maybe a couple of big demons can abuse him from behind so he knows how it feels.

    December 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Bootyfunk, Really, you could appear to be almost intelligent if you refrained from posting about topics on which you clearly know nothing.

      The USCCB has addressed this issue in detail and those of us who work with the children know first hand how seriously the Church is taking this issue.

      In the FAQ section , the Bishops have said:


      I was abused by a priest when I was young. Can something be done to help me now?

      Yes. What happened to you was wrong and a crime. It was not your fault. You are encouraged to call the police to report the crime. You are also encouraged to report the abuse to the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator. Find the name and phone number of that person at this link (/ocyp/helpandhealing.shtml), or call the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at 202-541-5413 to help you find the right person to call. You can get help and healing for the pain you have suffered.

      The offending person is deceased. Can I still get help?

      Yes, call the Victim Assistant Coordinator in your diocese. They can help you get started. Find the name and phone number of that person at this link (/ocyp/helpandhealing.shtml), or call the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at 202-541-5413 to help you find the right person to call. You can get help and healing for the pain you have suffered.

      I do not want to report it to the police. I reported it earlier and no one believed me. I do not want to go through that again. If I report it to the diocese, do I have to make a police report?

      You are not required to report past abuse to the police, but you are encouraged to do so. There are many reasons someone might not want to report to the police. However, the Church still wants to know about any incidents of cleric abuse. Please report it to the diocese even if you do not want to report it to the police. The Church is required to report all abuse that has happened to a minor."

      The URL for Child and Youth Protection in the US Catholic Church is

      December 17, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      What has the Catholic Church done to effectively respond to se.xual ab.use by church personnel?

      The Catholic Church has worked hard to protect children. Much has been done but more needs to be done. Until child se.xual ab.use is no longer a part of society, the Church will continue its efforts to stop it. The Catholic Church has done more to protect children than almost any other organization in the United States. Consider:

       Safe Environment training is taking place in 193 dioceses of the country. Over 2 million adults have been trained to recognize the behavior of offenders and what to do about it.

       Over 5 million children have been equipped with the skills to help them protect themselves from ab.use.

       Background checks are conducted on Church personnel who have contact with children. Over 2 million volunteers and employees; 52,000 clerics; 6,205 candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds evaluated.

       All dioceses/eparchies have Codes of Conduct spelling out what is acceptable behavior. This serves to let people know what can and cannot be done as well as letting others know what behavior can be expected. It encourages the reporting of susp.icious behavior.

       All dioceses/eparchies have Victim as.sistance Coordinators, as.suring victims that they will be heard. In 2011, $6,142,810 was spent on therapy for the victims of clergy se.xual ab.use.

       In addition at least $30,129,584 was spent for child protection efforts such as training programs and background checks.

       All dioceses/eparchies have Safe Environment Coordinators who as.sure the ongoing compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

       Bishops are meeting with victims.

       Dioceses/eparchies have Healing Mas.ses, retreats for victim/survivors and other reconciliation events.

       There is a Zero Tolerance policy on ab.users since 2002. When even a single act of se.xual ab.use by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ecclesiastical ministry.

       Dioceses/eparchies require intensive background screening as well as psychological testing for those wishing to enter the seminary.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:37 am |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    Pope: Why are you bedecked in such gilded finery when you took a vow of poverty?

    December 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      While the pope does not take a vow of poverty, he also receives no salary. His liturgical vestments are for his official capacity. His living quarter are considerably more spartan than you might imagine.

      December 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Huebert


      I've been to the Vatican, and I've seen the papal apartments. There is nothing spartan about either.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'm with Hubert. been there. just the silk in a single robe could feed a village for a year. the pope cares more about looking good than feeding the poor - proven.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      pope gets no salary? where'd he get the fancy-shmancy new iPad?

      December 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      My guess is you've seen the stuff for tourists. Just like when you go to the White House or Buckingham Palace or any other building designed for a head of state. Granted those places are all splendid but just as the White House is not the property of the President, the Vatican Palace is not the property of the pope. The revenues from the millions of visitors are used to fund the ministries of the church. Selling them off would be like butchering your cow and then wondering where you were going to get milk next week.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Huebert


      I'm not saying that the Vatican should be sold off piece by piece. It is a wonder of architecture and breathtakingly beautiful, and that says nothing of it's historical importance. I'm just saying that to call the pope's living conditions spartan is rather ridiculous.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      From an article on the renovation of the papal apartment in Catholic News:

      The renovation, the workman related, was long overdue. The architects said they were surprised at the poor state of the apartment. For one thing, the electrical system was not up to code. Some rooms still used old 125-volt electrical outlets, which were phased out years ago in Italy in favor of 220 volts. The water pipes were encrusted with rust and lime, and the heating system was approximate at best.

      Above the false ceiling, workers discovered big drums placed strategically to catch the leaks from the roof; some were nearly full of water. Those who frequented the papal apartment under Pope John Paul II have no doubt that the place needed an overhaul. Polish film director Krzysztof Zanussi, a friend of the late pope, once said he was astonished at the gloominess of the place, with its outmoded furnishings and lack of lighting.

      "Everything was in semidarkness, somber and without inspiration. The chairs were like the ones my aunt had in the suburbs of Warsaw," Zanussi said. "It was not a place that made one feel good."

      The papal apartment wraps around two sides of the Apostolic Palace and is accessed by a doorway that opens onto a historic loggia decorated with frescoes. The layout includes a vestibule, the library, a small studio for the papal secretary and the pope's private studio, from which he blesses the crowd every Sunday.

      The other rooms include the pope's bedroom, the medical studio, his private chapel, a small living room, a dining room and kitchen.

      So while he doesn't live in a cave and arguably has the nicest office on the planet, it is equally ridiculous to impute to the pope the hoarding of wealth at the expense of the poor.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Ze Pewp

      With frescoes by Raphael on the wall. worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Guess you forgot that little part, Billy Boy, the lying deacon.

      December 14, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Such vitriol! If you'll read AND comprehend you'll see that I acknowledge the completely impressive and priceless collection of art, sculpture, music and literature which is possessed BY THE CHURCH. The original post was aimed at the personal wealth of the pope of which there is almost none. He does live in and offices from the Vatican. So, it seems your point which has been roundly refuted over and over again is that the Church should sell everything and give it away. That is simply ignorant but it makes a nice attack point and allows you to accuse others of lying. SMH and they claim atheist are the intelligent ones..

      December 14, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Sue

      Bill, your post is nonsense as usual. Much of the Catholic church wealth is locally concentrated in areas where their god was invented and is promoted. That is the purpose that it serves for the church per se: marketing, essentially. It does not excuse the horrible wrongs and repressions that the Catholic church is guilty of. Furthermore, much of the finery such as the expensive robes is only enjoyed by the Catholic oligarchy, and now we know that some heinous crimes go on behind those robes.

      It's time to put religious superstition behind humanity. An end time for religion would be a great thing.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      There is a lot of nonsense posted here, but it wasn't done by Bill.

      United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
      Consolidated Financial Statements
      December 31, 2011 and 2010
      (With Independent Auditors' Report Theron)
      28 page .pdf located at:


      December 17, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Catholic Health Care

      629 Catholic hospitals account for 12.6% of community hospitals in the United States.1
      88,519,295 patients are as.sisted annually.2
      One in six patients in the U.S. is cared for in a Catholic hospital.3
      There were nearly 19 million emergency room visits and more than 100 million outpatient visits in Catholic hospitals during a one-year period.4
      More than 5.5 million patients are admitted to Catholic hospitals annually.5
      Catholic hospitals employ 530,673 full-time employees and 235,221 part-time workers.6
      There are 56 Catholic health care systems.7
      Catholic health care systems and facilities are present in all 50 states, providing acute care, skilled nursing and other services including hosp.ice, home health, as.sisted living and senior housing.8

      In addition to hospitals, the Catholic health care network also includes:

      363 health care centers as.sisting 5,038,247 patients annually9
      1,616 specialized homes as.sisting 991,072 individuals10
      344 Catholic residential homes for children, or orpha.nages, as.sisting annually 23,479 young people11
      1,005 day care and extended day care centers as.sisting 121,211 children12
      3,602 special centers for social services as.sisting 32,768,652 people13 28

      Catholic health and social service organizations have a long tradition of service in the United States, dating back to New Orleans in 1727, when 12 French Ursuline sisters arrived in the
      city and became nurses, teachers, and servants of the po.or and orpha.ns. Today, the Catholic nonprofit health care system serves diverse populations in every state14 in the United States.

      More information is available at Catholic Health as.sociation at http://www.chausa.org.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Catholic Charities

      Catholic Charities USA was founded in 1910 as the National Conference of Catholic Charities. It provides its members a national voice, networking opportunities, training and technical as.sistance,program development and financial support. The organization also has been commissioned by the U.S. Catholic bishops to represent the Catholic community in times of domestic disaster.

      According to the Catholic Charities USA Annual Survey-At-A-Glance for 2010:15
      Provided services that build strong communities to 4,224,224 people.

      Social support services: 2,251,442
      Education and enrichment: 787,178
      Socialization and neighborhood services: 426,733
      Health-related services: 298,586
      Services to at-risk populations: 460,285 29

      Provided food services to 7,146,490 people.

      Food banks and food pantries: 4,252,294
      Soup kitchens: 1,420,492
      Congregate dining: 875,391
      Home-delivered meals: 110,268
      Other food services: 488,045

      Provided services that strengthen families to 1,063,830 people.

      Counseling and mental health services: 405,848
      Immigration services: 323,312
      Addi.ction services: 81,866
      Refugee services: 120,433
      Pregnancy services: 93,542
      Adoption services: 38,829

      Provided housing-related services to 497,732 people.

      Counseling and as.sistance: 269,361
      Temporary shelter: 141,391
      Supervised living: 51,426
      Permanent housing: 66,547
      Transitional housing: 30,507

      Provided other basic needs services to 1,942,199 people.

      Emergency financial as.sistance (not rent, mortgage, etc.): 240,858
      Clothing as.sistance: 689,692
      Utilities as.sistance: 275,154
      as.sistance with purchase of prescriptions: 59,683
      Additional other basic needs as.sistance: 676,732

      Provided disaster services to 93,436 people. 30

      Did you know?

      3,301 local Catholic Charities offices provided services to 10,270,292 unduplicated clients across the nation in 2010.
      The total income of the Catholic Charities network from all sources, public and private, was $4.69 billion in 2010. Total expenses: $4.22 billion. Nearly 90% of these funds were spent on programs and services.
      493,199 people worked with Catholic Charities in 2010. 81% volunteers, 17% paid staff, and 2% board members.
      The Catholic Charities network was ranked the nation’s sixth largest non-profit in 2010, according to Forbes Magazine.16

      More information is available at http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Catholic Relief Services

      Founded in 1943 by the U.S. bishops, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community. CRS provides direct aid to the po.or and involves people in their own development, helping them to realize their potential.

      CRS reached 100 million people in nearly 100 countries and territories in 2011, bringing relief in the wake of disasters and offering hope and the opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency to the po.orest of the po.or.17
      CRS had $822 million total operating expenses in 2011.18
      About 95% of the budget went to program services and nearly 5% to support services.19
      25% of CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl donations support hunger and poverty alleviation efforts in dioceses within the United States.20
      75% of CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl donations help fund development programs designed to increase food security around the world. These projects focus on initiatives that bring clean water, small enterprise development, agricultural expertise, educationalopportunities and HIV/AIDS and mother/child health programs to the po.or in more than 40 countries.21
      CRS helped provide 192,000 people with antiretroviral therapy in FY 2010, including more than 38,000 in Nigeria.22

      More information is available at http://www.catholicrelief.org.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Migration and Refugee Services

      In 201123 Migration and Refugee Services (MRS):
      Resettled 14,285 individuals or 25% of all refugees resettled into U.S. during this period.
      Helped create 81 new community partnerships, which offer as.sistance to 9,676 refugees.
      Completed its first year Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR) program, and recruited 3,500 new volunteers to as.sist refugees in adjusting to life in the U.S. Thousands of refugee clients
      learned English, received pro bono legal counsel and medical services, found work and achieved social integration.

      Largest refugee populations resettled by MRS in 2011:24

      Burmese: 4,343
      Bhutanese: 3,630
      Iraqi: 1,940
      Somali: 1,530

      as.sisting Migrant Children

      as.sisted unaccompanied Haitian children displaced by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and provided training in child protection in the Dominican Republic. 25
      Trained more than 60 U.S. Customs and Border Protection field officers and agents on identifying child victims of traf.ficking, and children at risk for traf.ficking, at the U.S. border. 26

      December 17, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Human Traf.ficking

      In October 2011, the Migration and Refugee Services Anti-traf.ficking Program concluded its administration of the Department of Healthand Human Service’s Per Capita Program, which provided intensive case management to foreign national victims of human traf.ficking identified in the U.S. and its territories through local service providers.
      During the 5 ½ year program, Migration and Refugee Services as.sisted 2,232 survivors of human traf.ficking and over 500 of their family members. Individuals and families enrolled in the program were traf.ficked on farms, in hotels, casinos, private homes, spas and other industries for the purposes of forced labor and/or se.x traf.ficking.27
      Survivors were from 98 countries of origin, with the largest number of survivors from India, Mexico, Thailand, the Philippines and Guatemala.28

      Migration Policy and Public Affairs

      Continued to advocate in favor of comprehensive immigration reform efforts and reaffirmed long standing concerns of the Church in regard to this issue.29
      Advocated for an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians who arrived in the United States following the 2010 earthquake.30

      More information is available at http://www.usccb.org/mrs and http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers

      The archdioceses/dioceses have developed structures that encourage and support the local Church’s response to the pastoral needs of migrants and newcomers, thereby manifesting the universality of the Catholic Church in rich and positive ways. Many parishes have committed themselves to welcome the stranger by encouraging evangelization, catechesis and liturgies in the native languages of the newcomers, and organizing diverse inter-cultural activities. Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers reaches out to communities of recent immigrants through local parish ministries. These cultural/ethnic communities31 include:

      19 African communities: Burundian, Cameroonian, Congolese, Cape Verdean, Equatorial, Eritrean and Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Guinean, Ivoirian, Kenyan, Liberian, Nigerian, Rwandan, Sierra Leonese, Sudanese, Tanzanian, Ugandan, Zairean, Zambian
      9 Caribbean communities: Belizean, Dominican, Grenadian, Guyanan, Haitian, Jamaican, Santa Lucian, Trinidadian, and Tobagonian
      12 European communities: Croatian, Czech, French, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian

      The Church has developed its outreach to those whose work and lifestyle necessitate frequent travel that prevents regular participation in a local parish community. Diocesan priests, men and women religious, and lay leaders are involved in national, diocesan and parish efforts to provide pastoral outreach to such diverse groups as airport workers and travelers, seaport workers and cruise ship employees and travelers, race car circuit workers, migrant farm workers, circus and carnival workers, and gy.psies.32

      December 17, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

      In 1988, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) established CLINIC as a legally distinct 501(c)(3) organization to support a rapidly growing network of community-based immigration programs. CLINIC’s network originally comprised 17 programs. CLINIC and its member agencies represent low-income immigrants without reference to their race, religion, gender, ethnic group, or other distinguishing characteristics.33

      The network includes 201 diocesan and other affiliated immigration programs with 290 field offices in 47 states.34
      The network employs roughly 1,200 Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representatives and attorneys who, in turn, serve 600,000 low-income immigrants each year.35
      CLINIC represents more than 250 dioceses and religious communities that bring foreign-born priests, sisters, seminarians and religious laypersons to the United States each year.36
      In 2010, when CLINIC launched its National Pro Bono Project for Children, more than 800 children were referred to CLINIC for matching with pro bono attorneys.37
      CLINIC’s programs have helped more than 100,000 people apply for citizenship; helped approximately 12,000 refugees and asylees apply for green cards; and have provided immigrants with over 15,000 hours of English language instruction.38

      More information is available at http://www.cliniclegal.org

      December 17, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  14. sheetiron

    "does a person have the right to judge another in his beliefs i another religion?"

    You have the right to do whatever you want pretty much. It's whether or not it is appropriate to judge. Personally I am offended by the notion that I do not have the right to judge others. As long as I am not harming anyone, infringing upon their rights, etc I should be able to judge for myself whether their particular views are right or wrong all I want.

    December 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  15. Bob

    Merry ChristMyth!!!!

    December 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I O Satrunalia!

      December 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  16. William Demuth

    This is akin to a pediphille going to a park with a puppy.

    At first blush it seems innocent enough, but it all comes down to motivtion.

    This mans motivation is clear, He needs new sheep for the shearing, new boys for the buggering, and new fools for his cult.

    Do not let this deviant or his minnions anywhere near your children, either virtualy or physically.

    He and his ilk have demonstrated for several thousand years that they are unworthy of either respect or trust.

    If nothing else, the rear end you save may be your sons.

    December 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  17. Which God?

    If the tweeting pope is on twitter, does this make him a twit of a pope, twittering around, or tweeting like a Tweety Bird?

    December 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Bob

      Mainly the former, a twit, but a rich twit living a cushy life in fine robes and with servants, thanks to sheeple who stupidly give his oligarchy their money.

      And one has to ask, why can't Christian god push out a few tweets himself; he seems to be stuck in archaic paper technology. Tough to advance to modern tech when you don't exist.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Brayden

      As i have said in my posts. Who are you to tell someone they have done something wrong or made a bad decision, religion or not? i do believe it is farely ironic that most people in this world live with hunger and unhappiness, yet the pope a "overseer of the people" or a "speaker for god" is living a life of luxary and happines. No disrespect to the Catholic church or the pope but isnt it the god they believe in the one that sacrificed his son for us? and his son did not use power to overcome man, he let us kill him... we killed this man "gods son" and neither him or god did nothing besides forgive mans sins? i see nothing besides an oxymoron between the description of god an the pope. "god" tells us we are equal as man, the pope tells you, you are sinning for the use of a condom. again to me no resemblence of the truth has been shown to me.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You are right Brayden the pope is in direct Apostolic succession from Peter and as such is a "speaker for God" as you put it. As such he is commanded with sharing the Gospel. So here's my question: When the pope says to refrain from immorality and to help the unborn, the poor and hungry, why do so many people reject the message and insist they have the right to behave anyway they choose? I presume you understand that most median income people in the U.S. have more personal wealth than the pope, do you not? Why do we insist on bigger and bigger tv's, cars, boobs and houses while our brothers on another continent starve for both food and spiritual nourishment?

      December 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Brayden

      We strive for self worth because we wish to live our lifes in luxary and happiness for our single term of life. Our brothers on another continent starve and die from diseases because they either made a bad choice or have been born into that life. It is not always the person fault for such a bad life but they can work to change that, homeless people have story of what mistakes they have made that got them there but some then stand on a corner with a sign asking for work. to help them get back on their feet

      January 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  18. Brayden

    I am 15 and have not decided what to believe religious wise but i do think there is something out there. Not neccesarily just one god but maybe more. I mean no disrespect to the Catholic church for this is a true follower in their beliefs but i dont understand. How does someone trully believe something they have never seen with their own eyes? The bible may be the truthful words of god but it may have been stories passed down through generations. for example the Native americans believed different beliefs but they believed them very strongly. who is to say they werent right, or that greek mythology is wrong? maybe later on in life i may understand more about these but for now i believe that no one has the right to go against the beliefs or acts of others. This being said i mean no disrespect to the church and its people.

    December 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Huebert

      Why do you believe that there is "something out there"?

      December 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i was 15 when i came out as an atheist. sounds like you're on the right track. question everything - the answers can only bring you closer to the truth.

      yes, the religious forget they are only 1 god away from being atheists, too. hehe. ask them why they think zeus is a silly concept, why they don't bow down to odin or ra. the christian god is only one of thousands of other gods that have been made up by the imaginations of humanity in order to explain what we don't yet understand.

      think for yourself. help your brothers and sisters when you can.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Brayden

      I believe there is something out there that created us. it may just be a scientific miracle that started the creation of man and animals but there has to be something that started it all. @Huebert

      I do agree atheism is a choice that makes sence, and i agree with you. It makes no sence how someone who believes in god could tell someone they are wrong for believing in anything else. the vadican could be correct or wrong everything is a possibilty. is it not the church that tells man god allows us to make our own choices? @Bootyfunk.

      I will be on later today maybe and tommorow at this time as well but for now i am in school and this is a class assignment to blog about a topic you believe strongly about. thank you for your words of inspiration.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sadly, it's a false choice. god tells us we have free will, but if we don't do exactly what he says, we are tortured for all eternity. not really a 'choice'.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • SImran

      You are right, people can believe what they want to believe. The problem arises when those beliefs reach the point of delusions and interfere with the rights of others. For instance, the women who were hunted down as witches, the people who were enslaved for centuries, the women who were subdued... and so on. The problem arises when the beliefs blind you so much that you forget the real world you live in, and let religious fanatics rule you.
      You might want to look at that aspect as well!

      December 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care


      The logical, default position is to not believe in a claim until evidence is provided. You should reserve judgement on the claim that a god exists until you have looked much deeper into the argument.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • FYI


      Good for you! Keep on keeping it real.

      BTW, your teacher might want to know that you are not "blogging". The "blogger" writes the articles or maintains the site. You are a commenter, or a poster, or a responder to a blog article.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Huebert


      You say that there has to be something out there that started all this. Do you believe that this something is sentient being, if so why?

      December 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • sheetiron

      I personally believe there are only two religions in the world. One that says that there is no god, diety, spirit, etc. A force or binding system cosmos maybe, but not a personal being. Life, death, pain, suffering, good, and evil are distractions and illusions that we must learn to transcend through discipline, and self enlightenment. Many of eastern religions and philosophies fall into that category. The second religion says that there definitely is a god. One day upon our death we will face this God and be judge to see if we are righteous. Our only hope is to be the best we can be, try and be a good person, live right and ethically, treat each other with respect, take care of the less fortunate, and hopefully one day this deity will find us to be righteous and let us into Heaven or paradise.

      Then there is a third option. This option says yes there is a god. Yes we will all face this god upon our death to be judged. But, we are too corrupt and fallen as a race to even hope to attain righteousness. We simply do not have the ability to please this god, worse than that, we constantly disobey him. We all stand guilty before this god without hope. It does not matter how many good deeds you do, or how well you take care of the poor, nothing can erase your guilt. However, this god has decided to GIVE you the status of "righteous" as a gift not as a reward. Out of mercy, he offered himself to take the punishment of your sin and to pay your debt. And solely on the basis of you believing and trusting in him and his sacrifice he declares you to be righteous, and in good standing with him. That is called Christianity.

      December 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • New Alias

      I've posted it before and i'll type it again:
      You cannot choose what to believe.
      If a religion's stories and ideas don't make any sense, you will not believe them.

      Keep asking questions until you find something that does make you believe in it.

      December 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Brayden There is a world of information for you to explore. I recommend books by Bede Griffiths, Thomas Merton, C.S. Lewis as well as Shakespeare, DeTocqueville, Hemingway and even Sagan, Bradbury and Dawkins among others. I also recommend exploring different practices such as meditation, yoga and prayer. If you seek, you will find. It is only those who have closed their minds to the infinite who have surrendered the possibility of higher awareness. A good place to start is with the history of your own family

      December 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Michele

      Brayden, I am so very sorry to see your post on this forum. The first responses you've received are nicely worded from people who are trying to sound reasonable, neutral, logical and authoritative. They are none of these. They are each self identified atheists who have long track records of posting on this board. They are vicious. They ridicule people and their beliefs. They blaspheme. And they have an agenda. That agenda is to take as many people as possible and turn them into the same kind of ugly, nasty, empty individuals that they are.

      You've said that you are young and that you have questions about your belief system. That makes you a prime target. They will be nice to you and try to win your confidence. They will try to seem like they are helping you. In reality they will present superficially objective resources for you to "study" and "make your own decisions" about while they try to influence you. If you turn toward faith and belief they will turn on you. Page back through the stories posted here for the past several months. Their posts are vile and putrid with hate. These are not the sort of people that you want to allow close enough to influence you.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Michele is worried you might start thinking for yourself. cognitive thinking is poison to religion. you don't need religion to be a good person. and it's funny that michele talks about how atheists are vicious and terrible - by making vicious and terrible comments herself.

      unclasp your hands. stand on your own two feet. think for yourself. now go outside and put those hands to use actually helping your brothers and sisters. congratulations - you're now a better person.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Plato's Allegory of the Cave teaches us that the reality that we perceive is just an imperfect reflection of reality. Further, I believe that we, as humans, do not have all the tools necessary to imagine or comprehend the total reality. We don't need empirical proof of everything in order to know it exists or is real. Sometimes just the reflection of reality is enough ... if you a perceptive.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      are perceptive

      December 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • sam

      Brayden, I agree with others – think for yourself, do some research. And watch out for folks on the internet like Michele, who clearly has some kind of weird agenda.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Brayden

      thank you all for your responses. sorry michele i do not agree with your choice of words. i will think for myself and i will not choose to believe in a god i do not yet know is real. i have read the bible while in a familly of christians and do not fully understand it. thank you all.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Brayden

      sorry that i cut my last comment short. i cut it short because i had to leave to my next class. i did recognise all of your comments and i read through them all. i do know this isnt "blogging" but i meant getting involved with blogs. and michele i do understand where you are coming fomr, there are many people out there that will try things like that but you also have to understand i am doing this to get more knoweldge on the beliefs of others. As bootyfunk had commented "question everything – the answers can only bring you closer to the truth.". this is a good quote to live by, maybe you should try this. everyone has questions not answered and any religious person still has questions you just dont speek them because they believe that is not faithful, but what if there is nothing to be faithful to or for? what if this has been a waste of time for everyone doing anything religious? no one knows how it feels to die and no one has any proof that jesus exists or god, these are names representing something many humans believe to be true. Some believe in zues or odin, who is to say they are wrong? i do not hate on other religions for i am friends with catholics, jewish people, christians, atheist, mormons, and many others. Religion to me is but a thought passing by, a story told to us by our parents told to them by theirs. Who is to tell me i am wrong for not deciding what religion to choose, what to believe, what to think, what or whom to have faith in? if you disagree with me plz tell me why.

      December 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      If you are really want to learn about a religion, I suggest you gather primary information from an authoritative source. That would be a Jewish Rabbi, a Catholic Bishop, a Navaho shaman ect. Further, I suggest that you gather your information either in person, via direct contact (phone, email, snail mail) from a known source – not an anonymous internet poster, or from a published source that has been edited and validated for accuracy by the enti ty about which you are studying.

      For Catholicism, a published source that has been reviewed and declared free of doctrinal or moral error will have an Imprimatur printed on the copyright page. Further, I suggest either contacting the office of your local Catholic Diocese or reading:
      Catholicism For Dummies
      Rev. John Trigilio Jr. (Author), Rev. Kenneth Brighenti (Author)
      Paperback: 432 pages
      Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (November 8, 2011)
      Language: English
      ISBN-10: 1118077784
      ISBN-13: 978-1118077788

      December 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Brayden

      thank you for your response i will look into that. i need the information of the thoughts that people have as well though because of course a leader of a church will be to, well biased for me.As i am only trying to understand them i do not want to be preeched to.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Huebert


      Keep questioning, and never believe anything that does not agree with your own reason and common sense. For information on Christianity, I'm a fan of Marcus Borg and Reinhold Niebuhr. For information I like Sam Harris's End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. For information on Zen Buddhism I would recommend Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. You might also be interested in a book called Why people Believe Weird Things, It has nothing to do with any religion, but it addresses common logical fallacies and cognitive errors. Reading it helped me understand why an intelligent person can believe something that, to me, is obviously silly, like crystal healing or other nonsense.

      December 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  19. Bootyfunk

    tweet: how many people have died from HIV worldwide because you told them wearing a condom is a sin?

    December 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Bob

      BF, good one. That's a great question to ask that evil old villain in his phallic hat and expensive silk robes.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Answer: more people have died from aids due to ignoring the Church's prohibition against seexual promiscuity.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, the church hates s.ex, we know that. but that is a poor excuse. i know the church wants breeders to make new cult members... the pope is basically telling people not to wear a helmet on a motorcycle. the vatican has helped to spread HIV.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Bill – Why in the world should folks who aren't Catholic have to follow the bathsit crazy rules of your church?

      December 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      BF you're wrong. The Church doesn't hate seex. We hold it to be a sacred event wherein husband and wife give themselves unselfishly to one another in a tangible way that mirrors God's gift of Himself to us. What the Church finds profane is the casual and cavalier gratification of self which uses another person to fulfill lust. Read Theology of the Body for more illumination on this topic.

      PW in order not to get aids would seem to be the obvious answer. But the real answer is so that one might be available for the kind of intimate, connected seexual love described above.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Huebert


      People will never stop having se.x. Theology doesn't stand a chance against biology. A far more practical response to the AIDS crisis is to encourage condom use.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yep, the church likes you to breed how they say. s.ex is for making babies. marital s.ex is the only s.ex the church approves of - which means it disapproves the rest. the church judges people on their s.ex lives and tells good people they'll burn in hell for liking pleasure. basically the church says, have s.ex how we tell you or be tortured forever.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Huebert – If you are the WHO wants to distribute condoms or whatever to enable people who cannot keep marriage vows or remain abstinent, I think you should do so. What will not take place is forcing the Church to do so, coercing it to subsidize payment for same, or especially achieving a change in our beliefs about the purpose and proper place for seex. For Catholics seexual relations are fundamental to our identiity as human beings and not mere sporting pleasure.

      BF your post is so ignorant it requires no response other than to let you no how far off base you truly are. The sad part is that if you make all your decisions based on this degree of misinformation it's no wonder your confused.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Bill, Thank you for being on the spot and answering this one correctly. 😀

      December 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Huebert


      We don't need the Catholic church to fund condom distribution. But what the RCC MUST do is stop telling poor, uneducated, people that condoms are a sin. Their position on contraception is killing people and worsening an already terrible epidemic. Regardless of your views on sin and the soul, this teaching is causing people to suffer and die.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You've come full circle Huebert. What is causing people to die is not the lack of condoms but the rampant fulfillment of the flesh. If the people are so easily convinced by the pope they should not use birth control, what prevents them from accepting the teaching on responsible behavior?

      December 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Akira

      27% of women who get abortions are Roman Catholic.
      Seems the whole condom thing might not be well-thought out enough.

      And SURE the RCC holds s e x as something sacred.
      Just look at the punishment the RCC is meting out for its own representatives having that blessed sacrament with the children.
      Wonder is those priests are wearing a condom?
      Probably not.
      It's against their religion.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Huebert


      People won't follow the no se.x teaching because it is contrary to biological drives. They will follow the no condoms teaching because condoms don't feel nearly as good as barebacking it. The RCC needs to stop encouraging destructive behavior, and start encouraging responsibility, in a practical manner.

      December 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      But I though people could think for themselves and tell the difference between right and wrong without outside moral guidance. Why can't people decide not to engage in risky behavior without the Church telling them not to? We all certainly have urges to do things we shouldn't. Are you saying I'm a slave to my biology?

      December 14, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Akira

      The church telling them specifically NOT to use condoms is quite different than telling them not to engage in risky behavior.
      What it essentially says is, "Do not engage is s ex, but if you do, do not wear a condom."
      Again, I wonder if priests are wearing condoms when they are engaging in the risky behavior they are told not to engage in, being it's against their religion?
      And why so many of the choices of whom to engage is such risky behavio children?
      Until the church addresses the se xuality and pedophilia within their own confines, they shouldn't be teaching the masses anything about se xuality.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Akira, could you post for us please a comparison of the per capita rates of pedophilia among priest and other religions as well as other large organizations like say the U.S> public school system? I'm sure it would be informative.

      December 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Hmmmmm. It would also be informative to discover whether any other religions or large organizations have been accused of carrying out a decades long cover up of said behavior. Or whether those religions or organizations have been accused of actively interfering in the affairs of a sovereign nation during said cover up. Absent that, per capita rates are just another deflection.

      December 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Post any comparative criteria you like. Otherwise all you can do is what you have just done. Continue to point out the speck in the Catholic Church's eye while ignoring the log in your own.

      December 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Another telling deflection. The abuse scandal is now a "speck".

      December 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Huebert


      Why can't people decide not to engage in risky behavior without the Church telling them not to?
      If said people are educated about the risk of their behavior they absolutely can make the proper choice with out any help from the church. That is why most people in the western world, Catholics included, completely ignore the RCC's prohibition on birth control. But in undeveloped areas where a large portion of the population is uneducated, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the RCC is often seen as an authority. The RCC has an obligation to use its authority to benefit its adherence.

      We all certainly have urges to do things we shouldn't. Are you saying I'm a slave to my biology?
      Don't use such dramatic language. I'm saying that your biology will constantly influence your behavior, at times very strongly. So to make a rule that runs counter to biology is just futile. Also I disagree with the idea that s.ex should only be between married partners. I believe that it should be between any two, or three, or four if your really lucky, consenting adults.

      December 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  20. Reality

    Only need to ask one question. Where are the bones?

    As per Professor JD Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    December 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Akira

      Did you tweet the pope with this question?

      December 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      there is no substantial proof that jesus existed at all - see other mythological figures, such a hercules.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Brayden

      This is true. i believe what you are saying could start a very interesting project for someone to uncover the mystery of. it could be since jesus was hated by people they could have been destroyed but with the followers he had and the ability to hide the bones may also be considered. Even in these times they could use the same ideas that the Egyptians used, as i may be off on the time periods the people were still not mentally challenged. the bones could be hidden and never to be found, even taken by god could be a posibility but him never existing still needs to be a possibility.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the new members of this blog:

      From Professors JD Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      Added suggested readings:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      josephus also wrote about Hercules.... seems that he thought there were two sons of lightning wielding sky-gods running around on earth...

      December 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Reality

      Akira asked:

      Did you tweet the pope with this question?

      With one million tweets already and only a select few answered innocuous questions, it would be a waste of time.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Reality

      The Josephus books are available at Google Books. Use the search engine to find what Josephus said about Jesus and also about Hercules. Tough to tell if he was noting a mythical figure Hercules or a real one. Might want to google " Josephus Hercules" to see the various articles written on the subject.

      I summarize with a 21st century prayer:

      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)

      December 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Akira

      It was a rhetorical question, Reality.
      I would never in a million years imagine that you are tweeting the pope.

      December 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      josephus' writing about jesus and hercules are very similar. he seems to be talking about both as though they were real. but it should be noted that josephus' writings on jesus are very suspect. it's more likely they were added at a later date. my point is that josephus isn't very good proof of jesus' existence. in fact, there is no proof of jesus' existence...

      December 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      There is no proof and there will be no proof. People who insist on proof are playing a fools game. What there is is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ evident in the church of people who proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior as follow His model of sacrificial love, by His grace and mercy and that my friend is as real as it can possibly be

      December 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus tells slaves to obey their masters, Bill. not exactly the compassionate guy people think...

      December 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Madtown

      What there is is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ...
      A real pity for those human beings who God opted to put in areas of the world where they would not have access to christianity. Seems to me an omnipotent God that created the heavens and the earth could create as many manifestations of the Holy Spirit as necessary, in order to provide this sacrifice to all the humans he created. He didn't do that. Curious.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Are you in the habit of disobeying your employer or civil authorities?

      December 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Madtown, what makes you think he hasn't?

      December 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Madtown

      what makes you think he hasn't?
      The fact that there are large numbers of people(our human equals) who live in regions and societies where christianity essentially does not exist. They have no access to it, probably never will. With God as all-powerful as he is, seems to me if there was only 1 "right way", all humans would have equal access. Is God not all powerful? Why only 1 son? Something wrong with the inhabitants of North America at the time of Christ, that God didn't choose to send a representative to them?

      December 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So you presume that the Holy Spirit is restricted to working solely within the confines of organized religion? Are you suggesting that these isolated cultures are bereft of examples of sacrificial love and divine mercy within their own context? Are you aware that Vatican II addresses these issues?

      December 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Madtown, Jesus didn't sent a representative, He sent twelve of them. He granted authority to his apostles and told them to go out and spread the Word to the ends of the earth.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Madtown

      Are you suggesting that these isolated cultures are bereft of examples of sacrificial love and divine mercy within their own context?
      I'm not suggesting that! In fact, I'm most definitely suggesting they do. But.....this equates to their version of religion, their notion of God, and it differs from yours and that's the rub, isn't it? Who is "right"? Certainly all cultures have their own notions of spirituality and divinity, that's how so many religions have developed in the first place, different cultural forces.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Reality

      So onward we go with another summary:

      Only for the new members of this blog:

      Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons(father, son, holy ghost/spirit) and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

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

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

      December 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • OTOH


      The population of the world at present is a bit over 7 billion.
      There are approximately 2.1 billion Christians, which is around 33 per cent.

      Over 2,000 years now and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe the Jesus legend. It took probably less than 50 years for the theory of gravity to be accepted world-wide... and it is the same for any other proven concepts, eg., mathematics, the telephone, radio, engines, penicillin, etc., etc., etc.

      The evidence for the godhood of your Jesus is quite shoddy and unconvincing.

      December 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • apothecary

      I do not believe that there will ever be evidence found to prove anything in the bible.

      That is why it is called faith.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee


      Regarding other cultures, the Church teaches:

      "43 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

      844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

      Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair."

      "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

      848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."

      December 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Thanks Chick. I was looking for those references but you got them posted before I could.

      December 14, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Sue

      Chick, why should we have to go looking for your god, and why does he need supplication and worship? Rather a needy, vain bastard, that "god" you've made for yourself there, and a pretty poor excuse for an "omnipotent" being.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Madtown

      Regarding other cultures, the Church teaches:
      This is great news! Of course, those humans that we're referring to won't ever hear it, because they have no access to the teachings of your church. But, I'm sure they'd be relieved to hear this if they could! I think it's good news, because it means that your religious choices are not the only "correct" and relevant choices. Others are equally valid.

      December 14, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Madtown. Glad this lends some clarity for you. While practices vary according to custom and tradition, there are fewer theological differences between most denominations than people realize when push comes to shove. Typically what I find is arguments about "who's right" are usually canards thrown up by unbelievers to sow dissent.

      Sue, you're late to the party and don't know what you're talking about

      December 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Sue

      Bill, you are the one who demonstrably doesn't know what you are talking about, time and time again. Fuck off with your ad hominems already now and try answering the question that was asked of Chick, you pathetic, deluded ass hole.

      December 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Sue, This is the lesson for our first graders. I suggest you start there. If you decide to speak (post) in an mature and respectful way, I'll help you with your questions. If you intend on continuing to be vulgar, dismissive and rude I'll just skip over your contributions.

      Sacred-Texts Christianity Index Next
      Baltimore Catechism No. 1

      1. Q. Who made the world?
      A. God made the world.

      2. Q. Who is God?
      A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.

      3. Q. What is man?
      A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.

      6. Q. Why did God make you?
      A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.

      9. Q. What must we do to save our souls?
      A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in
      Him, and love Him with all our heart.

      10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
      A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.

      11. Q. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches?
      A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles' Creed.

      12. Q. Say the Apostles' Creed.


      13. Q. What is God?
      A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.

      14. Q. Had God a beginning
      A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always will be.

      15. Q. Where is God?
      A. God is everywhere.

      16. Q. If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him?
      A. We do not see God, because He is a pure spirit and cannot be seen with bodily eyes.

      17. Q. Does God see us?
      A. God sees us and watches over us.

      18. Q. Does God know all things?
      A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.

      19. Q. Can God do all things?
      A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or impossible to Him.

      20. Q. Is God just, holy, and merciful?
      A. God is all just, all holy, all merciful, as He is infinitely perfect.


      21. Q. Is there but one God?
      A. Yes; there is but one God.

      22. Q. Why can there be but one God?
      A. There can be but one God, because God, being supreme and infinite, cannot have an equal.

      23. Q. How many Persons are there in God?
      A. In God there are three Divine Persons, really distinct, and equal in all things-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

      24. Q. Is the Father God?
      A. The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity.

      25. Q. Is the Son God?
      A. The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

      26. Q. Is the Holy Ghost God?
      A. The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

      27. Q. What is the Blessed Trinity?
      A. The Blessed Trinity is one God in three Divine Persons.

      29. Q. Are the three Divine Persons one and the same God?
      A. The three Divine Persons are one and the same God, having one and the same Divine nature.


      34. Q. Which are the chief creatures of God?
      A. The chief creatures of God are men and angels.

      35. Q. What are angels?
      A. Angels are bodiless spirits created to adore and enjoy God in heaven.

      39. Q. Who were the first man and woman?
      A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

      40. Q. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God?
      A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.

      43. Q. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God?
      A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God; but broke His command by eating the forbidden fruit.

      44. Q. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin?
      A. Adam and Eve on account of their sin lost innocence and holiness, and were doomed to misery and death.

      45. Q. What evil befell us through the disobedience of our first parents?
      A. Through the disobedience of our first parents we all inherit their sin and punishment, as we should have shared in their happiness if they had remained faithful.

      47. Q. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents?
      A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called original sin.

      50. Q. Was any one ever preserved from original sin?
      A. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through the merit of her Divine Son, was preserved free from the guilt of original sin, and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.


      51. Q. Is original sin the only kind of sin?
      A. Original sin is not the only kind of sin; there is another kind of sin, which we commit ourselves, called actual sin.

      52. Q. What is actual sin?
      A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed or omission contrary to the law of God.

      53. Q. How many kinds of actual sin are there?
      A. There are two kinds of actual sin-mortal and venial.

      54. Q. What is mortal sin?
      A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

      57. Q. What is venial sin?

      A. Venial sin is a slight offense against the law of God in matters of less importance; or in matters of great importance it is an offence committed with out sufficient reflection or full consent of the will.

      59. Q. Which are the chief sources of sin?
      A. The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth; and they are commonly called capital sins.


      60. Q. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin?
      A. God did not abandon man after he fell into sin, but promised him a Redeemer, who was to satisfy for man's sin and reopen to him the gates of heaven.

      61. Q. Who is the Redeemer?
      A. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind.

      62. Q. What do you believe of Jesus Christ?
      A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man.

      69. Q. What do you mean by the Incarnation?
      A. By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made man.

      70. Q. How was the Son of God made man?
      A. The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

      74. Q. On what day was the Son of God conceived and made man?
      A. The Son of God was conceived and made man on Annunciation day-the day on which the angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.

      75. Q. On what day was Christ born?
      A. Christ was born on Christmas day in a stable at Bethlehem, over nineteen hundred years ago.


      78. Q. What did Jesus Christ Suffer?
      A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging, was crowned with thorns, and was crucified.

      79. Q. On what clay did Christ die?
      A. Christ died on Good Friday.

      83. Q. Why did Christ suffer and die?
      A. Christ suffered and died for our sins

      89. Q. On what day did Christ rise from the dead?
      A. Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.

      91. Q. After Christ had remained forty days on earth, whither did He go?
      A. After forty days Christ ascended into heaven, and the day on which He ascended into heaven is called Ascension day.


      De-scent', the act of coming down.
      En-a'ble, to make able.
      En-light'en, to make them understand better.
      Pen'te-cost, the fiftieth day after Easter.
      Preach, declare publicly, spread by word of mouth.
      Sanc'ti-fy, to make holy.
      Strength'en, make strong.
      Whit'sun-day, white Sunday.

      94. Q. Who is the Holy Ghost?
      A. The Holy Ghost is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

      97. Q. On what day did the Holy Ghost come down upon the Apostles?
      A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles ten days after the Ascension of our Lord; and the day on which He came down upon the Apostles is called Whitsunday, or Pentecost.

      99. Q. Who sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles?
      A. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.

      100. Q. Why did Christ send the Holy Ghost?
      A. Christ sent the Holy Ghost to sanctify His Church, to enlighten and strengthen the Apostles, and to enable them to preach the Gospel.

      December 15, 2012 at 11:58 am |
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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.