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Humble pope has complicated past
Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio draws the cross on the forehead of a parishioner on Ash Wednesday in Buenos Aires.
March 15th, 2013
11:50 AM ET

Humble pope has complicated past

(CNN) - Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy surrounding topics as sensitive as gay marriage and political atrocities.

Questions linger about Francis' actions during the nation's dark days: the so-called Dirty War, when Argentina was ruled by dictators. The gay marriage issue came to the forefront during Francis' political fight with Argentina's president.

The conservative pontiff may hold firm on some issues, experts say, but he may be flexible on others.

"If you think that (Francis) isn't going to change anything, you're wrong," said Gustavo Girard, a retired doctor who knew Francis during his early years in the priesthood. "But is he going to approve of gay marriage tomorrow? No."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Argentina • Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (548 Responses)
  1. Rainer Braendlein

    The reign of the Antichrist (perhaps the sum of our current leaders, I don't know):

    You are allowed to work like a robot denying all emotions during the whole week. After that you either can sleep the whole week end, or you get back to the idiot box, and watch the ill broadcasts which consist of lies and superficial information of the Antichrist's radio stations.

    The Antichrist is about to manage to create a kind of pseudo-world where people can no more find the Truth neither at certain times nor at certain places, an icecold, materialistic world, completely deprived of wonder.

    Oh, if one could get behind the wardrobe.

    March 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • End Religion

      no christ, no antichrist. And we know you dream of getting behind the Pope's robes...

      March 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  2. Heinrich

    Does anyone actually listen to the Pope or the Vatican anymore? I thought most countries(Even Catholic dominate countries like France, Spain and Italy) dropped that not long after the protestant European nations not long after.

    March 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    FYI = Frivolous Yankee Impostor

    March 16, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  4. WhenCowsAttack

    If one were reading the CNN Belief blog exclusively, one might surmise that all other religions have been poofed out of existence and only Catholicism remains.

    Can we please have a little diversity, CNN? It's been nonstop Popetalk for almost a month now.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Al

      Which faith might the moderators of this site have? Oh I don't know... could it be the same faith that protects child molesters?

      March 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  5. History

    They claim Egyptians built pyramids with advanced technology! What a crock of bs.
    Pyramids were constructed as a child would stack wooden blocks higher...through trial and error.
    Look on the back of your one dollar bill. See that steep sided pyramid underneath the eye of Horus? The oldest pyramids were built at that same steep angle, and so fell. (duh) It took Egyptians hundreds of years to figure-out what angle to use.
    THAT THESE AND OTHER PAGAN CULT IMAGES APPEAR IN US history and even now on our money and national monuments...does this not make you wonder why?

    March 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  6. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some, like this idiot Rainer Braendlein, think the Pope has Anti-Christ-like qualities.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    =================================================
    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:48 am |

    • ..

      March 16, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    FYI = Federal Yak Insti-tution

    March 16, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • clarity

      Oh aren't you clever. Dolt.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Damocles

      Did a yak scar you as a child?

      March 16, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  8. History

    American history smelled fishy with freemasons plotting a one world order and satanic images emblazoned even on your dollar bills. Rotten egg gas smell is US history.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    We should not focus too much on the pope because the Roman Catholic Church is an insti-tution which is about to perish. Less and less powerful people or rulers of this world are ready to protect this distorted church, and to cast a veil of silence over her evil deeds. Slowly by slowly it becomes obvious and public what the RCC actually is: a nasty wormhole of sin. The RCC is the wh-ore of the Revelation which seduced so many people but will once be destroyed, shortly before Jesus returns.

    The forerunner of the Antichrist in the Western World was the pope, in the Eastern World was it Muhammad.

    At the moment we experience how the Antichrist gradually destroys his forerunners. Catholics and Muslims at least had a small chance to become real believers or Christians when they had cryed out for a Redeemer suffering from the feeling of guilt, not being able to fullill the demands of the law. Under the reign of the Antichrist, it seems, religion will no more play any role in daily life. People get reduced to stupid animals, only worthy to attend the churches of the Antichrist (modern factories) during the work week. With the same enthusiasm like the pope built cathedrals, and Muhammad and the caliphs mosques, the Antichrist builds factories (satanic mills) where you are only supposed to work like a robot, and you shall surpress all your emotions.

    I pray for the second coming of Jesus Christ who will litarally slaughter the damned Antichrist, the Wicked.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • clarity

      Pray all you like for your fairy tales. Just STFU while you do so.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • lol??

      Clare, women should be seen and not heard.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  10. voter

    Get over YOUR self, Clarity. George Washington was the SIXTH president, NOT the first as your US history book written by unkown authors claims.
    A black man, John Hansen, was the first president of our new country.
    The story of Jesus Christ began thousands of years ago, at Genesis 3:15, whereas the history of Geo Washington began just a couple of HUNDRED years ago.Neither story do you have straight in your own mind.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • End Religion

      http://historymyths.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/myth-88-john-hanson-was-the-real-first-president-of-the-united-states/

      March 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  11. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    =================================================
    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Ah so REALITY got tired at last!

      March 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  12. voter

    Ummm, yeah. like I'm going to vote for a man who claims millions of dead US citizens aren't really dead...that they are alive and being burned alive forever in some mythical hellfire somewhere. NOT.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • lol??

      "Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

      You have some inside knowledge that this has already occurred??

      March 16, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • clarity

      Everyone knows that John of Patmos was a substance abuser. The mess called Revelation is proof of that.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • lol??

      Everyone??

      March 16, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • clarity

      Everyone should know.

      March 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • lol??

      Sayz who?? Get your commission from the underworld??

      March 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  13. Yes

    This idea of a hellfire wolfgod christian leaders like Bush and Obama follow is totally reduculous. But people actually belief them! That there actually is a hellfire god! What a bunch of reetarhds!

    March 16, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  14. clarity

    Goodness what a mess. no one replies properly anymore. I know some are using their phones – maybe they just treat this like it's the top of another twitter thread instead of a blog.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Damocles

      It's like a trainwreck, isn't it?

      March 16, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  15. FYI

    Of course, Christianity, by design, demands ignorance. Both naiveté and willful ignorance is at the core of a faith that is contrary to the development of knowledge through reason and rationality. It clearly teaches people not to trust in reason, and to only accept – without question – the dogmas of the church. Faith is elevated above reason in every church to one degree or another and there have been countless lives wasted in the world’s convents and monasteries. These lives are spent in poverty, reading the bible and praying for whatever. However, this subservience to Christ only amounts to an staggeringly immense loss of much human potential. The fact that billions of people are convinced that all the answers they need lie in the bible and thus they have no incentive at all to look beyond it. The religious withdraw from the world while the reasoned seek to improve it. This withdrawal from the world, coupled by the teaching that the earth was created solely for the benefit of the believer has contributed to widespread ecological disaster. This belief makes it easy to justify the destruction and wanton depletion of our natural resources because, after all, Jesus is coming soon and will give us a new earth.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    FYI = Foolish Yak Idiot

    March 16, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • FYI

      Rainer Braendlein = Ridiculous Brainless

      March 16, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • clarity

      RB – oh foolish fundie from the North.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  17. @Rainer

    God commanded Adam and Eve not to go where a certain snake liked to go, a forbidden place, a tree. Eve went anyway and seduced Adam who followed his other brain instead of the one god gave him. Many men have persihed in the pursuit of women with bedroom draweres filled with snakes.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Damocles

      So the snake was already in paradise for some reason and as A&E were making a bee-line for the forbidden tree, the deity took no steps in preventing them from getting there? Makes sense.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    @FYI

    "Christianity not only brings on feelings of guilt ... "

    I am allowed to tell you that this nasty term was already used by Alfred Rosenberg, the leading Nazi-high priest of the Third Reich.

    The problem is that we have forgotten to exercise Holy Confession of Sins in the presence of a Christian brother who could forgive us in God's name, and we would be really forgiven. As we don't practice Confession of Sins we suffer from a bad conscience, that is true, but this is not a failure of Christianity, but our mistake of spiritual lazyness.

    March 16, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • End Religion

      If you believe in god and hell then there is no question god sends people to hell if they don't play his game properly. He supposedly set the game in motion and forces one to choose.

      Just like Jigsaw from the movie Saw, god supposedly puts a game in motion, forcing people to choose his way or torture. While the poor cattle in the movie indeed get to "exercise free will" they've still been bound into a game against their choice, then forced to play by its rules.

      And you call this god a loving god... lol.. He's a horror movie monster.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • .

      Rainer is so stupid they don't know how to use the reply button.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  19. Indy Religion

    Who with a brain would vote for a man who could look you in the eye and tell you of some hellfire wolf god without batting an eye!
    Think about what your christian leaders teach! It's absurd! this hellfire wolfgod they bow to and swear by.
    Get these idiots out of office and STOP voting for a freaking hellgod leader! Holy craep! Grow brains you ignorant voters!

    March 16, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • End Religion

      It seems your pot has cracked.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Damocles

      A fire-breathing wolf deity might be fairly awesome.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • End Religion

      Agreed, though I would prefer it had tentacles.

      March 16, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Damocles

      Tentacles and fire? That's a deity to be feared!

      March 16, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  20. @FYI

    Well said. It's time to end this "god" charade and have men of science as our leaders.
    "Christian" leaders like Bush and obama have to go. Men like these are guilty of defrauding the US TAXPAYER FOR GENERATIONS!
    Remove these idiots from office! Let them have their fairy tale hellgod to themselves and leave US out of that bs.
    Down with warmongering christians and those who voted them into office!

    March 16, 2013 at 11:03 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.