June 13th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) –Pope Francis has challenged his flock of 1 billion Catholics not to be “starched Christians” who chat about theology over tea.

He’s been taking his own advice.

Since his election in March, Francis has delivered sharp and unscripted remarks on everything from homosexuality to atheism to his unlikely election to the seat of St. Peter.

Anyone who bet the 76-year-old Jesuit from Argentina would become Supreme Pontiff likely won a lot of dough, Francis joked on Sunday.

We’re wagering this pope’s got a few more surprises up the sleeves of his white cassock.

Meanwhile, here are six eye-openers Francis has uttered thus far.

1) There’s a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican

Meeting with Catholic leaders from his native Latin America and the Caribbean on Sunday, the pope said that there’s a lot of holy people in the Curia, Catholicism’s Rome-based bureaucracy.

But there is also a “stream of corruption,” Francis said, including a “gay lobby.”

"We need to see what we can do," he added, somewhat cryptically.

Only the pope knows exactly what he means. The Vatican has clammed up, refusing to explain.

Catholic experts believe Francis was referring to a secret dossier presented to his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI that investigated a series of embarrassing leaks from Vatican insiders to Italian journalists.

The dossier referred to a Vatican network of sexually active gay clergy who might have been subject to blackmail, according to Italian reports.

2) All atheists go to heaven?

During a homily in Rome on May 22, Francis said that God redeems everyone – not just Christians, but atheists, as well.

“We must meet one another doing good,” the pope said. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

So, was the pope saying that people can go to heaven, even if they don’t believe in God?

Probably not, say church experts.

Catholicism has long held that salvation is open to everyone – but with a really big caveat. If you know about the church and don’t become a member, the door to heaven is likely closed, a Catholic spokesman later clarified.

Many American atheists say they appreciated the olive branch from the pope, however unclear his remarks may have been.

3) “I didn’t want to be pope”

Meeting with Catholic students from Italy and Albania on June 7, Francis ditched his “boring” speech and instead took questions from the children.

A little redhead in a blue scarf elicited laughter by bluntly asking, “Francis, why did you want to become pope?”

“I didn’t,” Francis answered. In fact, “a person who wants to become pope doesn’t love himself. And God doesn’t bless him,” the pontiff said.

4) Sleepy prayers

In May, the pope shared intimate details about his spiritual life with a crowd of 200,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Every day, Francis said, he prays at an altar before he goes to bed. On occasion, the sandman arrives before the end of his prayers, the pope said.

“Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but God understands,” Francis said.

5) Christians should mind their own beeswax

In some of his sharpest comments as pope, Francis criticized Christian busybodies in May.

“We all chat in church,” the pope said. “As Christians we chat.

“It is as if we want to put each other down,” Francis continued. “Instead of growing, one makes the other feel small while I feel great. That will not do.”

Gossip, the pope said, is like honey. It tastes sweet at first, but large doses deliver stomach aches.

6) Throwing food away is stealing from the poor

The first Latin American pope has made fighting poverty a top priority of his papacy. Scarcely a speech or homily ends without a mention of the homeless and disabled.

On June 5, Francis lambasted a “culture of waste” in which consumerism trumps compassion, people become just another disposable object, and little care is given to those who need help.

“This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. ” Francis said.

“We should all remember, however, that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,006 Responses)
  1. Robert Brown


    That was a very thoughtful post and I agree with parts of it. Religion has done a great deal of harm to mankind. Religion has done a great deal of harm to the cause of Christ. People have used religion to enrich themselves, they have their reward. You ever read what Jesus said of the religious leaders in his day?

    Real hope can be found in Jesus. Put your faith in people and you will be disappointed, put your faith in Christ and he will never disappoint you.

    June 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  2. lionlylamb


    June 13, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Nice. Amazing how small a slice of the universe we exist in, isn't it?

      June 13, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Andy

      Glorious nature, so much more that we still don't know about.

      June 14, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  3. TruthwillPrevail

    We may have a SAINT with us people...if you're suffering pray with our POPE....he's special and sent to us by GOD to help us all during these difficult times that will get worse soon....stay prayerful don't lose FAITH ....GOD is with us till the end of our lives on earth and if we are willing to go with HIM our SOULS will be lifted.....REPENT!!!!

    June 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Andacar

      It's a bit early to call in that regard, but I certainly like what I hear so far. I admire his evident honesty, humility and willingness to say things that need to be said. I pray he is pope for a long time and can continue to lead so well.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Now go and read revelations. The pope is compromising what he's supposed to believe in. Revelations also mentions a 1 world government. Hmmmm, could this be the start of it?

      June 13, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  4. lionlylamb

    thomporter wrote, "We must learn to worship ourselves, our friends, our neighbors and our families. We must look after the one next to us, and the one around the globe from us, as tho they were our brother or sister. We must live for each other."

    While I like your approach, this world is far too separated and distanced from each others' individual perceptivities to ever make headway toward totalitarian "worship".

    June 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  5. Science

    Hey creationists..............evolution...........genetics.

    Why Did the Chicken Lose Its Penis?


    June 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  6. Rick Wired (Butt Naught Kneeded)

    "All atheists go to heaven" is about as interesting a statement as, say:

    "All people who don't believe in Santa Claus will get Christmas presents from Santa"

    "All straight men will get a boyfriend"

    "All people not believing in Marsians will get a really hot Marsian boyfriend or girlfriend"

    "All unicorn-deniers will go to unicorn paradise"

    June 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Veronica


      June 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Doats

      Marsy doats and doazy doats.

      June 13, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Athy

      What planet are marsians from? Mart?

      June 13, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
      • mik


        December 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      I am becoming a Marsian now. My skin has scales and my eyes are golden-green and shoot out lighting bolts.
      I will use a gun to shoot bees at you. Just see if I don't!

      June 13, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • waddayamean?

      yikes ! I just realized Im a Marsian 😀

      June 26, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
  7. lionlylamb

    Personally, I believe there to be unlimited kingdom domains of heavenly abundances far too many and way too vast, that it would take literally forever to walk them when put end to end! No more are there Gods in any of these heavenly kingdom domains. There are only humanely intellectual physical beings alive and living within all those heavenly kingdom domains and yes, dying just as does all of anything physically living in any dimensional plain of spiritual existence.

    June 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  8. NorthVanCan

    Does he really believe the Bible is a true story?

    June 13, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Don't you mean factual?

      June 13, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
  9. FRancisco

    This are quotes by Pope Francis alright, but what is new about any of them?

    June 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Welcome to the Zombie Bus

      They are trying to be edgy / cool. Don't look at the man behind the curtain.
      Look over there at Syrian nerve gas used by Muslims.
      Don't look at the pedo-priest majority in the RCC. The Pope is all a-flutter to let you know he's a nice criminal boss.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  10. Taxpayer

    Sodomy doesn't kill people, people kill people

    June 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Water doesn't kill people, people drinking too much water in too short amount of time kills people.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Lucy

      This pope is a breath of fresh air! I certainly hope he will soon advocate a married priesthood and women priests.The church needs more good men and women in the clergy.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm |

      Shaky Tlts don't kill people, running blindly away in terror from those shaky tlts can wipe out whole city blocks at once.
      Examine your prostate using a cactus and win a prize!
      Individual results will vary.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      Sodomy with an explosion kills people. Here's a stick of dynamite so you can see for yourself.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  11. Carrie

    Once again a so called church leader who doesn't go by the Bible. Only those who know and accept Jesus as the 1 and only son of God and only source of salvation will be with him in eternity. That's what the Bible says. Shame on this guy. He doesn't even know the Bible.

    June 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • sam

      I doubt you 'know' it either.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • DustyOnes

      Catholics wrote the Bible....putz

      June 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • higgs boson

      your boy, jc, is the primary preacher of eternal torment...this is who you worship and ¨love¨...what does that say about you ?...it says you are immoral or stupid or both...the little twerp is an embarrassment and a disgrace...51 years happily religion-free

      June 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • George

      Carrie, the Bible is but one source of truth for Catholics. Question for you: where in the Bible does it tell you that the Bible is the only source of truth? Another question – do you know your history – when was the Bible first put together and by whom? Where then in those intervening years between the Descent of the Holy Spirit and the first Bible did Christians get the truth?

      June 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Jane

      The Bible also says,
      “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” – Luke 6:37-38

      June 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • peter

      "Shame on this guy" He seems like he has his head in the right place to me. Lol, your a F^&8king idiot.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Beth Rita

      The Catholic church. The first Christian Church. No other Christian church would be here were it not for centuries of Catholic Christians tortured and martyred to carry down the Bible. Show yourself to be more Christian like by not showing hatred towards your brothers and sisters made in the image and likeness of God. When you die, you will be shocked how many Catholics will be in heaven!

      June 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      " That's what the Bible says. "

      The Bible also says not to work on the Sabbath; to stone disobedient children; that a woman must marry her rapist; that snakes talk. Maybe the pope is of the mind set that if he can't beat em he might as well join em.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Dusty...the RCC may have compiled the books that comprise the Bible, but they didn't "write" it.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      Your Jeebus is NOT a reputable role model. Jeebus said that He didn't come to bring peace, but division. He said that He would turn family members from each other. He also said that He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword. He said that if you don't love Him more than you love your family, then you're not worthy of Him; how arrogant! He also said that if you don't hate your family, then you're not worthy of Him; how hateful!

      Your Jeebus also told His disciples, as well as others, that they would not see death, and that "this generation will not pass away until all things come to pass..." This is an utter false prophesy, so I suppose that your savior wasn't that divine at all.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Beth: As far as the evidence shows there will be zero catholics in heaven because heaven only exists in your giant book of fairy tales, it is not real.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      higgs boson wrote, "your boy, jc, is the primary preacher of eternal torment..."

      If that's your perspective then have at it. Personally, I believe there to be unlimited kingdom domains of heavenly abundances far too many and way too vast, that it would take literally forever to walk them when put end to end! No Gods in any of these heavenly kingdom domains. Only humane beings alive and living within all those heavenly kingdom domains and dying just as does all of anything living in any dimensional plain of spiritual existence.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Jack

      Carrie, you mke me laugh. You do realize the bible is a book of fairy tales? Guess what honey, in the end you and I will end up in the same place, but I will have fun getting their.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • CDAinLA

      God wrote many books beyond the Bible

      June 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • pensimmon

      Carrie, perhaps you didn't realize this, but God did not wrote the bible. Men wrote it, and they wrote what they thought was true at the time. Furthermore, it's been retold so often that it has surely changed enormously since the originals. Added to that all the many translations have altered it too. Be careful what you believe. Think, think, think.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Is this Pope Catholic? That is, are the Catholics who come around here and deride and dismiss other Catholics as cafeteria Catholics, or not "true" Catholics, or not at all Catholic, satisfied that this Pope is Catholic through and through?

    June 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • JMEF

      He is a Jesuit. If he follows his beliefs expect the largest yard sale in the history of the world of art and trinkets at the Vatican right soon!!

      June 13, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Uncle Reamus

      Them Orange Robes always go around with the smell of burning flesh following them everywhere. They is the propaganda arm of that Vatican thing. You can bet he has lots more tricks up his sleeves. Just wait and see.

      June 13, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  13. joe average

    He sounds like a guy you could sit and have a beer with and chat theology in an open an honest manner. Wouldn't be surprised if he has an 'accident' cause he is too much of straight talker. might reveal some of the vatican's 'secrets'...

    June 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  14. Ah So

    Congratulations, belated, to
    Daniel Burke – CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
    for becoming co-editor (slave) of Eric "the Vandal" Marrapodi.
    We all know he's like a Visigoth over there at CNN.
    (His fangs were spotted in the parking lot. The plastic glow-in-the-dark ones.)
    Keep updating your CV. No telling when the next reshuffle will strike.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm |

      CNN is a proud sponsor of the Shaky Tlt Foundation except they will deny it at all times. Those guys! Always kidding around!

      June 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  15. Paulie

    Sorry your holiness, the gaystapo won't stop until you accept them and their nasty lifestyle.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Akira

      I suppose you think "gaystapo" is clever, since you keep repeating it every few pages or so.

      What is your lifestyle?

      June 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Brandon

      So now it's nasty to accept how god made you and carry on with a life of not fighting yourself?

      June 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      "Gaystapo",,, LoL,,, thought it was a misspelling,,,RAOTFLMAO!!!

      June 13, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • sam

      Troll harder. I doubt your 'lifestyle' is anything to crow about.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      Quit it already with this talking about yourself,,, Inquiring minds don't quite rightly want to know.. 😥

      June 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • sam


      June 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Liz the First

      Who would Jesus hate, pal? gays have to fight for their basic rights just like blacks and women did, and for the same reason. idiots like you felt they were somehow lesser humans not deserving of them. get a clue!

      June 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Sorry your not-so-holiness, the bigots won't stop until you accept their ignorance.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • JR

      Hey, lionlylamb, do you think you can help being schizophrenic? You want understanding of that, don't you? You didn't cause it, it was totally natural. Same concept, ass hole. Grow up, you infantile bozo.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  16. Portland tony

    This Pope is more Christlike, than many of his golden slippered predecessors. At least he realizes what the Church should stand for.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Liz the First

      AMEN! i'm not even Catholic any more and i'm beginning to like him. he may actually be able to drag the church kicking and screaming into the 21st century, or at least the 20th.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Athy

      Nah. Eighteenth century is probably the best he can do.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm |

      I'll give you half a shake. That's the best I can do. Take it or leave it.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      What happened to the Medicare website that was just here a second ago? I've been robbed!

      June 14, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  17. Tina

    Good job Baptists but too late. The gay jihad has taken over another one for the sake hairydude love. I pity the parents that put their kids into that den of molesters.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • ME II

      ...but ... the rules for the adults hasn't changed. No more or less "molesters" than before, right?

      June 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Akira

      Lol. Except it is heteros that are doing the molesting.
      Because that is what pedophiles by and large are; hetero.
      Education is good.

      June 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Liz the First

      Proof you can't fix stupid. pedophiles are overwhelmingly straight! please educate yourself before unjustly maligning a significant percentage of the human race.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Oh dear, another ignorant uneducated bigot is amongst us. Without that buybull to justify your bigotry, you would have no reason to be so hateful.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • waddayamean?

      Akira I couldn't agree more with Liz the First you are a very stupid joke of human been to be polite for should I write what I really think of you it would be improper and that's just another difference among you and me. you just banalized pedophilia and yes insulted millions of proud STraight men and woman as me in the planet.

      June 27, 2013 at 12:15 am |
  18. Douglas

    Pope Francis,

    Thanks for standing up to the new "secularism" where Biblically prohibited activities like "gay coitus" are
    given a religious "pass".

    Active gays cannot be called Christians because they are in conflict with Biblical guidance on the role
    and responsibility of one man and one woman being joined in holy matrimony, establishing families and
    praising God.

    Pope Francis has revealed the existence of the "gay lobby".

    Now it is our responsibility to call it what it is...a den of Satan's vipers masquerading as Christians.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Akira

      Jesus never said word one about gays. Not word ONE.
      And you said yourself that the OT is no longer applicable to Christians; just yesterday or the day before, wasn't it?

      You seem to focus way too much on gay sexual practices. An inordinate amount of time; it is the only topic you ever post upon. You should probably seek a qualified therapist about this obsession. It cannot be mentally healthy.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Rod

      Your observation is right, CNN is painting a picture of Pope Francis to make him look more like a secular humanist.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Douglas


      As a practicing gay, you cannot be a Christian.
      Jesus defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman in Matthew 19.
      You can argue with Douglas, but you can't argue with Jesus.

      Akira, there is room at the foot of the old rugged cross for you to confess and repent.

      Now is the time...the clock is ticking.

      June 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • norman

      douglas-yorue an imbecile-Jesus actually didnt write anything in the bible so what comes across was edited and rewritten by men in power-everyone knows that-your prejudice and hatred will cause you to burn-please repent before its too late

      June 13, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Jeff

      norman... John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus is God, part of the trinity (father, son, holy ghost). Although you argue Jesus did not 'write' the bible, this is very similar to someone writing a letter to a friend. Who wrote the letter? the person, or the pen? This is just like God using an apostle as his instrument to write the Word.
      Hope this helps clear things up

      June 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Athy

      So who wrote the bible, god or jeebus? Or neither?

      June 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Salero21

      Dougie watch out for butt flu

      June 13, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "As a practicing gay, you cannot be a Christian."

      Wrong, I know plenty of gay christians and they're better people than you could ever hope to be. They share the belief in the same imaginary friend; they love and follow the buybull. What they are not is hateful or bigoted.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Akira

      No, you think YOU can't be a Christian if you're gay; I have no problems with you being gay, Douglas.

      I have nothing to confess or repent; Jesus would totally approve of my 20 plus year marriage to my husband that resulted in my giving birth to a child...

      You seem to focus way too much on gay sexual practices. An inordinate amount of time; it is the only topic you ever post upon. You should probably seek a qualified therapist about this obsession. It cannot be healthy.

      And show me where Jesus said anything about gays, you liar.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  19. Puzzled in Peoria

    Hello, CNN. You continue to say that Francis said atheists will go to heaven. You're twisting Francis' words to make it seem controversial. Salvation is open to everyone, including atheists, but that doesn't mean everyone takes advantage of it.

    I wish you'd report the news in news stories instead of interpreting it to make it more clickworthy.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Rick

      Absolutely correct.

      June 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  20. Colin

    Not enough believers left on CNN. Even Chad seems to have disappeared. We atheists are like blue green algea. We have so dominated the environemnt here as to alter the overall ecosystem too much. I need to start posting on Fox. There should still be fertile minds there to change.

    June 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Good luck!

      Live long and prosper

      June 13, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Science

      Chad has created a few links on Bing that will live on forever !

      June 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "We atheists are like blue green algea."

      Yep, slimy, nasty and you pretty much destroy all the life around you. That's the best definition of a CNN Blog atheist I know.

      June 13, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • JR

      Aw, poor widdle Lycidas thinks the atheists are big meanies.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Jr....ya gotta lighten up.

      June 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      Yeah, lighten up you blue-green algae scum! Don't be so blue-green anymore! Yeah!

      June 13, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      Yeah! So there!

      June 14, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Senior Moment

      How do I get off this planet? Someone hand me a towel and that pipe over there. Where's my slippers?
      Where'd the nurse go? I swear it's getting harder to find good help these days. Nothing but alleycats and backstabbers.

      June 14, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • waddayamean?

      I just never got to catch the thin of the proselitism. why atheists who criticize religions urge so much to spread their *faith* ?

      June 27, 2013 at 12:24 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.