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July 28th, 2013
08:56 AM ET

What we learned about Pope Francis in Brazil

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - We didn’t need Pope Francis’ trip to Brazil this week to grasp that the new pontiff, who’s set a tone of simplicity and love for ordinary people, is a hit.

Polls around the world show approval ratings that would be the envy of any politician or celebrity, while vast crowds show up in Rome for even his most routine activities.

What Brazil confirmed, perhaps, is that his act plays as well on the road as at home.

During his week in Brazil for World Youth Day, an international Catholic event, mob scenes erupted everywhere Francis went, despite cold temperatures and driving rain for much of the week.

On Monday, frenzied admirers almost hijacked his motorcade. On Wednesday a group of nuns shrieked and rushed the pope like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert, and on Thursday  he drew more than a million young people to a worship service on Rio’s Copacabana Beach. A Saturday prayer service drew 3 million people, according to organizers.

At one point, Francis greeted 30,000 young Argentines in town for World Youth Day, a gathering that turned this city into a virtual Argentinian colony. Given the fierce national rivalry between the two countries, one local pundit said that under any other circumstances, the presence of so many screaming Argentines in the streets of Rio would have been considered an act of war.

Beyond that, here are four things we learned about Pope Francis from his week in Brazil:

A sedate charisma

Francis was elected at 76, so he doesn’t exude the animal magnetism of the early John Paul II, the last pope to command this kind of popular affection.

Elected at 58, John Paul delivered dramatic gestures like the actor he once was. For instance, he would kiss the ground of whatever country he was visiting, something Francis didn’t do. John Paul would clap and stomp his feet during musical numbers, and at night he would pop out the window of his residence to tell jokes and boom out one-liners.

Francis has a more sedate charisma, allowing his smile, his genuine delight in meeting people, and his homespun wisdom to do the work.

During a visit to a Rio slum, for instance, he said the poor are often the most generous folk, quoting a Latin American proverb: “You can always add more water to the beans.”

Francis may be a rock star, in other words, but not the “pump up the volume” sort. Think Simon and Garfunkel, not the Rolling Stones – or maybe Taylor Swift, not Lady Gaga.

He’s changed the storyline

If proof were needed of how much Francis has changed the storyline about the Catholic Church, consider that he’d been in the global spotlight for five days by the time Friday night rolled around, and no one had even raised the Church’s child sexual abuse scandals until he did so himself.

Speaking at the end of a procession recalling Jesus’ carrying of the Cross, Francis said Jesus is united with all who suffer, including those who “have lost their faith in the church, or even in God, because of the lack of consistency of Christians and ministers of the gospel.”

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, a veteran of the Church’s struggles with the abuse scandals who was in Rio for the pope’s visit, said the scandals were “an aspect” of what Francis had in mind.

The veiled reference was a reminder of how much the scandals have hurt the Church. Yet the fact that they didn’t cloud Francis’ trip, as they likely would have for a different pope, was also a lesson in how much Francis has given the Church a new lease on life.

A savvy politician

Heading into the trip, there was fear that Brazil’s massive street protests in June might reignite. Aside from a few scattered incidents, that didn’t happen, and Francis seemed to navigate artfully though the political shoals.

The “Pope of the Poor” repeatedly called for greater attention to the needy, and on several occasions applauded the thirst for justice among young people.

During his visit to a Rio slum, he said that no “pacification” campaign can succeed without addressing the social conditions that breed misery – an indirect slap at recent crackdowns on violence in the slums by local police.

At the same time, Francis didn’t embarrass his hosts. He was gracious with Brazil’s embattled president, Dilma Rousseff. He dropped by Rio de Janeiro’s city palace on Thursday to pray over the flags for the 2016 Olympics, meaning that organizers can literally claim a papal blessing against complaints that splashy events such as the Olympics and the World Cup are a waste of money.

In the end, Francis offered a little something for everyone, without blurring his central message expressed in the slum visit: “The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need.”

Energizer Bunny of a Pope

Finally, we learned that despite his advanced age, Francis has a seemingly boundless reserve of energy.

Even before he left Rome, he had trimmed the two days of rest planned for Benedict XVI to one, adding a 150-mile outing to Aparecida, Brazil, on Wednesday to visit a famed Marian shrine, and later in the day stopping by a Rio hospital that treats alcohol and drug addicts.

On the plane en route to Brazil, he stood for an hour to chat with each journalist covering the trip, then spent the rest of the flight talking to his Vatican aides and making notes. A spokesman said nap time had been planned for the pope, but he never used it.

Even on his alleged day off on Tuesday, Francis kept at it. He held a business meeting with a cardinal from Honduras, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who’s in charge of a new council of eight cardinals from around the world helping the pope with Vatican reform.

At one stage, a Vatican spokesman confessed, “I’m happy we’re halfway through, because if [the trip] were any longer I’d be destroyed.”

Despite the grueling pace, Francis seemed as fresh at the end as at the beginning. Nor will things slow down anytime soon, since he’s already announced that he won’t take the usual papal break in August, but will stay on the job in Rome.

The “Energizer bunny” aspect of his personality should serve Francis well, because his bravura performance in Brazil notwithstanding, the Vatican is not going to reform itself.

John L. Allen Jr. is CNN’s senior Vatican analyst and senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (493 Responses)
  1. dzerres

    The reason he's popular now is because he hasn't made an policy yet. Its easy walking around being empathetic to the poor, etc. Wait until he re-enforces the Church's ban on birth control, squashes more reports on child abuse, elevates Bishops who covered up child abuse and comes down on gays or Catholic politicians who don't quite vote the way the Church wants. THEN we'll see who remains popular. In the mean time he's like a Kardashian or the new King George: just giggling and cooing and waving to the sheeple.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Doobs

      In the mean time he's like a Kardashian or the new King George: just giggling and cooing and waving to the sheeple.

      Now that made me laugh! So true.

      July 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  2. Birdyboyz

    I'm going to Rio in November and pray that the girls all of a sudden don't get a dose of "Catholic guilt".

    July 28, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  3. Emery

    the Catholic Church Scares the Hell out of me: And every other organized religion (America, churches)

    July 28, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Lainie11

      Who should really scare the hell out of you is Obama. We're going down the Marxist road in a roller coaster.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:50 am |
      • mike

        Lainie, spare us your derp. Obama would have been a Republican 30 years ago. People like you didn't even know what Marxism was until Faux News started inserting the word into your daily minute of hate.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Lainie11

          I beg your pardon, sir. At 74 years of age, I knew what Marxism was before you were probably born. Creeping Socialism/Marxism is on the prowl, permitting the insidious philosophy and ism to destroy not only the Church, but our country as well. As long as the true Catholic Church stood strong for at least the 74 years that I know of, the country and world in general was half way decent. The crud that some call liberty in the name of everything legal, including alternative lifestyles etc... is not freedom, it is slavery to the world. And in the end, we'll all go down, good with the bad.

          July 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • Aardman

        Lainie, you're such an idiot.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • mojave45

          Spoken like a true leftists, when you can't disprove a comment just attack the character of the poster.

          July 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Guardsman

      Nah, American Christian Fundamentalists (the Religious Right) scared the heck out of me. Unlike American Christian conservatives, the Catholic Church does not degrade women, value money over ethics or force religion down your throat!

      July 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Theresa

      Your comment made me laugh out loud. In a nice way. If I believed all of the myths about Catholicisms, I too would have the hell scared out of me. 🙂 Do some reading from BOTH sides. Then decide how scared you should be. God Bless You!

      July 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  4. JM

    It's so wonderful to see a man who truly believes/follows/lives out the teachings of Jesus: to love everyone, to share the good news that God loves everyone, to defend the poor. There is so much greed and selfishness in the world. We need more people in places of authority who are bolding living out the gospel: that the kingdom of God is not about money or pride or selfishness. It's about love, about serving others. I, for one, can certainly be kinder to people.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • stayinalive

      But don't forget to say your Hail Marys, count your Rosary beads, confess your sins to a priest, keep the sacraments – or you'll end up in Purgatory. Oh, and the Catholic Cult still considers itself the ONLY true church of Christ. Sorry bud, but the Pope has about as much piety as Charles Manson.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • Lainie11

        This comment is the first post that really makes sense. Francis has absolutely no piety, something that is a requirement fort a leader of the Catholic Church. He certainly is not Pius XII or Pius X.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Guardsman

          LOL ... Stayinalive's and your comment are the dumbest comments here!! The American Christian Protestant Fundamentalists (the religious right) are the ones who show show piety by degrading women, valuing money over ethics and forcing religion down people's throats.

          July 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • JM

        I'm not Catholic. I'm Protestant. Sadly, many people who claim to be Protestant (aright wingers) act more like the Biblical Pharisees.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • Guardsman

          Well said!

          July 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • Guardsman

        Sure, ... only in your twisted facts! Both Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict organized interfaith meetings with Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and representatives of other world religions! Do a Google search and you will see. By the way, it was an American Southern Baptist Church pastor who told my sister in law (a Buddhist) she would be going to hell!

        July 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  5. stayinalive

    You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still just a pig. Catholicsm has less than nothing to do with the Son of God, whose name is Yeshua. The history of the Catholic church is engraved in stone and it clearly portrays a very sick demonic cult that literally persecuted and killed countless innocent people down the centuries. Their guilt will NEVER be atoned for. So keep elevating this sick hypocritical to some saint status because in the end you're just as delusional as he is and destined for annihilation.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • JM

      Were slave owners Catholic? Was the KKK Catholic? Are gay bashers Catholic?

      July 28, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • Guardsman

        It was the Southern Baptist Church the one who fiercely defended slavery by using Biblical quotes! And it was not until 1995 when the Southern Baptist Church finally acknowledged their mea culpa for their role in the preservation of slavery.

        July 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  6. ALinoge

    Concerning Pope Francis . . .

    He's actually doing as well as anyone could, having been granted the status of one who has a direct connection to God. Personally, I don't think he buys it himself. He now knows there is no such connection. I think he's taken on the duty with reservations and finally realizes for the first time in his life that a Pope is nothing special. Just a man. Just a human being like the rest of us. That understanding makes him an exceptional Pope already. But still . . . he's the leader of one of mankind's most terrible falsehoods. Any Pope would be.

    I think Francis is a good thing for the Catholic religion. As good as it can get anyway. :/ I wish him well.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Fabio Miquelino

      You know, you have a foreign repression huge even with Brazil because Brazil is a country very promising, it is matter of a bad taste and totally lying. Not like Brazil, but not okay to come here to spend our time with empty words or nonsense. I'm sure the PAPA will always remember your visit to a people so receptive and welcoming, not a people cold and haughty.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Suerte

      I am not a Catholic or anything else. Don't believe in the fear of God. What's up with that anyway? This pope is a lot younger than the ones in the past. The church has been in deep caca the past few years and needs a few, fresh image. Too many abusers. Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers....get it?

      July 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  7. CTexas

    Believe it or not....some of us are not Catholic.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • A True Conservative

      Nor am I......however.....all can admire a person who is true to their beliefs and is doing good in the world.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Rodents for Romney

        Exactly. I admire Mother Teresa, the atheist.

        July 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • Guardsman

          I also admire your m@m@, the wh0re

          July 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  8. M. Jaramillo

    It's ironic how all the haters cannot see this pope is trying to do good. Instead, the say, "see, he didn't solve all The Church's ills in five days. Therefore, he cannot be good". Believe it or not, Pope Francis even prays for these haters. Probably more so than others.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Balthazaar

      The Catholic church has been an instrument used for conservative political agendas for some time. This pope sounds like he might actually return the church to a focus on social justice and the teachings of Jesus. Would be a very welcome change.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Lainie11

        Social justice is not one of the Catholic Church's dogmas, nor is it what the church was founded upon. If you are a good Catholic, worship God, live your life according to the commandments, you will automatically embrace charity and other virtues, which includes being generous with your neighbor.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Doobs

      Expecting the RCC to have the criminals in their organization arrested, tried and, if convicted, incarcerated, is not being a "hater". It wouldn't even take five minutes. A simple phone call to the police takes 30 seconds. Instead they quietly relocated criminals, giving them access to more victims.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  9. i_know_everything

    good guy Francis, now would you please order the arrest of Emperor Palpatine and his child molesting cronies?

    July 28, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  10. Emery

    I think these people need heavy medication. I say it`s Higher rates of schizophrenia in urban areas can be attributed to increased deprivation.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  11. Lainie11

    "Pope" Francis does not represent most Catholics, only those who have strayed from the Faith of our Fathers. Because most Catholics like him, have defected from the Faith. You do not hear one word about God, only humankind. This is being charitable to Francis. He espouses everything that Karl Marx and his likes have lived and died for, as Marxists believe that religion is the opiate of the people.
    Since Vatican II, Rome has gone along with the World government, shutting God out of everyone's life. That was the original intent of Vatican II which has been overrun with enemies for a long time. Give us back our Catholic Faith I say, and quite pretending that this facade is what we believe. Marxism has been the name of the game for over 40 years now.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • grafixer

      You sound like an extremist. Frankly, I disagree. Most Catholics love this man, and the fact that he has embraced the "common people" and doesn't act like a King. Just because you don't agree – does not mean that most Catholics don't agree with him. Narrow-mindedness, prejudice, and living in the 16th Century has hurt the Church. You, and others like you may be happier in the Pentacostal Church (or one of the other more extremist Churches) where you can continue your narrow views. FAITH is not being threatened here – unless your faith requires your Church to tell you when you can and can't breathe.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Lainie11

        Since the inception of Vatican II, every single doctrine and form of worship has been changed to suit the masses. There is no sin except sins agains mankind. Baptism no longer renounces Satan. Not a word about sins agains God, our Creator. Worship is a farce; one of the signs of the Catholic Church is universality, being the same no matter where one would travel or be. Unity prevailed. Study your Catholic History, and find out why Saints even exist, whose lives we are supposed to imitate. This new religion is abhorrent to all who know their Catholic Faith and have spent time studying it and of course following it with prayer.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Rodents for Romney

          Nope. The Second Vatican Council was legitimately called, and had legitimate authority. You are a "cafeteria" Catholic. You just don't like what they said, so you NEED to Dd-legitimize it. Unfortunately you know nothing about church history, theology or philosophy. But many Catholics today are cafeteria Catholics.

          July 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Captain America

      haha silly person, you write good fiction stories

      July 28, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Erik

      Yes.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  12. Quehubo

    I would like to know what all the critics in this forum do to help people less fortunate than them. I wonder if any of you goes to third world countries and help the forgotten, the very poor or the sick like Catholics do. You seem to choose what is convenient to criticize but have not done any homework to research how much the catholic church does without tooting its own horn.
    The only conclusion I can reach is that you are worse than what you criticize.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  13. Terry

    He's still protecting the pedophiles, allowing them to be spirited away from the scenes of their crimes to other nations and out of the reach of law enforcement. still preaching hate for gays and subservience for women. new face, same old B.S.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • kr

      What are the bases of your accusations? I believe you are just a mean, negative, prejudiced, anti-Catholic individual.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • The One in the Know

        kr, Terry is right. This is the common, massive practice in Poland, a birth place of pope John Paul 2.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • The One in the Know

      The pope is trying to change as much unimportant things as only possible, so to make us think the Catholic Church has changed.

      The true is that to really change the Catholic Church he will need to SOLVE the problems with paedophylia, corruption money laundering and all the rest of crimes, unsolved for many years.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • Captain America

        spell check much?

        thanks for playing

        July 28, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Catholicism is socially legalized supersti-tion:

    As an infant I have been baptized by a Roman Catholic priest. I even believe that this baptism is valid. Yet, meanwhile (I am an adult now) I have converted from Catholicism to (genuine) Protestantism or genuine Christianity whereby I don't consider it as necessary to be baptized again, even forbidden.

    In the Catholic Church I have never been told the Gospel of Jesus Christ but any nonsense which I could not understand. I am convinced that most members of the Catholic Church don't understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I got to know the Gospel of Jesus at first through a mission-event of the YMCA whereby they have no perfect understanding of the Gospel and connection between Gospel and baptism.

    Through very much struggle and some coincidences I know now the genuine doctrine of Christianity which we can found in the Bible if we interprete the Bible well.

    Genuine Christiantiy is between Catholicism and (modern) Protestantism. It is neither works righteousness (Catholic) nor reducing Christ's sacrifice to a mere atonement (modern Protestantism).

    We cannot add on something to Christ's sacrifice (good deeds), and we are not allowed to live carelessly assuming that Christ had yet payed the bill.

    We have to understand that Christ's sacrifice was an atonement AND a work of redemption at the same time. Our faith in Jesus is only complete or faith at all if we acknowledge both sides of Christ's sacrifice.

    Modern Protestantism stresses too much the atonement (in order to justify a sinful life), and neglects the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Many modern Protestants will face a rude awakening at Judgement Day.

    Through sacramental baptism we are connected with the releasing power of Christ's sacrifce. We have died for the sin and entered Christ. Dead for the sin and in Christ we are able to overcome our sinfulness or the lust of our body: We become able to love God and our neighbour.

    If we practize this complete faith we will come through at Judgement Day. We will cast our crowns before Him who enabled us to practize love and righteousness.

    True faith becomes visible through love and righteousness. A true Christian will not neglect his fellow human beings.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    Let us abolish popery, and a big portion of the mankind will become happier.

    Let us abolish Islam, and even more people will become happier.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Quehubo

      The intolerance of others doesn't make you a good Christian, no matter what religion you've switched to now.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        I only reject the Catholic and the Islamic doctrine, also the doctrine of the Cheap Grace (modern Protestantism): I neither hate Catholics nor Muslims, I rather try to love them according to my limited abilities. I also try to cope with cheap-grace-Protestants.

        I consider Catholics, Muslims, cheap-grace-Protestants as people which have gone astray, and which need my help to find the right way again.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Captain America

          The Westboro Baptist Church just called to say your application to join has just been accepted.

          Congratulations!

          July 28, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • allenwoll

      .
      Congratulations : You have managed to compound the error !
      .

      July 28, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  15. BRUCE

    Until all the European Denominations stand up for Israel's right to the Lands of Canaan they insult Christianity and fulfill the prophesy of the false church.
    Ezekiel 37:1-14
    11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

    July 28, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  16. yeppie

    That's easy, he is real and loves real people, He doesn't sit up in the ivory tower we call the Vatican.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  17. navyblue12

    That photo is amazing.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • emeth

      I agree navyblue12. The first photo, "Faithful as far as the eye can see" says more to me than anything the haters can possibly say.

      July 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    Catholicism is socially legalized supersti-tion:

    As an infant I have been baptized by a Roman Catholic priest. I even believe that this baptism is valid. Yet, meanwhile (I am an adult now) I have converted from Catholicism to (genuine) Protestantism or genuine Christianity whereby I don't consider it as necessary to be baptized again, even forbidden.

    In the Catholic Church I have never been told the Gospel of Jesus Christ but any nonsense which I could not understand. I am convinced that most members of the Catholic Church don't understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I got to know the Gospel of Jesus at first through a mission-event of the YMCA whereby they have no perfect understanding of the Gospel and connection between Gospel and baptism.

    Through very much struggle and some coincidences I know now the genuine doctrine of Christianity which we can found in the Bible if we interprete the Bible well.

    Genuine Christiantiy is between Catholicism and (modern) Protestantism. It is neither works righteousness (Catholic) nor reducing Christ's sacrifice to a mere atonement (modern Protestantism).

    We cannot add on something to Christ's sacrifice (good deeds), and we are not allowed to live carelessly assuming that Christ had yet payed the bill.

    We have to understand that Christ's sacrifice was an atonement AND a work of redemption at the same time. Our faith in Jesus is only complete or faith at all if we acknowledge both sides of Christ's sacrifice.

    Modern Protestantism stresses too much the atonement (in order to justify a sinful life), and neglects the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Many modern Protestants will face a rude awakening at Judgement Day.

    Through sacramental baptism we are connected with the releasing power of Christ's sacrifce. We have died for the sin and entered Christ. Dead for the sin and in Christ we are able to overcome our sinfulness or the lust of our body: We become able to love God and our neighbour.

    If we practize this complete faith we will come through at Judgement Day. We will cast our crowns before Him who enabled us to practize love and righteousness.

    True faith becomes visible through love and righteousness. A true Christian will not neglect his fellow human beings.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    Let us abolish popery, and a big portion of the mankind will become happier.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      great, rainman is going to feed everyone with his spam.

      Here's a hint, don't bother reading unless you are doing a study on abnormal psychology.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:22 am |
      • Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

        I make a point of ignoring this man. But I DO for for a cure for verbal dysentery!

        July 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    Catholicism is socially legalized supersti-tion:

    As an infant I have been baptized by a Roman Catholic priest. I even believe that this baptism is valid. Yet, meanwhile (I am an adult now) I have converted from Catholicism to (genuine) Protestantism or genuine Christianity whereby I don't consider it as necessary to be baptized again, even forbidden.

    In the Catholic Church I have never been told the Gospel of Jesus Christ but any nonsense which I could not understand. I am convinced that most members of the Catholic Church don't understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I got to know the Gospel of Jesus at first through a mission-event of the YMCA whereby they have no perfect understanding of the Gospel and connection between Gospel and baptism.

    Through very much struggle and some coincidences I know now the genuine doctrine of Christianity which we can found in the Bible if we interprete the Bible well.

    Genuine Christiantiy is between Catholicism and (modern) Protestantism. It is neither works righteousness (Catholic) nor reducing Christ's sacrifice to a mere atonement (modern Protestantism).

    We cannot add on something to Christ's sacrifice (good deeds), and we are not allowed to live carelessly assuming that Christ had yet payed the bill.

    We have to understand that Christ's sacrifice was an atonement AND a work of redemption at the same time. Our faith in Jesus is only complete or faith at all if we acknowledge both sides of Christ's sacrifice.

    Modern Protestantism stresses too much the atonement (in order to justify a sinful life), and neglects the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Many modern Protestants will face a rude awakening at Judgement Day.

    Through sacramental baptism we are connected with the releasing power of Christ's sacrifce. We have died for the sin and entered Christ. Dead for the sin and in Christ we are able to overcome our sinfulness or the lust of our body: We become able to love God and our neighbour.

    If we practize this complete faith we will come through at Judgement Day. We will cast our crowns before Him who enabled us to practize love and righteousness.

    True faith becomes visible through love and righteousness. A true Christian will not neglect his fellow human beings.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    July 28, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • NJreader

      Re: your statement that most Catholics don't understand the gospel:

      The best friend of my life, a Roman Catholic nun, now deceased, once shocked me, irreligious me, by saying religion is "simple." I asked her to explain. "God is love," she said. "That's is?" I said, kind of stunned. "That's it." she said.

      She said this many times thereafter, often with an addition: "Religion is simple. It is the church that needs some changes."

      She was a nun for almost 60 years; I attended her 50th Jubilee, and about a decade after that, her Mass of Christian Burial.

      July 28, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        Don't get me wrong. I don't hate Catholics but only reject the Catholic doctrine, particularly popery.

        Luther said that a very small number of Catholics can be real believers (Catholics which try to live a Christian life in simplicity on the basis of their baptism, rejecting the errors of Catholicsm).

        Bonhoeffer asked why true believers which are in the Catholic Church don't shift to the Confessing Church.

        Maybe your nun is such a seldom case.

        July 28, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  20. Vince

    At least THIS religious leader doesn't want to torture or murder non-believers. Catholicism has come a long way.

    July 28, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • larrylivingston

      Torture them? No. Molest them? Most definitely.

      July 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • Phil

        Based on your logic, if a member of your family molests a child, you will denounce and leave your family including changing your name. If you don't, then you too, along with everyone else in your family must be a child molester as well. Great logic there bud.

        July 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
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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.