September 19th, 2013
11:01 AM ET

Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

By Eric Marrapodi and Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief'][twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Pope Francis said the church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.

In a wide-ranging interview published Thursday, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.

Moreover, if the church fails to find a "new balance" between its spiritual and political missions, the pope warned, its moral foundation will "fall like a house of cards."

The interview, released by Jesuit magazines in several different languages and 16 countries on Thursday, offers perhaps the most expansive and in-depth view of Francis' vision for the Roman Catholic Church.

The pope's comments don't break with Catholic doctrine or policy, but instead show a shift in approach, moving from censure to engagement.

Elected in March with the expectation that he would try to reform the Vatican, an institution that many observers say is riven by corruption and turf wars, Francis said his first mission is to change the church's "attitude."

"The church has sometimes locked itself up in small things," the pope said, "in small-minded rules."

"The people of God want pastors," Francis continued, "not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials."

MORE ON CNN: New interview shows why the pope is so beloved 

The interview was conducted by the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit journal based in Rome, over three meetings this August at Francis' apartment in Rome.

The pope approved the transcript in Italian, according to America magazine, a Jesuit journal based in New York that initiated the interview and supervised its translation into English.

Advance copies of the interview were provided to several news organizations, including CNN.

Jesuits from around the world submitted questions to Spadaro. Francis answered them with the frankness that has become a hallmark of his young papacy.

To begin the interview, Spadoro bluntly asks, "Who is Jorge Mario Bergolio?" - Francis's name before he was elected pope.

"I am a sinner," the pope answers. "This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”

The pope didn't mention any particular sins, and Catholic theology holds that all humans are sinners, a consequence of Adam and Eve's original transgression. Still, a pope describing himself foremost as "sinner" is striking.

MORE ON CNN: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

Offering new glimpses of his personal life, Francis said he prays at the dentist's office and felt trapped in the Vatican's traditional papal apartments. (He moved to a smaller one in a nearby building.) He has a taste for tragic artists and Italian films and keeps the will of his beloved grandmother in his prayerbook.

But it was the pope's vision for the church's future  - painted in broad strokes - that's sure to rile or inspire Catholics, depending on which side of the church they sit.

Here are some highlights:

On Women

In July, Francis said, emphatically, that the "door is closed," on women's ordination, a statement that disappointed many Catholic liberals.

But that doesn't mean the church should consider women secondary or inferior, Francis said. "The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions," he told Spadora.

Francis also called on Catholics to think hard about the function of women in the church.

"Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed," the pope said. "The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role."

On Homosexuality 

When Francis was a bishop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he received letters from gays and lesbians who said they were "socially wounded" by the church, he said.

"But the church does not want to do this," Francis said in the interview.

The pope then recalled his comments in July, when he told the media aboard a flight to Rome, "Who am I to judge" gay people?

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'

"By saying this, I said what the catechism says," the pope told Spadaro. The catechism, the Catholic Church's book of official doctrine, condemns homosexual acts, but says gays and lesbians "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity."

"Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person."

Francis said that someone once asked him if he "approved" of homosexuality.

"I replied with another question," he said. "`Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being."

Abortion, gay marriage and contraception 

Some American Catholics grumble that Francis has been largely silent on signature Catholic political issues.

"I’m a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn’t, at least that I’m aware of, said much about unborn children, about abortion, and many people have noticed that," Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, said earlier this month.

Francis said that he's aware of the criticism, but he is not going to change.

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," he told his Jesuit interviewer. "I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that."

But the pope said the church's teachings on those issue are clear, and he clearly believes in those teachings, so what else is there to say?

"It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," Francis said.

False prophets and quick decisions

Only false prophets claim to have all the answers, Francis said.

"The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt," he said. "You must leave room for the Lord."

But church leaders, including himself, haven't always practiced humility, the pope admitted.

Many of the bad decisions he made while leading Catholics in Argentina came about because of  his "authoritarianism and quick manner of making decisions," the pope said.

That won't happen again, Francis said, as he begins to steer the church in a new direction.

He didn't offer an exact course, but he said change will come. Sooner or later.

"Many think that changes and reforms can take place in a short time," he said. "I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change. And this is the time of discernment."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Gay rights • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,625 Responses)
  1. freetime

    They should stop doing it then.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Captain Obvious

      *cues Christians spewing hate because of their phoney love for the World*

      September 19, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • snipesroy

        Yes...I hate the action of Pedophile priest. Guess you don't huh captain oblivious

        September 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • bspurloc

      they as in the Christian Taliban in the USA

      September 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  2. insertyourname

    Wow and people call catholicism Christianity..

    September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • meee

      It's the only Christianity. The rest separated from this Church and created religious sects.

      September 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • ltcolbob

        And the Roman Catholic's broke away from the Orthodox Church in 1054, let's not forget.

        September 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • B

          Actually you are incorrect. The Eastern Church became the Greek Orthodox Church by severing all ties with Rome and the Roman Catholic Church — from the pope to the Holy Roman Emperor on down.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • macbaldy

          The separation of the Orthodox churches happened in the first few centuries AD.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • Alan

          ...........it was the Orthodox Church that broke away from Rome and started its own cult..........Get your facts straight!

          September 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • Carbonman

        Christianity is just another sect of Judaism – it uses the Jewish Bible and merely adds to it with another pile of writings.

        September 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • poodingo

        Ask th pope if you can smell his fingers. Mmmm that is the smell of the boy's choir. XD

        September 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chaz

      Catholics are not Christians. They do not accept that Jesus died for our sins and we are all forgiven. They do not accept that Jesus rose from the dead. To them, he is still on that cross

      September 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
      • David

        This is a VERY ignorant statement.

        September 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
      • zeez

        might be one of the dumbest things i've read today.

        September 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • Jeff

        You're kidding right ... without there Roman Catholic Church where would be NO christianity of any type. Read some history.

        September 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • popeisantichrist

          Actually there would have been no Christian massacre's, read Foxes book of marters you fool.

          September 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • macbaldy

        Total misinformation. You must not have ever been a Catholic.

        September 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • Creole

        Huh....... say What?????? You have missed the boat on this one!

        September 19, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • crispy1

        Actually, I have been a Catholic my entire 45 years and, for as long as I can remember, I was taught that Christ came to save us from sin, suffered and died for those sins and on the 3rd day rose from the dead. He will return to judge the living and the dead. Unfortunately, yours is another example of the inaccuracies that are taught by your own religious leaders in order to prove their superiority. We all believe in Christ, we should all be following His teachings, we should all love each other as He taught us to, not fight over what He should be left to judge.

        September 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
      • Steve

        Do you know who is catholic we speak about?

        September 20, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • Sam Yaza

      I love it when the Christians fight each-other its lie, no i,m the true Christianity.... no i am. its also fun watching the Jews Islamist and Christians go to war over, his name is Jesus,.... no its Yahweh,... no its Allah

      makes my job just so easy.

      September 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  3. Agnostic-Athiest

    I f'n LOVE this pope

    September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • DragonGhostHunter

      are you being sarcastic?

      September 19, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • Agnostic-Athiest

        Not in the least... he's the first Catholic in a long time to not make me cringe.

        September 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • B

          So no Catholics have done any good deeds in a while? It is the biggest worldwide religion in the universe. Catholics have been doing good for years. And please enlighten me on what a agnostic-atheist is?

          September 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Non-Catholic Christian

          Don't worry. I understand what you mean, my friend. It's not like Pope Francis doesn't hold a lot of the same views as the rest of the Church, but he chooses to focus on love and understanding and less on divisive issues. Some might look at this as weakness, but I think that is a genuine loving and humble nature being exhibited.

          September 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Agnostic-Athiest

          Agnostic – a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not

          Atheist – a person who believes that God does not exist

          Agnostic-Athiest – a person who doesn't have the hubris to 100% deny the existence of God but is pretty sure he is the lead character in a great novel. Also has a tendancy to type too quickly and switch letters 😛

          Am I saying there are NO catholics who do good work, no. But the vast majority of catholics (and evangelicals) seem to be more interested in fitting the views that make themselves seem amazing and allow them to look down on others. Pope Francis is to me the first inclusive level headed figurehead of a major religion I remember.

          The bible has some great stories/parables, and the new testament has some fantastic lessons about how to treat people and strive to be a great person. but most of it seems to be forgotten in the rush to judge and dehumanize people who differ slightly from your worldview.

          I'd be proud as hell to raise a child with true christian values, I just hope they aren't christian.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
        • Agnostic-Atheist

          Also, I do recognize the irony in dehumanizing christians for dehumanizing others. 😛

          September 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • Justin


          Speaking with love: I wanted to point out that we're told in the Bible that we separated from God the Father when we did something He didn't want us to as well as told about pride being why people deny Him.

          Keeping that in mind, think of a young adult who moves into an apartment at too young of an age. Right after they move in, are they not saying things that atheists are saying? (I'm doing things on my... own. I'm not depending on anyone. I'm providing myself with all that I need.)

          Now go to the time at which the young adult needs more money so that they can continue staying in the apartment, but no one will loan them any. At this time are they not saying what agnostics are saying? (I don't know what to do. I'm just going to play this out and see what happens.)

          The young adult has to let go of their pride to get back with their parents and have a relationship with them again. We have to let go of our pride to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior... and, through Him have a relationship with God the Father again.

          While the young adult is on their journey their eyes are closed mentally and, at the same time, there is a thick cloud in front of their eyes. When they move back in their eyes immediately open and the cloud begins to slowly... thin out. Due to this the young adult can sense that moving back in was the right thing to do, but they do not know... that it was. More and more as time progresses though, the cloud gets thinner. Due to this the young adult sees more and more of what was going on and eventually does know... that they did the right thing.

          Prior to accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior your eyes are closed spiritually and, at the same time, there is a thick cloud in front of your eyes. When you accept Christ your eyes immediately open and the cloud begins to slowly... thin out. Due to this you can sense that you did the right thing, but do not know... that it was. More and more as time progresses though, the cloud will get thinner. Due to this you will see more and more of what was going on and eventually you will know... that you did right thing.

          September 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • Sam Yaza


          .... It is the biggest worldwide religion in the universe.

          now that cant be true, i have been to several galaxies and worlds and i can tell you the Church of Zodd is by fare the biggest, they actually have the teaching of promoting science and spreading across the stars there teaching of Reason

          September 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Lindalou

      Totally agree! He's the first pope to stand up to the good old boys club and tell them to connect with the 21st century. I truly admire his bravery for taking this stand. If they can impeach him, or whatever the process would be called, they probably will.

      September 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Creole

      Totally agree with you; used to be a"catholic" and go to Church faithfully ; all that changed when I embraced a Spiritual life meaning loving myself and others, NOT judging anyone; being compassionate , helpful and so forth; seeing God in everyone and everything!

      September 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Mark

      If you want to challenge your beliefs (or lack thereof) visit be4thefire.com and look at the Vatican exposed section. watch the other videos if your heart leads you to do so.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  4. TARAN

    As a catholic straight man, this is very worrisome to me. How is this any different than saying the church should have no saying on someone who takes their own life. Who is the church to judge the individual and the reasons for taking their own life. The chuch should take a stand on marriage and the values that the ability to create life bring to society. This is very disappointing and shows the increased fall of religion in this world.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • DM158

      "Who is the church to judge". Why shouldn't that apply to gay people as well?

      September 19, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • rob

        Remember what God did to Sodom and Gomorra, God is the same yesterday, today and tommorrow, and forever more/ His views wont ever change

        September 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Nunya

          Yes, remember what he did. And make sure that you read it and understand why he did it, rather than read Sunday school children's stories that have been written by people applying their own interpretations of it. It also doesn't hurt to wake up to the fact that whatever God did there, it wasn't you and you are not approved to do likewise.

          September 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • bczu

      How do you make that jump from gays to suicide?

      September 19, 2013 at 11:29 am |
      • bczu

        Oh, and marriage isnt a Christian right, or a religious right for that matter.

        September 19, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • PhilOiseaubay

          Marriage or coupling was around long before organized religion. I wish you fundamentalists would stop asserting the fallacy that marriage arose from religion. You also spread false fear that your particular (among hundreds of) religious sect would be forced to perform gay marriage; that would be done willingly by a progressive sect or by the jurisdictions list of qualified officials like mayor of justice of the peace.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • TARAN

        well if the church is not going to take a stand on gays, then why should the church take a stand on suicide?

        September 19, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • Jo

          I'm not Catholic and don't plan to be, but I do agree with you, Taran. I would much MUCH prefer that someone takes a stand, ANY stand, and try to defend it (and that goes for most any subject), than just simply wimp out and say one shouldn't 'judge' or 'throw stones' or say 'we're all sinners'.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • bczu

          What the heck kind of logic is that? Because they dont take a stand on one thing, then every other thing you can possibly think of they will let slide as well?

          September 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • norman

      Taran, hes a lot smarter than you-religion is dying in the western world because of the ancient fairy tale judgements-this is the ONLY way for the church to live on

      September 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • lkjgyjfuf

      You just want to feel privileged and special. Tough.

      September 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Aunt Sis

      Respectfully, sir, the Church already has doctrine and has taken a stand on these issues. The Pope is not negating any of those doctrines. What I hear him saying is that the doctrines are there in black and white and for everyone to read for themselves; and that he finds grinding over the same things over and over again does not improve the lives of people who are struggling with these issues. I hear him calling for all of us to be more loving and compassionate and to be less judgmental. I hear him saying that the Church has set the policy and that God is the ultimate judge. Our job is to be loving and compassionate and to try to understand the struggle of others. Peace be with you.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • ZapTheSheep

        Thank you, ma'am. That was one of the nicest comments I have read on here in a long while. The Church and its doctrines are unfeeling objects. We are people. There is always doubt. It is in the moments of doubt that we either embrace faith or reject it. This Pope is a decent person who wants us to be decent to each other. Acts of good and kindness are a better way to heaven than being self-righteous and strict adherents to millennium old doctrines.

        Again, thank you!

        September 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • TARAN

          Those millinium old doctrines are very important to me and my faith. I am not trying to judge anyone. It makes no matter to me how you spend your time. The issues arise in my own personal life, when everything i have been taught and learned about my religion is allowed to change because of the views of society. The catholic religion is not based on these principles. A guy on here stated that the pope is smarter than me.. I have no doubt about that, but i still have the right to stand up for the faith that I was raised in the values in which my parents instilled in me. In a nutshell, i just religiously do not believe a person should lie down with one of the same nature. The lord provided us with this eden to promote life. Why else are we here. To populate the next generations. We are here to have offspring and carry on life.. I understand that is not for everyone but this does not mean that it should be acceptable to lie down with someone of same nature. Look at two things that have changed dramaticlly. There has been a drastic increase in the number on gays and lesbians, and a dramatic decrease in the number of priests and nuns. I am not saying that those individuals with altering male and female attributes should follow the path of christ, but also a man born with female tendencies should not condem himself to lying down with another man. Companionship can be found in many different avenues, all i am asking is on the one thing that I rely on to stay true; to do just that stay true to the teachings and doctrines that the church was founded. The words of the lord do not change because the views of society change. Thank you for you time and god bless all of those with confidence enough to speak their mind.

          September 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Nunya

          Except what you've been taught as religion already was changed by the views of society – before you or your parents ever were born. What you've been taught bears limited resemblance to what was taught 2000 years ago. God and God's words may not change, but humans' interpretation of them does significantly.

          September 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Creole

          And Thanks to you for making it clear to everyone; as individuals we must do our best to change our way of thinking and how we see each other.

          September 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • John

      The church does teach it is wrong and it will continue to teach that gay behavior is wrong but it is not the role of the church to condemn a person banish a person. We should pray for that person and that person like all others will be judged by our maker. I say this as a devout Catholic

      September 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • ChristJones

      It is my understanding the church does have these opinions. I think this pope is just more concerned with servicing peoples souls than their social or political agendas. Secondly when some group tries to claim they are on the same side as the church because they have the same social or political agenda I think this pope sees that as usury. Ultimately he is concerned with aiding peoples personal relationship to GOD if he can guide them through "rule" great, but there are other means to show people Gods love.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • BT

      As a fellow straight Catholic man, I didn't read the Pope's statement as that at all. If you'd read the interview, instead of just a CNN puff piece on the matter, you would probably understand his position better. The Pope asserts that The Church has it's doctrine, it's very clear and has been for centuries, and it's not going to change. But he's encouraging us to live up to the values of our Church: to live with Faith, Hope and Charity, and accept even those who we view as living in sin with with an open heart and show them the same compassion we do other sinners.
      The Pope is saying it's the act, not the person, that is a sin. We don't excommunicate murderers, we don't shut out people who commit adultery, and we shouldn't expel someone from the Church simply because of who they are.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • JDinHouston

      As a Catholic you should know that you learn from our Pope, and he sets the direction for our Church. This is a truly wise man, on more than just this issue, let his wisdom and virtue become yours.

      September 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
      • Creole

        "Setting direction=control"

        September 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • Mark

      If you really want to understand the catholic church, and the spirit behind it, visit be4thefire.com. Check out the Vatican exposed link, and all other videos as your heart desires.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:06 am |
  5. markusw2006

    *Grabs popcorn and waits for the comment section to blow up*

    September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • HamsterDancer

      LMAO! So right!

      September 19, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  6. John

    Attention all Christians: We're all God in disguise. Get over it 🙂

    Alan Watts: What to tell children about God and The Universe

    There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. But just as the hour-hand of the watch goes up to twelve and down to six, so, too, there is day and night, waking and sleeping, living and dying, summer and winter. You can’t have any one of these without the other, because you wouldn’t be able to know what black is unless you had seen it side by side with white, or white unless side by side with black.
    In the same way, there are times when the world is, and times when it isn’t, for if the world went on and on without rest forever and ever, it would get horribly tired of itself. It comes and it goes. Now you see it; now you don’t. So because it doesn’t get tired of itself, it always comes back again after it disappears. It’s like your breath: it goes in and out, in and out, and if you try to hold it in all the time you feel terrible. It’s also like the game of hide-and-seek, because it’s always fun to find new ways of hiding, and to seek for someone who doesn’t always hide in the same place.
    God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, He has no one but himself to play with. But He gets over this difficulty by pretending that He is not Himself. This is His way of hiding from Himself. He pretends that He is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way He has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when He wakes up they will disappear.
    Now when God plays hide and pretends that He is you and I, He does it so well that it takes Him a long time to remember where and how He hid Himself. But that’s the whole fun of it-just what He wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find Himself out too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be Himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self-the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.
    Of course, you must remember that God isn’t shaped like a person. People have skins and there is always something outside our skins. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t know the difference between what is inside and outside our bodies. But God has no skin and no shape because there isn’t any outside to Him. . . . The inside and the outside of God are the same. And though I have been talking about God as ‘He’ and not ’she,’ God isn’t a man or a woman. I didn’t say ‘it’ because we usually say ‘it’ for things that aren’t alive.
    God is the Self of the world, but you can’t see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can’t see your own eyes, and you certainly can’t bite your own teeth or look inside your head. Your self is that cleverly hidden because it is God hiding.
    You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that He isn’t really doing this to anyone but Himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.

    ~Alan Watts

    September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • HamsterDancer

      That is pretty much the thoughts and ideas I have about the world. I wouldn't preach it or teach it to anybody but it is my own way of answering the deep questions you think about as you stare at the ceiling in your bedroom while falling asleep.
      Is it right? Is it wrong? As much as anybody says they know the truth I don't think anybody encased in flesh and blood really knows but its what works for me.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • BA

      Unfortunately for Alan, because of Entropy, Radiation Afterglow, the expansion of space of itself and other measurable factors we know the most reasonable explanation with the best available evidence is the universe (and therefore, world) began at some point. How and why are what people debate ...

      September 19, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • ChristJones


        September 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Magister

      I love people like you, who proceed from the assumption that they're all knowing. You don't know DIDDLY about the beginning of the Cosmos or its end, and neither did Alan Watts. Know why? YOU WERE NOT THERE. I'm no Creationist, before you send me death threats. What I'm saying is you do not know how it all began. You were not there, and only empirical experience really matters, not, "My but I'm feeling cosmic, so let me pontificate to the ignorant masses!"

      "Let thy tongue be silent on the things thou knowest not of, lest thou lookest like an ass" Me 1:1

      September 19, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • HamsterDancer

        Nobody knows and most likely nobody will ever know all the answers. This was just the speculations of a philosopher on the subject. I don't think you or I or anybody should take this as THE truth about the nature of the cosmos. The most logical approach is the scientific way with hypothesis, experimentation, and scientific theories that work for the available data but should always be open for possible change.
        Wondering about if there is a Prime Mover to everything is just one of those things human beings en masse think about. But at this time there really isn't anything to observe or experiment on to test any hypothesis so it is open to speculation. For me the ideas stated jib with my thoughts on the subject. I've got no clue if they are right or wrong.

        September 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • joe

        What I'm saying is you do not know how it all began. You were not there, a
        Do you have to be there to know how a murder was committed? To know how the dinosaurs went extinct?

        It is science and you don't have to be there to understand how it happened.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • ChristJones

        " It is better to remain silent and thought the fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

        Samuel Clemens

        September 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Jesus Loves You

      Jesus died on the cross for your sins and He rose again from the dead. It is your choice to accept His gift of salvation or not. No matter what you believe you cannot change the fact that Jesus was born on earth and became a living sacrifice. There are so many writers who wrote about Him, so many changed lives , so many miracles time after time. Even a few decades after His resurrection, the world was turned upside down because of His teachings and changed lives. The greatest human government at that time was even threatened of His teachings that's why there were so Christian martyrs that gave up their lives and did not renounce their faith.

      You can believe whatever you want to believe but you cannot stop Jesus from coming back to earth.
      When He comes you better get ready as that time because ...
      every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
      and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

      You cannot change this reality. You have a choice... fullness of life that Jesus offers or be with the devil and demons who rejected him.

      September 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • David Camden

        ...perfectly said. Thank you.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • edward

        First century believers (they were not christians at that point) fought about God's dying and resurrecting. Savior Gods were common. So why the fight? Because immortal beings that created everything can not die. Therefore there is no sacrifice. It's like saying Bill Gates sacrificed a penny at the convenience store so that the next person would not be short. Gods have infinite life, dying is impossible. But of course it took 500 years to finally hash out what jesus was what God was and this handy dandy holy spirit thing was. What you believe now is not what people in the first century believed.

        As a matter of fact, Paul knows NOTHING about a living breathing miracle doing Jesus.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • TMV

        Looks like someone drank too much Kool-Aid. I'll let you in on a little secret...It's all fairy tales. YES! It's true. You've been lied to. over and over and over and over so many times that you believe it. you even feel it with every fiber in your bone. that's what 2000+ year old brainwashing will do for you.

        September 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Carbonman

          You mean 5774 year old brainwashing.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • TruthandConsequence

          You poor little man! Your own attempt at brainwashing seems weak and feeble...but cling to it, if you will.

          September 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
      • Simon

        As heartfelt as your beliefs are, they are just that, beliefs. Not facts. By asserting they are facts you are essentially telling me I should share them. In fact that I MUST share them, because they are true whether I think they are or not. Prove they are true and you might have a shot.

        September 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
        • TruthandConsequence

          Looking for a sign are we? There are many signs and many proofs, but you do not see them. Your heart is blinded.

          September 19, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • meee

      They have lied to you.

      September 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Michael Marcantel

      What a bunch of crap!

      September 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Mark

      If you really want to understand the catholic church, and the spirit behind it, visit be4thefire.com. Check out the Vatican exposed link, and all other videos as your heart desires.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  7. arthur

    The church is finally making some sense even though 1. It is a sad attempt to stay with the times. 2. Those attempts are small...

    September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Magister

      I wouldn't know. It's not my place to judge the Pope.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:58 am |
  8. jamesfield74

    This may be one of the greatest men, and minds, in modern times. I certainly hope people heed his messages. Bravo!

    September 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • humanone

      And Obama received the Nobel Peace prize. Time will tell.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • jamesfield74

        Somehow the correlation you seem to have made escapes me. What you are referring to is an award given by an international conglomerate with little literal hold in the world. The other is the leader of one of the largest organizations in the world. Don't see a connection.

        September 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Chris

          Obama isn't the leader of one of the largest organizations in the world?

          September 19, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Magister

          I think what he's saying is why would you want the Pope to receive the Nobel since, by being awarded to Obama, it has demonstrated itself to be of little value?

          September 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Simon

          Magister That's President Obama. I don't like Nixon but I'll give him the respect of the office.

          September 19, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  9. Lean6

    Now I know why the Pope Mobile is bullet-proof. The holiest of the holy Catholics are going to want to prey for him for sure.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  10. notaposter

    I like this guy.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  11. Fred Evil

    Those echoing booms are the exploding heads of every Xtian in the US.
    This Pope is actually doing his religion some justice.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • maggiemct

      Fred, the only heads exploding are those of the pretend Christians. The real ones love this guy.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • Fred Evil

        Precisely, hence the use of the colloquial 'Xtians.'
        Real CHRISTIANS are unfortunately few and far between these days, as is readily evidenced by the judgement and vitriol being spewed by said Xtians in this forum.
        If more Xtians acted in a Christ-like manner, they would have far better reputations.

        September 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  12. Marco

    Church shouldn't interfere with ANYTHING that ANYBODY wants to do. Period.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • What


      September 19, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • SayNotoOrganizedReligion

      Church is a business and your absolute conformance is their source of revenue and pope is the CEO. Say no to organized religion. Free yourself from the clutches of the Church!

      September 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Beth

      It doesn't if you're not catholic...it's an easy choice

      September 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  13. Leftcoastrocky

    "The pope's comments don't break with Catholic doctrine or policy" - it is time for Catholic doctrine and policy to change and to not discriminate against gays in any way

    September 19, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • JOHN

      Lack of approval is not discrimination.

      September 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  14. Steve R

    I'm really starting to like this guy.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  15. Kenny Howard

    You know what? I kind of like this guy.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  16. pmickelson

    -Have to love this new pope, a LOT better than the last one. Not to say I am for or against gay rights, but tolerance has to be the way of the future !!!

    September 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  17. Martin Angell

    This pope despises the word of God and hates the work of the Holy Spirit. New answer to the age-old question–is the pope Catholic? New answer: I don't think so...

    September 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Marco

      I'm sorry to burst your bubble but the story says that, when they meet to elect a new pope, god already picked, they just pray for him to give them the one. So in your world of fantasy, god himself picked this guy.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Kevin

        Not sure where you got that idea, Marco. Catholic belief is the cardinals who elect him are guided by the Holy Ghost. However, they don't lose their free will and can, therefore, make mistakes. Am not saying they have with this current pope. Just clarifying the point.

        September 19, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Fred Evil

          So you're saying the Christian god has so little influence, she can't even hire the guy she really wants to be her mouthpiece?
          Wow, that takes some serious FAITH.

          September 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • Kevin

          @FredEvil. No. I'm not actually saying that. It's a very basic tenet of Christianity (and Judaism, I think) that God gave us free will. He doesn't generally change His Mind so when it comes to decisions like choosing a new pope, God allows the exercise of that free will gift.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Fred Evil

          I'm familiar with the concept of 'free will.' It seems an awfully convenient out.
          When the right thing happens, then 'prayer works,' when the wrong thing happens, it's 'free will.'

          September 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Kevin

          @FredEvil. God is good that way. 🙂 Actually, you might not be as familiar w/the concept as you think. Good and bad happens and it's the will of God but men and woman always retain free will and have the choice to pray for and accept the promptings of grace to the right thing or say no and do what's bad, i.e., sin.
          Hope that helps clarify things.

          September 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Marco

          Well in theory, the Holy Ghost and God are the same thing. And I got it from an interview to the arch bishop of New York, who was there and was in fact a candidate to be elected as new pope. So tell him his wrong.

          September 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Brian

      I love that he is so inclusive in his teaching, even towards people who are not (hint, hint). It kind of reminds me of someone...

      September 19, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • The Emperor

      Let the hate flow through you...

      September 19, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • MvFwrd

      Age old question? I am not gay nor part of any special intrest groups but this Pope is actually demonstrating what the New Testament and Christ teaches... love without prejudice. Should the Pope be using the age old method of the Catholic Church, e.g., inquisition? Religion should not be forced it should be a choice. We need to stop the age old turmoil and not create new ones.., and that's what he is trying to do.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:42 am |
      • Mark

        If you really want to understand the catholic church, and the spirit behind it, visit be4thefire.com. Check out the Vatican exposed link, and all other videos as your heart desires. Remember, the same spirit that built the Vatican is working through this Pope. Watch the videos, and decide for yourself if the Pope is spreading false doctrine that will lead people into Hell.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  18. Futurewizard

    Agree Pope, it does make sense. Spirituality is personal and very private to a person.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  19. Tensnake

    Who cares?

    September 19, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  20. David

    Hope the changes are Christ centered.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Futurewizard

      @ David, I'm sure, David, Christ never wanted him to get worshiped and his name used as weapon by some smart individuals.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • John 14:6

        Well, you seem to know Christ, let us know what He revealed to you about Himself.

        September 19, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • bczu

          Let me know if he reviewed that book you claim is his word. Even though it was written after his death. (A few hundred years after)

          September 19, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Mark

          If you have not yet made the attempt to seek Him, now is the time for you to seek the truth!

          Better late than never and before it gets too late for ya!

          September 19, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • bczu

          I mean, Christ said he would come back during the time of his disciples. Its been over 2,000 years. Maybe you should wise up...

          September 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Captain Obvious

      Christ spent most of his time hangin' out with 12 dudes.

      Just sayin'

      September 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • bczu

        And a prost itute, cant forget the prost itute.

        September 19, 2013 at 11:36 am |
        • Mark

          What you see in a pro s t I t ute is disdain and your pathetic contempt.

          What He sees is a person just like any another that needs to be loved, respected and needs to have an eternal life which comes only by trusting HIM.

          September 19, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • MvFwrd

          Give us the chapter and verse where it says that she was...

          September 19, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • bczu

          MvFrwd, Hey, a lot of things were left out of the Bible. Like Eve was not the first woman created by God. If you need confirmation from a book written by people who didnt even live at the time of Jesus, you're lost.

          September 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • numbnut

          I heard he married this pros-ti-tute and possibly had a kid with her. Am I the only one who read "The DaVinci Code"?

          September 19, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Mark

        Christ spent a lot of His time amongst the poor, the down trodden, the sick and above else those that needed Hope and what a transformation He made in their lives, not to mention the 12 that were chosen who went on to become great ambassadors for Christ.

        September 19, 2013 at 11:50 am |
      • Jesus Loves You

        God knows what's in your heart. You are full of vile and blasphemous spirit. You better repent if you still be given a chance. Before when Jesus closes that door for you, sorry what's going to happen to you. The people who were following Jesus were sinners who accepted Him as Lord and Savior and their lives were changed. Jesus is offering His salvation to anybody who will accept Him. Time is running short, you will never know you may die today. Jesus said. He is knocking to the door of your heart and if you open that door and let Him in you will dine with Him but if you rejects Him you are choosing your only eternal destination. Choose between life and death. You are a human and your ancestors were not apes and monkeys.

        Jesus died on the cross for your sins and He rose again from the dead. It is your choice to accept His gift of salvation or not. No matter what you believe you cannot change the fact that Jesus was born on earth and became a living sacrifice. There are so many writers who wrote about Him, so many changed lives , so many miracles time after time. Even a few decades after His resurrection, the world was turned upside down because of His teachings and changed lives. The greatest human government at that time was even threatened of His teachings that's why there were so Christian martyrs that gave up their lives and did not renounce their faith.

        You can believe whatever you want to believe but you cannot stop Jesus from coming back to earth.
        When He comes you better get ready as that time because ...
        every knee should bow,
        in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
        and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

        You cannot change this reality. You have a choice... fullness of life that Jesus offers or be with the devil and demons who rejected him.

        September 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • Rob McCall

          How's that Kool-Aid taste?

          September 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Church of Suicidal

          Jesus Loves You....but YOUR GONNA BURN! BURN YOU SINNER, BURN!

          September 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Church of Suicidal


          September 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • bczu

          It's cool, I can just say "my bad" a minute before I die and all is forgiven. Even if I murder hundreds of people. However, if I live a good life, help my fellow man and do not accept Jesus as my savior, I go to he**. Makes complete sense! And hey, God created me this way, he knew what I would become, so if I go to hell, he created me to go to hell.

          September 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Jesus Loves You

          If you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, how is it possible that you will continually sin. He paid the price for you. God cannot be mocked He knows your innermost thoughts and intentions. If you are really seeking God you will find Him. The gift of salvation is there but how can you have it and if you do not want to take it. Before you take the gift , the gift has the condition. Whosoever Believes in Him. Believing in Him means you believe His Words which means you will follow Him and His Words. He will be your Lord and the same time as your Savior as He promised.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • bczu

          Do you ever notice that you sound like someone brainwashed by a cult...

          September 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • Jesus Loves You

          You can call me whatever you want but bottom line is I am a follower of Christ. Jesus was not liked by everybody so the same as His followers. God is offering His love and we believe we as true Christians are just vessels that can be used for the sharing of God's love and His Words.

          No matter what you call us... Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. If you really seek Him, time will come you will find Him. One soul is so important to God. That's why you combine the total wealth of this world is still not comparable to one soul as Jesus said....

          For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

          September 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • JDinHouston

          I have always been taught that my Pope is infallible in his guidance of the Church. Who are you to tell me you know more than my Pope about what God or Jesus want? I will take the wisdom of my Pope over your blathering every day. This Pope has shown the true love of God in that we are truly all his children, athiests, gays, the poor, the hated, doesn't matter. You try to use the Word to push your own hate, like so many others, and that is not the will of God.

          September 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
        • Jesus Loves You

          The pope cannot save you, Jesus can. What I was sharing are not my words but Words from the scripture. You follow the pope then you are following a sinner as he already claimed he is. Can a blind lead another blind and reach their destination. Try the bible, try Jesus. Read the book of John but first pray earnestly and seek Him and He will reveal Himself to you. God loves you and Jesus paid the price for your sins and the pope's sin. If you follow the pope not Jesus you will die in your sins.

          September 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • rusty66

          To arrogate to one's self the fullness of the knowledge of the mind of God is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit ... and yes, that includes arrogant popes (not the present one) as well.

          September 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • Rob McCall

        Hey now, there were ladies there ... cooking and cleaning up for 13 homeless moochers.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • Mark

        Christ spent a lot of His time amongst the poor, down trodden, sick and above all else with those that needed Hope,
        and what a transformation He made in their lives!!!

        Not to mention the 12 that were chosen who went on to become great ambassadors for Christ.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • bspurloc

        dont forget they had goats and Poppi seeds...

        September 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
      • Mark

        If you really want to understand the catholic church, and the spirit behind it, visit be4thefire.com. Check out the Vatican exposed link, and all other videos as your heart desires. Remember, the same spirit that built the Vatican is working through this Pope. Watch the videos, and decide for yourself if the Pope is spreading false doctrine that will lead people into Hell.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:12 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.