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. sylvia

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

    Well said. I like this guy.

    September 20, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Pete

      Well, that covers every televangelist, and most evangelical leaders as well.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Russ

      @ sylvia: Jesus not only claimed to have all the answers, he claimed to BE the Answer.
      would Francis call Jesus a false prophet?

      September 20, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Dobbsian

        I am The Answer. See, there, Russ. I claimed it and it's in print so it must be true.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:27 am |
        • Russ

          @ Dobbsian: hopefully you get the irony of the Pope's argument failing to account for the One he claims to worship...

          recognizing you do not share that sentiment: Jesus didn't just claim it, he rose from the dead. if that's not true, Christians are idiots (as Paul says in 1 Cor.15). if it is true, however... then what else would you call him than THE Answer?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:57 am |
        • Dobbsian

          I'd call him a long dead and rotted away guy who never was a "god".

          September 20, 2013 at 11:51 am |
      • Ken

        When he uses "prophet" doesn't he obviously mean what Paul meant; people teaching a false message about Christ?

        September 20, 2013 at 10:32 am |
        • Russ

          @ Ken: that's not what he said.
          he said: "only a false prophet claims to have all the answers."
          Jesus clearly claimed to have all the answers. He claimed to be God incarnate.
          that's a pretty MAJOR exception to the Pope's statement, is it not?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  2. The Anti-Pope

    Why can't he just mind his own business and pray or whatever it is popes do? It's all just a ruse to recruit new cult members. He's working PR just like a Kardashian.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      He is doing what popes do. Taking the Gospel into the world.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:56 am |
      • The Anti-Pope

        Don't be naive. There's no "gospel" in any of his statements. He's making a political statement and passing judgement for which he has no authority outside of his sect.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:29 am |
      • OKfine

        Hey BD, do you think the gay lobby in the Vatican just told Francis to butt out, so to speak. More good news in my area two more catholic churches have been torn down to be replaced by rental housing.

        September 20, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • Mitt Mattingly

        And his quiet, humble way really resonates with people. You don't have to be Catholic to appreciate this man.

        September 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Just sayin'

      He is the designated spiritual leader of over 1/5 of the world's population. If course he's going to provide guidance and inspire.

      What has your leader done recently?

      September 20, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  3. Bob

    First we had a string of 3 articles about con artist televangelist Rick Warren, mainly re his personal life. Next up, two in a row about the crossdressing (nice dress, Francis...) head of a blood cult that is dying out fast and headed for oblivion (and never should have existed).

    CNN, what next? Shall we expect a blog post article about the Pope's views on salacious uses of peanut butter?

    September 20, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I always think it's funny when people who are verbally pro-gay think it's an insult to call clerical vestments dresses.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • Helen

        He didn't say it was an insult and it might not have been at all. Perhaps he was just pointing out that the Pope's own vestments are se.xually rather ambiguous. Aren't you being a a bit jumpy, Bill Deacon? Too much coffee early on a Friday, perhaps?

        The peanut butter bit was funny anyhow. In a tasteful sort of way.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Dobbsian

          Boof Deacon just likes to jump on people from behind.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:24 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          If I insult you but don't say it's an insult then it's ok? Where's Miss Manners when we need her?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Helen

          I'm questioning your interpretation that it is an insult or intended as such. And your judgement of another; aren't you not supposed to do that?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          I say if you can't interpret that Bob offered the "dress" comment as an insult then I'm not sure we can have a productive discussion.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • sam stone

        i find if funny that people who purport to follow god's morals will allow others to take the punishment they feel they themselelves deserve

        September 20, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

          September 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Boof

          So what? Were you?

          September 21, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Robert

      Funny trendspotting, Bob. Looking back further one can see similar.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  4. palintwit

    Sarah Palin is hosting another book signing event this weekend. Tens of people are expected to show up.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • jens gessner

      Four were organizing the event,
      Two showed up for the free coffee,
      One just needed to use the washroom,
      One was lost and asked for directions,
      One thought he was talking to Tina Frey, and
      One asked Palin to sign her book – which took the rest of the evening.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  5. Salahuddin

    Read Saving Bill Murray

    September 20, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  6. Salahuddin

    Every Catholic, and Christian for that matter, should read the novel Saving Bill Murray by Joshua Lorenzo Newett

    September 20, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Bill Deacon


      September 20, 2013 at 9:41 am |
      • doobzz

        Why not, Boof? You recommend books all the time.

        September 21, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  7. Lawrence of Arabia

    Mirosal, the natural condition is het.ero.se.xuality since we're created either male or female... If ho.mose.xuality was the norm, then we'd all be born male... Or all be born female... People become "gay" when they choose to follow their proclivities towards sin and entice their lu.sts. And when lust is conceived it brings forth sin, and when sin is conceived, it brings forth death. Look at it like this, ho.mose.xuality can't be genetic, because the "gay gene" would have to be passed down from a parent who was also "gay." But since gay people don't generally have procreative relationships, then the gene would have died out after the first gay person failed to reproduce himself...

    September 20, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Sorry, I meant to post that as a response...

      September 20, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • A thought

      Agree, but why is the Church only focusing on this sin and not Divorce and its effect on family life. With 50% divorce rates why isn't there enough stress to condemn divorces equally???

      September 20, 2013 at 9:22 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        True enough, and I don't have an answer. I'm a Protestant, so I cannot answer for Catholicism, but as for the church I attend, we see to it to root out sin wherever it may be found. The Bible is repleat with messages about holiness "Be holy, for I am holy" but many modern churches refuse to pursue holiness.

        Most people don't like to travel down that road because they are afraid of what men may say to them. Perhaps the greater church has chosen a few "pet sins" because they are more "safe."

        September 20, 2013 at 9:25 am |
        • A thought

          In my opinion, divorce, adultery, lust, fo r nication are equally sinful and harmful to society. If you look at the quality of family life it is woefully poor because the Church has not addressed all this with equal gusto. There can be no justification of 'pet' sins where they are equally harmful.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:30 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Amen to that. If only the church body (for that is what is visible to the lost) would focus on preaching the 10 Commandments rather than preaching to the specific sin. The 10 Commandments reaches the root of the specific sin – the sin nature, and ALL are convicted by that.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:33 am |
        • Ken

          Remind me again, which of the commandments states "Thou shall not have se x with someone of your own gender"?

          The eleventh, perhaps?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Exodus 20:14, 7th Commandment – You shall not commit ad.ultery...
          So what is "ad.ultery?"
          Matthew 5:27-28 – "everyone who looks with lust has committed adultery already in his heart."
          See also 1 Timothy 1:10, Romans 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13
          and others if you're interested...

          September 20, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • Ken

          Lawrence of Arabia
          What does adultery specifically have to do with being gay? There are a great many gay couples who have happy, monogamous relationships. There would probably be more once they can be legally married throughout the entire country. Apples and oranges, my friend.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:29 am |
      • SoldierOfConscience

        Exactly. thats why I always said that
        1. We should get rid of no fault divorce, it should be only for abuse and adultery
        2. As a society we should discourage and shame s3x b4 marriage
        3. We should stop all killings of unb0rn children

        September 20, 2013 at 9:41 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          If you are not Catholic, you should consider converting.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          As someone who has been raising a family with the person to whom I've been happily unmarried for a long time, I'd like to point out that a religious ceremony is not required to have a healthy, loving, happy, supportive, life long relationship.
          As for your hard and fast stance regarding abortion, I think Sister Joan Chittister said it best:
          "I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

          September 20, 2013 at 9:57 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          Doc, the good Sister is resonating with what the pope has said. The churches teachings on abortion, the sanctiity of life, care for the poor, the death penalty and other issues are clear, concise and cohesive. Francis is bemoaning the fat that secular forces are keeping the heat turned up on issues on their agenda while other more important things languish.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • SoldierOfConscience

          Doc, I just dont believe its the "big gub-mint" 's job to feed, educate or house children or people. Government should be lean and mean. its the job of the parents to do that.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I'm not arguing that the good sister and the pope are singing the same song.
          The RCC isn't going to change its stance on any of the "hot button" issues.
          I also agree that especially in America, religion and politics have become hopelessly intertwined with the machinations of the latter maniupulating and/or obscuring the ethical goals of the former.
          SOC is making a call for legislation regarding these issues. He seem to want his morality to be enforced by the government.

          SOC – if you're going to force people to have children no matter what, I hope you're prepared to deal with the consequences. Do you know how many children there are awaiting adoption, for example?

          What would you do about the 11 year old Chilean girl who was impregnated by her father?
          Doctors have determined that neither the girl nor the baby's life is at extreme risk, so she has no choice but to become a mother before she gets to 6th grade.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • SoldierOfConscience

          Doc, saying "if you are going to force people to have children then support them" is akin to "if you are going to fire somebody because they arent working at the job then you have to support their family". Thats a natural consequence. "dont work" -> "be fired". similarly "have s3x" -> "get pregnant" -> "have baby" -> "support baby without big gubmint".

          September 20, 2013 at 10:16 am |
        • Observer


          EVERYONE supports abortion if things get bad enough.
          You also support divorce.

          Your thoughts aren't as black-and-white as you may think.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Ken

          Maybe you should invest in stone quarries then? 🙂


          September 20, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          A civil society helps to provide for those unable to support themselves.
          Would you do away with medicare and social security?
          Are you OK with your tax payer dollars going towards the incareration of non-violent, minor drug offenders?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:25 am |
        • jens gessner


          We know tbout 50% of all pregnancies end up in natural miscarriage during the first trimester; and an additional 25% of fertilized eggs fail to attach to the uterus wall.

          75% of all pregnancies fail 'naturally'. If you believe in a creator, you must concede that your God is responsible for a minimum of 75% of all failed pregnancies. Face it: Your God – should that deity really exist – is the worst abortionist of them all.

          Think about that, soldier.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:28 am |
        • SoldierOfConscience

          Re: having pregnancies fail, we know thats the case. But to me thats akin to "I work hard, I may or may not get the promotion. But getting promotion is nonetheless a natural consequence of working hard. Does sometimes we not getting promotion mean nobody gets a promotion or nobody works hard?"

          September 20, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • sylvia

        I think this guy wants to change that. As for most Catholics they are people and can sin like everyone else. My mom use to say he without sin cast the first stone. Needless to say, I'm not allowed to judge. They shouldn't as well.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Why do you say there's not? If you read the catechism there are much larger swaths of teaching on marriage, including divorce and annulment than there are on orientation. If you read pop Francis entire interview you'll see it's the media that magnifies the seexual sections. If you attend Catholic churches you'll hear almost nothing about gaays but numerous classes on marriage and family. What the pope is saying is that the Gospel is larger than the issues highlighted by the trends of current society.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:26 am |
      • A thought

        I am not catholic, but agree with the Pope in reaching out to mankind with the message of the gospels in love, kindness and compassion. The earlier reference to 'church' was church at large not specifically 'catholic'.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:44 am |
        • A thought

          To further clarify 'in love, kindness and compassion' which is the message that our savior, lord Jesus Christ Himself preached.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:48 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          ok, I accept that but you melded your criticism of churches in general into a comment about the Catholic Church in a comment about an article on the pope. It's certainly possible that you could find sections of Christianity that meet your criticism but that detracts from the message the pope is speaking. Namely that there are other things which trump the importance of the orientation issue, which seems to be your stance as well. Rather than continue the red herring argument, I would think you'd embrace what Francis is saying.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:49 am |
        • A thought

          To further clarify 'in love, kindness and compassion' which is the message that our savior, lord Jesus Christ Himself practiced.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          And you capitalized "Church"

          September 20, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      " the natural condition is het.ero.se.xuality"

      No...the natural tencancy is to be born female. The trigger for males is a hormone. Testosterone. It affects not only the physical body but also the brain. The kicker is that the intensity of that onset varies. In many cases the sex of a newborn is ambiguous. Sexual dimorphism isn't an either/or, it's a spectrum.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I think I heard that in Jurrasic Park way back in the 90's...
        Whatever the mechanism is for determining male/female, there still are only two choices, barring mutation and genetic problems of course, but even those are recognized as being abnormal. Two se.xes are normal. There isn't a single type, and there isn't 3 or 6 types. Hete.rose.xuality is the norm. It is only through choices that people make that create options that are not compatable with physical biology.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          "Hete.rose.xuality is the norm"

          Again you're wrong. Heterosexuallity is the mean. On a bell curve.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Straight people have oral or an/al s.ex too.
          Prostate stimulation can be extremely pleasurable.
          Given that the most s.exually responsive part of the female anatomy is (basically) external, that would indicate that penetrative s.ex is not the natural form of stimulation.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          It's "normal" based upon the hard set rules of procreation that is built into our biology.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          And yet built into our biology are pleasure centres that have nothing to do with procreation.
          Do you have an anatomy book with certain bits labelled "DESIGNED BY SATAN – DO NOT TOUCH"

          September 20, 2013 at 10:15 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          "It's "normal" based upon the hard set rules of procreation that is built into our biology."

          And yet nature demonstrates the exact opposite. While sexual reproduction is necessary for the continuation of a species it is by no means required or even possible for every individual therein to participate. The majority of all creatures born never procreate. Are you suggesting that only those who pass on their genes to the next generation are "normal"?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc, nope, I haven't seen an anatomy book labelled that way, but the book of Leviticus sure is! Besides, you can't use perversions to justify perversions. The natural order, and no, that doesn't assume that everyone has children, but the natural order for man is that there are two se.xes who have the ability to procreate.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          How do you explain ho/mose/xual behaviour in the animal kingdom, if it is inherently unnatural?
          Giraffes, for example, have gay s/ex more than 90% of the time.
          (souce: "Biological Exuberance" (1999), Bruce Bagemihl)

          September 20, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Ken

          Lawrence of Arabia
          If you want to make an argument based on the superiority of our "natural" inclinations, then why aren't you arguing against religious laws aimed at curbing those inclinations?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          So you're looking at animals to justify perversions? You know, animals kill each other all the time and no one gets arrested. Is that right behavior?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          You're dodging the point.
          You are arguing that ho/mose.xuali proclivities violate natural biology.
          I gave you a counter example.
          In general, animals aren't prone to killing others of their own species.
          If carnivores are criminals, lock me up for the steak I ate last night.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Ken

          There is nothing "natural" about cesarean sections and Viagra, but are they sinful?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc, I never said that it was impossible to violate biology. Animals do it, and we do it. Animals don't have morals, so they are more slaves to their pleasure sensors that we are... (actually, I'll have to think about that one for a minute...) The point is, that when men refuse to honor God and what He says about sin, He gives them over to their lusts and to a depraved mind and their degrading passions. In short, if people want to act like animals, be careful, because God just might grant you your wish.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • Doris

          Larry of Arabia: "So you're looking at animals to justify perversions?"

          Stop evading questions, Larry. I suggest you pick up a copy of last December's Quarterly Review of Biology where leading biologists agree with what psychologists have been saying for years now that hoosexuality is as normal a part of the human species as it is in many other species. The hormonal factors early in fetal development do seem to explain hoosexuality skipping generations for instance. Epigenetic studies are now in full swing for this human condition, but it's not a new science – we know quite a bit about early sexual determination and behavior in other species because of it. The writing's on the wall in today's science, Larry.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Doris

          homosexuality, not hoo...

          September 20, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • kenangerman

      You are so misinformed, to the point of being kind of scary. A couple, both with brown eyes, can have a blue eyed child. It's called recessive. Furthermore, about 10 % of the population is gay. Always has been, always will. That is the natural condition. All you have to do is stop and think for a second, look around, and these things are obvious. Further further, we don't all subscribe to your religious views...Americans can be atheists, agnostics, satanists, taoists, etc. do these Americans have rights? Or just Christians?

      September 20, 2013 at 9:45 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        No, a child can only have blue eyes if one (or both) of his brown eyed parents have recessive traits for blue eyes.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Sorry, I forgot to add:
          "So the genes are carried recessively by the parents. But the genes must be there."

          September 20, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Ken

      Nobody is born noticeably "tall" either, but some people end up developing that way. Would you say that tall people are "unnatural" then?

      September 20, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      It is believed that orientation is determined by the hormones present in the womb. So far there is no proven genetic cause of being gay, but being gay is entirely natural and determined prenatally.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        "It is believed..." That's speculationese...
        Actually, what you're describing still sounds like "sin nature" to me.

        September 20, 2013 at 10:07 am |
        • james

          LoA; was not looking for you and (re.impass?) or another discussion but had to encourage, you are doing fine, keep up the good work and remember what I said about the "others"?

          September 20, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James, thanks. And I can't tell you how thankful I am for civil debate. The bible refers to it as "reasoning together," and I appreciate your honest and sincere dialogue.

          September 20, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • sam stone

          you comment on speculation, then repeat the old saw about a sin nature? pot, meet kettle

          September 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      If being gay is a choice, when did you consciously choose not to be gay?
      If being gay is a choice, could you today consciously choose to fall in love with someone who is the same gender?

      Clearly you don't understand genetics very well. By your logic only tall people can give birth to tall children, yet several of my cousins stand over 6 foot tall and both of their parents are under 5'5".

      Sexuality isn't a choice nor is it a simple black and white, one or the other thing.

      September 20, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • Lionly Lamb

        myweightinwords states, "Clearly you don't understand genetics very well..."

        Who among us truly does..?

        September 20, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I would expand that... Does anyone truly understand science?

          September 20, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Lawrence et al...

          Consider one this:

          How many "big bang universes" will it take to fill up the infinite vastness of voided "Nothingness"..?

          September 20, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          And how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

          September 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I disagree. Whereas physical traits such as height and hair color are determined by dominate or recessive genetic traits, it has always been proven that lifestyles and behaviors are determined by the choices of an individual. Individuals are certainly influenced by their surroundings, but always the decision to live in "thus and such" a manner is made by the individual through successive "yea or na" decisions in their daily lives that produce habits and rules for living that the particular individual approves of or disapproves of. A person's "approval or disapproval" of any action is based upon a proclivity or a bent towards the profane. The Bible tells us that only through a miracle of God can a man choose to go down the path of righteousness, and without that, his motives will always be selfish in nature no matter what good deed he has done.

        September 20, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Doris

          "lifestyles and behaviors are determined by the choices of an individual."

          Again – more BS from Larry. Throughout nature to include humans, some parts of behavior and yes, natural sexual tendency is affected through what is now termed epigenetics. And very early in development! They know about the hormones now and how it explains skips in generations, but there is more work to see how it may relate to genetics: last December's Quarterly Review of Biology.

          Also, learn about some of the things we've known for a long time about others species and epigenetics. Time to come out of the cave there, Larry.

          September 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doris, so you're doing nothing more than explaining a mechanism, so?
          We all have a choice about how we live our lives, no one is forced to do anything outside of their will. Even when being held at gunpoint for your wallet, you will to live rather than to die, so you give him your wallet.
          When it comes to ho.mose.xuality, or any sin for that matter, we have a choice to make, and our choices will always coincide with our greatest desires. Do we choose to fulfill the desires of our lust? Or do we wish to honor God with righteous decisions?

          September 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Joey

          True Lawrence nobody is forcing you to come on the internet and act like a jerk and a moron, but here you are anyway.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          So, you make an active choice to be attracted to people of the opposite gender? You could, conceivable, choose to be attracted to those of the same gender?

          What about those who WOULD choose to be straight, who desire nothing more than to be "normal" and yet despite their best efforts remain gay? If it is truly a choice, why can't they merely choose to be straight?

          The simplest answer is that it isn't a choice at all. It is who they are. It is as much a part of them as their hair color or eye color or skin color.

          September 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  8. M

    It never was about religion why follow man made rules when we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life. If all the stories in the bible has been made up then why is all the prophecies in the bible coming true? Don't be ignorant in your thinking for it is written daemons believe in God and they tremble.

    Jesus never hated the person He hated the sin of people. Stop judging people by appearances and start loving people. People already feel condemned and know they are sinning so why must we remind them of their sins? Yet there is no one who can say he does not sin for we all sin. First take the plank out of your own eye before you look at the spec of dust in another's eyes.

    September 20, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Because many people within that lifestyle don't feel that they are sinning.

      Yeah, obviously we love people, but we cannot let a sinful lifestyle go unchallenged – given the consequences of unrepentance, confronting sin is the most loving thing that we can do.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:19 am |
      • JWT

        Unless a gay person belongs to a particular version of church that says being gay is a sin they are not a sinner.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:33 am |
      • truthprevails1

        It is not a sin. LGBT are born this way whether you wish to accept that fact or not. What harm are they directly causing you? Are you worried that some wonderful lesbian will come along and treat your wife better than you do? These are tax paying citizens who have made no choice in their sexual orientation, we know this because we have updated info to show this...you might wish to stop the bigotry and join the 21st century.

        September 20, 2013 at 9:53 am |
      • Ken

        Where did Jesus say it was a sin?

        September 20, 2013 at 9:57 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Right here:
          Matthew 19:4-6 – here in the sermon on the mount, Jesus endorses marriage by quoting from Genesis and what it has to say on the topic, thereby implicitly rejecting ho.mos.exuality

          September 20, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • Ken

        Lots of people think that drinking any alcohol at all is also "sinful", even though Jesus partook and even made more wine for a bunch of wedding guests who had already drunk a full party's supply. Clearly, Jesus had no problems with drinking, even in excess, yet here we are with Christians condemning any use of alcohol at all. Why is that?

        September 20, 2013 at 10:09 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          The Bible isn't against drinking, but it IS against drunkenness.
          I've got around 75 or 80 references that I can post for you, including an exegesis on that particular incident at the wedding if you're really interested.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • Ken

          If Jesus were against drunkenness why did he make more wine for a bunch who were already drunk, and why did he carry on so in such a way as to have been accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matt. 11:19)? Clearly, the man liked to party and socialize, and wasn't the polite, before-meal aperitif sort.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • SoldierOfConscience

        Yeah lets also condone p3doph1lia, b3stiality, stealing...

        September 20, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Two words:
          "Informed Consent"

          September 20, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      This thread is a perfect example of what pope Francis is talking about. Round and round we go with the "sin nature" and "the born that way" and and "rights" and "wrongs". Meanwhile Jesus is on his way back to Rome, only this time he doesn't meet Peter, he meets Bergoglio.

      September 20, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Yikes... No kidding...
        OK, call sin what it is, and go straight for the conscience...
        "The law says 'you shall not commit adultery!" And Jesus said that "if you so much as look at someone with lust, you have committed adultery already in your heart." Have you ever looked with lust? Will you be guilty of violating God's law on Judgment Day? No fornicator shall ever inherit the kingdom of God! REPENT!!!

        September 20, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • midwest rail

          May we assume then that you'll be leading the charge to make divorce and adultery universally illegal ? Insist on strict enforcement ?

          September 20, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          Francis has said the teaching on these things is set. He doesn't have the power to change that even if he wanted to, which he does not. What he is attempting is to move the dialogue away from negotiations on the immutable teachings, stop the arguments with people who reject these teachings and minister to the wounded with the love of Christ. At the point wounded people have recovered from their trauma, they can more easily hear the teaching. "Small rule" Christians have the cart in front of the horse.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          See how midwest persist in keeping the debate small? That is a diversion from the reality of the Risen Lord.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • midwest rail

          " diversion "
          Well, you are an expert at that, Bill.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:51 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          And the subsequent prediictable character attacks and ad hominens. All designed to ignore and encounter with Jesus.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:54 am |
        • midwest rail

          Is the statement false ? Nope.

          September 20, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  9. Dmitry

    Finally the Catholics got a pope that isn't a total lunatic. I am telling you...

    Thank G-d I am not Catholic !

    September 20, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  10. Jorge

    Nice to hear this pope's message resonate

    Compassion instead of condemnation,
    Inclusion instead of exclusion,
    Mercy instead of judgment,
    Hope instead of despair

    September 20, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Jorge

      Sets the stage for honest conversation and dialogue. The church is the place where people are called to examine themselves honestly and in truth and with a conscience.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:52 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Really, you should do that after you shower every day.

        September 20, 2013 at 8:54 am |
        • Jorge

          Choices, choices and choices-You can go to the gym and exercise or you can exercise at home. You can grow your own vegetables and fruits or go to the grocery store.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:00 am |
        • Jorge

          Seldom people sit themselves down and have a honest conversation with themselves.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:03 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Sorry, I thought you meant self-examination. Clearly you can talk to yourself any time anywhere.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:05 am |
        • Jorge

          Context is the key!

          September 20, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • guest

      That is good, but still, that doesn't exculde the fact that sin should still be called sin.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:56 am |
      • Jorge

        Church sets the stage for honest conversation and dialogue. The church is the place where people are called to examine themselves honestly and in truth and with a conscience.

        September 20, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • Jorge

      2 Corinthians 13:5

      September 20, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  11. ogbonna chikaodi

    sin is sin and should not be romanced with political symantics. leader of this status should call a spade a spade

    September 20, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • guest

      Hope you are also referring to the political powers in Washington D.C.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  12. ogbonna chikaodi

    sin is sin and should not be romanced with political symantics. leader of this status should call a spade a spafe.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    This Pope is celibate so it doesn't matter what his orientation may or may not be.
    There have been several Popes throughout history thought to partake of the love that dare not speak its name, like Pau II, Sixtus IV, Leo X, and Juilius III.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Misplaced reply to "Pope" furrther down the page
      I swear this site is dropping replies anywhere it wants....

      September 20, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • Ken

        I wouldn't even say the word "swear", Doc. The prudes will just use it as an excuse to ignore what you have to say, or ask.

        September 20, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'm curious about their God. It's masculine in gender in some way. There isn't, or at least isn't any longer, a female deity. The Church is sometimes called it's "bride", but since the Church is in no way God's equal, there doesn't seem to be any relationship there that could be thought of as wholesome – same gender or otherwise.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:45 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        God created Adam first in His own image.
        Eve was just a rib-clone.
        So obviously God is masculine!
        And I don't understand these Christians who rail against gay marriage, saying it'll the destroy the foundation of the family unit. After all, Jesus had two dads and He turned out OK.
        (Joseph was The Holy Cuckold)

        September 20, 2013 at 8:57 am |
        • Ken

          Depends on which version of the creation story you want to go with. Genesis 1:27 (the first version) has both male and female humans created at the same time.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  14. thykingdomcome-thywillbedone

    Hello Pope,
    with who's authority do you turn God's word to God's people into fables?
    Do you think that you have the right to change God's commandments?
    Do you know that you are deceiving people?
    Do you know that the cosequencies of deception are eternal?
    People will die in hell because of what you are doing and saying?
    It is blasphemy against God to say these things

    September 20, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • guest

      RCC = 666 and the woman sitting on the red dragon.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:14 am |
      • Jim

        Protestant jealousy of Catholic success in making up about 85% of all Christians?

        So petty.

        September 20, 2013 at 8:18 am |
        • guest

          The RCC fits Revelation 13 to me.

          September 20, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Fables? That is the entirety of the bible

      Do you think that you have the right to change God's commandments?

      >Where does it say in the commandments that being gay is wrong or that women having rights is wrong or that abortion is wrong????

      Do you know that you are deceiving people?

      >Oh, prey tell...how is he deceiving people??

      Do you know that the cosequencies of deception are eternal?

      >What consequences and for what???

      People will die in hell because of what you are doing and saying?

      >Hell is biblical and really doesn't exist. It is a man-made concept meant to make gullible fools like you live in fear.

      It is blasphemy against God to say these things

      >Do you speak for god??? How do you know your god wouldn't support the pope?

      September 20, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Observer


      NO ONE believes EVERY word of the Bible. They just pick and choose.

      The Pope chose the Golden Rule. You should too.

      September 20, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Semper Reformanda! Reforming the ills of "religion" since 1517.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  15. OKfine

    So many comments that indicate that Pope Francis is a good man and I agree, he is head and shoulders above the last criminal accomplice Pope. Interesting that many also state that I used to be a catholic, the pews are emptying at an alarming rate.
    PS: More good news, in my area three more churches have been torn down, two RCC and one Baptist. The grip of religion is losing its power.

    September 20, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I'll take a Catholic over a Baptist any day of the week.
      Biblical literalism takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance...

      September 20, 2013 at 8:20 am |
      • OKfine

        Even better Doc, I would take any former catholic over anybody that believes in any religions mythical books.

        September 20, 2013 at 8:39 am |
  16. Reality

    ONLY for the new visitors to this blog:

    More education for Francis and as-sociated ilk:

    (from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

    "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

    "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

    "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

    September 20, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • Chris

      Then don't read the old or new testament which states that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

      September 20, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • Reality

        Please give specific references keeping in mind the following:

        1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

        “New Torah For Modern Minds

        Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

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

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


        September 20, 2013 at 11:55 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.