New interview shows why the pope is so beloved
When asked “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” the pope replied, “I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition."
September 19th, 2013
11:00 AM ET

New interview shows why the pope is so beloved

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Here at America magazine, we’ve been anticipating the exclusive interview with Pope Francis for Jesuit journals worldwide for weeks.

We’ve lived with the 12,000-word article we’ve titled “A Big Heart Open to God,” and, in a sense, with the pope over these last several days.

So let me suggest what I feel to be the most important parts of this remarkable interview. To focus, I’ll highlight a few quotes and unpack them.

1. “My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative."

Pope Francis is speaking of his time as a Jesuit leader in Argentina in the 1970s, a difficult time for him, for the Argentine people and Argentine Jesuits.  The pope is frank about what he sees as his own failings as Jorge Mario Bergoglio during that controversy-filled period.

He says that he made rash and hasty decisions.  Later in the interview he returns to that theme, saying bluntly that he has realized that for him the first decision he arrives at “is usually the wrong thing.”  Without delving into the choices that he made during his time as a Jesuit provincial (at the extremely young age of 36, which he calls “crazy”), what strikes me about this self-examination is its brutal, almost embarrassing, candor.

MORE ON CNN: Pope says church can't 'interfere' with gays

The former Jesuit provincial does not say, “Mistakes were made.” Or, “Things could have been done better.” Rather, he offers a blunt assessment of himself as an imperfect human being who “created problems.”  Part of the Christian spiritual tradition is an “examination of conscience,” an examination of one’s moral activity.

The church is in very good hands with someone able to examine his conscience not only honestly but in a radically open manner in a worldwide interview.

2. “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality.  I replied with another question: ‘Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.”

During his in-flight media conference from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro this summer, Pope Francis made headlines when he uttered his now-famous words, “Who am I to judge?” when asked a question about gay priests in the church.

At the time, several commentators opined that the pope’s words were not only uninteresting (since the pope did not change any church teaching), they were also limited, applying only, they said, to gay priests. But in our interview, Francis speaks about gay persons in general, and he notes that his comments during the in-flight conference referred to gay persons, not simply gay priests.

The new interview continues his more open, pastoral stance toward gays and lesbians. While none of this changes church teaching, the pope’s words have changed the way the church speaks to and about gay persons.  And that is new.  There is a reason why many LGBT Catholics have told me that they feel more welcome in the church these days.

3. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent."

This comment illuminates a part of Catholic doctrine often forgotten today by some Catholics.

Theologians call this the “hierarchy of truths,” a kind of ladder of beliefs in order of importance. The simplest example is that agreeing with what your local pastor says about a Sunday Gospel reading is not on par with believing in the Resurrection.  The latter is essential for belief and communion in the church; the former much less so.  But when you talk about the “hierarchy of truths,” some Catholics grow uneasy, suspecting that you are watering down the church’s teaching. But the pope makes it clear that he understands this tradition.

Francis also says that church teaching is not to be a “disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”  While belief is essential, the transmission of beliefs is not to be forced upon people. Christianity is primarily a religion of invitation, and not simply an invitation to adhere to certain beliefs, but, more importantly, an invitation to encounter a person: Jesus Christ.

4. “If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing.”

Pope Francis is comfortable with gray. In the America interview, he speaks out against what he calls a “doctrinal security” and offers a critique of those who “stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists.”

Francis asks Catholics to move away from a church that has “locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.”  He invites Catholics into the world of uncertainty, which is where most of us live anyway.

But there is one thing that the pope is sure of.  In the best Jesuit tradition, which asks us to “find God in all things,” the pope speaks of his commitment to finding God in every human being.  For me, this was the most moving part of the interview:  “I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life.  God is in everyone’s life… Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else — God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life.”

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

What may strike people is not only what Francis says in this new interview, but how he says it. Its tone is open, gentle, conversational, thoughtful and above all friendly.

At the beginning of the interview, in answer to the question, “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” he answers “I am a sinner.”  The pope doesn’t use the traditional Jesuit way of expressing this idea.  Normally, a Jesuit would say that he is a “loved sinner” or a “sinner redeemed by Christ.”

No, the pope is blunt.  No sugarcoating here.  Of course Francis knows that he is redeemed by God, and he knows he is loved by God.  But he feels in his bones that he is a sinner: imperfect, flawed and struggling.  As are we all.

Maybe that’s what makes him so loved, and so eager to love.

The Rev. James Martin is editor at large at America magazine and author of "The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of James Martin.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Opinion • Pope • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. longtooth

    Pope Francis is the closest thing to a true Christian that I have ever seen, and I'm 65 years old. Even Pope John and Pope John Paul II were more gentle bureaucrats than holy men. This man could save the Catholic Church.

    September 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      I bet they shoot him soon. He's too nice.

      September 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • Creole

        My point exactly; Just the other I was saying that the Pope should be careful not to be "poisoned" there's is history of that at the Vatican,

        September 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
      • Robert James

        Even if someone tries to shoot the Pope you can't kill him unless God allows it. Pope John Paul II was shot in the heart by trained assassin, but God decided he would live.

        September 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          John Paul I may have been put down by the Cardinals when some terrible revelation was made. Hope not; he seemed ok.

          September 20, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Tom 118

      Pope Francis is the greatest thing to happen to the church in my 70 years of living. He is, perhaps, too honest, and I suggest he closely check all food and drink his Vatican minions offer him.

      September 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  2. Bible Clown©

    Really, people are upset because the Pope says Jesus doesn't want them to bully gay people? I don't think he understands just how important gay people are to some Christians. They think about them night and day. Not an hour goes by without these Christians wondering what the gays are up to. Where are they, what are they doing, can I touch them? I think they will give up church before they give up bullying gay people, judging by the response here.

    September 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  3. Steve

    It's nice to hear a Christian leader remind us that Christianity is not supposed to be used to keep people down for not conforming. A lot of people, particularly in the United States, have forgotten that message. We have elements of our society who are more right-wing and discriminatory than ever, and they hide behind religion to try to dignify their ridiculous and backwards beliefs.

    September 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      If I thought I was going to live forever in happy land when I died, I'd be a lot happier than most Christians seem to be. On the other hand, if I thought my friends were going to burn forever while I vacationed upstairs, I wouldn't like that much.

      September 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  4. Bible Clown©

    I read today that a large number of evangelicals think trouble in the Middle East means the End of the World. They always believe that, though. Faith is not always rewarded.

    September 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  5. Kc

    So many people are breaking this guys shoes for trying to be a rational moderate. The Catholic Church has been around for over two millennia, it will take time to change. This guy seems to be a decent man. Give him a chance.

    September 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  6. Reality

    Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes the new pope. What changed? Nothing really as the flawed theology and error-filled history of the RCC stay the same. Time to dismantle said church selling its assets to the highest bidders.

    To wit for all the new members of this blog:

    The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    September 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Lee

      Not a little closed minded and judgemental, are we? Please refrain from saying others are so, when you obviously are yourself.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        "Reality" exists in a reality all his own. He's not talking to us, his real audience is Way Way Out There Somewhere. He's like a Beat poet rapping frantically into the air, coming up with line after line for his epic, and no one ever snaps their fingers appreciatively.

        September 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • network

      Yeah, thats an old argument that he lies in an unmarked grave somewhere. But the proof is that is impossible. The grave is empty, even under Roman guard.

      September 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • Reality

        The empty tomb story is a Markan creation and therefore the story is historically nil.

        September 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Bryan

      First rule of posting: anything more than 2 sentences looks like lunatic ranting and gets skipped over. Consider yourself schooled.

      September 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Reality

        Only for those who are not reading-challenged:

        Saving Christians from the Resurrection Con Game:

        From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

        Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

        To wit;

        From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

        "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
        Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

        Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

        Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

        The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

        Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

        "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

        With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

        o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
        o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

        o p.168. by Ted Peters:
        Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

        o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

        September 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  7. Reality

    Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes the new pope. What changed? Nothing really as the flawed theology and error-filled history of the RCC stay the same. Time to dismantle said church selling its assets to the highest bidders.

    September 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Real Reality

      The church has gone on for almost 2000 years, it is truly universal in its appeal and this pope properly reflects the true teachings. Always will be naysayers like you and the other atheists. Your time will come.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  8. Bob Miodonski

    Everyone has a opinion, God has the final say judge and jury

    September 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm |

      Godless Vagabond
      How does god deliver his verdicts? I've never heard anything from him. Does he announce them during prime time on channel 2?

      September 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • Real Reality

        You will have your own 1-1 soon enough when its too late

        September 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • Athy

          Ooh! I'm scared!

          September 20, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      God just contacted me and said not to trust Bob Miodonski. I told Him that was a bit judgmental, and He said He didn't give a shlt.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
      • Real Reality

        Yeah but your a clown – who truly cares what you think? Besides you – nice try

        September 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          YOU care, and if you don't care, stop sending me all those texts in the middle of the night. I know it's you, and it's pathetic.

          September 20, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  9. Chris

    Sure he's loved. He tells people what they want to hear and that just happens to be contrary to what is taught in scripture.

    September 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you please give us an example?

      September 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • Chris

        Sure. "Women should have key roles in the church". Scripture explicitly forbids this. You asked for an example so I've provided it. I could list many more as well but I'm not about to. Fundamentally, the catholic church changes their stance on different issues according to how society has changed. That makes the catholic church popular because if the church changes and and says that certain sins really don't apply more, then people feel as though they have been given a get out of jail free card and have been proven right. The inherent danger in that thinking is that the Word of God is timeless and does not change according to what has become acceptable in society. That is fact and is also contained in Scripture. Scripture was not given as an application to one or more time periods. It was given as an application for ALL time.

        September 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          Just go ahead and admit that your little church claims all Catholics are damned, okay? You Christians spend more time fighting each other than you ever would on fighting hunger and poverty, because the main thing Jesus wanted from us was a slavish adherence to Bible doctrine, right? Ha ha, psych, there was no Bible when Jesus was alive. He just wanted people to love each other, which will never happen. After all, some people are Catholic, or Liberal, or black.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
        • KMW

          The Catholic Church has over one billion members so we are doing something right. You are just jealous and bigoted. I love my Church as do others and nothing you say can ever change that.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Chris

          @ BibleClown – Scripture certainly existed before Christ took human form which is why, when tempted by Satan, Christ would respond with "It is written....". Did he carry a leather-bound Bible, no. Did he adhere to Scripture? Without a doubt.

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

          Scripture also says "An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" so why are we are not following this? For the simple reason that we have moved forward not backward. Chris speaks like the Pharisees who love to quote from the Old Testament in rebuking Jesus & forgeting that we are given the gift of reason and logic to guide us toward God.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • Chris

          @KMW – more than a billion people are addicted to drugs. I guess they must be doing something right.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • Chris

          @Lucy – now that you've obviously finished reading the Old Testament, give the New Testament a whirl.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          " Did he adhere to Scripture? Without a doubt." He stepped all over it, claiming primacy. Scripture would have had the woman taken in adultery stoned to death, for example. But of course, you know all that. I'm sure you would have plenty of examples if you weren't being adversarial. Doesn't change my point that you Christians spend more energy raging at each other for worshiping God the wrong way than you ever do worshiping or trying to improve yourselves.

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

          hmm.. right .. right.. now tell me, what does the scripture say about the green house effect that's melting the artic ice caps? Nothing? wow.. really, the book is supposed to have the ultimate truth about everything, and how could it omit this? could it be because it was not an issue 2000 yrs ago? could it be that there were other issues in the current world that do not have bearing on the lives of a few nomads 2000 yrs ago?

          Could it be that times changed and those teachings do not apply to the modern life? Try what the book says about slaves too. Picking and choosing things out of a book could make the Harry Potter books seem like the ultimate religious guide too.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          The pope has ratified the dogmatic teaching that there will be no female priests. So, your example is flawed to begin with. However, women in the Catholic church already serve as sacristans, Eucharistic ministers, choir and music directors, catechists, nuns and sisters, office managers, administrative managers, prayer and Bible study leaders, counselors, teachers, retreat directors and many many more vital roles. Are you saying women do not fulfill any of these roles in your church?

          September 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          BTW the way, I love your criticism that the Church changes with the times which is why people like it. That tells me all I need to know about your knowledge of the Catholic Church.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • smr413

          Read the "Letter to Dr. Laura" and find out how much supposedly hasn't changed for thousands of years.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • Tina

          I've been Catholic all my life and I can't think of a single sin that is okay now that wasn't ok when I was younger. Can you name some examples of things that used to be sinful and aren't now?

          September 19, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Lucy

      We live in different times Chris & Christ spoke in a different time. If you were a woman, you would too. If you had a daughter wanting to be a priest to serve our Lord, your only words should be "You go girl!". That's the only kind of God I know. An all encompassing, generous, loving God.

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

        Respectfully, you know nothing about me so you can't say what I would or would not do. If my daughter decided to pursue the priesthood, I would strongly discourage her – I would never condone it. That is part of the issue today. People are so quick to see someone and say "Go for it! Break down those barriers!!!". Some barriers were not meant to be broken. My reasoning is solid and backed up 100% by scripture.

        September 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Creole

      It's my belief that the scriptures were written by none other than humans like us; the world has not change much; most of the people who wrote the scriptures were full of hate, racist, bigots, and so forth.

      September 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  10. Vijay

    Pope Francis is a truly compassionate man, a son of the Lord Jesus. I pray that he lives a long time and helps the church to turn away from its pomposity, rituals and secrecy. The new Pope is putting his flock first; how can that be wrong.? May the lord give him skills, strength and a long life to finish the job he has started.

    September 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • doobzz


      September 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  11. turntheheart

    Abortion, contraception, and redefining marriage are only the symptoms our modern age. The Holy Father knows we need to treat the causes, as we've done for 2,000 years. This is all in the Catechism. It's motivating.

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

      I can't seem to get a comment published...Maybe they don't want to hear what I have to say. I can slip in a reply though so maybe someone can read this.

      As a Catholic I don't need,Want,Or value CNN's approval of OUR Pope.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • doobzz

        Until YOUR pope stops hiding child molesters, you can expect a lot of push back.

        September 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Sorry, drama queen, you don't get to pick who approves and disapproves of your pope. If this offends you, please don't retaliate by molesting my kids or flying a plane into my house. You religious crazies are SO touchy and dangerous.

        September 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Matt

        Right on, John. The opinion of CNN, NYT and the rest of the MSM with regard to the Church has zero value.
        What I do love is how they seek to portray the RCC as irrelevant – yet hang on every word the Holy Father utters. He's playing them like Putin is playing Bozobama.

        September 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          " He's playing them like Putin is playing Bozobama." Wow, what a Christian thing to say. I can just feel the love of Jesus oozing out of your heart like acid. See, we're the 'bad cop' and Russia is the 'good cop,' and Russia is 'saving them from us' as long as they cooperate. They are waking up now, but they already agreed to sign and turn over the nerve gas. I guess you got played, too? We never fired a shot and Syria bent to our will. Thanks, Putin.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • smr413

          "Bozobama" Oh I see now what kind of "catholic" you are. Pope Francis makes me want to go back to church after 40 years. People like you make me want to stay away for good.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      • KMW

        To John and Matt,

        I recently heard Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York say that the Roman Catholic Church is the only Church that you can criticize and ridicule. I certainly agree. I wonder when CNN, The New York Times, Jon Stewart will criticize the Jewish and Muslim faiths? (Jon Stewart had a very unfunny segment about the Pope recently). As a priest friend said to me recently, we are being mentioned and noticed so I guess we are doing something right.

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

          They would not dare criticize those religions, KMW. They are spineless cowards. And also ignorant ones. If you missed it, the New Yuck Times got Easter wrong earlier this year. Stultifying.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • KMW


          Thank you Matt for your wonderful response. I am so sick and tired of our religion being ripped apart. I am very upset with Bill O'Reilly (the O'Reilly Factor) for a chapter in his new book "Keep it Pithy." He is extremely critical of the Roman Catholic Church and states it has lost its moral compass. I think the one who has lost his moral compass is Bill O'Reilly. I wonder if Mr. O'Reilly would say the same about Muslims and Jews?

          September 20, 2013 at 8:41 am |
        • Bible Clown©

          " I wonder when CNN, The New York Times, Jon Stewart will criticize the Jewish and Muslim faiths?" Er, maybe try googling the word "Israel" and you'll hear a lot of criticism of the Jews. Not what you wanted? Remember the time the Jews persecuted the German Christians, and shoved them into death camps and killed them? Me neither, but when it happens, the Jews will get some criticism for sure. And of course, no one's said much about Islam since 9-11. Google that and it's a big nothing, right? Ha ha!

          September 20, 2013 at 8:53 am |
        • KMW

          Bible Clown (a very apt name for sure

          I am talking about the MAIN media. You do not see the New York Times criticizing the Jewish faith ever and but they are always writing negative things about the Roman Catholic Church. I have often commented on the NYT web page and they will never print by posts when I ask them about this. They DO engage in censorship when they are confronted about their behavior against Jewish wrongdoing. I am so glad their readership is down and I hope it continues to decline until one day they have to fold up and close shop. Amen to new.

          September 20, 2013 at 9:27 am |
        • Bible Clown©

          " You do not see the New York Times criticizing the Jewish faith ever " and you think they should be? Are you a journalist yourself? Maybe they have different standards? I don't really see 'inciting jihad' as part of their mission.

          September 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • smr413

        Why so touchy? CNN isn't taking a position on this Pope. It merely published a fellow Jesuit's interpretation of the interview. Get over yourselves.

        September 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • KMW

          We are "touchy" by all the negative comments written on this board critical of the Roman Catholic Church. We are a very large Church and growing so we must be doing something right. I wonder if the media would write an article about Muslims and Jews and allow negative comments to be written? I doubt it. I want practicing Roman Catholics to speak out about this unfair behavior and let others know we will not tolerate it. By the way, if you want to watch wonderful and fair reporting about the Church turn in to EWTN. It is now by favorite TV channel.

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

      Yes, and the Crimen Sollicitationis is some of their best work.

      September 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Dwayne

    Of course he's loved. Anyone is loved if you don't call sin, sin.

    September 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Vic

      I would put in a different way. Anyone is loved if he/she does not judge nor condemn anyone.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • JOHN

        Anyone? Killers? Robbers? Rapists?

        September 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • doobzz

          Probably not. Pedophile priests get the VIP pass though.

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

        Respectable people don't care about being loved. It's about standing up for what is right, even though the secular world would have us believe that there is no right or wrong. Those that trully are Christ filled love, don't judge but have no problem with standing up and saying "that's wrong". Sin is sin, no matter how pretty people try to color it. Most living in sin, don't like that pointed out to them, but doesn't make it a pretty sin no matter how nice you say it or show it.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        So believers do not judge and condemn people who provide and receive abortions, contraception?; they do not judge and condemn gays?

        September 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • Vic

        Well, to sum it up, all true believers are justified before God by His Grace through Faith ALONE in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior, no matter what they have done. "Blasphemy" is the ONLY unforgivable sin. Now, that does not mean an offender is not liable to people in this life. Man is held accountable for his/her actions by fellow man, that's part of the "Natural Revelation" by God. "Natural Law," which is part of God's "Natural Revelation," never ceases to exist, before, during and after "Sin Law."

        As Christian believers, we are not to judge nor condemn anyone but we, as all humans do, point out right or wrong, hence "Natural Law."

        September 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • JOHN

      HTH does one go about getting a comment published here?

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

        CNN doesn't look at individual posts, they use a filter. Unfortunately, it focuses on naughty or racist words that may be within other words like "vague" (vag), despicable (spic), and constituition (tit).

        Someone has a list of the commonly flagged words.

        September 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Look up CLBUTTIC and you may see what stopped you. Seriously.

        September 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  13. Wisdom

    Well I don't need the Pope to say anything for me to go back to faith. I have a Bible and Jesus Christ; I don't need a Pope.

    September 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • ajk68

      Christ gave us bishops, and the pope.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Dwayne

        Can't find anywhere in the Bible, that Jesus gave us popes. He called Peter a pebble, and then said upon this Rock, I would build my church. Check the original text and you'll see that he wasn't setting Peter up as a pope, but was pointing to Himself and that upon Himself, He would build the church. There wasn't a pope, or anything even close, for about 150 or more years, and it wasn't until Constintine got involved (Rome Emporeror) that Popes came into being. The rest is mere tradition.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Chubbs

          Nice try. Petros and petra in Greek both meant rock, whether large or small. A "petrologist" studies rocks, not pebbles. And more to the point, Jesus named him Kepha in Aramaic, which means rock, NOT pebble, as is patently obvious when you read Galatians and I Corinthians.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          If Peter, which does mean "Rocky," hadn't organized Jesus' followers into a cult, no one would have ever heard of Jesus and we'd be worse off. Our civilization is based on the importance of the individual; over and over we hear people screaming about their sacred rights being infringed or taken away. No one ever expected to have rights before Jesus, but face it, Peter is the founder of Christianity.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Matt

          Chubbs – out of the ball park. Bless you.
          Don't you sometimes wish they'd come with something a bit more challenging?
          One Truth. One Church.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • Vic

        Jesus Christ is the ONLY Mediator between God the Father and man, He is our High Priest.

        September 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Chubbs

          That view sort of conflicts with Hebrews 5, no?

          September 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          Oh, well, then it's obviously ok to hate gays and beat them up. Never mind. I'm sure Jesus loved to go gay-bashing on Saturday night, with his twelve male friends in their robes.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Vic

          As a matter of fact, Hebrews 5 is a testimonial to Jesus Christ being our High Priest.

          1 Timothy 2:5
          "5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man† Christ Jesus,"

          Scripture Is From:

          New American Standard Bible (NASB)
          Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


          † Jesus Christ, when on earth, was fully man and fully God.

          September 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • Vic

        Apostle Peter was called "Simon Peter," was married and had a son:

        Matthew 10:2
        "2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;"

        Matthew 8:14
        "14 When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever."

        Mark 1:30,31
        "30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. 31 And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them."

        Luke 4:38
        "38 Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her."

        1 Peter 5:13
        "13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark."

        Jesus Christ is the ONLY Mediator between us and God the Father; therfore, I don't believe in Papacy!

        1 Timothy 2:5
        "5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"

        Hebrews 8:6
        "6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises."

        Hebrews 9:15
        "15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."

        Hebrews 12:24
        "24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel."

        Jesus Christ the Great High Priest

        Hebrews 4:14-16
        "14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

        All Scripture Is From:

        New American Standard Bible (NASB)
        Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


        September 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Bryan

      Another sola scriptura fanatic. Do you realize the bible was written and interpreted by mortal men down through the ages. It wasn't written by the hand iof God so get over your self-righteousness.

      September 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  14. ME II

    @Rev. James Martin,

    Good article, thank you!

    September 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  15. USMC 1371

    Beloved?????? The only thing the pope could do that would help humanity would be to disband the church.

    September 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Wisdom

      hahahaha. Good one. I concur!

      September 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Too harsh, but if he can get that many people to follow Jesus' example and actually be nice to others, it would transform the world.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bryan

      What are you doing to help humanity since you seem to be so wise and self-important.

      September 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  16. treasure

    according to the "national america of statistics" 87% of all catholic priest have molested children, mostly altar boys. If their priest molest their flock molest. I would not let my boy within 20 yards of a catholic. When I see them I say to my children "run, run go to a safety place"

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

      you make no sense. I doubt that statistic is valid.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • ajk68

      That statistic is way off base. Read the John Jay report.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • APS

      You're probably the same type of close-minded person who would tell his kids to run and hide if they saw a black person.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Ed

      Better read Mark Twain's definition of statistics, so you won't be so foolish with your "facts"

      September 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      You mean, if you ever get out of middle school, meet a dumb girl, and have kids, you'll tell them silly things about Catholics. Don't let your mom hear you talk that way.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • KMW

        I would not want to be in the same room as you and I am sure I am not alone. Your comment is very ignorant and completely wrong. As others have mentioned, do your research and you will find you are way off base.

        September 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          Reply to him, not me. But you might not want to be in the same room as me either after what I had for lunch.

          September 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • kep615

      The national america of statistics, huh? Your kids should be running from you.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Truth

      LOL Paranoid much?

      September 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Someone is using a microwave transmitter to make him hear voices and he forgot his tinfoil hat.

        September 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Matt

      "The national america of statistics"?

      September 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  17. Jess Sayin

    I am not Catholic, but Pope Francis is my Pope. His words show that he actually "gets" what Christ was all about. My God protect this Pope.

    September 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • jc

      I agree 100%. I grew up Catholic, then I started worshiping in other churches when I moved to the US (used to live in Argentina). This Pope gave hope and reason to go back to my original faith.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Someone is likely to shoot him over this. What's the world coming to when the Pope is against hatred?

      September 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  18. Lionly Lamb

    When prohibition runs out of steam, the wondrous and many uses of the once mighty held plant of Cannabis is slowly marching onto civilization and its cultured reasoning is beginning to once again gain center stage... Its medicinal uses are nowadays becoming scientifically proven and its ability to replace the all carcinogenic crude oil products with natures own formularies found being of the mighty Cannabis plants...


    September 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  19. Bernardo Gui

    I became a Catholic because of John Paul II.....I wanted to be on "his team".
    Our new Pope is a God send...he's more of a regular man than a Pope.
    Being a regular guy = humility = being Catholic.

    September 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's "godsend," not "God send."

      September 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
      • Mark

        Seriously lighten up. This isn't English class

        December 25, 2013 at 8:48 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.