September 20th, 2013
02:16 PM ET

Conservatives 'disturbed' by pope's remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

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(CNN) - “Rain on parched land.”

“A bold new course.”


That’s how liberal Catholics responded to the stunning interview published Thursday in which Pope Francis bluntly said the church shouldn’t be “obsessed” with culture war issues like abortion and gay marriage.

“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” the pope said, warning that the church's moral foundations will fall "like a house of cards" unless it strikes a "new balance" between preaching the gospel and taking stands on divisive issues.

How did conservative Catholics, the church’s most ardent culture warriors, react?

“I’ll be honest; I was disturbed,” writes Matthew Archbold in the conservative National Catholic Register.

“While it's clear that the pope is not changing church teaching, he is clearly changing the emphasis. The pope with a few words has unsettled so much.”

Archbold said that he’s concerned that the pope's words will be used against anti-abortion activists and opponents of gay marriage in the United States.

But after thinking and praying about the pope's remarks, Archbold said, he decided that being unsettled may not be "such a terrible thing."

"I think the pope was reminding us that we're a religion of 'yes.'"

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

Before the release of Thursday’s interview, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island said he was “disappointed” that Francis had not spoken much about abortion. On Friday, Tobin welcomed the pope’s comments, but said it won’t change his focus.

“I have spoken out clearly about the dignity of all human life and the nature of holy matrimony as designed by God and will continue to do so whenever the situation warrants,” Tobin said. “It is a demand of the Gospel.”

The bishop also said, however, that he appreciates the new pope’s “balanced and inclusive” approach.

Other conservative Catholics said the media and liberals had misconstrued the pope’s remarks, made in a 12,000-word interview published Thursday in 16 Jesuit journals around the world.

“The pope is a reformer, but not a revolutionary,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“This is the problem with the left," Dohonue continued, "they are trying to take what the pope said and then run with it.”

Donohue, a caustic and sometimes controversial critic of people he perceives as anti-Catholic, said the pope’s remarks won’t silence him.

“There’s nothing the pope said that should give relief to people who say all of a sudden now that conservatives should shut up,” Donahue said. “We’re not going to shut up because we’re in consonant compliance with what the pope said. “

After all, conservatives say, it’s not like the pope changed Catholic doctrine in Thursday’s interview.

To underscore that point, the conservative blog Rorate Caeli posted a lengthy quote from the pope’s meeting with Catholic gynecologists on Friday in which he strongly denounced abortion.

“Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord,” the pope said, according to Rorate Caeli’s translation. “They cannot be discarded, as the `culture of waste’ proposes.”

Father John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic blogger, said the pope urged Catholics to find a “new balance” between their moral and political missions. He didn’t say they should surrender the culture wars.

“I think that Francis thinks that constant correction and condemnation does more harm than good,” Zuhlsdorf wrote on his blog.

“Francis said `all the time," Zuhlsdorf said."He did not say `we should not talk about these things.’"

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

Other conservatives said the pope's remarks are “nothing new.”

"The pope is not in any way proposing that the church should abandon important moral and social teachings,” said Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association.

"Rather, the pope is reaffirming a longstanding teaching that reaches all the way back to the founding of Christianity: love your neighbor.”

And while most liberals praised the pope’s bold new vision, some took issue with his remarks about women’s role in the church.

“We have to work harder to develop a theology of women in the church,” Francis said in Thursday's interview.

“Breaking news, Pope Francis: There is already a profound theology of women," said Sister Maureen Fielder, a Catholic nun and longtime advocate of women’s ordination in the Catholic Church.

“There are libraries of feminist theology just waiting for you, and others, to dive in.”

Fielder said she likes the new pope, but she thinks he “sorely needs a course in feminist theology.”

For the most part, however, liberals praised Francis.

Under previous popes, liberal Catholic nuns, politicians and theologians were castigated by church leaders, said John Gehring, a writer and advocate at the group Faith in Public Life. Now “the air is starting to clear,” he said.

“Pope Francis is rescuing the Catholic Church from those grim-faced watchdogs of orthodoxy who in windowless rooms reduce Catholicism to a laundry list of nos,” Gehring said.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Culture wars • Faith • Gay marriage • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,798 Responses)
  1. Randy (but not in a good way)

    the bible is SUCH a cruel piece of junk, it demeans literature to even refer to it as a book. 21st century and Humans still think "Daddy" is waiting for them? Don't worry little kids, you won't die when you die, I mean not REALLY REALLY die, you'll still live, and you'll live in paradise, and daddy will be there to hold you and love you and tell you that you are such a good little Human etc etc etc.

    in the same way that a Human infant has so many questions about reality, our species is at a comparable stage. Making up grand metaphysical suppositions about the nature of reality with zero proof has to be one of the dumbest things Mankind has ever done.

    No souls. No gods. No afterlives.

    Be well 🙂

    September 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Bible is not a book. It's a library

      September 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • Pope

        ...of pyscho-babble drivel that has no place in a civilized world.

        September 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          It outsells any other publication ever, and has for 2000 years.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • questions

          Bill Deacon... the Bible has not been a "best seller" for 2000 years. Another myth that blind believing Jesus followers like to say.. with no proof. Do you know the origin of the Bible and when it was compiled and actually put together? Do you know who chose to put the scriptures/letters in the book and how many other scriptures/letters from other holy men were rejected? Tell us all about our knowledge of the "best selling book."

          September 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • Joey

          For a long time the bible was only printed in Latin so that only the priests would be able to read it, I highly doubt it was a best seller during that time period.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Questions, oh are you a student of Lower Criticism too? I love that study, it shows how the manuscripts of the OT were put together into what we now have as the OT by the scribe Ezra, and also shows the science of manuscripts, and how the NT that we now have was circulated whole as early as 100AD, and that no council ever voted on what was to be "in" the Bible, because the books of the Bible were dictated by the apostles themselves. It's a really good study.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
        • questions

          Lawrence.. you are full of bs, the "apostles" didn't compile writing is 100AD.. they were dead... The "Apostle Paul" was and is as much of an apostle as Joseph Smith... self proclaimed with no actual contact with Jesus himself. There was a council gathered and to deny that is another sign of stupidity or ignorant belief in what some "christian leader" wrote or told you.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          The Old Testament was pulled together into the Canon that we have now by the scribe Ezra in the 400’s BC. (Nehemiah 8) By the time John completed the book of the Revelation in 94-96AD, the New Testament books were completed and had already been widely circulated as scripture. The New Testament was not compiled by any church council or by any decree of a ruler, rather, the apostles themselves dictated what the Scripture was (2 Peter 3:1-2, 15-16, Jude 17-18, Galatians 1:1-2, Acts 2:42).

          September 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          It was only later, in the 100’s AD when the Gnostics began circulating their own texts and claiming apostolic authorship, that the true church decided that it became necessary to weed out all heresies that desired to creep into the canon, so they developed a standard test to determine the canonicity of scripture.

          In 398AD, at the Third Council of Carthage, the church once and for all settled the parameters of the scope of scripture by officially confirming the Canon.

          Remember, this standard was solely meant to weed out heresy, it was not intended to “create” the canon of scripture – the apostles had already done that, and it ended with John’s book of the Revelation.

          And no one has "told me" that... This is research conducted by myself, as well as what I gather from a whole list of dead people.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Lawrence, Read up on the Council of Nicaea and King James. How they (and others) edited the bible at various times.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Questions, I am a student of many things, one of them is lower criticism – the study of manuscripts. Perhaps you should look into that, it would help with some of your misunderstanding of history.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          In Santa – sure there were issues involved in making the KJV, but ancient manuscripts that we now have access to that they didn't in that day reveal that the KJV is correct. (It just uses local color and idioms in its translation) Have you seen how it compares to Siniaticus, Vaticanus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and others?

          September 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Furthermore, Nicea did not put books into nor take books out of the Canon. Actually, they did some good, they condemned Arianism, and affirmed the trinity to doubters...

          September 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • John

        Maybe sells a lot. But sure is not read a lot.

        September 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Name*John

      What a know it all. You sound no different than those that preach.

      September 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I don't know any preachers in here. 😉

        September 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Shirley U. Cant B. Cirrius

        R.E. "...Making up grand metaphysical suppositions about the nature of reality with zero proof has to be one of the dumbest things Mankind has ever done..."

        I happen to agree with this poster (whom I don't know and whom has never been in my cellar), and they don't seem to making any claims of their own. Just saying that making false claims about existence is silly. Such as Humans having souls (NO PROOF! and why go there anywhere, what a strange sci-fi concept), such has gods (why pick yours and not one of the thousands of others? Oh right, THOSE other gods are the false ones), and such as living after you die. Sounds like a sweet deal huh? No wonder so many un-educated folks are sold so quickly on the church or the mosque or the synagogue...

        ...sad, us little Humans. (but still better than your god, but only if your god is better than Tiamat AND Vishnu AND Mithrias)

        September 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
        • Simon Lloyd


          September 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • JR

      Though I think the Bible is held to too high a regard, there have been many lessons from it that has done good, and much which has done bad. We really need to glean the good and write a new set of guidelines for humanity. Setting a higher standard for human behavior (including what our governments do), though we may never reach that standard, at least there should be a goal set.

      October 16, 2013 at 7:19 am |
  2. Name*John

    The evolution of religion is slow, but it is always evolving. It's nice to see a positive evolution for a change. The Pope missed an opportunity to embrace equality for women. Let us pray that he has the courage to do what is right soon and give women the same rights as men as God has intended.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • PurplePimplePopped

      Zeus is and always was a womanizer, I doubt He will change the laws. Catholicism is really just the gods of Greece re-touched...

      September 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      In Catholic teaching women are more than equal. They just aren't men.

      September 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • Ken

        "More than equal" how? What rights or considerations do they enjoy that are the envy of men?

        September 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
        • Well, they have you straight men castrated and de-johnsoned

          All women have to do is blink and you men are salivating trying to do their bidding, no matter HOW odious their crotch reeks of tuna.

          September 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • JMP

      The Pope is wisely keeping the women issue on the back burner at this time. There is no point throwing seeds on a bed of rocks. I suspect that the Pope will take years to prepare the soil to make it more receptive to a just and enduring solution. Most likely, the women issue will be resolved in the Catholic church within the next score of years.

      September 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • THANK YOU so much for clarifying the Pope's position

        In the future, he won't have to make any statements at all – from now on, YOU will be his official spokesperson.

        Yea you!

        September 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  3. wrm

    "Conservatives 'disturbed' by pope's new course"

    I'm fairly conservative and his comments don't bother me a bit.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  4. questions

    Jesus was always ridiculed by the Jewish leaders as being too lax, to laid back, not caring enough about the important things. they said he would never amount to anything.. they remained in their Jewish beliefs and crucified this Jesus. If this same Jesus were to walk into any church or republican party rally, he would be thrown out for not towing the line on conservative views.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  5. weedouthate

    In my opinion the Pope is focusing the the spiritual roots of the scriptures, that of individuals engaging in activities that would detach one's spiritual progression. This is a very personal thing and the church should always help the individual weed out hatred within the heart and soul and then sow the seeds of peace and love. We should focus on our own individual progression first.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  6. MoodyFoodie

    Guess what? Jesus's ideas weren't supposed to make the establishment "comfortable". Look how disturbed they were by him! If Conservatives are "disturbed" then Pope Francis is doin' it right!!

    September 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus supported slavery - hardly an example of good ethics.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        What a fool

        September 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          i agree, jesus was quite the fool.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
        • sqeptiq

          Ad hominem remarks are signs of lack of reason.

          September 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
  7. niknak

    Who cares what a bunch of old constipated racist white men think?
    The faster this type of trash die off, the better for the world.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Interesting that the pope, who by all accounts is a humble and generous man, makes conciliatory and healing remarks, which even non-believers applaud but your hatred for religion forces you to slander him and wish his death. Makes you wonder why more people aren't atheists doesn't it?

      September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • niknak

        Maybe you have reading comprehension issues Deacon Blues, but that was towards the "Conservatives" in this country who have issues with someone not wanting to hunt down and kill gays, like they would like to do.

        I bet you are in that camp too.

        September 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • niknak

      I forgot UGLY and FAT.
      Two more adjectives that apply to them as well.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • bakbic

      not too short.. not too long... just right!

      September 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  8. questions

    Here is the problem with conservatives.. they are never wrong, Jesus saying that if a man ask your your shirt, give him your coat also... is to liberal of a view for conservatives.. The Pope saying that church should stop picking on gays... is to liberal of a view... The conservatives would like to find a man just a bit more conservative than Jesus or the Pope... awwwww Rick Santorum...he is the new Messiah. For these conservative nuts to say that we are "misinterpreting" what the Pope said.. well folks, it's not like he is dead and we can't ask him, it isn't something he wrote and then died... so maybe it is you who are having the problems.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Tahtye

      Absolutely. He called them on using Jesus to justify their hatred!

      September 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • niknak

      If the Jesus as described in the bible came back, the conservatives who profess to follow him would kill him all over again for being a liberal hippy.

      September 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  9. realist

    Everything upsets Neo–cons, let them wail!

    September 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  10. Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

    "It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."

    September 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Dave

      What sort of world do you live in where "We're out of chips!" isn't a major problem?!?

      September 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        NIce laugh out of that one.

        September 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

        "For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen."

        September 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  11. TP

    If "conservatives are disturbed" they can find a new religion, I recommend Islam for their conservative views.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  12. Doc Vestibule

    The world knows that the RCC isn't going to change its doctine to suit the political zeitgeist.
    Women aren't going to be priests, there aren't going to be baskets of condoms next to the holy water in church and gays can either stay celibate or grit their teeth and pretend to be hetero.
    This Pope is doing a good job at representing Catholic virtues instead of harping on the world's vices.
    He doesn't come off as pompous, officious or judgemental and that's driving the politically motivated "moral majority" types crazy.
    They're desperate to find something to use as justification for their own condemnation of this and that from fiery pulpits – but so far, Francis stubbornly refuses to give them that kind of ammunition.

    And that's why most of the rest of teh world, whether Catholic or not, are really starting to like him.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Best comment you've ever made Doc. My compliments.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Women aren't going to be priests, there aren't going to be baskets of condoms next to the holy water in church and gays can either stay celibate or grit their teeth and pretend to be hetero."

      the ignorance you demonstrate is unbelievable.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Randy(but not in a good way)

        ignorance? His post was spot on 100%! What possible fault could you find in it??

        September 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          supporting keeping women from leadership roles is ignorance. it says they aren't equal to men. ignorance.

          fighting against g.ay marriage is ignorance born of h.omophobia.

          guess you didn't catch those gems, eh?

          September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Booty doesn't read. He's spring loaded reactive

          September 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          pot calling the kettle black. haha.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I'm not saying that I agree with their refusal to join us in the modern world, I'm just saying that I understand that they aren't going to change. I think that the fight against contraception is foolish and harmful, especially in regions of the world where HIV infection rates approach 40% of the population.
          I had a vasectomy some years back, so I obviously dont' buy into it.
          As for misogyny and ho.mo/se.xuality – I met the woman with whom I've been sharing my life for the last ten years at the home of a lesbian couple. They were my neighbours back when I lived in Toronto's Gay Village and we were constantly in an out of each other's apartments.
          My partner is louder, tougher, more heavily tattooed and more street smart than I am. I've never had much time for meek, subservient women.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • nataS

      I could never imagine ACTUALLY believing in ANY deity nor afterlife (dead is dead people, Humans just are not that special)...but I do like the way this guy stirs the pot 🙂

      September 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  13. Bootyfunk

    it's good to see the pope moving away from the cruel teaching of the bible.
    lev 20:13 is very clear that g.ays are abomination and are to be put to death. very clear.
    it's good the pope realizes the bible is not inerrant but full of errors.
    it's good the pope realizes the bible is wrong.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Let's be clear here booty. The verse doesn't say or imply that anyone should go and put these people to death. It distinctly says "They shall be put to death". This means that their behavior is rooted in death and not in life. The fruit of their activity is death, though no one is charged with bringing that to them. They earn it on their own. Again, the pope is not changing the teaching. What he is saying is "We've already taught you that. Now grow up and do the right thing."

      September 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • grist

        Well, actually the Bible actually does call for the stoning to death of them. And this edict was following within the last century. Funny how Bible people like to re-interpret the Bible to suit their needs when they realize the Bible is wrong! OTOH, it is good that we all agree the Bible is wrong.

        September 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • caw

        Wow they've really really stretched the meaning 'shall be put to death' to justify the bible haven't they. What next; the parting of the red sea is actually the ending of some woman's menstrual cycle?

        September 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Shadowflash1522

        Sorry, Bill, but you're really reaching. "Put to death" has been synonymous for "the death penalty" for centuries in the English language. That the death penalty is administered by humans goes without saying, since no one has ever been condemned to die of natural causes (unless you argue that one naturally dies when asphyxiated). Ergo, "they will be put to death" is another way of saying, "they will be killed [by humans]". At best, the verse has been poorly translated, in which case the meaning is simply ambiguous.

        September 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Old Testament says a whole lot of things that the RCC doesn't consider relevant.
      You'll notice that priests have no problems shaving their beards and I'll bet you modern vestments are made of blended fibres. Biblical literalism went out the Vatican windows ages ago.
      It's pretty much only the Hasidim and select idiot Baptists who take the OT at face value.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        exactly. christians pick and choose what parts of the bible to follow, and what parts not to follow.
        modern ethics have revealed how terrible biblical morals are.

        September 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Looks to me like you're the one who cherry picks the Scripture you like to harangue over while the rest of us are looking for ways to live a life of faith and reason using the complete message of the Gospel.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          There are 3 ways to determine if an OT law is applicable to the NT church:
          Divide the Mosaic law into 3 components: Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial
          The Civil Laws are gone because we are not Israel living in that time period
          The Ceremonial Laws are gone because we have the Lamb slain once for all time (Jesus)
           As a part of this, the dietary laws are gone – see Acts 11
          The Moral Law (10 Commandments) ARE STILL applicable to the New Testament church today, except the Sabbath Law, the 4th Commandment. This is gone because under the New Covenant, we have a rest in Christ.

          The OT law is not enforceable unless the NT says it is
          The OT law is still enforceable unless the NT says it is not

          September 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Joey

          NO Bill, I would say that Bootyfunk ignores all of the bible, both the New and Old Testament.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          sorry, the NT doesn't replace the OT - it adds to it. you can't pick and choose the rules you follow. jesus himself said you cannot drop a single letter from the OT. the NT supersedes the OT when there is a point of contention, but it doesn't do away with it. you are making excuses for cruelty and silliness of the bible.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Bootyfunk, oh I didn't realize that you were a theologian. Where did you get your Dr. of Divinity?
          Sarcasm aside, I never said that the NT replaced the OT. In fact it fulfills it. And those "rules for interpretation" are from within scripture, not from without.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Doc, those beard cutting and clothes wearing rules were for a certain people in a certain time – we are neither one of those. I could list the basics of Biblical Interpretation if you want which might help with issues like that.

        September 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I meant to post the "Biblical Interpretation" statement here... Oh, well, such is the nature of posting and working at the same time...

          September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Thanks but no thanks.
          Believe it or not, I get that Christians don't follow the old rules.
          Much of it was plain old common sense for its intended audience – there's no ancient Hebrew word for "trichinosis" but some smart cookie figured out that pork can make people sick.
          The dietary restrictions pretty much extend to all omnivores and bottom feeders, I think, for the same reason.
          You just can't seem to get your head around the idea that much of the Bible is allegorical – especially Genesis!
          There never was a Red Sea – but there was a Sea of Reeds around the Suez Isthmus in Egypt.
          When at low tide, a group of travellers unburdened by armour, weapons, horses and chariots could have crossed it with relative ease while their pursuers would have had considerably more difficulty. Those laden with all that gear may well have found themselves half way across as the water rose, slowed their progress even more and eventually drowned them.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc, I don't mean this to sound sarcastic – it's an honest question... Do you say that it is allegorical because you don't believe in the miraculous or the supernatural?

          September 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Occam's razor, my friend.
          Do you believe that the Epic of Gilgamesh is literally true?
          After all, it pre-dates the Bible by nearly 1000 years and mentions a global flood, just like Genesis.
          Archaeologists have unearthed the Babylonian city of Uruk. There are numerous independent references to King Gilgamesh outside of teh stone tablets on which the story was found.
          The Gilgamesh myhos says that he was a demi-god who ruled his kingdom for 125 years and took a trip or two to the Underworld during that time.
          This is what happens to legends – a lot of them have a historical basis but become embellished in their re-tellings.

          Another fine example is Beowulf.
          It is a rare insight into the culture and ideology of Anglo-Saxon culture of around 700AD. Their heroic ideal is decidedly not Christian – and yet the myth survives largely becuase some Christian scribe heard it and committed it to paper. If you read the olde-english poem, you can see how the scribe awkwardly wedged Christian references and ideals into a story that doesn't suit it.
          But that doesn't mean that Grendels and dragons are real.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc, but you're dancing around the question of WHICH God is right... Surely that can be debated, but my question to you was if you believed in the miraculous or the supernatural...

          September 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          If I were not a naturalist, I still would not believe in the Genesis creation story as literal fact.
          There is too much evidence to the contrary.
          Look – I can appreciate how people can suspend their disbelief when it comes to miracles like a guy who lived thousands of years ago walking on water.
          But when it comes to something like a global flood, it jsut doesn't stand up to our understanding of the Earth these days.

          We know that in the arctic, it is light half the year and dark the other half. We know that the planet Earth hasn't drastically shifted its axis or orbital position, so the light/dark cycles in those regions have been relatively consistent throughout the planet's history.
          We know that each year, the light/dark cycles result in unique layers of ice built one on top of the other.
          We know that contained in these ice layers there are bubbles of atmospheric gases, particulate matter and other distince indicators of the climate at the time the layers were formed.
          Thanks to modern engineering, we have drilled down through tens of thousands of years worth of these ice layers and studied them closely.
          There is no evidence whatsoever of a global flood. Such an event would stand out like a flashing neon sign.

          And for teh record, Beowulf wasn't a god – he was Royalty, but not a demi-god. As I metioned, the Beowulf epic was rather clumsily "christianized" by whichever monk liked it enough to write it down – and yet still, neither grendels nor dragons exist in real life.

          September 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "The verse doesn't say or imply that anyone should go and put these people to death. It distinctly says "They shall be put to death"."

      you're not being honest here. doesn't imply? when someone is "put to death", they are killed by another human being. you said it doesn't say they should "put these people to death" but it says "they shall be put to death" - but that doesn't imply killing them? lol, are you seriously trying to make that argument?

      September 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        The error you make is that you believe when someone is put to death is must be at the hand of another human being. I disagree with that presumption.

        September 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • Bootyfunk


          September 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Example? Sure, the flood... Sodom...

          September 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
        • Joey

          Lawrence, how about an example that actually happened in real life?

          September 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Sorry, I don't accept your premise. It's an unqualified claim. Just because it happened a long time ago isn't sufficient enough reason to say that it never happened. Even now in the place where Ninevah used to stand, the people still hold annual celebrations that reflect when Jonah came and preached repentance.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  14. Bill Deacon

    Another example of CNN inflating a controversy with the tiitle of the article. If Donohue isn't disturbed, I don't think anyone can say "conservative" are disturbed. Besides who ever said conservatives should not be disturbed by the Gospel? Or liberals? This pope is a genius at attracting attention to the message of Christ's love and compassion while holding steadfast the truths of the Church for right living.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      " Besides who ever said conservatives should not be disturbed by the Gospel? Or liberals?"

      everyone should be disturbed by the gospel. for instance, jesus fully endorses slavery and tells slaves that if they want any chance to get into heaven, they must obey their masters. he also recommends beating disobedient slaves. disgusting. absolutely disgusting and very disturbing.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        What's disturbing is that you sit around thinking that you have convinced someone your straw man is an accurate representation of the Scripture.

        September 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          "Another example of CNN inflating a controversy with the tiitle of the article."

          says the guy that started his comment with a straw man fallacy. lol.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  15. Lawrence of Arabia

    Love your neighbor, sure, but don't be afraid to call sin out for what it is. And if we stop preaching sin, righteousness, and repentance, then what are we here for?

    September 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Do you know what the Church teaches on these matters? Do you know where the Church stands on abortion and marriage? Then get to work. There are people hurting all around you. Stop screaming at them.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I know that, and I meant no offense.
        The article would just have you believe that the the pope would have us stop preaching sin. As a protestant, I don't know what the Catholic Catechism says, I do know what the Westminster Catechism says though, but more importantly, I know what the Bible says about the issue. (I'm not implying that you don't, sir)
        I only mean that we minister to the hurting, but we also (with love) inform them of the consequences of sin, fo that is indeed the most loving thing that we can do.

        September 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          that's silly.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Agreed Lawrence and no offense taken. I simply think the pope's wisdom deserves attention here. We don't accomplish anything when we alienate people from the Gospel with sanctimony. Look at your own conversion. Which occurred first, your acceptance of teachings or the love of Christ for you as a sinner?

          September 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          brainwashing came first.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Absolutely... Isn't there an old saying where "they don't care what you know until they know how much you care..." When I've done missionary work, it always starts out by first providing some need, whether it is giving out food, or rebuilding houses, and, just like Christ, we first fill their bellies (feeding the 5,000) then we give them a messege where God can fill their souls.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          want us to help you with your disaster? the cost is a sermon.

          try helping out of the goodness of your hearts instead of as a recruiting tool.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no such thing as sin.
      you can love your fellow human being without believing in an invisible sky fairy.
      you don't need god to be a good person. really.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

      "How much time he saves who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks." ~Marcus Aurelius

      September 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Doris

      Who gave you the right to decide what sin is over some other Christian who doesn't feel the say way; who doesn't have the same interpretation of "the Word" as you??

      Get over yourself.

      September 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      "And if we stop preaching sin, righteousness, and repentance, then what are we here for?"

      Oh, I don't know. Loving your enemies? Doing good to those who hate you? Caring for the sick, the dying, the imprisoned? Building homes for the homeless? Providing medical care for those who can't get it? Serving food to the starving? Getting clean water to the poorest villages in Africa? Halting genocide in Rwanda?

      Seriously, there's plenty of other stuff in there to keep you busy. Even I know that.

      September 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Yep, but let's not forget that "all of our righteous deeds are but filthy rags..." There has to be "meat" to our good works (not that anyone's good works can save). If we're just feeding them for today, then that's great, but there is a fate that befalls all of those who refuse to repent. (Romans 2) And we are obliged to tell them that.

        September 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Well of course

          Xtians created some strict self-serving rules for themselves. Thankfully, there is separation of church and state to protect people from such lunacy.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Shadowflash1522

          Your statement makes no sense. If "righteous deeds are but filthy rags..." then why do them? If it's the preaching that counts, then it would be more efficient to strip away the "filthy rags" and lecture the starving, not feed them. After all, their reward will be great in heaven.

          Your ill-hidden premise seems to be that people must be entrapped into hearing what you have to say, lured in with necessities like food and shelter and then "civilized" with christian teachings. It's much akin to training dogs.

          What's wrong with helping the less fortunate for compassion's own sake? Why does fire and brimstone have to come into at all?

          September 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I was attempting to make the point that good deeds in and of themselves provide no real lasting value – if all you do is help their current condition, then all you are doing is making it a better place to go to hell from.
          Christians MUST preach the gospel. We're not given a choice, that's a command. Also, we must help out the poor, the orphans, and the widows (just to name a few), and when we do, we combine that with the giving of the gospel because regardless of their physical needs, we recognize that there is an even greater need – and that one is spiritual in nature.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Maria Carvalho

      To be intollerant and shove our views down other people's throats? Taht's so neo con and anti Christian! Common sense will prevail and the world will forever thank Pope Francis.

      September 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • Jesus Loves You

        That's not true!

        Jesus' teachings is not about tolerance.

        "Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me" .

        Jesus was specific about his teachings on adultery, murder, divorce and many more.

        September 21, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • noly972

      Lawrence, I interpret the Pope's statements as meaning to love your neighbor including not judging your neighbor. Your neighbor's sin is between 'God' and the sinner. It isn't 'your' business. It really isn't germane to such things as church membership or acceptance. The point of a church, in this case the RCC, is to provide guidance to sinners toward their salvation not to judge them. Remember, at the beginning of the interview when he was asked who he was, he replied, "I am a sinner." If he is a sinner, then, by implication, we all are sinners. Who are we to judge our neighbor?

      September 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  16. Bootyfunk

    conservatives have always been on the wrong side of social justice.

    conservatives wanted to continue slavery
    conservatives wanted to continue segregation
    conservatives didn't want women to vote
    conservatives didn't want minorities to vote
    conservatives didn't want whites + minorities to marry
    conservatives don't want g.ays to marry

    if conservatives had their way, we'd still be living in 1850.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Friend, there's a difference between POLITICAL conservatism, and RELIGIOUS conservatism.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Joey

        Well, there used to be.

        September 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        they go hand in hand.
        the people that don't want g.ays to marry are religiously AND politically conservative.
        the people that wanted slavery to continue were religiously AND politically conservative.
        the people that didn't want women to vote were religiously AND politically conservative.

        yes, they are different, but pretty much go hand in hand, no?

        September 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Maybe in a lot of cases, I can only speak for what I've seen within the community I serve. Personally, after seeing some of the things that the leaders on both sides of the isle condone, I don't consider myself a political anything anymore...

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

          Religious conservatism will be the death of political conservatism.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          lawrence, conservatives have fought on the wrong side of social justice throughout U.S. (and world) history. what side of social justice have liberals been on the wrong side of? liberals fight for civil rights - conservatives fight against them.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Well, you can't make an absolute statement like that, blaming all conservatives for all of the problems within civil rights – I mean, as I said, I'm not a political anything, but I'm sure that guilt rests on both parties. What we have to do then is instead of voting along party lines – vote your conscience.

          September 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          wrong, lawrence.
          conservatives want to preserve the old ways - liberals embrace the new. look up the people who fought against slavery - they were liberals, like A. Lincoln. women who fought for women's rights, like susan b. anthony.

          so i challenge you - where have liberals been on the wrong side of social justice? give an example of a famous conservative that fought against segregation?

          September 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Abraham Lincoln??? He was a terrorist! Do I need to tell you about the Atlanta campaign that was specifically designed to wage war on CIVILIANS??? And please, spare us all by trying to refute that, I've read the letters and the military orders myself... Not to mention the personal accounts and countless photos and personal letters from those who lived through it. And yes, I live around Atlanta.

          September 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  17. Joey

    Pretty much everything conservatives do disturbs me.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  18. Mike

    The Pope preaches compassion in place of condemnation.

    September 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      correct. without changing the doctrine

      September 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Her Royal Highness, Princess of compassionville

      I am a conservative and I approve pope's message of hope, love and salvation extended to all sinners.

      September 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
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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.