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September 21st, 2013
11:41 AM ET

Can Pope Francis make his vision a reality?

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN

ROME (CNN) - Pope Francis has sketched a vision of a Catholic Church that’s more welcoming – to women, to homosexuals, to divorced and remarried believers, to pretty much everybody –- and less invested in the culture wars.

In a now famous interview published Thursday, the pope said he knows some militants want him to toss around more fire and brimstone. But he insists that Catholic positions on hot-button issues such as abortion and gay marriage are already well known, and anyway, “Ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”

None of that implies a change in church teaching, but it does suggest a fairly serious shift in tone. The question now becomes, is this just the pope talking? Or is he capable of bringing the rest of the church along with him?

Despite the mythology of Roman Catholicism as a top-down monolith, the truth is that it’s actually one of the most decentralized institutions on Earth.

There are only about 3,000 personnel in the Vatican directing the affairs of a church that counts 1.2 billion members, which means that Rome doesn’t have the manpower to micromanage anything but exceptional cases.

Probably 90% of the decisions that matter – what pastor will be assigned to which parish, or what tithes will be used for –- are made at the local level.

Popes trying to steer this colossus in a new direction, therefore, need middle managers as well as the rank and file to pull in the same direction, and experience suggests they don’t always fall in line.

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

Pope John Paul II, nearly 27 years, exhorted the church to be more evangelical, more daring about taking its message to the streets, and while he unleashed powerful new energies – think about World Youth Days, for instance – that missionary aspiration still remains a work in progress.

Similarly, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI desired a church more appreciative of tradition and more focused on its core identity, and again most observers would say the end result over eight difficult years was a mixed bag.

If Francis is to bring the Catholic Church into line with his more pastoral and compassionate vision, two fronts seem especially critical.

First is personnel. Nothing a pope does to shape culture in the church is more important than naming the roughly 5,100 bishops of the world, who set the tone in their own backyards.

A new papal direction may be invigorating, but if people don’t pick up the same vibe from their local bishops and pastors, over time it will only seem like sound and fury signifying little.

To date Francis hasn’t made many flagship picks except for his own successor in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but he’ll have to do so soon, since archbishops in critical locales such as Madrid, Cologne and Chicago are all older than 75, the normal retirement age.

Popes typically rely on their nuncios, or ambassadors, around the world to recommend new bishops.

In June, Francis gave his nuncios their marching orders, saying he wants bishops who are “close to the people, fathers and brothers” as well as “gentle, patient and merciful.” He also said they shouldn’t have “the psychology of princes.”

How well he spots talent to fit that profile will help determine whether his dream of moving past what he called “a church of small-minded rules” becomes reality.

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

The other key test is structural reform, beginning in the Vatican and radiating outward, perhaps especially on financial transparency and the fight against child sexual abuse.

Scandals in those areas have plagued the Vatican and the wider church in recent years, making it difficult for many people to see Catholicism as a vehicle for compassion.

Francis has set up three commissions to ponder reform, including a body of eight cardinals from around the world set to hold its first meeting in Rome from October 1-3.

If those groups don’t deliver significant recommendations, which are embraced and implemented by the pope, once again his rhetoric about reforming the church may ring hollow.

Popes play many roles, including prophet and CEO. Francis has delivered a stunning debut as the church’s voice of conscience and spiritual guide; now he has to get down to the brass tacks of management to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Leaders • Pope Francis

soundoff (2,596 Responses)
  1. Bag Boy

    Atheist of darkness sleep your eternal sleep for even the particles you leave behind will be present for the end.

    You would not want to be alive for such a thing, but to know your matter will be part of the other side of reality.

    September 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      ^^ babble babble babble ^^

      September 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Bag Boy

        Alter your teeth
        Cover your breath

        September 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  2. Lord Toronaga

    Lot's of liberals say you don't need the "great sky fairy" to give you the answers ... just use your conscience.. Well, that's what we actually do anyways. We don't like you, with or without the God issue. Some of us just use the religion excuse to make it easier to explain to the leftist. But ...You stink and so does your lifestyle. The Pope can just go eff himself.

    September 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Well, you're on the wrong side of history, and the more time passes, the further you'll see you are from the mark.

      September 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • Lord Toronaga

        Seems gays were on the wrong side of the heath implication. 600,000 dead in America since you brought AIDS to the table.

        September 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and where would we be without liberals?

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

      conservatives wanted to continue slavery
      conservatives wanted to continue segregation
      conservatives didn't want minorities to vote
      conservatives didn't want women to vote
      conservatives were against civil rights
      conservatives were against whites and minorities marrying
      and now conservatives are against g.ay marriage

      conservatives have always been the club for prejudice small-minded morons that can't accept change.

      September 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
      • Lord Toronaga

        Well....some of those items have a lot of appeal to me. Sadly some of those items were invented by democrats so we can't take the credit.

        September 22, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Dippy

      Lots, not lot's.

      September 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  3. Observer

    AtheistsareMorons,

    Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was. He mentioned a few.

    Which of the following commandments was NOT considered among the most important by Jesus:

    (1) The Golden Rule
    (2) S3xual activity by heteros (adultery)
    (3) S3xual activity by gays

    September 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • AtheistareMorons

      The biggest commandment Jesus said was " To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind". The second one was " Love your neighbor as yourself"

      September 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • Observer

        AtheistsareMorons,

        Sorry you missed it. Please answer the question. Stumped?

        September 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • AtheistareMorons

          No what you're asking me is a trap question, therefor it makes no sense answering you.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          What the christian god thinks is most important makes no sense.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
        • Observer

          AtheistsareMorons,

          If you actually have read the Bible you'd know the answer. Anyone familiar with the Bible could.

          You probably know but don't have the integrity to admit it.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • AtheistareMorons

          @Observer

          None of those 3 choices you gave where considered the most important for Jesus. Don't tell me the Golden Rule was one of them, there was no Golden Rule mentioned, only the most important commandment and law was given and mentioned by Jesus.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Why does a nafarious god need my "love" more than a real person?

          September 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Observer

          AtheistsareMorons,

          If you had more integrity or knew more about the Bible, you'd admit that Jesus mentioned commandments against hetero s3x and the "Golden Rule", but NOT anything about gay s3x when talking about "the most important commandment"..

          So much for Christian integrity and honesty.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • AtheistareMorons

          @Observer

          If you had much integrity yourself you would know that depends on which version of the bible says so. Not all version of the bible tells this about gays.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • Observer

          AtheistareMorons,

          At least you admit "the Bible" lacks integrity since there are so many conflicting versions.

          Show your integrity by listing EVERYTHING that Jesus said about gays that was negative.

          This is an HONESTY check.

          September 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  4. CMS

    Strange how atheists are closely and dillgently following every article on this Holy Father.....otherwise, why are they here taking the time out of their busy day to comment?

    Why do you want, Atheists? Why do you visit these forums? What are you seeking?

    God always finds us first, before we find Him........

    September 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      we want to help our brothers and sisters break the brainwashing and think for themselves. we want you to stop believing in a god that doesn't exist and believe in humanity. we want you to be free of the mental shackles.

      September 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • Chris

        Ahhhhh....an atheist evangelist....preach it brother.

        September 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          hallemaluaah! yea do i say it is good to treat people well and think for yoruself!

          September 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • CMS

        I've had the experience of God. Leave yourself open to grace, and perhaps you will, too. Then your shackles that are chained to this world may finally leave you. Anyway, that's my prayer.

        Until you've had the experience of the Divine, you can't truly comment on why a person of faith believes. I don't feel burdened...I feel free.

        When you've had the experience, let me know. Until then, it's going to be challenging for you to understand. Yours is the experience of Nothingness.

        September 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  5. Bag Boy

    If I believed some one or some thing was observing me every second of every day, reading my thoughts, judging me, etc. I would very definitely kill myself.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      It sure would create a lot of paranoia.

      September 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Chris

      You know my wife???

      September 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Funny!

        September 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  6. PatriotMissle

    Who do I have to start hugging next...terrorists?

    September 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bag Boy

      Cover your ears. Cover your breath.

      September 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  7. Bag Boy

    If you can understand it, it has nothing to do with you.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Myong Chung

    Pope says: "... who am I to judge?" God says: "who am I not to judge?"

    September 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      The people say, "What's with all the judging ... just help us."

      September 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • AtheistsareMorons

        Why are you asking more from God? He already gave us all the tools we need to make this world a better place to live in. Our conscience in the biggest tool we all have.

        September 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          listen to your conscience - it's your brain telling you what's wrong or right.

          there's no such thing as god. you don't need an invisible sky fairy to be a good person.

          love and help your brothers and sisters whenever you can.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          I am saying that if I was God, instead of being all-powerful and just stand by, I would be present to help teach. And I think that's part of the reason for the rise of atheist (not a dramatic rise), is the confusion this basic question poses. How can we be more caring than God, who is all-powerful, by wanting to jump in and fix things?

          September 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          @Bootyfunk – Please, enough with the "sky fairy" stuff. That is so played out and all it does is agitate and discourage discussion.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          actually, atheism has had a very dramatic rise. check the stats.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          don't get your panties in a bunch. we're not at the harvard debates - it's a blog. it demonstrates a point, which you may be missing. silly ideas don't invite serious discussion. i don't have to respect silly ideas. so go be the blog police somewhere else.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          @Bootyfunk – It depends on how the tea leaves are read. Silverman would like to claim the "nones," which is ridiculous because they still believe even though they are no longer associated.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          My conscience tells me the christian god is not worthy of worship, logic tells me that god does not exist.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          @Bootyfunk – There was the beginning of a conversation going on – respect that.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          it has nothing to do with tea leaves and everything to do with stats. again, check the stats. you will see that atheism has had a dramatic rise in recent decades, especially among the youth.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          "There was the beginning of a conversation going on – respect that."

          get off your high horse. what kind of ego do you have? my first comment on this thread was very relevant and on point - you're the one posting lectures about what people can and can't say. police yourself and calm down.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          @Bootyfunk – It's not about you, and the conversation was not with you, instead you just came in, made a smart A remark, and killed. It's not about you – that's where the ego problem is. If you can't play nice, just stand by and watch. Geese.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          no, apparently you think the conversation is about you and that you make the rules. don't tell people what they can and can't write. and again, READ my first comment. i was adding to the conversation, not killing it. because you don't like a comment doesn't mean it shouldn't be allowed.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Apparently Neil doesn't like the term "sky fairy".

          Ridicule is often the best response to the rediculous.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • *

          *ridiculous

          September 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    the pope gets ZERO credit. he didn't change church doctrine, he just made a few ambiguous comments. he didn't say g.ays are welcome in the church. he didn't say the bible was wrong about putting g.ays to death. he didn't say g.ays can now be priests. he didn't even say being g.ay is normal/okay. he still told women they're 2nd class citizens unworthy to lead in the church.

    i can't understand why anyone is giving him points. he's still prejudice, but now he's LESS prejudice, and he gets credit for that? what a joke. the church is the leading force for h.omophobia in the world. he could change doctrine, but he doesn't.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      If he tries to change the Church too fast, he'll break it. Nobody in the Church wants that. Change takes time, and this kind of change, although small, is still for the better.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        excuses. sometimes the ship needs to be turned hard to starboard. christians put g.ays to death in africa, south america and asia, so i'm not sure the g.ay people there have the luxury of time. he could do more than a few ambiguous comments to help them. he could make a passionate plea telling catholics that g.ay men and women are their brothers and sisters and are to be treated equally. and yes, he could change church doctrine, he has the power to do that - he's the pope. he could say that women can be leaders in the church - this is 2014 after all, not the middle ages. but he's sticking with the whole women still aren't equal to men. but he said he wants their advice... what a slap in the face for women. you can give us your opinion, ladies - but at the end of the day, they don't mean anything and men will decide for you anyway.

        September 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          But you are not recognizing the basic nature of people – there are many teachings that have been made core beliefs, but not held by all anymore. The disillusionment with the Church with the growth of the "nones" shows this. If the Church is broken, Southern Baptists will become stronger and they are far worse than the Church. It takes time for people to change, and the deeper or closer the belief, the longer the time.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          you're making excuses for the church. other religions have allowed women to be leaders, so it's a pretty poor excuse you're throwing out about taking time to change. the catholic church has had centuries to overturn that rule, but haven't. women can be astronauts, but not catholic priests. seriously, stop making excuses for misogyny and h.omopohobia in the modern world.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • AtheistsareMorons

      I think you're asking for too much, nothing would please you even if he does.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        you think asking for equality is asking too much?

        September 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • AtheistsareMorons

          It's not about equality i was focusing on but the church will change over time but there is one thing that will never go away even if you keep trying. That is the complete removal of belief in God, that will never happen.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          you're a master of the obvious. you wouldn't have church without god. i think that's apparent, isn't it? that's not what i'm asking the church for though, is it? equality and non-belief are not the same thing, you seem to have gotten them confused.

          and yes, the church is behind - that's exactly my point, too far behind. they need to catch up and we have to stop giving them a break for their prejudices. you can't use religion as an excuse for bigotry forever....

          September 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • AtheistareMorons

          I agree that the church are far behind and so is an atheism view for a better world. Both have to work to come up with the knowledge of what makes sense and what doesn't. One of the biggest challenge atheists will have is to overcome is, the true meaning of morality.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  10. TheCanadian

    I'm an atheist, I see all these militant comments on both sides of the fence "RELIGION ARE EVIL"! "YOU STOOPID ATHEIST!" "GOD IS NO REAL!" "BURN IN HELL!" Seriously.... all of you.... grow up.

    Refering to the article now... as I said, I am an Atheist, and I agree with some of the comments here how just this can't make up for years and years and years of oppression, BUT... I gotta say, I like Francis. He's stirring the pot and trying to make a difference with his point of power at least. He's backed off from all the hot button issues everyone expects like gay marriage and abortion stating "People KNOW the church's stance". Instead he's turned to internal politics and gutted the system in hopes of getting fresh blood inside and using his position to speak ouit against child molestation, gay rights, women's rights, atheist equality, and the hypocrisy of the church itself. He's trying to make people THINK, rather than just follow. He wants people to become LEADERS within their communities while maintaining a meek and humble mindset. He wants people giving him advice who have never even seen the ivory tower let alone been inside, and THIS is the kind of stuff I admire him doing.

    I repeat, I'm an Atheist, but Pope Francis, I like you. You are the kind of leader this world needs more of.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • AtheistsareMorons

      Now that males a lot of sense. But don't expect much support by your other atheists friends.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • TheCanadian

        Neither do I. I don't think it's so much Atheists who will disagree with me though, I think it'll be the militant ones who have a problem with my comments. Atheists aren't a problem, neither are Christians, Muslims, Shintoists, or anyone else in any group really. It's when you get the opinions of the extremists, and sadly, those from every group are always the loudest. There's militant atheists, militant christians, militant everything. So many people just want to fight, it's ridiculous. I don't believe in God, but that doesn't mean I want to burn the bible and behead religious leaders. I just don't believe. That's all. Maybe it's because I'm so darn Canadian that I can't get mad about it, I dunno.

        I just find the idea silly, it's like Santa Claus for adults when you think about it. But that's me, and I'll respect your customs and beliefs regardless of what anyone believes, just like I expect to have my beliefs respected.

        September 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • AtheistsareMorons

          I totally agree with you except one thing, as long as those who believe in God respect those who doesn't and as long as those who don't respect those who does. It's all about respect, it's really not too much to ask.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Yeah, I agree with you.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "BUT... I gotta say, I like Francis. He's stirring the pot and trying to make a difference with his point of power at least"

      WRONG! he has done NOTHING to affect change. he has the power to change church doctrine and has done nothing. stop giving points where they are NOT due. he still thinks g.ays and women are not equal to straight men - stop trying to sugar coat his bigotry.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Definitely not trying to sugarcoat hatred, but change has to start somewhere, somehow.

        September 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • AtheistsareMorons

          Now here is something we can both agree on.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          sure does. unfortunately, this doesn't qualify as change.. too bad the church is always 30 years behind the public on social ethics.

          modern ethics > biblical morals

          September 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • AtheistareMorons

          @Booty

          You seem to have a problem with the true meaning of morality.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Irony

          A troll trying to tell someone about morality.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • AtheistareMorons

          Do you see bigots and trolls everywhere you look at? If you do, there are special places where you can go to get the help you need.

          September 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "He wants people to become LEADERS within their communities while maintaining a meek and humble mindset."

      unless they are women or g.ay, right?

      September 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        It won't happen overnight and will probably take decades. You are talking about "the Church."

        September 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          they've had centuries.... why are women still unable to be leaders?

          September 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • TheCanadian

          Bootyfunk, you need to look at the stance of the church over time. Yes, they've been behind for ages, but it's because the same old white guys have been promotiong the same old white status quo. Everyone until Francis has just been sorta going with the flow. Francis they thought would be another to just go with it, but he stood up and said "No! I'm in a position of power! I'm gonna get something started!" and he has. Conservatives are shaken by his words and genuinely scared that things are going to change, but Francis doesn't care, because he sees that things HAVE TO change if he wants the church to help people like it should. Francis may not being going in radical and flipping tables on everyone, but his words are having a huge impact.

          I want you to think about it for a moment. Would I honestly be arguing accolades for the Pope if it were just another super-conservative Christian. No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't care. It'd be another day of "Hellfire, brimstone, and the birds go 'tweet'." But this man is saying "Leave the gays and atheists be, they're people just like you. Women can lead, and gays can love god, and atheists can go to heaven" So on some level, you've got to admire that he's stood up AGAINST tradition.

          Yes, it will take a long time for these words to resonate, but this is a step in the right direction at least, isn't it?

          September 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          women can lead? they can't. did you get that mixed up somewhere...? that's part of the point, which you apparently missed....

          September 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  11. heehee

    Let's see if I have this straight – the pope will continue to believe that h0m0 s3xu8ls are sinners, but say it only indirectly while smiling? Revolutionary.

    Got it.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  12. PatroitMissle

    Barry told the Pope to run on the 'CHANGE' platform, the ruse worked for him.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  13. tayllor1234

    While humans redifine sin God does not.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Would that make humans more powerful than God, since they are more understanding, making a harmful belief less so?

      September 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      but of course YOU claim to know the difference...

      September 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Observer

      tayllor1234,

      Yep. God still supports slavery and discrimination against women, gays, and the handicapped.

      As long as you are picking and choosing from the Bible, choose the Golden Rule next time.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • AtheistsareMorons

        God is not doing any of this, that is in your imagination only. People are doing this, not God.

        September 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Observer

          AtheistsareMorons,

          Obviously, you haven't read a lot of the Bible. Read it someday so you won't look so clueless.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • AtheistareMorons

          I did and i know very well what the bible says. But like you atheists always says, the bible was written by men and men are making all those bad things. Right?

          September 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  14. PatroitMissle

    Hope it's not the same 'CHANGE' that Barry promised us!

    September 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Observer

      We CHANGED from LOSING well over a half million job each month to adding jobs each month.
      We CHANGED from a PLUMMETING stock market to one that keeps setting all-time highs.
      We CHANGED from Bush and Republicans starting $2,000,000,000,000 wars for false reasons.
      We CHANGED from General Motors headed for bankruptcy.
      We CHANGED from have bin Laden being a threat.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  15. CW Steinle

    Looks like the Catholics got their Obama. Not your standard for righteousness or holiness. Sure can't call him holy father. Guess maybe the R.C. is just being who they've always been behind the curtain.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  16. What is going on? FREEDOM

    My mirror talk isn't working. I'm still putting myself down.

    Believe in myself, believe in myself! I must love myself, or learn to love myself!!!

    September 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  17. bram druckman

    In the 6th century the Church announced the bubonic plague then claiming 1000's of lives a day was an act of God and disease a punishment for the sin of not obeying Church authority. In 1302 Pope Boniface issued the bull Unam Sanctam: claiming every person alive was subject to papal authority but the Pope himself was accountable to no one but God. In the 14th century when the black death, another bubonic plague, struck, the Church explained that Jews were to blame and prompted attacks upon them. Promising two years' indulgence, or freedom from puishment for sins, to all who would take up arms, and eternal salvation for any who should die, Pope Innocent III, in 1204, initiated the Albigensian Crusade killing 12,000 people at the Cathedral of St. Nazir in Langeduc, France, and at least 20,000 in Beziers, France. The punishment for the 100 leading men of Brams was to have their eyes gouged out and noses and upper lips cut off. And there has been no more organized effort by a religion to control and dominate people than the Christian Inquisition that took countless human lives as it demanded unquestioning obedience. With all of the tyranny, repression, stake burnings and killings the Church has been responsible for over the years how can anyone with even the least bit of intelligence believe in or subscribe to anything the Pope or Church says today?

    September 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Glad I wasn't around for that part of Catholicism, and I feel so sorry for those that were.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • E

      In few words.
      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/mar/13/catholicism.religion

      September 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  18. chrislosolivos

    Meanwhile, Republicans are busy trying to defund the Vatican.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  19. What is going on? FREEDOM

    You know what? I can't stand it anymore! I have to admit that athiestsaremorons is me! ME!! I'm the one stealing everyone's username. I'm that pathetic!

    September 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      AtheistareMorons you really have no life do you?

      September 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • What is going on? FREEDOM

        Oh no! It's what my therapist warned me about. I'm talking to myself!!!!!!!!!!

        September 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          No one is that dumb to ignore the fact that you are trolling because you have no life nor intelligence.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • AtheistsareMorons

      What? Are you losing you mind?

      September 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
      • AtheistsareMorons

        Yes, of course I am. Don't act dumb, you know I'm you.

        September 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • AtheistsareMorons

          I suggest you have a head check first thing tomorrow morning.

          September 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  20. ronjayaz

    The ? I have. What are the demographics from 1900 to the present? And do they break down into categories? I can remember growing up in the Bronx in the 1940s & the church was overflowing with parishioners & the Church was arrogant, condemning and not a very good shepherd. They cudnt get me back with a ten-foot pole even tho the current Pope Francis is muy simpatico.

    September 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Yeah, he does appear to be muy simpatico. There is the Pope, and then there is the administration of the Church.

      September 22, 2013 at 1:23 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.