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What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican
Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals gets tripped up by Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox during the 2013 World Series.
October 29th, 2013
11:37 AM ET

What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican

Opinion by Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - This is a post about the instantly infamous “obstruction” call that ended Game 3 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.  But it starts with an epiphany I had years ago about Vatican law.

This epiphany came in the form of a 2005 op-ed on gay Catholic priests, written by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

As a long-time observer of all things Vatican, Allen was trying to explain to American readers why there will always be gay priests. In so doing, he drew a sharp distinction between Italian law (which holds sway in the Vatican) and Anglo-Saxon law (which prevails in the United States).

Italian law “expresses an ideal," he wrote. "It describes a perfect state of affairs from which many people will inevitably fall short. This view is far removed from the typical Anglo-Saxon approach, which expects the law to dictate what people actually do.”

So when Italians say “no gays in the priesthood,” they are not expressing what we in the United States refer to as a law. They are expressing an aspiration. They are saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no gays in the priesthood.” Or, as a senior Vatican official told Allen, “Law describes the way things would work if men were angels.”

I was livid on Saturday night when I saw the Cardinals’ runner Allen Craig awarded home plate (and the game) because of “obstruction” by Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. In fact, I screamed so loud at the television set that my throat still hurts days later.

But I wasn’t just reacting as a lifetime member of the Church of the Boston Red Sox. I was outraged at the umpires’ misapplication of their rules.

Although baseball is America’s pastime, it works by Italian law. The shape-shifting strike zone is a model of subjectivity, varying from umpire to umpire, and from inning to inning.

Umpires routinely allow second basemen and shortstops to catch double play relays merely in the vicinity of second base in order to prevent injury at the hands of sliding runners. In fact, this happens so often it has a name (“the phantom double play”).

All this is to say that baseball umpires are expected to exercise their judgment.

As many baseball pundits have noted, the umpires acted in World Series Game 3 according to the letter of the law (which in this case turns out to be Rule 7.06 on “obstruction”).

As umpire John Hirschbeck himself explained in an interview after the controversial game — the only World Series contest ever to end on an obstruction call — intent does not matter:

”Obstruction is the act of a fielder obstructing a runner when not in the act of fielding a ball. It does not have to be intent. There does not have to be intent, OK? Once he has the opportunity to field the ball, he can no longer in any way obstruct the runner. That's basically the rule.”

During the same interview, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive VP of baseball operations, cited Rule 2, which offered this almost eerie example of "obstruction": "An infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him, and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner."

Fair enough. That certainly does seem to describe the Game 3 situation. But notice the language here. “Very likely” indicates that umpires are supposed to exercise some discretion here, some subjectivity, some judgment. Which is how it should be.

Those who claim that the umpires in this case should have followed the letter of the law misunderstand the nature of the baseball rulebook, which throughout baseball history, from Little League to the major leagues, has been interpreted in the spirit of Italian rather than Anglo-Saxon law.

We have always expected umpires to exercise their discretion, to pay attention to particulars as they interpret the rules.

The purpose of Rule 7.06 is to prevent fielders from hindering runners as they proceed from base to base. Yet this same rule recognizes that fielders have the right to field their position.

In this case, these two rights literally bumped up against one another in the bodies of Will Middlebrooks and Allen Craig. The Red Sox third baseman dived to his left in an effort to catch a ball coming his way from his team’s catcher. He had every right to reach for the ball, just as the Cardinals' runner had every right to slide into third base.

As soon as the ball shot past Middlebrooks, Craig tried to jump over him and tripped as he was heading for home. Third base umpire Jim Joyce signaled obstruction, and the home plate umpire, yielding to Joyce’s judgment, awarded Craig home plate, despite the fact that he was tagged out easily by the Red Sox catcher.

So my question is this: What was MIddlebrooks supposed to do? If he possessed superpowers that elude mere mortals, he could have teleported his body to another dimension, but failing that, his body was going to fall where gravity took it.

To call this obstruction is to tell Middlebrooks and every future third baseman that they cannot dive to their left for an errant throw, or that they do so at the risk of awarding the runner a free pass home. And that doesn’t make any sense, because as the rule itself recognizes, the fielders have every right to field their position.

To return to the Rome and Vatican law, what we have here is a conflict between two modes of legal interpretation.

Cardinals fans who lauded the umpires for following the letter of the law were demanding Anglo-American interpretation. But baseball, despite its American origins, has always been governed by an Italian approach.

“If men were angels,” the Red Sox third baseman could have winged his body away a millisecond after diving for the ball. But men are not angels, and Game 3 should have gone into extra innings.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sports • Vatican

soundoff (528 Responses)
  1. Topher

    Sigh. This is kinda boring. Anyone got anything theological to discuss?

    October 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      This is indeed a pretty sad article, even by Belief Blog standards.
      "What Hockey Goalies Can Learn From Imams"
      "What Boxing Referees Can Learn From Scientology"
      etc.

      I saw that you're about to have a kid there, Mr. Topher – is it your 1st?

      October 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • Topher

        Yep. My first.

        October 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I hope you're ready to add sleep to list of things for which you pray. 😉

          October 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Topher

          Haha. I'll have to remember to add that one.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher

          My kid is at the age where she's been asking all sorts of tough questions – where do people come from, how was the Earth formed, what happens when we die etc.
          I've tried to be most careful in showing her that there are many ideas about those things and that people tend to be very passionate about what they believe to be the answers.

          Since you're a devout Christian (as I assume your wife is), you'll obviously be teaching your child what you believe and bringing them up in the best way as you see it.
          I know its a long way off yet, but have you given much thought as to what you'll teach your kid about other religions and their believers?

          October 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Topher

          Well, we'll be bringing him/her up in the Baptist church with all the traditions and things (Bible reading/study) that go with that. We also want to do home schooling, but whether we will be able to do that has yet to be decided. As far as what others believe, I'm sure that will come up with being able to defend the faith.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I have raised my kids in their natural state, atheism. Anything else is learned behavior. As they get older I have educated them on religion and philosophy. I have explained their friends' belief systems and the references to religion they hear all around them. I have made no demands on them relative to what they believe. They know that I only ask that they be critical thinkers. Be logical. Make good decisions. Embrace science. Of course they are influenced by me and their mother is Catholic (turned agnostic). But they are clearly atheists right now and seem very happy indeed.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Why home schooling?

          October 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I have taken them to church many times with their grandparents and they are not impressed. They have performed for the congregation at church numerous times too. That was kind of fun.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Doc, T is afraid his child will run into US.

          October 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "Why home schooling?"

          Mostly because I want some control over what my children are taught. I don't believe in evolution, for example, and don't want them being lied to and taught it as fact. I want him or her to have a Christian education. For instance, I have a niece who recently read The Hunger Games as part of her class. Completely inappropriate for a little girl in my opinion. But also my wife was home schooled and she's a big proponent of it.

          October 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          Insulating your kid won't do them any favours, I'm afraid.
          Not to mention it is an exercise in futility in the information age.
          I can appreciate that you want to teach them to be able to defend the faith in which you'll bring them up, but the only way to have a proper defence is to thoroughly understand the other side of the argument.
          As a parent, it is your right (and duty) to help your kids put information into a proper context – but trying to shield them from information and dissenting opinions will hinder their educations and thus their options later in life.

          October 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
        • Madtown

          ...don't want them being lied to and taught it as fact. I want him or her to have a Christian education
          -------
          Irony alert!

          October 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          I'm not saying they won't know about things like evolution or other beliefs. But since I believe those things are false, I don't want it taught to them as fact. What I am saying is that they will be taught the truth (Christianity) and why things like evolution are false.

          October 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • Joey

          So basically as long as it is you lying to your kids then lies are o.k.

          October 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Topher

          I won't be lying to them. Christianity is true and evolution is a lie.

          October 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • sam stone.

          it would be amusing if Topher's child turns out to be gay

          October 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
        • sam stone.

          in order for it to be a lie, topher, those advocating it would have to know that it is a lie, but continue to push it

          do you feel this is the case?

          or, much more likely (in my opinion) you wish to demonize those who disagree with you by calling them liars?

          evolution is a lie, and christianity is the truth.

          gotcha

          October 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Congratulations, Topher. My two are fairly well grown, but I remember them so well when they were small. I wish you all the best being a parent.

        October 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Topher

          Thank you!

          October 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • Lisa

        Doc
        How about "What Investment Bankers Can Learn From Hare Krishnas."?

        October 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I've got to admit that I know very little about the Krishnas.
          Many years ago, I bought weed form a fellow known as "Krishna Jeff".
          He'd bang his tambourine on the street corning, chanting kirhsna krishna krishna – i between flogging dime bags, of course.
          He should've traded in his long ponytail for dredlocks, I think

          October 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Baptism.

      October 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
      • Topher

        What about it?

        October 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          It's creepy.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Topher

          It's creepy? Why is it creepy?

          October 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Commenter

          I don't see it as creepy so much as just another superst'itious ritual... like bringing a goat onto Wrigley Field or wearing dirty lucky socks all season.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • Sara

          Creepy is a subjective term describing something that causes mild and often nonspecific fear. I could see someone getting that feeling with infant baptism, in which one employs supernatural forces over another, but less so with adult baptism, which whatever it is, is done to oneself.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • Commenter

          Here's a very apt one:

          "Moises Alou is known for peeing on his hands in an effort to make them tougher."

          http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1179538-baseballs-50-weirdest-all-time-superst-itions/page/3

          October 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          There seems to be a category of things your God wants from its believers, Topher, things that make no sense if one wonders what they are about. Often it's suggested by believers that they are really about obedience. Is baptism arbitrary in that way?

          October 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Topher

          As a Baptist, I side with believer's (adult) baptism. It's an outward showing to other believers that you agree with their theology (which is why it is usually why it's part of joining a church) and demonstration that you die and are buried (going under water) and like Christ rise again (coming up out of the water). It does not save you or have anything to do with your salvation.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • james

          Creepy, as in it's like a ceremonial rebirth, or more like a revival from drowning? Why not waterboard converts instead? It's not like you're expecting to get any valuable information out of a Christian anyway, right?

          October 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Topher, I just remember it being like something from a horror movie in the '70's. There was this aqua colored pool behind the preacher.......I think it is fear of water, like these people being baptized could me drowning. Hard to explain but perhaps a poem is in order.

        October 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Topher

          When I was Baptized a few years ago, I was afraid, but it was more because of I don't like a lot of people looking at me. And I was afraid that the pastor wouldn't be able to pull me back up out of the water.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Also there was the fear of the unknown. What was really back there? It was creepy for me as a child.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          That is a very scary feeling.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
        • Topher

          Another good reason not to Baptize children.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • Pete

          The first time I saw grown adults speak in tongues was a scary experience. It was like they turned into monsters. I remember my dad having to catch me from running out of church.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Topher

          That would probably have scared me too. Of course, I didn't grow up in a church and I don't believe in speaking in tongues.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Topher

      I'll take the side of the affirmative.

      October 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
      • Joey

        I think Topher believes that god knows everything you will ever do, and at the same time you have free will.

        October 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • Topher

        Joey

        "I think Topher believes that god knows everything you will ever do, and at the same time you have free will."

        Correct.

        October 29, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • sam stone.

        predestination and free will are mutually exclusive, topher

        October 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam stone.

      yeah. how is allowing someone else to take the punishment you feel you deserve NOT a cowardly act?

      October 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  2. Uncomely and Broken

    This is great, Mr. Prothero, thank you. It seems to me that there is an interesting relationship between Reality and Authority expressed in umpiring- is the ump a book-keeper, simply recording what already exists, or does he frame the events to create reality? Most of the time, of course, there is no conflict. But, Stanley Fish tells the story of Bill Klem which proves that there is no reality without authority:
    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/01/20/030120ta_talk_paumgarten

    October 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  3. Lamb of Dog

    Rules are rules. Stop crying about it already and man up.

    October 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  4. Apple Bush

    Pho changes things.

    October 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  5. Lamb of Dog

    What a stupid piece.

    October 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    wow. there have been some lame articles on this blog over the years, but this one just about wins the prize of lamest.

    Sorry SP. Usually I enjoy your work.

    October 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  7. palintwit

    You know you are a hard core tea party patriot when you ask Gabby Giffords to autograph your copy of Sarah Palin's crosshairs poster.

    October 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      that event would get a half day's coverage on FOX News!

      October 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • palintwittwit

      Please see a doctor. Your obsession is getting out of hand.

      October 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  8. Apple Bush

    Prayerbot got yanked.

    October 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Little Timmy

      That's nasty! And besides, who would yank that nasty old prayer bot anyway?

      October 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Dieter

        You would be surprised master Timmy. Just as in baseball, one needs the proper tools to achieve the desired outcome. A sturdy pair of tweezers should work fine in zis case.

        October 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Fake AB, it is spelled bitch dumb ass.

        October 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  9. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    Mr. Prothero seems to suggest intent and subjectivity is never applied in Angelo-Saxon versions of Law when that is not the case. Please explain Mr. Prothero why the runner should be penalized by even an unintentional obstruction?

    Also I don't think you made your case that baseball rules are more "Italian" in nature than "Angelo-Saxon" Could have the Umpire made a non-call? Of course, that does not mean this was a "wrong" call though.

    And yes, being a recovering Catholic I agree the Vatican applies an extreme amount of subjectivity where it benefits them and their message, and at the same time are very rigid in its interpretation of others. That doesn't make it a superior system to be applied here.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  10. ME II

    @Stephen,
    I applaud your creativity. Usually we see articles written superficially about other subject as pretext to make a religious or spiritual point. You have used the Belief Blog to superficially cover a religious issue while in actuality venting about baseball.

    Interesting change of pace, I guess. Kudos.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  11. Apple Bush

    Adding chili to your meal changes things.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  12. Apple Bush

    Cole Slaw changes things.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Evolution 101

      Down here now, interesting

      October 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  13. Lee

    Wow....shockingly bad article.
    1. What does baseball rules have to with Vatican rule?
    2. What does the Vatican (old white men in Italy) have to do with Jewish men from the middle east (the "original" Christians)?
    3. Why do white people in 21st century America think a middle-eastern sky god from 6,000 cares about them? Seriously, Christianity was born out of brown people wandering a sandbox for thousands of years...are you kidding me?

    And "Italian law" is perfect? Like really? A bunch of old white men that like little boys...that straight people actually give $$ to every year so upon their deaths, they will live FOREVER?
    So basically: "Give me your money, leave me alone with your little boys and I will make believe with you that upon your death, your soul will magically ascend into infinite bliss with your loved ones forever". Got it...

    October 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Hey!

      I'm "brown", or "colored" as you probably also say. Are you "white"? Why can't "white" people share a religion with me?

      October 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Fake AB, it is spelled nigger dumb shit.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  14. Sports Fan

    This rule gives the runner an opportunity to legally cheat. Think "Infield Fly Rule".

    October 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • AE

      It prevents the fielder from cheating.

      October 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Breaking the rules is cheating, regardless if the rule is wrong or illogical. In which case the rule book should be changed, like the IFR.

        October 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      How did the runner "legally cheat" here?

      October 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        That is not the case here. But it could happen.

        October 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          If the Infeild Fly Rule were taken off the books wouldn't that allow an unfair advantage to the feilders?

          I am not sure why you think it should be changed, can you elaborate Apple?

          October 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I don't think it should be changed. I am comparing this situation to the advantage fielders had before the IFR.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Blessed cheese
          If the rule applies to both sides evenly, can it be unfair?

          October 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Apple, got cha, wasn't sure how you meant that.

          Richard, yes I think it can be considered "unfair" when using the "rules" to gain an unintended advantage, i.e. intentionally dropping the ball... just because both sides can take advantage of the same loophole does not make the situation fair.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Cheese..
          Thanks. I played base ball when I was young, but never followed the sport. I heard of the infield fly rule, but never looked into what it was, why it was implimented, and how it effects the game. It wasn't there when I played the games...mostly sandlot and high school.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Akira

          I'll ask my hubs. He played semi-pro for a while.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "This rule was first introduced in 1895 by the National League in response to infielders' intentionally dropping pop-ups to get multiple outs by forcing out the runners on base, who were pinned near their bases while the ball was in the air.[6] At that time, the rule only applied with one man out; the current rule came into effect in 1901."

          How old are you Richard? LOL

          Just hacking on you, the rule was probably there when you played any organized ball but you may not have been aware of it. In sandlot baseball most kids are not "aware" enough to use that loophole so it probably did not come up.

          October 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  15. Reality # 2

    "Professor" Stephen P is back and one wonders why.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • one

      nah, I don't really care.

      October 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  16. Joey

    All I took from this article is that the author must be a Red Sox fan.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • AE

      Yea. And that umpires should change the rules to benefit the Red Sox.

      October 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Kind of sounds like what some of the old Popes did in regards to their clergy. People that wield great power seem to think that the rules can be bent to suit their purpose; butt out Steve, you are just a whining fan.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Topher

      Guess that means I have to root for the Cards. 😉

      October 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • Joey

        Or you could just ignore World Series like the vast majority of Americans.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          They still have that?

          October 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Topher

          I love baseball, so I can't completely ignore it. Though I'm torn on who to actually root for ... I lived in MO for awhile and the Sawks have a couple former White Sox players ...

          October 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • AE

          I'm having to choose between the lesser of 2 evils. Cardinals slightly less evil than Red Sox.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • Joey

          I only watch baseball if the Cubs are involved in an important game, which means I go years at a time without watching baseball.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Akira

          Love the White Sox, Topher. Knew there was a few other reasons I liked you.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • Madtown

          I love baseball, am trying to savor every last moment of the WS. I hope it goes 7, to me more sports is always better than less sports! I'm a Brewers fan, so I have trouble rooting for the 'Cards, even though they are a great team. I also love the city of Boston. Go Sox!

          October 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Good morning Topher, how's your pregnancy going?

        October 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Topher

          Very well, thank you. We find out if it's a boy or girl next week.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I found out with my first daughter, but not the second. It was really fun not knowing.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • Topher

          Yeah, a lot of people told us to not find out, but my wife wants to go shopping and I want to put together the nursery.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I just go National League unless it is the Giants. I'm a Dodgers fan.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  17. Apple Bush

    For those of you that don't want to read this article here is the synopsis:

    If sin obstructs you either accidentally or on purpose, you should be awarded a free pass to heaven. I am pretty sure that is right.

    October 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Doris

      In other words, join our rewarding club where you'll get a free break on things that you judge others on; where because they don't get the break, you can call them look evil and foolish and inferior.

      October 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Dippy would be foaming at the mouth, two stalwarts letting the team down and it is only Tuesday.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Doris

          Lol; thanks – yes that's a mess. I'll at least clean up this part: "you can call them evil, foolish and inferior."

          October 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • AE

      Where does the article mention sin or heaven? Did you actually read the article?

      October 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Allegory. AE, you know like when the bible makes zero sense.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • AE

          This story had nothing to do with alligators.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I read the article.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • Doris

        Regarding sin, from the article "It describes a perfect state of affairs from which many people will inevitably fall short. " is then followed by a similar expression from a Vatican official. Is some level of "sin" not seen as "falling short" of the ideals of Catholicism?

        October 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • AE

          That is not sin. That is Catholics making rules.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Doris

          Within one paragraph the author referenced "falling short" of ideals, Italians saying no gays in the priesthood, and a Vatican official comparing men to angels. You don't think what people argue about today with regard to what is "sin" and not "sin" is heavily involved in the rule-making process, AE?

          October 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • AE

          Maybe. I think the article was talking more about rule making than sin.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • sam stone.

          AE: as opposed the other "sins" which are NOT people making rules?

          October 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    I am more of a literalist myself. If the rule doesn't work, remove it from the rule book. That goes for religious people too. It is OK to change the rules to match reality. Now where did I park my Maserati?

    October 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    Outstanding article. This is topic that actually deserves an in depth discussion.

    October 29, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Apple Bush

      My grammar will improve around 1pm Eastern.

      October 29, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Akira

      Me no agree. Article dumb. 😉

      October 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Boo on you Akira 😉

        October 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Wanna take a ride in my Maserati?

        October 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • Akira

          You have a Maserati?

          October 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Only when I take the Italian point of view discussed in this excellent article.

        October 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • Akira

          Lol. I see. So...if this were dumb article about Jaan?

          October 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Well, if you mean Jaan the Bollywood actress I would have to agree with her on anything she said. If you you mean the life language, I will still take the Maserati and if you take it from you will tear my heart out. Actually I want both Jaan and jaan.....I think I am off-topic.

      October 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Off topic only Ferraris and classic detailed Gremlins should be red, please ensure you follow the rules.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I agree re: the Ferrari CQ, but I haven't given much thought to the Gremlin. I will need to meditate on this a while.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Akira

          Gremlins were awesome.
          Pacers, not so much.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Mine had an unintended sun roof when I finally scrapped it; dad said I should have got the rust proofing, didn't listen.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • Akira

        Actually, that was an HTML fail on my part. I meant to say Japan. You post is much more interesting this way, though.

        October 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Hey Akira...got into an email back and forth this morning with Daniel Burke. This morning he said he has blocked the name theif troll...we shall see.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Too funny.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Hi Richard, can you ask him to UN-block me??

          October 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          RC
          You are my new hero if that works out.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • I wonder

          Richard Cranium,

          I'm sort of flabbergasted that he didn't know about this troll sooner. It's been going on for a long time now.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Akira, if it was Japanese philosophy, I would ride in style in my vintage NISSAN 300ZX TT.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          I could not post for a while this morning, but a bunch of posts with my name misspelled started showing up. I sent an email to Daniel Burke. He responded very quickly, and said he blocked the one using the misspelled name.
          My inabitlity to post was an issue with my Interent explorer, which I fixed. We'll see if this troll continues.

          Thank You to Mr. Burke for your quick attention.

          October 29, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • Akira

          RC, I hope that works. I'm skeptical, though; you understand why...

          Apple, I had a friend who had a Datsun 280Z. Personally liked the name Datsun better than Nissan, lol.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Akira

        I'll ask my hubs. He played semi-pro for a while.

        October 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  20. Laws of obstruction

    The only obstruction is 'SIN'

    October 29, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Colored Sox

      Why is "sin" an obstruction?

      October 29, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Laws of obstruction

        Because, Obstruction is the act of a sin obstructing a sinner when in the act of actively trying to obey God. There is no need for the sinner to have intent. There does not have to be intent, OK? Once the sinner disobeys God, it(sin) can in any way obstruct the sinner from having a redeeming relationship with Almighty God.

        That's basically the law of sinful obstruction, it's destructive.

        October 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          So it is more impotant to be obedient than it is to moral....got it.

          October 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I see, so if sin obstructs you either accidentally or on purpose, you should be awarded a free pass to heaven. That is what you have said correct?

      October 29, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • Laws of obstruction

        That's basically the purpose of sin, it's destructive and not just obstructive.

        Have a nice day!

        October 29, 2013 at 12:10 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.