home
RSS
Prosecutor: Pope faces threat from the mafia
Pope Francis at a ceremony in Rome, shortly his election as pontiff in March.
November 14th, 2013
02:59 PM ET

Prosecutor: Pope faces threat from the mafia

By Daniel Burke and Livia Borghese, CNN

ROME (CNN) - Pope Francis' crusade against corruption in the Catholic Church, including an overhaul of the scandal-scarred Vatican Bank, has put the new pontiff in the Italian mafia's crosshairs, according to two organized crime experts.

"The strong will of Pope Francis, aiming to disrupt the gangrene power centers, puts him at risk. He disturbs the mafia very much," Nicola Gratteri, a top anti-mafia prosecutor in Italy, told CNN on Thursday.

"I don't have precise information about a plan of the mafia against Pope Francis," Gratteri continued. "But if I did, I wouldn't say."

Gratteri, a deputy prosecutor in Reggio Calabria, a city in southern Italy, is a well-known foe of Calabria's notorious mafia, known as 'Ndrangheta.

The mob's anger with the Pope centers on the Vatican Bank, which the new pontiff has tried to reform, according to experts on the Italian underworld.

MORE ON CNN: Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.

Vatican officials were not immediately available for comment. Earlier on Thursday, a Vatican spokesperson strongly denied any concerns about the Pope's safety.

"The Holy See is not at all worried," the Rev. Federico Lombardi told the French wire service Agence I.Media. "These are the usual inventions."

In May, the Vatican Bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, issued its first-ever report on money laundering, an apparent attempt to improve its financial transparency.

The 64-page report details the Vatican's efforts to crack down on money laundering in particular, though it made no mention of mafia connections. The report found six charges of "suspicious activity" within the past year.

In June, the Pope established a five-person papal commission to investigate the activities of the Vatican Bank, which has been under pressure from international finance authorities to clean up its murky business practices.

A month later, Italian prosecutors arrested a priest who worked as a financial analyst for the Vatican, accusing him of trying to help smuggle tens of millions of euros across Europe using a private plane in July 2012. That same month, two top officials at the Vatican Bank resigned, as Italian prosecutors continued their three-year investigation into the bank.

The Catholic Church and the Italian mafia have a long and complicated history, said Antonio Nicaso, an expert on organized crime in Italy and co-author with Gratteri of a new book called "Holy Water," which explores the relationship between mobsters and the church.

Underworld gangsters often paid for local church repairs or bankrolled feast day celebrations for Catholic saints, Nicaso told CNN. In exchange, Catholic officials kept silent about their illicit deeds.

"The church never raised the issue," he said. "The church has never excommunicated a mobster."

More recently, the mafia used the Vatican Bank to smuggle money, Nicaso said, though he offered no specific evidence. The Pope's reforms threaten that arrangement and will anger organized crime, he added.

"We believe that this is an unprecedented challenge to the economic power center of the Vatican, and for that reason he may face some kind of risk," Nicaso said.

The Vatican has strongly denied any ties to the Italian mafia at the Vatican Bank or at any other church institution.

MORE ON CNN: Even atheists love this Pope

The Pope's penchant for wading into the massive crowds who attend his speeches and events poses a particular security risk, Nicaso said.

"He has to be more cautious. He can't go walk around Vatican Square anymore like he's a normal person."

Asked if the mafia would dare try to assassinate such a popular figure, Nicaso said, "There are so many ways to kill a pope. They have to be careful. But in the history of organized crime, whenever they had to remove an obstacle, they never thought about the consequences."

In addition to the Vatican reforms, Francis in his speeches has taken aim at corruption, saying on Monday, for example, that a Christian "who gives to the church with one hand but steals with the other hand from the country, from the poor, is unjust."

The Pope then paraphrased Jesus, saying that it would be better for a corrupt person "if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea."

"He is changing the church," Nicaso said. "It is not a church of power and luxury anymore, and his promise to restructure [the Vatican Bank] is like a Copernican revolution."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Leaders • Money & Faith • Pope Francis

soundoff (606 Responses)
  1. AEvangelista

    I don't have a problem with religion, but why would anyone want to be Catholic? There are better options out there. At least break it up so all the money doesn't go to the Vatican.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I guess it depends on how someone defines "better".

      November 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  2. Jessi

    GOD bless Pope Francis for his efforts in cleaning this up. We will be praying for the Pope. The "mafia" should be ashamed of themselves.....they are a bunch of bully cowards.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Verily

      Interesting that the Catholic Church is structured like the mafia, and acts like them. Bully cowards.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
      • Staszek

        Your accusation that the Catholic Church acts like mafia is unfounded
        and absurd. It came either from your ignorance or bad will.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • Verily

          Actually it comes from the centuries of history of the actual behavior of the Catholic Church. In microcosm, the pedophiloa scandals shows it brilliantly: massive cover-up of criminal behavior, denials, stonewalling, and much more. Hardly the behavior of a legitimate operation.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  3. dutchboy7

    Regardless of whether or not you believe in the existence of higher powers, you should read the bible. If more people lived by the Golden Rule, the world would be a better place.

    November 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Most cultures throughout history have had a version of the Golden Rule.

      November 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Obviously

      The basic concept of the Golden Rule predates Judaism and Christianity by a couple millenia, and is common to a great part of the world. And it is pretty obvious, the kind of thing many people figure out on their own.

      I see extremely few Christians actually follow that rule.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  4. Joan

    Godfather III

    November 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  5. kieran

    I have watched the RC Church give masses to Mafiosa and accept their 'donations' to the church. They accepted this money knowing full well that it came from crime.

    November 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Nope

      No you didn't.

      November 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • DianD

      Indeed, the practice is very prevalent in catholic regions. One can see opulent masses for a mobster's child christening or first communion, but this is usual practice. Pope Francis ought to be well aware of incidents such as the murder of Mexico's cardinal Posadas Ocampo. He was also threatened and given a gag order before his murder.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  6. Colin

    I don't think it is statistically feasible to hope for a World (or even the USA) w/out religion. There will alwyas be a small segment of scoiety that lasks teh intelelctual wherewithall and/or emotional courage to ahcieve atheism. That said, a realistic goal is to keep exposing young people to the sheer absurdity of religion until it literally is restricted to a small minority of the very, very intellectually and/or emotionally enfeebled.

    The numbers are growing in our favor every year and accelerating. I hope it gets to the point soon where, like the acceptance of gays, it accelerates so quickly that the religious kooks have no meaningful political power. At that point they will just be an amusing anachronism.

    November 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Well, until then, We are not amused.

      November 14, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Colin,

      Why are you an atheist? Why do you want more people to be atheists?

      November 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
      • Colin

        I am an atheist because there is not one pice of convincing evidence for the existence of Allah, Yahwey, Brahmah, Shiva, Vishnu, God or any other god. Upon the presentation of evidence for the existence of one or more of them, I would naturally re-evaluate my position. I want others to be becuase I feel religion is a drag on us as a species. Take one small example. Just assume for a moment that no Hindu god exists. Think of al lthe thousands of lives wasted, time lost, resources diverted, temples built and socienties structured on this mistaken belief.

        Now do the same for all the other gods. Even if it were simply neutral and did no harm, religion is, wthout doubt, THE gretest wast of increasingly precious recourses in the history of the World. The very definition of a wasted investment.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
        • L

          I am not an atheist because there's literally no evidence that supports YOU. No evidence means you don't know if you are correct and you are like any other human being. Get off your high horse.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Fine, "L". Unbelief is not for you. Now, how will you decide what to believe?

          November 14, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Verily

          Actually, L, the complete and total lack of evidence for anything supernatural is actually very strong evidence that it does not exist. You use the same standard for leprechauns, Big Foot, pixies, Thor, and almost everything else. Except your own god.

          And if you add all the verifiable wrong and contradictory information in the scriptures, like the End Times in the lifetimes of some of Jesus' immediate audience, or that prayer does NOT work absolutely including having a mountain throw itself into the sea, or the four radically different ressurection accounts, or the two different creation stories, and the evidence against the possibility of religious people being right plummets to virtually zero.

          And of course one cannot prove the nonexistence of things that do not exist, so we can no more provide you evidence that God doesn't exst than you can provide that Thor doesn't exist.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • Colin

          L, to ask for evidence of non existence is absurd. There is no evidence God does not exist. What "evidence" could there be? Think about it. What possible evidence of non-existence can there be? By definition, there is no evidence of a negative. What evidence is there that Santa Claus does not exist? What evidence is there that the Hindu god Shiva does not exist?

          That is the fundamental difference between there being no proof of a fact and there being "no evidence of a non-fact." The latter is meaningless.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • L

          And there's no evidence that proves you're correct. Seems atheism blinds you from seeing the truth-this is your faith and not a "fact" that you led yourself to believe.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          So are you in agreement with this similarly logical statement?

          There's no evidence that proves you're correct. Seems your faith blinds you from seeing the truth-this is your faith and not a "fact" that you led yourself to believe.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • L

          Never said it was a fact. I've seen more atheists preach how their correct and anyone that does not believe like them are wrong.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • Verily

          Allow me to reiterate, L.

          The complete and total lack of evidence for anything supernatural is actually very strong evidence that it does not exist. You use the same standard for leprechauns, Big Foot, pixies, Thor, and almost everything else. Except your own god.

          And if you add all the verifiable wrong and contradictory information in the scriptures, like the End Times in the lifetimes of some of Jesus' immediate audience, or that prayer does NOT work absolutely including having a mountain throw itself into the sea, or the four radically different ressurection accounts, or the two different creation stories, and the evidence against the possibility of religious people being right plummets to virtually zero.

          And of course one cannot prove the nonexistence of things that do not exist, so we can no more provide you evidence that God doesn't exst than you can provide that Thor doesn't exist.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          What you said it true for both sides. One major difference is that believers like Opposing View also trash atheists by telling them she will gloat when they go to hell.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Thanks Colin, I appreciate your honest response. I realize this is a bad example, but I'm hoping it may allow you to look at belief in God from a different angle, so to speak. You've heard of this dark energy idea, I guess. We don't know much about it and no one can really show us some of it, but it sounds like there may be something to it. I could just tell you, I don't believe in dark energy. When there is evidence for it, I will reevaluate my position. Regardless of my thoughts on dark energy there are those who are going great guns to find out more about this stuff. I warned you it was a bad example. Anyway if someone tells you that there is evidence available for God, but you have to get your own. It seems there is something to this God thing, yet you have decided to wait for evidence to be presented. If believers tell you that you must experience God for yourself, don't you have enough curiosity to check what they are saying?

          November 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Colin… What you mean is, "there is not one piece of evidence you are willing to accept" (as if you don't know Jesus Christ existed). Please tell me you're not really as dumb as you're pretending to be…

          November 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          So you're here not to proselytize or debate, but to pit yourself against honest-to-God atheists, "L"? For Jesus? I don't think you ever said.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • Verily

          Robert, people of every religion say that. Have you held yourself to the same standard and explored every religion?

          November 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Observer… You stated, "One major difference is that believers like Opposing View also trash atheists by telling them she will gloat when they go to hell"...

          Well, it seems that you're a liar, too, Observer. I never said any such thing, so stop putting words in my mouth…

          Why do atheists always tell lies? Answer: Because if they told the truth they'd have no argument…

          L… Stand your ground and never give in to the devil. Once those devils start agreeing with you, then it's time to worry (because if you're of God, the devils shouldn't be agreeing with you.)…

          November 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Verily,

          I don't think it would be the same standard. If I were talking to someone who already held a belief in a god then you would be correct.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
        • Colin

          Opposing View – yes, I believe Jesus existed, but so what? That doesn't make me believe he was the son of the Judeo-Christian god. You suggest there is evidence I am ignoring, well, what is it?

          2 quick points may save some time – the Bible is the assertion about the existence of the Judeo-Christian god. It is not evidence. I mean evidence tat the god, as described i nthe bible exists and is not simple a figure of literature.

          Second, pointing out what you see as flaws in alternative theories is NOT evidence that your theory is correct. So what evidence do you have that YOUR THEORY i.e. that the Bible is generally correct in asserting the existence of the Judeo-Christian god, is true?

          November 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Colin… It is your prerogative if you want to believe that Jesus Christ was NOT the Son of God. However, there are two problems with your belief: 1) You have no evidence to support your belief, no evidence to support he "wasn't" the son of God. All you have is just a belief, nothing more. And it don't mean a thing. The second problem you have is that, the bible speaks of people like you. It says you are "antichrist". And that all antichrist shall be cast into the lake (I'd call that a pretty big problem)…

          2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

          1 John 4:3 – And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

          Lastly, for you to make the statement that no evidence exists, in the face of the Jesus Christ and his existence, it only illustrates that you're about the most dumbest person in all the universe. For no Son can exist without a Father. So if Jesus Christ existed, then so also does his Father exists, and it cannot be otherwise. And your disbelief in Jesus Christ as his Son does not defeat that argument. Because without "proof" he isn't the Son, then you have no argument, because you have nothing to argue with. All you have is just an opinion. And all you are is just an unbeliever. And it don't mean a thing. As all unbelievers shall be cast into the lake….

          Jesus Christ was a real person. You can find out information about him in real world history. No bible even necessary. So if you can't believe what history says, and how history acknowledges him as being the Son of God, then I feel sorry for you as an unbeliever. Because all unbelievers shall be cast into the lake…

          November 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
        • Observer

          Nothing new.

          Still NO PROOF that God exists.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Opposing View,

          "You can find out information about him in real world history. No bible even necessary. So if you can't believe what history says, and how history acknowledges him as being the Son of God"

          - You'll also find history which acknowledges Zeus as being a god (and his fellow 11 gods too) - a couple of thousand years of history
          - You'll find history which acknowledges Ra as being a god - several thousand years of history
          - You'll find history which acknowledges Vishnu as being a god - 7,000 years of history

          November 14, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • Not so

          @L "You can find out information about him in real world history."

          No you can't. There is not one single shred of evidence on him anywhere. No record ever was made of anything about him in his lifetime, by anyone. The first Christian mention of him is a decade or two later. The first mention of him outside Christian sources came 80 years later, and like all that followed, was just a repetition of what Christians claimed.

          Jesus was so unremarkable that the Romans made no mention of him. I personally tend to think there was a real guy underneath the legends, but most of the tales told were later accretions, like the King Arthur tales, growing into a tall tale before they were frozen in the Bible.

          November 15, 2013 at 2:51 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Colin is a bright fellow, but there are others who believe that religion is the single great evil that, once it is gone, will give way to all the really splendid things in life. It is just one evil, though. There will always be work to do.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • L

          Wrong. Everything bad will still exist such as r@pe, murder, war, genocide, ra.cism, child r@pists, se.xism, hate etc. All things atheists ignorantly blame religion for instead of blaming people. You're delusional.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Your reading skills aren't quite where they need to be, "L". I did say that religion is only one evil (of many). Religion wasn't imposed on us, we invented it. Whatever is wrong with it comes from things that are wrong with us. So I also said that there will always be work to do.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • Crom

          To make things better for everyone, there is enough work for trillions of people working thousands of generations into the future.

          Strange how no one wants to pay for it, even though they couldn't have made it without the rule of law and government protecting their nasty asses from their victims retaliating violently against them.

          Strange how they war upon the poor, losing, perhaps ignorantly, trillions of dollars due to their evil hate against people unlucky to be born on the same planet as such pieces of filth as they tend to be. Funny how that works, eh?

          Strange how they keep using military force against civilians in the usual fashion of crimes against humanity.

          Strange how this list keeps growing. I'll stop now or it will become a vast rant of epic proportions. /rant

          November 15, 2013 at 3:11 am |
    • Ryan M.

      Yep, that's not reductive at all. But, you do have overwhelming evidence for the intelligence of Atheists right here on CNN. I mean, c'mon, look at ALL of those "smart" comments!

      November 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
      • Colin

        There is very solid evidence that religiosity is inversly proportional to intelligence and education.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • L

      If atheism has power...millions will die if they even have a bible or people find out their secretly meeting underground. Once atheism had power, goodbye anyone that goes against it.

      November 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • Colin

        Much more likely than this Orwellian outcome, religious people will be viewed as quirky simpletons or amusing kooks, like those who believe in astrology are today.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • Obviously

        Atheists are in power in Western Europe, and the violence level is way lower than the religious parts of the U.S.

        You are blaming atheists for Communism, but the reality is that only a tiny percent of those deaths were due to religious reasons. The vast vast majority were political. Applying that same standard to Christian nations, where every death is blamable to Christianity, then atheists are total amateurs in the kill-and opress department. And of course, non-communist atheists don't kill like the communists did.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • James

      Colin,
      While I consider myself to be an atheist, I find your comments about people of faith lacking "intelelctual(sic) wherewithall(sic) and/or emotional courage" to be arrogant, spiteful and quite flawed. As for the flawed nature of your assertion, I personally know of plenty of people who are atheists because they are lazy and apathetic regarding philosophical issues, and more than a few of them are, shall we say, not on the path to becoming a Rhodes scholar. I would also posit that a great number of people of faith are brave and intelligent, and that many brave and intelligent people have faith in a supreme being. Look to the Jesuits if you wish to see intelligence amongst the faithful and the moral bravery to challenge great aspects of orthodoxy. Look to the nuns who have worked with lepers and the bottom of society at great personal risk to themselves, without evangelizing, believing simply that acts of compassion are their own reward. Look to Pope John Paul 2 to see a man who challenged long-standing tenets of Christianity by stating that we should teach evolution in schools, and that we are likely not alone in the cosmos. The whole article above is about the bravery of the current Pope going up against organized crime, which dominates large portions of the Western world.
      Your dismissive comments do nothing to further the status of atheism and are more likely to push liberal theists into a defensive posture than encourage introspection.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • Colin

        James, that was a fair criticism of my comment. However, of course there are smart theists and not so gifted atheists, but there is a definite trend. The more educated a person is, the less likely they believe i nthe Judeo-Christian or any other god.

        I don 't thin kanybody could serious ly suggest that as one moves through the steps in academic or intellectual achievement, the relative percentage of believers/atheists is constant. It isn't, study after study shows a trend toward non-belief as education increases.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  7. Steven Correira

    My prayers are for the Pope's protection. If invited, I'd help protect him myself. The corruption MUST END AT ALL COSTS!! The pope knows where he is going, so he will not waver. Neither should we who support righteousness and courage!

    November 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  8. FiDazzle

    Hey, I'm a believer. As the Pope recently implored his fellow clergymen, we should all "[have courage to do what is right, to come out of your shell of comfort.]" That's what the Pope is doing and I am thoroughly impressed. I can't recall the last time I witnessed such a humble and important figure. He probably isn't afraid to die. Jesus wasn't.

    November 14, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  9. Pedo Priest

    Did you here about the new Exorcism movie? In this one, the devil tries to get the priest out of the kid.

    November 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Pedo Priest

      hear

      November 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • HA

        Ha!

        November 14, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  10. carlossutter

    iI don't trust any man who claims to speak and write for gods and demons when THESE can't appear, write or speak Themselves, EVER. The only reason why the Vatican and The Mafia are in bed together is because both run the same business: They Offer you Protection from Themselves; they create the fear, and the antidote for it. That one fear/protection package is real and the other is imaginary makes no difference to a sheep who can't tell the difference.

    November 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • EuphoriCrest

      You are exactly correct.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  11. Gawd

    What a great world it will be when religion finally disappears!

    November 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • L

      There would still be one religion left-atheism.

      November 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • Dan

        Atheism is not a religion you simpleton.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
        • L

          Name calling only proves it is.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • Colin

          @L How?

          November 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • L

          Name calling is used when someone can't accept the truth.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • Dan

          You are talking about truth? Show me a talking snake, someone parting water, an invisible magician in the sky, or someone made from a magical rib, etc. You are living in some dream world. Grow up.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
        • L

          Show me a verse that actually supports the notion that God dwells in the sky. I know no such verse exists but atheist trolls will be atheist trolls.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          (Isaiah 40:22) “God sits above the circle of the earth.”

          It got the earth being a 2-dimensional flat surface wrong, too.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • L

          That's not the exact location of heaven. Nice try. Troll, I mean, try harder.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Colin

          @L Here's a few:

          1. Elijah was lifed bodilly up into heaven
          2. Jesus regularly referred to the Son of MAn coming on the clouds
          3. Acts (from memory, or it might be John) refers to Jesus ascending into heaven
          4. The PAuline Epistles are full of a three level cosmology in which the dead are i nthe ground and heaven is in the sky
          5. In Latin, Greek and Hebrew the word for sky and heaven are the same; caelum, ουρανός and שמים respectively. The same is true in Spanish. In English, we stil lrefer to the sky as "the heavens"periodically.

          No, L, the Bible is pretty clear in its simplistic three layered Universe. HEaven WAS the sky

          November 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
        • L

          You do know heaven is a spiritual realm, right? Right?

          November 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Long-haired preachers come out every night,
          Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right;
          But when asked how 'bout something to eat
          They will answer with voices so sweet:

          CHORUS:
          You will eat, bye and bye,
          In that glorious land above the sky;
          Work and pray, live on hay,
          You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • Colin

          L – that's what you believe, but that wasn't the discussion. You asked for evdience that heaven was the sky in the view of the principal authors of the Bible, and I gave you some. I have some more. In Genesis, God is siad to create "the heavens oand the Earht and heaven is affixed above the Earth. In Exodus, God regularly "comes down from above" and in the Tower of Bable myth, Godf becomes alarmed that the tower they are building might reach heaven.

          You have been sufficiently smashed on this point. Move on.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • Maddy

          L,

          In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.

          You fit this definition perfectly by constantly using generalizations of atheists that are not representative of ALL atheists. Using your logic and posting style, all Christians molest children.

          Knock it off, troll.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Opposing View

      The place you seek is called "hell". There is no religion there. You'll feel right at home. LOL...

      November 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • Observer

        Yes. faith/hharri/fake Observer will be there for constantly LYING.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        "But none of us will ever go there because we're all far too groovy"

        November 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Maddy

        As will you, for you talk the talk but do not walk the walk. Gandhi was talking about people like you.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  12. joe

    kill pedos

    November 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  13. Realist

    ******************************
    ******************************

    ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

    ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

    ******************************

    November 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  14. Jesus F. Christ

    The mafia has a better reputation than any church.

    November 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • EdNv

      great a mafia worshiper praise gotti

      November 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  15. Dan

    The pope is running the biggest money-making scam in the world. Of course the mafia has a problem with him.

    November 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • L

      Convincing yourself that non-belief does not require faith is the biggest scam in the history of scams.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • Observer

        L,

        lol. And who profits from the "scam"? Follow the money . . . nowhere.

        Ooops.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
        • L

          Why the atheist trolls who think ridiculing people out of their faith will magically solve their problems of course! Ha! It's not money they make. Their ego gets something from it.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          Yep. Not ONE PENNY profit in this "biggest scam in the history of scams".

          November 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
        • L

          I know, I know. It's hard to sink in but it will someday. The truth is hard to accept sometimes.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          Yes. Read a Bible and intellectually analyze it.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • L

          I did. I don't read it immaturely to attack other people with because I lack the knowledge and maturity to understand it. Non-believers typically quote verses much like the people they claim not to act like do. Skip around to verses that support your position. See, atheists aren't any different.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          Finally we agree on something. NO ONE believes every word of the Bible. They just pick and choose what they like and ignore the rest.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • L

          Exactly what many atheists do. Skip around to attack believers. Finally, we agree on something.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • Desert Tortoise

          A great example would be former LA Cardinal Mahoney shorting Catholic Charities and parishes of funds to build the "Rog Mahal", or "Taj Mahoney", the gigantic new cathedral in LA that cost over $200 million, a replacement for the old downtown cathedral that was supposedly rendered unusable by the Northridge earthquake. The church sold that building to the City of LA, which rebuilt it to the latest seismic codes and opened it as a cultural center, for all of $6 million (incidentally $6 million is what the bronze doors, the throne the Cardinal sits on and his pulpit cost.

          There are thousands of similar examples of the Catholic Church urinating their considerable wealth away on monuments to people's egos, lavish life styles, protecting child abusers etc.. If they didn't have the cover of religion the Catholic Church would have be shut down and it's leaders prosecuted decades ago.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          We agree.

          It is Christians that are the real HYPOCRITES here. They pick and choose and then get all bent out of shape if someone picks a verse they don't want people to pick and choose. That's when they usually run away. Cowards.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • L

          And atheists do the same. Pick and choose what verse will support what they want it to mean. Yep, most atheists aren't more educated than most Christians on the bible.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Observer… You stated "Finally we agree on something. NO ONE believes every word of the Bible."…

          You are a liar, Observer, because I believe every word. Every single word from Genesis to Revelations. You ought to talk what you know, and not what you "think"...

          L… You say certain things only because you haven't been taught certain things. So I won't fault you for that. The problem is, those atheists are taking advantage of your weakness and uncertainty. But not to worry. I've been subject to strong teaching and I cannot be defeated. Atheists may argue with me, and may even disagree with me, but they cannot defeat me because I have the truth And truth cannot be defeated… But just because I have the truth, that doesn't mean I"m going to waste my time answering questions about stupid nonsense. I won't do that. And that's all the atheists are filled with is just stupid irrelevant nonsense. They have no truth. Some of those very atheists you're dealing with are not even worth talking to if you really knew how they were. And if you talk to them long enough, you'll find that out. They're just playing you, and taking advantage of your weakness, in a attempt to make Christians look like a fool. But they are the fools, and Judgment Day will bear this out…

          November 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  16. L

    Hey atheists, disprove God using current scientific understanding without it involving your personal opinions and belief. If you can't prove you are correct and all of us are wrong, humanity won't leave religion behind and follow a made up religion you create within your own mind. Atheism is a self-created religion one makes while claiming they live in "reality" but it's a reality they make up.

    November 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Dan

      1. Nobody needs to prove that something does not exist. You need to prove that it does. Would you just take my word for it if I sat here and made up all kinds of absurd, magical nonsense?

      2. Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

      3. You need to take a logic class.

      4. You probably live in Alabama.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
      • L

        Want religion gone? Get evidence because it actually proves people will leave their religion behind to have even more faith. You just did make up nonsense. You want people to believe your right without presenting evidence you are. So yes, atheism is a self-created religion atheists each make with their own minds.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
        • Gawd

          Religion will destroy itself. The bible is full of nonsense. No educated person would believe it.

          It is "you're" not "your".

          November 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • Common sense

          Do you believe everything that you are told?

          November 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Dan… You do indeed have to prove something doesn't exist, if you want to make a statement it doesn't exist. Otherwise, the best you can say is "I don't know" whether it exists or not. So if you can't prove something doesn't exist, yet you still make a statement it doesn't exist, then you're a liar…

        Perfect logic.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • Observer

          Dan… You do indeed have to prove something doesn't exist, if you want to make a statement it doesn't exist. Otherwise, Opposing View,

          The best you can say is "I don't know" whether it exists or not. So if you can't prove something exists, yet you still make a statement it does exist, then you're a liar…

          Perfect logic.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Why do atheists say stupid stuff? Answer: Because they're "stupid". Duh…

          Why do atheists have to imitate others? Answer: Because they're too unintelligent to think of it themselves. Duh…

          November 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
        • Observer

          Opposing View,

          What I said is true and that is all that matters.

          Ooops.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I don't know whether or not unicorns exist, so I withhold belief in them until I have evidence to believe in unicorns. Same goes for your god.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Observer… No devil has ever said anything that was true in the history of being a devil. Your every word is defiled…

          Ti-tus 1:15 – Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled…

          November 14, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          It's rather encouraging to many atheists that so few of the Christians provide reasonable and sound arguments. It's better if the christards are such azzhole liars. They're sinning and we're winning. You dipsh!ts make baby jesus cry with your "defence" of Christianity.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Opposing View,

          "Ti-tus 1:15 – Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled…"

          Ah, Paul of Tarsus's version of "...and their mothers wear army boots!"

          What makes you think that Paul knew anything special? Because he *said* he did?

          November 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Liz the First

      Prove your beliefs! bet you can't any more than atheists can prove their point.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
      • L

        I can admit it but seems like atheists typically have the most trouble admitting they can't either.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Prove my beliefs? That's easy. Jesus Christ is all the proof I need...

        November 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Jesus will be along any minute now.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Penn Jillette

      If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • Opposing View

        You're dreaming. It's time to wake up now. LOL...

        November 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
        • Observer

          Penn Gillette is a real atheist and likely has a much higher IQ than you.

          He's also raised FAR MORE money for charity than you EVER will.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Observer…

          You're dreaming as well. Time to wake up now. LOL...

          November 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • Observer

          Opposing View

          "You're dreaming as well. Time to wake up now. LOL..."

          Let's see who's dreaming. Penn Gillette has raised well over a half million dollars for charity. How have you done?

          Oooops. At least we see who is DREAMING. Wake up!

          November 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Realist

      ******************************
      ******************************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ******************************

      November 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Pete

      What a very arrogant and pathetic individual you are, because excuse me, you're the one making extraordinary claims without the extraordinary evidence to back it up. There is NO evidence of divinity AT ALL. The only sculpted of what we are is time and environment.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
      • L

        I make no such claims. Troll harder. I mean, try harder.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Don't let them rattle you, L. Proof that God exists always have been available. And Jesus Christ is all the proof you need. For no Son can exist without a Father. Therefore, if Jesus Christ existed, then so also does his Father exists, and it cannot be otherwise. It's that simple….

          The problem is, most atheists don't want to accept Jesus Christ as proof. So even though evidence does exist, it's not the kind of evidence they are willing to accept, or admit. But that's not our problem. It's a personal problem…

          Jesus Christ himself said this – "This generation seeketh for a sign, but that shall be none except the preaching of the gospel" (Matthew 12:39). He also said this – "If you don't believe that I am he, then you shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). Meaning if you don't believe he is the Christ and the Son of the Living God, then you will go to hell. As no more proof shall you get...

          You'll also find atheists who'll say they don't believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God? So what? Their opinion means nothing. Unless they can actually "prove" he wasn't the Son of God, then it don't mean a thing. There are indeed scriptures which speak of people like that (antichrist), and here is what they say…

          2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

          1 John 4:3 – And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Neither the son nor the father exists. All we have are claims from the christards, never any verifiable method of measuring the degree of accuracy of their outlandish claims. If god existed and truly wanted humans to know him and his will, he would certainly make himself as provable as math or chemistry. There no method by which any believer can demonstrate his opinions about god are any more correct than the next person's. The only logical choice is unbelief in all such undemonstrable claims.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • carlossutter

      it's impossible to prove or disprove what doesn't exist, you can't prove a negative, it just can't be done, you can't disprove that I have right now an invisible magic orange right on top of my left shoulder. That you can not prove that this magical invisible orange does not exist it doesn't mean it does exist, doesn't it? One can ONLY prove what does exist, you can ONLY prove a positive. This is why YOU can't prove the gods exist; they don't exist. You know, just because there are real things which we can't see, it doesn't mean that anything that we can't see is real.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
      • L

        Atheists created that concept because they know in their hearts they have nothing but insist on attacking people who do not believe like they do.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • Observer

          L

          "Atheists created that concept because they know in their hearts they have nothing"

          Yes. They have no gods, but to say they have nothing is incredibly IGNORANT. Get real.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          Tell us about the day you "created the concept" that Zeus doesn't exist.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Sometimes you can prove a negative. The postulate has to phrased correctly with precise parameters in order to do so, but sometimes it can be done.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Certainly: There are no even prime numbers greater than 2 – not hard to prove.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  17. Nota Catholic

    Even a pope cannot change the words of Jesus, nor their meaning. On the Sea of Galilee, when he said that it would be better "if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea.", he was speaking about those who harm children...child molesters presumably. He wasn't talking about people who are corrupt in their lives.

    November 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • Gawd

      It's always amusing when people quote fiction.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Realist

      ******************************
      ******************************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ******************************

      November 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
  18. Al Capone

    Smart was Ratzinger... He ran away meanwhile it was time.

    November 14, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  19. Cassarit

    This is a bunch of crap. They would never touch the Pope even if he does hurt their business.
    That would be a catastrophic blunder earning them the hatred of every Catholic in the world.

    November 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • teph

      the most recent is Pope John Paul I...... May god protect this Pope, who is really trying to shepherd the church to the right direction and focus on the humanity side of Christian teachings.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  20. Religion under Divine judgment

    That attack against all forms of false religion, including Christendom, is the start of the “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21; 2 Thess. 2:8) For many, this event will come as a surprise. Why? Because up to that point, the harlot will confidently view herself as “a queen” who will “never see mourning.” But she will suddenly discover that she has miscalculated her chances of survival. She will be wiped out rather quickly, as if “in one day.”—Rev. 18:7, 8.

    God’s Word identifies the harlot’s attacker as a “wild beast” with “ten horns.” A study of the book of Revelation shows that the wild beast refers to the United Nations (UN). “The ten horns” represent all present political powers that support this “scarlet-colored wild beast.”* (Rev. 17:3, 5, 11, 12) How devastating will the attack be? The nations of the UN will plunder the harlot’s wealth, expose her real character, devour her, and “completely burn her.” Her destruction will be final.—Read Revelation 17:16.

    Bible prophecy also indicates what will trigger this attack. Somehow The Almighty God will put it into the hearts of political rulers “to carry out his thought,” namely, to devastate the harlot. (Rev. 17:17) Warmongering religion continues to be a disruptive force in the world; hence, the nations may feel that destroying the harlot is in their own national interests. In fact, when the rulers attack, they will think that they are carrying out their own “one thought.” In reality, however, they act as God’s tool for obliterating all false religion. Thus, in a stunning reversal, one part of Satan’s system will attack another part, and Satan will be powerless to prevent it.—Matt. 12:25, 26.!

    November 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Terry

      Who is attacking all forms of religion?

      I don't see religion in the world diminishing. As a matter of fact, it's expanding.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
      • L

        Atheist trolls are. They are most annoying trolls and whiners on the face of the planet. They are 10 times worse than Christian fundamentalists are.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          lol. It's the whining Christians that go out and raise MILLIONS of dollars to oppose equal rights for gays and are out protesting at abortion clinics.

          Try to keep up on recent events.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • L

          You can thank the media for the mess. Popularity of this topic created the mess in the first place. I've seen atheists who don't support gay marriage. Care to tell the world you're wrong?

          November 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • Religion under Divine judgment

        Maybe it's expanding, that why this will happen:

        "For many, this event will come as a surprise. ( distruction of false religion) Why? Because up to that point, the harlot will confidently view herself as “a queen” who will “never see mourning.” But she will suddenly discover that she has miscalculated her chances of survival. She will be wiped out rather quickly, as if “in one day.”—Rev. 18:7, 8.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • saggyroy

      It's just being criticized as it should be.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Realist

      ******************************
      ******************************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ******************************

      November 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • HAHAHAHAHAHA ....

      .... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      November 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Advertisement
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.