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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. Prometheus

    Good on him. I am an Atheist and I support him 100% in his fight against corruption. I bet if he consulted with the Honorable Rudy Giuliani, he might have some advice.

    November 15, 2013 at 5:03 am |
  2. prophet

    people need prayer and we pray for them

    November 15, 2013 at 5:02 am |
  3. prophet

    we are praying for you all

    November 15, 2013 at 5:00 am |
    • truthprevails1

      You do that while the rest of us actually do your thinking for you...lazy ass-do something instead of talking to your imaginary friends!

      November 15, 2013 at 5:42 am |
  4. Harry Cline

    Without trying to sound to judgmental, I'd dare say that if Jesus walked the earth today it would not be so called atheists that would have him murdered.

    Imagine a religion with it's own bank, a bank that is home to money laundering from corrupt enterprises. You can't make this stuff up folks. We even have world religions that follow a prophet instead of God. (without naming names)

    November 15, 2013 at 4:36 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      We also have world religions which follow tribal superst.ition from Canaan rather than science, logic and evidence.

      November 15, 2013 at 4:42 am |
  5. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    The Godfather III was a terrible film (personally I found the first two overrated also, although I loved De Niro's part as the young Vito).

    November 15, 2013 at 4:18 am |
    • The sting

      And a priest was arrested in a world wide child por-no sting.

      November 15, 2013 at 4:40 am |
    • Crom

      Yes, I'll never look at a tin of olive oil the same way ever again. Or decapitated horses.
      Or the entertainment industry for this sweeping travesty that glorifies disgustingly stylized criminal behavior clearly supported by the RCC both in movies and in real life.
      This is just pulp fiction, written to make money, yet the stylized terrorism appeals to those so inclined, I suppose.
      Mario Puzo wrote trashy novels. The movie is a trashy movie made with trashy drama, yet there were "Oscar moments" here and there, and as that is rare enough in Hollywood, it garnered many Oscars thereby. People were amazed at anything with a solid storyline that it blew them away. Hollywood is run by coke-damaged depraved idiots who fart money.

      November 15, 2013 at 4:43 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Film and television would be a much poorer place without stylized terrorism.

        November 15, 2013 at 4:45 am |
        • Crom

          Yes, they wouldn't make as much money, would they? lol

          November 15, 2013 at 4:52 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Greed is good.

          November 15, 2013 at 4:52 am |
    • Science Works

      The latest in reality TV.

      But if you watch it it might make you _____________ !

      “Church Rescue” will debut Monday (Nov. 11) on the National Geographic Channel, featuring the most unlikely of reality TV stars: church con-sultants.

      National Geographic is in that market it looks like.

      November 15, 2013 at 5:23 am |
  6. theAtheist

    I am glad I quit being christian. There is no god, only some delusional people there.

    November 15, 2013 at 4:16 am |
  7. Rock Reynolds

    This is interesting.
    The Valican Bank.
    Folks, it don't get much bigger.
    Of course, changes could be all bs. But it is extremely unusual for the media to even MENTION the Vatican Bank (That's a "Mein Kampf" no-no).
    Interesting. The media do not usually violate "Mein Kampf". The media are all run by Nazis, you know.

    November 15, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • Rock Reynolds

      The Vatican Bank is the bank that controls the world banks, which in turn, control all other banks, which, in turn, control all media and politicians.
      And yes, the mob is heavily involved with the Vatican Bank, but I have no clue to what extent.
      It is unusual for the media to focus attention on a REAL PROBLEM LOCATION, even if to tell a lie at that location. As Hitler said in "Mein Kampf", you DON'T EVER MENTION the real problem areas. You don't want people looking there.

      November 15, 2013 at 3:31 am |
    • Rock Reynolds

      This is the most exciting news I've heard in a long time.
      Apparently, some kind of struggle is going on at the Vatican bank, probably between two mob families.
      The struggle is so big, that the media have to mention it.
      When is the last time anyone heard "need for Vatican Bank reform", "Pope", "mob", "mob interests in the Vatican Bank", ALL IN THE SAME ARTICLE?

      November 15, 2013 at 3:40 am |
    • Rock Reynolds

      This is a power struggle at the top. We don't know the REAL players. We may find out one or more of the real players by paying attention to other "news".

      November 15, 2013 at 3:43 am |
    • Rock Reynolds

      Nazis are a Jesuit-funded group. Nazis are the descendants of the Knights Templar.

      November 15, 2013 at 3:50 am |
    • Rock Reynolds

      The Jesuits are the darkest "human" (I use that term loosely.) souls on this planet. They're the astronomers.

      November 15, 2013 at 3:56 am |
      • Rock Reynolds

        The Jesuits are the REAL power behind the Catholic Church, not the Pope.

        November 15, 2013 at 3:58 am |
        • Crom

          No, they are the propaganda arm of the RCC. I'm going to ignore your other babbling, as you seem to be frothing at the mouth.

          November 15, 2013 at 4:18 am |
  8. PadreP

    Nothing. It doesn't speak about being gay. Certain factions of the church have re-interpreted it as anti-gay not all. Christians believe the bible hates gays or that Jesus hated gay people. There are radicals in every religion, even in Christianity. There are radicals in atheism as well. Like the group who just convened down the street from my house last week. Think about it. Atheists joining together at a community center, a former episcopalian church to talk about how they don't believe in GOD. Unreal.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • Billy

      That's excellent. I'll have to see what kind of facilities are available in my neighborhood that could be used for the same purpose.

      November 15, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What is unreal is that apparently you are part of a marginalized group, though it is improving, and you are surprised another marginalized group may want to get together and socialize. You are operating under the same level ignorance people have historically had about gay people.

      November 15, 2013 at 1:33 am |
      • Crom

        Exactly. Spot fucking on, m8.

        November 15, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      'Atheists joining together at a community center, a former Episcopalian church to talk about how they don't believe in GOD. Unreal'

      Very true. I just don't get it.

      November 15, 2013 at 4:20 am |
      • Crom

        Since that's not likely to be the reason they are gathering together, I'd say you really, really, really don't get it, dipwad.

        November 15, 2013 at 4:45 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Atheist groups are self-congratulatory circle-jerks. That's all they are.

          November 15, 2013 at 4:47 am |
        • Crom

          So you've been present at every single one? You claim omnipresence and omniscience? You speak from knowledge? No.
          You're just a liar we've seen around here before. Go peddle your grandma's ass somewhere else, dipwad.

          November 15, 2013 at 4:56 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Can you not make a statement without being insulting to the person you are making the statement to?

          I can understand why religious people might organize into groups. They share a common creed and generally share similar beliefs. Atheists doesn't share a creed. Atheism isn't even a common interest. Atheism is simply the belief that there is no god. Why would anybody want to organize a group based on this?

          November 15, 2013 at 5:03 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          'Atheists don't'.

          November 15, 2013 at 5:09 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dave,

          Not all atheists share common goals and interests but some do. CHurch state seperation is a big issue, many want to be involved in discussing science topics and other current events. Also where they don't agree, which you point out is very likely, exchanging ideas and opinions may be of great interest without having to clutter the conversation with religion. Those groups may not be for you but I don't get where you think it would be a waste for those involved.

          November 15, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          My main problem is the misappropriation of the word 'atheist'. It's always atheism plus something else. I went to one before in Seattle and it was just a liberal love-in. From what I can tell, any group referring to themselves as atheist groups are either liberals, secularists, secular humanists, feminists or all of the above. That's not atheism. If you want to found a group based on one or all of these principles, go for it. Just don't call yourselves an atheist group. There are already groups devoted to secularism and science. If you're interested, join them or stop using the term atheism or atheist for your group, unless it's something like the 'Organization for Atheist Scientists', as that at least further specifies.

          November 15, 2013 at 9:29 am |
  9. holmanpatrick

    Reblogged this on Holman Patrick.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:46 am |
  10. brian

    I thought the Vatican was the Mafia.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Anthony Crispino

      My wife's groinicologist told her that there are a bunch of different groups in the Vatican. You've got the mafia, the gay lobby, those Swiss guys, the morticians that look after the old pope and the people under the place. There's a whole bunch of 'em and supposably they even each have a little chapel somewheres along the main hall there.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:54 am |
      • Crom

        You say "supposedly"...as in you have no links for us? That sucks. I'm not interested in researching it myself, as it is always too messy in criminal organizations for anything but bare facts like furnishings and architecture for me to feel any interest. I'd leave that up to the prosecutors at the Hague.

        November 15, 2013 at 1:34 am |
  11. lavenderlady63

    All the ranting on this article is totally out of control. I assumed the comments would be about the article, which had nothing to do with religious beliefs. It is all so childish.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Crom

      The first few pages had more on-topic posts, I think.
      I usually ignore the articles like this that are just too stupid for words. They are trolling for comments from fans of mafia movies and mafia tv shows. Didn't one of them just end recently? Maybe they need to buy the DVDs and watch all the seasons at once instead of writing articles no one gives a crap about.
      Who cares if some pedo-pope dies? He isn't doing anything about abolishing the criminal organization he leads.
      And quite predictably, too. He'd have to quit pretending to be holy, but the adulation is too addicting.
      The vatican needs to be obliterated, everything confiscated to pay the restitution for centuries of crime, every priest arrested and imprisoned for life, in every country on the planet.
      But Islam should go down first. It is opposed to all freedoms and is an ideology of hate and violence. Fuck the pope.

      November 15, 2013 at 1:03 am |
  12. JOSH P.

    A GREAT MAN ONCE SAID THAT.
    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

    Truer words were never spoken,every self righteous Christians in America,such as Palin and other crooks,would be the first calling him a Liberal.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • lavenderlady63

      No truer words. I have right wing Christians in my family, I live in the midwest, they live in the South. They are greedy, they steal, they are judgmental and go to church on Sunday. Some Christians have give the religion a bad mark, but do not leave out the radical muslims they are black marking their religion also.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:44 am |
      • Wes Scott

        Every now and then you actually run into a religious person of whatever faith who truly does try to live the life he or she preaches that others should love, but those are rare exceptions to the rule. Religion is not about anything other than control of peoples' minds and money. It has always been about power and nothing more!

        November 15, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          Remarkable souls...but all to rare

          November 15, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • Crom

      I would say, "I like your Ghandi, but I do not like the Ghandi that drank his own urine. He was a product of his culture and preached non-violence at times. Anyone can do that. He wasn't special, his followers couldn't find anyone better at the time."

      November 15, 2013 at 2:24 am |
  13. lavenderlady63

    I thought about exactly the same thing. He has stepped on the status quo, plus he is not Italian or European. He is truly a holy man. Holy men in history seem to have a short life span. I hope history does not repeat itself. Pope Francis is one of a kind and I doubt I will ever have the opportunity to see one again. May God keep and protect him from all evil. Those that want to bring death to him may hell and damnation come upon them and their family.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • Crom

      He is, at least, trying a different set of methods towards preserving the bones of his criminal organization. And some are helped thereby, sure.
      But the RCC has trillions of dollars of real property, real wealth and extort more every day while saying suffering is good for people, to die and suffer one's whole life is a 'wonderful thing'.
      They have no problem deliberately making life horrible for people. Fuck the pope. If he wants to impress me he'll have to openly uncover all the criminal activities of his organization and resign and be the star witness at the Hague.
      Otherwise he is just another Jesuit trying to distract people from the extent of the crimes he intends to continue doing and fooling quite a lot of people. Perhaps he is building up to it. But the world cannot wait. Children are dying daily, tortured to death. We can't wait for him to turn informer. And the religion insists that children suffer, that they MUST be born into a hellish existence. The whole religion must GO into the toilet ASAP, but Islam first. Islam first. Fuck the car-driving pope and the mafia. They can all die for all I care. We need help that isn't about suffering on purpose. That's just insane.

      November 15, 2013 at 2:36 am |
  14. Reality # 2

    Internet banking is making the Vatican Bank obsolete i.e. the Mafia has a better, more efficient tool to launder their money.

    And considering all the other problems with Christianity, said religion will also soon be obsolete.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Jude Walker

      Thank God for this, but dude, Christianity will never be obsolete. It certainly will have less and less believers as more people turn to lives of sin, but it will never die out.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:22 am |
      • Crom

        It is statistically certain to die out at some point. When we can cure delusion, psychosis, sociopathic behavior, and all the other things that give rise to religion, all religions will be dead and gone. Your time is short, beast. Your evil will not last but will be eradicated like any other mental illness. It's just a matter of time, you see....

        November 15, 2013 at 12:35 am |
        • Dissident-Wolverine

          Agreed that one day all religions will become dead.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:55 am |
      • truthprevails1

        "as more people turn to lives of sin"

        Sin is strictly a biblical concept, outside of that it doesn't exist.
        Making such a comment almost makes it sound like you think christians are the only righteous ones and based on a 76% prison population and the atrocities in the bible, we know that simply isn't the case. Christianity is no more than 5000 years old and we know from actual evidence that other religions and life in general existed long before that.

        November 15, 2013 at 5:26 am |
  15. Kyle

    Well then I will go to Italy with my AK and protect him..... OH WAIT. You can't have guns in Europe... Sorry, never mind.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Huh?

      Sure, Kyle, like the Pope really needs YOUR help. LOL.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • Billy

      Swiss Guard modern weapons:

      SIG P220 (P75)
      Glock 19
      Heckler & Koch MP5A3
      Heckler & Koch MP7A1
      SIG SG 550
      SIG SG 552

      Traditional arms:

      Sword
      Command baton
      Partisan
      Halberd
      Flamberge
      Cuirass with spaulders

      So even though they look like they would have a toy gun that, when fired, would pop out a colorful Bang! flag matching their outfits, they do have training in the weapons above.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:35 am |
  16. Bruce Wayne

    Theoretically, Atheists believe in God

    November 14, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Realistically, that is oxymoronic.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • L

      Theoretically, all Christians are atheist.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
      • PadreP

        We don't care what you DON'T believe in! Go away to your little non-existent cabin in the invisible woods and say nothing about nothing. That's when atheism makes sense.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • Kyle

          Padre, that is a good one... I'm going to steal that one if you don't mind.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • PadreP

          Please do. These people just baffle me.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
        • Observer

          Atheism makes sense if you read the Bible and try to apply all your intelligence and logic.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
        • PadreP

          Atheism makes sense to no one. If you don't believe in God why are talking about him? If he doesn't exist then why is there a conversation happening about him right now?

          November 14, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
        • PadreP

          Also, why are you even reading the bible? If you want to find holes in something, eat Swiss cheese. There;s no reason on earth why you should desire to, as an "intelligent" and "logical" person read something that wasn't meant for you and try to poke holes in it. Get it? Like I don't like Ayn Rand, so therefore I don't read her books. I don't like Mushrooms so therefore I don't cook them. yet you don't believe in God, yet you make a mockery of the bible, by reading it and purposely try to find fault in it. Don't you have anything better to do with your time? Like read a book with no words on a page and send out blank holiday cards to people you don't know?

          November 15, 2013 at 12:02 am |
        • Observer

          PadreP,

          Everyone should be free to decide the meaning of life for themselves. The problem is when they use that to deny equal rights to people and try to force their beliefs on others.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:01 am |
        • PadreP

          I'm gay. You have proven nothing to me. I also go to a church that has Jesus hanging on the cross and the church and pastor accepts me. I don't get your point. My church doesn't ostracize me. The Vatican has a long way to go, true, but not all churches denounce being gay as a sin. You're making generalizations based on your experience and based on how the media portrays the church, just like the media portrayed gays back in the 70's in leather chaps and bursting into flames at the gay parade. Not all gay people are devoid of spirit or belief in Christ. You have a lot to learn.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • Fan2C

          PadreP

          "If you don't believe in God why are talking about him?"

          Atheists do not believe in a god or gods. They know, however, that believers DO exist... and that these believers want to do things according to their fantasies and superst.itions which affect us all.

          If Ayn Randians or mushroom eaters were trying to run the government, public policy, education, science, etc. I'll just bet you would have a thing or two to say...

          November 15, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • PadreP

          Christians are trying to run the government? Which country are you talking about? The one with Obama as President, or some non-existent government somewhere in Europe?

          November 15, 2013 at 12:10 am |
        • Observer

          PadreP,

          "Also, why are you even reading the bible?"

          Someone has to read the Bible and tell all the Christians what it actually says.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        • PadreP

          Awww shucks, how cute is it that you want to help us read the Bible. Thanks a lot for your noble interpretation, but we really don't give a flying frogs fat ass what you think of the Bible. Now scoot...Atlas Shrugged awaits for you on your night table.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:12 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I think it's funny Christians want everyone to pay attention to their religion, they want it included in laws and gov't and public school, they put up billboards and have TV channels dedicated to it. And then when atheists pay attention they say "you shouldn't even care, why not just ignore us".

          November 15, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • Observer

          PadreP,

          Just what Jesus would have said, right? Thanks for backing up my HYPOCRITE charges.

          As long as Christians cherry-pick the Bible to lecture others, there's no reason why non-believers shouldn't cherry-pick the Bible to lecture believers.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:25 am |
        • PadreP

          Don't read the Bible. And by the way, Atlas Shrugged because he couldn't understand why people who don't believe in the bible spend so much time trying to poke holes in it.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:28 am |
        • Jude Walker

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers: That's because when atheist pay attention to Christians, the only intent is to down it, when we want it included in laws and gov't and public school, and put up billboards and have TV channels dedicated to it.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:34 am |
        • Observer

          PadreP,

          Sorry, but I'll continue to read the Bible and show many Christians why they are such HYPOCRITES in using it to pick on others. Christians could pick the Golden Rule, but they'd rather pick on gays and pro-choice supporters. Keep the hypocrisy going.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:35 am |
        • PadreP

          You have zero idea of what you speak of. I am gay and I am a Christian, and go to church. Your entire statement has been made mush of. Now go to bed. Nothing is getting accomplished here. You're just spinning your wheels.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:46 am |
        • Cijay Chijioke

          Padre, what does your Bible say about being gay?

          November 15, 2013 at 12:41 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That's right Jude, no quarter.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:46 am |
        • Observer

          PadreP,

          Obviously you haven't read the many Christians who trash gays every time they are mentioned on here.You won't find them picking on their fellow Christian adulterers.

          Good for you that you found a more "liberal" church that isn't as hypocritical as many.

          Does your more "liberal" church pick on pro-choice supporters?

          November 15, 2013 at 12:55 am |
        • PadreP

          I don't go to church to solve the worlds problems. I can only fight one good fight at a time. When I'm in church I'm there to represent gay people. That we are good, and caring people who love each other, have children and can also be people of faith. I'm not there to fight every fight. There are conversations after the sermon where I'll challenge the pastor about pro-choice issues and we disagree. But that's just one guy talking to a priest and explaining that pro-life is wrong and backwards. I cannot save the world. And many gay people I know who do go to church have issues with many things in the bible and at church but we do not abandon our entire belief system for one issue just like you don't abandon your non belief system because one guy here is actually making sense to you.

          November 15, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • Observer

          PadreP,

          One of my main missions on here is to support gays and pro-choice people who are picked on by Christians who hypocritically use the Bible to deny others rights.

          It sounds like you have found a very good church. Good luck.

          November 15, 2013 at 1:12 am |
        • PadreP

          Thanks very much, I appreciate that. Be well.

          November 15, 2013 at 1:24 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          How interesting, PadreP's comments.

          As Cheese states, the Christians demand attention but, in contradiction, will not tolerate the atheist analysis and criticism (what they call "persecution" or attempts to "tear down" Christianity).

          Methinks they do not want the scrutiny because the atheist's observations about their faith causes them to question and doubt. The faith of most American Christians...particularly Evangelicals...is a tenuous experience.

          If PadreP were honest, he would welcome the lovely opportunity to follow Paul's admonition to "defend the faith."

          But, unlike atheists, Christians aren't all that familiar with the "word" of their God...and their daily lives provide exceptional evidence for the atheist argument that their God does not exist.

          November 15, 2013 at 1:32 am |
        • Observer

          PadreP,

          My main beef with Christians is against those who use their religion to pick on others. I have no beef it they don't.

          I seriously wish you the best.

          November 15, 2013 at 1:33 am |
        • Crom

          We are only primates identifying with a group. Inside a minute, a person can consider themselves as a member of hundreds of different possible groupings. Our primate ancestors evolved instincts and desires that make no logical sense but only provide genetic survival at best.
          To seek the roots of all you hold dear in your thoughts, you must first trace down the roots of the thoughts themselves.
          There you will find primate behavior patterns, emotional blindness and a lack of self-control where such things are present.
          In examining your own thoughts, you exercise the last privacy of humanity – privacy of one's own thoughts and are still yet free to engage in such if you so desire.
          But brainwashing is everywhere. To reduce it's influence upon you, you should avoid mass media, especially sound and video, as it can get quite thick at times and hard to breathe free air. Anything I could do for you would be to take away any stumbling blocks from in front of you, a fellow human being. A fellow primate. I don't expect to reason with unreasonable people, so if someone doesn't get it I try to move on.
          10/10

          November 15, 2013 at 1:54 am |
      • L

        I hate generalities by anyone, believer or atheist. If you can't see that the troll who keeps stealing my initial is guilty as hell of that, you are either willfully blind or willfully ignorant.

        Also, pound sand. And after you do that? Shove your bible up your ass and pray for a gigantic bowel movement to expel both the Bible and your head.

        November 15, 2013 at 12:02 am |
        • Observer

          real L,

          There is no excuse for anyone stealing handles. Period.

          Now you know what it's like for so many people on here when someone as lacking integrity as faith/hharri/fake Observer/ etc. keeps stealing names to promote her Christian beliefs.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:05 am |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          I love how they deny that it is really stealing since you don't own the handle, but it seems to me to be a blatant but ineffective attempt at false witness. By "using" another's handle implies that you are trying to make that person look foolish or even abusive. It is very childish and not very christian.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • Crom

          It is a deliberate attempt at false impersonation of someone whose words they want to nullify in some way and don't have anything more intelligent than a kid's trick. For anyone following the dialogue, it is usually pretty obvious when it happens.

          November 15, 2013 at 2:05 am |
    • Fan2C

      Theoretically, cartoon watchers believe in Donald Duck.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
      • Maddy

        Lol!
        Theoretically, then, do all Christian cartoon watchers believe in Taz, the Tasmanian Devil?

        November 15, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  17. flying spaghetti monster

    FYI: Jeebus isn't real.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  18. whowouldjesuskill

    Sounds like one part of the mob is upset with another part of the mob.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  19. dd

    aren't these Mafia Catholic too!!!

    November 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Yep, and they're all kid touchers.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
      • L

        All Christians are.

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

          All atheists are.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
        • L

          All Christians pay for the privilege of raping the kids.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  20. L

    Still atheists haven't provided evidence proving their correct and everyone else wrong yet they insist of attacking people who do not agree with them. Without undeniable evidence we exist without a creator, atheists have nothing. That's why they try so hard. They can't admit it.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      All I have to do is to admit that I don't know why we are here or why the universe is here. It's the most honest answer available since none of us know. I'd rather just admit that I don't know then start describing invisible sky wizards who made da worlds by chanting magic spellz for six days. How silly.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
      • L

        It's silly that is how immature you are.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Quite silly. I mean who among us is honest enough to just say that he doesn't know the answer? Who here has the courage of convictions to withhold belief until there is evidence in attendance? I mean, you either believe that there is a celestial teapot orbiting Saturn or you don't have any answer at all for what is in orbit around Saturn.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • L

          Having faith doesn't mean you know everything. Biggest misconception atheists create.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Quite right, L. I have no idea who would be stupid enough to suggest such an idea.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You are right L, but having faith does mean you claim to "know" things you don't know.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • L

          Not having faith doesn't mean everyone is wrong and they deserve ridicule for not agreeing with you. Atheistic logic 101.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Everyone might not be wrong, but unless you can actually demonstrate you are correct I have no reason to think you are.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
        • Maddy

          Oh, bull. The only thing atheists have in common with each other is they don't believe in

          November 14, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
        • L

          Same can be applied to you. You lose.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          What Blessed Are the Cheezdoodlers said. Read it twelve fvcking times and get back to us.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Actually you lose, I am not making a claim I can't demonstrate.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I've noticed that "L" hasn't put itself forward as being anything but "not an atheist". I don't think it has a position to present or defend. Confrontation is about all there is to it.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Maddy

          Oops, misfire.
          Lack of believe in gods.

          I feel like I walked into a Monty Python script.

          Atheists think.....
          Do not.
          Do too.
          Do not.
          Do too.

          You're not debating, you're just contradicting me.
          Am not.

          Sigh.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        • Cijay Chijioke

          Truth be told, atheism is as dogmatic and dishonest as the so-called christianity. For what its worth, there's nothing Christlike about the churches just as there's nothing commendable about the obduracy and egotism inherent in so-called atheism. The facts about God, the universe and life is today being more clearly elucidated from metaphysical and esoteric interpretations of natural phenomena

          November 15, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Crom

          "dogmatic and dishonest"?
          Since you couldn't come up with an actual example of that, let me just blow a wet fart in your general direction...*parp*

          November 15, 2013 at 2:08 am |
        • Cijay Chijioke

          Crom, that fart has a distinctively atheistic odor.

          November 15, 2013 at 2:28 am |
      • L

        I think you are mad because you don't have any control. Control freaks hate it when they don't have control.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          lol. Believers want to CONTROL the s3x lives of gays and the bodies of women.

          Oooops.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          So you don't have any reasonable statement to rebut my position? Interesting.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • L

          Gay marriage is such a mess because of the media. The media created the mess in the first place. Popularity will ruin all sorts of issues. I've heard some atheists who do not support gay marriage.

          Ooooooooops.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I would say you are scared because you don't have control. Like what happens after we die, so you follow supersti'tious beliefs in an effort to feel like you do have some control. You are projecting.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • L

          I think that's your reason why you left and you make up some story how that's everyone's reason for believing.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I think you are still projecting.

          November 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          L needs to buy a clue. I'll chip in. Anybody else want to contribute?

          November 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Observer

          L,

          Gay marriage is a prime example of what incredible HYPOCRITES Christians can be. If they really cared about s3xual sins, they'd worry about the FAR FAR GREATER number of their own Christians who are adulterers through divorce and remarriage.

          It's all pick and choose hypocrisy for Christians using the Bible to trash gays..

          November 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
      • PadreP

        Atheism is now like a religion. If you don't believe in anything why say anything? If there is no GOD for you that's great. But people of faith are not trying to provide atheists with proof of God's existence, however atheists are trying way too hard to disprove his existence, and in the end, truthfully, we don't care what you think. It's just theoretical noise and bravado. Like you're better than Christians or religious people because you don't follow a flock. Well you're in a flock, you just deny that too, because your entire existence is built upon denial. Like I said before: go away to your non-existent cabin in the invisible woods and say nothing about nothing because that's what atheism is. Nothingness.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
        • Crom

          You're getting close, but are still clearly having problems.
          Atheism is a LACK of ANY BELIEF IN ANY GODS

          We are just regular people who can see just how harmful and disgusting religious people are to everyone around them.
          That's not a religion, that's just pointing out the damage you do and the delusional rules you keep trying to impose on others.

          When you want to grow up and realize there is no big daddy figure in the sky, you'll be an adult atheist. There are no adult religious. Religious are delusional children, spoiled and stinking of fake righteousness, and when we point this out you get pouty and whiny. No surprise there.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • PadreP

          I know what atheism is. Thanks for your ALL-CAP DESCRIPTION. MY EYESIGHT IS FINE!. I was agnostic for 15 years and at one point an atheist, then began to realize what a bunch of freakin' idiots they all are and disassociated myself from them. It's you who are self-righteous and in denial. People will believe in God will continue to believe, and this will go on FOR. EVER. So stop wasting YOUR time being whiny, and pouty and trying to "Change the world" and make it a better place. All you're doing is adding another facet to the fighting. You're no better than the Arabs fighting the Jews, when you're actually fighting them all! Get it?

          November 15, 2013 at 12:25 am |
        • Crom

          The hypocrisy here is all yours. Grow up and learn to think for yourself.
          Acting like an idiot is no way to go through life, son.
          When you want to speak like a mature person, you'll have to give up your childish ways.
          I've met puh-LENTY of aged, old idiots who are still children. Your vaunted "experience" clearly didn't give you any clues on anything. You went through those phases without learning anything, so trying to use them as some sort of basis for your self-proclaimed "authority" is nothing less than the childish posturing we see here so often, usually from actual children.
          There is no 'god' and no 'gods'. You have nothing to back up anything you say, so all your dancing around with quips is just like watching a jester jump around playing with inflatable bladders. Get a clue already or stfu.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:48 am |
        • PadreP

          Snoring.............oh, you said something? Sorry I was too busy ignoring your rant. Have a splendid evening.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:56 am |
        • Cijay Chijioke

          Frankly Crom, you have a point – but up to a point. There is a God and you are living proof of this. If you can acknowledge the beauty, harmony and synchrony that underlies natural phenomena, then you lend proof that God exists. If you accept that you Crom are more than a random aggregation of cells, tissues and organs, then you proclaim God at the top of your voice. God is the creative power and intelligence behind all observed phenomena, and not an old man with white beard that lives somewhere in the skies. This is the error that's inherent in the polemics between "atheists" and "the religious". On the one hand atheists are blind to the overwhelming incontestable evidence of a creator, asserting in effect that Mozart's symphonies are a random collection of sounds. "Christianity" on the other side wrongly attempts to limit the illimitable, to minimize that which is supernal and yet immanent in all the universe. This truth is hidden within the Holy Scriptures, yet few have the perception to discern it. I sincerely hope that this wisdom comes to you.

          November 15, 2013 at 2:10 am |
        • Crom

          Thanks for "ignoring" my "rant" while responding to same. You're new at this, aren't you? Or all those years must be filled with failures long and numerous. Either way, your snoring wasn't very snore-like. Fail again. *yawn*

          November 15, 2013 at 2:11 am |
        • Crom

          @Cijay
          Thanks, but I was almost a pastor. I know whereof I speak. You don't. Nothing in your religion is real. Sorry.
          I guess you must be near the end to be so desperate, grasping at the ID straw like you are. Prayers don't work. Nothing is magical. Nothing. Your god is the god of Spinoza, the "universal soul directing everything", yet there is nothing there worth worshiping at all. Beauty is nice, but it is not holy nor imbued with special magic. You sound like a first-grader. Grow up.

          November 15, 2013 at 2:17 am |
        • Observer

          Cijay Chijioke,

          First of all, you can't claim there is a God with anything other than faith. There is NO PROOF.

          Secondly, even if intelligent design turned out to be true, that does not in any way PROVE that God did it. There are an INFINITE number of possibilities.

          November 15, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "L", you tried to set yourself up against atheism and have not done very well at it. Of course atheists "have nothing" in the realm of gods. Has anyone tried to deceive you about that?

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

        Almost every atheist troll that I have talked to online on any forum has.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          There doesn't seem to be any point in asking what you do have that might suggest that your faith is in any way valid. You are only about confrontation. That does nothing for the argument for faith – you fail.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
        • L

          There's no reason that validates your belief.-you fail.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
        • Maddy

          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, L, are a troll.

          You also need to look up the meaning of "atheist". It doesn't mean what you obviously think it means.

          November 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • Crom

          The "L" must stand for lame.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:49 am |
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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.