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The Pope’s bold new vision
Pope Francis during his Sunday Angelus address at St. Peter's Square in April.
November 26th, 2013
12:11 PM ET

The Pope’s bold new vision

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN 

(CNN) - Pope Francis on Tuesday issued a bold new document - in Vatican parlance an “apostolic exhortation” - called Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel.”

In this document, he sets out an exciting new vision of how to be a church. In all my years as a Catholic, I cannot remember a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating. Frankly, reading it thrilled me.

To me, it seems that with each new homily, address, interview, general audience message and letter, Francis is challenging himself - and us - with three questions, each of which flows naturally from the other:

First, why not look at things from a new perspective? Second, why not be open to doing things in a new way? And third, why not have a new vision for the church?

And what is Francis' vision for the church?

It is to be a joyful community of believers completely unafraid of the modern world, completely unafraid of change and completely unafraid of challenges. Not everyone will like this document. Some may find it frightening. For it poses a fierce challenge to the status quo - explicitly: “Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way,’ ” he writes in a section titled “Ecclesial Renewal.”

The document’s overall message is that Catholics should be unafraid of new ways of proclaiming the Gospel and new ways of thinking about the church. In fact, such new ways are essential if we are to spread the Gospel at all. This may sound like boilerplate talk expected in a document on the “New Evangelization,” but it is not; for in the document Francis identifies areas of petrification in the church, areas where he wants to see real change.

This is not to say that the Evangelii Gaudium seeks to overturn traditional church teachings. Instead it seeks to overturn the way that we have done things, and to be fearless in doing so. For example, while he reaffirms the church’s inability to ordain women as priests, he also invites the church to think about their place in the church in new ways, to imagine “the possible role of women in decision-making in different areas of the Church’s life."

Over and over, the Pope takes aim against such longstanding roadblocks to growth as “complacency,” “excessive clericalism,” and even Catholics who act like “sourpusses.” (That’s the official English-language translation.) About that last roadblock, he says that there are Christians whose lives are like “Lent without Easter.”

Nor does the Pope have patience for people who are “tempted to find excuses and complain.” Essentially, he contrasts this dourness and pessimism with the joy of living a life centered in Christ and focused on the hope of the resurrection. It is a hope-filled, positive and energetic view of the church actively engaged with the world.

Evangelii Gaudium is difficult to summarize, so wide-ranging is it. Ironically, something that would at first appear to be a narrow topic - how to spread the Gospel today - offers Francis the latitude to address many topics in his trademark open style. The exhortation moves easily from a discussion on joy as a requirement for evangelization, to how “personal dialogue” is needed for any authentic invitation into the faith, to the difficulty of being a church when Catholics are “warring” against one another, to the need for priests and deacons to give better homilies, to an overriding concern for the poor in the world - the last being a special concern of the Pope.

To that end, some will be surprised that Francis champions an idea that has lately been out of favor: the church’s “preferential option” for the poor. “God’s heart has a special place for the poor,” the Pope says. But it is not enough simply to say that God loves the poor in a special way and leave it at that. We must be also vigilant in our care and advocacy for them. Everyone must do this, says the Pope.

“None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice.” And in case anyone misses the point, after a critique of the “idolatry of money” and an “economy of exclusion,” the Pope says: “The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings.”

What’s more, this does not mean simply caring for the poor, it means addressing the structures that keep them poor: “The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed.”

This joy and confidence needed to tackle these challenges - both inside and outside the church - is rooted and grounded in a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. Without that “personal encounter” with Jesus trying to spread the Gospel is useless. We must have what he calls a “constantly renewed experience of savoring Christ’s friendship and his message.”

Most Catholics will, like me, read the letter with enthusiasm. But some Catholics have criticized the Pope for trying to change too much in the church - even though no dogma has been altered. A few Catholics are not only beginning to critique him, but even worse, fear him. Change seems to be something to fear. As one of my Jesuit friends used to say, playfully, “I’m against change; even change for the better!” But the church must change if it is to grow - not in its core beliefs, but in the way that it lives out and shares those beliefs.

My advice to Catholics would be: Read the entire document. Take your time. Be generous with it. Let it excite you. Pray with it. And be open to the Holy Father’s call to “embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”

Finally, as Jesus said, “Fear not.” We can change the way we do things in the church - the spread of the Gospel demands it. So be confident in God’s desire for the church to grow and change. Besides, as Francis says, “Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand.”

At one point, Francis uses a famous quote from Pope John XXIII, who noted at the opening of the Second Vatican Council that many doubted things could change for the better. Too many people at the time - 1962 - were predicting doom and disaster for the church and for the world. But John disagreed. “We feel that we must disagree with those prophets of doom who are always forecasting disaster.”

Evangelii Gaudium is Francis’ own ringing response to prophets of doom.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, is editor at large of America magazine and author of "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything." This article will also appear on America’s blog “In All Things.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (554 Responses)
  1. TV1

    That blanket hanging out the window is worth $10,000.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • igaftr

      At least that's not a baby dangling out the window, like M jackson did.

      November 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • OH

        Michael was a JW

        November 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • mzh

      Some part of tax payers money is hanging up there...

      November 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  2. Linda

    All of these messages from the current Pope may sound attractive, but become nothing unless the Catholic church begins tob preach the only true gospel, one of salvation through Jesus Christ alone, not one of worksor by way Mary, etc.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Jerry

      As the Catholics are the first Christians, your post is without merit.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • TV1

        Catholics are not the first Christians! The first Christians didn't discriminate against women.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
      • EX Catholic

        Liar, liar!

        The first Christians were Israelites in Jerusalem ca. 34AD. A few years later the disciples were called "Christians" for the first time in the ancient city of Antioquia. Even atheists will be able to tell you that!!

        November 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • TV1

          The first Christian to preach the Gospel were women. That is who Jesus chose to spread the news about his resurrection.

          And then the Catholics came along and tried very hard to pretend Jesus only wanted men to do that.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • igaftr

          Well they did write it into the bible (Corinthians 14:34)...since they wrote it into the bible, it must be true....

          November 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • EX Catholic

          dear TV1,

          Sorry but I must disagree!

          The First preacher of the Gospel was Jesus Himself then Peter was second on the day of Pentecost, then the other apostles and deacons like Phillip. Paul is the apostle, preacher and teacher to the gentiles. Though I agree in part that women can pray, preach, testify and witness. They must do it according to Paul's instructions. The women you are referring to were indeed witnesses to the Resurrection. Regards!

          November 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Madtown

      salvation through Jesus Christ alone
      ---–
      "Who is this Jesus Christ person?"

      – signed, your human sister WHO GOD PLACED in an area of this world where christianity doesn't exist

      November 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • Linda

        You've never heard the gospel , or have you heard it but rejected it?

        November 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • Madtown

          It's a little dramatic example meant to illustrate the fact that there are many humans who don't know christianity exists. These humans are your equal in EVERY way, created by God. If God requires them to follow Christ to achieve salvation, what's your best guess as to why God didn't provide them the means to learn about Christ?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Linda

          The one true, omnipotent Holy GOD Almighty doesn't need my defence, but I can tell you from the Word that the heavens declare His glory, so all are without excuse; Jesus says that if you seek you will find,; it is GOD's will that none shall perish, and His thoughts and ways are higher than ours.
          I am praying for your salvation.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Madtown

          How do you know that the definition of God you prefer is the "true" one? As I said, there are humans with no knowledge of your preference. They have different notions about God. If your preferred way isn't universally accessible, it's not universally true. Therefore, maybe YOU don't actually have the "one, true" way! What if God really gave the "true" religion to another group of humans, and you've never heard of it? Why couldn't this be the case? This is what you want for other humans with no knowledge of christianity, to accept what they have no knowledge of simply because you say it's the "one, true" way. Nonsense. Do you doubt God's power? You must, if you don't think he's capable of passing out a simple message to EVERYONE he's created, if he desired that they follow it.

          November 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • knowmoststuff

          Linda is silly. There are LOTS of people in the world who don't even READ english, how could they possibly know that HER god is the real one and not the thunder god they have prayed to for all of the world. And Linda, don't bother prayin for me cause I totally don't believe and your prayers would "offend me"

          December 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  3. Lawrence of Arabia

    "Except that every week there is a story or two of ancient bones of mammals or ancient man made objects, that you simply reject."
    -----
    I do? What do I reject???

    November 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      -–I hate computers... That was supposed to be a response... I think I need another cup of tea...

      November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  4. Brother Maynard

    ' “God’s heart has a special place for the poor,” the Pope says'
    Which begs the question. Why should we help them? Would not the poor fall out of favor with the Lord if they become middle class or rich ?

    November 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • TV1

      Poor doesn't always mean lacking in money.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
      • Brother Maynard

        What 'poor' is the Pope referring to then ?

        November 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • knowmoststuff

      Good point, Brother. I always wondered why there were SO MANY poor and now I know, cause god loves them. I wonder if they love being poor for god...I my self think that if the poor have a special place in gods heart then why do so many christian people want to help the poor. Why wouldn't they want to join them and have a special place in gods heart. Then I realized that the preachers and ministers who get all the people to send them all their money are just trying to get more special people for god by releaving them of their worldly goods!!! BRILLIANT!!!!

      December 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  5. Robert Brown

    I once was lost in sin but Jesus took me in
    And then a little light from heaven filled my soul
    It bathed my heart in love and wrote my name above
    And just a little talk with Jesus made me whole
    Now let us have a little talk with Jesus
    Let us tell Him all about our troubles
    He will hear our faintest cry
    He will answer by and by
    Now when you feel a little prayer wheel turning
    And you know a little fire is burning
    You will find a little talk with Jesus makes it right

    November 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Sometimes my path seems dreary without a ray of cheer
      And then the cloud about me hides the light of day
      The mists in me rise and hide the stormy skies
      But just a little talk with Jesus clears the way
      Now let us have a little talk with Jesus
      Let us tell Him all about our troubles
      He will hear our faintest cry
      He will answer by and by
      Now when you feel a little prayer wheel turning
      And you know a little fire is burning
      You will find a little talk with Jesus makes it right

      November 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        I may have doubts and fears, my eyes be filled with tears
        But Jesus is a friend who watches day and and night
        I go to Him in prayer, He knows my every care
        And just a little talk with Jesus makes it right
        Now let us have a little talk with Jesus
        Let us tell Him all about our troubles
        He will hear our faintest cry
        He will answer by and by
        Now when you feel a little prayer wheel turning
        And you know a little fire is burning
        You will find a little talk with Jesus makes it right

        November 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Make Mine Pumpkin

          (sing)

          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 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Wow... I just caught myself tapping my toe to that one. :o)

        November 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          You make that toe tapping sound like a good thing; you probably do the same thing when reading Leviticus.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          So what moves you? What do you tap your toes to?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Hobo Joe

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
          There's a land that's fair and bright
          Where the handouts grow on bushes
          And you sleep out ev'ry night
          Where the boxcars are all empty
          And the sun shines ev'ry day
          Oh, I'm bound to go where there ain't no snow
          Where the rain don't fall and the wind don't blow
          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

          Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees
          'Round the soda water fountains
          Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
          You never change your socks
          And little streams of lemonade
          Come a-tricklin' down the rocks
          The hobos there are friendly
          And their fires all burn bright
          There's a lake of stew and soda, too
          You can paddle all around 'em in a big canoe
          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

          Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the peppermint trees
          'Round the soda water fountains
          Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
          In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

          November 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          Key Of C
          I don't care if it rains or freezes long as I got my plastic jesus
          Sitting on the dashboard of my car
          Comes in colors pink and pleasant glows in the dark because it's iridescent
          Take it with you when you travel far.

          Buy yourself a sweet Madonna dressed in rhinestones
          Sitting on a pedestal of abalone shell
          Hey going 90 I ain't scary cause I got the virgin mary
          Guaranteeing I won't go to Hell.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Robert, the whole Jesus sacrifice story is a steaming load of bull manure, and as a foundation of your crazy superstition, it is also pathetically weak and stupid. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving from "sin" bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      November 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • TV1

        That website you posted a link to: pure bull manure. Have you actually read through it? You must be trolling...

        November 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
        • Copy-Paste

          Bob copies and pastes the same answers over and over and over again. Yes, he is trolling.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • Bob

          No, since your responses came as accusations without including any content or substance, whereas I stated my arguments plainly, it is your posts, not mine, that are bull manure, and you are obviously the trolls.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          November 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • Copy-Paste

          OMG an original post. Did your daddy type that for you?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • .

          No, your mama did.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • TV1

          God loves amputees. Bob doesn't. But God does.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • Terry

          Yeah, god's just too busy to help amputees. Oh, but he's supposedly omnipotent and omnipresent. Hmmmm... must be just lazy or doesn't give a cr@@p.

          Stupid, stupid Christians.

          And great point about the "sacrifice" that can't be, Bob. Please keep up the great work.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Um

          I know amputees that say God helps them. None of us are perfect. Not even Bob.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • Carl

          Um, I bet you can't cite even one recent, verifiable instance of your god having caused a human limb to grow back. Bob is right on the mark on this one.

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

          He's not trolling and it is not kwap. Did you consider that you may just not have the intelligence to comprehend that web site??? Maybe you should think about it and ask some deep questions (to yourself of couse so you can actually understand the answers). Oh, never mind, lost cause anyway.

          December 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        http://www.gotquestions.org

        They've got a great answer to the main question that your website asks, and many, many more. That is, if you really want to know the answer and are not just interesting in mocking.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Pete

          Then don't forget to read the Smithosian report that states the bible is not a historical docu.ment because it contains literary genre and folk lore.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "...because it contains literary genre and folk lore."
          ----
          Wow, that case is so thin that you can read a newspaper through it. First off, EVERY doc.ument on earth contains "literary genre." Does that mean I need to exclude textbooks now? And what do you mean by "folk lore?" Do you mean miracles? If so, calling that folk lore is opinion, not fact. Just because you haven't witnessed a miracle doesn't mean they don't exist.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • Pete

          That's all you can come up with to try and trash the Smithsonian? LOL! The world's largest research center in the world. LOL! The bible is bogus, just like all the other religions in this world.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • TV1

          The Bible is a collection of books. Some of it is historic. Some of it is not.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • Terry

          And some of the bible is obviously B S.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • Um

          Same with you, Terry.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • knowmoststuff

          Hey, larry, if a child being rid of cancer cause people prayed for it a miracle. OR maybe the fact that they were treated in time with SCIENCE is the miracle... get it straight

          December 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

    This pope guy is the anti Christ until he allows my 12 tear old daughter to take a few dollars from the collection plate, Jesus wouldn't mind. I left my dentures out on the dresser and the cats tore them apart trying to get the bits of possum stuck between the teeth. Seek repentance or fry forever, you have been warned.

    AMEN

    November 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Fake HeavenSent

      Not bad fake fake HS.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  7. bostontola

    I like this pope, but excluding women from clergy is dissappointing. This is an idication that his "reforms" could be cosmetic only. I am also concerned that he may think himself an amateur economist. Labeling money an idol is simplistic. Some people may be obsessed with money, but people get obsessed with other things also. My personal stock ticker on this pope went down with this report. His actions will ultimately determine his legacy, not this docu.ment.

    November 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  8. Alert!

    Love and peace.

    November 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sex and rock & roll.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
  9. Robert Brown

    Atheists reject religion because of the behavior of adherents to religion. They see religions as cults which deceive and rob their flock. Members of religion are hypocritical judgmental bigots because they interfere with the rights of others through opposition to gay marriage, abortion, and separation of church and state.
    As a Christian, I see lots of problems with organized religions. There are those who use religion to deceive people and enrich themselves, they have their reward. There are churches where the members do love each other as a family, there is no requirement to pay a certain percentage to the church, the spirit is free in love and unity, and sinners are welcome and encouraged to attend. Christians do see h.o.m.o.s.e.x.ual acts and abortion as sin. They also realize that all humans are sinners, saved by grace, or not. When it comes to voting on these issues, Christians see it as voting for, or against sin. We can’t approve of sin because we have the examples in the bible of what happens to nations that decay morally and willfully disobey God. We want the freedom to worship and pray to our God, when and where we wish.

    November 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      "Atheists reject religion because of the behavior of adherents to religion"

      Fail.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Apple Bush,
        How about, one of the reasons some atheists reject religion…..

        November 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          1. There are no gods.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • G to the T

          I'll +1 that for me Rob.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • doobzz

          Ditto.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • TDM

      You have no clue about what atheists think, RB. None.
      How can anyone "reject" something they don't believe in?
      As in any gods. At all.

      What you are good at is stating what YOU believe in. What you shouldn't be doing is trying to state what ANYONE ELSE thinks or believes.

      Kept it real , y'all.

      Stop trying to throw flame bombs.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        TDM,
        That was my poor attempt at summarizing some of the statements against religion made by self-proclaimed atheists on this site. Sorry and thanks.

        November 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • TDM

          Fair enough. You're welcome.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • Beth

          Robert Brown, you suck.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • doobzz

          Maybe you should read their statements better. I don't believe in gods. It's that simple. It has nothing to do with anyone's behavior.

          I do love to point out the hypocrisy of believers who lie to support their deity though.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Maddy

      Robert,
      You know that there are many believers out there that do not belong to organized religion at all, right?

      Where would you compartmentalize those folks?

      November 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Maddy,

        Yes, I understand that there are those who are not members of a church. I hope they can find a group of like-minded believers to love, help, and support them. It can be difficult, but there are really good bible believing churches out there.

        November 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • G to the T

          "there are really good bible believing churches out there." Well that's the trick. Which Bible and exactly what do they believe about it. The lack of consistency in christian belief is (in my opinion) a strong indictment against its validity.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Daniel 2:44
          And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Maddy

          Why does one need a church to be closer to God?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Maddy,

          Matthew 18:20
          For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

          Hebrews 10:25
          Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I reject religions because they are, without any exceptions I know, based on things I don't believe to be true, Robert.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Tom, Tom, the Other One,

        Do the actions of believers you know, affirm your disbelief or make you curious about what they believe?

        November 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I'm always curious about why people believe as they do when their beliefs seem unfounded.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Christian beliefs are founded on the rock.

          Jesus speaking from Matthew 7,

          24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

          25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

          26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

          27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          People should want their beliefs to be founded on facts.

          November 26, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Madtown

      we have the examples in the bible of what happens
      ----
      The bible is only relevant as an authority to those people who prefer the variants of christianity. This does not include the entirety of the human race.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • bostontola

      Robert,
      I reject every religion I've been exposed to because I have found them to contain false precepts. The behavior of religious people is varied, some respectful, some not, some hypocritical, others less so. If all religious people were true to their religions, it would have no impact on my rejection of them, but it would probably make the world a better place.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Janet

      "Christians do see h.o.m.o.s.e.x.ual acts and abortion as sin"

      The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime (Leviticus 20:13), it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • Maddy

        And most Christians who use Leviticus for their objections forget it was meant as rules for Levite priests, and not the public in general....aside from all you have stated.

        Abortion isn't even mentioned in the Bible.

        November 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  10. Jesus' Beloved

    Why not just do things the way the Bible says, then there'll be no need for new perspective, new way, and new vision.
    The Word of God is Constant. It doesn't change. God is the same.
    As Christ is so are we in this world (In our Spirit). If this is so, then we should be Living the Kingdom/Manifesting the Kingdom here on earth. (..."thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven").

    November 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Madtown

      The Word of God is Constant. It doesn't change
      ----
      It seems to change with the many different versions of the bible.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • G to the T

      "The Word of God is Constant. It doesn't change. God is the same." Then I find it remarkable that we have so many versions of the bible and even more version of christianity. Also – for an unchanging "word" it sure has been interpreted by a lot of people in some very different (and diametrically opposed) viewpoints. All supported by this unchanging word of yours.

      November 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  11. Chris

    Beginning of the Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis

    2. The great danger in today's world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God's voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God's will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.

    November 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Chris

      3. I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since "no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord".[1] The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Chris

      A great exhortation by Pope Francis!

      November 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Why do you feel it is great?

        November 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Chris

          As to "why it is great" is self explanatory. Read the address by the Pope again.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          No, I asked YOU why you think it is great. It is not self-explanatory.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Chris

          Keep reading the message posted above till you get as to why it's great.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          No thank you.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • TDM

          Any reason that you have to have someone else's words speak for you, Chris?

          Why do YOU think it's great?

          November 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Chris

          Deconstruct the message by the Pope into smaller sentences and read it again, come back with specific questions, if you still do not get the message.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I don't believe anybody here is "not getting" the message. We are asking you why YOU think it is GREAT.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Chris

          Shame on you, if you didn't get as to why it's great in your first read. Keep working on reading the message, till you get as to why it's great.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Jerry

          So..... You don't know why YOU feel it's great?
          Shame on you for not acknowledging you don't know why.
          Pretty prose turns you on , does it?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
        • Chris

          The list of shameful characters that have no clue as to why this message is touted as 'great', keeps growing.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Why do you think it is great? Compared to what?

        November 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Hi. AB
          If Frankie was to come out and say they are removing/exorcising all of the insanity out of the church what would be left?

          November 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Hey CQ.

          Umm....a public park? Affordable housing?

          November 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          AB
          Sounds good to me.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • jim

        You really believe in this stuff? It feels a lot better to get laid.

        November 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • RT99

          You are in the wrong place, go to an adult website that will be more up your alley 😉

          November 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  12. Sara

    Eight out of ten current stories about either the pope or Catholicism. I'd love to know the formula the editors use for balancing their coverage.

    November 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      When the janitors clean up the lunch room, they save a few of the dirty napkins with pope articles written on them and submit them for publication.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
      • Sara

        Sounds more plausible than that these articles actually attract readers, which is the only reasonable explanation I can imagine. Does anyone know of data on the most common religious search terms? I have a hard time believing they are estimating this correctly.

        November 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      it's pope overdose here at the belief blog. should be re-named the Catholic Blog.

      quick, someone get me an article on any one of the hundreds of other world religions.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm |

    • if (( n mod 10 ) mod 5)) then Catholic

      November 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      I think Catholicism gets the most coverage because it atracts the most passionate blog responses... It's like watching figure skating or NASCAR – it's only entertaining to watch the crashes.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • Sara

        I can imagine that, though I find the conversations repetative, but am not sure how that works for them as a business model. I would think the majority who visit these stories don't even glance at the comments and that it is total hits or unique ips the advertisers care about. Oh well, it's just curiosity but it doesn't match with my expectations of what would draw the best traffic.

        November 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • TDM

          The majority of comments come from a few unique IP's, so that's a losing proposition.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  13. melissajoan6

    I found this article very refreshing. I think it's important for all churches to look at how they are doing things and see room for improvement and change certain things based on our ever evolving world. This CAN be done without changing doctrine. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mormon) and see changes like this in my own church as well (i.e. full-time missionaries using social media, texting, etc.)

    November 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You are the problem.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • igaftr

      Considering the fact that Joseph Smith was a convicted con-man who did that seeing hat trick for years biliking people out of money before he decided to create a belief system so he could do whatever he wanted to, it amazes me that anyone takes him seriously.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You seem to be jettisoning a lot of your strange baggage, too. The whole Kolob thing, for example, is never mentioned. Now if you could distance yourself from that guy who saw things in his hat you'd really be making progress.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Sara

      I'd like to see one actual agenda item they plan to change. So far I get that they are going to tell people to be more optimistic, ramp up the false illusion of female power in the church and put more political pressure out for political change on poverty issues ... one of the few things they were actually already doing, except in the US where their other agendas put them in bed with the right wing. So really, I'm not seeing where this supposed change is taking place or why the church warrants 80% of CNN's current religion strories.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  14. Charlie

    Christ, God in the flesh, to Christians, took a whip to drive the money changers away from the walls of the great temple in Jerusalem. He was unfazed by the high priests who would kill him for his actions. He told the men who's job for centuries had been to take your impure money, and for a small fee, give you back pure money that could then be donated to temple. It had been a practice with deep roots in his faith at that time, deeply steeped in notions of ritual purity. He took a whip to tradition. You can imagine the shock on the faces of simple faithful people trying to follow age old rules pertaining to what you do when you go to the one temple allowed in ancient Israel in those few centuries before Hadrien destroyed ancient Israel. The chief priests forced the Romans to crucify him for blasphemy- no doubt it was to them. But Christ is all about whipping the money changers out of the temple. His message was married to Rome by Constantine 390. There can never be a divorce, too much water under that bridge. But once in a while a pope or a saint or a heretic comes along and reminds us what God's message was and why the people around him crucified him. It's odd that a man who took a whip to tradition without any authority other than his divinity, is believed in by a billion people, at least in their prayers. What do you think he would do on Wall Street? Take a guess.

    November 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      He does nothing so I guess that answers the question.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      "What do you think he would do on Wall Street? Take a guess."
      ---
      Unfortunately, one of the "whips" that God uses to chastise a people is to leave them to the unintended consequences of their actions. Drowning in the idolatry of greed until it dies of self inflicted wounds...

      November 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • Maddy

        Do you think that's going to happen any time soon?

        November 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Probably not... But who am I to say?

          November 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • Maddy

          Indeed.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • Mrs. Travis

        I agree with that. And He left us an example to follow to avoid stumbling ourselves and others. Stay awake He warned that we don't become like babes being tossed about by every means of contriving error.

        November 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      The Legend of King Arthur is not evidence for Merlin.
      The Greek Myths are not evidence for Heracles.
      The Epic of Beowulf is not evidence for Grendel.
      The American Folk Tradition is not evidence for Paul Bunyan.
      The New Testament is not evidence for Jesus.
      The Old Testament is not evidence for Yahweh.

      The miracles happened ... in the story.
      The prophesies were fulfilled ... in the story.
      The character was emotionally appealing and morally right ... in the story.

      Get out of your stories.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        It's just a story to those who look at it simply as a mere book. A deep study into Biblical textual criticism is a great way to see how we got the Bible that we hold in our hands. And not just that, but read about the church fathers and their writings, the men who were direct pupils of the Apostles themselves. We may not have the original manuscripts of the Bible, but we could piece the Bible together but for a few verses just from the quotations of the church fathers. It's not just stories – these were eye witness accounts docu.mented by men who would willingly die a martyrs death as a testimony to the truth of what they wrote of what they saw and heard.

        November 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • Observer

          Books of the Bible were written DECADES after Jesus died. The average lifespan was about 40 years then.

          So how many EYEWITNESSES were directly quoted in the Bible?

          November 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Books of the Bible were written DECADES after Jesus died."
          ---
          Yeah, so? James (Jesus' half brother) wrote the first book of the NT between 44-49AD, and the last book, Revelation was written by John between 94-96AD.

          "The average lifespan was about 40 years then."
          --–
          Patently false... Psalm 90:10 – "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years..."

          "So how many EYEWITNESSES were directly quoted in the Bible?"
          ---
          Quite a long list...

          November 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • TDM

          Oh my....you're getting life expectancy data from a verse in the Bible, where some have lived 900 years?

          Re; witnesses: list them.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Observer

          Lawrence of Arabia,
          "The average lifespan was about 40 years then. –– Patently false... "

          The life expectancy by medieval Britain was THIRTY YEARS.

          Please do some research using FACTS next time. Getting your "knowledge" from the Bible obviously gives you the WRONG information.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Re; witnesses: list them."
          ----
          As I said, that would be a long list... Let me do this for brevity – and this is backed by the writings of the church fathers who were the apostles students.

          Luke 1:2 – The gospel was handed down to Luke by eye witnesses. To write his book, he interviewed Mary, and was a close friend to Peter, who of course was an apostle and eye witness.

          2 Peter 1:16 – For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we (speaking of the 12 apostles) were eye witnesses of His majesty. (inreference to the transfiguration)

          John 3:11 – "We speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen..." "we" speaking of the 12 apostles.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "The life expectancy by medieval Britain was THIRTY YEARS."
          ---
          Biblical Israel was far removed from medieval Britain... How is that relevant to 1st Century Palestine?

          November 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • Observer

          Lawrence of Arabia

          " Biblical Israel was far removed from medieval Britain... How is that relevant to 1st Century Palestine?"

          lol. Obviously you have done ZERO research and depend on a book full of errors and contradictions.

          If you look at life expectancy tables, you won't find ANY showing more than 40 years until just a few centuries ago. Where did God say his people would have a different life expectancy than ANY OTHERS? lol. Get serious. Please START doing some research. The Bible says the sun and moon suddenly STOPPED. You probably believe that, too.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "The Bible says the sun and moon suddenly STOPPED. You probably believe that, too."
          ---
          And the Weather Channel told me what time the sun would set today. How crazy do they think we are? The sun doesn't set – the earth revolves! Weather must be a lie.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        False equivalents. Do the stories of Merlin and Paul Bunyan transform lives? Do people today find peace and comfort for their souls in the stories of Greek mythology?
        Even the enemies of Jesus and His Apostles living at the time knew they could not deny their healings and other miracles, because there were too many witnesses and beneficiaries. So instead of denying, they had to claim the miracles were works of demons and Satan. Then they had no explanation for the disappearance of Jesus' body from the tomb guarded by Roman soldiers, searched everywhere and found no trace of it, and so tried to manufacture a story of a conspiracy, but never did produce the body.
        Today's enemies of Christ are just continuing the same desperate denials despite the historical and logical evidence, motivated by the same self-pride and opposition to God's authority.

        November 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • G to the T

          Do the words of the Buddha transform lives? Does belief in Vishnu provide comfort and peace to the soul? Yup.

          Nobody is saying that the bible doesn't contain powerful teachings (though it must be admitted can be interpreted to ill ends at times) or that their isn't elements of "truth" to be found there. But other religions have their own philosophies, beliefs and faiths, and those seem to function just fine for the majority of their adherants.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • MrHighMighty

          G to the T, God created man with an awareness of existence beyond our physical selves, and an awareness of final justice, and an ability to reason, so it was inevitable (and designed) that man on its own over the centuries would develop various systems of beliefs and behaviors that are conducive to a stable and happy life. But only the Gospel provides man with a solution for how imperfection can ultimately co-exist in the spiritual realm with the absolutely perfect and sovereign Creator.

          November 27, 2013 at 2:21 am |
        • G to the T

          You should study more about what others believe. Your theory is quite wrong on several fronts.

          November 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I would love to believe but I will reserve that for the day when any religion produces even the tiniest bit of verifiable empricial evidence that could be placed on display at the Smithsonian. Until then I will continue to accept this life and the realities it presents as all we get and I can be happy with that and not angry that I don't get more. Mrhighmighty here and his ilk want more more more, they want to think of themselves as the center of the universe "God made this all for us!" "God loves me!" "God will give me another life beyond this one at his side in eternal bliss!" " God hears my thoughts like some telepathic genie! I'm so fvcking special I could burst!!" It's enough to make a sensible person vomit.

          November 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • MrHighMighty

          For some reason, my reply isn't showing. I will try splitting it in two:

          Just the Facts Ma'am, thank you for the comments, it gives me a reason to expand my previous thoughts. You are mistaken on two points. First, many people who were alive with Jesus (and the Old Testament prophets) saw His miracles and still did not have faith in God, so I am sure that if there was "verifiable empirical evidence" on display at the Smithsonian, you and most people would still find an excuse to reject God. Such is the nature of fallen man, always desiring our own priorities, plans, and outcomes, despite all the evidence around us. Which leads to the second bigger point, see next entry (if it's there).

          November 27, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
        • MrHighMighty

          Hmmm....... part 1 got in but not part 2. And I tried it twice and got a message about "Duplicate comment detected".
          Oh well, God likes some mystery.

          November 27, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
        • MrHighMighty

          OK, one last try....
          Most non-believers have a false understanding of Christianity, but that's not surprising considering what is said and written by many who call themselves Christian, especially religious leaders. In truth as found in Scripture, I certainly do not believe I am special or that God owes me anything, except rejection and destruction. Do not misunderstand my screenname here. I cannot stand by myself before the righteousness and justice of Holy God. Born in the flesh with free will, I am wretched and reprobate by nature. Even having the knowledge of being saved by God's grace through faith in Christ, in this body I still struggle with sin. I deserve nothing but hell. But by His grace and mercy and love, he sent Christ to take on the judgment against us to allow an elect few to enjoy His perfection and power forever, and for that I will be eternally praising Him. God did not create this universe and Heaven for me or any other humans. He created it all and sustains it all for His purposes and His own glory. The rewards of Heaven are not for me, they are for Him.

          Have a happy Thanksgiving. I hope you can keep all your food down now.

          November 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Charlie
      He would buy what Warren Buffet buys with the money the RCC is holding for him.

      November 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • G to the T

      "The chief priests forced the Romans to crucify him for blasphemy" Ahhh revisionist history at it's best. The further we get from the event, the less culpable Pilot seems to have been... Odd that this trend coincided with Rome becoming one of the biggest supporters of the church isn't it? Almost like someone was trying rewrite the story so the romans weren't responsible...

      November 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  15. Mrs. Travis

    No doubt the Vatican is preparing to play its hand in the political realm... As Christians we know what that means for us. Palin is seeking to engage the nations into a world bank... of slavery.

    November 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Maddy

      Palin?

      November 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      I haven't heard that one. Do you have a link to a news article about that?

      November 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • Mrs. Travis

        Forgive me I meant Putin. I can provide links if you wish but you can find this information regarding his visit with the pope and formation of a world bank in numerous articles. Again I'm sorry.

        November 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          10-4, my misunderstanding.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Maddy

          Well, thanks for clearing that up...Palin, quite frankly, alarms me.

          Although Putin does, also.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  16. doobzz

    "What’s more, this does not mean simply caring for the poor, it means addressing the structures that keep them poor: “The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed.”'

    So is the RCC going to approve birth control?

    November 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Science Works

      The destructive force behind the RCC, their biblical stand on procreation !

      November 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Science Works

      Dang should of said A ,

      November 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The RCC is going to say something and do nothing, as always. Unless they are persecuting people.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  17. Chris

    I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since "no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord". The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. (Pope Francis)

    November 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • doobzz

      I invite the pope to have the hidden pedophiles arrested and tried for their crimes.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chris

      Beginning of the Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis

      1. THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church's journey in years to come.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • Maddy

        The victims of priestly pedophilia would scoff at your Copypasta.

        November 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Green Jesuit

          And rightfully so. What happened was horrible. But nothing in this world is ever as black as white as you people make it.
          For every Pedophile priests, there are 100s of little nuns, brothers and priests that give every moment of their lives to the well being of others and fight for justice. I recognize the evil in this Church, and will stand against it for the rest of my life. But I live according to the good that it has to offer. For example, Americans don't stop being proud of being Americans despite the debastation that's been caused by your war machine around the world -Hiroshima being the worst example, but it wouldn't take long to produce a very long list of inhuman acts done by the US government throughout historoy-. But in no way should that stop anyone from being proud of belonging to the good things that are produced in the US. Same goes here. Not a complicated argument. Just...trying to put some color into your black and white portrait of the Church.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Maddy

          "You people?"

          Your self-righteous screed aside, the one thing that the Pope hasn't stated in black and white is his comprehensive plan to prosecute the offenders.
          Indeed, or him stating in no uncertain terms that he will address this at all, let alone actively seek out that evil within the Church.

          I'm Catholic myself, and I am one of "you people" who is waiting....and waiting...., and waiting for the plan.

          Tens of thousands of children and adults worldwide are also waiting for the plan, sport.

          "You people".

          November 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ green jesuit

          The RCC does have many good nuns and priests. I went to twelve years of parochial school and met three of them. The rest ranged from indifferent to okay to outright cruel. Many were arrogant in their speech and treatment of us, knowing that their holy status kept them above question from a mere six year old. Most had no business being teachers and should have joined another order, a non-teaching one.

          Two of those nuns were wonderful. One became a colleague, as I went on to become a teacher and was hired at my old elementary school, where she still taught. They were both very strict about behavior but respected us as students and didn't resort to threats or public humiliation to get us to do what they asked. We wanted to work hard and do well because of them, which IMO is the highest praise you can give a teacher. A "good job" from Sister Philomena meant more than any trophy.

          That said, the RCC is protecting people who should be turned over to the appropriate authorities and investigations need to be done. It was a coverup that started at the top, with the issue of Crimen solicitationis, written by Cardinal Ratzinger, threatening excommunication of anyone who didn't follow the RCC's procedure of handling such cases internally. Even now there is no mandate for the civil authorities to be called if a complaint is made, as teachers and administrators in public schools have. This is unacceptable and Roman Catholics should be more vocal about it instead of falling all over the pope when he makes a non-statement like "Who am I to judge?" instead of actually taking a stand one way or the other on LGBTs or comforts a sick man, as any decent human being should do, for a photo op.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I invite all Christians to embrace reality and turn away from the lies of Christianity.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Green Jesuit

        Oh...I'd head your call to leave Christianity behind Apple Bush, but you have nothing to offer in return for the hope, joy, courage, strengh and freedom that I find in my faith. What you see as delusions, I see as life giving truth. Nothing you claim to have can have a powerful of an impact on my life as this faith. I say nothing you 'claim to have' because the things you poor Atheists claim for yourself 'Science, reason, rationality etc..' are really not yours at all. There are plenty of Christians who use reason, who are scientists, and who are rational. We just chose to have faith as well. The two are only exclusive to people whose minds are enslaved by this need for 'Concrete evidence' . I will be praying for you, that your mind be lifted of its inability to see the spiritual in our world. God bless

        November 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          That is fine. You are delusional, but if you are happy knock yourself out.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Mrs. Travis

          Fine testament imo. And may God bless you as well.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          But Mrs. T, what about my fine testament? No love for me?

          November 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Mrs. Travis

          Apple Bush: Ofcourse I love you. I know you're just having fun and can tell you have faith in God as much as anyone... you just like to test it. Bless.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Mrs. T. I love you too but I do not believe in gods.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • Mrs. Travis

          Its okay. He believes in you and who knows what the future holds? Where there's life there's hope.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Maddy

          You are no more a Jesuit than I am the Mona Lisa.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • doobzz

          " I say nothing you 'claim to have' because the things you poor Atheists claim for yourself 'Science, reason, rationality etc..' are really not yours at all. "

          Do you even know any atheists? I've never heard one claim science, reason and rationality as the exclusive domain of atheism. I know lots of scientists who do great work and are of various religions and no religion. But not one of them ever brought their deity(ies) into the laboratory, the meetings, their peer reviewed papers or the documentation of their research. How they reconcile their belief in the supernatural I don't know or care, they are my friends. I go to their bar mitzvahs, baptisms and weddings but other than that, their religion doesn't come into play.

          The second and implied part of that is that there is no joy to be had in a nonbeliever's life. I take joy in the same things you do, nature, art, music, family and friends, new experiences, old traditions. I just don't go to church and pray to a deity, it's that simple.

          Also, "you poor atheists" and "you people"? Get off your high horse, you pious tool.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • Mrs. Travis

          I pray that this Jesuit doesn't fall prey to global domination in his quest to free the world of poverty. His intentions may be admirable but the people with whom he has been associating with are questionable. Telling that of all the artifacts to chose from he kisses a statue of Madonna.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • igaftr

      "The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. (Pope Francis)"

      Clearly the pope is saying belief not reality. I sought for years and was disappointed to the point that I discovered reality. That has been very fulfilling.

      November 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  18. Reality # 2

    Once again for those who cannot face reality:

    Too little, too late- the pedophile horror has exposed Christianity's severely flawed history and theology

    November 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Thank you. The pope is relevant only in his lack of control over anything.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    Fun Thanksgiving Facts

    Following the first Thanksgiving, genocide ensued.

    The Genocide was not just a huge slaughtering of Native Americans; it was a disease of the Europeans that killed the Native Americans. Therefore, it is argued that this genocide wasn’t really a typical "genocide". It’s said to be a mass murder because of the diseases that came over. Since these massive killings lasted for many centuries, they were a continuous undifferentiated genocide.

    The Europeans killed the Indians for land in North America as they sought to expand their territory. The war between the Europeans and Native Americans lasted many years, on and off from the 1600's through the early 1900's. The feud between the Native Americans and colonists was eventually won by the colonists.

    75-80% were killed by the strategic diseases. The French and Spanish did this on purpose to give the Indians a hard time.

    Happy Thanksgiving

    November 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Columbus and those like him are heroes to the capitalists. They understand that the cruelty and exploitation that marked the colonization of the Americas benefited them. The capitalists' unyielding search for profits and super-profits leaves them neither conscience nor morality.

      Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the end for the Native Americans who defended and ultimately lost their land and dignity over the course of centuries. This combined with slavery is what made the USA possible. Not a legacy to be celebrated.

      Happy Thanksgiving

      November 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Those who are indigenous to this land we call “The United States of America” have been long misrepresented and pushed out of American history textbooks in favor of glorifying those who now rule this nation and represent the dominant culture.

        What kind of democracy are we when education institutions and teachers refuse to mention the fact that some 30 to 60 million Natives were killed at the hands of European invasion and colonialism? What is the point of having a “free market of ideas” when selective and biased history is being taught to our children?

        Happy Thanksgiving.

        November 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Sorry, I am stuck on Thanksgiving. I can't read anymore stupid pope opinions.

          November 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      So... Given that we can't change the past, where would you have us go from here? I'm honestly curious as to how you think an "ideal" society should operate? If there can be anything "ideal" that is...

      If it isn't industrialized capitalism, then would it look something like the artisan / agrarian society of the antibellum South (minus the slavery, of course).

      November 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        There never has been an anti-bellum South. Perhaps you mean antebellum.

        November 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Yep! Hey, I never claimed to be a good speeler!

          November 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Sadly, we will never know what North America would be like if we had made and honored treaties with the natives and shared the continent with them as allies.

        November 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          P.S. I know we must not lump the tribes together but there is not room here to debate native politics.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          My wife is part Cherokee, and we live in an area of North GA where there's a LOT of their history here – both good and bad. I agree with you that it's sad what this nation has done to them, (one of the many reasons that I don't consider myself to be a patriot of this nation), but I don't have a clue as to how or even if the situation can be rectified. I guess the best thing that anyone can do is never to forget, and always remember to pass on the stories so that the next generation will remember.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          LOA, I agree.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • Observer

          It was mostly Christians who stole from the native Indians and cheated them out of their lands.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Christians now known as the "GOP"

          November 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Observer,
          So are you saying that those "Christians" are to blame, or the Bible was to blame? If it was those "Christians," then OK, but if it was the Bible to blame, then show me in the Bible where it condones those type of actions?

          November 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Observer

          The thieves were Christians who believed in the Bible.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          The para-religion associated at various times with Islam, Christianity, and Judaism allows believers to treat non-believers as they will.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          The same Christians who considered the Africans to be animals and enslaved them are to blame for the genocide of the native Americans. This is how the USA was built.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "The thieves were Christians who believed in the Bible."
          --–
          Yeah, but that doesn't make what they did RIGHT.
          Trying to blame thieving on the Bible because they were Christians is like trying to blame thieving on their skin color because they were white. It had nothing to do with it... The Bible doesn't condone thievery (See Exodus 20).

          November 26, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "The same Christians who considered the Africans to be animals and enslaved them are to blame for the genocide of the native Americans. This is how the USA was built."
          --–
          Do we need to talk about Charles Darwin's theories of evolution that led to the death of Aborigines in Australia?

          November 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Observer

          Lawrence of Arabia,

          The Bible has a million interpretations. They believed God would support them in their quest to get more land for God's people.

          Keep in mind that, no doubt, MANY of these same people supported slavery which was acceptable in the Bible.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          LOA, no we do not. Why do you ask?

          November 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "The Bible has a million interpretations. They believed God would support them in their quest to get more land for God's people."
          ---
          Unfortunately, many people think that. They try to mystify it by complicating the obvious and trivializing the momentous – truly they would do themselves a favor by reading it plainly, just as they would any other doc.ument.
          Their beliefs though do not make what they did right, nor does it reflect on the Bible itself – but rather, their misuse of it.

          "...slavery which was acceptable in the Bible."
          ---–
          Yup, but slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In the Bible, slavery was more a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.

          November 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Apple,
          Because if you're condemning "Christians" for certain atrocities, then you also accuse non-theists of the same.
          Look, people from ALL walks have done horrible things in the name of their God. Does that mean that they did the right thing? Nope. It just means that they did something horrible and tried to make themselves feel better by saying that it was God's will. Knowing if what they did actually WAS God's will is just a simple matter of asking, "OK, so what DOES the Bible say about this?"

          November 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          LOA, you are all over the place right now. Overall, I disagree with your statement.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Observer

          Lawrence of Arabia,

          "Yup, but slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. In the Bible, slavery was more a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families."

          It's certainly reassuring to know that slavery isn't so bad because they didn't discriminate by race.

          Where did it say that girls sold themselves as slaves rather than their FATHERS SELLING them? That was fine with God.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "LOA, you are all over the place right now."
          ---
          I am? You accused Christians as being responsible for enslaving black people.
          I said that evolutionists are responsible for killing Aborigines (because they thought they were under evolved).

          I suppose to bring these two ideas together I should ask: Where in the Bible does it tell the church to take slaves of black people? And likewise, what ideas of Darwin led to the killing of Aborigines?

          November 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Observer,
          Please, do a study of slavery in the Bible, it's not what you think it is. Having an idea of what slavery was in America is only going to cloud the issue.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          LOA, Darwin made an unfortunate comparison regarding an already dwindling population and the politicians ran with it. I agree it is very much like the natives in North America right down to the Christian politicians, in this case taking something Darwin said out of context and exploiting it. You are not helping your position in this debate.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "taking something Darwin said out of context and exploiting it. You are not helping your position in this debate."
          ----
          Actually sir, you just made my case. In each case those who committed the horrible acts were taking things out of context and exploiting it.
          Thank you sir.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Then we do agree LOA, Christians are ignorant, selfish and blood thirsty. Thank YOU sir.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Then we do agree LOA, Christians are ignorant, selfish and blood thirsty. Thank YOU sir."
          --–
          I don't think Evil Knievel could make THAT leap...
          If you're going to generalize like that, does that also mean that all evolutionists are ignorant, selfish, and blood thirsty?
          Since you're going to generalize the one, why not the other?

          November 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Your use of the term "evolutionists" in this example is incorrect. These were opportunists who did not care about science.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Your use of the term "evolutionists" in this example is incorrect. These were opportunists who did not care about science."
          ----
          Isn't that the "No true Scotsman" argument that you have accused me of using before?

          November 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          LOA, this whole debate has been filled with fallacy. I call a draw. Have a great thanksgiving my friend.

          November 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Apple,
          Kinda feels like nailing jello to a wall doesn't it? I only did that once, and it wasn't on purpose. Long story... Maybe I'll tell it one day.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Lof A
          Who are the non-evolutionists? Everyone but young earth nutters, I presume. A very small group of truth deniers, yes or no?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Who are the non-evolutionists? Everyone but young earth nutters, I presume. A very small group of truth deniers, yes or no?"
          -----
          Unless there was a date stamp beside the "Made in China" sticker on planet earth, then all anyone has to go on is evidence, and evidence must be interpreted. Interpretations are based upon assumptions and paradigms, and assumptions and paradigms are influenced by world views.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Jerry

          So who killed off the NA here in the US? Besides the diseases that were brought over from Europe.
          Buddhists? Hindus?

          No.

          Christians.

          Get a clue, LoA.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Jerry,
          I can go rob a bank and tell the police that you told me to. Does that mean that you actually DID tell me to? No.

          Likewise, if those professing the name of Christ did atrocities in His name, look in the Bible to see if it was the fault of men, or the demand of God. Exodus 20 is a good place to start, that's the divine law that THEY WERE BREAKING...

          November 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          Except that every week there is a story or two of ancient bones of mammals or ancient man made objects, that you simply reject. The majority of Christians have accepted evolution as fact, just a small a strange cult twists scientific knowledge to make their bible nonsense the only truth.

          November 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Except that every week there is a story or two of ancient bones of mammals or ancient man made objects, that you simply reject."
          -–
          I do? What do I reject???

          November 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          There was a story on CNN where bones of animals dating back 40,000 years old were found in a cave system in the USA. You could go to the Journal Scientific, Science Daily, Hubble Website, NASA, CERN, etc. to find the news, but you won't or will you?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          No, I read the same articles that you do, I just tune out statements like "40,000 years old" for one reason – how do they know that? Is it from carbon dating? I know first hand how inaccurate that can be – in college, we took a suit of clothes that had been buried behind the building for a year and I think the dating said is was 100,000 years old if memory serves. There's a LOT of assumptions in any dating method, so, unless there was a date stamp right next to the "Made in China" sticker, then forgive me if I'm a little skeptical. Isn't skepticism a good basis for good science?

          November 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Well, I've got to leave work, and get into the woods and give a deer a lethal splinter so that he can join us for dinner on Thursday.

          Have a great thanksgiving everybody!

          November 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • G to the T

          @LoA – "Yup, but slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin."

          Probably not by skin, but most certainly by nationality. The rules for Hebrew slaves were one thing, foreigners were a very different case. They were property.

          November 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
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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.