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. Lorraine

    I 'was' born a Catholic.......and, lived the life of a Catholic. We married at ages 18 and 20; we had 9 children and 2 miscarriages, in 10 years. The 'Rhythm Method' of birth control did not work for us; eventually, my OB said that "maybe" I ovulated more than once a month (and, he wasn't joking). They were very difficult delivers... our last son lived 18 hours; I was told I could still get pregnant, not carry to full-term – baby would die and I might, also. What a position for "practicing" Catholics to fine themselves in! We spoke with many priests – all said "if" we used birth control... we would go to hell.

    There wasn't much choice left for us.... I wanted to be around, to help to take care of our large family. My husband was sterilized (because it involved so much less recovery-time for him, than if I had it done).

    We began going to a neighborhood Bible study.....and, via a Billy Graham TV Crusade... we were "born again". We left the Catholic Church...... and, have gone to just about every kind of denomination and non-denominational church assembly. We will go wherever we feel the Lord speaking for us to go; we are *open* to His leadership in our lives.

    I know, now... that when I was a Catholic... I was extremely "self-righteous".........I would show-off my large family, in our local Catholic Church: I felt vry proud... looked-down at other people, with their small families. I've repented of all this, and much more..... now, I am right with God: I know how much He loves me and the entire world. And, that same love pours out of me........to others. There's a Scripture "God is in you, of a truth." So, the love that comes out from me... comes directly from my heart...it is He who is LOVE. (It requires nothing of me....... simply yielding to His will.)

    November 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Ignoring the fact that you were indoctrinated into the RCC cult at an early age without your consent, your real trouble began when you "spoke with many priests." You've shed one cult – you should be able to get out of your current one and be completely free of religion, for which there is not a single bit of actual evidence to support the most basic supernatural belief.

      December 1, 2013 at 3:36 am |
      • bibletruth

        Hot Air Ace......there is actually much to support belief in God and I mean real belief. I will give you just one. The bible says, that is God says of himself (and I am paraphrasing right now)..."you will know I am God because I will Tell you what will happen before it happens" And He does. The equivalent of just one prophecy is say there was a manuscript under lock and key since 1801 say in England that was written in 1801 by a person who claimed to know the future and wanted to prove it to a specific future generation. Let us say that generation was ours in 2006. We open the manuscript box and there are two envelopes, one labeled prophecy #1 open this first. This prophecy says that the new president to be elected in 2008 in our former colony now known as the U.S.A. will be (and the name and 1000 other exact details of his person, political life and administration events, family, etc. etc. are given and where a date is useful, it gives the date of event)......and it ends with " now make a copy of this manuscript and put the original back in the box and don't open it for 10 years. At the end of ten years you are to open the box and you may open prophecy #2 which will give you the instructions to collect 10 billion dollars of 2016 U.S. Dollars, tax free. To say the least this is rather intriguing so you decide to follow your copied manuscript point by point for the fun of it. Every point, all 1000 happen/occur exactly as predicted, exactly. In 2016, would you spend the airfare to go back to England to take a glance at prophecy 2? This, Hot Air Ace, is exactly what you are fighting against. You know not what you are fighting against. Now you know. Do you really think every Apostle (except John) preached the same gospel in far flung areas, had a horrible martyrs death in far flung places based on delusions? I am speaking of true Christianity now, which is a tiny fraction of what is out there. But with a heart desire for the truth of God you will be led to it by the Holy Spirit.

        December 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Anna

      Lorraine, Thank you for sharing your story. It is hard to admit errors in pride and repent. I think the church needs to hear and react to women's voices more. Women don't need to kill themselves to have families of 10 or 12 any more- we are not in a population crisis. Women have carried the load of taking care of people and cleaning needs of the church

      Hot air- there is a narrow gap between religion and cult. I'm glad we live in an age that allows you to be outside of either. The benefits of meditation and prayer can be personal and profound and have shaped society in good and bad ways since the dawn of civilization. Science is based on absolute truths- it is impossible to prove a negative, so you can not say with 100% certainty that there is no God. As you are allowed to reject religion, so others are allowed to embrace it.

      Where it comes into a political arena, I personally believe it is wielded as weapon for fear mongering and outright lies– policy should be based on real information and provable data. Policy should also stay out of personal views.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Every religion fits the definition of cult – too bad if they can't handle the negative connotations of being a cult.

        I never claimed that there are no gods. I believe that the probability of there being any gods is so low that it is virtually zero. I put the probability of the god of The Babble existing to be even smaller.

        December 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  2. billy vidal

    the big mistake of this religion are the teaching the people all againts the laws of the god and cheating all the people, that do this or that and you have a thousand blessed to the god,,,, but if you are asking the god what is no any member can explain,,, this is means that this religion has no connection to the god ? because a people who accepting the god as her worker GOD are introduce herself and he give the story of universe why have a universe,,

    November 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • NYreader

      This new Pope is all that and a bag of chips, but as long as he treats women as second class citizen, and sees them as inferior to men during the Mass, I will not acknowledge him.

      December 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
      • igaftr

        So you have a problem with your bible, not the pope.

        how about corinthians 14:34-35.

        It says pretty clearly that women are not allowed to speak in church. I hope that if you believe in this god, you better keep your women folk quiet during the ceremonies....they can ask you later if they have something.

        December 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
        • Carolyn

          You means that book that was put together in the middle ages from old manuscripts of various writings and traditions of other religions and folklore and set up in the way that they wanted their world view to be so as to control the masses.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  3. Bender Bending Rodriguez

    The Catholic Church has done a lot of good in the world, regardless of what some on this blog would like to admit.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And they have done a lot of evil, and continue to do evil. Why should we overlook the evil?

      November 30, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • Bender Bending Rodriguez

        We certainly shouldn't. When did I say that we should?

        November 30, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • HotAirAce

          You didn't. It was just a question.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          I'm sorry. I misunderstood what you were saying.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:20 am |
        • Anna

          Sorry to interrupt a serious point== Bender found religion? Robot hell may be my favorite musical episode ever.

          December 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • truthprevails1

      So you support them regardless of the fact that they have protected pedophiles?? So you don't give a damn about the innocent children!

      November 30, 2013 at 9:03 am |
      • Bender Bending Rodriguez

        Why are you putting words in my mouth?

        November 30, 2013 at 9:11 am |
        • truthprevails1

          You speak of how good they are but yet you miss the pedophilia cover-up which in itself takes away from any good. Anyone who truly cares about children should be seeing the cover-up as being more vital.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          I have admitted that was going on.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:23 am |
        • HotAirAce

          I assume you are catholic. If yes, are you actively advocating to your cult's shamans that the RCC must come clean on child abuse at every level or are you meekly sitting on the sidelines?

          November 30, 2013 at 9:27 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          I agree that they should. Doesn't mean that i can't bring up the good they have done.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:43 am |
        • HotAirAce

          You didn't answer the question.

          How much extra good does the RCC have to do to make up for past and current evil?

          Can the RCC be credible and successful given how they have handled and continue to fumble handling child abuse?

          November 30, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          In regards to the first question, I'd say no. In my opinion, nothing they could do would make it up to the victims.

          Can they be credible? Hard to say yes but they can still do some good in the world.

          November 30, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  4. Bender Bending Rodriguez

    The Catholic Church has done a lot for society.

    November 30, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • truthprevails1

      I don't care what they have done that is good, until they turn over all the pedophiles for prosecution they don't deserve recognition.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:58 am |
      • Bender Bending Rodriguez

        Why are you jumping everyone in the one category? That's not very nice.

        There are people in the church who dedicate their life for good who never did anything that you said.

        November 30, 2013 at 9:06 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Sure but they are complicit in the cover-up. If they were such good people they would do the right thing and help ensure the monsters harming the innocent children are turned over to the police for prosecution...why support an organization that protects pedophiles?

          November 30, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          Not everyone in the church knew that was going on. I wouldn't support that decision.

          November 30, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Would you report it to the police if you knew a priest was doing this?

          November 30, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez


          November 30, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  5. Roman Romano

    The is nothing new, Fr Jesuit.

    The message of the Gospel is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. There is no new way of looking. Revelation ended with the last Apostle. Comprenedo?

    November 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • doobzz

      The bible has changed many times over the last 2000 years, depending on what the men in power needed. And it is being proved more and more contradictory and impossible with every passing year.

      We know that the earth isn't flat, it's not the center of the universe, we didn't all come from one set of humans, snakes and donkeys don't talk, there wasn't a worldwide flood and an ark with two of every animal and people don't come back to life, just to name a few.

      November 29, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Anna

      Do you follow all dietary laws? wear four cornered garments? or do you sin by wearing a poly-cotton blend at your local red lobster? Skipping over the bible wasn't "THE BIBLE" for a few hundred years after Jesus died and he didn't write or choose the books.

      Even God and the devil change, progress in the Bible. Evil is just a snake at Eden, but Evil temps Jesus in the desert by quoting scripture. Gods covenants also change from 'an eye for an eye' (which was better than killing the whole village) to 'love thy neighbor' in Jesus. Grow expand.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  6. edmond kwan

    I hope, next time he touches an afflicted person, like the man with the extensive neurofibromatosis, they are instantly miraculously healed...the blind seeing , the lame dancing, the dumb singing, the deaf hearing, lepers cleansed and the dead raised. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, ANYONE who believes in me will do the things I have been doing'...."
    The world needs to see the Vicar of Christ fulfilling these words...and now with CNN's help, what a wonderful way to prove the words and person of Jesus Christ to be true.
    So I hope, every member of the Church of Rome will use their faith to see their Bishop doing these things before a world groaning waiting for the sons of God to be revealed.

    November 29, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Th-umping passages from John's gospel is basically worthless. For example, the inauthenticity of John 14:12 is reviewed by Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 535-540. Also, keep in mind that John 14:12 only appears once in the NT making it a single attestation and failing therefore one of the major items of rigorous historic testing.

      Added comments:

      All of John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.

      To wit:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      November 29, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  7. edmond kwan

    Sorry there is nothing new that the Pope is challenging the Church of Rome to do..everything that he has written is what should have been the minimum the Church was doing from the beginning. The article is not an exhortation to new things, but an exhortation to repentance.
    I am thankful for a Roman Pope who is prepared to base his sermon so liberally on the words of Jesus .
    As the Father said to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration,'This is my Son whom I love ,listen to Him.'
    Indeed , the miracle would be the Church of Rome, finally having a pope that exhorts listening to Jesus as this one does.

    November 29, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • bibletruth

      Every bible believer based on actually studying the bible knows there would be no such thing as a pope if the words of Christ and the bible were followed...there would also be no such thing as Sunday keeping, mass, confession to man, indulgences, purgatory, limbo, prayers to dead people, penance, Mary as other than a purely human mother of Christ, etc, etc. When the bible is buried under a mass of senseless (in terms of scriptural truths) traditions and teachings all that is produced is a world loving church whose adherents know that they have no personal barrier against sin in thought word or action and must rely on fables for some sense of eternal hope which is not there. Until one understands the cross of Christ and the simple plain bible statement "the wages of sin is death" (not one or a million Hail Marys, Our Fathers or whatevers; not $1 or 10 trillion in offerings or bought candles, etc., etc., in other words nothing but eternal death) , there is no hope. Dear people, the bible-the word of God- is the answer for those seeking the peace that only comes through Christ. Truly the Catholic church is Satan's masterpiece of deception. It is for all those who want to be saved by their own works or who want to be saved in sin. My prayer is that every one reading this is encouraged to Gods word. Sorry for the rather hard, plain language.

      December 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  8. billy vidal

    too much angry of the GOD to this religion , the roman catholics ,because this is a killer of her son

    November 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • TNT

      What? You're saying Catholics killed Jesus? That's a new one...

      November 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  9. Science Works

    It is business as usual – the church really did not help.

    And the pope tweeted to pray he should of tweeted send water or money maybe.

    While at least $300 million has been pledged by nations around the world to help survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, a billion-dollar non-government organization, has responded to the disaster by sending 1,000 bibles and 12,000 rosaries to survivors, according to CBS News. Additionally, the Pope tweeted for Catholics to pray for the typhoon
    victims. His message was retweeted 30,000 times.


    November 28, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Jonathan

      Not sure where you get your information, but Catholic churches and dioceses all around the world have given a TON of financial aid and direct support to victims of the typhoon. A simple google search can show you that in seconds.

      November 29, 2013 at 10:54 am |
      • Science Works

        Atheist Billboards Declare Prayer, Bibles Not Helping Disaster Victims
        Posted on: November 25, 2013


        November 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • cronchloc

          Jonathan is right. I found this story in 30 seconds.


          November 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
        • Science Works

          But what did the pope tweet – what a joke.

          November 30, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Bender Bending Rodriguez

      The Vatican gave 150k in aid. Catholic charities probably gave millions.

      November 30, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • Science Works

        But what has this cost the tax payers ?

        Politics – ACA – Maybe the biblical stand on procreation and the 40 some private (for profit) companies suing the gov.over the day after

        November 30, 2013 at 9:32 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          Two different issues. The Catholic Church should still receive praise for donating the aid.

          November 30, 2013 at 10:57 am |
        • Science Works

          Pennies from heaven I guess !

          November 30, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  10. Reality # 2

    Off topic but appropriate for the occasion:

    "Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West, From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest; When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board The old broken links of affection restored, When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more, And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before, What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye? What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie? -"

    John Greenleaf Whittier

    November 28, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  11. PortOurTroops

    Jesus himself posed a "fierce challenge to the status quo." You're right, James Martin. It is in every gospel. Francis is simply doing, "What would Jesus do?"

    November 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Mrs. Butterworth

      Actually he didn't. He was one of about 20 or so apocalyptic preachers, all who did miracles, and preached the "end times". He was quite ordinary, as a matter of fact, (until he pulled that stupid stunt in the temple, and got himself killed for it).

      November 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
      • willknutsen

        Not to mention that the logic of the theology behind Christianity, which requires a savior to clean up the mess caused by a faulty "creation", is very suspect: a god screwed up?

        November 28, 2013 at 2:17 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Allegedly did miracles

        November 28, 2013 at 7:22 am |
      • Jonathan

        Mrs. Butterworth, if what you said were true, then the fact that his followers still believed in him after his death, along with the fact that his following grew and grew, would both be completely inexplicable.

        November 29, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • Rascal262

          Congratulations, you've just proved that Mohammed is a true prophet also. Care to rethink your criteria?

          December 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • andrew

      too late for that! They should have been doing that 2 millenium ago. Instead they've proved themselves to be the man of sin of 2 thes 2. Apostates responsible for "a turning away from the faith" – responsible for untold death & suffering in the name of God! The result of their apostasy is billions of so called adhearents that have no idea what's in the bible!

      November 28, 2013 at 4:26 am |
    • doobzz

      So the pope is doing what Jesus would do? Do you think Jesus would have conspired to hide pedophiles and ruined the lives of thousands of children?

      November 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  12. Shihan

    Post my first note please

    November 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  13. sam stone

    They spout bull. Have no evidence. Have nothin. Well, they have bambo, she's a trophy.

    When I was an atheist, she was the most hated of all the KKK athies. Stole, bribed, tortured-made u look at her face. Smell her breath.

    Y I converted

    November 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • ?

      You can't even PRETEND to be sane, can you?

      November 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • Akira


        November 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • ?

          No. And lying and stealing are sins. Repent, troll!

          November 28, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • Akira

          Yes, yes. No. Y do u hate Jews, dodo?

          November 28, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • Salero21

          Fake Akira is stupidity in full bloom. 😀

          November 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • Akira

          I am a self-loathing Jew. Nuttin worse than that.

          November 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • JR

          me 2

          November 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  14. amacd385

    The Pope, like Assange, Manning, Snowden, Hedges, et al. is essentially Exposing EMPIRE.

    Francis is exposing, 'calling-out', educating, and un-cloaking the VEMPIRE of this axis of Vampires, this corporate, financial, militarist, media, extra-legal, and corrupt political Global Empire, which has 'captured' and now fully "Occupies" our former country (and others like the UK, France, Germany, Israel, et al.) by hiding behind the facade of its modernized Dual-Party 'Vichy' sham of democracy - as surely as the earlier Nazi EMPIRE tried less successfully to use its crude single-party Vichy facade regime in the 'captured' and "Occupied" country of France c. 1940.

    Francis has not explicitly said it yet, and he may not even sense that it is what he is doing, but the totality of his epiphany and his paradigm shift is that he is exposing and rejecting the Disguised Global Empire that 99% of us have been oppressed by and 'subjects' of for decades without our ever having the prophetic insight and honesty to conclude that "this is no longer the democracy we deserve, but it has turned against us, and is battering us, and if we do not stand-up and leave it, then it will kill us."

    Like Dr,. Margaret Flowers said in a very insightful interview on the Bill Moyers' show - its like an abusive relationship, where someone we thought we loved has changed and is being abusive. It takes a recognition that this is wrong this person or this government is no longer what we hoped or thought it was. And if we don't realize that the democratic Republic has turned into an Empire, or if the partner has turned into an abuser, and get away - then it will end badly or deadly.

    The hoped for American Republic has been distorted and, as many republics, has suffered the 'Empire disease', (or the Empire cancer) and has been turned into something much darker, vicious, abusive, and dangerous although we were blinded to its transformation into an EMPIRE.

    Ironically, Francis, of the Roman Catholic Church, has recognized what Jesus recognized of the Roman Empire two millennia when he opposed the Republic that had become an Empire.

    Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy the Empire' educational and non-violent revolutionary movement against this deceitful and Disguised Global EMPIRE, which can't so easily be identified as wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets -- quite yet!

    Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
    Violent ('Vichy' disguised)

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine

    We don't merely have a gun/fear problem, or an MIC problem, or an 'Austerity' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny FISA, NDAA, and NSA SPYING problem, or the world's largest political prisoner problem, or the crappy un-healthy insurance problem, or, or, or ... ad nauseam - we have a hidden VEMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these underlying, related, and mere 'symptom problems'

    November 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Ted

      Adjust your foil cap. The radio waves are making you insane.

      November 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
      • Mrs. Buttersworth

        It's far too late for any adjustments.
        Batsh-t crazy has no cure.

        November 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
      • Dave

        Politely .. I cancel your 'vote' Ted .. with a resounding .. Right On !!!

        December 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Akira


      November 27, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
  15. William Rothchild

    Why would I listen to anything from the Romanist cult leader. A non-Christian cult that was responsible for the torture and murder of over 70 million people over a 400 year period. Also, with the approval of the nazis, carved out Croatia out of Yugoslavia by giving 900,000 people the choice to convert from being a Christian, to acknowledging the pope as the religious leader instead of Christ. They murdered 700,000 of them, with one bishop getting the knickname "cuttthroat" because he slit the throats of 1300 at one time.

    November 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Trace

      Somehow I can't take anyone with the last name of 'Rothchild' seriously, either.

      November 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  16. Fiori Di Capri


    November 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Lincoln


      November 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  17. Bob

    I just Poped my pants.

    November 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Neal

      Is that a Pope in your pocket or are ya happy to see me?...

      November 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • doobzz

      Better than a pope in the eye with a sharp stick.

      November 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  18. rhaj

    I am more than happy if believers are joyful and optimist and in a mood of helping others.
    If it takes a "belief" to be joyful and optimist and in a mood of helping others, so be it.

    But can you understand that I, as atheist, can be also joyful and optimist and in a mood of helping others... without that "belief" ?

    November 27, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Greg

      Yes I can understand that because I'm an atheist as well, however, I was raised a christian. I find the "teachings" of jesus to be enlightening. Who ever write the bible, long ago when times difficult and life spans were short, this person had the insight to think and put to paper what is important on dealing with and treating other people. I can buy into this pope. Won't change my faith in nature and the 4 forces but I'll listen to people who preach tolerance and humility.

      November 27, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.