December 24th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

CNN Poll: Pope's approval rating sky-high

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - As Pope Francis prepares to celebrate his first Christmas at the Vatican, Americans' opinions of the pontiff appear to be as high as the dome on St. Peter's Basilica, according to a new survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 88% of American Catholics approve of how Francis is handling his role as head of the 1.2 billion-member church.

The popular pontiff has also made a positive impression among Americans in general: Nearly three in four view Francis favorably.  The new survey suggests that the Pope is arguably the most well-regarded religious figure among the American public today, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Nine months into his papacy, the Argentine-born Francis has captured attention with crowd-pleasing acts of compassion, from embracing a severely disfigured man, to washing the feet of juvenile delinquents, to hosting homeless men at his birthday Mass this month.

The Pope has also shown a common touch rare for such a lofty religious leader. He has eschewed the trappings of the papacy in favor of humbler digs, simpler vestments and a cheaper car. He worked as a bar bouncer and a janitor before he was a priest, and is not shy about telling people.

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

According to one study, Pope Francis was the most talked about person on the Internet this year, and even atheists have professed appreciation for the 77-year-old pontiff.

The breadth of Francis' popularity was on display at American newsstands this month: he was named person of the year by both Time magazine and The Advocate, a gay and lesbian publication.

"While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality, it will also be remembered for the example of one man," The Advocate said. In remarks that rippled across the globe, Pope Francis said in July, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?

Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'

While the Pope has not changed church doctrine, he has urged Catholics to shift their focus from culture war issues to caring for people on society's margins, especially the poor.

"I see the church as a field hospital after battle," Francis said in September.

American Catholics appear to like the new course the Pope has set for their church. Nearly two-thirds agree with him about the amount of attention that should be paid to issues such as abortion and homosexuality, according to the CNN/ORC poll.

More than 85% of American Catholics say Francis is neither too liberal nor too conservative, and 86% say he's in touch with the modern world. By comparison, more than half of American Catholics said Pope John Paul II was out of step with the times in 2003, near the end of his 26-year-long papacy.

But Francis has been a fierce critic of the status quo, especially what calls the "idolatry of money" present in modern-day capitalism. In a papal statement last month, for example, the Pope blasted the theory of trickle-down economics, calling it "crude and naïve."

Conservative critics such as Rush Limbaugh pounced on the Pope's remarks, calling him a closet Marxist. But nearly two in three American Catholics agree with the Pope about capitalism and the free market's effects on the poor, according to the CNN/ORC poll.

Pope: Marxist ideology is 'wrong'

On other key issues for Catholics - the role of women in the church and the sexual abuse crises - Francis gets similarly high ratings from his American flock.

More than six in 10 American Catholics agree with Francis' comments about women in the church, according to the CNN/ORC poll. The Pope has said that women should have a larger role in church governance but cannot be ordained as priests.

Similarly, more than six in 10 American Catholics say Francis is doing a good job handling fallout from the church's sexual abuse scandal, even as most (64%) also say the church overall has done a poor job on the issue.

This month, the Vatican announced the creation of a new commission to care for victims of clergy sexual abuse and to prevent future crimes.

American Catholics had given especially low marks on the sexual abuse scandal to Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, with just 36% saying in 2010 that he had handled the issue well.

CNN's Holland said it's difficult to ascertain exactly how Francis' popularity stacks up against his predecessors, however. "It's a tough question since polling on Popes is pretty sparse," he said.

What's more, like political polling, approval ratings shift depending on the public mood and perception of a Pope's performance.

For example, three-quarters of American Catholics approved of how John Paul was leading the church in 1994; that number rose to 84% in 1999 and dipped to 64% in 2003, at the height of the church's sexual abuse crisis.

It remains to be seen how long the honeymoon will last for Francis, and how long he can continue to build goodwill among American Catholics.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on December 16 through Thursday, with 1,035 adults nationwide, including 191 Catholics, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture wars • Leaders • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Pope John Paul II • Sex abuse • Vatican

soundoff (3,274 Responses)
  1. Robert Raulerson

    A Christian Pope won't go over well with Conservatives.

    December 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Maddy

      No. Apparently not, judging from the hatred of the Christians who have been posting.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
      • Austin

        Jesus Christ was not dressed as a rich man. I like the pope's actions and involvement in the world. His compassion is great, but the ceremony of the Church is a serious problem .

        I don't judge the people, but the church services are an idolatrous ritual. what do think about the book of Hebrews and what it says about who is our priest?

        December 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • Austin

          question to a serious catholic. what if you lived the rest of your life, as an evangelist, but never went to church? and never repeated the same prayer twice?

          People run in to church and think they are doing God a favor and they get their special cookie and think they did what they have to , and guess what, that is a "works" salvation. what ever you do for God, you need to purge the ritual from every thing you do. You need to stay at home, and let the Holy Spirit tell you what to do, and rely on Jesus Christ, and no one else except for a good teacher.

          There are too many things that the Catholic church is involved in that is directly against the new testament, and they revolve around idolatry of the church , and vain rituals.

          you dont need to go any further than watching the head of it all, kiss a fake baby. This is a preposterous spectacle. a good leader should never do such a useless action, not even going into the graven image of the Lord which is absolutely destructive and counterproductive. That little baby, is like the abomination of desolation its so bad.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • Maddy

          Look at the several thousand websites around if you truly want to find out what Catholicism is about.

          I am not going to try and convince a closed mind about anything.

          I find almost no Catholics talking about Protestant faiths in the same derogatory manner as you talk about other Catholics.

          Catholics are CHRISTIAN, first and foremost.

          As for your second "serious" question, if you imagine that the only prayers that are uttered are those by rote, you are wrong.

          You recite the Lord's Orayer, do you not?

          My goodness. Grow up.

          I have already explained the reasons Catholics have statuary.

          Stop bashing millions of Christians. Stop being a religious bigot.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • Maddy

          *Lord's Prayer. Apologies.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
        • Austin

          maddy, vain repeti.tions......vain is the adjective, repetions is the center of attention and noun
          be obedient

          the other serious problem for you millions of catholics is this verse
          “For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

          If you EVER FIND, another verse in the new testament that says there are ANY OTHER mediators, then you can go back to the catholic church with a clean conscience.

          If you can not find another verse, and if you can't change the definition of "ONE", then you need to step into obedience and make sure that you never go to any other mediator, such as Mary, or any saint, or an Angel, in prayer.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
        • Free Holiday Nuts

          Sometimes when we used to play Monopoly, we would vary the rules, just for fun. The money, of course, was not real, but Baltic Ave stayed Baltic Ave, and Park Place stayed Park Place. They didn't disappear if you closed your eyes and opened them again.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  2. Observer

    This is the time of the year where Christian HYPOCRITES call gay relations an "abomination" while praising the Magi for bringing incense to baby Jesus. Incense is an "abomination" according to God. Well done.

    December 25, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Austin

      google ALL the bible verses with incense and you might gain a bigger perspective.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
      • Observer


        Yes, the vision is that the Bible is full of CONTRADICTIONS and HYPOCRISY.

        Read it and you'll find that God said "incense is an abomination". Pick and choose hypocrisy.

        December 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • Austin

          Bro, the old testament ceremony for atonement included all types of insence.

          the problem is the empty ritual.
          1 Samuel 15:22 ►

          But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

          this does not have the "key word" but this is all the wisdom required surrounding the nice smells.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • Observer


          "Incense is an ABOMINATION"
          – God

          Let the HYPOCRISY continue.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • Austin

          where did my post go?
          Bro, the old testament ceremony for atonement included all types of insence.

          the problem is the empty ritual.
          1 Samuel 15:22 ►

          But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

          this does not have the "key word" but this is all the wisdom required surrounding the nice smells.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
        • Observer


          "Incense is an ABOMINATION"
          – God

          Was God LYING or is the Bible just an unreliable source?

          December 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
        • Austin

          to be honest i have no clue. give me no more than five minutes and ill get back to you, and i might concede.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • Austin

          Leviticus 16:12-13 ESV / 31 helpful votes

          And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die.

          Psalm 141:2 ESV / 21 helpful votes

          Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

          December 25, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Observer: the full verse (Isa.1:13) says: "bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination..."
          the issue is empty worship & ritual when their lives are something else.

          incense per se is not the problem there. it's hollow worship.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • Observer


          So the words "incense is an abomination" have nothing to do with incense and abominations, right?

          December 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
        • Austin

          God must have been scolding Israel for doing the rituals, and living the lie. He was rejecting their offerings, just like the story from Cain and Abel, Cain did not have an offering for the Lord that was acceptable and He rejected it. and furthermore, Cain murdered his brother.

          God judges the heart. He knows you intentions.

          14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

          observer in a world full of false religion, rely on Jehovah Jireh, who has given us the Holy Spirit, to reveal the supernatural light of truth. The Lord our Provider.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Observer: you have demonstrated in the past that you are well-read. i'm somewhat surprised that you are making this argument.

          a quick perusal of the chapter makes clear that what Isaiah has in view is the hypocrisy of the people. God's judgment is coming on his own people, and Isaiah (as God's mouthpiece) is announcing that even their former avenues to grace (including incense in worship) are going to be cut off b/c of their hypocrisy here. it's not all that far from the point you often make about conservatives. but it goes directly against your reading here.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
        • Observer


          Where does it say "YOUR incense is an abomination" or "I love incense, just not the kind you brought"?

          December 25, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          There is some hyperoble in what prophets say on behalf of (imaginary) God. I believe the underlying idea is that God does not actually want any of the physical elements of sacrifice and all the rest. God wants people to love God with all their hearts and minds.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
        • Austin

          observer, I can tell that you are offended by the bible. I can understand that, and it's very intimidating. But the New Testament, and the Holy Spirit, have provided patience for you to learn, grace for all our wrongs, mercy for the way we reject God even after we are saved, and redemption as well as sanctification.

          you can quit worrying. You are loved. I personally would befriend you for life and give to you all I can. God also has admitted that he regretted doing things. so He has in some way, changed, or changed his mind on things as they deteriorated and because increasingly evil.

          God is Holy, there is no sin in His presence in heaven, Heaven will always be pure, and God the Father will not even look upon sin, However, in His full essence, He became human, and He knows what its like for ya, and He subst.ituted His blood in to take responsibility for the fact that His creation has fallen. Step on board the eternal kingdom brother!!

          December 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • Observer


          Why is it that when Christians quote that "men lying with men" is an abomination, they are sure that it couldn't have other meanings like "men should always SLEEP in separate beds from their brothers", but when it clearly says "incense is an abomination" it doesn't mean that incense is an abomination?

          December 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • Russ

          @ TTTOO: if that is the case (that God no longer wants the Israelites to make physical sacrifices), then why would he command the rebuilding of the temple after the return from exile? if you are reading Isaiah as a permanent turn away from physical sacrifices, why the command to return to sacrifices after Isaiah?

          December 25, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Austin

          Tom Tom ,the Other One
          I love if when you are so willing to help out. seriously you display the type of compassion that pride inhibits. you are a special individual.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
        • Austin

          in Ezekiel, those "born into"the millineal kngdom seem to have their sins atoned for by a time of resumed animal sacrifice, but not those who survive into the kingdom, they are covered by the crucifixion sacrifice.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Observer: that's a VERY fair question. here are two attempts to help:

          1) incense is clearly talked about in the opposite fashion elsewhere.
          not only does the context here dictate a unique situation, but many other passages in various other parts of Scripture clearly accept incense. your reading requires assuming the Bible is contradictory. for those of us who do not regard it as such, the broader narrative further confirms my argument for Isaiah's occasion (solely against hypocrisy in worship, not a permanent injunction against). notably, on the flip side, ho.mo.se.xuality is spoken of consistently in the negative throughout Scripture (both in the OT & NT).

          2) the question you are asking is about the charge of inconsistency. it has to do with the OT's relationship to the NT. you are missing some key things on how Christians see their relationship. here's a very helpful 90 second read on the topic.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I recall these , Russ:

          "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." –after Isaiah's time, I believe.

          Also, from the Psalms: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—but my ears you have opened —burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require" and "You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
        • Observer


          I could easily be friends with you and Russ. You both seem very sincere in your beliefs.

          My problem is with the Bible you support and the hypocritical use of it that makes the lives worse for gays, pro-choice supporters, SOME atheists, etc. If everyone practiced the Golden Rule, this would be a much greater world.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          At any rate, the prophets realized that offering the elements without proper intent could only be hypocritical.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • Austin

          we can eat pigs now. why are dietary restrictions any different than se.xual restrictions? because se.xual restrictions have to do with the combining of another spirit, with the Holy Spirit within you. S.ex is a very very sacred expression and act.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ TTTOO: i think your second comment is making my argument for me. we have the same read here... though you believe God to be imaginary and I do not.

          @ Austin: i think a better argument is Acts 10 (Peter's vision & followup with Cornelius).

          December 25, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
        • Observer


          I've read the reference. It failed to mention that Jesus NEVER said ANYTHING bad about gays. Its weak excuses also missed the quote from God himself that he NEVER CHANGES.

          It's the SAME GOD in both testaments and THAT'S the problem.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • Free Holiday Nuts

          @Russ – Cornelius! And the original Planet of the Apes was just on last night!

          December 25, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • Austin

          Russ, nice armor brother!

          December 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Observer:
          1) Jesus never said anything directly about pedophilia either, but i don't think anyone doubts his stance against it. along those lines, he clearly made statements about the full authority of the OT (even arguing from a single word) as well as affirming that view of human se.xuality. your argument from silence ignores that he repeatedly addresses the broader topic from multiple other avenues (continuing authority of the moral laws of the OT, marriage, se.xuality, etc.).

          2) God doesn't change (Heb.13:8). but you seem to think the plan somehow shifted. the NT quotes the OT throughout, pointing to this plan from the beginning (Eph.1:3-11; etc.). for example, Gen.3:15 (the protoevangelium) is a promise that a messiah would one day come. the entire OT leads to that hope. it was God's plan from the outset. the Law exists to point to the Messiah as the one who would do what we can't (both uphold the law by living the perfect life, and dying in our place to pay the cost that would certainly have killed us).

          December 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  3. Robert Raulerson

    This pope is popular among everybody except Right Wing Conservatives. Hard to figure ain't it?

    December 25, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Austin

      I agree with the point you make about right wing conservatives. I agree with every thing Pope does to reach out, and his charity, but I disagree with the rediculous , vain , empty rituals of the Catholic church, as well as its disregard to the most important factor. I hate the prayer to Mary, i think this is evil.

      The book of Hebrews is disobeyed by the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church reeks of idolatry and vain repeated prayers. The History of the church is tainted, and the present reputation of the church has been destroyed. Why would the gospel and salvation need the catholic church.

      The fact is, the authentic ministry is given through the Holy Spirit, and not ANY church. Jesus Christ is our priest. you can confess your sins to any christian brother.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
      • G to the T

        I'm not a catholic, but I have to say your belief in "your" version of christianity certainly is... well certain.

        Is it because you feel you've been given visions by god that you are so certain in your interpretation? Could you be wrong on anything releating to the bible?

        December 30, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  4. Dandintac

    I find this pope to be a refreshing change. He's certainly saying the right things. But will he be able to walk the walk and actually insti tute some urgently needed reforms? That remains to be seen. Still, he's off to a good start. He is benefiting from coming after that Nazi Ratzinger. So that's a pretty low bar to step over. After Ratzinger, he has no where to go but up. Even a one-watt bulb looks bright against total darkness–although that is admittedly a pretty hyperbolic analogy.

    The bad news is that he is quite old. He's not going to be around that much longer, and even for the amount of time he will be in office, his physical and mental strength around bound to deteriorate rapidly in the next few years. Most people die in their 80s, and he's 77. I give him only a few productive years–to turn around an insti tution that is as ossified as the RCC, after which he will probably be inactive and may grow more conservative.

    His replacement seems likely to also be very old. At least if they make a mistake, these old guys won't be around too long. It's very telling that Pope Benedict was apparently pushed out somehow. I don't believe it was all his idea. Popes never step down. Apparently he was so bad they couldn't even wait for the old guy to pass away. I wonder if that was part of the deal with Pope Benedict? if he was still around after the age of 85, that he would have to step down.

    December 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  5. Austin

    The pope is right about his comments about africa. and syria. but what can the secular world to bring about peace? peace, at the sake of souls ending up in hell, is a null-goal. The only chance that this world has, to avoid the white horse judgment, is a supernatural work through evangelism and salvation. Nations can only be changed , person by person, through the work of the Holy Spirit. we need bibles everywhere, and people who will read. we need a Christ filled revolution.

    We need to shepherd the world without bias. The secular world has no chance of making any change what so every. Secular culture does not know what drives evil. They have it all wrong. Secular, God rejecting culture, will call for the strict wrath of God, and nothing less.

    December 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Austin

      Everyone in the world needs a bible downloaded into their soul, and just as bit of non-demonic(secular) wisdom.

      December 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
      • Austin

        That stupid pope, is kissing a God forsaken graven image of a white baby. what a devil.

        “You shall not make for yourself an idol” is an abbreviated form of one of the Ten Commandments which, according to the book of Deuteronomy, were spoken by God to Israel and then written on stone tablets by God himself.[1]
        Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

        @ the pope, you will only live if through Satanic power after making a mistake like that in front of the world.

        December 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
        • Beloved of Christ

          Another self-righteous Christian bashing another Christian.

          You and hearties need to search your souls and figure out if that is what Our Lord would truly want.

          You both seem to wrap yourselves up with righteous rage over people who serve Our Lord differently than you.

          Shame on both of you. You are both bearing false witness.

          December 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Austin

          there should not even be a priest today, according to the book of Hebrews. We had our final priest. instead of stupid, or devil, may i attempt to be Christ like and use the term "brood of vipers?"
          i don't want to argue with you , you are a gentle voice, but how can you justify this graven image? what purpose does an effigy serve and why would the pope kiss a fake baby? That is a spectacle. The catholic church breaks way to many rules. and what i just say with him kissing the baby puts me over the edge of patience.

          December 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
        • hearties

          The point was simply that if a book such as a koran contradicts everything in the New Testament, I don't know how anyone can expect me to copy the pope and kiss said book. Likewise for statues, because God dwells within us, not statues. Because of this, I would rather read the New Testament directly, I'm statisfied by what the gospels say about Jesus and what he said is sufficient. I don't need a koran, or statues.

          If my undestanding is wrong, post scriptures showing where it's wrong.

          December 26, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      There are people with courage who don't turn to an imaginary God for supernatural solutions to problems it is really our responsibility to solve. Improved nutrition and healthcare, improved education and better systems of government are possible for everyone. Drop the God stuff and find your part in making it happen.

      December 25, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • Austin

        i am telling you brother, that I know about satanic evil. do think that creating a democracy for an islamic Iraq, still worshiping the doctrine of Jihad, can improve the peace of the world? There is only one way to eternal peace, and I would rather die than allow the world to die in peace, and then go to hell for rejecting Christ.

        What the USA did, was go to war for convenience, and said to them, go right on to hell. and fast forwarded 1,000,000 souls to their death, and they acheived absolutely nothing for the kingdom of God.

        this is just my opinion, the God cares more about the Gospel, and salvation, than zionism. Because the Good Shepherd seeks all of His sheep.

        December 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Austin

          No war involved. and if Peter didn't write a book describing the appearance , then how can they kiss a graven image of the baby Jesus? this is blatant violation of the commandment on graven images, in the WORST IMAGINABLE FORM of idolatry. regardless of what He looked like.

          December 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
        • Beloved of Christ

          And yet you just called the Pope a devil. Bigot.

          December 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • Austin

          by the way i am white.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Usually I only admit to being a small nocturnal mammal similar to a bushbaby.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
        • G to the T

          So every crucifix with Jesus on it is an idol?

          It's certainly and interesting interpretation, I'll give you that.

          December 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  6. Mopery

    Pope Media Propaganda shy-high! Gimme a P! Gimme an O! Gimme a P! Gimme an E! What's that spell? I don't know because reading is forbidden in schools now, but sensationalized media with more stories than facts and less backbone than an amoeba is all the rage these days.

    December 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  7. Lionly Lamb


    December 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  8. hearties

    Next up is the pope kissing atheist literature.

    Oh wait...

    December 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Maddy

      Post the picture, please. Because if it's what I think you are talking about, that picture shows someone who appears to JP II, and it isn't clear what book he is kissing, but it thought to be the Bible.

      This was sent out as lying emails a while back. I have to wonder at you motives fir trying to smear THIS Pope.

      December 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • hearties

        By saying what a past pope, or this pope has done, they'd be the one's smearing, if anyone is. The "kissing atheist literature" refers to this pope saying atheists were going to go to heaven, like atheists will be there denying God, in heaven, when that's not what the verses say. As for the "email" you refer to, I don't know anything about the email you mention. There is a video of a past pope kissing a koran, and you can go watch that all you like.

        A koran in the trash would not bother me. Kissing a koran does, because it lies about someone I love: God. Someone could say that I should realize the one writing the koran was delusional or ignorant, but I shouldn't have to say that, the Islamic clerics should, it's their book.

        December 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • Maddy

          Apparently you do not know that the God of the Koran is the same God of the Bible: the God of Abraham. What concerns me is your religious bigotry.

          December 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • hearties

          If you are claiming it's the same God in the koran, as is in the bible, then there is a big question to answer: did Jesus die for others sins and raise again the 3rd day, or as the koran says, he did not do either of those? The koran basically makes the claim that the entire bible is filled with falsehoods and made up miracles. The koran says that Jesus showed up for nothing other than to say some "good things" and leave, that he didn't die on the cross and there was no sacrifice for sins. How can the same God be the author of truth (the bible) and falsehood (the koran), at the same time?

          Likewise, why would someone believe one man (mohammed) 600 years after Jesus, when the koran author claims all the witnesses and gospel authors are liars, as well as the Old Testament scribes, prophets, and kings? Is one man more convincing than the actual witnesses there at the time Jesus was here? The same God would not author both truth and falsehood. That is not the same God at work in both books. It's simply a liar writing the koran.

          It is a preference, I prefer the truth in the bible. I prefer to leave a koran in the trash. I do not respect any text that says Jesus is a liar, or that says all the witnesses of Jesus, were liars. They bible authors told the truth and I believe them. That is my choice, my preference, and I believe Jesus. I do not believe mohammed. Jesus's love was one of the things that convinced me that he is right. There are many more reasons to believe him in the bible, but Jesus's love is one of the biggest convincing factors.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  9. hearties

    Anyone that wants to know God, get a bible and read the New Testament, directly read it. Get one that's word for word translated like the NKJB. You don't have to kiss statues or muslim temple floors, to find God. Muslims don't believe Jesus died on the cross, so kissing their floors to validate what they believe, makes no sense at all when considering what Jesus went through to die for our sins and raise again the third day (muslims don't believe that either).

    It's OK to think, about God.

    December 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Maddy

      Statues are not worshiped but looked to as a point of focus in prayer and meditation.

      December 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
      • hearties

        So kissing focuses prayer and meditation, to a piece of rock or ceramic rather than God. And by the pope kissing a koran, Catholics are being told to focus on the koran, which denies Jesus died on the cross, and rose again the third day... a direct contradiction to what the apostles said happened. If someone goes to Jesus, then goes to a koran, it seems they're worse off then when they started.

        I would encourage anyone to pray to God and meditate on God, to think about what God wants, instead. Think about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, go to him first, direct.

        December 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • Maddy

          Oh, and you don't know that the book the Pope was kissing is a Koran, though that lie was spread in several emails put out by people with an agenda.

          December 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
        • hearties

          Instead of reading emails about it, why not watch the video of it?

          The koran says the bible is corrupted by liars, that Jesus didn't die for others sins on the cross, didn't raise again the 3rd day of being in the hands of sinful men, no miracles, and no Genesis, and other missing stuff. A past pope kissed the koran, they kiss the ground, statues, call everyone there father, and write 85 pages about how they're going to change the church, rather than just read one of the gospels... about 3 times smaller in content.

          I love that the pope would read the gospels to others, but the rest, I don't want it. What would Peter do? That's my new motto when it comes to the pope.

          December 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
        • Austin

          no doctrine of Jihad in the bible.. if there is a God, all our senses would point to Jesus Christ if He is God. Which they should. Because He is compassionate, full of grace, mercy , and wiling to die on our behalf. He paid the price in full, and He promises us His Holy Spirit.

          What a redeemer!

          December 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
        • Maddy

          Post it.

          Your motive seems specious.
          I do not like to think of your motivation behind this , but it appears that gossip and slander are decidedly not Christ- like.

          And what would Peter do? Do you honestly think he would act in the manner you are?

          December 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • hearties

          Why do you suppose Peter would want to kiss statues? You seem to think he'd want to. What does the pope get out of it? What does the statue do for him?

          December 25, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
        • hearties

          Quote from here: http://www.archelaos.com/popes/details.aspx?id=303

          "On 14 May 1999, the pope received at the Vatican, a delegation of top Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims. In an interview with FIDES news service, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael Bidawid of Iraq said, "At the end of the audience the Pope bowed to the Muslim holy book, the Qu'ran, presented to him by the delegation, and he kissed it as a sign of respect." At a homily in Astana, Kazakhstan, 23 Sept 2001, the pope said that the Muslims worship the same God and are accepted."

          So one of the pope's own, said the pope did it. Did the pope know what he was kissing? Was it out of habit? Did he even think first?

          I wasn't there, I don't care. I don't kiss statues, nor korans. There is no one good but God, and he'll decide it all, but I just love Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Of which, mohammed said they don't exist, only his god exists, and I don't buy that.

          December 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
      • Maddy

        Statues are not worshiped but looked to as a point of focus in prayer and meditation.
        Is there some part of that you don't understand?
        I have seen Protestant ministers kiis the cross...this is wrong, why?

        December 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
        • hearties

          A cross is a peice of metal, wood, or plastic. That's all it is. The cross brings to mind what happened to Jesus, but beyond that, it's no different than a sticker on a pair of shoes, simply reminding people who made them... not that the sticker made them.

          What would Peter do?

          Peter was crucified on a cross... would Peter kiss a cross?

          December 25, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • Maddy

          Would Peter be talking smack about other Christians?

          People show their faith on different ways. Some where crosses and crucifixes. You show yours by posting things about other faiths and critisizing fellow Christians.

          December 25, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • hearties

          Did God give a command to kiss statues and crosses?

          December 26, 2013 at 12:12 am |
      • hearties

        So Peter comes back 2000 years later and they hand him a koran, and they tell him it says he's a liar, and that Jesus never died on the cross, that someone else did, so there was no reason for Peter to deny Jesus 3 times when they asked him who Peter is as he stood there. And they tell Peter that Jesus never rose from the dead, so there was no reason for Peter to preach to anyone or himself die on a cross.

        What would Peter do?

        Would Peter pick up a koran and kiss it?

        I'll think up a good story about Peter kissing statues, NOT.

        December 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
        • Maddy

          Peter would naturally gossip about other Christians. NOT.

          December 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm |

    • On the grounds of my old University is a larger-than-life statue of Ignatius of Loyola with hands extended so that you can clasp one as if holding hands. It feels incredibly lifelike. One night while tripping I was weeping and holding onto Loyola's hand when a Dominican priest I knew vaguely came by. He was astounded at my vocation. This led to an interview during which several administrators, priests all, tried to convince me to pursue religious life. Life would have been different if, say, I'd joined the Society of Jesus.

      December 25, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • hearties

        Sometimes things are so simple, utterly simple, that people are blinded to them, thinking it can't be so simple. When God dwells within someone, that is direct. You don't need a statue to kiss, or a stone, or a book such as the Koran that denies Jesus died on the cross and raised again the third day of being in the hands of sinful men, or a pope, or all that other stuff. You don't need it.

        I do think it's great if the pope can tell people about Jesus, to read the scriptures to them, but to then dash them into a statue, or a koran and tell them it's good for them, no thank you. I don't want that, I want Jesus.

        December 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Now moving to the 21st century:

      (from Professor Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      December 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • Austin

        that is NOT , what it says anywere. back that up with scripture. you are twisting it for your own enjoyment.

        December 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • G to the T

          Your request makes no sense Austin. What passage from the bible would you use in this case? It's contrary to the point being made in the first place?

          December 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  10. Anti-Atheist

    If there is no God, prove it? You can't bring up ANY fairy tale characters or any atheist garbage. It must be in scientific form that proves a creator did not create us. Atheists can't lie themselves out of this one.

    December 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Chris

      Shove it, L. You're still an asshole.

      December 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Sure. No prob. What sort of evidence could I provide you that you would evaluate to mean that god does not exist?

      December 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      If you know that there is a God, you must have a means of establishing that there is a God that depends on God's existence as a fact. The means must be such that if God does not exist, it would show that God does not exist. So, if you know there is a God, you are equipped to answer your question: Can there be proof that there is not a God?

      December 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Mopery

      Your logic would apply to any other gods or goddesses just as well, and I doubt you'd admit that. It also works with Unicorns, Bigfoot, Angels, Demons, the Chupacabras, the Loch Ness Monster, Cthulhu, Zu'ul etc. How 'bout them apples?

      December 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  11. hearties

    Even though Peter did deny knowing Jesus when faced with excruciating pain if he admitted knowing him before Jesus was crucified and raised again, I sincerely doubt that Peter would have kissed statues, kissed muslim floors or temples, or denied angels and miracles at Jesus's birth. Those are just too much.

    December 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • hearties

      Catholics, if you are to be true to your faith, you must go around kissing statues, you must go to muslim temples and kiss their floors, you must deny angles and miracles at Jesus's birth... right? Have you kissed your quota of statues this month? How many people do you call father?

      What would Peter do?

      December 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • G to the T

        LOL... Peter would tell Paul (aka simon magus) and his gentile followers to go to hell... because that's where they are already going for violating god's law.

        December 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Maddy

      Statues are not worshiped but looked to as a point of focus in prayer and meditation.

      You have zero right to judge how other Christians worship Him.

      Focus on spreading His message, and less on other Christians whose practices you not only do not understand, but decry.

      And as for your criticism on Islam, being a religious bigot isn't pretty...

      December 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • hearties

        When the koran denies Jesus died on the cross and raised again, I do not have to agree with that, or kiss it.

        Imagine Jesus dying on the cross, and the high priests are laughing at him saying if you're the son of God, save yourself. Later someone else shows up and says it never happened in the first place, and writes a book saying such. Now you can kiss that book, and I'll toss it in the trash.

        December 25, 2013 at 4:53 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.