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Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions
Pope Francis speaks at St Peter's square on December 11, 2013.
March 5th, 2014
10:04 AM ET

Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.

The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."

States, for instance, justify civil unions as a way to provide economic security to cohabitating couples, the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Seraan Italian daily. State-sanctioned unions are thus driven by the need to ensure rights like access to health care, Francis added.

A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriage, including Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, according to reports in National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times.

Behind closed doors, pope supported civil unions in Argentina, activist says

But Wednesday's comments are "the first time a Pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions," according to Catholic News Service.

Later on Wednesday, a Vatican spokesman sought to clarify the Pope's remarks.

"The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office.

"In his response to the interviewer, he emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens."

"We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words than what has been stated in very general terms," Rosica added.

Pope Francis, who marks his first year in office on March 13, has sought to set a more tolerant tone for his 1 billion-member church and suggested that a broad range of topics are at least open for discussion.

In January, the Pope recalled a little girl in Buenos Aires who told her teacher that she was sad because "my mother's girlfriend doesn't like me."

"The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand," the Pope told leaders of religious orders, adding that the church "must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them."

The Vatican later denied that those comments signaled an opening toward same-sex unions.

Last June, Francis famously refused to judge gay priests in comments that ricocheted around the world. He has also said that the church should not "interfere" in the spiritual lives of gays and lesbians.

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

Support of same-sex unions of any type is fiercely contested by many Catholic church leaders.

In Wednesday's interview, Francis also addressed several other controversial issues, including the Catholic Church's ban on contraception, the role of women and the devastating clergy sexual abuse scandal.

On contraception, the Pope praised Pope Paul VI for having the "courage" to "go against the majority" when restating the ban in 1968. But, Francis said, the church must also be "merciful" and "attentive to concrete situations."

Contraception and church's ban on divorced Catholics receiving holy communion, will likely be addressed at major meetings of Catholic bishops in Rome in 2014 and 2015.

“We must give a response. But to do so, we must reflect much in depth,” the Pope said Wednesday.

On the role of women in the church, an issue of particular concern to Catholics in the United States, the Pope hinted that changes could be in the works.

"Women must be present in all of the places where decisions are taken," Francis said in the newspaper interview, but the church must consider more than "functional" roles for women. To that end, Catholic leaders are engaged in "deep reflection" on women's role in the church, he said.

On the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, a scandal that has rocked the church in the United States, the Pope said the abuse has left "very deep wounds" on victims.

In response, the church has done more than other institutions to be open and transparent about sexual abuse by its employees, Francis said. “But the Church is the only one to be attacked."

A United Nations panel criticized Catholic leaders last month in a hard-hitting report on clergy sexual abuse.

The report said the Vatican "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The Vatican said it would study the U.N. report.

Kick out those who sexually abuse children, U.N. panel tells Vatican

On Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has surprised church-watchers with public appearances after saying he would live a cloistered life in retirement, Francis said he considers his predecessor a "wise grandfather."

"The Pope Emeritus is not a statue in a museum," Pope Francis said. Rather, the two men have decided that Benedict should participate in the church's public life rather than live a shuttered life.

"I thought about grandparents who with their wisdom, their advice, strengthen families and don't deserve to end up in an old folks home," Francis said.

Finally, he may sometimes wear a cape, but don't call Pope Francis a Superman, the popular pontiff said.

"To paint the Pope as a sort of Superman, a kind of star, seems offensive to me," Francis told Corriere della Sera. "The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps soundly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."

Earlier this year, graffiti depicting a muscle-bound and flying Francis appeared on walls near Vatican City, but the Pope said Wednesday that he doesn't like the "mythology" surrounding his papacy, which marks its first anniversary on March 13.

For instance, Francis debunked the idea that he sneaks out of the Vatican at night to feed the homeless.

"It never occurred to me," he said.

(CNN's Delia Gallagher assisted in translating Pope Francis' remarks from the Italian.) 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,591 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    When did I realize I was God?

    Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized that I was talking to myself ...

    March 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
  2. Austin

    Austin

    ho.mo se.xuality is like lust and fornication. Its the same as having an eye of lust.

    Genesis 6:5 ►

    The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

    Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them fromd the Lord. 12But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

    2 peter 2: 13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.e 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer,f who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

    these arent verses about ho.mo se.xuals.

    but like any sinner, ho.mo se.xuals do not fall into a special category of sin.

    All sin is overcome able.

    I can relate to ho.mo se.xuals because I too am a se.xual creature in my flesh full of tension. Their are images of se.xual content everywhere and I can't lust , I cant turn my neck after the outer beauty of anyone.
    That is lust. once you start with sin where does it stop? lust is not love.

    And so every day, I have to resist the temptation to lust. I could lust everywhere i go, there are attractive women everywhere. My testicles are always producing.

    Furthermore, I am single. And despite the desire to have se.x, I am content in life because I recognize that God has entered my life. And i am truly more complete with God alone that any woman could ever make me. However the temptation to sin is a constant factor of the every day. I have to trust God with everything when it comes to suffering, being ripped off, being poor, being unsatisfied does not give me the liscence not to trust and obey.

    In other words, any ho.mo se.xual can abstain from a sinful act and be content being single if they realize that God has delivered them from sin and will glorify us in Him through eternal life.

    That is the goal for everyone. And the fact is redemption and Holy Spirit is also a promise of healing and restoration.

    Every ho.mo se.xual can be healed of se.xual error and addiction. stop labeling

    March 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • igaftr

      Austin
      Seriously...get some non-religious help.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      cult speak ...

      March 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • colin31714

      Do you wear a helmet when you post?

      March 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • bostontola

      "I am single. And despite the desire to have se.x, I am content in life because I recognize that God has entered my life. And i am truly more complete with God alone that any woman could ever make me."

      Austin, please continue to follow your gut on that one.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        or a little bit below your gut ...

        March 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • Doris

      Science Assistant – Weekend Edition

      Regardless of his personal view, it certainly seem this new Pope sees the writing on the wall. I have a funny feeling he doesn't want to be another pope that tries to tell Galileo that he's wrong.

      =================================================

      Biology

      The following is from the article:

      Homosexuality ultimately a result of gene regulation, researchers find (12/11/2012 – LiveScience)

      [ The search for a "gay gene" may be off-target, new research finds. Another process called epigenetics that switches genes on and off may explain why homosexuality runs in families.

      Epigenetics are heritable changes caused by factors other than DNA. Instead of traits getting passed down through the genes, epigenetic change happens because of the way genes are regulated, or turned on and off.

      These genetic regulators may be the reason homosexuality persists in nature despite the fact that gay people are less likely to reproduce, suggests the new study published in the [Dec, 2012] journal The Quarterly Review of Biology.

      "These things have evolved because they're good for the parents, but they sometimes, not [with] high frequency, but sometimes carry over" into offspring, study researcher William Rice, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told LiveScience. In a male fetus, Rice and his colleagues write, an epigenetic change that benefited the mother may lead to "feminization" of sexual preference — homo- or bisexuality. The same may be true for epigenetic changes passed down by dad to a female fetus. (The terms feminization and masculinization of sexual preference refer to sexual orientation only — not to physical or personality traits of the offspring.)

      The findings add to past research suggesting gay men haven't died out, because female relatives of gay men tend to have more children on average than other females. The study researchers specifically found that two genes passed on through the maternal line could produce this effect.

      Hormones, epigenetics and orientation

      Rice and his colleagues focused on epi-marks, which are molecular changes that act like temporary "switches" to turn genes on and off. If a gene is a blueprint, the epi-mark is the construction foreman who makes sure the product gets built. An epi-mark also determines when, where and how much a gene is expressed, according to the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

      These molecular switches are usually erased very early in the developmental process, but they can be passed down from generation to generation, too, Rice said.

      Some epi-marks are particularly important during fetal development, when they promote normal physical development in the sexes despite natural variations in testosterone during pregnancy. Researchers know that fetal exposure to too much testosterone can masculinize the genitals, brain or behavior of a genetically female fetus. Likewise, too little testosterone can make a genetically male fetus more feminized.

      But here's the catch: There's lots of overlap between the levels of testosterone male and female fetuses get exposed to. That means there must be another side to the story, Rice and his colleagues wrote.

      That side appears to be epigenetics, Rice said.

      "Early in development, we think these epi-marks are laid down so that girl fetuses will be relatively insensitive to testosterone and male fetuses will be relatively sensitive to testosterone," Rice said.

      Biological behavior

      Thus, if an epi-mark that kept a mother from getting exposed to high testosterone in development gets passed on to her son — the opposite sex — it could desensitize him to testosterone, contributing to his sexual preference for men. Similarly, if a male-specific epi-mark from dad gets passed to a daughter, it could "masculinize" her sexual preference, making her more interested in women.

      These findings could explain why twin studies show that homosexuality runs in families, but no "gay gene" can be found, Rice said. In identical twins, there's about a 20 percent chance that if one twin is gay, the other will be too. If genetic change were responsible for homosexuality, you'd expect a much higher match, Rice said. Epigenetics, however, can explain the heritability without the need for a specific genetic change.

      The hypothesis could be tested by examining epigenetic marks in parents of kids with gay versus straight offspring, Rice said. There are, of course, concerns that this knowledge could be used by parents who want to avoid gay offspring, Rice said, but that concern already exists around certain hormonal conditions in utero, which are known to contribute to an increased chance of offspring being lesbians.

      "That cat's already out of the bag," Rice said. He added that an understanding of the biological underpinnings of homosexuality could help emphasize that same-sex behavior is not "unnatural."

      "In fact, it's a major part of the natural world," Rice said. Fourteen percent of Western gulls raise chicks in female-female pairs, he pointed out. And 8 percent of male sheep show zero interest in fertile ewes, but get sexually excited by other rams. ]

      = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

      Psychology

      The American Psychological Association states "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people", and says most people's sexual orientation is determined at an early age. Research into how sexual orientation in males may be determined by genetic or other prenatal factors plays a role in political and social debates about homosexuality, and also raises concerns about genetic profiling and prenatal testing."

      Professor Michael King states: "The conclusion reached by scientists who have investigated the origins and stability of sexual orientation is that it is a human characteristic that is formed early in life, and is resistant to change. Scientific evidence on the origins of homosexuality is considered relevant to theological and social debate because it undermines suggestions that sexual orientation is a choice."

      The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

      "Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person's fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice."

      March 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • meledir

        What do we do with child abuse victims? I have a relative-by-marriage in that boat, so my opinion on this is pretty well-formed and no amount of bloviating by the APA, etc. is going to change it.

        The focus on duality also limits the rational value of these statements. Most people are not precisely one orientation or the other, so denying the likelihood that anyone is making a choice in what the orientation reflected by their actual relationships is (while perhaps necessary to discredit the complete loonies who may otherwise want to treat everyone who is "not normal") is not very meaningful.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      Wow, a poor, angry, delusional , paranoid, bible quoting ex-drinker.

      Heads up, girls, this man is single!

      March 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
  3. thefinisher1

    Do atheists think their religion is superior to all others? Doesn't that make them hypocrites and liars? 😜

    March 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Most atheists do not belong to a religion. Some atheists have turned atheism into a religion for themselves. Yes, we can all observe that phenomenon. Some atheists, like some theists, have superiority complexes.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Most atheists on this blog think they are superior😜

        March 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • joey3467

          Is this your way of coming out as an atheist?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Can you read? It's an observation dumb troll.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          It might appear that way to someone who cannot formulate a response to support their views.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • joey3467

          I will take that as a yes.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      thefinisher1 and dalahast talking to each other ... a conversation for the ages ...

      March 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Asine

        March 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          work on your spelling there little one.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Asine....you know...it is a math term meaning "without sine".

          March 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Do Christians like to portray atheism as a religion in order to attempt to drag atheists down to their level? Is religion is so ugly a word to you that you feel the need to be disingenuous and paint the opposition with the same brush? Isn't that counterintuitive?

      March 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        like drug addicts wanting everyone to do drugs with them ... because they know what they are doing is stupid but feel better if others can be stupid too ...

        March 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Or a meth user pointing their finger at someone drinking coffee proclaiming they are a drug abuser too...

          March 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That's right!
      If you don't submit yourself to the Atheist God GALAPAGOR and ti/the 10% of your annual income to the Richard Dawkins foundation, you will suffer an eternity of torture in the Lake of Fire after you die.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • snowr14

      no religion does not mean they follow a religion called "no-religion" dude.. its a lack of belief. It is not that hard to understand. Use a venn diagram, use logic statements, write a program, whichever way you want to use is fine – as long as you get the logic. Not that hard at all.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
  4. joey3467

    Does it really even matter if the Catholic Church supports civil unions or not? Since they have nothing to do with them people will get them whether the Church supports them or not, just like they do with birth control.

    March 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No....but the Church still likes to pretend it is the 15th century and that they have implied authority over other countries.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  5. juststephen250

    Praying for all of the Catholics and the falsities they have been taught about the Bible.

    March 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • bootyfunk

      prayer = talking to yourself

      March 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
    • the0g0to0the0t

      So you know christianity better than the church that founded it? Good for you!

      March 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
  6. kristinagadfly

    I got all the gays upset with my last comment, even was called bigot instead of pedantic which I might be; even when I do support a "gay-union" words have meaning...

    March 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • bacbik

      based on your reply methodology, it was probably well-deserved

      March 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        bigot is a relative term...maybe you're a bigot against straight people...

        March 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          I'm biggoted against ingnorant people... does that help?

          March 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          When you find an ignorant person let me know, we can enjoy their bliss vicariously...

          People are smart, most people are smart...

          March 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • bootyfunk

      perhaps it's because you seem confused as to what a marriage is - a legal contract. read my post just below this one.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • joey3467

      The fact that you think everyone who disagreed with you is "a gay" only helps to prove that you are a bigot.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        I don't think everyone who disagrees with me is gay, where did you get that notion?

        March 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
  7. bootyfunk

    once again, the pope gets ZERO credit. he hasn't done ANYthing. he's said a few flowery, ambiguous words - but what has he actually DONE? seriously, what has the pope accomplished? he hasn't changed church doctrine or dogma in any way. he reaffirmed that g.ay people should NOT be able to marry.

    marriage is a legal matter, NOT a religious one. want proof?
    get married in a church/temple/synagog with a religious leader from all known religions present, but without a legally issued marriage license - guess what? you're NOT married.
    now go down to your local courthouse without inviting any priests/imams/rabbis and get a legally issued marriage license - voila, you're married. no religion necessary.
    no religion has the right to say g.ays can't marry as it is not a religious function. you can add ritual and ceremony to a wedding, but it is not in any way necessary.

    seriously, if two people love each other, why does it matter so much to people what genders they are? don't like it? don't go to the wedding. problem solved.

    March 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      But just think of all the straight people that will be forced to marry someone of the same gender!
      Hetero marriages will dissolve like the wicked witch when exposed to the waters of gayness!
      If you let gays call each other husband and wife, soon people will want to marry their pets and call Rover their wife!

      God made the birds and the bees, not the bees and the bees.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • bootyfunk

        lol, hard to take this post serious. sounds trollish.

        god didn't make anyone. god is imaginary. magic isn't real. sorry.
        and you're proven wrong by states that have already made g.ay marriage legal - no straight couples' marriages "dissolved". that a silly and h.omophobic view. just like your comparing g.ay marriage to bestiality.
        birds and bees are a bad comparison. they are 2 different species. there are plenty of examples of h.omos.exuality in the animal world, dogs, monkeys, etc.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Sorry – I should've put a /sarcasm tag there.
          I thought it was so outlandishly foolish that nobody would take it as anything but a joke.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • timetravelerfrom2121

        God might want to help out some of those bees because they're becoming extinct worldwide!

        March 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • meledir

      What we may eventually be forced to confront is that in current practice in which men and women are roughly equal financial partners, gays are the ones who really NEED civil marriage. It's a convenience for straight couples, no doubt, but the "marriage" of a straight couple isn't going to be routinely challenged even if they aren't legally married.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
  8. louruiz

    Why are people so concerned over what some old guy in a cape, and his invisible friends have to say? Time to shake off the crazy, citizens of earth!

    March 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • Anthony Crispino

      Hey! Sounds like you have a gig going on with Satan. That's nothing to fool around with – he's a real guy. My wife's groin doctor now a guy who saw him walking around over in Elizabeth in broad daylight. I'm serious as a heart attack. This guy says Satan turned the corner and turned himself into a dumpster in just a few seconds. If you're mocking God, you got a side jobs going on with Satan somewheres.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • bootyfunk

        you shouldn't post when high on mushrooms.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
      • the0g0to0the0t

        And here I thought "Heaven Sent" was a woman!

        March 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  9. bostontola

    The bible says ho.mose.xuality is wrong. Rules are rules (although that kind of rule should trigger your skepticism of the bible's timeless truth).

    What about Clerical Celibacy? That is not a biblical rule, it is a religious rule created by men. Clerics are to follow the example of Jesus Christ in being "married" to the Church.

    I can hardly imagine a rule more unnatural. Most men are quite driven by se.x. Without that drive any animal species would not last long. Clerical Celibacy may sound good and noble, but it is unnatural and immoral. To insti.tute that rule, then cover up the ensuing abuse is immoral. In that context, to then brand as sinners ho.mose.xuals is immoral.

    I'm not a Catholic basher. As far as Christian sects go, it is more tolerant an open than most. Why not let the NT be a reset button and clear gays from the OT prohibition just like eating pork and circu.mcision.

    March 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • Alias

      Context, context, context.
      1,000 years a go when the celibacy rule was written it served a purpose. Too many women wer eoutliving men, so when the priest died his widdow took over as owner of the land. Then the church had to take or buy it back. It was cheaper and easier to just stop the marriages.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • bostontola

        Religious insti.tutions had a problem with priests bequeathing relics and property to their children, celibacy solved that problem.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • bootyfunk

      the NT can't be a reset button as it has anti-g.ay passages too.
      "In the New Testament (NT) there are at least three passages that may refer to h.omos.exual activity: Romans 1:26–27, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, and 1 Timothy 1:9–10. A fourth passage, Jude 1:7, is often interpreted as referring to h.omos.exuality. Jesus himself might have been restricting marriage to opposite-s.ex couples when he cites Genesis during a discussion of marriage (Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9)."

      Romans 1:26-27
      "For this reason [idolatry] God gave them up to passions of dishonor; for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error."

      doesn't sound like the NT is any sort of "reset button" on h.omos.exuality.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • Austin

        ho.mo se.xuality is like lust and fornication. Its the same as having an eye of lust.

        Genesis 6:5 ►

        The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

        Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them fromd the Lord. 12But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

        2 peter 2: 13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.e 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer,f who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

        these arent verses about ho.mo se.xuals.

        ho.mo se.xuals do not fall into a special category of sin.

        All sin is overcome able.

        I can relate to ho.mo se.xuals because I too am a se.xual creator in my flesh full of tension. Their are images of se.xual content everywhere and I can't lust , I cant turn my neck after the outer beauty of anyone that is lust.

        And so every day, I have to resist the temptation to lust.

        Furthermore, I am single. And despite the way to have se.x, I am content in live because I recognize that God has entered my life. And i am truly more complete with God alone that any woman could ever make me.

        In other words, any ho.mo se.xual can abstain from a sinful act and be content being single if they realize that God has delivered them from sin and will glorify us in Him through eternal life.

        That is the goal for everyone. And the fact is redemption and Holy Spirit is also a promise of healing and restoration.

        Every ho.mo se.xual can be healed of se.xual error and addiction. stop labeling yourself as special. you are simply a sinner. a human.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • bootyfunk

          "ho.mo se.xuality is like lust and fornication. Its the same as having an eye of lust. "

          your whole premiss is wrong. being h.omos.exual has as much to do with lust as being straight does. that you can look at a g.ay couple and condemn them for their love shows how disgusting your cult of christianity is. the bible is a book of mythology.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Yeah gays!
          All you have to do is spend your entire life in a pit of solitary shame, guilt and self denial.
          Do what Jesus said and "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven".

          March 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          Bootyfunk – "being h.omos.exual has as much to do with lust as being straight does"

          Best quote so far. An excellent summation of the hypocrisy of their position.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • bostontola

        To say that "shameful" and "error" are not explicitly precluded behavior (i.e. not a commandment) is less of a rationalization than some of the other rationalizations used by the church.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • meledir

        Strictly speaking that's just the -most- specific definition of sodomy that is being addressed by Paul. How many shades of gray are between that and the opinion of a public health professional? Can't be THAT many.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • southerncelt

      For someone who claims not to bash Catholicism you are pretty good at it.Celibacy is a choice for religious people that want to put God first in their minds without the distraction of a wife or children. What is immoral about that? We all sin. Every one of us. Is one sinner worse than any other? Judging that is God's job, not ours. Particularly today, we need to repent and follow the Gospel.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • bostontola

        Just as I said, the intent may have been noble, but it is unnatural (clearly it doesn't work). I get to have my opinion on what I think is immoral. Requiring unnatural behavior that leads to behavior that impacts others in a very negative way is immoral by my definition.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • joey3467

        Just going by the fact that Christians are trying to ban gay marriage and I don't see them trying to ban everything else the bible calls a sin, it sure does look like most of you guys consider being gay to be worse than any other sins.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
    • elmcc

      The OT cannot stand alone as much as the NT cannot either. The New is veiled in the Old and the Old is revealed in the NT. They are not to be separated if Scripture is to be understood.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • bostontola

        Then why can Christians eat pork?

        March 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • the0g0to0the0t

        "The New is veiled in the Old and the Old is revealed in the NT. They are not to be separated if Scripture is to be understood."

        Assumption. Every jew on earth would disagree. What you are describing is "retro-theology". You start with a belief that jesus was god and work backwards to "prove" that belief – even when its obvious that the refernce was not to a future messiah at all.

        March 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
  10. Doris

    I guess when Pope Benedict accepted the Christmas gift from Uganda's senate representative that they would "kill all the gays" in Uganda, I think that speaks a lot to the result we see today – widespread panic and fear for ho-mose-xuals living in Uganda, knowing that they can be jailed or killed at any time since this recent bill passed there. I think it also is very telling about Catholicism – I mean if you start from the top down...

    I suppose when the only Anglican bishop that was making a different to quell hysteria and fears there over gays was stripped of his position, that only contributed to the result we see today. I think that is also very telling about Anglicanism.. if you start from the top down….

    I suppose when Scott Lively and his team of evangelicals from the U.S. traveled to Uganda and incited hysteria and violence against gays, that had a lot to do with the situation we see today. That's a bit different. There doesn't seem to be a "top" of evangelicals. And so we just see more divisions, more conflict of interpretation, more difference in judgment upon one another.

    Why should we be at all surprised at what is going on in Uganda and elsewhere?

    Has the new pope publicly expressed his view of the crimes against humanity in Uganda? I'm not impressed by complacency when people are dying, being jailed and committing suicide in large parts of Africa and elsewhere because of an uneducated stance on hom-ose-xuality from alleged "righteousness".

    ======

    One poster adds "even worse than these laws were signed is that they were instigated by US evangelicals, who having failed with their anti-gay hatred in the US, are now spreading it in sub-Saharan Africa."

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2014/0225/Uganda-s-anti-gay-bill-refocuses-attention-on-US-evangelical-influence-video

    Another poster added : "What's even worse is the common practice of correctional ra.p.e, where they will ra.p.e someone so that they will no longer be gay. Often this is done by gangs and the victim sometimes dies."

    March 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Doris

      correction: 2nd paragraph, 1st line: difference, not "different".

      March 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • bootyfunk

      well said.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
  11. karali1975

    I am happy to announce, I AM GOING BACK TO CHURCH. Thank you Pope Francis for leading the flock forward into the 21st century. Finally, a pope committed to doing Christ's true work – the promotion and acceptance of ALL of god's children. Praise be!

    March 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Doris

      He's still far from the 21st century.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • ausphor

      kara...
      Well OK, but make sure you leave most of your cash and credit cards at home.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
      • seedenbetter

        And children....especially your young sons.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Finally, a pope committed to doing Christ's true work – the promotion and acceptance of ALL of god's children.
      ----------–
      Not all people are God's children. The Bible is clear that although all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16), and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16), only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12; 11:52; Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1-10).

      In Scripture, the lost are never referred to as children of God. Ephesians 2:3 tells us that before we were saved we were “by nature children of wrath.” Romans 9:8 says that “it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.”

      Having said that, in supporting civil unions, the pope is endorsing that which God had forbidden, namely, fo.rnication.

      Deuteronomy 22:13-20 – pre-marital se.x is folly, and was considered an evil act, and the one who committed this act was acting like a harlot – like a prost.itute, and was put to death

      We live under the covenant of grace now, not the covenant of law, so there is no penalty of death for this sin. But, almost in order to stem off a tide of antinomianism, Paul still calls it out as sin:

      Romans 13:13-14 – Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in se.xual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        @Theo. Why are you posting translated, edited, re-edited, ancient hearsay? I once saw a painting of a mammoth on a cave wall and 3 hunters were chasing it with spears. Does that prove a point?

        March 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Because it has not been edited, re-edited, nor is it ancient hearsay, so says the dead sea scrolls, the writings of the early church fathers, the John Papyrus fragment of Rylands Library, and so on. Of the few scribal notations to scripture (less than 20 sentences in all of the Bible), none of them alter the meaning of the passage, nor the doctrines taught.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          denial is not just a river in Egypt ...

          March 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Dyslexic Dog,
          I have studied textual criticism, among my other theological studies for decades, and have come to the conclusion that the Bible is the most reliable of any ancient manuscript.

          How long have you studied in the field of textual criticism to come to the conclusion that it isn't? Or are you taking the word of others?

          March 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo....
          I have read every Marvel comic book, some more than once and am now marveling at these great works being turned into film. I think the difference between your studies and mine, I know fiction when I see it.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          ausphor,
          Then prove that Jesus was not God.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          No, no you prove that your jesus was a supernatural being, just replicate a miracle or two that was claimed he had performed. I can not prove the miraculous powers of my Marvel heroes because I know fiction from fact, you do not.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "No, no you prove that your jesus was a supernatural being"
          --------
          Sure. He rose from the dead. And there were eye witnesses. And those eye witnesses were cross examined in their day, and found to be true, that's why many of them were killed.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          That did not happen, all you have to do is get someone to replicate that claim, raise a three day old corpse from the dead. So many other claims of the supernatural absolutely no proof.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "That did not happen,"
          ------------
          Prove it. There are eye witness accounts, as well as the evidence of history to back up the claim. To say that it did not happen is history revisionism akin to those folks who say that the Confederate States of America won the War of Northern Aggression in 1865.

          "all you have to do is get someone to replicate that claim, raise a three day old corpse from the dead."
          -----------
          No. When a car accident occurs and the person walks away without a scratch, you don't ask someone to replicate the accident to see if it's possible. You take the evidence and the eye witness statements as truth.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • ausphor

          theo
          Perhaps you should look into how unreliable eye witness accounts actually are, especially when the witnesses have a preconceived bias. Many witnesses to the feats of Dionysus if you have read the Theogony, even Joesphus mentioned real live gods like jesus and oh yes Hercules , that makes it all real.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • Doris

        What does Deuteronomy say about epigenetics?

        From what I hear, Deuteronomy isn't even good as a laxative anymore......

        March 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          What does Deuteronomy say about Epigenetics? Interesting question. Of course the word is not in the book, but we do learn of the Law, and the Law was given to show man what sin is. And men sin because they are sinners, and influenced by a sinful nature that is inherited through Adam.

          Paul had this to say...

          Romans 7:14-25 – For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

          man, even the Christian who loves God and willing to serve the law of God, is also subject to his own sinful nature that wages war against the law of God – only Jesus can set man free from sin

          “Within myself, there is a love which loves the good, and there is a love which loves the evil, but the best thing that I can say about myself is that I hate the love which loves the evil.” – Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430)

          March 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • Doris

          "the Law was given to show man what sin is."

          aaaaaannnnnndddd, it's terribly out of date. I rest my case.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "aaaaaannnnnndddd, it's terribly out of date. I rest my case."
          ---------
          That can only be if you subscribe to moral relativism. But, moral relativism doesn't work in the real world regardless of what college professors would have folks believe. If there is no God, then morality either becomes a product of society – that is, what tends towards progression of society and what doesn't, OR, morality is defined as what "works" for the individual.

          But let's try that in reality, you go to the store and want to buy a meal, but don't want to pay the $10 asking price, so you tell the clerk that you believe you should only have to pay $3 for the meal. Does it work? No.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • observernow

          Theo Phileo

          "If there is no God, then morality either becomes a product of society"

          Without God's "morals", we have outlawed slavery and numerous types of discriminations supported by the Bible.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          "Paul had this to say..." ah – another "Paulian" pretending to be a christian...

          March 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
      • guidedans

        Good Points Theo.

        I think that the church needs to not sugar coat the Bible. I also think church needs to not put itself on any high-horse. We are all sinners, whether the sin be ho.mose.xuality or coveting, sin is sin, and it is an abomination to God. Jesus did not come to condemn the world through the law, but to save us from our own breaking of the law. To show us that we are all law-breakers in need of saving.

        The church should not be condoning any form of for.nication outside of marriage, but it also should not be targeting one specific group as especially bad. Anyone who has ever looked at a woman (or man) in lust is guilty of adultery. Jesus says this. We are all guilty of sin and we all need Jesus to cleanse us.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Amen to that.

          Martin Luther once said "If I could believe that God was not angry with me, a sinner, then I would stand on my head for joy!"

          March 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Doris

          There are reasons in the U.S. that we have separation of church and state. One of the reasons is so that you, via your "sin" construct, cannot impose your particular view of it upon me. I don't subscribe to the notion that sin is anything beyond a man-made construct.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          How refreshing it is when believers and deniers find a little common ground.

          Organized religion has no place inserting itself into government and dragging God into man's vile realm of politics. If a government of a secular society grants certain privileges to couples who enter into a formal covenant for their lives in society, then principles of equal protection under the law require the same privileges to be available to two people of the same gender who wish to live under the same level of commitment. And whatever that couple chooses to do with their flesh in the privacy of their home is not the concern of government or anyone else; it is only between them and God.

          There are many huge problems in the RCC and its doctrines, but Pope Francis is not one of them.

          March 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      yep. Magically turning wafers into the flesh of your god's son who has been dead for 2,000 years and then eating him and drinking his blood while chanting incantations. That sounds like 21st century to me.

      what a laugh!

      March 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
  12. k9pack

    Of course the Pope is going to support this. I knew this was coming weeks ago. I also know he is going to be involved with making a peace deal with Israel. Am I a prophet ? No. I just read the Bible for my daily news and can line up the CNN headlines with prophecy.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • ausphor

      k9..
      You read a 2000 year old (supposedly) book for your daily news, is that you Austin?

      March 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      "can line up the CNN headlines with prophecy."

      Okay...let's see this evidence...lol.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • Doris

      Dohhh! (Nutsdamus strikes again 🙄 )

      March 5, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Sure.
      The End is nigh and the Pope is the anti-christ.
      When do you expect to see the 7 headed, 10 horned, bear pawed, amphibious Beast?

      March 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
      • joey3467

        I hope the beast is like a Hydra and when you cut off one of its heads two more grow back. That would be pretty awesome.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • belle222

      AMEN!!!

      March 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  13. revrickm

    As a former Catholic myself, this is a very interesting time for the RCC. I see the Pope pushing boundaries and reconsidering/reinterpreting what it means to be a Christian, and in particular what it means to be a Catholic Christian. His will be a delicate task. On the one hand, his comments would seem to embolden those who seek a less rigid RCC, and to make it more relevant and compassionate in the modern world. On the other, he must somehow seek to reassure the more conservative ranks of the RCC that he will not turn the church on its head. Godspeed to you Francis.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
    • k9pack

      Most Catholics don't even read the Bible or know Scripture. If they allowed the Bible to speak truth into their life they wouldn't be deceived when it comes to the Pope.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        And you belong to which sect exactly?
        Nice use of the No True Scotsman fallacy btw.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
      • revrickm

        @k9pack – As a former Catholic, I don't disagree with you, at least not totally. However, I know some Catholics who know the Bible better than many fundamentalist Christians. But reading the Bible, and quoting scripture chapter and verse doesn't really mean that much. The Bible is a human book. Written by humans. interpreted by humans, and preached about by humans. While the Bible may have been divinely inspired, it is a very flawed book with many books being written by people claiming to be people they were not. Even half of the books in the New Testament that are attributed to the apostle Paul, most likely were not written by Paul – just someone illegitimately claiming to be Paul. Even most Jews don't believe that the Pentateuch was actually written by Moses. So, your righteous indignation is misplaced and ill informed and you are blindly following a book (the Bible) that is very flawed.

        March 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • sealchan

      Indeed if the RCC can evidence a more evolving morality it would go a long way toward renewing their credentials as a moral force. I'm a "spiritual, but not religious" and I am oftentimes impressed with some of the statements coming from the Pope and from the RCC. However, I think that the deeper issue with the RCC is that its faith, its foundation, should not be in laws but in faith itself as St. Paul originally pointed out. That is the great irony of the history of Christianity I think. The stories of the faithful should lead in the teachings of the church and not in a particular set of rules.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Yeah it kind reminds me of when John Paul II apologized for a number of actions and inactions of the church. I didn't find it all that wonderful...it spoke to the pomposity of the church and I think Frank continues in that tradition.

      It is a "bug"....not a "feature".

      March 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  14. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    In response, the church has done more than other inst.itutions to be open and transparent about se.xual abuse by its employees, Francis said. “But the Church is the only one to be attacked."

    How about an example of another insti.tution that has systematically played "hide the pedophile" and has been less transparent than your "holy" church? And how would that justify the vacant morality and ethics of you church Pope Frank?

    March 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • patrucio

      Penn State.

      Also, lay off the caffeine. It seems to make you cranky.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Penn St. negligence is a drop in the bucket compared to the overt crimes of the Catholic Church.

        And I do get cranky when the leader who is held up as a moral "authority" tries to minimize his organizations role in allowing its employees to use the position given by them to r@pe children by pointing a finger at some other unnamed group. I find that unconscionable.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
  15. jerrymcm1970

    The obvious flaw in the Pope's statements here, is that they assume any church or religion, let alone the Catholic church specifically, owns or controls the right to marry. You don't. In most jurisdictions marriage already IS a civil union. People who don't get married in a church or who don't have or seek the blessing of any religious organization are still married under the law.

    Sorry Pope Frances, but you don't get to decide either way.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
    • glades2

      An old best friend of mine for years has lived by the belief that only common-law marriages apply – until her common-law husband was killed in an accident, and she tried to claim a portion of his estate from his family, only to find that common-law marriages are not considered binding in the state where they married, so marriage by clergy are always the best thing, even when it comes to laws made by Mankind...

      March 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • igaftr

        There is no need of clergy to have a legally accepted marriage. No religion required for ANY marriage, ever.

        You can get married by clergy, but it is not recognized by the state until you comply with the laws.
        On the other hand you can get married with no clergy present at all, and it is a legally accepted marriage.
        There is no need to have religion involved with legal marriage.

        March 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • glades2

          Yes, I understand – in fact I was best-man at a "backyard wedding" by a Notary many years ago, and husband and wife are still married, though many times I've wondered what we just spoke of...

          March 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • cc423

        But the Catholic Church doe snot run our government... the government that provides marriage licenses. A church wedding is nice and everything, but not necessary in order to get married.

        March 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        A common-law marriage is not necessarily legally binding in all jurisdictions. In a common law marriage, a couple is considered married simply because they have lived together for a certain period of time.

        It is not the same as a marriage performed by a non-religious officiant. That would be a civil marriage, generally performed by a justice of the peace, or other government official with the legal standing to do so.

        March 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
    • meledir

      Any leader will likely take a position on civil matters, though... and in the case of a religious leader who is representing most of the range of the world's countries (many of which are not respecting rights for gays at all), it's almost necessary.

      Government also made this a religious issue by abdicating the usual role of marriage to ministers: they didn't have to combine the religious and secular sides, but they did...

      March 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
  16. colin31714

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Catholicism that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections.

    If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Catholic religion” nonsense.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the approximate age of the current iteration of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point in our evolution from Hom.o Erectus, gave us eternal life and a soul, and about 180,000 years later, sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Greco-Roman Middle East, including Australia, North and South America, Europe, Asia, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies. One would have thought that a visitor from the creator of the Universe would visit (or at least mention) the millions upon millions of Chinese and other Asians, all the people spread throughout North, Central and South America, the Australian Aboriginals, the ancient Europeans or the Sub-Saharan Africans. Instead, his entire visit and his entire Holy Book, the Bible, is 100% concentrated on the Jews. It seems obvious to any thinking person that the Jews made God in their image and not vice-versa.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and observing the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze Age and Greco-Roman Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages. I mean, let me ask a believer this. Do you even have the slightest damn idea who any of the 100+ authors of the Bible were? Do you have any idea who complied it? Who decided what Bronze Age Jewish writings to include and what to exclude and the criteria they used? I bet you don’t.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Catholicism does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Catholicism. To the extent we reject Catholic morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Catholic. We just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Catholicism admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. This is probably the mother of all understatements. In any event, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Catholic based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    The entire Catholic faith is not a belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, or, even more accurately, a simple wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • glades2

      But Romans 2:11 states that God does not play favorites, meaning the person who lived a life of unrepentant sin but has repented (walked away from their sinful life) is as subject to God's mercy as the person who has lived a life of obedience, as Jesus told in the Parable of the Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16)...

      March 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • colin31714

        Oh, does it? Well, clearly I need to re-evaluate my position.

        March 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • glades2

          Not sure if you're joking, but if not that's what Jesus taught, though many did not like that (especially the big-shot Pharasees who thought God had them in His pocket). Even in my own life, if I walked away from my Christian faith of decades and lived a unrepentant sinful life, well, God would judge me the same as the person who never set foot in a church – we are the ones who play favorites, not God...

          March 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          he's joking. LOL

          March 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • Alias

        God doesn't play favorites?
        Then how can the jews be his chosen people?
        Are you sure that quote isn't just talking about within the jewish faith?
        Context people, you have to learn proper context. Other wise, all those god ordered ra.pes would be wrong.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • glades2

          The Old Convenant (Old Testament) the Jewish people were said to be chosen, but with Jesus came the New Convenant that said God does not play favorites – but as said in the Old Testament even the Jewish people were just as subject to God's judgment as anyone else...

          March 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • joey3467

          If god is unchanging as many Christians claim then the Jews are still his chosen people.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • freejen9

      In relation to your post with all of the absolutes.. I don't believe that there is anyone that knows what life was like at that time. That's the beauty, and perhaps the ugliness, of faith. It's belief in something bigger than ourselves. I was raised Catholic and would never presume to know or understand the entire religion – I do recognize that it is man-led and information was provided by man. I don' t believe that there is any dispute to that. But I believe that these men and women felt 'something' whether it was divinity or faith in that higher being – it was their story to tell and I don't think it's up to us, especially anyone that is alive today, to presume that it's all refutable. If true Faith helps people and encourages a better life – why must it be challenged.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
    • Alias

      I can't resist-
      1) God made it all 12,000 years ago. It just looks older to you because you won't allow the holy spirit to fondle your soul like a priest 'counseling' an alter boy.
      Just because jesus never mentioned penguins doesn't prove he wasn't an expert in their mating habbits.
      2) Well Duh! He's a god!
      3) God wrote it on your heart. The bible says so, and since it is the word of god it must be right.
      Therefore you are wrong and it is all your fault. God won't send you to hell, you are sending your self.
      4) God wrote it. Of course he spoke to the people in terms they could understand.
      It's not llke the bible is confusing in any way or open to interpretation. If you don't see the truth it is your fault and you deserve to be the devil's play toy.
      5) Lies. Satan's lies. Here is uncontestable proof: Since the first man and woman knew god, there could not possibly be any older religions. That Satan guy, he is the lord of deception and ya'll knowit's true. Lies lies lies.
      6) There are no contradiction, error or mistakes in the bible. YOU just aren't smart enough to understand it. First you have to know it is all true, then you can let your faith lead you to the correct interpretation and context. Life was harder back then, and those 'indescretions' were okay because that is how it was in proper context at that time, and god said so.
      7) God's morality has spread through the rest of us. Yeah, that's it. The good christian teaching and morals are how you heathens know right and wrong. Especially those in other parts of the world that never saw a bible or heard of jesus. God clearly spoke to them, but they rejected him.
      8) Like I said above, god wrote it. We all know that stories never change when they are handed down over a few generations. National geographic even said so, and we all know god likes them.
      9) It is not a 'leap' of faith, it is blind faith. Big difference. Once you accept the holy spirit you will see that we have the bible and all they have is a fear of cows and a woman with too many arms. We laugh at their ignorance, but we still love them and want them to see our truth, and donate.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • popeisantichrist

      I will respond to your nine points within the next couple of days. Your arguments are the same as any typical Atheists, ground in a lot of emotion and that is about it. For example, the point about contradictions in the Bible, Well, see if you can find a real contradiction, book. chapter, and verse please. Remember there is a law of contradiction that says that something cannot be one thing and the not that thing in the same time or manner. So go ahead and post some contradictions you find and I will address them.

      The problem over the years with Atheists is that no matter how much you provide evidence or truth that there is a God and the Bible is the truth about who he is and the saving work of Jesus Christ, Atheists will never accept it or believe it. That was the problem all along when Jesus was on earth ministering. Nobody believed even when the truth was speaking right to them. The underlying issue with Atheists is that they reject the God whom they know to exist. Because if you did, then you would have to live according to his laws and not any way you wanted to and according to what the world thinks. You would have to face the fact that your a sinner in need of saving (just like me). I had my struggles and you will too, but I hope and pray for you that it is not too late. Because at some point the truth will be revealed to you whether you or I believe it or not. I look forward to responding to your questions. I think you took a lot of effort and time to pull those together and I think they are genuinely honest. I will share my honest answers with you.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • colin31714

        You said, "Well, see if you can find a real contradiction, book. chapter, and verse please. Remember there is a law of contradiction that says that something cannot be one thing and the not that thing in the same time or manner. So go ahead and post some contradictions you find and I will address them."

        Ok, here's 20 – complete with chapter and verse as requested.

        1. God is satisfied with his works
        Gen 1:31
        God is dissatisfied with his works.
        Gen 6:6

        2. God dwells in chosen temples
        2 Chron 7:12,16
        God dwells not in temples
        Acts 7:48

        3. God dwells in light
        Tim 6:16
        God dwells in darkness
        1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2

        4. God is seen and heard
        Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/
        Ex 24:9-11
        God is invisible and cannot be heard
        John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16

        5. God is tired and rests
        Ex 31:17
        God is never tired and never rests
        Is 40:28

        6. God is everywhere present, sees and knows all things
        Prov 15:3/ Ps 139:7-10/ Job 34:22,21
        God is not everywhere present, neither sees nor knows all
        things
        Gen 11:5/ Gen 18:20,21/ Gen 3:8

        7. God knows the hearts of men
        Acts 1:24/ Ps 139:2,3
        God tries men to find out what is in their heart
        Deut 13:3/ Deut 8:2/ Gen 22:12

        8. God is all powerful
        Jer 32:27/ Matt 19:26
        God is not all powerful
        Judg 1:19

        9. God is unchangeable
        James 1:17/ Mal 3:6/ Ezek 24:14/ Num 23:19
        God is changeable
        Gen 6:6/ Jonah 3:10/ 1 Sam 2:30,31/ 2 Kings 20:1,4,5,6/
        Ex 33:1,3,17,14

        10. God is just and impartial
        Ps 92:15/ Gen 18:25/ Deut 32:4/ Rom 2:11/ Ezek 18:25
        God is unjust and partial
        Gen 9:25/ Ex 20:5/ Rom 9:11-13/ Matt 13:12

        11. God is the author of evil
        Lam 3:38/ Jer 18:11/ Is 45:7/ Amos 3:6/ Ezek 20:25
        God is not the author of evil
        1 Cor 14:33/ Deut 32:4/ James 1:13

        12. God gives freely to those who ask
        James 1:5/ Luke 11:10
        God withholds his blessings and prevents men from receiving
        them
        John 12:40/ Josh 11:20/ Is 63:17

        13. God is to be found by those who seek him
        Matt 7:8/ Prov 8:17
        God is not to be found by those who seek him
        Prov 1:28

        14. God is warlike
        Ex 15:3/ Is 51:15
        God is peaceful
        Rom 15:33/ 1 Cor 14:33

        15. God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious
        Jer 13:14/ Deut 7:16/ 1 Sam 15:2,3/ 1 Sam 6:19
        God is kind, merciful, and good
        James 5:11/ Lam 3:33/ 1 Chron 16:34/ Ezek 18:32/ Ps 145:9/
        1 Tim 2:4/ 1 John 4:16/ Ps 25:8

        16. God's anger is fierce and endures long
        Num 32:13/ Num 25:4/ Jer 17:4
        God's anger is slow and endures but for a minute
        Ps 103:8/ Ps 30:5

        17. God commands, approves of, and delights in burnt offerings,
        sacrifices ,and holy days
        Ex 29:36/ Lev 23:27/ Ex 29:18/ Lev 1:9
        God disapproves of and has no pleasure in burnt offerings,
        sacrifices, and holy days.
        Jer 7:22/ Jer 6:20/ Ps 50:13,4/ Is 1:13,11,12

        18. God accepts human sacrifices
        2 Sam 21:8,9,14/ Gen 22:2/ Judg 11:30-32,34,38,39
        God forbids human sacrifice
        Deut 12:30,31

        19. God tempts men
        Gen 22:1/ 2 Sam 24:1/ Jer 20:7/ Matt 6:13
        God tempts no man
        James 1:13

        20. God cannot lie
        Heb 6:18
        God lies by proxy; he sends forth lying spirits t deceive
        2 Thes 2:11/ 1 Kings 22:23/ Ezek 14:9

        March 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • colin31714

        Here's another 20.

        21. Because of man's wickedness God destroys him
        Gen 6:5,7
        Because of man's wickedness God will not destroy him
        Gen 8:21

        22. God's attributes are revealed in his works.
        Rom 1:20
        God's attributes cannot be discovered
        Job 11:7/ Is 40:28

        23. There is but one God
        Deut 6:4
        There is a plurality of gods
        Gen 1:26/ Gen 3:22/ Gen 18:1-3/ 1 John 5:7

        24. Robbery commanded
        Ex 3:21,22/ Ex 12:35,36
        Robbery forbidden
        Lev 19:13/ Ex 20:15

        25. Lying approved and sanctioned
        Josh 2:4-6/ James 2:25/ Ex 1:18-20/ 1 Kings 22:21,22
        Lying forbidden
        Ex 20:16/ Prov 12:22/ Rev 21:8

        26. Hatred to the Edomite sanctioned
        2 Kings 14:7,3
        Hatred to the Edomite forbidden
        Deut 23:7

        27. Killing commanded
        Ex 32:27
        Killing forbidden
        Ex 20:13

        28. The blood-shedder must die
        Gen 9:5,6
        The blood-shedder must not die
        Gen 4:15

        29. The making of images forbidden
        Ex 20:4
        The making of images commanded
        Ex 25:18,20

        30. Slavery and oppression ordained
        Gen 9:25/ Lev 25:45,46/ Joel 3:8
        Slavery and oppression forbidden
        Is 58:6/ Ex 22:21/ Ex 21:16/ Matt 23:10

        31. Improvidence enjoyed
        Matt 6:28,31,34/ Luke 6:30,35/ Luke 12:3
        Improvidence condemned
        1 Tim 5:8/ Prov 13:22

        32. Anger approved
        Eph 4:26
        Anger disapproved
        Eccl 7:9/ Prov 22:24/ James 1:20

        33. Good works to be seen of men
        Matt 5:16
        Good works not to be seen of men
        Matt 6:1

        34. Judging of others forbidden
        Matt 7:1,2
        Judging of others approved
        1 Cor 6:2-4/ 1 Cor 5:12

        35. Christ taught non-resistance
        Matt 5:39/ Matt 26:52
        Christ taught and practiced physical resistance
        Luke 22:36/ John 2:15

        36. Christ warned his followers not to fear being killed
        Luke 12:4
        Christ himself avoided the Jews for fear of being killed
        John 7:1

        37. Public prayer sanctioned
        1 Kings 8:22,54, 9:3
        Public prayer disapproved
        Matt 6:5,6

        38. Importunity in prayer commended
        Luke 18:5,7
        Importunity in prayer condemned
        Matt 6:7,8

        39. The wearing of long hair by men sanctioned
        Judg 13:5/ Num 6:5
        The wearing of long hair by men condemned
        1 Cor 11:14

        40. Circu.mcision insti.tuted
        Gen 17:10
        Circu.mcision condemned
        Gal 5:2

        March 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • colin31714

        Here's another 20.

        41. The Sabbath insti.tuted
        Ex 20:8
        The Sabbath repudiated
        Is 1:13/ Rom 14:5/ Col 2:16

        42. The Sabbath insti.tuted because God rested on the seventh day
        Ex 20:11
        The Sabbath insti.tuted because God brought the Israelites
        out of Egypt
        Deut 5:15

        43. No work to be done on the Sabbath under penalty of death
        Ex 31:15/ Num 15:32,36
        Jesus Christ broke the Sabbath and justified his disciples in
        the same John 5:16/ Matt 12:1-3,5

        44. Baptism commanded
        Matt 28:19
        Baptism not commanded
        1 Cor 1:17,14

        45. Every kind of animal allowed for food.
        Gen 9:3/ 1 Cor 10:25/ Rom 14:14
        Certain kinds of animals prohibited for food.
        Deut 14:7,8

        46. Taking of oaths sanctioned
        Num 30:2/ Gen 21:23-24,31/ Gen 31:53/ Heb 6:13
        Taking of oaths forbidden
        Matt 5:34

        47. Marriage approved
        Gen 2:18/ Gen 1:28/ Matt 19:5/ Heb 13:4
        Marriage disapproved
        1 Cor 7:1/ 1 Cor 7:7,8

        48. Freedom of divorce permitted
        Deut 24:1/ Deut 21:10,11,14
        Divorce restricted
        Matt 5:32

        49. Adultery forbidden
        Ex 20:14/ Heb 13:4
        Adultery allowed
        Num 31:18/ Hos 1:2; 2:1-3

        50. Marriage or cohabitation with a sister denounced
        Deut 27:22/ Lev 20:17
        Abraham married his sister and God blessed the union
        Gen 20:11,12/ Gen 17:16

        51. A man may marry his brother's widow
        Deut 25:5
        A man may not marry his brother's widow
        Lev 20:21

        52. Hatred to kindred enjoined
        Luke 14:26
        Hatred to kindred condemned
        Eph 6:2/ Eph 5:25,29

        53. Intoxicating beverages recommended
        Prov 31:6,7/ 1 Tim 5:23/ Ps 104:15
        Intoxicating beverages discountenanced
        Prov 20:1/ Prov 23:31,32

        54. It is our duty to obey our rulers, who are God's ministers
        and punish evil doers only
        Rom 13:1-3,6
        It is not our duty to obey rulers, who sometimes punish the
        good and receive unto themselves damnation therefor
        Ex 1:17,20/ Dan 3:16,18/ Dan 6:9,7,10/ Acts 4:26,27/
        Mark 12:38,39,40/ Luke 23:11,24,33,35

        55. Women's rights denied
        Gen 3:16/ 1 Tim 2:12/ 1 Cor 14:34/ 1 Pet 3:6
        Women's rights affirmed
        Judg 4:4,14,15/ Judg 5:7/ Acts 2:18/ Acts 21:9

        56. Obedience to masters enjoined
        Col 3:22,23/ 1 Pet 2:18
        Obedience due to God only
        Matt 4:10/ 1 Cor 7:23/ Matt 23:10

        57. There is an unpardonable sin
        Mark 3:29
        There is no unpardonable sin
        Acts 13:39

        58. Man was created after the other animals
        Gen 1:25,26,27
        Man was created before the other animals
        Gen 2:18,19

        59. Seed time and harvest were never to cease
        Gen 8:22
        Seed time and harvest did cease for seven years
        Gen 41:54,56/ Gen 45:6

        60. God hardened Pharaoh's heart
        Ex 4:21/ Ed 9:12
        Pharaoh hardened his own heart
        Ex 8:15

        March 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • colin31714

        Here's another 20

        61. All the cattle and horses in Egypt died
        Ex 9:3,6/ 14:9
        All the horses of Egypt did not die
        Ex 14:9

        62. Moses feared Pharaoh
        Ex 2:14,15,23; 4:19
        Moses did not fear Pharaoh
        Heb 11:27

        63. There died of the plague twenty-four thousand
        Num 25:9
        There died of the plague but twenty-three thousand
        1 Cor 10:8

        64. John the Baptist was Elias
        Matt 11:14
        John the Baptist was not Elias
        John 1:21

        65. The father of Joseph, Mary's husband was Jacob
        Matt 1:16
        The father of Mary's husband was Heli
        Luke 3:23

        66. The father of Salah was Arphaxad
        Gen 11:12
        The father of Salah was Cainan
        Luke 3:35,36

        67. There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David
        Matt 1:17
        There were but thirteen generations from Abraham to David
        Matt 1:2-6

        68. There were fourteen generations from the Babylonian captivity
        to Christ.
        Matt 1:17
        There were but thirteen generations from the Babylonian
        captivity to Christ
        Matt 1:12-16

        69. The infant Christ was taken into Egypt
        Matt 2:14,15,19,21,23
        The infant Christ was not taken into Egypt
        Luke 2:22, 39

        70. Christ was tempted in the wilderness
        Mark 1:12,13
        Christ was not tempted in the wilderness
        John 2:1,2

        71. Christ preached his first sermon on the mount
        Matt 5:1,2
        Christ preached his first sermon on the plain
        Luke 6:17,20

        72. John was in prison when Jesus went into Galilee
        Mark 1:14
        John was not in prison when Jesus went into Galilee
        John 1:43/ John 3:22-24

        73. Christ's disciples were commanded to go forth with a staff
        and sandals
        Mark 6:8,9
        Christ's disciples were commanded to go forth with neither
        staffs nor sandals.
        Matt 10:9,10

        74. A woman of Canaan besought Jesus
        Matt 15:22
        It was a Greek woman who besought Him
        Mark 7:26

        75. Two blind men besought Jesus
        Matt 20:30
        Only one blind man besought Him
        Luke 18:35,38

        76. Christ was crucified at the third hour
        Mark 15:25
        Christ was not crucified until the sixth hour
        John 19:14,15

        77. The two thieves reviled Christ.
        Matt 27:44/ Mark 15:32
        Only one of the thieves reviled Christ
        Luke 23:39,40

        78. Satan entered into Judas while at supper
        John 13:27
        Satan entered into him before the supper
        Luke 22:3,4,7

        79. Judas committed suicide by hanging
        Matt 27:5
        Judas did not hang himself, but died another way
        Acts 1:18

        80. The potter's field was purchased by Judas
        Acts 1:18
        The potter's field was purchased by the Chief Priests
        Matt 27:6,7

        March 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
      • colin31714

        Let me know when you are done with these, and I'll post the remained of my collection. -:)

        March 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          This is totally off topic, but lest anyone be fooled into thinking Colin is a credible Biblical scholar, be aware that each of the above citations are grossly taken out of context from the meanings of the full verses and passages and historical time. Full review of the surrounding Scriptural context actually uncovers and proves the depth of Colin's hopelessness.

          Time is short, so I'm just taking one example from each of his lists of 20, starting with lucky number 13, where he omits Proverbs 1:29-33 which explains that verse 1:28 applies to people who "hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes… but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."

          On number 26, Colin confuses the meaning of hatred of Edomite civilians with acts of war against an aggressor Edomite army.

          On number 52, "hatred of kindred" was an illustration from Jesus that for us to be His disciple we must put Him first, hating even our own old way of life.

          On number 77, both rebels crucified near Christ initially mocked Him, but before their deaths one repented. This should give hope to all sinners, even Colin.

          Aside from his ridiculous selective editing and voluntary ignorance, the most interesting thing about Colin's list is the time he must have spent compiling it. What could be the motivation of such effort for someone who claims there is no God? Could it be his conscience telling him to try to prepare a defense because God's judgment is inevitable? But as Proverbs 1:28-33 describes, Colin hates knowledge and is fooling only himself, at his own peril.

          March 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • colin31714

          Made from Dirt – first, I have heard the same tired nonsense every time a contradiction or absurdity is pointed out in the Bible. The way you people who have drunk the koolaid read the Bible can be described as follows: If a Bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a Bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either; (i) taken out of context; (ii) symbolic, allegorical or otherwise means something other than it says; (iii) referring to another verse somewhere else that rectifies the error; (iv) a translation or copyist's error; (v) a mystery of God not discernible by we mere humans; or (vi) just plain magic.

          With a panoply of excuses like that available to you believers, there is little doubt you maintain their faith. There is no biblical inconsistency too obvious, no biblical error too clear and no biblical absurdity too manifest to be explained away by one or more of the above excuses. A great example is your first point about contradiction 13.

          Another is the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew and Luke are flat inconsistent on it. Facially, obviously and irreconcilably. But, rather than just accept this fact, the believers pretend one is the genealogy of Joseph and the other, Mary. There is zero evidence to support this, but, let's face it, if you believe in Bronze Age Jewish mythology as a fact, evidence is hardly a prerequisite for your views, is it?

          March 6, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Colin, I will apply your method of analysis to your last comments. These are your very words, even in the same order, you said:
          "I have read the Bible. There is no biblical inconsistency, no biblical error and no biblical absurdity. Matthew and Luke are evidence to support this. Let's face it, believe."

          Silly? Yes, but that's what you do to Scripture.

          March 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        When you're finished with that partial list of contradictions, I'd be interested to see what evidence you have (of course the circular logic of the bible supporting god supporting the bible is not objective).

        March 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • sealchan

      I appreciate the effort you took to write all of this out. It is a bit large for this context and my response won't do it justice but I want to be mindful of the fact that this is a blog comment section and not a good place to have a substantial discussion. My responses will be extremely brief.

      First of all I consider myself a Christian but "spiritual, not religious" in the sense that I study my faith but I do not attend any church. I don't know of any that would want to have me.

      My personal belief is that limiting God to the Bible is deeply wrong and yet this is exactly the way so many Christians think. The unanswerable question for them is "what if God's creation contradicts what it says in the Bible". For me, it is a kind of blasphemy to believe in the Bible and not in the best of what our experience and our sciences tell us.

      On that note I believe that the stories in the Bible are dated but studying them in context from an historical and literary perspective should only add value, not detract from it. The concurrent and preceding myths and histories are to be a welcome addition. The evolution of the myth in the Bible is itself instructive to one's faith.

      God is treated as a person, but God (beyond He or She) is more than a person. We can assume just about any "supernatural" "multi-threaded" capability on His part to be aware of what each sub-atomic particle is doing.

      As God may be equated with the Universe and the Universe is amoral (not aspiring or designed to be moral or immoral) we can attribute the same to God. Though this might be shocking to many Christians I think the Bible itself can make this case. After all who is in charge God or one of his fallen angels? Who bears the ultimate responsibility? But another question is "What thought is required in order to create a Universe?" might yield some interesting paradoxes on the level of what is ultimate that could be seen to "justify" a personalized God.

      Faith is more than an irrational belief in something that cannot be proven with scientific evidence. It is usually an investment in a metaphor or system of metaphors with spiritual (moral, ultimate, paradoxical, mystery, mystical, metaphysical) implications and value in the following areas: personal experience of inner meaning, personal orientation (morality) to a group or culture, personal understanding of cosmos/Universe, and personal experience of the metaphysical. I would argue based on psychology, sociology and history that faith (aka myth and/or religion) is as necessary to human existence as government and economics.

      To drive the point home (hopefully) about the value of faith in myth...the myth of a culture usually consists of axiomatic beliefs that permeate that culture and which are taken for granted. This does not reduce the degree of metaphysical, paradoxical, moral or mystical quality to that myth, however, it might be hard for the culture in question to perceive these axioms as such. For modern Western culture these myths would include: free will, human rights, interpersonal (true) love, vestiges of the Newtonian world-as-machine paradigm, pure, objective knowledge. Popular media also reveals that the inventions of science will permeate our future is a common belief (justifiably as they all are) and save us from any number of socio-economic or medical or other issues.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
  17. meatheist

    I have a gay friend, and they handle by calling each other husband. Gay women could call their married partners wife. I think it nicely solves the issue. It announces their married and gay status simply and openly. I don't think a new word is needed. A gay marriage is one where both partners are either husband or wife.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
  18. glades2

    Per the byline and article, "civil union" meaning between a man and woman only, but my guess is that Francis is only speaking of civil or "common law" marriages (weddings performed by a Notary, etc.) and not of a man and woman living together but not married (Jesus referred to that as the sin of fornication and Catholic doctrine still refers to that as a sin).

    March 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Jason Young Guy

    Well, as a non denominational Christian I think this is great. Why? Because I disagree that when a married gay or lesbian couple stand before God and Christ, that He will say, "I'm sorry but even though you two committed your souls to each other and only each other, worshiped and kept me in your lives, raised and loved your adopted or sergeant children and taught them about me, treated others in society with love and compassion, and lived as one, committed as one in the eyes of Me and humanity, I must kick you out of Heaven into Hell for all eternity because you loved and committed to one another."

    That is not what Christ would do, and to be a true Christian is to be Christ like and treat all with respect, compassion, forgiveness and love. I do not believe in a God of fire and brimstone, but a God of compassion and intelligent understandings of the very beings He created to also be of intelligent minds and to know real love.

    John 3:16 is my solid belief, "For God So Loved The World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son, and 'whosoever' believes in Him will not 'perish' but have 'everlasting' life."

    That trumps all other man written doctrines to me, and the one I feel strong about. So, personally I praise the Pope for educating and opening the eyes of the Church that Christ is living and want's to save man and recruit believers not turn man away and do nothing but punish and condemn him.

    Christ is alive and well and not a statue of old condemnation upon humanity. In my humble opinion.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • onthebeech

      Young Guy Jason,
      I too am a follower of Jesus. I can be compassionate, respectable, forgiving and certainly love others but the Bible we read does not on any page suggest that a man + man or a woman + woman be joined in a marriage setting. God alone joined male and female and continues that theme through out.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
      • joey3467

        Then don't enter into a gay marriage. What you believe really should have no effect on what two adults are allowed to do.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
  20. kristinagadfly

    I like the idea of gay-unions, it sounds pleasant...I don't like gay men and woman calling their spouses husband and wife, that sounds off and if the gays would call their spouse just spouse or even found a new work to refer to their partner I think it would be best for everyone.

    This is making an announcement to the world you are gay, in this gay pride thing, but you cannot have a husband or a wife because you cannot have two husbands or two wives in the concept of marriage.

    All I know is gays should work that reference out, maybe some new word or slang would be fitting.

    March 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • magicpanties

      Oh yes, how dare they use the same terms that you do, oh my, that might make them equals, right?

      You might dress up your bigotry, but it is there nonetheless.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        Oh here we go rolling out the old bigot term, when I am just being pedantic...

        Words have important meaning in society and what I point out is not necessarily a bad thing; gay unions will never be the same as a straight union, by its very nature it is a special union.

        I subscribe to affording gays all the rights and privileged afforded to straight couples with one caveat, gay parents do not have the right to designate two mommy's or two daddy's, this concept has never been affored to straight couples and is considered a special and unique request.

        I do subscribe to the notion of a secondary parent with full rights and privileges as mother or father, gays have to designate a father or mother and other parent as "other" We need to make these terms clear as too who will be responsible for fathership and who will be responsible for mothership.

        In order for gay couples and parents to integrate into the straight world as well as giving their children a common base of reference, we can avoid causing confusion between everyone, that is not too much to ask; the alternative is asking a child who to call and getting answers like call my dad? which dad? daddy Adam or Daddy Steve?

        March 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
    • igaftr

      AHHH, the old "seperate but equal" stuff. That was tried and failed.
      A female spouse is a wife, a male spouse is a husband. No need for more terms to pigeon hole people.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
    • johnsonzeb

      You don't get to decide what the gay families call their spouses. That is up to them to decide. I would use the same terminology to prevent discrimination on applications for jobs and benefits. If you use Civil Union then you separate a group individuals as different which can lead to discrimination. They are either married or not married. There does not need to be a separate category for Civil Union.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Why? Because you disagree with it?

      Are you suddenly the person who decides what words mean? I thought that was a product of societal use. If I marry a man, I have a husband. If I marry a woman, I have a wife. It doesn't matter what gender I am. The words don't define the orientation of those involved, only the gender of the one being referred to.

      March 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • meledir

        It IS a matter of use. However, the reason why we usually use "husband" and "wife" rather than just the equal-opportunity "spouse" is that some reference to gender roles is often intended. The connotations that give the words reason to exist are not all carried through if a man refers to his husband or a woman refers to her wife. If the less specific use became the standard, it is likely that language would evolve a new pair of terms to represent what "husband" and "wife" have traditionally meant.

        March 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          Husband – a male spouse.
          Wife – a female spouse.

          That's the extent of the role of gender in the use of the word. What other "gender roles" are implied in today's society?

          Husband does not mean the bread-winner, the BBQ-er, the lawn mower. Wife does not mean the cook, the nanny, the laundress.

          Those roles are defined not by gender but by the individuals involved in the marriage. I know a number of hetero married people who do not conform to the old fashioned ideas of marital roles based on outdated understanding of gender. I know a lot of married gay couples as well.

          Funny, in at least two of the gay marriages involving two males, they both call each other wife, rather than husband. All of the women use wife.

          We don't need new words to define male-spouse and female-spouse. Husband and wife work just fine. Just like we don't need a new word to define the joining of two lives in a legally binding commitment to one another. Marriage does the job perfectly.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • joey3467

      I doubt gay people care what you think they should call each other. However, I hope they will call each other husband and wife since it bothers you.

      March 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        LOL, I seemed to have upset everyone with my views on the stupid use of husband and wife...

        Its counter productive to socially normalizing society, its not just me for pointing it out, and as you missed the point of the story, the same claim is made by the church in calling something a civil union rather than marriage...

        We see the conservative mindset from even such things as marriage protection acts, I don't think you can see another sides point of view where we all win...

        March 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • joey3467

          When gay people are allowed to get married and call themselves whatever we want we all win. When people who are not gay fell like they should have any say whatsoever on what gay people should call one another we all lose.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          Other people live here...

          March 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • joey3467

          Well by that logic we should get to decide what you and your spouse call each other.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          we all voted on that one 1000s of years ago, your issue is a new vote...

          March 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • joey3467

          Well, I hate to break it to you, but gay people are going to be getting married, and will call their spouses whatever they want. If that makes you uncomfortable then so be it.

          March 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          And I will do my best in free speech to make gay people uncomfortable using such terms to pursuing a social disapproval of such use... As many others will, so those gays might end up being sort lived

          March 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • joey3467

          If you value free speech then you shouldn't be trying to stop gay people from calling their spouses whatever they want. Also, I assume you meant short lived, but I have no idea what you meant by that.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          we all have free speech, and I will refer to someone who is gay and married as their spouse, which shows no disrespect to them...

          I will never use a dismissal terms like your or your fake husband or fake wife...

          But in my publications which I do encourage gay people to read or even contribute too, I will always promote a special way of looking at things for our common purpose...

          March 5, 2014 at 2:20 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.