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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. pitchforker

    Pope opens door. The BACK door. Heh heh heh...

    March 5, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
  2. Doris

    Hey Pope – see – even Noah used a prophylactic:

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/world/europe/siberia-giant-virus-discovered/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    March 5, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
  3. Reality

    Too little, too late !! The RCC is fast becoming irrelevant in today's world as the pedophilia scandals have opened up our eyes and minds to the weak theological and historical foundations of the RCC and all religions in general.

    March 5, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
    • amymay2012

      It's Atheists and Jews like yourself who are weak. You can't do away with 2000 years of the Truth no mater what you and your kind "think" or do.

      March 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
      • Akira

        Atheists and Jews? What the....?

        March 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • Doris

          amymay be one month shy of a year...

          March 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • sdfrankie

        More like 2000 years of Any Day Now.

        March 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • Reality

        Addressing the issue of the weak foundations of all religions (for the new members):

        1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

        “New Torah For Modern Minds

        Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
        prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

        2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

        The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

        earlychristianwritings.com/

        For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

        Current RCC problems:

        Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

        2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

        Current problems:
        Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

        3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

        This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, the Filipino “koranics”and the Boston Marthon bombers.

        And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

        Current crises:

        The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

        4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

        The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

        Current problems:

        The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

        5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

        "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

        Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

        Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

        Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

        March 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • Reality

          And for those who are "reading challenged"

          Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

          • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

          • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

          • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

          • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

          • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

          • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

          • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

          • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

          Added details were given previously.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Where do you get Jew out of Realities post and are Jews not of the same ilk or does your imaginary friend hate them too?

        March 5, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
      • sam stone

        beware of those who capitalize the word "truth"

        March 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
  4. Alias

    Obviously, there are people who will not be happy with any RCC official, no matter what they do.
    On one side, unles sthe pope throws every priest who was ever accused of anything into prison it will not be enough. On the other side we have conservative christians who want to hold on to 'traditional values' and preserve the church they grew up with.
    I think this pope is doing well to lead the church where he thinks it sould be without alienating any more people than he has to.

    March 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
    • bostontola

      What % of child abusing priests have gone to jail?

      March 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        This doesn't quite answer that question but it does give a bit of an answer as to the number's. The site keeps stats on the issue, including a list of names. Exposure won't stop the pain their victims suffer but it might help prevent one more child being harmed at the hands of one of the exposed.
        http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/data.htm

        "The U.S. bishops have reported receiving allegations of abuse by 6,275 priests in 1950-2011, or 5.7% of the 109,694 U.S. priests active since 1950."

        March 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
  5. dontbelieveit202

    Wow...sneaky Mr. Burke, stirring the por on Ash Wednesday. Lame article. You know the Pope is firm on his stance on gay marriage, right to life and Church Doctrine. First, it would take more than the Pope to change doctrine that is fundementally theologically based. Next it would have to convene a Council to affirm it before he would speak in infallibilty rhetoric. Better off reporting on Nasa finding 700 planets that are useless to us.

    March 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
    • Akira

      Not really...the article states that he gave this interview Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Burke should report on this...when?

      March 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
      • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

        Corrierre della Sera published the interview on Wednesday, which I obviously have no control over. The don't say when the interview occurred.

        http://www.corriere.it/cronache/14_marzo_04/vi-racconto-mio-primo-anno-papa-90f8a1c4-a3eb-11e3-b352-9ec6f8a34ecc.shtml

        March 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • bostontola

      Useless to you.

      March 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
  6. Dalahäst

    "If someone comes to me and asks whether it is okay or not, I will first ask if you have some religious vows to uphold. Then my next question is, What is your companion's opinion? If you both agree, then I think I would say, if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay."
    Dalai Lama

    March 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      So, does that mean that he is saying that what is labelled as "wrong" is solely on the basis of whether or not it harms other human beings?

      March 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        No.

        March 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "Sin" lies only in harming other unnecessarily.
        All other sins are invented nonsense, with "blasphemy" and "heresy" fighting it out for the ti/tle of most absurd.

        March 5, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • colin31714

          Agreed. The human species has fabricated some silly nonsense in its time, with religion being one of the sillier constructs. One of the sillier aspects of (the already silly) religion is the idea that a being capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, is cognizant of how individual humans have se.x.

          But the gold medal is the idea that any human being who rejects the above nonsense is deserving of punishment – blasphemy, apostasy and heresy.

          One would think that such a being (i) would not get its feelings hurt and (ii) be quite capable of looking after itself in the event that it did.

          March 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          🙂 haha. Do you imagine everyone believes the way you imagine? I don't .

          March 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I most assuredly do not think everyone believes the way I do.
          Moral relativism is a truism.
          Unlike most religions, I don't think that those who beleive differently than me are evil. Nobody is a villain in their own eyes.
          I alone am responsible for my actions. If I find a given environments ethical standards tolerable, I tolerate them. If I find them too onerous, I break them with the full realization that I am responsible for the consequences.
          Guilt, blame, responsibility etc are things that take place inside an individual's head and nowhere else.
          Concepts such as state, society, culture etc. have no existence save as exemplified by the actions of individuals.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • ausphor

          DALA...
          Of course nobody knows what you believe, other than yourself, you flip flop from post to post, day to day. Let us know so we can pin you down or are you just a poe or troll, posting for amusement?

          March 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Doc: My comment was in regards to Colin's understanding and stated personal opinions, not yours.

          I am responsible for my actions, too. And I don't think people who believe differently than me are evil.

          Nor do I think they are silly nonsense or that I'm superior to them.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          ausphor

          I have no idea what you believe, other than you are not Christian. And that you want to make sure everyone knows this for some reason.

          Who is "us"? You only speak for yourself. You certainly don't speak for all or even most atheists.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • ausphor

          dala..
          So you know I am a modern Deist, that believes in an absence of a personal god or religions. Did I overstate we and us perhaps, but really what in hell do YOU believe, you seem to differ from day to day topic to topic, a poe perhaps needing attention?

          March 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Oh, yea, you are a deist. I remember now. You are the only one who calls me a poe. Uh, I'm not one. I try to be honest and just talk about what I believe. Too often I get in conversations where someone tries to dictate what they imagine I believe. I try to avoid such conversations, but they tend to seek me out. I'm not sure what your deal with me is and why you call me derogatory names, but it is your problem, not mine.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • ausphor

          dala..
          You seem to have your own religion, your own belief system, no affiliation, good for you. A god onto yourself that allows you to obfuscate on any topic. So be honest and tell me and everyone what it is that you believe, just being superior to everyone else is not a belief system. Not believing in a man made god is liberating try it, visit deism.com but please ignore it if you wish, no pressure.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't have my own religion. I follow Jesus Christ. I belong to an organized Christian community and have taken vows to uphold certain values and support all people to the best of my ability, especially those in need. I take those vows very seriously. I am very familiar with deism, but I'm not a deist. I have no problems with the beliefs, they just don't work for me. I know and love many deists, and have learned a lot from them.

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

          Dala...
          OK, I give up you believe in Jesus Christ and an unknown Christian denomination (whose name shall remain unknown, embara$$ing for you?). As a deist I also have that convenient advantage of not believing in any man made religion were you have the advantage of talking down to anyone that does not believe as you do, something in common at last.

          March 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It is no secret or unknown: I'm in the ELCA tribe. I've stated that numerous times.

          Why are you talking down on me? And stating you have a convenient advantage over me? What?

          March 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
      • meledir

        The most applicable part to the Pope's statements would be the supremacy of the religious vow in the Dalai Lama's pecking order.

        March 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
      • ausphor

        Dela..
        I must have missed your affiliation to the ECLU, my apologies. Of all the Christian cults yours seems to be quite harmless/acceptable.

        March 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Ok. Your deism seems harmless/acceptable too.

          March 5, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
  7. bostontola

    I'm still waiting for the Pope to do something that is real change. He is clearly a 21st century politician. He speaks out for the poor, he says gays should be respected (still a sin), etc. He says he will consider and contemplate lots of things, civil unions in this case. But the dogma, Church governance, and doctrine are still centuries behind. Explicitly keeping women out of Cleric positions, anti-contraceptives, etc. He talks a great story, I'm still waiting for something substantive.

    March 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
    • dontbelieveit202

      The changes everyone keeps expecting isn't coming. CNN does a good job of stirring the bowl, like this article on Ash Wednesday. Pope Francis already has stated he is a son of the Church, so he follows a long line of Agustine, Aquinas, and many other early Church fathers' teachings. He can't change Church doctrine without magestirium support. If you trace its doctrinal Foundation from a theological and philisophical perspective the Catholic Church will never sway on its position of gay marriage, female priests, or its stance on right to life. His goal if you listen to him instead of getting it from lame cnn editors is to bring unity through common ground and to bring the Church back to its missionary roots.

      March 5, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
      • bostontola

        To me, he's similar to a politician, you can't discern his goal from what he says (which I have read much of). What he says and does appears very calculated to me. Calculated to boost membership in emerging regions like Asia and Africa.

        March 5, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      And thus you show that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what dogma and doctrine are. They are immutable teachings of the Church. Papal infallibility can be used to add to what dogmas and doctrines are defined, but even then it is generally held to be an increased understanding of scripture and Tradition. The Pope cannot redefine marriage, nor can he allow women priests. If there are people who are hanging around the Catholic Church expecting changes like these, then they are wasting their time.

      March 5, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
      • bostontola

        You're right.

        March 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    The Vatican's PR company has morning meetings with the Pope's handlers and say "forget your bronze age book, according to the polls, this is what the Pope needs to say today ..."

    March 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  9. Doris

    Persecution, life imprisonment, death and violence against people incited by American evangelicals.

    With underhanded approval by the previous pope and by Anglicans.

    No public statements from the new pope on Uganda??

    (BBC News)
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-HfARzLWYk&w=640&h=360]

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

      Here:

      http://www.news.va/fr/news/le-saint-siege-condamne-les-lois-anti-gays-en-ouga

      March 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
      • Doris

        I don't read French, but that doesn't look like a public statement by the pope. If Benedict personally accepted the Ugandan senate's Christmas gift of a bill to "kill the gays", then the new pope, if he truly represents a shift for Catholic compassion ought to be able to address the issue himself.

        March 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • Doris

          publicly, for all the world to hear

          March 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
  10. geoz32

    Wow. I just can't get over the positive progressive influence this man has to make our world better. And ... that this authority has long held that potential and withheld that positive influence. What a great, great man.

    March 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      He sure works hard to make it look that way...

      March 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Compared to his predecessor, the man who literally wrote the book on hiding pedo priests, he is indeed a great man.

      March 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • meledir

        That's an extremely poorly informed opinion. Why pile on Benedict and not on John Paul? Not that this would be any more correct, but it would at least evince an understanding of how chronology works.

        In reality the problem was well below any Pope's deputy's pay grade... as demonstrated by the difference between the West where the problem has been in effect eliminated and the Third World where that is not necessarily true.

        March 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Before he was Pope Benedict, he was Cardinal Ratzinger – the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
          He is the author of the "Crimen Sollicitationis" which outlined how the church handled accusations of se.xual impropriety against clergy.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "In reality the problem was well below any Pope's deputy's pay grade... "

          No it wasn't. Benedict knew what was going on, John Paul II knew what was going on. This information was reposted to the top and the official inside response was to "keep it in house".

          March 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          The Pope is the head of the church – nothing is below his pay grade. When you say problem resolved, it may be that the focus has stopped new abuse (and who knows without transparency and accountability) but there are still a lot of outstanding cases without any punishment and often with cover-up. I'm not sure how you can defend the inaction over these crimes.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • meledir

          I know what the guy's job was, but even leaving aside the fact that Ratzinger's office wasn't delegated responsibility for the sickos until 2001... that's still like saying that the AG is responsible for jail corruption. It's *possible* that some ethical burden is there, but not plausible.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • ausphor

          Well lets see if Benny and Franky will be in the next Rome Pride parade, arm in arm supporting equality.

          March 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I said that he wrote the book. He did.
          The "Crimen Sollicitationis" was authored in the early 1960s.

          March 5, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • ausphor

          meledir
          Are you truly that ignorant of the scandal and cover ups around the world from Australia to Europe and the Americas? Are you truly that ignorant of the attempts to buy off the victims and the hiding of dioceses assets to not have to pay damages? Are you truly that ignorant of the harm done? If you are that ignorant, there are dozens and dozens of docu mentaries on the subject available on the net to educate you or would you prefer to live in ignorance and of course FAITH and denial.

          March 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • meledir

          I am not denying the problem; just the immensely logically questionable place of addressing it. I gave reasons. One of them is chronological and therefore by definition irrefutable, unless our belief in conspiracies needs to extend to the people concealing the time machines in the pyramids...

          March 5, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Akira

          If Cardinal Ratzinger write the book on hiding pedo priests in the 60's, which he did, the chronology is correct, and Doc's statement is not only NOT a "That’s an extremely poorly informed opinion.", it is proof that that statement is true.

          I wonder if doing the right thing is above anyone's pay grade. Like refusing to write it in the first place. Words have consequences, as Doc pointed out.

          March 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • ausphor

          meledir
          Chronological, please. You obviously do not take seriously the problem. Examples Brendan Smyth that was allowed to continue to abuse for decades with the full knowledge of the Vatican or Marcial Maciel A papal FAVORITE, CASH COUNTS.

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

      Good guy, no doubt, great, great PR department.

      March 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
  11. chaseladner

    Reblogged this on Hattiesburg Review and commented:
    This is fascinating, and kinda a big first step for the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic, and have a lot of friends who were raised Catholic, and somewhat counter-intuitively, most Catholics I've met have been fairly tolerant to LGBTQ* populations. So maybe this is the church getting back in step with their congregations, or maybe a step away. What do y'all think? Big deal? Not? It's interesting either which way.

    March 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • ugetthefacts

      most once catholics I know left the church and are disgusted with the catholic church escaping from crimes against children worldwide.

      The catholic church should shut up and quit deflecting, they are useless and meaningless. Yes, they offer cheap catholic charities services using our tax dollar. Yes, they receive billions in tax exemptions, subsidies and grants off the backs of the American tax payer which enable them to market themselves. . Yes, they return little in comparison to what they receive. Yes, they were caught money laundering again,

      March 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • meledir

        Interesting juxtaposition of thoughtfulness and the wholesale purchase of propaganda!

        On the original thought, this isn't new to the church management itself, else there would be WAY fewer churches with musicians...

        March 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Akira

          So you're saying that children were never abused within the RCC, and it's all "propaganda"?

          March 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
  12. Doc Vestibule

    "Take s.ex away from people. Make it forbidden, evil. Limit it to ritualistic breeding. Force it to back up into suppressed sadism. Then hand the people a scapegoat to hate. Let them kill a scapegoat occasionally for cathartic release. The mechanism is ages old. Tyrants used it centuries before the word "psychology" was ever invented.
    It works too."

    – Robert Heinlein

    March 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "The ethics of x.ex is a th/orny problem. Each of us is forced to grope for a solution he can live with – in the face of a preposterous, unworkable, and evil code of so-called "morals". Most of us know the code is wrong; almost everybody breaks it. But we pay danegeld by feeling guilty and giving lip service. Willy-nilly, the code rides us, dead and stinking, an albatross around the neck."

      – Heinlein

      March 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • meledir

      Where would society go without something like those rules? Counter-experiments have not exactly turned out well.

      March 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
  13. kristinagadfly

    There seems to be a lot of ad hominem reactions rather and any articulation of disagreement with an idea; the most notable response is many people on this thread seem to have a mouse in the pocket as they represent the "we" all the time or some imaginary majority they believe they belong too.

    March 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • doobzz

      You're like a teenaged girl who shaves her head into a purple mowhawk and then screams in protest if someone looks at her for more than two seconds.

      Act like a bitch, get treated like a bitch. It's not that hard to figure out, honey.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
      • Akira

        I found this interesting: the second definition of a gadfly according to MW-

        2 : a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism

        Hmmm.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • doobzz

          Ah, that's quite interesting. Good work as always, Akira.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          My guess

          Heaven Sent = kristinagadfly = Apple Bush

          March 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • observernow

          = faith = hharri = fake Observer = fake . . . (fill in lots of names)

          The level of intelligence, maturity, and integrity never changes.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I disagree with the Pope pretending to have some claimed moral knowledge that the he and the Catholic church says comes from the creator of the universe. He doesn't. How's that?

      March 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        I am a secular humanist and my primary mission in life is to destroy the catholic church...I don't recognize the authority of the pope or the church itself...My entire family has been very clear on that stance since Martin Luther...

        That being said, secular humanism does have opinion of the issue of gay unions.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Akira

          Then you're not really much of a humanist, are you?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • ausphor

          kris...
          Rainman the Second, one was enough. The Confessing Church, oh dear.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          So what?

          My response was to your claim of no one addressing issues and instead trading barbs. I presented an issue.

          And now for my ad hominem....Martin Luther was an asshat.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • Doris

      kristi: "There seems to be a lot of ad hominem reactions "

      Huh. I don't see any – maybe you're just making them up....

      March 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • meledir

      What a shock! People arguing about religion on a Web forum alternating between totally misunderstanding what someone else has said and sounding like Socrates' Sophist #1? Never!

      But I'm not sure where this is a big priority for secular humanism, except in the matter of honesty of language, given that a diffuse group representing at the very most a twentieth of the population (and more like a fortieth or fiftieth, given that a lot of gays won't marry) will make virtually no difference to the species.

      March 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        Doesn't make a difference? do gays live on some Island somewhere in the south pacific?

        Do we live in a representative society?

        Do individuals in the society simple dictate everything to everyone else, without a rational consensus?

        That would be interesting if we all had to kiss a priests ring because they told us its not a big deal and we should respect their right to self express and be equal....

        Oddly enough I am trying to help gay people not wear chickens on their heads, and shut down opposition and hatred which causes such harm...

        Its not a position its a negotiation, and negotiation when done properly considers the merits of any given discourse...

        Keep it real...

        March 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • meledir

          I would say that negotiation is where the problem is occurring: there aren't a lot of people here interested in "negotiation."

          However, an essentially cynical view of human nature (since presumably you are undertaking this argument with the idea that specious reasoning leads back toward traps such as concentration of power in a church on specious pretenses) is a difficult place from which to negotiate. What's the tipping point between people who need an extremely disciplined variety of reason to stay out of subservience to religion and people who simply need something like religion? It's very difficult to get ANY sort of disciplined exercise of reason in large groups of people.

          March 5, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          I have to agree...

          March 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • Alias

          YOU WANT TO NEGOCIATE WITH A CHURCH THAT YOU WANT TO DESTROY, SO THT THEY WILL CHANGE THE WAY THEY INTERPRET THE WORD F THEIR GOD?
          LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!

          March 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          No negotiation with the church, unless its their surrender, I was referring to the rest of the secular world...

          We can tear down some of their buildings and convert some into housing for the poor...sell all their gold and jewels and pay their victims....

          March 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Akira

          Are you in favor of dismantling all churches and religions, kristi, or have you just singled out the RCC?

          March 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          That is the wrong question, first, the Roman Holy Empire isn't really a church, its an empire that uses the idea of being a church to indoctrinate its people...Its defined as a state by the world and a kingdom by itself.

          As far as its guilt on the world, it is as guilty as the NAZIs and were the fundamental ideologues which created the NAZIs...The oppression of this empire lives today...

          I would say the same about Islam...

          I am not going to list all the other religions of the world who defy secularism and allowance for humanism to coexist...

          You do understand abolitionism is all its form and variations?

          March 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
  14. Vic

    I am pretty certain, so to speak, that this main issue is why Pope Francis was elected.

    Matthew 7:3
    "3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" (NASB)

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

      Well, that and to distract the rest of the world from his lack of action in the pedo scandal with pretty pictures, selfies and meaningless comments like this one.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
  15. ugetthefacts

    pope is still deflecting.. Anything to help people forget the destruction to childrens lives and get away with it.

    http://www.pbs.Org/wgbh/pages/frontline/secrets-of-the-vatican/

    March 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      we are all born as atheists

      the abuse comes when parents and priests brainwash children with bronze age fairy stories and the threat of eternal fire and torment if they don't believe.

      why don't people focus on THAT abuse!

      March 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • Alias

        We are never all going to agree on what children should be taught.

        March 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
  16. observernow

    Pope Francis looks like his is trying to move the church forward by hundreds of years. Good for him.

    March 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • bostontola

      I agree, he's pushing them up into the 19th century.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        They'll catch up eventually.
        After all, it may have taken 300 years or so but they finally admitted that Copernicus might've had a point.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      he's managing a great membership drive

      March 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • bostontola

        The membership drive is 21st century.

        March 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
  17. kristinagadfly

    Its funny to see these liberal gay supporters attack me out of fundamental attribution error, you cannot engage them in rational intercourse, its no wonder since their intercourse is usually irrational.

    I publish a secular humanist blogazine; which promotes harm reduction and secular equalism even for gay people; yes I am a social conservative, but not from this religious standpoint...

    Its like talking to a person with a chicken on their head...

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

      Who is attacking you? I don't see any? Maybe if you included their posts you might not sound ridiculous.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        How does reading sound? are you viewing all my posts with an auto reader?

        I read confusing to you? perhaps I should copy paste all the different strings so your obtuse perception can by a clue...

        This is a case of answering a stupid question with an intelligent answer; so I suggest to you if you are confused and not sure how these comments work, scroll the comments...

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

          Learn how to reply and stop acting like a butthurt azz.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          Was the above comment your exemplar of rational intercourse?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • snowr14

          how did that make sense in your head? really. How?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Akira

          Are you writing your posts through Google Translate?

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

          LOL

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

          If you are going to be this aggressive you will get attacked.
          That won't stop you from feeling like a victom, of course.

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

          I don't feel like a victim, in fact, the attacks seem to suggest those who are irrationally attacking harmless ideas have a deep victim insecurity by their responses...

          I am not responsible for those who have hurt gay people, and quiet frankly, I am bothered by abuse of gay people.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • ausphor

          kris.....
          Well it is a good thing, I suppose, that you hold yourself in such high regard. It is fairly obvious that no one else does.

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

          Well, you mean the gay people don't you?

          As far as social conservatives I seem to be a sort of hero...

          It does matter who is holding you in contempt and who is holding you in high regard...I don't really want everyone to like me...

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

          kristinagadfly

          "Well, you mean the gay people don't you?"

          It's unlikely that there are any gays commenting here. Just ANOTHER thing you got wrong.

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

          Well, aren't you a snotty, self centered little bitch? It's no fun when your trollosity is so obvious.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          I am more inline with the article than you, Mr bridge troll, you're here to troll this story to the end, in fact I am sure your agenda is to attack anyone who has any agreement.

          Now go look up that troll definition again, get a mirror and cover the wart on your nose...

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

          Wow, Jumping right into assumptions, I see. You're even worse at this than I thought. Go back to the Justin Bieber Fan Forums and practice.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • observernow

          kristinagadfly,

          Speaking of TROLLING, do you have ANY POINT to make or are you just here to offer juvenile insults?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • kristinagadfly

          You're not only a troll, you're also stalking me on comments...

          All my points have been made, I cannot be held responsible for your limited comprehension and incessant inability to cope with such ideas...

          March 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Akira

          "I am more inline with the article than you, Mr bridge troll, you’re here to troll this story to the end, in fact I am sure your agenda is to attack anyone who has any agreement."

          I highly doubt you are "inline" with this article, whatever that means, than anyone else here.

          Who attacks people they agree with?

          March 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • observernow

      kristinagadfly

      When you make a blanket statement as ignorant as "you cannot engage them in rational intercourse", then you have lost any credibility.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        that was brilliant

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

          Yours wasn't.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • kristinagadfly

        Now why would I have meant rational discourse when I was setting up the latter comment of their intercourse being irrational in a double entendre, are you that obtuse in some sort of desperate attempt in searching for an ad hominem response?

        "eye roll"

        I guess some people have limited linguistic dexterity and have phrases locked into their head from redundant use; making them incapable of either articulation or processes intended use when their is a phonic similarity in their heads.

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

          Ah. A Poetroll. Never mind.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          You use sum real purdy werds.
          You gots more english than I done has.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • Alias

          Try that again, without the chicken on your head.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • observernow

          kristinagadfly,

          Your SESQUIPEDALIAN comments aren't impressing anyone.

          Do they impress you?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          lionlylamb?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • ausphor

          Educated articulate fools are such a bore.

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

          lol, that made me laugh...cute!

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

          Robert Brown,

          Lionly ewe now?

          March 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • believerfred

          I prefer hyperpolysyllabicsesquipedalianist as it helps to weed out the non believers.

          March 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Obfuscatory polysyllabic terminology hinders cognition.
          or
          "BS baffles brains"

          March 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Akira

          Doc, the W.C. Fields quite comes to mind.

          March 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • pjones006

      I am pretty sure you meant "rational discourse" but then you don't sound too bright.

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

      Isn't most intercourse of a sexual nature irrational? It is, after all, driven by hormones and desire rather than by logic and thought. It is emotion based, thus irrational.

      So, do you oppose all sexual intercourse or just the kind you find icky?

      March 5, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
  18. snowr14

    And just like that, about 43.372% of christians' minds spontaneously blew up due to a large volume of blood flooding into their tiny minds at a high pressure.

    March 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
  19. 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 difference to quell hysteria and fears there over gays was stripped of his position, that only contributed to the same hysteria 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 2:14 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    the main reason for the celibacy rule in the catholic hierarchy is that the church has always been corrupted by power and money and they didn't want popes and senior church figures creating dynasties by having sons and passing on their power generation after generation.

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

      Yep.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • Akira

      What's even odder is that the celibacy thing is voluntary.

      March 5, 2014 at 2:39 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.