April 25th, 2014
11:41 AM ET

How the Catholic Church makes saints

By John L. Allen, Jr. and Daniel Burke

(CNN) - On Sunday, for the first time in history, the Catholic Church will canonize two popes on the same day.

Pope Francis will preside over a special ceremony that is expected to draw upwards of a million pilgrims, who will gather in St. Peter's Square to witness Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII enter the celestial community of Catholic saints.

Here's a bit about the Catholic Church's canonization process.

What is a saint, and how many are there?

Catholics believe a saint is someone who lived a holy life and who’s already in heaven. Saints are considered role models for people still on Earth, and are capable of interceding with God on someone’s behalf when a request for help is made in prayer.

The actual number of saints is impossible to calculate. One well-known work called "Lives of the Saints" lists 2,565 Catholic saints, but that doesn’t count thousands of others celebrated in local regions all over the world. The Catholic Church has a feast, All Saints’ Day, on November 1 to honor the countless saints who aren’t formally canonized.

So how does one become a saint?

In one sense it’s a democratic process, beginning with a grassroots conviction that a given person lived a holy life. From there, things unfold in three stages. First, Church officials make a study of the person’s life. In John Paul’s case, a four-volume study stretching over more than 2,000 pages was produced, including testimony from more than 100 witnesses.

Next, one miracle after the candidate’s death is required for beatification - and another for canonization. Usually the miracles are healings, which must be instantaneous, permanent, and complete, in addition to scientifically inexplicable. Catholics see the miracle as God’s seal of approval, a way of verifying that the saint really is in heaven.

As pope, John Paul II made the sainthood process faster and simpler – but it’s still not cheap. The biggest expenses are usually the ceremonies for beatification and canonization. When St. Josemaría Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, was canonized in 2002, Opus Dei estimated that it had spent roughly $1 million on the process from beginning to end, stretching over three decades.

Was that process strictly followed for Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII?

In a word, no.

John Paul’s beatification is the quickest in modern times, made possible because Pope Benedict XVI waived the normal five-year waiting period after death to get someone’s beatification rolling. Benedict was responding to crowds who chanted “Santo Subito!” (Sainthood Now!) at John Paul’s funeral Mass and to a petition signed by the cardinals who elected Benedict.

In one way, the pace of John Paul’s cause is a result of his own policies. He sped up saint-making in 1983, a move meant to lift up contemporary role models of holiness. Since then, at least 20 candidates have been beatified within 30 years of their death. For the record, John Paul’s is not the most “fast-tracked” sainthood of all time. That distinction belongs to St. Anthony of Padua, who died in June 1231 and was canonized less than a year later.

John XXIII, known to many Catholics as "Good Pope John," had a relatively short papacy - from 1958 to 1963 - but his influence on the church was enormous.

He convened the Second Vatican Council during the 1960s, which brought the Roman Catholic Church into the modern world, and the modern world into the Roman Catholic Church.

As a result of the council, modern music and local languages - including English - replaced Gregorian chants and Latin prayers in many churches. Lay Catholics were encouraged to take leadership roles in the church, and the church's relationships with the Jewish community and with Protestants improved dramatically after liturgical and doctrinal changes.

Beyond that, Pope John XXIII was known as a holy - and very funny - man. When a reporter once asked how many people work at the Vatican, he answered, "About half."

John has been credited with one miracle, the healing of an Italian nun in 1966, but Pope Francis waived the requirement for a second miracle - as is the papal prerogative.

Still, some sticklers say Francis should have waited for the second miracle to canonize John XXIII.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Leaders • Miracles • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

soundoff (342 Responses)
  1. His Panic

    I, even I, could be may be his Panic. See, the current pope of the roman church has to do that because the followers are frustrated with all the other "saints" (read idols) are not answering prayers. This is leading to a lot of anxiety among romanists/papists, so instead of leading them to Christ his choice is to make some dead old men "saints. The Big Problema is that if they ignore the Scriptures and the teaching of the Christ and the Apostles, that ALL who are IN Christ are call saints not just a handful. That can be a source of anxiety, fear, hysteria and Panic.

    April 27, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
    • Akira

      Yes, you could, even you could be, may be, a saint. In the strictest sense of the definition. And you don't even have to worry about stampedes.

      You need a nice dose of Xanax to counter your crippling fear of trying to justify your name by projecting it onto other people.

      April 27, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Suffering panic attacks? There are padded rooms and drugs for that. The easiest way to get yourself help is to turn off your computer; disconnect your internet and pick up a phone book, look for the number for the local asylum and take the first step in admitting you have been infected with the religious virus.

      April 28, 2014 at 6:38 am |
  2. monkeyabeyman

    Worshiping What We Know’

    Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: “We worship what we know. . . . The true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him.” (John 4:22, 23) Notice that worship with truth is a must! It is therefore impossible to worship God acceptably without accurate knowledge of and a deep love for the truth. The true Christian religion must be founded on truth, not on traditions and practices borrowed from paganism. We know how Jehovah feels when people attempt to worship him in the wrong way. The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the ancient Greek city of Corinth: “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? . . . What agreement does God’s temple have with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:15, 16) Any attempt to harmonize God’s temple with idols is repulsive to him.
    Furthermore, in a very clear way, the Scriptures rule out the idea of praying to “saints” in order for them to act as intercessors with God. In his model prayer, Jesus taught that prayers are to be addressed to the Father only, since he directed his disciples: “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.’” (Matthew 6:9) Jesus further stated: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” And the apostle Paul stated: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus.”—John 14:6, 14; 1 Timothy 2:5.
    If we truly want our prayers to be heard by God, it is essential that we approach him in the way that his Word directs. Stressing the only valid way to approach Jehovah, Paul also wrote: “Christ Jesus is the one who died, yes, rather the one who was raised up from the dead, who is on the right hand of God, who also pleads for us.” “He is able also to save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is always alive to plead for them.”—Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25.

    ‘Worshiping With Spirit and Truth’

    Apostate Christianity had neither the spiritual strength nor the support of God’s holy spirit to motivate the pagans to abandon their false worship and follow the truthful teachings of Jesus Christ. It absorbed pagan beliefs and practices in its quest for converts, power, and popularity. For this reason it produced, not sound Christians, acceptable to God and Christ, but counterfeit believers, “weeds” unfit for the Kingdom.—Matthew 13:24-30.
    During this time of the end, however, under Jehovah’s direction there is a momentous movement in restoring true worship. Jehovah’s people worldwide, regardless of their cultural, social, or religious background, try to conform their lives and beliefs to the standards of the Bible. If you want to learn more about how to worship God “with spirit and truth,” please contact Jehovah’s Witnesses where you live. They will be more than happy to help you offer acceptable sacred service to God, based on your power of reason and an accurate knowledge of his Word. Paul wrote: “I entreat you by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason. And quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And to the Colossians he said: “We, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him as you go on bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the accurate knowledge of God.”—Romans 12:1, 2; Colossians 1:9, 1

    April 27, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • igaftr

      Here's another one that cannot distinguish belief from knowledge and truth.
      The truth is that you have no idea if there are any gods, let alone yours.

      April 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Nice fiction, but needs some dragons and vampires.

      April 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
    • fintronics

      Worshiping what we know;

      1. God himself will kill tens of thousands if it pleases him: 1st Samuel 6:19 in the King James Version: “And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men (50,070)”. Kill 50 000 men for looking at something?

      2. You can kill a woman if she seizes a man's private parts without his permission: Deuteronomy 25:11-1: If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

      3. Perversity and human trafficking condoned: "Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse." (1 Peter 2:18)

      4. S*ex slavery condoned: "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again."
      Exodus 21: 7-8

      April 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  3. tavuka2

    Just another pedophile convention.

    April 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
  4. tavuka2

    I wonder how many millions and millions of dollars were spent on this massive god and pony show.. I was of course paid for by the Catholic sheep..but really 800K people.. would take a massive amount of money to put this event on.. imagine how many people could have used this wasted money for better uses. These events are nothing but sales pitches for the catholic church. The churches all over the planet are REQUIRED to pay huge sums of money to pay for these useless events. Every time they put on these events the church rakes in billions from its followers...
    yep.. its really all about the money.. even though they will not admit it... that is all this is a huge massive tax free fund raiser..
    sure glad I do not waste my money on this garbage.

    April 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  5. auntiekale

    I still get stuck on the part where Humans think they have a soul that will survive their demise...fanciful childish dreaming at best!

    April 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • tavuka2

      A good place to learn about the evolution of the myths is by doing research on it.
      The Masks of the Gods.. 4 books by Joseph Campbell.
      The Golden Bough by James Frazier
      The Ishmael books...and the Story of B etc by Daniel Quinn
      Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill
      They all have web sites and or books you can read free on the net or purchase at Amazon.
      The poem.. the Path of the Calf... is a good example of how the simple worshiping of a cow has evolved into the insane religions we have how. look it up on the net..
      for a little fun... look up... Kissing Hank's A__s. it pretty much puts the whole religious business in a nut shell.

      April 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      Sure, but what a gig for those who would cash in on it!

      April 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  6. whippstippler7

    This is like kids in kindergarten! Oh, you need miracles to be a saint. Righto – let the church prove – with valid, credible, and sufficient evidence – one bona fide "miracle", that is not only scientifically impossible to replicate, but scientifically impossible to even explain.

    Miraculous hearings? Don't make me laugh. Diseases spontaneously go in to remission all of the time. How about regrowing 2 severed legs? If cancer can be cured thru prayer, why not amputations? How about raising someone from the dead after they have been dead, and starting to decompose, for a week or two? Wouldn't THAT be a miracle?

    Ridiculous and childish.

    April 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Miraculous healings, not hearings. D'oh! Stupid auto spell correct.

      April 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
    • tavuka2

      There has and there will never be an proof that anything supernatural exists because it does not.
      religions are really the myths of I Don't know.. so I will give you a made up story as proof I am a clever story teller.
      However.. there is NOW proof the christian myth is not real...
      visit Caesar's Messiah web site for the research and what is now know about the myth and its inventors.

      April 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  7. MidwestKen

    As some may have already stated, I don't think the RCC claims to "make" saints, but simply officially recognize their holiness.

    April 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      They don't "make" saints" ...these are the people they claim are 100% in heaven....but it is equally BS.

      April 26, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        I don't disagree, I'm just clarifying that the RCC is not claiming supernatural powers, just the ability to guess what a supernatural being would do. Nothing new here.

        April 27, 2014 at 10:16 am |
      • tavuka2

        there is no such place as a heaven..... it is a lie... one of many the christian myth masters sell...

        April 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Doris

    David Wood destroyed by Bart Ehrman

    Bart Ehrman, from the video [regarding the Gospel of Mark]: "These lots and lots of copies are from many centuries after Mark was written. How could we know that these copies stemmed from a correct copy, instead of an errant copy? Our earliest ones are all highly errant."

    Published 04-14-2014

    NT scholar Bart Ehrman holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary (magna cum laude). He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs.

    April 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Wood can make his claims 'till the cows come home. The fact is the earliest original Gospel of Mark had no resurrection, and ended with the empty tomb. The last few verses were added later. That is not in dispute. How can THAT be "preserved inspired" anything.

      April 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
  9. Salero21

    The RCC IS NOT really a church much less THE Church of Christ, the RCC is a Politico-religious Organization with Financial, social and political agendas and interests IN the world. The hierarchical system they have is anti-christian, against the teachings of Christ. Is an anti-Christ.

    April 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      There is no "Church of Christ" . He did not start a "church". The word is a translation of the Greek word "ecclsia", which is simply a community. Jebus, (if he even existed) was an apocalyptic who thought, as did all he early followers, that the end-times were upon them. No need for a "church" if the world was about to end. They cooked up a "church" later, when they needed to keep the new sect of Judasim going, after they got booted from the Synagogues, (the "expulsion curses") in the 90's CE. No church is better than another, Salerno. Everyone of the 33,000 sects thinks THEY possess THE truth, just like you. You followers of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy-Jebus are a dime a dozen. Yawn.

      April 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        I can see that atheism breeds the worst kind of immaturity. Logic is dead in atheism☺️

        April 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Thanks for proving my point. You are incapable of intelligent discussion. You are capable only of broad sweeping insults, and generalizations. It's why you are so poorly thought of here. You do a great job of making believers look bad. Please keep it up. So ... you never did graduate from Grade School then ?

          April 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          We see from your daily posts that lack of education and extreme belief breeds complete ignorance.

          April 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • seedenbetter

          Stop embarrassing yourself.

          April 27, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • fintronics

          The ignorance is strong in this little troll.

          April 29, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • kevinite

        18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church (community); and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

        19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
        (Matthew 16:18-19 KJV)
        Definite set leadership and guidelines for this "community".

        17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church (community): but if he neglect to hear the church (community), let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matthew 18:17 KJV) Once again specific guidelines for this "community".

        6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV) Very specific on who to follow.

        26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26 KJV)

        One certainly can view this "community" as something of definite purpose and definite structure. Something that Jesus in the Gospels viewed as being something of great importance.

        April 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Too bad "Jesus in the gospels" never said any such thing. The "keys of the kingdom" quote was "placed in his mouth" by the editors, and clearly reflects a much later understanding. The quotes from John are irrelevant. You DO know I hope Mithras said the SAME things, much much earlier. Why is it Christians don't get that the gospels are in NO WAY "historical records", (as all scholars know) ? You have no clue *what* Jesus in the gospels "viewed" as anything. All you know is how the community of believers much much later THOUGHT he might have viewed things, AFTER Jerusalem had been destroyed, and the end-times (surprisingly to them) did not happen. The followers of Jesus were JEWS, for decades, (until well into the 2nd Century). There was no "church" for almost 100 years.

          April 26, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
    • otoh2


      Have you chosen a new denomination (or 'non-denomination') for yourself?

      April 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
      • observer


        Do you think the troll ACTUALLY is a Christian?

        April 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          We should hope this isn't an Atheist pretending, that wouldn't be a positive for the rational side.

          April 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • kudlak

      Isn't that like saying that Coke isn't really a cola?

      April 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
  10. Doris

    Dan Dennett responds to a statement by Richard Dawkins at 37:30 in this video. I couldn't agree more with Dan Dennett on the notion that many kids today are so heavily influenced by characters from television, internet, etc., where these characters lead lives of great meaning – what Dennett refers to as a "great narrative arc", and that consequently many kids that don't see much meaning in their lives are ready to drop all skepticism and be martyrs for the chance to be "heroes" in this life first. Dan seems to indicate this as a Western influence on non-Western cultures, but I think this effect on some people in this information age is universal.


    April 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • Doris

      Sorry – that happens when you try to post a video that's in a playlist. Here is the standalone video. In this one the portion that I was referring to above starts at about 14:00.


      April 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
  11. thefinisher1

    LOL. Atheism is a fairytale LOL.

    April 26, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • realbuckyball

      The moon is made of green cheese and the Easter Bunny came to my house.
      Because we all know saying something without demonstrating the proof, is the way modern humans communicate in 2014. Not. You really are obsessed with atheism. Almost like you wish you could be one, but are afraid.
      Are you a closet case ? I think so. Methinks you doth protest too much.

      April 26, 2014 at 11:09 am |
      • thefinisher1

        Your atheism is a fairytale. Plain and simple. No "closet case" here, kiddo. Time to grow up.

        April 26, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • realbuckyball

          No Closet-Case-All-Washed-Up1. I really am an atheist and you are so retarded you cannot even begin to say what's wrong with the absence of belief. You say do your little idiot one liners, but you are unable to write a coherent paragraph.
          Did you graduate from Grade School ?

          April 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Butthurtness is very common with you atheists. Awwww! I'm here for ya bud!

          April 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Thanks for demonstrating over and over you got nuthin. You can't make ONE intelligent reference, quote, or thought. ALl you can do is call names. Keep it up. You make beliebers look like the fools you are.

          April 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
        • tavuka2

          The truth will set you free from mythological lies

          <iframe id="distrify-player-1552" cl

          April 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • tavuka2

          The TRUTH will set your free from Mythological lies.

          Some content was stripped by our security filters, but it should be possible for one of your Editors to embed the content for you.

          April 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • kudlak

      Let's see how it goes?

      Once upon a time, nothing supernatural or miraculous happened. Nobody battled mythical monsters, or witches. No dwarves or fairies came to the rescue and no legendary places were visited. No magic was performed. Basically, everything that happened had a natural cause, just like today.

      Wow, I wonder why Disney hasn't made an animated movie about this?

      April 26, 2014 at 11:18 am |
      • thefinisher1

        Atheism is irrational and childish.

        Grow up.

        April 26, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • Woody

          "Atheism is irrational and childish." – thefinisher1

          And the belief in invisible people, who dwell somewhere in the upper atmosphere of Earth, is completely rational in your mind. RIGHT!!!!

          April 26, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • thefinisher1

          The bible doesn't mention where the spiritual realm of heaven is located, you dolt.

          April 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • Woody

          The bible was written to reel in simple minded people with limited education. I can see that they achieved their goal.

          April 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Atheism is only in your mind. It's not real. Break away from it and live a happy life! You can do it! I'm here for you😊

          April 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • kudlak

          Your responses tell me who the grown ups are around here.

          Keep on believing in magic. It's cute!

          April 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • tavuka2

          What is Atheism to you?
          Is it the non belief of your chosen myth?
          are you an atheist ?
          If you do not believe in all the other myths.. then you are an atheist.
          you are an atheist to all the other myths.. except the one you choose.
          so the only difference between you and my self is I believe in one less myth then you...
          so criticizing atheists when you are one yourself is meaningless.
          unless you believe in all the gods humans have created..a resource you can find on the net or by reading the 4 books by Joseph Campbell.. The Masks of the gods..
          you are pretty much only 1 less god atheist then the rest of of 100% god and supernatural non believing human beings.
          all other species on this planet are also atheists... so non belief in mythological beings is really a minority concept on this planet .. The belief in a mythological being is a programmed into the brain my long learned brain washing techniques.
          It is the oldest trick humanity has played on its self... a trick that has been a massive political tool that has caused more death on this planet than any other idea.

          April 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Kudos for making the blog one of the greatest spots for turning people away from Christianity and most other belief's.

      April 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Thanks for showing the evil side to atheism! You do more harm to atheism than good! 😊😄😊😄😊😄☺️😄😊

        April 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I really do not comprehend how someone like you manages to turn on a computer or what cheap thrill you get from coming to a public blog and making a complete ass out of yourself.
          I'm not certain how I cause harm to not believing but you can have your delusions if that is what gets you by, just do the world a favor and stay out of the public square-you are truly a damaged person.

          April 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          You show atheism is evil and harmful to the mind. Thanks for showing it, kiddo!!!!

          April 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Akira

          Hey, finisher? I'm not an atheist, but you are one stupid ass.

          April 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          He said, as he parroted back what he NEVER once said before, until he got the idea from the other side.

          April 27, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Please don't feed the Trolls!

      April 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
  12. idiotusmaximus

    How the Catholic Church makes saints.......

    Lololollolololol...WOW...this is so important to know.....more important is how Harry Potter and Witches can make BROOMSTICKS FLY.

    April 26, 2014 at 10:34 am |
  13. sam stone

    willie nelson, woody harrelson, joe rogan, marc emery

    April 26, 2014 at 10:18 am |
  14. realbuckyball

    My patron saint is Saint Pus"sy Galore. Patron of sacred sl'uts. (See "Saint Misbehavin ... modern day saints you never hear of" by Ron Kanfi. I also like Saint Francis, The Sissy.

    April 26, 2014 at 10:10 am |
  15. Doris

    Letting go of superst.i.tion


    Speakers in order of appearance:

    1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
    2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
    5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
    6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
    7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
    8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
    9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
    11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
    12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
    13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
    14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
    15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
    16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
    18. Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
    20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
    21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
    22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
    23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
    24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
    26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
    27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
    28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
    31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
    33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
    34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
    36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
    37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
    39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
    41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
    42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
    45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
    46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
    47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
    49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
    50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics


    Mozart – Requiem Mass In D Minor K 626 – 1. Introitus 00:03
    Massive Attack – Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water 02:28, 19:14
    Max Richter – Embers 05:13
    Ludovico Einaudi – Andare 09:27, 24:30, 26:31
    Ludovico Einaudi – Nuvole Bianche 13:13
    Max Richter – Vladimir's Blues 29:21
    Ludovico Einaudi – Eni 30 Percento (The Earth Prelude) 33:16

    April 26, 2014 at 10:01 am |
    • tavuka2

      Please visit the Caesar's Messiah web site.. this web site tells of who invented the christian myth, how they did it ans why.
      Joe Atwill just ended the Christian myth..for all time.. it will take a ling time for the discovery to reach everyone.. but when more and more people see his evidence... more and more will agree.. the whole christian myth is nothing more than a Roman joke..

      April 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  16. ausphor

    In my opinion the fact that neither of these old men were never arrested and did time for the crimes of the church should be considered a miracle. There you go I just solved the conundrum for you Frankie. Not that I need one but you could grant me a free indulgence or two.

    April 26, 2014 at 8:18 am |
  17. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    Today there is only one slogan concerning belief mattering: "Don't take it too seriously!"

    Today nearly no denomination really takes care of their members (no care for the soul's health). They know that that could affect the motto "don't take it too seriously!". Only one thing is important for modern religious leaders: That their "stupid" sheep work round the clock, and can donate enough money. The leaders themselves lead a life of ease. Of course, they cannot have a steady job in the secular world, because they need the whole week to prepare their one-hour-sermon of Sunday. And, of course, it is hard to produce an elaborate sermon which sounds devoutly, but doesn't affect the motto "don't take it too seriously!" When the church goers would take it too seriously, that could affect their job and consequently the amount of money they donate.

    The RCC has invented the "good deeds". This is a brilliant mean to spare people from taking it too seriously. You simply keep some ridiculous rituals, and after that you are allowed to behave like a beast in daily life (the good deeds justify you despite your misbehaviour in daily life). Pray the rosary, fast some days, keep certain feastdays, etc., and then you are allowed to participate in the current godless contest of all people. Why godless?
    Weak people have no chance to survive in this godless contest. Only the fittest will survive (our power elite promotes that demonic system). This is against the principle of unbiased love, and therefore means godlessness. How do you perceive your Catholic workmate (our workmate of any other false belief)? Does he behave like a red bull, or does he give you tips, and helps you to become a good professional too. I am quiete sure that most Catholics today behave more or less like beasts, and try to outdo their workmates instead of promoting them in making progress in capabilities.

    (don't get me wrong: I am no opponent of reasonable work, but the competi-tion of today is really ill; who cares for the people daily dropping out of the system, because they had been so neglected?)

    It appears to me that our current secular leaders have inherited only the following from the earthly rule of the popes during the dark age: To milk the people up to the maximum, and to satisfy the personal greed for honor, power and riches at cost of the ordinary people, even on the cost of their soul's health.

    The Global Players are the new popes. As the former popes used sermons to keep their people stupid, today Global Players use the mass media to keep us stupid. They always focus us on any idiotic (civil) war somewhere (Ukraine, Libya, Egypt, etc.). Some could get the impression that these wars are staged for the sake of the medias engagement (maybe I exaggerate).

    For centuries the pope is model of such a behaviour (misbehaviour?).

    Don't get fooled by the glamour of the RCC or any other false denomination. They all have conformed to the current godless system.

    The RCC doesn't help people to get into heaven, but she leads them to hell. Cheers!

    April 26, 2014 at 7:15 am |
    • Reality

      And RHB's USA Lutheranism oozes from his bigoted fingertips and brainwashed brain!!!

      April 26, 2014 at 7:32 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Hi Reality,

        actually you are a quite reasonable man, and I like your posts. Yet, why are you such a stubborn opponent of the Christian faith?

        I am neither bigoted nor brainwashed. I really try to make only statements which I can undergird by historical information.

        It is okay to question the historical validity of every docu-ment, but we should not read the Bible with a too negative outlook. We should treat the Bible as objectively as every other docu-ment. It is not correct to be too biased regarding the Bible.

        I see no reason to doubt the statements of the Bible.

        Why do you doubt?

        What is your real name?

        April 26, 2014 at 7:48 am |
        • sam stone

          you are not brainwashed?

          how then do you believe that "sin" is anything more than a man made concept?

          April 26, 2014 at 7:52 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Just keep on sinning, and then, after a while, wonder why you become depressive, unfortunate, sick, etc.

          This effect is real, and confirms the statements of the Bible.

          The wage of the sin is the death.

          April 26, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          not wage, but reward

          April 26, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • Reality

          Why do I doubt? I reviewed, reasoned and concluded. If you want to do the same, some suggested references as previously noted:

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
          5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:

          16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
          17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
          18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.
          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          April 26, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • sam stone

          you did not answer the question, rainy

          another christian coward....how surprising (heavy sarcasm)

          April 26, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

      What next?

      April 26, 2014 at 9:10 am |
      • sam stone

        what next? time to go meet jeebus, if you have the guts, coward

        April 26, 2014 at 10:09 am |
      • sam stone

        why do you feel anyone should show you love, rainy fuhrersucker?

        you are a pompous bigot

        fvck you

        April 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • sam stone

        Not trying to be social, D-bag

        April 27, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • realbuckyball

      More verbal diarrhea from the know-it-all. Rainy actually thinks HE knows better than everyone else. What an insufferable patronizing jerk. "Today nearly no denomination really takes care of their members (no care for the soul's health)."
      Thanks Rainer. Keep it up. You do a better job of driving people away from religion than any atheist ever could. Keep up the good work.

      April 26, 2014 at 10:07 am |
      • sam stone

        you got to remember that rainy fuhrersucker is god's offical spokesperson

        rainy fuhrersucker and gopher

        rainy fuhrersucker, gopher and theo philatio

        rainy fuhrersucker, gopher, theo philatio and vic

        rainy fuhrersucker, gopher, theo philatio, vic and the rest of the "saints" who come here to post their pompous drivel

        April 26, 2014 at 10:15 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Regarding your hatred you seem to be very religious.

        Ain't you a typical modern "believer"?

        And, if you have found a good way of life: "Why don't you missionize me?"

        However, your hatred makes me a little doubting, if your way is the real way.

        April 26, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • sam stone

          jeebus is waiting, bigot

          April 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein


          April 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • sam stone

          rainy is yet another cowardly blog christian...

          April 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          No one is "missionizing" anyone. Just pointing your drivel. You get to find your own path. Hope you don't remain as deluded and insufferable as you are now.

          April 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
  18. colin31714

    Oh Christ, they’re childishly funny, aren’t they, those Catholics? I’m sorry, but this is Dark Ages nonsense.

    So, this is what the greatest minds in the Catholic Church believe. A person dies. This person, apparently, continues to monitor the thoughts of the 7 billion human beings on Earth, using some kind of post-mortem supernatural powers. When they come across a human being that is praying to them, they listen and then ask the creator of the Universe to intervene to alter what would otherwise be the course of human history to answer the prayer (by, for example, making a terminal cancer go away).

    This is kindergarten stuff. Little children stop believing in wish granting fairies around age 9.

    April 25, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      You forgot a few things. Not only did the "prayer" alter the (supposed) "plan", (god has a *plan* you know, BUT YOU can change it), but also the prayer changes what the omniscient deity already knew he was already going to do.. so it disproves the either omniscience or the efficacy of prayer. So.. god has a plan. They really need to stop screwing it up with their prayers. Also "going to heaven" is meaningless, unless spacetime is also a property of the spiritual realm. Make sense ? Not at all. Going somewhere takes time. IF god lives in spacetime, then "doing" something, proves she is not "eternal", as there is an endpoint to the past, and a "marker" between past, present and future. "Sending your son" requires a temporal dimension. A deity that exists in spacetime REQUIRES it, a priori, thus cannot be the creator of Reality. In short, it's all utter hogwash.

      April 26, 2014 at 12:06 am |
    • tavuka2

      The inventors of the christian myth have been discovered. Visit the web site Caesar's Messiah for the discovery information.

      April 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  19. iowasundevil

    An article describing how the catholic cult selects their heroes? LMAO!!

    April 25, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
  20. samsstones

    Topher. By stating have you ever lied, stolen, called your god an ass-hole, ticked off my parents or whatever you nutters think what "sin" is, that is up to you. The rest of us don't really give a dam-n about your biblical guilt trip, you live in a total different reality than normal people.

    April 25, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      without the biblical guilt trip, how would gopher, theo, vic et al get wood thinking about what jeebus "did for us". as such, they should be soundly ridiculed whenever they attempt to preach

      April 25, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Yeah, yesterday had a back forth with "georgia" who made a post about how she was praying for god to "recall" humanity because we are depraved ...a soft way of saying god should commit a mass genocide. Then she was called out on it and accused everyone who opposed her of being "angry atheists".....she didn't get the irony.

        April 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Maybe the gods will get it right one of these times.

          April 26, 2014 at 12:07 am |
      • sam stone

        Yet they rarely offer a voluntary recall of themselves. Ironic, since they claim being with their god will be beautiful beyond comprehension

        April 26, 2014 at 7:15 am |
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About this blog

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