We Listen to the Pope Except When We Don’t

He is afforded all the pomp and circumstance of a monarch, but his title is the Italian diminutive of “Daddy.” … Continued

He is afforded all the pomp and circumstance of a monarch, but his title is the Italian diminutive of “Daddy.” Some of his predecessors called for war, even leading troops into battle; others died pursuing peace. Some have been pedophiles and skirt-chasers; others ascetic saints. Through twenty centuries of ups and downs, the pope has remained as a fixture in Catholicism. His role is so basic to the Church, that everyone knows the rhetorical question: “Is the pope Catholic?” (The answer is: “Yes, because no other religion would take him!”)

The pope is coming to America this week, reviving memories of past glories and shame, inspiring both hope and distrust among Catholics and just about everyone else. Unlike all other Christians, only Catholics have to embrace the ambiguities of the papacy over two millennia. Wouldn’t it be easier to declare the papacy outmoded and just move on to a more democratic form of leadership? How can Catholics say they side with the poor when the pope lives surrounded with so much gold and splendor? And how can a pope claim infallibility when the Vatican has to spend so much time “clarifying” offensive remarks?

There have always been Catholics disturbed enough to ask these questions, but the majority of us accept the pope as the unavoidable presence of continuity with Christ’s message. The theology of the papacy is so ingrained in us that few can think of a Catholicism without a pope. Ironically, I think those who are not Catholic worry more about the contradictions of the papacy than Catholics.

We see the popes as a varied collection of individuals who responded to the times in which they lived. Sometimes the need was for a capable administrator (like St. Leo and Gregory, both called “Great”); at other times for a brainy ascetic like Pius XII or Paul VI; and we all like the earthy commonness of St. Pius X and Blessed John XXIII. Even the notorious Renaissance popes, like Alexander VI and Julius II, were chosen not because they were holy but because their worldly savvy could best defend territories under church rule against the poaching of aggressive fifteenth century monarchs.

This ability of the papacy to have changed its functions according to the times is often overlooked by critics. Plainly said, the papacy is a moving target: put enough pressure on Church leadership and they will respond to contemporary needs.

Perhaps more important is the role of the papacy, not as having the first word as leader, but as having the last word as referee. While sometimes popes have blazed a new trail intellectually for Catholicism, the historical role has always been to help settle disputes that threaten unity. Think of the free safety in football who is the last man to tackle any runner who has escaped the rest of the defense.

The common response from the laity to any papal instruction is “Interesting….” rather than “March to the same tune!” In this week’s visit of Pope Benedict XVI we should observe which tone is reported.

About

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is Professor Emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College and Distinguished Scholar of the City University of New York.
  • mo

    heirarchyism in christianism.the heirs and heritage of the ideology and the theolgy of sonship of god ,the god incarnate in mankind and the triangle god????????.same mentality of atlas copoco who carry the earth ball on his head and shoulder ,and the old lady aphrodete!same mentality of idolism .please work on reviving the truth about the creator who created heavens and earth not failing mankind backwording to the era of idolism.

  • mo

    heirarchyism in christianism.the heirs and heritage of the ideology and the theolgy of sonship of god ,the god incarnate in mankind and the triangle god????????.same mentality of atlas copoco who carry the earth ball on his head and shoulder ,and the old lady aphrodete!same mentality of idolism .please work on reviving the truth about the creator who created heavens and earth not failing mankind backwording to the era of idolism.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    The Bottom Line:Benedict like many of us suffers from the Three B Syndrome i.e. he was Bred, Born and Brainwashed in his religion. For this reason, he is unable to think past the shackles put upon him by the likes of Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.The wishful thinking done by these five scribes approximately 2000 years ago continued the embellishment and fiction tradition of the Jewish scribes. The locals paid for a good story of myth and imminent second coming. There was no money in the truth but now we know the truth and it boils down to two simple statements, Do No Harm and Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself. Time to pink slip the pope, bishops and priests!!!!Ditto for all the fiction and superstition purveyors of all religions especially the ayatollahs, imams and clerics of Islam.

  • Fletcher Crossman

    I don’t get the point of this article: the writer seems to be saying that he goes along with all the Catholic tradition about the pope being infallible because he speaks the words of God, and then goes on to point out that the papacy is blown around by human affairs. Is God also as susceptible to the tides of human history? Perhaps that explains why the world looks very much as it would if there was no God, and if anachronisms like the pope were just people prancing around in silly hats.

  • V. Kelley

    Correction to catholic history: Popes Alexander VI and Julius II became popes by bribing a majority of the college of cardinals to vote for them. Check it out on GOOGLE. After Alexander VI was elected, he then banned the practice of bribing his fellow cardinals.

  • Don Libes

    If the Washington Post would stop covering the Pope as if he was newsworthy then Catholics would stop feeling guilty about no longer listening.Why does the Washington Post persist in covering the Pope as if his actions have any relevance? Why not provide equal coverage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Pastafarianism?

  • Carney

    Fletcher Crossman, Catholic teaching holds that the pope is infallible when he makes a specific kind of formal pronouncement on faith and morals in union with all the bishops.It’s not a guarantee that any individual man will live a perfect or sinless life, or even avoid grave scandal. Even the first pope, St. Peter, denied Christ three times.As for the world looking as if it would if there were no God – the very existence of reality screams out to anyone with ears to hear that there is God. Something popping out of nothing, and the universe arranging itself just precisely so to permit our emergence, is more than mere coincidence.As for human affairs, there are many documented and skeptically investigated and confirmed examples of miracles witnessed by thousands, including in the modern era of science, and it’s hard to imagine any purely human institution surviving intact as long as the Catholic Church has without some protection and guidance.Concerned the Christian Now Liberated: WHY should you love your neighbor as yourself and WHY do no harm? Secularists have no compelling answer to the selfish. If all there is is just physics and chemistry in a random uncaring universe, nothing matters and I should just grab what I want and hurt whom I please, consequences be damned. After all, life is just a brief window of opportunity for selfish pleasure that will not come again.Also, the central reality the apostles preached wasn’t the vapid, empty, easy religion of Nicey-Nice, it was the reality of God made man, dying, and rising again.

  • VICTORIA

    Pope John Paul II declared himself a fallible human being, thus discrediting the concept of the infallibility of the Pope. Has Benedict taken up the mantle of infallibility again?

  • Mike Bresnahan

    First, the Pope claims infallibilty only when speaking “ex cathedra” (from the chair) a rare occurance. Secondly, the church was begun by Christ when He named Peter the first pope and that line is unbroken all the way to Benedict. No other church can clain that.

  • Virgin Mary

    The Pope is so hot.

  • MarkF

    Perhaps why American Catholics don’t listen to the Pope is that we have too many so-called Catholic leaders like Mr. Arroyo who either know nothing about the faith, or are in personal opposition to it.He said, “And how can a pope claim infallibility when the Vatican has to spend so much time “clarifying” offensive remarks?”One of the most basic beliefs of the Church is that the Pope is infallible only in matters of doctrine, not in everything he says or does. I find it hard to believe or to understand that someone who claims to be an expert on the Church can be so misinformed.Pope Benedict is a blessed man, and I pray for him as he starts his visit to the US. May Jesus bless the whole Church with His grace through the Pope’s visit.Peace in Christ

  • Cuba Libres 4 Todos

    I don’t know Libes, maybe because 65 million Americans are Catholic?

  • Robert B.

    Regarding papal infallibility (from Wikipedia):”Since the 1870 solemn declaration of Papal Infallibility by Vatican I, this power has been used only once: in 1950 when Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as being an article of faith for Roman Catholics.” How many other leaders (sacred or secular) have shown such restraint in the use of their powers?

  • Timo

    MarkF,It’s hard to say papal infallibility is one of the most basic beliefs of the Church when it only dates from 1870 as an official Church doctrine. Also, papal infallibility doesn’t extend to all doctrinal statements by the Pope. Get it right if you are going to criticize others.

  • Jeannine Lierman

    Praying for understanding. For people to study harder to get to know Jesus in His church.

  • Carol Matthews

    I was raised a Catholic and attended Catholic schools through 12th grade.What turned me away from the Catholic Church was the visit of the pope to Latin America. In Guatemala he spoke against birth control. In a country where thousands of babies die every day! I adopted a baby from Guatemala, who went into marasmus three days after she came home at seven weeks. The doctors at Georgetown didn’t know if they could pull her through the night. She’s 25 now, a lovely, compassionate girl, but still suffers problems from being born to a malnourished mother. How Beneditc could preach against birth control in such a poor country is unbelievable. I can’t believe God would bring babies in the world to die in pain.

  • Frank Diaz

    American CAtholic are 65 milliones, 40 latin american, then the power of the Catholic Church in USA are declining; but inmigration of latin and from others catholic nationalities would stop the powerfull of the USA because their costumes includes alcoholism, not working, and so on and not fidelity to USA.

  • Robert B.

    To Timo –I think that MarkF’s claim regarding papal infallibility on doctrine was meant to indicate its historical importance. The fact that it was officially codified until 1870 doesn’t mean that the idea didn’t exist long before that. Indeed, such infallibility in doctrine is implied in the Great Commission given to Peter:”And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

  • bobby12317954

    The Pope is coming to America because the Catholic Church in Europe is completing failing. Their attendance is way down like less than 10% of the parishoners go to Church even in his Native German. So, he is coming here because we (Catholics) go to church more often. The problem is that many Catholic follow their own conscience and he wants us to listen, but we make our own way. We are AL-CARTE Catholic. So, he is here to visit the independent flock of American and of course all the faithful (mostly illegal aliens)from SOUTH of the border. Let’s see what happens!

  • Andrew O’Donnell

    I was ordained a catholic priest in 1960 and left the church in 1990.I was a child of Vatican 2 the great council of the church created by Pope John 23.The church listened to us then. I left when the church stopped listening to the people of God.This happened when John Paul decided to ignore the bishops and the cardinals and the people and started the great one way monologue which is the Catholic church of today.I for one stopped talking when they ,Pope and his Curia,stopped listening.Some years ago I arrived at the conclusion that Martin Luther was the bravest moral person who ever confronted the evils within the church.Recently the Church has come around to admitting some thing good about that wonderful priest.If it takes that long to admit mistakes I don’t have the time.

  • Fletcher Crossman

    It’s interesting to learn about the Pope’s infallibility. So let me get this right: the Pope can, if he chooses, speak the infallible truth. But he doesn’t choose to do this very often. And according to Robert B., we should repect this apparent restraint.If popes can get such direct communication from God as to be infallible, why don’t they use it all the time, and tell us some useful things, like how to cure AIDS? But instead they waste their super-infallible powers on telling us that Gallileo’s a heretic and that the Sun actually goes round the Earth. Oh, don’t tell me, he wasn’t using his infallible powers that time. It was just a regular, fallible statement that anybody could have made.

  • Robert B.

    Fletcher said –”If popes can get such direct communication from God as to be infallible, why don’t they use it all the time, and tell us some useful things, like how to cure AIDS?”If He did, would you listen? Or would you claim that the pope is a kook? Given your obvious rancor, I assume that you’d take the second option…

  • Andrew O’Donnell

    Do you really believe that Jesus wants to be hawked around Yankee Stadium as a piece of bread? How blind can faith be? Easier to see God in a piece of bread than in my neighbor.John Paul begged Bush not to start bombing Iraq and he was ignored; now Bush is laying out the red carpet for this pope. What is going on? We fall for it again? Republicans love the pope.Catholics are a swing vote. Vote for McCain.

  • Robert B.

    Andrew O’Donnell makes an interesting point regarding the president’s attitude towards the pope. I, for one, would love to be a fly on the wall for their conversation.Does anyone know if any of the presidential candidates will be meeting with the pope? Granted, none of them are Catholic this time around, but it would be interesting to see it happen…

  • speed123

    O’Donnell,We can see you are a very bitter man, good for you, if that is how you would like to live your life…As for loving the pope, Democrats also love the pope for his opposition to the Iraq war and his defense of workers right.Go figure, I guess you can’t put the pope in a box.Hatred blinds, faith does not, btw.

  • MaryCunningham

    Well, Bobby, the Catholic Church in Europe is not failing, although 20% of those who claim they are Catholic go to Mass every week. The rest go maybe once a month or only Easter and Christmas. Some aspects of the faith are still vibrant: millions of Catholics go on pilgrimages each year and some sites that had fallen into disuse–there’s a mountain in the West of Ireland whose name I’ve forgotten–are now revived. The old trail to Santiago del Compostela sees millions of pilgrims each year retracing the old medieval steps. But I was unhappy with Prof. Stevens-Arroyo’s article. Like most cradle Catholics, he takes the existence of the Pope as a given. I think converts understand better the need for a pope and I will quote one, Rob Koons, a brilliant scholar of the Bible who was received into the Church last year:”The best argument [for the pope]is that Christ clearly intended that the Church be visibly one, empirically united in love (especially Christ’s extended prayer in John 17, especially verse 21). Since God willed the end, He must also have willed a sufficient means. History clearly teaches that such visible unity is impossible without a single office to which all good-faith doctrinal and ecclesiastical disputes can be referred…Thus…the visible Church must be a single, unitary institution of some kind, and such a unitary institution must have an enduring structure of authority. Within a given location, this authority would require a supervisor or a bishop. The global unity of the Church requires an office that recognizes, on behalf of the whole church, which individual is in fact the bishop of each juirsdiction. Historically, the rold has been played by the five patriarchs, with the patriarch of Rome as first among equals…”There’s more–all of it good–www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/philosophy/faculty/koons

  • Robert B.

    I dunno, Speed. I read Andrew’s post as more condemning the president than the papacy. After all, both sides would use His Holiness’s visit to our shores as a photo op. That’s just the nature of politics…

  • sayitright

    O’Donnell:

  • Marlene Koenig

    Most American Christians are not Roman Catholic. Why give so much attention to the Bishop of Rome, who does not represent most Christians? As a cradle Lutheran, I am offended by all the attention give to head of the Roman Catholic church. His visit is irrelevant, and not worthy of front-page coverage. The same attention is not given to other heads of churches. This story should be saved for Saturday’s Metro section (religion page.)

  • MaryCunningham

    Re: pilgrimage in the West of IrelandNo wonder I couldn’t remember it–my Irish is next to non-existent. Impossible language! Anyway the name of the mountain is Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo. Catholic pilgrims climb the mountain, sometimes in the most miserable rain, following the the footsteps of St. Patrick. They do not, however, fast for forty days as he did. This pilgrimage has greatly revived in the past few years. “The gradual and peaceful transition from paganism and its heathen gods to Christianity with Jesus and his saints can be followed at Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. There the heathen festival in honour of Lug, the good god of the prehistoric Celts, which marked the start of harvesttime around the beginning of August, was transformed peacefully into a Christian pilgrimage on the last Sunday in July to honour St. Patrick, Ireland’s national apostle, who – according to tradition – mounted the summit, as modern pilgrims do, and spent forty days fasting there. “

  • Marlene Koenig

    Most American Christians are not Roman Catholic. Why give so much attention to the Bishop of Rome, who does not represent most Christians? As a cradle Lutheran, I am offended by all the attention give to head of the Roman Catholic church. His visit is irrelevant, and not worthy of front-page coverage. The same attention is not given to other heads of churches. This story should be saved for Saturday’s Metro section (religion page.)

  • Hunter

    Roman Catholicism is a counterfeit of true Christianity founded by Christ. They have a history of blood shed on their heads, begining as pagan Rome and then continuing as Papal Rome they have gone from bad to worse. During the inquisition they have killed more than 50 million protestants. Thank God for the brave protestants like Martin Luther, John Huss, Jerome, etc etc. They are surely brave men to the battle. The RC church had the audacity to change the 10 Commandments, they have removed the 2nd commandment and worship idols and then they have taken the liberty to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The institution is none other than Babylon!!! It’s days are numbered and soon they will have fallen like it says in Revelation and all the faithful who love Christ and truth should come out of it before it is too late.

  • Robert B.

    To Marlene –You said, “Most American Christians are not Roman Catholic.”This is true. The majority of American Christians practice some variety of Protestantism. However, if you take it on a sect by sect basis (that is, with each Protestant denomination being its own sect), then Catholicism is certainly a large (perhaps the largest) sect in the U.S.You also said, “As a cradle Lutheran, I am offended by all the attention give to head of the Roman Catholic church. His visit is irrelevant, and not worthy of front-page coverage. The same attention is not given to other heads of churches.”Leaving aside the seeming ease with which you are offended, the pope is a religious leader whose influence is powerful on a global scale. Can the head of your own sect make such a claim? I have no doubt that you harbor deep concerns (not to say resentment) towards Catholicism, but please try to be a bit more objective about this.

  • MaryCunningham

    Andrew O’Donnell–somehow I don’t think Benedict will much enjoy traipsing round Yankee stadium either. Read somewhere he still hasn’t forgiven JP II for tricking him into attending a rock mass.And since B16 was responsible for most of the theological justification of the condemnation of the idea of ‘preventive’ war (“how does it differ from aggression?” he is said to have asked)I’m not sure what the meeting with GWB will yield.But the American Catholic Church is extremely important to global Catholicism–it’s the single largest Catholic Church in the developed world, its conservative element (something close to Benedict’s heart) is vibrant, and the Church is rapidly Latinizing as well. All important trends. Since we will almost assuredly see a Latino pope or maybe an American Latino pope B16 has to come.

  • Robert B.

    To Hunter, who ranted that the Catholic Church’s “days are numbered and soon they will have fallen like it says in Revelation and all the faithful who love Christ and truth should come out of it before it is too late.”People have been saying this for at least five hundred years. It would seem that the number of days is incredibly huge… :)To my mind, if Luther couldn’t bring down Catholicism, then it’s pretty much here to stay…

  • Ryan

    Mr. Stevens-Arroyo, I’m not sure what qualifications you have in discussing these things (and for all I know, you could be infinitely more qualified than I), but I take issue with your implied characterization of papal infallibility. You said, “And how can a pope claim infallibility when the Vatican has to spend so much time “clarifying” offensive remarks?”This statement assumes that papal infallibility as a church doctrine refers to the Pope never being incorrect or wrong or, to take this to its logical end, sinful. Your characterization is completely wrong and misleading to the majority of Americans who are not Catholic and often already misunderstand papal infallibility. If you would like a good relatively simple explanation of papal infallibility, check out the Wikipedia explanation.Needless to say, papal infallibility does not mean the Pope is morally perfect or even always “right” in what he says. Papal infallibility, rather, boils down to the doctrine that the Pope provides a final defining decision on matters of morals and faith in church teaching. He only speaks infallibly under certain circumstances and, since the official declaration of the doctrine in 1870, only once has this “power” been used.I hope that, in the future, you will write columns based on knowledge and not ignorance of the topics.

  • sayitright

    To Hunter:

  • Joseph

    I am a Catholic who believes that many of my fellow Catholics waste way too much time worrying about political issues such as whether or not the world likes the Pope or the Church. When Jesus carried out his ministry, he didnt put much effort at all in trying to convert the Jewish hierarchy. He took a simpler approach and worked on the human level by demonstrating love for people who were often forgotten or neglected. People rarely convert to Catholicism based on rigorous internet debate. Rather the holy spirit descends upon them opening their eyes. This is a spiritual act. Catholics need to be more spiritual and prayerful. God will give us everything we need and most of what we ask for in faithful prayer. Additionally, I think prayer is the one thing Catholics can do more of and thereby improve our lot. For example, you could say a rosary or a novena and ask God to grow you spiritually. Maybe he will give you a great gift and reveal to you your blindness or ignorance like He has done for me many times. And sometimes people just need a little push to get this started. Try this: http://www.groupnovena.orgPeace!

  • Hunter

    To Sayitright,My belief is the Bible and the Bible alone, Sola Scriptura!!! Nothin else. Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments” so keep all ten because you are a christian and then you are definitely on God’s side. The Bible can interpret itself and a deep study of it will show you what is true Christianity and what is false.

  • Robert B.

    To Hunter –Since you’re such an advocate of the sola Scriptura approach to Christianity, perhaps you can clear something up for me.Earlier in the thread, I quoted Matthew 16: 18-19. Could you please explain why sola Scriptura Protestants like yourself seem to deny the primacy of Peter and, thus, the concept of the papacy?

  • mari

    I am amazed at the number of people who are posting here who have no idea what they are talking about. Educate yourself before opining.Papal infallibility is something bestowed by God, not self-endowed by the Pope. The pope does not choose when to “use” his “infallible power”. It simply comes down to the fact that when the pope speaks on matters of dogma and doctrine of the Church, he is infallible. On all else, he is fallible. It makes no sense to fault him for not telling the cure to AIDS! God simply speaks through the pope on certain matters and that is why he is infallible. When the pope speaks for himself and not for God and not on those limited subjects, he is human just like the rest of us.And FYI, wikipedia is not always right. The infallibility of the pope has come through on many many occasions, not just once in 1950.

  • Grace T. Farrell

    As a former Catholic and proud Atheist, I think the pope represents an old and archaic insitution that lasted as long as it did by installing fear (“you will go to hell”) in masses of not very litterate people, in times of little scientific knowledge, by the oppulence of its churches and the robotic repetition of its rites. The slow death of the Catholic church shows that people around the world have grown more skeptical and informed. Unfortunately it is still so powerful in countries such as Brazil, where it is entertwined with politics and part of the culture (even graduations have masses!).

  • Carmine Giambrone

    We need more men of peace in the world. Benedict XVI is such a man. Not only as a practising Catholic but also as a concerned member of mankind I look forward to his visit.

  • treasure mountain

    Joseph said: “People rarely convert to Catholicism based on rigorous internet debate. Rather the holy spirit descends upon them opening their eyes.”Have you heard of non catholics, who marry catholic, have to convert to catholicism? I don’t know what kind of holy spirit that descends upon them, but one thing I know for sure is the sexual lust to get that man/woman has descended on these folks to make them convert to catholicism.

  • Paganplace

    “Ironically, I think those who are not Catholic worry more about the contradictions of the papacy than Catholics.”Consider, then, how it looks from the outside. Especially from the former-inside. Would you be terribly comfy with a religious power acting like a government unto itself, and regularly abusing that power, within the borders of a free nation?

  • pgibson

    you see, the roles of catholic beleivers are shrinking because of the reality that sets in when you see the leadership taking the lead into pedophelia.Vatican II was a big upheaval, but lefd by the Pope way back when. Molesting children was another of those “forward thinking” programs that evidently backfired – and turned out not to be the leadership’s demise.too bad.There’s always Islam! Your choice, fanatics: if you MUST beleive in a single, all powerful God, then pick one with the fewest personality disorders, ones where killing other folks is okay, and diddling children is okay, too.Maybe Buddhism, eh?But it’s not looking too good for xtians, especially in this modern-day crusade against the infidels in the Muslim Mid-East.some things never change, though.Just know that as a member of the church, God’s really got nothing to do with the priest’s free will.so where is God, if not in the Clergy?Ya got me on that one!!!!!Nowhere?

  • Robert B.

    To Treasure Mountain –”Have you heard of non catholics, who marry catholic, have to convert to catholicism?”I’m the product of a mixed marriage (mother Catholic, father Dutch Reformed Protestant) and my father certainly wasn’t forced to convert. Indeed, he has been a deacon and an elder at his church.It is true that the Catholic Church does encourage non-Catholics to convert when they marry Catholics, but, at least in this country, there’s no gun being held to people’s heads. Perhaps it’s different in Vietnam.

  • treausre mountain

    Mari said: “God simply speaks through the pope on certain matters and that is why he is infallible. When the pope speaks for himself and not for God and not on those limited subjects, he is human just like the rest of us.”Do you mean that sometimes God possesses the pope? Or the pope is possessed by God? Hmm, sounds like the Vatican has those little seance room where the pope can go in there, play a little ouiji board and get God to come down and possess his body. How interesting….

  • Nick S

    To Hunter – Sir, I would recommend reading your history before attacking Catholicism. If you believe that the bible is the only authority, you should be aware that it was the Catholic Church that assembled the Canon Law of books (i.e. the Bible). Please do not attack us with Christ’s Words and Works which His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church assembled!!!

  • Mr Mark

    “Ironically, I think those who are not Catholic worry more about the contradictions of the papacy than Catholics.”I find it odd that you find it ironic.Just as atheists and studied skeptics worry more about contradictions in the Bible than do Xians, so, too, people from every Xian sect see the OBVIOUS flaws in every other Xian sect. It’s the log in their own eye that they’re blind to, something even Jesus warned about. ;)

  • j2hess

    Just a word of support for O’Donnell.He sounds more sad than bitter. I understand that his message is upsetting to many invested in the Church. It seems he himself took many years to recognize that his faith was incompatable with his Church.Vatican II provoked a backlash, as change usually does. The cultural changes of the 60s-80s upset many traditions, traditions that had become taken for eternal verities. So the Church went into a more defensive, less open mode. Ratzinger comes out of that movement. As Benedict, his ruling on the Tridentine mass is seen as a continuation of the trend. Another way of looking at it suggests a willingness to take a distance from rituals, to acknowledge that there is more than one way to be a Catholic. No one can deny Benedict’s orthodoxy – so maybe like Nixon’s opening to China, he may be the one who is able, as pope/pastor rather than doctrinal judge, to open the church to more diversity, to hearing other voices. That would be a miracle.

  • treasure mountain

    Robert B. said: “my father certainly wasn’t forced to convert. Indeed, he has been a deacon and an elder at his church”I am not talking about those people who willingly convert. That is perfectly their choice. I am talking about those who convert in order to marry a catholic, in order to gain job promotion (during the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in VN).”but, at least in this country, there’s no gun being held to people’s heads. Perhaps it’s different in Vietnam.”Oh yes, the vietnamese catholic church is very much different. It’s one of its kind.

  • Joseph

    To Andrew O’Donnell: Fr Andrew, Whatever your particular agenda was, I’m sorry it didnt come together as you had liked. I wonder if your opinions were on matters that saved souls though? If you lost faith in the church, doesnt that imply that you actually lost faith in the Holy Spirit who was given to us by Jesus before the Ascension? I pray for priests like you for a set of reasons that is odd to write and today for many, probably stranger to read. I believe you are attacked by the devil more directly than the laity. Most people, catholics included have compartmentalized or boxed off this enormous concept in our faith. I think priests like you have too. It leaves us with an incomplete faith when we do this and we misunderstand our situation and key challenges. I take my guidance here from the lives of the saints who consistently abandon themselves to God and declare that every good emenates only from God through His Grace. They have an intense love of other souls…I think in large part because they understand better the stakes of this life. I’ll never understand why battling the Catholic Church appears to some as such a noble pursuit. Every catholic knows by self examination that none of us are perfect. And if I want you to change but I cant even change myself, why would I conclude that I should abandon you…especially if I think you have abandoned me? Turn to God, then, and let Him work. If you can’t do that as a Catholic, I’m not so sure how it could be more possible as a non-Catholic. If you’re trying to change people, why not take the tack of the Saints who have largely done so by their example which is an effect of their deep desire to live as Jesus taught…and made possible by God’s abundant grace which is free for the asking. -J

  • joseph

    to treasure mountain:good news for your piece of mind: a forced conversion is not a conversion. no one in the church can compel a true conversion since that involves the movements within an individual’s soul. only the holy spirit that can initiate this process and carry it through to fruition. i ask the holy spirit now to show this to you as you read these words. Peace!

  • cbum

    Treasure mountain,your comments on the infallibility of the pope may have meant to be funny or sarcastic, but really only show your ignorance on the matter.I’m sure you are not alone, or this issue would capture much less discussions.In fact, papal infallibility is a very rarely invoked, hight regulated procedure, which relies not only on the pope, but involves extensive deliberations by other church bodies that have to come to a consensus.Papal pronouncements are only held to be infallible when decreed “ex cathedra”, (from the pulpit), which is the format used to indicate such a circumstance. Notably, this has been used about half a dozen times in the 2000 years of church history, so these arguments are very much ado about little. The only one I can remember off the top is the belief that Mary was the mother of Jesus… if you catch my drift.

  • Anonymous

    The Second Vatican Council opened the way for the Church to revitalize its mission of helping Catholics find salvation by doing good for their communities and neighbors. John Paul II turned the Church away from this positive turn to a downward spiral of obsession with sexual orthodoxy (chastity, homophobia, opposition to birth control, etc.). The message of the Gospels, the actual words and parables of forgiveness and understanding spoken by Jesus, have been set aside for this neoconservative agenda. Discrimination against practicing heterosexuals has resulted in hiring a population of priests who knew how to hide their sexual urges, with predictable results that the Church must now expensively apologize for. By contrast, Episcopalians have managed to avoid these problems and move into the 21st century, so the problem is not inherent to Christianity per se; these doctrinal differences are not central to the message of Jesus, but do interfere with how that message is distributed in the wider society at large.No one expects John Ratzinger to turn the Church back to the message of the Gospels. American Catholics will continue to listen to their own consciences and the words of Jesus more than to confused dictates coming out of Rome from time to time. The Church will evolve over time; that was the intent of Jesus’s instruction to Peter. The faithful are patient. The next great leap of Catholic spirituality will be an admission of humanity, humility, and fallibility on the part of its leadership; that will unlock the potential that is now thwarted.

  • Mark In Irvine

    So, if “Since the 1870 solemn declaration of Papal Infallibility by Vatican I, this power has been used only once: in 1950 when Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as being an article of faith for Roman Catholics”, then all that stuff about contraception, homosexuality, pre-marital sex, abortion, masturbation and so on (why does it always have to be about sex?) is not “ex cathedra” and hence not the infallible teaching of the church on doctrine.

  • Sandra Hernandez

    Comment to Grace,Grace, I do not think you were ever a true Catholic, and I am sorry you have to be exposed to a cult because that is what you were exposed to. The Catholic Church show as to love one another, and give us the free will make our choices. What you are talking about is not the Catholic Church. I have been a Catholic my entire life, and as of today, I still have the free will to make my choices. I do not think I will go to hell because that is not what the Church teaches. The Church teaches loves and Peace; if you cannot find that love and peace within you how do think you will find in the Churh? How are you and I to jugde the leaders ofthe Church? Would that mean that I feel greater than God and I have all the wisdon that the pope does not have?

  • Uncle Milty

    I was 22 when I joined the Catholic Church. I am 75 now. In the years before I joined the Catholic Church I attended many other Churches. In all of them I continued to hear ranting and raving against the Pope. Since joining, I have NEVER heard a priest speak against the other sects that are out there. There are times when it is needful to speak out and times when we should keep our mouths shut. This is one of those times when we should be quiet anad let well enough alone.I have never had a problem with the Catholic Church that I couldn’t resolve by the simple understanding that if God so wills it so be it.Would that all of you could practice the same restraint.

  • Ryan

    Actually, Mari, you are wrong and Wikipedia is correct. Since the explicit explanation and statement regarding papal infallibility in 1870, the doctrine of papal infallibility (that is, its exercise) has only been used. However, prior to 1870, there were other occasions of papal infallibility. Moreover, infallibility is far more often exercised by the bishops speaking as one than by the Pope himself. Remember: The Pope is really just the bishop of Rome and is, thus, first (or last, depending on how you look at it) among equals. Thus, in the early church, when disagreements broke out among the bishops as to church teaching, the bishop of Rome provided the final determination. It is that role of the Roman bishop that led to the explicit explanation of papal infallibility in 1870. As you said, please educate yourself on this before you speak up. BTW, my FIL is a Catholic theologian and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and, yes, we have discussed papal infallibility.Finally, Mari, it actually does come down to when the Pope chooses to use infallibility. It’s not as if God puts a halo above his head when God wants the Pope’s words to be infallible. And, no, every time the Pope talks about church doctrine or dogma, he is not speaking infallibly, though he may be teaching things that are already infallible. Remember, infallibility is far more often used by the bishops as a group rather than the Pope as an individual. Mark in Irvine, you’re assuming that some of those topics were never part of ex cathedra teaching PRIOR to 1870. Also, even if something has not been defined as infallible does not mean that it is likely to change or even wrong.

  • berry, ecuador

    To Andrew O’Donnell:You mentioned what is perhaps the most important feature of today’s Catholic Church: its unwillingness to listen.Let me elaborate, and please correct me if I am wrong.The world has changed so much, and so quickly, that the Catholic Church has struggled to keep pace. John Paul II was a master communicator who took advantage of modern mass media. But the Church’s fundamental message remained unchanged, largely as a result of political tensions inside the Vatican, where John Paul II decided to listen to conservatives such as Ratzinger and Escriba de Balaguer, instead of reformers.So, the Church keeps the head in the sand. The Church keeps banning women from entering the priesthood. And the Church keeps banning priests from getting married. Then, you have thousands of priests who are sexually deprived and commit sexual abuse against children. And then the Church runs to hide and protect those priests.The Church doesn’t understand birth control either. How can you tell married couples to happily accept as many children as God sends, or not to have sex altogether? That’s just nuts.John Paul II spoke forcefully in favor of greater equality, more justice, and the rights of the poor around the world. But his Church turned its back to grassroots priests who had been working tirelessly to help people improve their lives.I am a former Catholic myself, and a proud atheist now. However, I still respect and share Jesus’s message of love, dignity, and respect. This world would be a lot better had the Church focused its energy in spreading those teachings, instead of making people feel guilty if they wear condoms.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Worth repeating:The Crises (pl) in the contemporary Catholic Church:1. The inappropriate conduct of many priests, the emotional stress on the victims and the resultant billion dollars in lawsuits.2. The lack of talent in the priesthood.3. The lack of Vatican response to the historic Jesus movement. 4. The Church’s continuing cling to original sin and the resulting subsets of crazy ideas like limbo.5. The denial of priesthood to women.6. The restriction of priesthood to single men (unless you are former Episcopalian priests).

  • ahmed from bahrain

    Abolish papacy. Its all about pomp and ceremony and very little about spiritual Jesus. Whilst I am at it, also include all rabbinical orders and the mullahs. Thy all seem to want to cling to power and control the masses. Very little has to do with God if any at all.Their weapon of choice: Is fear of God to keeping ‘the system’ going.

  • C. Birkbeck

    The recent Washington Post / ABC News poll that found almost 60% of U.S. Catholics felt the Catholic church was out of touch with their current values and moral principles only goes to prove that 60% of U.S. Catholics are out of touch with the timeless teachings of Christ as they are upheld by the church!

  • C. Birkbeck

    The recent Washington Post / ABC News poll that found almost 60% of U.S. Catholics felt the Catholic church was out of touch with their current values and moral principles only goes to prove that 60% of U.S. Catholics are out of touch with the timeless teachings of Christ as they are upheld by the church!

  • Steve from Montana

    How did we get from the rebel Jesus. A sandaled iterate prophet to a guilded red slippered jet setter living in a palace and surrounded by lords in red dresses? Yikes

  • Thomas Baum

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:I am a Catholic and I cherish my Catholic Faith and I also don’t think of it as a religion and I also don’t think of Judaism as a religion either.Sometimes it seems that plenty of different people of varying degrees of belief and unbelief get caught up in the RULES.Some say to follow Jesus we need to follow the ten commmandments well actually it is both more and less than that.You could say less in that Jesus boiled the 10 down to 2 as in Love God and Love neighbor or you could even say that He boiled it down to one word, LOVE, which happens to be THE LAW because God happens to be a Being of Love.You could say more in that Jesus said not only our actions but our very thoughts about our actions whether we do something or not.Jesus is God-Incarnate and God is a Trinity and God is a Being of Pure Love.We sure do like to put God in a box but that does not work, we are all individual people and how God decides to work in someone’s life is up to God.Of course, God cannot force Himself on us because He gave us free will and will not go against that in this life.One of the interesting things that Jesus said was, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life no one comes to the Father except thru Me.” Notice that He said the Father and since God is a Trinity, there could be many, many ways to Jesus.God has a Plan and has had His Plan since before creation and His Plan will come to Fruition and it is unfolding before our very eyes.Take care, be ready, see you [humanity] in the Kingdom [the new heavens and the new earth].Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Jack

    Ahmed from Bahrain: And imams?Time to give this thing a rest. Every newspaper, television, you name it. I know the Catholics own the media, but this is a secular culture. Never saw such grabby people. Take your old guy out to dinner, and leave the rest of us alone.Enough, two weeks already.Grabby, publicity hungry. And the rest of us have to watch an old bugger in a dress, see his picture everywhere.You think your God’s people? Well go to heaven with him. And print let the other chosen read it in the Celestial Times.

  • Kenneth

    Mr. Arroyo,Ratzinger should be mocked, as should all superstition.People who derive “truth” from the absence of any evidence (like yourself and Ratzinger) should be scorned. Just because many people believe something doesn’t make it any more “true”.Most religious people portray themselves as being modest and having humility, but it shows extreme arrogance to think that:1. YOU have a special place in the universeIts mind-boggling that billions of people can believe this nonsense without one shred of evidence.The Pope personifies this arrogance that all religious people have…

  • Miriam

    Jack writes:”Never saw such grabby people. Take your old guy out to dinner, and leave the rest of us alone.”Not going to happen, my friend. Personally, I think the Catholics should rent out Macy’s and give a fashion show. Ratzinger and his colleagues can wear their dresses and hats, swing their censors, and play music. Maybe, have a Catholic buffet.Shoppers might be inconvenienced for a day, but they’d have a day of peace, and spare the rest of us.Seems like this is getting an awful lot of publicity, an awful lot. Vulgar, really.

  • Hunter

    To Robert B:

  • Barbar L

    Why can’t the Catholics just go on a cruise with the old guy?Rent a big ship, sail away. There are enough cartoons on the internet, TV, nespapers, even movies. I don’t need to see old men in pink dresses in the times every day with matching beanies and helmets, replacing actual news.Sail away. REally. And soon.

  • shaggy

    Having to convert to Catholocism to marry a Catholic?! Come now..I’ve been married (in a Catholic church no less) to a Methodist. No, he has not converted (we’ve been married 23+ years). Get the facts straight BEFORE responding as you are only showing your true inability to understand, comprehend, and seperate the lies from reality.

  • Frank

    Why do people think it is okay to bash Catholics but when you talk about a Jew you are an anti semite? People need to respect other peoles beliefs. If we respected other peoples faiths we probably would not be at war with one another.

  • Barbara L

    Frank writes:”Why do people think it is okay to bash Catholics but when you talk about a Jew you are an anti semite?”Well, Frank, I’m not the spokesperson for the Jewish people, but I speak for myself when I ask, how come christians are so obsessed with us?Why are children all over America taunted with “the Jews killed Christ”? Why if any issue concerning Jews comes up on this blog or any other it is filled with hate-filled stereotypes about us? Why in this country, do gangs of christians pick on little kids? Why were there riots, not covered by the media, after Mel Gibson’s movie was released, which, incidentally, was first released in Dubai? Why, wherever Christianity goes, does anti-Jewish racism go with it?Someone used the example of Korea, in which there are no Jews.Why do Christians have Passion Plays in which people dress up like Jews, and yell “Kill him! Kill him!” How does Poland manage to remain antisemitic when there are fewer than 5,000 Jews there, most of them elderly?Why do Spaniards carry placards of grotesque figures (representing us) during there “religious ceremomies)? Haitians?I could go on and on and on.We have never thought or spoken as we are now, so far, as I know, in history. Yet I am hearing more and more of this.The Christians have taught us well, Frank. We’ve had two thousand years to learn from the religion of love.Well, some of us are beginning to get it. But not everyone posting anti-Catholic sentiments is Jewish. Some are Protestants. To me a christian is a christian. Protestants I know, even atheists of Protestant descent, always look to blame the catholics. I don’t make such distinctions.I’ve been victimized by both, and let me not forget the orthodox.Stop hating. Leave us alone, and you might do better.And watch out. We might start getting into the conversion business.

  • Robert B.

    Hunter –Thank you for your detailed explanation of the quote from Matthew, but if you’ll forgive me for saying so, it seems awfully convoluted to me. After all, most evangelicals seem to say that the Bible ought to be interpreted as simply as possible and yet they need to go through considerable linguistic acrobatics to interpret that particular bit of Scripture in that way…Frank –Well, anti-theists love to bash the papacy because it’s an easy target with a long history. Apparently, many of them were raised as Catholics, which is a sad irony. Plus, anti-Catholicism has a long history in the U.S. for many reasons. Sadly, most Catholic bashers tend to only study the negative aspects of Church history (inquisitions, crusades, the Galileo affair) without paying much attention to the positive aspects (rescuing Western civilization from the Germanic barbarians, the scholastic theologians’ embrace of human reason, etc.) The media’s fundamental misunderstanding of key elements of Catholic doctrine doesn’t help, either…

  • Evan

    Robert B:What have you “rescued” Jews from? Any chance you’ll get out of our faces?

  • Jim

    I only have one question. Why, when I put on the news do I watch fifteen minutes of Popemobile reports?I could be wrong, but I thought we were at war, in an election year, etc. Isn’t there enough of American Idol type TV?

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Amed, Amed, Amed, Amed,”Pink slip” the mullahs you said? OK, you have seen the light!!! May God aka Allah bless and keep you safe from your local clerics, imams and mullahs.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:Jesus is not going to pay the billion dollars owed so far to settle the pedophilia cases. We the “Catholic pew people” are paying and probably will continue to pay for the next 100 years. It is obvious from the Catholic parishes that I attend that we are not getting the brightest and the best priests based on the significantly poor sermons. And no faith in God will change that. The old European white guys will continue to rule the papacy forever because the old white guys keep appointing more old European white guys as cardinals. What will happen though in 40-50 years is a complete collapse of Catholicism from its flawed foundations. Celibate priests? Apparently not, based on the cases of pedophilia, homosexuality and the large number of priests with gals in South America. And letting married Episcopal priests enter the Catholic priesthood vitiates any celibacy rules and must make many a good celibate priest very upset. With respect to not answering the historical Jesus movement, here is a synopsis of said movement and its conclusions: Jesus, the illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter possibly suffering from hallucinations, has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a mamzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). Analyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, On Faith panelists) via the NT and related documents 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, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics. earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htmlWith respect to the “Holy Eucharist”:”Communion is not Christ’s physical Body and Blood since Christ exists as a spirit therefore has no physical form. Transubstantiation is still a Catholic doctrine, but it never meant a literal transforming of bread and wine into the physical body and blood ofTransubstantiation is a way of

  • Jihadist

    Ooops! Sorry. Wrong thread. I was looking for the Muslim intra-faith Sunni-Shiite dispute thread. Not this Christian intra-faith Catholic-Protestant dispute thread I’ve blundered in. Excuse me. Carry on.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Oh there “Reality Challenged” and Obfuscating Jihadist,Har, Har and in ten years all the religions and the related blogs will cease to exist as religions crumble under the weight of their flaws and errors.

  • Leon Jester

    It’s astounding to read how quickly comments on a column on the papacy have descended to a bunch of kids calling each other names.The reality of Belfast is closer than I thought.

  • Ryan Haber

    Kenneth, you wrote that it is arrogant to believe:”1. YOU have a special place in the universePerhaps, unless those propositions are true. Then to admit them, awkwardly aware of one’s own innate unworthiness, is very, very humble.You make a caricature of the Christian faith. Regarding your propositions, each in turn:1. The purely material hasn’t any life-principle (what we call a soul). The vegetable has a life-principle that is productive but insensate. The animal has a life-principle that is sensate and mobile, but irrational. The purely spiritual has a life-principle but is immaterial. We human beings, on the other hand, are material but are also not only productive, sensate, and mobile, but also rational – that is, by its nature capable of abstracting concepts from experiences. This DOES give us a unique place in the natural world.2. The Creator of the Universe transcends His creation as do all creatures. An author transcends her book and a clockmaker his clock. They do not need to watch every aspect of their creation at every moment to know what is going on with it. It came from their minds and they know it because they know themselves, and how they design things. The Creator of the Universe, from whom the Universe came, transcends and in-fills His creation effortlessly, by His nature, knowing it because it comes from Himself. He doesn’t need to “watch” it, as with a hundred billion security cameras. Such terminology is a bit silly, and useful only with children.3. “God sent his son as a human sacrifice to die for YOU!” God sent his son to make a willing self-sacrifice. If this idea is vile and disgusting, as you say, then so is the self-sacrifice of the firefighters who died on September 11. It is vile and disgusting that their dispatchers sent them to respond to the burning buildings, knowing that some would die? Is it vile and disgusting that those brave souls forgot themselves, so concerned were they for the wellbeing of their neighbors? Maybe you have never known such love, but it does exist, friend. It does exist.4. “YOU have telepathy and are able to transmit your thoughts to God.” This objection ties in with #2, above. We needn’t “transmit” anything. God, from whose mind we come, knows our minds because they (and the rest of our being as well) are after His likeness in some way or another. He almost permeates Creation, you might say, and knows us better than we know ourselves because we almost continuously delude ourselves about all manner of things – most especially, about ourselves!5. Our souls/minds, being immaterial, aren’t subject to the decay of the material creation. Closely interrelated with our body, most especially our brain, our mind can become clouded and darkened – but it is not blotted out because it is not entirely contingent on our brains. There is all manner of testimony to this fact from people recovered from comas and even supposed “brain-death”. Whither go a soul when the body perish, Kenneth? Call it what you will, but it is not a grave.”Its mind-boggling that billions of people can believe this nonsense without one shred of evidence.”It is heart-rending that a few million people don’t take the testimony of billions of people more seriously. It speaks of anger and arrogance, which often go hand-in-hand anyway.

  • Ryan Haber

    Leon Jester,”The reality of Belfast is closer than I thought.”Yes, perhaps, but less clear than most Americans think. The Troubles in Northern Ireland were never ABOUT religion. Religion was the dividing line, but not the cause of the division, and certainly not the cause of fear and hatred.When Protestants in the North complained and had the vote taken away from Catholics (again) they hadn’t a real fear about Catholics overwhelming and slaughtering them all. The Republic is 90%+ Catholic and since the partition there has been not one pogrom or riot against Protestants there. In fact, Protestants continued in the south quite nicely.The division in Northern Ireland was caused by economics. One group, who happened to be the Protestants, were empowered by education, law, and tradition over and against the other, who happened to be Catholics.With the (almost entirely Catholic) Republic of Ireland prospering so much, and the Northern economy stagnant, it is amazing how quickly previous faction Northern leaders have switched from calling for blood to running for positions in unity governments and supporting all-island initiatives and infrastructure.In America, there is something along the same vein. The conflict over religion vs. non-religion is really the conflict over more-or-less traditional morals against rewritten rules intended to take their place. This becomes patent when we see how few court cases against public displays of Christianity are filed by observant members of other religions. Almost all are filed by non-observant members of Christianity (or non-observant members of Judaism). Again, religion isn’t the cause, but only the distinguishing feature, of our own culture wars.

  • LDS MArk

    Thomas Baum: God does have a plan but it unfolded many years ago. It is called “Family”.what is unfolding before our eyes now is our own doing. God is not making the things of today happen. But, he is watching us to see what chosces we make. those choices define our character.by the way, NOTHING in the bible supports the Nicean (sp) Creed of the “trinity.”mark(sp) sorry, i don’t know how to spell it.

  • Dan Figman

    To Barbara L.You said: “And watch out. We might start getting into the conversion business.”When you say “We” you mean Jews. Not that it is impossible to convert to Judaism: this is an ethnic thing, a particular race thing: you are either born to it or not. Even circumcision is unable to change one person’s ethnicity. Unlike Christianity, the true religion where ethnicity is not a must.

  • Thomas Baum

    TO LDS MARK:You wrote, “God does have a plan but it unfolded many years ago. It is called “Family”.what is unfolding before our eyes now is our own doing.”You could say that it has always been our own doing since we have free will.Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us, He did not say that He would send the Holy Spirit to turn us into a puppet on a string.God choses who He choses for very specific “jobs” some times but it is up to us to say YES.When Gabriel came to Mary, she asked questions and then she said YES.Part of God’s Plan is for us to be an active participant in His Plan for the Salvation of All Humanity.You also wrote, “God is not making the things of today happen. But, he is watching us to see what chosces we make. those choices define our character.”.God is not like a big clockmaker in the sky in the way of some of Deist thinking in that He made everything and then has nothing to do with it.No, God became one of us, in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Man Who is God-Incarnate.Jesus was just as human as you and I and when He became a human and He kept the Pure Essence of God which is LOVE.Jesus also extended an invitation to us when He said, “Come follow Me”, did He not?Then you wrote, “by the way, NOTHING in the bible supports the Nicean (sp) Creed of the “trinity.”.Actually, there is plenty in the bible that speaks of the Trinity even if the word “Trinity” never appears.The baptism of Jesus.When He says to, “Baptise them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.When He says, “I will send the Holy Spirit to guide you into All Truth”.In Genesis when it says, “Let Us make man in Our Image and Likeness [LOVE], male and female let Us make them”.When Jesus said to Philip, “How long have you been with Me, if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father”.In John when it says, “God so loved us that He became One of us”.These are just a few off the top of my head, I would say that there are probably more, many more.God cares for His Creation, which all of us are a part of and we are called to care for each other.Take care, be ready, see you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom [the new heavens and the new earth].Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Where is the ghost?

    Paraclete, Comforter (L. Consolator; Greek parakletos), The Greek word occurs only in St. John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), has been variously translated “advocate”, “intercessor”, “teacher, “helper”, “comforter”.

  • Viejita del oeste

    Dan Figman, It’s a huge political issue in Israel, by the way, who should or should not be considered a Jew. In the Soviet Union, if your parents or even a single grandparent were Jewish, you were considered legally a member of the Jewish nationality, i.e. not Russian. Also an issue of politics, since everybody in the Soviet Union was also legally an atheist, even those who practiced their religion in secret. Oh dear, now I’ve forgotten what I really wanted to say about the pope.

  • victoria the Christian one

    The guy who made the comment about the Virgin Mary

  • Turkish Babu

    The most important purpose of His Holiness’s visit is to give his blessings to Mcain. Mcain will carry on from where Bush ends.

  • Stephen

    This is a prime example of faulty logic and poor journalism.”Unlike all other Christians, only Catholics have to embrace the ambiguities of the papacy over two millennia. Wouldn’t it be easier to declare the papacy outmoded and just move on to a more democratic form of leadership? How can Catholics say they side with the poor when the pope lives surrounded with so much gold and splendor? And how can a pope claim infallibility when the Vatican has to spend so much time “clarifying” offensive remarks?”Democracy? Really? This is nothing short of a NeoCon ideology for installing Western culture across the globe. However, the Pope is elected, by the College of Cardinals. Just because there is a direct democracy doesn’t mean it is outmoded. What about America? Representative democracy? The UK? Constitutional Monarchy? Outmoded is a ridiculous way to approach an institution dedicated to preserving Tradition. Why is the Pope surrounded by gold? Read the designs for the Temple in the Book of Exodus. That is what Cathedrals are designed after. Cathedrals are associated with Bishops, of whom the Pope is the primate. Doesn’t care about the poor? He did meet with the abuse victims, and so forth. You make absurd claims.And how can a pope claim infallibility when the Vatican has to spend so much time “clarifying” offensive remarks?” Ridiculous, again. Infallibility is not about being politically correct; it is about a continuation of Church Tradition in regards to teaching doctrine and dogma. Mr. Stevens—Arroyo, you are bigot. Why don’t you do some research before you write. I am surprised Newsweek/Washington Post allows you to talk at all.

  • jimi

    when you follow saton you are a puppet on a string,when you follow JESUS you are set free.

Read More Articles

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.