Proud to Be a Catholic

I am proud. I am proud to be a Catholic after reading Benedict XVI’s homily from the mass he celebrated … Continued

I am proud.

I am proud to be a Catholic after reading Benedict XVI’s homily from the mass he celebrated yesterday. He spoke of the gift of “the hope born of love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (cf Rom 5:5). He spoke of renewal as a gift of God, of forgiveness as a gift for which we each hunger, of the work of so many in “forming the hearts and minds of the young in knowledge and love of the Lord.” I long for that hope, that love, that faith too. May I have eyes to see it and ears to hear it today and forever.

I am proud to be a Catholic after reading the report of his meeting with President Bush. According to the official release after the meeting, the two spoke of the value of human life, of the importance of marriage, of human rights, of fighting poverty, of fighting disease, of promoting peace. I long for a leader, like Benedict, who believes in all these, not just in one or two. May I have the courage in my own life to pursue them all.

I am proud to be a Catholic after listening to the Pope speak of his shame at the enormous failings of his church in responding to the sexual abuse crisis. Shame is personal, is humiliating, is full of pain. To speak publicly of such feeling is to acknowledge what we cannot explain: how people of the Church, the vast majority of whom set out to do good, found themselves party to unspeakable evil. Shame is real and I feel it. May I have the strength to do what I can to make this church heal the pride and arrogance that created such an abomination.

I am proud to be a Catholic most of all when I think of the life of prayer. I think of all those who prayed the Rosary for the Holy Father, of those who offer prayers at Mass for his mission, for those who look to his office to provide clarity in pursuit of God’s will, not our own. May I have the peace that passes all understanding so that I too might follow in prayer the centuries of holy men and women who have given their lives joyfully in service to the only thing that really matters: the love of God.

I know. It’s been a long road for the Catholic Church in this country. Sure, Catholics were once mocked and ridiculed for their hocus pocus religion and their shocking belief in the real presence of God in sacraments; for their fishy food rules, for their rampant devotions to things of all shapes and sizes: to Saint Anthony’s ability to find the lost, to St. Jude’s ability to save the hopeless, to Our Lady’s ability to appear to the unlikely, to the blessing of throats, the blessing of the fleet, the blessing of the flocks. In our country, these all seemed so clannish and old world, like strange superstitions of an ignorant age.

Those days are gone, and most Catholics have long since entered the American mainstream. Our traditions, though they remain, have become a bit more understated. There are fewer pilgrimages from American churches to Fatima, fewer novenas on Friday night to St. Jude, fewer lengthy theological articles on the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

But for many, this most peculiar papacy still sets Catholics apart. The Pope, of all things, would seem to stand outside our common values as Americans. The Pope is what we’re not: regal, authoritative, indifferent to polling data, able to ask that we follow without giving us a vote on the issue.

Yes, he is all that. But we live in a time hungry for unity, hungry for clarity of purpose, hungry for the presence of God—the real presence of the divine. Americans are a people on pilgrimage, always searching, always willing to reinvent ourselves as we try to find out who we might become.

So maybe just for a few days, we might all pause before this man of God: human he is, on pilgrimage like the rest of us. Sure, I wish he’d make pulpits open to women, I wish he’d eliminate “only” from his love of the church he leads, I wish he’d spend more time with the poor and less with the rich.

But he made me proud nonetheless. He brought a profound reminder of what it means to believe in a faith so grand and so humble too, a faith ultimately in nothing less than God’s love, God’s presence among us, God’s promise to be with us always.

Thank you, Holy Father. Amen.

About

Timothy Shriver Tim Shriver is a social leader, an educator, activist, film producer, and business entrepreneur. He is the Chairman of Special Olympics, and in that capacity he serves nearly 4 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in 180 countries.
  • Albert

    The tremendous wealth of the Roman Church in the face of so much human need makes a lie of just about everything this German says. And that is just the beginning of the sins of the Roman church. In practice (not in all of the words used) they withhold God’s love from so many and in some cases much like a bully. For many churches such a Baptist and Catholic, the real test of your love for God is in who you do not love rather than in who you love (and I don’t mean in words stated but in actual substance).

  • Doc P.

    As a proud Catholic who went to Catholic school for eight years. I too was happy to hear something positive about the Catholic Church. To me it’s about having the relationship with God in the mist of the storm. I can not and will not let any nasayer deter me from my faith, and the relationship that I built with my Lord. Thanks for the boost of faith.

  • speed123

    Great piece!As for the anti catholic bigots on here, honestly, get some new material…rich, evil, control the world etc. etc. Very similar to the protocols of Zion.Conspiracy theories are for the small minded – get a life and do some good.The pope’s message is of love and understanding, obviously topics you “know nothing” (pun intended) about…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Zzim, Victoria and others who’ve expressed pride in being Catholic. I’m proud and happy, too. We’re far from perfect. But we’re not brainwashed, stupid, or unloving, and we don’t let (any) others “kill” our faith. We don’t love or worship the Pope or St. Paul at the expense of our Savior. We’re discerning and thoughtful. We, like thinking, feeling people of every nation and creed, have embraced a set of spiritual values we strive to live by. Yes, we are members of a fallible human institution called the Church, but we believe we are guided by the Holy Spirit.The history of any institution populated with humans is going to be flawed, and yes, violent in some way or another. I’ve felt in the last week that many are saying the Catholic Church is the pulsing center of all things negative — lies, pedophilia, injustice, murder, money-grubbing, hypocrisy, etc. Look around, all. These ills are everywhere. That’s why we need our Savior, and we need each other, and we need the Church — the Body of Christ, as imperfect and unwhole as we are at present. Can we reach out to each other, as difficult as it may be, rather than ridiculing? At the risk of sounding trite, can we try a little harder to love one another — especially those with whom we don’t agree?My experience with the “hierarchy” and the laity has been vastly different from one other poster here, who expresses that this divide is becoming wider, not narrower. The lay people in my parish do enormous, and valued, work. They are recognized for it. Far from considering the church and its rites irrelevant, many people are reaching out for a sense of structure, of right and wrong, of mutual support, of shared goals to GIVE, to each other and in communities everywhere in which people are materially or spiritually needy. People want to be loved, accepted in their faults and strengths, and “honed” into what they were created to be — something our Lord Jesus will do for us if we will only let Him. Is there something ridiculous about this? I don’t think so.

  • Edward Kuzan

    I am Catholic, and proud to be so, and I pity those who bblindly criticize the Church, an institution with its myriad imperfections, without making the effort and taking the time to learn about it and it’s rich history. The Catholic Church is the foundation on which western civilization is built.I find it curious, puzzling really, to watch snippets of televangelists on Sunday morning preaching and connecting events from Jewish history to the rise of Islamic terrorism, and seeing their congregations nodding in agreement and then opening their wallets providing money for amusement parks. Then these same people criticize Catholics as blindly following the Pope? I am a product of Catholic education, elementary school, high school, college and two masters degrees. That’s a lot of time spent in Catholic schools, and yet I can not remember one instance of being encouraged to follow blindly. Especially as a young adult, I was always encouraged to think about the things I was putting my faith in.I cringed when Benedict was elected Pope, but he quickly showed himself to be a different man when he was put into a different role. More power to him. In the short time he has been pontiff, he has shown himself to be a much better Pope than John Paul II. This was especially evident in his first encyclical on the nature of love. Read it, and don’t criticize what you really don’t know.

  • Marc Edward

    Isn’t it a bit silly to be “proud” of something that you had no choice in? Being proud of being Catholic is akin to being proud of being Jewish, Muslim, Gay or white – essentially being proud of something that you have nothing to do with. I mean no disrespect to people of faith – if it makes you happy to believe in a God who demands worship from others, well, I’m glad it makes you happy. But being proud of such a non-accomplishment?

  • Ryan Haber

    Marc Edward,We are proud of our children’s accomplishments, and even our friend’s accomplishments. We are proud of our nation’s accomplishments and ashamed of its failures. Of course people with big hearts are proud or ashamed very frequently of things they haven’t done – it’s because a big heart feels itself connected to things beyond itself. That is a very wholesome and generous sort of pride.Even if that weren’t so, you are mistaken about what it means to be Catholic. One probably hasn’t much choice in whether to have homosexual inclinations, and certainly has no say in whether one is white or black; but one isn’t Catholic because one is born into a Catholic family.”Catholic” isn’t an identifier. It’s a set of beliefs and a way of life. The beliefs are hard and the way of life even harder. Each day very much presents a new choice, a new chance to renew or reject one’s earlier commitment to Christ and His Church. Each Sunday at the least, one has to ask oneself, “Am I going to sacrifice a nice morning at the shore/soccer game/in bed in order to go to Mass, in order to live my Catholic Faith?” The answer very much indicates whether one has chosen to continue being Catholic. But even between Sundays, one must daily decide, “Will I be a Catholic, or will I only be a Mass-goer, a Sunday Catholic? Will I allow my Faith to impact my life as it ought, or will I keep it bottled up like holy water for use on Sundays alone?”It is a great scandal that so many people call themselves Catholic without any real intention of either living a Catholic life or believing the Catholic Faith, that as a result most non-Catholics (and many Catholics) haven’t a clue what it means to be a Catholic.They think it is like being white or black – something you are born into, something from which you cannot remove yourself.

  • Andre

    As a Catholic baptised as an adult, and in need of God’s mercy like any of us sinners, I love the Catholic Church. True freedom comes from knowing that you have the truth, and then “questioning” becomes “understanding”. I question my faith all the time with the purpose of coming to a fuller understanding of why we believe what we believe.I’d encourage all Catholics to allow yourselves to accept the Church teachings and strive to understand why they are the way they are. Mr. Shriver, you would be blessed to study John Paul II’s Theology of the Body to understand why women can’t be priests. I think it would really help you grow in harmony with your faith instead of discord.I would also caution people to be careful, to make the distinction between the doctrine of the Chruch and the people who serve the church. Everyone is a sinner and sinners make mistakes, sometimes very hurtful ones that can make you feel driven away. But Christ implores us to pray “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. To be forgiven, we have to forgive. Let’s forgive the transgressions of servants of the church as an act of charity so that we can all move on and forward in communion with Christ.

  • mary

    “I am Catholic, and proud to be so, and I pity those who bblindly criticize the Church, an institution with its myriad imperfections, without making the effort and taking the time to learn about it and it’s rich history. The Catholic Church is the foundation on which western civilization is built.”Excuse me, but it is exactly because one knows the history of the Roman Catholic church that one can criticize it. It may be you who chooses blindness – one has to, the catechism demands one to form one’s conscience to the church’s teachings. Do not undermine the faith – reason be damned. And yes, you are right, it definitely has a RICH history and is doing everything possible to keep its coffers and wine cellar full. Good grief, get a grip, the church was only a PART of the foundation on which western civilization was built and its legacy is mostly corruption.

  • Judy

    Why does Timothy Shriver’s piece get buried in an on-line post and Hank Stuever’s negative, insulting “lapsed Catholic” rantings make the front of today’s Style section? If I have learned anything from reading the Washington Post newspaper, I’ve learned that reporters who write about the Catholic Church and have their pieces published in the paper fall into only two categories – those who know absolutely nothing about the Church and write from ignorance, or those who have left the practice of their faith and are compelled to use it as a credential to insult everything Catholic.To be fair, I would like to see some equal time given to other religions and have a “lapsed” (fill in the blank with any religion other than Roman Catholic) write in a similar fashion about their former faith. It will never happen in this newspaper. To Hank Stuever I say, “Hank, when you’re ready to come home, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. I’ll be praying for you.”

  • Anonymous

    pope Benedict said “we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few.”The pope made no mention of the United States in his speech but I’m sure it’s an allusionto the U.S power. At other moments on his trip, Benedict has been overtly critical of the U.S., noting how opportunity and hope have not always been available to minorities.

  • Anonymous

    pope Benedict said “we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few.”The pope made no mention of the United States in his speech but I’m sure it’s an allusionto the U.S power. At other moments on his trip, Benedict has been overtly critical of the U.S., noting how opportunity and hope have not always been available to minorities.The U.S has almost always been a righteous country in dealing with world affairs.

  • spiderman2

    pope Benedict said “we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few.”The pope made no mention of the United States in his speech but I’m sure it’s an allusion to the U.S power. At other moments on his trip, Benedict has been overtly critical of the U.S., noting how opportunity and hope have not always been available to minorities.The U.S has almost always been a righteous country in dealing with world affairs. It spends it’s own money and sacrifice its people for the good of a foreign country and stability of the world. It has learned a lesson with Hitler that you don’t let dictators grow so powerful. Without the U.S, nobody would stand against this dictators like history has showed. European Powers before had all fought wars to gain more territories.But what did the Vatican do then? Thru-out the centruries it’s been a tool of those Catholic dictators including Hitler. Even today, it has never change speaking evil of the U.S. after all of the sacrifices the U.S has done.WAIT TILL THIS WORLD BECOMES ENMESHED IN TROUBLE AND SEE HOW THIS DEVIL POPE OR THE COMING DEVIL POPE SPEAK AGAINST AMERICA.Like the devil, the Vatican is very wise and very cunning. SOON IT WILL SIDE WITH THE MORE THAN 12 NATIONS THAT’S GOING TO FIGHT THE U.S. and like anything which chose to fight against the legendary “Phoenix” or Prince Michael in the Bible, they will all turn into DUST. According to most versions only one phoenix lived at a time and it renewed itself every 500 years. The U.S. uses a bird as it’s symbol and it’s the only country that’s nearest to 500 years in existence. Mythology or Bible prophecy, the U.S is the chosen one. Touch it and you’d burn to dust. Believe it. ( visit Jacoby’s article “The Sinking Catholic Ship” to know more about this )

  • Victoria Forigo

    Hello,Just want to say thank you for your kind words; as a Catholic, everyday, I am constantly having to defend my faith and religion with my boyfriend. It will be a good day, when I don’t have to wear my armer of God.Thanks,Victoria Forigo

  • John Harry DuHart III

    Catholicim came in two forms for me. The eight years at a now defunct little, but well known, parish church/school Mary Help Of Cristians followed by four years at Cardinal Hayes.Mary Help was a model Jesus’s giving heart, Hayes was the modern extension of St. Paul’s heavy fist!The RC church must get back to Jesus and dump St. Paul!

  • ZZim

    Thank Tim! I was just starting to get depressed from all the negative spin the press puts on all things Catholic. I knew it was coming and prepared myself emotionally, but the relentless assault kinda wears you down. You would think the Pope had nothing positive to say or do here in the U.S. from the news reports. All we’ve heard about in the last few days in the weak, pathetically out of touch crumbling Church that does nothing but molest people, etc, etc. Sigh. Anyway, I’m happy and proud to be Catholic and I just wish it wan’t ok to do nothing but tear down the Chruch in the media. I don’t want criticism of the Church to be against the rules, I guess I just want to hear a little respect once in a while. Maybe it is a sign of respect, though. “The Church is so big and powerful that we can criticise it all we want and not fear that we are actually harming anything”. Maybe that’s how it is, I dunno.Anyway, thanks for the very first positive article on the Church or the Pope I’ve seen this week, It cheered me up.

  • Novaseeker

    As a former Catholic (12 years of Catholic schooling, and a few years as a Catholic religious educator before I left the church and religion in general several years ago), I have to say I find the emotional ties that Catholics still have to the pope to be quite disturbing. All I can say is that from the outside looking in, the situation appears completely bizarre. I certainly didn’t see anything groundbreaking in what this pope has said during his time here, or anything surprising given his long background as the head of CDF. It’s extremely odd to me how rational individuals could be drawn to this man or what he has to say, but the world is a very strange place, I suppose.

  • Carmen

    I agree with the first two comments. The love and devotion to the Pope is disturbing. What about God? What about The Son? What about each other? If all of that energy, love and dedication were more toward the The Word and what Christ represents, I think there would be less people going to extremes against organized religion, because it wouldn’t be so… cult-like. I am an ex-Catholic. Born and raised in the religion. As a teen I prayed the rosary, I went to mass, I hit my chest three times in “mia culpa” and now that I am older, I think… why? That’s not what it’s all about. Its about the love, the message that Christ brought to us about love, and morals … His teachings.

  • rd

    A friend and I often speak of life as looking for the extrordinary in the ordinary. Tim Shiver makes us reflect on seemingly simple actions and human response as the living out of our faith.

  • journeyer58

    In the years since my confirmation, I have seen changes that can be at best described as disturbing and at worst, disheartening. Vatican II was supposed to open the Church to the world and the world to the Church. Light was supposed to be let in through a series of changes that were freeing and deliberate. The laity was supposed to be more involved in the running of the Church and there was a sense of liberation that ran through all Catholics that our Church was finally going to listen to the faithful. Yet this did not happen, after Pope Paul VI, John Paul II, changed the course of history by demanding that the changes wrought by Vatican II be reversed and the “Old Ways” come back. Furtherance of these changes are happening in the papacy of Benedict XVI. The Tridentine Mass has now come back, the old rules of do as I say, especially to the laity, are coming back, and the ideas of total infallibility and no say for the laity are happening on a more and more frequent basis. It has become an atmosphere of take it or leave it in many parishes and throughout the Church. The ideal of dissent and dialogue, of true participation of the laity is gone from the halls of power. No wonder that Roman Catholics are leaving the Church in droves and taking with them the children that would make the church more relevant and viable. It is a sad commentary on the life of the Church that the person who has prosecuted more people for dissent from “true doctrine,” was elected pope. There can be a movement towards openness and freedom, but if, and only if, the hierarchy of the Church listens to the people who make up the Church. There must be dialogue between the laity and the ordained. If this does not happen, I, personally fear for the Church that I so dearly love. For many years, I, drifted away from the Church, only to find myself drawn back because of the contemplative and mystical aspects. But, I now question my motivation, there does not seem to be much in the way of liberty and freedom within the Church and I for one am appalled that as a “cradle Catholic,” there is no forward movement on many of the issues that concern me most. Justice for the poor, is but one issue that concerns me. Many of those issues that I hold dear, are not considered “right-wing” enough, for the majority of the Church nowadays. It seems that the Church has been hijacked by “right-wing politics” and this is not the mission of the church. We, the laity, must return to the true mission of the Church and that is the spreading of the Gospel, through word and deeds. Only in this way, will the mission of the Church be accomplished, for if we stray too far from the true mission of the Church, I, too fear that as an organization, we are on the road to irrelevancy and ultimate loss.

  • Kenneth

    At least the Pope emulates Jesus, with extremely expensive clothes and luxurious living.Also, its odd to see someone write “I’m proud to be brainwashed”.And seeing all the people cheer the Pope reminds me that our country is filled with extremely gullible people.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Spiderman2 aka Canyon Shearer, Bible Thumper, Fortune Teller and Severely Brainwashed in that Old Time Religion,Fools are those who have read only the bible. God cannot be proud of such lazy creations!!!!And what “voodooer of the hoodoo” blessed you with such stupidity in the field of fortune telling and interpretations of said stupidity???

  • Eric Kleeman

    Phrumph. Nonsense. The papacy is for sale.

  • Dave

    I was raised as a Catholic, left the Church to become an Atheist for the past 30 years and I am now in the process of proudly returning to Catholic Church actively embracing its sacraments and doctrine. Why did return? Basically, it was a realization that is a Supreme Being called God and that the Catholic Church, with all its flawed history, is the institution established by God’s Son, Jesus Christ, to guide me how to worship and obey the will of this Supreme Being. Basically the way I came to this realization was a gift of faith. However there are specific people and events that helped inspire and reinforce this faith. These include:– what happened at Fatima on Oct 13, 1917Yes, there were many flawed popes and other clergy in the 2000+ year history of the Catholic Church and I am not always in total agreement with all its teachings, but I sincerely believe now it is the true Church founded by God.

  • Kenneth

    To Dave,If you believe God has a son, then your bi-theistic.You’re so lucky to belong to the “true” church founded by God.

  • kay

    Tim, perhaps one should focus one’s attention on Mother Teresa who, in fact, DID the work of the church that the Pope can only talk about and as a result came to a far different conclusion about the merits of believing in Roman Catholocism. There was no razzle dazzle for her; she lived with the reality of God’s people every day of her life and was treated with contempt by the hierarchy. True love and justice and believing in this church’s teachings is an oxymoron.

  • anon

    Pope is the farthest one from Jesus. He is like the CEO of a company who apologizes only when one is heavily fined; the apology is damage control..pure & simple. It is very controlling Institution. I find it very insulting that Mother Teresa’s Mission needed approval of this corrupt institute.

  • 7th Day Non Conformist

    Just want to say I am a little “c” catholic proudly married to a big “C” Catholic. She is a great woman I love dearly.

  • Ryan

    I’d also like to thank Tim for the first positive affirmation of the faith I’ve read this week. I’m a baptized Catholic who’s returned to the Church after spending most of my life as an atheist. I just find it terrible to read the responses of so many people who clearly hate an organization with as positive of a message as the RCC, especially in today’s world where such ideas are lacking so greatly. Secularism will lead us nowhere but down.

  • Rheba

    Former Catholics, there is a progressive church of Catholic Christians for you to find spiritual comfort. But you have to live the social gospel. These “proud to be Catholic” comments were made during the funeral of John Paul II. Although the pageantry and majesty of the Pope’s visit is impressive, wouldn’t it have been more impressive if he had visited a homeless shelter or a food kitchen? What effect that would have had on our materialist, anxiety-ridden society, and what effect it may have had on those who are happy and proud and those who have left.

  • elviejo

    1. Interesting that so many are “proud” to be something they are–more than likely–simply because of their parents. Oh, but you’re the lucky ones, aren’t you? Exceptionalism rears its ugly head yet again. Yes, I know there are those who chose Catholicism outside of their parents’ influence, but your numbers are far, far less.2. Isn’t pride one of the seven deadly sins?3. Concerned the Christian now liberated: You rock.

  • rannrann

    I am an EX-Catholic and I am, probably, MORE, proud.

  • SteveCO

    Censored by a religious blog.How deliciously ironic, you cowards.

  • Gerry

    The bigots aren’t going to get new material. They’re stuck in the Know Nothing phase and don’t want to grow out of it.

  • Collin Michael Nunis

    Al-Majduli Rabb Yasoo Al-Maseeh Hul-illah! Reading comments from all the Catholics here, it shows how Catholics feel about their faith – Proud. However, as a fellow Catholic myself, I find that the term “pride” and its derivatives are something which is inconsistent with the Christian values we claim to hold to. In the discourse given by St. Paul on love in 1 Corinthians 13, he says that “love is never boastful; it is never inflated… it does not seek its own interests” (v4 – 5). As a faith that puts love above all things in its agenda, how can we then, say “I’m proud to be Catholic”?! I am not saying that it is wrong to feel honoured that this is our faith, but to say pride indicates that no one else can be a part of us when clearly, we are mandated to fulfill the Great Commission to bring the Glad Tidings which is the Gospel to people who are seeking it. I have never felt pride about my Catholic faith as it amounts to an elitist and arrogant attitude on my part. In fact, I feel blessed or even grateful to God’s grace for putting me where I am. It is God’s grace that brought us all here, and it will be God’s grace that will bring others to be with us.

  • spiderman2

    The Church Jesus Christ BuiltIn Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “And I say unto thee (referring to Peter), that thou art Peter (petro or stone or rock), and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.In Acts 15:7 Peter said, ” …Men and brethren, ye know how that a good whil e ago God made choice (or selected) among us, that the Gentiles (or we the people who are not Jews) by my mouth (or thru his preaching) should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.”In verse 9 & 11, he continues, ” And put no difference between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles), purifying their hearts by faith … But we believe that thru the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”If we read the whole of Acts 15, those words of Peter were made to clear up matters in which some of the members of the church (newly converted Pharisees) want to include the law of Moses in order to be saved.Prior to this event or dispute, Apostle Paul and Barnabas had been preaching to the Gentiles the salvation of souls thru faith in Jesus Christ . In Acts 14:27 it says, “… and how He (God) had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Also in Acts 13:39 it says ” And by Him (Jesus Christ) all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” In the midst of the debate, Apostle Peter, whom Jesus Christ had first chosen to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, stood up and confirmed the teaching of Apostle Paul that indeed salvation is by grace thru faith in Jesus Christ which is made possible thru the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. In the eyes of God, nobody can satisfactorily follow the “unveiled” law of Moses unless dwelt upon by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. One of the “veiled” law of Moses is circumcision of the foreskin but its true or unveiled meaning is that of the “circumcision of the heart” or being “born-again” in other words (Romans 2:29). It was taught upon the Catholic people that their church was started by Peter. Many believe it and for this reason many choose to stand by this church and defend “what Peter had started”. But in reality, the Catholic Church has been a fierce enemy to the doctrine propagated by Peter, Paul, the other Apostles and of Jesus Christ. When Martin Luther (a former priest) floated the idea of “justification by faith”, which the apostles especially Peter and Paul had long ago preached to the Gentiles, all hell broke loose and it caused many terrible wars and massacres done by the church just to suppress that doctrine. If Peter and Paul were present during those time when Catholicism was at its peak of power and had they changed their names to avoid recognition, they too could have been burned at the stake also for preaching “justification by faith”. Despite the tremendous power of the Roman Catholic Church during that time, it didn’t succeed to extinguish that holy doctrine coz as what Jesus Christ had said, ” the gates of hell shall not prevail against it “. As what Martin Luther had said, “the body they may kill : but God’s truth abideth still”. And true enough it still abides today and even gave birth to a great nation (In God We Trust) and it will continue to abide even to the end of time. [ But this nation will suffer or be punished because of the foolishness (rising atheism, sexual promiscuity, gay marriage, garbage music, TV programs & movies centered on sex) which some or many of its people, who are ignorant of that holy doctrine, are promoting. With Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, atheism and other false religions slowly "invading" it, God won't spare parts of that nation to feel the brunt of His anger.]For a very long time upto now, the salvation doctrine of Catholicism has been the sacraments like infant baptism, confession to the priests and penance, holy communion, confirmation, etc. Some even consider the role of Mary in their salvation plan. It just couldn’t stop of thinking what really could save a person coz in reality, they really don’t know and that explains why they have so many ways. Justification by faith was never a part of their salvation doctrine and anybody who espoused that idea during those dark centuries were properly dealt with. It must be noted that no Apostle ever performed infant baptism; no Apostle had a confession booth and gave penance; no Apostle performed the holy communion for the salvation of souls and neither was “confirmation” used by them. Also, no Apostle prayed to Mary for intercession to God. Whatever Catholicism has been teaching their flock like lighting candles, praying the rosary, praying to the saints, reciting prayer books, getting their properties blessed with “holy water”, no Apostle ever did those things coz they are just purely Catholicism’s own inventions. And as always, man’s inventions especially if it pertains to godliness always fall short with God’s standards. No person can ever make his own way to Heaven. It’s either God’s way or no way.Catholicism was not the church Jesus Christ built in which Peter and the rest of the Apostles was tasked to propagate. On the contrary it is the church which persecuted and tried to destroy God’s true church.Jesus Christ had said, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This said church is already present with us and its not Catholicism, nor liberal Protestantism, nor Judaism, nor Islam, nor Hinduism, nor Taoism, nor Buddhism nor any other big or small religion that may name Christ but has other ways of salvation other than the simple faith in Jesus Christ which He personally gives to whoever He sees fit to receive it.********If we hear the words “God bless America”, it may not refer to all Americans but as a nation, it is true. If we hear the words “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound”, it may be America’s favorite hymn and was written just a few years before America became a sovereign nation but the essence of that song started roughly 2000 years ago, when Peter stood up in defense of Paul and proclaimed the foundation in which the true church of God would stand — salvation by grace thru faith in Jesus Christ. No other else.Man did not make America, God did. And why is that? It’s because He lives in the hearts of many of them who believe and live that doctrine. ********As I searched the net for some backgrounder about the song, Amazing Grace, I found this dedication written alongside with the song :In Tribute to all those innocents who lost their lives in 9-11; and to all those who made it possible for our country to have the freedoms we enjoy; who paid the cost for our freedoms with their lives and youth in World War I, World War II, and at D-DAY; and in police actions like Vietnam, Korea and more; and to all those in our country’s Armed Forces who stand in harm’s way in defense of our liberty today. We owe America all the freedoms and the relative prosperity most of this world’s population, including Europe, are enjoying today. God truly bless America. God bless the people who has that salvation by grace thru faith in Jesus Christ. God bless His true Church in which the gates of hell, be it colonialism, communism, terrorism or some form of dark power, cannot prevail against it. This world may undergo another round of terrible crisis not known to man ever before, but we can be sure with God’s protection, it would still be, as it has always been, the last man standing.Let the whole world embrace and live this doctrine so “earth and Heaven would finally be one”. May God not only bless America but also the world. Surely, He will if it would only believe. It’s still not too late for some.Let’s be a part of this spiritual revolution. Be a part of God’s “fishers of men”. Pass it on.

  • Chris

    Proud to be a Catholic?Maybe so, but aren’t you, and others embarassed that it takes a DEBATE to protect children? It takes a DEBATE to change Church Law to protect children? Who needs a DEBATE about that but those who don’t consider this a serious crime? Let alone a DEBATE that has been raging for decades.You, and others may be proud to be a Catholic, but if I were a Catholic (or even religious) I would be plenty embarassed that it takes a DEBATE to protect children. If it weren’t the Church, all those DEBATING would be demanding the closing of a business, or the jailing of the abusers WITHOUT a DEBATE.Ah, the joys of religion and fundamentalists.

  • MtMav

    Thanks, Mr. Shriver, for your commentary. Like yourself, I am very proudly Catholic.Catholicism has so strongly influenced my life for the better and, more importantly, was absolutely instrumental in helping me establish a strong but quiet personal relationship with our savior, JESUS CHRIST.I would be remiss if I did not thank the wonderful Priests, Brothers, Nuns and, most importantly two devoutly Catholic parents who assisted/guided me in my journey through life.Thanks again, Mr. Shriver

  • Love Never Fails

    Me, I’m a good Catholic girl……… I wear the initial of the man I love on a chain long enough so it hangs near my heart…..because that is where I always want him to be……… close to my heart. His beliefs are between him and “his” God not me and “my” God…….regardless of how or what he choses to believe I will love him just the same.1 Corinthians 13:1-13, {4}Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. {5}It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. {6}Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7}It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. {11}When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. {12}Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

  • Jason

    I agree with Judy.

  • Ellen Knight

    Colin Micheal.Thank you. “I have never felt pride about my Catholic faith as it amounts to an elitist and arrogant attitude on my part. In fact, I feel blessed or even grateful to God’s grace…”Identity has nothing to do with Pride. It is what is is and Pride is a sense that does not belong when describing feelings about faith.

  • Jihadist

    Hello Jeff P,Perhaps Spiderman2 likes and is having fun weaving webs to see who will get caught and stuck there. So, let’s get caught in his web:) I do think he does sometimes throw in interesting contentions in his own ininimitable and combative ways. So, Spiderman2 asserted:”Man did not make America, God did. And why is that? It’s because He lives in the hearts of many of them who believe and live that doctrine.”It would seem that Spiderman2 is stating the obvious with regard to believers. Europe, in the times America was colonised and opened up, was riven by and rife with intra and inter state and intra and inter faith religious and political strifes. It is not a fact the first European migrant to America were considered religious mavericks or heretics or rebels, including the Pilgrim fathers, the Unitarians, the Quakers etc? Many were avoiding religious persecutions in migrating to America. Then there is Manifest Destiny that drives the “opening” and “taming” of the west. The Founding Fathers, knowing the religious diversity of Americans then, took the steps to to have the “establishment clause” in, preventing any church or belief from being the “established” church of America? Perhaps they remember what happened to Britain with its “established church” of England as the official church and the ensuing religious persecutions from time of Henry VIII up to the early seventeeth century (especially of Catholics). Belief in God in particular ways is the impulse which some Americans made and shaped America – from slavery to anti-slavery, to the Prohibition, to abortion to gay rights etc. They do shaped the public debate and public policies for better or for worse. And is the so-called “Protestant work ethics” that drives America’s economic growth not defined by a particular belief in God and of God too? There may be seperation of church and state, but for some believers, belief in God and what they think God wants is a strong driving force in their personal thinking, decisions and actions on public issues flavoured by their respective religious beliefs which they take to the public square. All the more to be grateful for and to pursue seperation of church and state and no established church/religion anywhere to stem domination nad imposition of the beliefs and values of one religious group to dominate over overs. Thanks and best regards”J”

  • spiderman2

    Paul C. wrote :” By the way, the line you are quoting from Corinthians:The scripture says that IF YOU CANNOT CONTAIN, it is better to marry than to burn. The Catholic Church has not given them that option and as seen in its many priests’ actions, they have not contained and therefore they will burn.

  • spiderman2

    Jihadist, Freedom of Conscience is a primary baptist principle and Separation of Church of State is a by-product of that principle. They fought for and are still fighting for that First Ammendment.This world will be destroyed by false religions in the future. My intention is to let the people know why would God allow it to happen before their impending Doom.Like in the time of Moses or Noah, those who believe will be saved, and those who don’t will be DOOMED.God always give final warnings before an imminent destruction.And since you’re a Muslim, it would do well for your country if you stay neutral. Anybody who side against America in the last days of the great coming war will be utterly destroyed to almost non-existence.Americans , on the other hand, should repent on their stupidity or else they would meet the same fate. Their enemies will be allowed by God to destroy part of them.That is the prophecy of God. The proof of that is in the pudding. Everybody will taste the truth of that prophecy soon.

  • slainte

    What is stunning and extremely sadening is the level of hatred in many of the postings above. And some would say that anti-Catholic bigotry is dead? Imagine if the article were about some other religion or ethnic group. The responses above would likely have been filtered by the Post. A very interesting time that we live in. What is not acknowledged anywhere in the above rantings is that there is no organization, no county, no group of people who do more for the poor and disenfranchised in our world than Catholics. In every city in America (and in fact the world) go into the worst section of town and if you care to notice, you will see a stauch group of Catholics quietly going about Gods work. We all know of Mother Theresa, yet there are litterally millions of others, religious and lay Catholics, doing similar work across our globe. Who has done more to educate people of the world? Yet what we see is negative article after negative article. The Post is far from a friend of the Church. Coverage, with the notable exception of some of the last week, generally is openly hostile. Can you imagine this type of coverage of Islam? Judeism? Communism? You won’t see it. Nor should you.The Catholic Church has made many, many mistakes and will continue to due so, it is a human institution after all. Yet, despite the often subtle and sometimes overt aggression against the Catholic Church there are those of us who believe not only that it was an institution devinely inspired and founded to perpetuate Christ’s message, but we also believe that the millions of millions of simple flawed humans alway have and will continue doing thier best every day to strive toward that unattainable perfection. If we move a little closer, we are doing great. We and every Catholic before us, including the clergy and laity are all sinners who keep trying. Very proud and humbled to be a Catholic

  • GeorgiaSon

    I keep hoping for an American Catholic to present a logical argument based on human reason that explains how someone can profess absolute devotion and fidelity to the Catholic Church–but just doesn’t believe he has to listen to that old geezer in Rome. Obviously, we didn’t get it from Mr. Shriver. From him, we get another mind-blowing regurgitation of the same old rhetoric, showing that cognitive dissonance is alive and well on the planet.For the record: you cannot be a Catholic and disparage and ignore the Pope’s doctrines. You must bow down to the Pope as your absolute sovereign, or you are not a Catholic. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you are doing that, you are the pluperfect example of a cafeteria Catholic. When you pick and choose the parts of Catholicism that suit you and disregard the rest, you are not a Catholic and much less are you even a religious person. What you mainly are is a hypocrite. You are being dishonest and deceitful practicing hypocrisy. The Catholic Church in America has been built on that hypocrisy. That hypocrisy that lies at the heart of the Catholic Church has had horrendous consequences. Can there be people who truly do not comprehend that saying you are a Catholic but can practice birth control without fear of your immortal soul ending up in hell is exactly the same attitude as saying, I am a Catholic priest who can practice child molestation without fear of my immortal soul ending up in hell? Or a bishop or an archbishop or whoever saying, I can cover up and tolerate mass pedophilia in my ranks without fear that my immortal soul will end up in hell?What a bunch of bloody hypocrites the lot of you are.Give me a dyed-in-the-wool traditional Catholic who fully accepts the Pope’s authority and all the Church’s medieval doctrines to the “progressive” cafeteria Catholic whose religion is rooted in narcissistic hypocrisy.The part about the Pope saying in regard to the sex abuse business that it’s the time for the healing process to begin is priceless. Let’s see, now. World War II is barely over, and a German leader piously announces that it’s time for the Jews to let by-gones be by by-gone and engage in a healing process. A white Southern racist bigot proclaims in, say, 1963 that it’s time for blacks to let by-gones be by by-gone and engage in a healing process with the segregationists. Imagine the reaction if a German or a white Southerner said the above. But a Catholic Pope can do the equivalent in regard to the horrendous destruction of innocent children’s lives, and people like Tim Shriver swoon like teenage girls in the presence of some rock star. Sorry, Tim. You’ve done the opposite of what you intended. You’ve reminded us of how dangerous and destructive superstitious-laden minds can be.

  • Lapsed and proud

    Pride cometh before a fall. You really should purge yourself of all that Catholic nonsense; you’ll feel better and won’t have the urge to brag so often.

  • Jojo Mijala

    I am very proud to be a Catholic, proud to the bone!There are those who choose not to believe in the real teachings of the Lord. Not because they are ignorant, but because they refuse to do so. What more these people want – another miracle of the sun? When these people die the Good Lord will ask each one of them – I have given you everything to believe in Me when you are alive, what will you say to Me now.

  • Friendly Neighborhood Atheist

    I’m an atheist and have been for all of my life. God, religion, heaven and hell all seem very illogical and superstitious to me. With that said, I know many different people who believe in many different religions and, in almost all cases, those people are good people who are doing good things. When Tim Shriver says that he’s proud to be a Catholic, I say “Good for you, Tim”. If you are living a virtuous life and you are having a positive impact on other people (and as the leader of Special Olympics, I’m sure he is), then who cares what belief system got you there?I’m writing this because of all the Catholic-bashing I’ve seen posted here. I have certainly taken more than one Catholic to task on the fallacies of their doctrine. But, there isn’t a religion out there that doesn’t have flaws. Atheism has its flaws. But, before we condemn people for the leaps in logic that they take, I think we should first look where that leap has taken them. In most cases, it is to a better place.

  • spiderman2

    Beware of False ProphetsIn terms of occupancy, hell is much bigger than heaven coz many will go to that place of torment compared to those who will make it to heaven. One major factor why it is so is because of false religions or false prophets who propagate it. In Matthew 7:13-15 Jesus said “…wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction (Hell), and many there be which go in thereat; … strait (or limited in space) is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life (Heaven), and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing…”. The fact that God had said that many will go to hell and few to heaven just shows that these false prophets are much more effective in teaching their false doctrines than those who preach the true word of God. As a result, they have a much larger following. It is very disappointing that many religions today use the name of Jesus Christ and that its priests or preachers act like they are His servants but in truth are really servants of the devil. It is equally disappointing that many members of these churches are easily duped into believing what they falsely teach.Since the year 2001, four so called “Christian” nations have already legalized gay marriage. It’s quite amazing that four nations (The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada) legalized it in just a span of 4 years. Next year, there could be another two or more and before we know it, other “Christian” nations would be following their lead just like popcorn. The only thing to blame in here is their practiced religion.It should be noted that both Belgium and Spain are Catholic countries. Canada is 43% Catholic and 29% Protestant and most of its Protestant churches have linkups with the Catholic Church and other false religions thru its Ecumenical Movement. Their biggest protestant group, The United Church of Canada (UCC), previously stated that their church welcome “sexually active single adults, lesbian, gay and bisexual people into all aspects of the life and ministry of the Church”. It means that they see nothing wrong with people engaged in fornication, adultery and same sex unions. If we read the Bible, these are the same people God will burn in Hell. Clearly, there are two conflicting messages here — one from God and the other from the devil. Since their church unashamedly teach the devil’s doctrine, it’s more fitting that they should call their church as the United Devil’s Church of Canada. That way, it would clear up things and there will be no mixups. The Netherlands, on the other hand, has become a secular state which means most of its populace has no religious affiliation. In Massachusetts, which currently is the only state in the U.S that have legalized gay marriage, 54% of its populace is Catholic and still rising..This is just the cross-section of the kind of religions those people who supported gay marriage have. Most of them were Catholics, liberal Protestants that have linkups with other false religions and Secularists who are either aetheists or skeptics. All these religions or beliefs have one thing in common. They worship the same “God” but not the God in the Bible for in Romans 1:32 it states, “Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death…”. When God speaks of death, He means everlasting hellfire. The people who approved of it never knew that they have stretched even wider what is already a very broad pathway to Hell. Most probably, they too are breezing thru that road themselves and on their way to destruction. No more stoplights for the lights or religions they attend to like the UCC have been signalling them to push on and run on full speed.False religions are not that really hard to detect. Jesus said that “ye will know them by their fruits”. So the next time another country, state or city legalizes gay marriage, examine what kind of religion those people who approved of it profess. And as sure as the sun rises from the east, those people would be either Catholic, liberal Protestants or Secularists. When God says beware, one should not take it lightly. In Luke 12:5 Jesus said, “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him.” But what makes it more fearsome is the fact that it cannot be appealed like what other false religions want to suggest by teaching reincarnation or purgatory. The judgment of God is final and wherever He puts us in, Heaven or Hell, that would be permanent. The same is the fire and the worms crawling in one’s body. They too would be permanent. The worms won’t die and the fire won’t quench either. It really is a place of torment and it’s really very sad if some foolish religion would send somebody there.”Beware of false prophets”, said the Lord. I hope everybody would really ponder on this one.

  • spiderman2

    The Bible is like a surgeon’s sharp scalpel. It can be very useful in the hands of the surgeon but if a fool holds it, it becomes a dangerous tool.Had you not wondered how those bread and “holy water” made those number of priests become p e d o p h i l e s and fornicators? They spend more time eating those bread and “blessing” those “holy” water than reading the Bible and let it guide them. The Bible is the holy water and the holy bread. Eat it so you will be filled. COPY AND PASTE THIS SO YOUR POPE AND PRIESTS WILL LEARN”But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is BETTER TO MARRY THAN TO BURN.” (1 Corinthians 7:9) And that I can say is INFALLIBLE.Copy and paste that again and again repeatedly as what you do with other scriptures.No pope will ever go to heaven coz they don’t believe the Bible.For the rest of the catholics who think the same way as their pope, TAKE HEED OR YOU TOO WILL BURN.

  • spiderman2

    The Catholic CycleIn one third world country where population explosion has become a major problem, Catholic chapels or centers offer free operation to untie the fallopian tubes of mothers after indoctrinating them that it’s a SIN. This devilish Church invent their own doctrines so parents would produce more chiildren despite their abject poverty. They then teach these poor people that their government is the cause of their poverty due to corruption but lo and behold those same government personnel are usually “devout catholics”. Some revolt which cause more poverty and this has become a “CATHOLIC CYCLE” which I presume is routinely duplicated around the world. To escape poverty, many go abroad adding more economic pressure to their countries of destination.(for more of this topic, check out the replies in Susan Jacoby’s article in the Opinion/Faith page.

  • spiderman2

    Jihadist wrote : ” it means freedom to preach their version of the “truth”. Wrong. It means freedom by ALL religions to preach their version except preaching suicide bombings. Muslims are allowed here to preach but Christians are not allowed in most Muslim countries. Don’t you think that is stupidity? Jihadist wrote “They do want to bring about war and salvation to Jews and other anti-Christs such as Muslims who would not accept the “true faith” and still adhere to “false ones”. From what I’ve read, some want to hasten it, including your goodself? Wrong. The reason why Doomsday will happen is because of people whose interest is to destroy the whole of America. But America is a chosen country. Those who touch it will turn into dust. The Bible prophecies are a warning to those people with evil intentions not to do it, but they would do it still. That’s not America’s fault anymore if people don’t believe those Biblical prophecies. The truth is, if not for America, your country and much of Asia would still be under Japan occupation upto this time. The rest will be a toss-up between Hitler’s Germany or Communist Russia.Nobody sees the goodness of America and those who are most blind will pay for it very dearly. Not because America would hurt them but because they would hurt America and the retaliation is more than a thousand fold — almost to the point of annihilation. Normally, they would be blinded by their false religions or their false beliefs. There is very high percentage that the pope will be siding against America and that would spell the doom of Vatican. Islamic countries will also play a big role. Atheist and evolutionist countries too.

  • Jonathan

    Spiderman2 and Concerned the Christian Now Liberated:You both need to grow up, and write in a mature fashion. CTCNL has some good points about the historicity (and lack thereof) of the Bible, but doesn’t get them across very well.Spidey is right about the superstitious nonsense of the Catholic Church, but take the plank out of your own eye before removing your brother’s speck, as your posts are full of similar nonsense and superstition, as CTCNL says, pretty magic wingy flying thingies.The straight record: There is no evidence Abraham or Moses existed, and good evidence AGAINST Moses and Joshua. Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula have been searched for evidence of Israelites camped there for the requisite years, and there are no Israelite markers or litter for 400 years in Egypt or 40 years in the desert where their garbage would have accumulated. The Joshua years were a peaceful time, when Jericho was a small unfortified village, not the great walled city it only became AFTER the Israelites took over.The kings from David onward are probably a good list, just as we have good POTUS lists today. Fairy tales and magic like Elijah’s fire were sprinkled in wherever the myth-makers saw fit.Nineveh never had a citywide revival like the one Jonah supposedly caused.The Book of Daniel has the wrong identities for the kings it describes and completely invents a fictitious king, Darius the Mede. It was written to describe a time 400 years earlier than its writer, who had not perfectly researched the time. Similarly Esther is the story of a great war which could never have happened in the well-documented time described. These are alternate-historical fictions like Gone With the Wind or Forrest Gump.There is no record of a messianic preacher who was named Jesus and had the right descriptions, nor any unusual earthquakes, eclipses or bread-multiplications at the right time, yet Josephus should have written much about the former (the famous Jesus Letter of Josephus is a confirmed forgery), and Pliny the Elder should have written about the latter. Everywhere that should have Jesus-evidence, doesn’t, so there is reason to say he didn’t exist, or only existed as a common man.Revelation “predicts” a great war in the OLD Roman Empire which never happened, so its author John is a false prophet.Biology of neurons has confirmed that the “soul” comes from the brain and does not outlast it, and is not from “God.”Lastly, if God wants people to “believe” in his existence, he ought to take a public stroll down Times Square!

  • Jeff P

    Friendly Neighborhood Atheist:right on, regarding the bottom-line assessment of what-the-hell-then-are-you-doing-to-make-this-a-better-place scenario. The “pride” I see Mr. Shriver describe (I believe) could be shared among sports enthusiasts, Rotary Club members, or any other secular institution, but to feel “proud” about one’s religious beliefs to me seems interesting at best, but potentially counterproductive at worst.Sometimes it’s easy to get bent out of shape regarding “belief-systems” but as you and I know, they’re not going away. The best we can hope for is some enlightenment along our way, and that we don’t do too much damage with our “certainties” as we see them.I’ll disagree with you on one point: “atheism has it’s flaws”–really the only thing I see with atheism is a-theism: lack of “belief” in supernatural gods. After that, ideas, opinions and all else go all over the place.One other comment, that I generally don’t get into is again made by Spider2:”Man did not make America, God did. And why is that? It’s because He lives in the hearts of many of them who believe and live that doctrine.”If he would only realize just how dangerous and slippery a slope he’s landed on. I’m trying to teach my boy to avoid that slope like a plague, and to our country’s credit and future, some young people are beginning to break out of that mindset in some parts of our land.

  • Richard C

    I am proud that I made a decision long ago to leave the Catholic Church and have never looked back. I look on in sadness as Catholic families whose faith has been the bedrock of generations are betrayed by their church. Descendants of immigrants came to this country and used their hard earned money to build neighborhood churches have seen those churches sold out from under them to pay for lawsuits over sexual abuse — lawsuits not against the sad and damaged priests who committed the acts, but against the diocese which time after time after time covered up for these crimes. The families who are having their churches sold are obviously no where near as betrayed as the families of those countless children whose lives have been destroyed as a result, many of them now adults battling addiction, many of them dead by their own hand. Other Catholic families who welcome a priest with open arms who welcomes all “the people of God” in his parish to join in community life, including gays and lesbians, have seen those priests taken away and replaced with dogmatic hardliners. The underlying problem is one that Americans of all faiths can understand: the hierarchy of the Catholic church is accountable to no one, it is an autocracy and a absolute monarchy governed by one man, who appoints all of those who will “elect” the man who succeeds him.An all male, “celibate” or more often, sexually dysfunctional hierarchy that has made such a fetish of a sexual morality they don’t have any stake in (and that they seem to believe does not fully apply to them in any case) has made the Catholic church look far more like a first century fertility cult than like the transcendent religion of Jesus. While I am not a Christian, a cursory reading of the Gospels will show that while Jesus welcomed everyone into his circle and broke every social convention of his time, and believed the spirit of “the law” was more important than legalism, the Catholic Church preaches the exact opposite philosophy. The last time I was in a Catholic Church was for my father’s funeral, a man beloved by many people of many faiths and no faith. The priest made a point of letting this diverse crowd know that only Catholics were “eligible” to receive Communion.The pope is a king, so when he travels he meets with other heads of state and government, even those who start illegal wars and condone torture and indefinite detention — in such meetings he dares to speak of the sanctity of human life.In the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandals (though there is no aftermath for something that is still ongoing and still being covered up) many Catholics woke up and left the church (I had left long before) many others stayed behind to try to “reform from within” an institution that was so much an important part of their lives. But their attempt have failed, their voices have grown dim. Simply put, they have no voice and no vote in the institution they love.The opening for change that came when John XXIII opened “the doors and windows” of the church with the Second Vatican Council has been firmly slammed shut by John Paul II and his successor. This is again a large institution that cares primarily and most dearly about itself, reactionary to the very core, at war with every small step of progress the human race has managed to make for itself, still hostile to real working democracy, still the “one true church” whose approach to ecumenism is to invite the apostates back, still excluding half the human race from any position of spiritual authority. Movements to show solidarity with the poor and oppressed have been crushed from within. Dissent is not allowed.I am so proud I have no part in such a “faith”.

  • Alice

    Be Still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

  • Jonathan

    Right on, Jeff P. You speak truly.America was not “founded a Christian Nation.” Patrick Henry wanted to include much language about God and Jesus in the Constitution, but Jefferson and Madison’s faction won out over him. All language about religion was struck from the Constitution, and for decades right-wingers denounced the Constitution as profane and unholy because of this.The 1787 Constitution says that no religious test may be a prerequisite for gov’t jobs (something like “except for belief in the Christian faith” was among the stricken passages). The 1792 First Amendment was an addendum which mentions religion, for the express purpose of saying that gov’t may not establish it or mess with it in any way.Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and many other Founding Fathers were deists or agnostics. Jefferson repeatedly proclaimed disbelief in the divinity and resurrection of Jesus. His journals (readable on many websites) list all the reasons and examples wherein religion has been used to suppress liberty through the ages as of 1800, and we of 2008 would do well to remember them.

  • PJ

    Proud? Not I. Not when Benny visits my country and insists that we embrace all the illegal alien invaders (alleged Christians as well as jihadist muslims). Where does this idiot get off telling us to embrace these invaders but tries to get Europe to ‘unembrace’ their own invading muslims? What a hypocrit!! Can’t wait to see your back, Benny, as you leave our shores – - just wish you could/would take your latino buddies with you.

  • spiderman

    Smith wrote “Thank you Holy Father” coggieguy wrote ” Dear Benedict – Thank you for being an example of Jesus’ love. “Thank you for all the lies. Jesus said don’t call anyone father but you topped it by even putting “holy” in it. There is only one Holy Father and that is God. When it’s used towards anybody else, it’s called blasphemy. Thanks for the millions of blasphemies mentioned during your whole week of visit in the U.S. “Thank you for being the example of Jesus love” like continuing to be blind so millions will go to hell.

  • spiderman2

    Jeff P., your kind of thinking is the main reason why you won’t be spared during a nuclear war. It’s so idiotic and full of lies. I feel sorry for you guys if you would be the first ones to burn during a nuclear war.

  • Orth

    The first Pope in history was the Apostle Peter, who personally new Jesus. Peter is the founding father of the Roman Catholic Church, nothing less.Therefore the Pope is the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit representative on Earth.Pope Benedict is a peace maker! An intellectual. And I agree w/ DoTheRightThing, if even celebrities can get freebies, so can the Pope and many of “the luxuries” if not all, are donated by the manufacturers.Long live to Pope Benedict XVI!Peace Out.

  • spiderman2

    Orth, this one is for you.The Church Jesus Christ BuiltIn Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “And I say unto thee (referring to Peter), that thou art Peter (petro or stone or rock), and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.In Acts 15:7 Peter said, ” …Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice (or selected) among us, that the Gentiles (or we the people who are not Jews) by my mouth (or thru his preaching) should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.”In verse 9 & 11, he continues, ” And put no difference between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles), purifying their hearts by faith … But we believe that thru the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”If we read the whole of Acts 15, those words of Peter were made to clear up matters in which some of the members of the church (newly converted Pharisees) want to include the law of Moses in order to be saved.Prior to this event or dispute, Apostle Paul and Barnabas had been preaching to the Gentiles the salvation of souls thru faith in Jesus Christ . In Acts 14:27 it says, “… and how He (God) had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Also in Acts 13:39 it says ” And by Him (Jesus Christ) all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” In the midst of the debate, Apostle Peter, whom Jesus Christ had first chosen to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, stood up and confirmed the teaching of Apostle Paul that indeed salvation is by grace thru faith in Jesus Christ which is made possible thru the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. In the eyes of God, nobody can satisfactorily follow the “unveiled” law of Moses unless dwelt upon by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. One of the “veiled” law of Moses is circumcision of the foreskin but its true or unveiled meaning is that of the “circumcision of the heart” or being “born-again” in other words (Romans 2:29). It was taught upon the Catholic people that their church was started by Peter. Many believe it and for this reason many choose to stand by this church and defend “what Peter had started”. But in reality, the Catholic Church has been a fierce enemy to the doctrine propagated by Peter, Paul, the other Apostles and of Jesus Christ. When Martin Luther (a former priest) floated the idea of “justification by faith”, which the apostles especially Peter and Paul had long ago preached to the Gentiles, all hell broke loose and it caused many terrible wars and massacres done by the church just to suppress that doctrine. If Peter and Paul were present during those time when Catholicism was at its peak of power and had they changed their names to avoid recognition, they too could have been burned at the stake also for preaching “justification by faith”. Despite the tremendous power of the Roman Catholic Church during that time, it didn’t succeed to extinguish that holy doctrine coz as what Jesus Christ had said, ” the gates of hell shall not prevail against it “. As what Martin Luther had said, “the body they may kill : but God’s truth abideth still”. And true enough it still abides today and even gave birth to a great nation (In God We Trust) and it will continue to abide even to the end of time. [ But this nation will suffer or be punished because of the foolishness (rising atheism, sexual promiscuity, gay marriage, garbage music, TV programs & movies centered on sex) which some or many of its people, who are ignorant of that holy doctrine, are promoting. With Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, atheism and other false religions slowly "invading" it, God won't spare parts of that nation to feel the brunt of His anger.]For a very long time upto now, the salvation doctrine of Catholicism has been the sacraments like infant baptism, confession to the priests and penance, holy communion, confirmation, etc. Some even consider the role of Mary in their salvation plan. It just couldn’t stop of thinking what really could save a person coz in reality, they really don’t know and that explains why they have so many ways. Justification by faith was never a part of their salvation doctrine and anybody who espoused that idea during those dark centuries were properly dealt with. It must be noted that no Apostle ever performed infant baptism; no Apostle had a confession booth and gave penance; no Apostle performed the holy communion for the salvation of souls and neither was “confirmation” used by them. Also, no Apostle prayed to Mary for intercession to God. Whatever Catholicism has been teaching their flock like lighting candles, praying the rosary, praying to the saints, reciting prayer books, getting their properties blessed with “holy water”, no Apostle ever did those things coz they are just purely Catholicism’s own inventions. And as always, man’s inventions especially if it pertains to godliness always fall short with God’s standards. No person can ever make his own way to Heaven. It’s either God’s way or no way.Catholicism was not the church Jesus Christ built in which Peter and the rest of the Apostles was tasked to propagate. On the contrary it is the church which persecuted and tried to destroy God’s true church.Jesus Christ had said, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This said church is already present with us and its not Catholicism, nor liberal Protestantism, nor Judaism, nor Islam, nor Hinduism, nor Taoism, nor Buddhism nor any other big or small religion that may name Christ but has other ways of salvation other than the simple faith in Jesus Christ which He personally gives to whoever He sees fit to receive it.

  • Jeff P

    J–I am in complete agreement with all of your observations. I think sometimes it’s difficult for certain evangelicals (especially when heavily influenced by apocalyptic mentality) to not realize that, when push comes to shove, there are many “patriotic” Americans who would be willing to risk life and limb in order to keep a firm separation between church and state, to preserve our liberties, and that those Americans realize the very slippery slope of claiming “God on our side” will be the potential end of us all. And yes there is a real concern among those of us who are un-believers (and I’m sure from some moderate-believers as well) about the come-about of some self-fulfilling prophecy regarding the “end times” of Christian biblical prophecy. But don’t fear, to the extent we have voting power, and ability to convey reason and ideas and skepticism, we might just stave it off for awile. I look forward to the end of this “gut-feeling,” good-versus-evil driven political rule, and toward a possibiliity of some new vision for our future in cooperation with a greater citizenship of planet Earth, rather than the “don’t mess with America” mentality we sometimes have as an American nation. Wouldn’t it be great, in our lifetimes, to see such a future for our kids?

  • DoTheRightThing

    Kenneth wrote, “At least the Pope emulates Jesus, with extremely expensive clothes and luxurious living.” In fact, those clothes and even the PopeMobile are donated by their manufacturers. And, with regard to luxurious living, Jesus socialized and ate with rich people, too: tax collectors, Temple priests, and well-to-do Pharisees, among others.

  • rj kalbus

    Catholics are very fine people. If you don’t belive so, just ask one. And the only time that I have noticed them to be dangerous is when they are driving to and from church on Satursay night or Sunday morning. Don’t get in their way or you are dead meat.

  • coggieguy

    Dear Benedict – Thank you for praying for all the haters in the world. Thank you for being an example of Jesus’ love. Peace be with you.

  • spiderman2

    Paul C. wrote “And yes there is a real concern among those of us who are un-believers (and I’m sure from some moderate-believers as well) about the come-about of some self-fulfilling prophecy regarding the “end times” of Christian biblical prophecy.”Self fulfilling like Christians encouraging atheist communist and Islamic countries to stockpile nukes? Very good observation.

  • spiderman2

    i mean Jeff P., sorry

  • Smith

    Thank you Holy Father for coming to the USA! This wonderful country was in much need of your visit.

  • gary

    Did anyone never notice that most poor third world countries have either an Catholic or Muslin population, corruption as a way of life, and high breeding rates. Of course, the Catholic church realizes many of the children will starve or die from childhood disease but as long as they are Catholic that is OK, enough will survive to make more Catholics. In the USA the Catholic church is making a come back. Its an ideal plan let the good Catholics Latinos pour across our open borders and Breed like Rabbits while forcing American tax payers to provide for them, that is why the Pope spoke about taking care of Immigrants and all Catholic Churches are for breaking the law and encourage Illegal Aliens and open Borders! When the next president gives the 20 to 30 million mostly uneducated Illegal Aliens citizenship alone with chain migration there will be 100,s of millions of new fast breeding, educating hating, criminally inclined , welfare loving citizens and the Nation will soon join the Third World as they breed us into poverty. But the Democrat Politicians will have the welfare votes and further their Socialist Agenda, the Republican Politicians an unlimited supply of cheap labor and the Church more millions of good docile Catholics to preach their dogma to, past the collection plate, and lots of children for the priests to play with. The only losers are current American Citizens and either Party or the Catholic church gives a damn about them!

  • Jeff P

    Spiderman: thanks for your response.Well, which country has the biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons currently? Which is the only country in world history to have used nuclear weapons in wartime, and what was it’s “national religion?” Which country first developed the H-bomb as a fusion weapon with so much unprecedented destructive capacity that to use it would almost guarantee global nuclear winter? Which country’s president suggested a “Strategic Defense Initiative (ie Star Wars) that, despite warnings from scientists that it was not feasible, went right on ahead funding it until he left office (at which point Congress quickly and silently killed it…) with the global response being: “well, we’ll just build up our arsenal of nukes even bigger so we’ll overwhelm Star Wars..” That’s certainly some food for thought as well.Gary:Those observations of course are too simplified, and there are many factors, but I’ll always believe that democracy works best where it works in a secular society, and political skepticism and free-thought may be an adequate if not totally sufficient condition for democracy to exist.

  • A THOUGHT

    For all, a beautiful summation of what the current Pontiff (aka, the “Servant of the Servants of God”) is all about can be found in his first encyclical; please read this – entirely – and understand 1) it completely in context, 2) that it is rooted in Scripture, 3) that this is what the Catholic faith, the faith given to Peter by Jesus Christ, the faith that Jesus called Peter to become the rock and cornerstone for, is all about.In the more recent words of Pope Benedict XVI, it is the “Twin Commandment” of Jesus Christ that we strive to attain everyday, “Love God & Love Others”, period. That is the summary of the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount; from those everything else that Jesus instructs us to do flows from that central idea. That is what gives us Hope as the people of God, that God loves us and is ever merciful and is always willing to bestow his grace upon us should we be willing to Love Him (and others) in return. This Love that God has for us was demonstrated frequently throughout Scripture, but most significantly in its ultimate form when God sent Jesus Christ, his only Son, to become one of us and be crucified for us, for our sins. God clearly did not have to do that, but He did because he wanted to provide the means for us to come back to Him, and this desire for us to come back and find Him is rooted in Love. And thus the Crucifixion becomes what we look to when we need focus for our faith, a faith rooted in and exemplified by Love.It is understood that some may wish to dismiss this altogether because it is on the Vatican website, but it is urged that you try it out and give it a chance; besides, if you do read it and still disagree, at least you will have thought about it and will have something to respond to directly. Disagreement rooted on facts is certainly welcome and encouraged, as this too is what our faith teaches and encourages. It is good to question, because only by questioning do you open the door to explanation, which in turn will lead to understanding. An understanding of your faith leads to personal ownership in it, and in turn this ownership leads to actions, actions rooted in a Love of God (and others).The link:

  • Impressed

    A Thought, April 22, 2008 11:05 AM, I read the link you suggested and just wanted to say that it is note worthy to mention that it would benefit all to read it and ponder on.Although I did not agree 100%, which is the case with most indepth religious readings, I was “Amazingly surprised and Impressed” by its content of truth.As a child I collected old and unusual coins as a hobby with my Dad and when I had my daughter the tradition was passed on and my daughter and I collected them. Even today I find myself saving coins for her when the opprotunity arises. Your reference of the reading gave me hope regarding my daughter because currently she is in a “wayward” way and our relationship is divided; I wait and long for her return. Love never fails.

  • Impressed

    A Thought, April 22, 2008 11:05 AM, I read the link you suggested and just wanted to say that it is note worthy to mention that it would benefit all to read it and ponder on.Although I did not agree 100%, which is the case with most indepth religious readings, I was “Amazingly surprised and Impressed” by its content of truth.As a child I collected old and unusual coins as a hobby with my Dad and when I had my daughter the tradition was passed on and my daughter and I collected them. Even today I find myself saving coins for her when the opprotunity arises. Your reference of the reading gave me hope regarding my daughter because currently she is in a “wayward” way and our relationship is divided; I wait and long for her return. Love never fails.

  • Piloni

    I’m amazed by how people need to write these long posts to try to move people from their faith, their beliefs. There are things that only faith can explain and make sense out of it.Orth, I am with you on this. And be sure that the ones writing are the “Thomases” of our time.Ever paid attention how the catholics write their messages and just move on to their daily tribulations of life? Peace in the heart to all.

  • Piloni

    I’m amazed by how people need to write these long posts to try to move people from their faith, their beliefs. There are things that only faith can explain and make sense out of it.Orth, I am with you on this. And be sure that the ones writing are the “Thomases” of our time.Ever paid attention how the catholics write their messages and just move on to their daily tribulations of life? Peace in the heart to all.

  • Felix the Cat

    The One True Church. The Catholic Church.

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