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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. You knew from the start that Pope Francis was going to be different. The first pope in history to take the name of the patron saint of the poor, he speaks differently, in a voice we’re not used to hearing, criticizing the “widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs.” In his recent "apostolic exhortation" on "the economy of exclusion and inequality,” he said quote, "The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy,” he said, “lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings."

What he does is different, too. Inviting the homeless to share his food, washing the feet of prisoners, and telephoning words of encouragement to those in need. Remember his trip to Sardinia? That Mediterranean island of opulent homes for rich jetsetters is staggering under the number of everyday people who are unemployed -- including about 50 percent of its young. Seeing their plight, the pope threw aside his prepared speech and talked from the heart of how unemployment “robs you of hope.” The crowd of 20,000 cheered, and when Francis told them: "You must fight for work," they cheered again, and broke into a chant that the pope heard not as a cry for welfare or charity but for "work, work, work."

We wait to see if he can bend the institutional church to his exhortation, but for the moment it seems as if in just a matter of months the spirit of Occupy Wall Street has become a one-man occupation of the Vatican.

Francis is the first Jesuit to become pope, prompting me to ask the Jesuit-educated Thomas Cahill what he thinks about all this. I first met Tom Cahill years ago when he was director of religious publishing for Doubleday. Since then millions of readers have come to know him as the best-selling author of now six books on the Hinges of History, moments and ideas that have shaped our world, including How the Irish Saved Civilization; The Gifts of the Jews; and this one, just published, Heretics and Heroes, which I recommend for this eve of the new year because it's about new beginnings and new ideas, the stirrings of Renaissance and Reformation. Thomas Cahill, welcome back.

THOMAS CAHILL: It's good to see you, Bill.

BILL MOYERS: Is this pope a hero or a heretic?

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, in the book that I just wrote, most of the heretics are heroes and most of the heroes are heretics. So, and it's a little hard to tell, and of course—

BILL MOYERS: It's too soon.

THOMAS CAHILL: It depends on your point of view. And there are certainly people who are calling Francis a heretic. You know, every clergyman is a politician. We forget that for some odd reason. There's no-- you can't be a clergyperson and not be a political person. Or you would certainly never rise, you would certainly never get to be pope.

So these guys, whoever they are, are political. It doesn't mean that they're bad any more than it means that our senators are necessarily bad. But they're not necessarily good either. Because everybody comes up in difficult ways. How do you ascend to be a senator or a bishop? Well, it's not simple. And not everybody does it the same way. I would say that the last several popes have been largely surprises.

BILL MOYERS: John Paul, Benedict?

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, let's go back to John XXIII. The people who elected him thought that he would be an interim. He was an old man; he was a fat, old man. And he was very pleasant. And they thought he would just be pleasant. Well, they made a big mistake because John XXIII changed the Catholic Church and would've changed it a lot more in my opinion, had he lasted a little bit longer.

Then you got John Paul II was elected because they thought he was a liberal. And they were wrong, you know? So this happens a lot, that there are, you know, "Oh, look what we got. This isn't what we expected at all."

BILL MOYERS: So what do you think was expected of Francis?

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, I don't think they could possibly have expected that they were getting somebody similar to Benedict XVI, his predecessor.

BILL MOYERS: Who was quite conservative.

THOMAS CAHILL: Who was quite conservative and who I think even the many conservative cardinals who participated in this election knew this wasn't working. They needed something else. They needed better coverage. They needed a more public person. Benedict XVI, to tell the truth, mostly liked to sit at his piano and play Mozart, you know, which is a nice thing to do.

But it's not very helpful to the papacy. So I think they were looking for something that would be surprising. They may have gotten more of a surprise than they expected. Because the last two pontificates have, John Paul II and Benedict, have been extremely conservative. So they have appointed only conservative bishops, who then in their turn became conservative cardinals. And that's who elected the new Francis. But I do think that they probably got more than they expected.

BILL MOYERS: Have you read the exhortation that allegedly he wrote himself?

THOMAS CAHILL: Yes, and I think he did write it himself.

BILL MOYERS: What struck you about it?

THOMAS CAHILL: The most beautiful things about it are very, very simple, you know, where he says things like, "We the evangelizers should have on us the smell of the sheep." And then he says, "Our shoes should be muddy."

BILL MOYERS: And what do you make of that?

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, it doesn't sound like papal shoes to me, you know? There's a papal cobbler, God's sake. You know, this guy is-- and he's cutting through many things, as many as he possibly can.

BILL MOYERS: How do you explain that?

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, he's not interested in a severely narrow church.

BILL MOYERS: Like John XXIII in the '60s who wanted to raise the windows of the church.

THOMAS CAHILL: Yes. And let in some fresh air.

BILL MOYERS: Pope Francis is being pummeled, as you know, by many conservatives. Rush Limbaugh says, "He's spouting pure Marxism." And there's a headline on FoxNews.com that says, "The pope is the Catholic Church's Obama, God help us.” What are they afraid of?

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, I think they're not really afraid of pure Marxism. They might be more afraid of pure Christianity which it sounds to me is what he's spouting. He's talking about the poor, as Jesus did. He's talking about the absolute necessity for us to take care of the poor, to do something for them. You know, which is a necessary part of the Christian message. If you don't have that, you're not talking about Christianity. You're talking about something else.

BILL MOYERS: But it comes at a time when this country is going in the exact opposite direction of where Pope Francis is talking about.

THOMAS CAHILL: With regard to the United States alone, there is a real crisis which is partially religious and partially political. Where you have people like Paul Ryan who's considered an upstanding Catholic, who is really just in favor of the most dreadful forms of the market. You know, he is in favor of, you know, capitalism without any room for people who are being left behind.

BILL MOYERS: The pope criticizes quote, a "deified market." He also says, "Beware of a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power." I mean, I don't think they're going to ask him to ring the bell at the opening of the market, do you?

THOMAS CAHILL: No. I mean, he's not against capitalism, he doesn't say that or any—but he's talking the way Jesus talked. That's his model, obviously. It sure as hell isn't Paul Ryan's model, or Rush Limbaugh's or any of these guys. They, you know, they would like to muffle real Christianity as much as possible.

BILL MOYERS: And by real Christianity you mean?

THOMAS CAHILL: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom heaven." "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." The words of Jesus have nothing to do with aggressive economics.

BILL MOYERS: Some conservatives have criticized him for saying that the church needs to stop being quote, "obsessed" with abortion and gay marriage.

THOMAS CAHILL: Well he did say that and it's about time somebody did say it.

THOMAS CAHILL: He talks over and over again about people who are fixated on doctrine or even fixated on a certain kind of liturgy. You know, that you have to do things this way, you can't do them that way. He doesn't care about all of that. And he's making it clear that he doesn't. And it’s driving the-- it's not just driving conservatives crazy, it's driving crazy the people who can only see things one way. You know, they're more than a political conservatives. They're psychological types. And they’re psychological types within the religion. Anybody who grew up in any religion knows these people. They're the people who everything must be this way. It can never be that way. Well, you know what? It can.

BILL MOYERS: There's a footnote on 265 of your book. There's a footnote in that regard on page 265 of your book I want to ask you about. Quote, "One might write a book on the subconscious links between belief, cruelty, and sex in the psyches of religious radicals (and of far more orthodox figures)” as well. Do you think the church is beginning to face the realities of sex?

THOMAS CAHILL: No. But it would be nice if they did. I think that Francis may have some clues about it. But it has an awful long-- an awfully long way to go. In writing these books, six of them so far, I've come to the conclusion that they are really only two movements in the world. One is kindness, and the other is cruelty.

I don't think there's anything else, really. You can explain virtually everything by those two movements. The cruelty in religion is so often a form of, "Under no circumstances may you do this, because if you do, we will exclude you.

That's not how Jesus spoke. Jesus is the one who, you know, lifted the weeping prostitute off the floor and said, "Your sins are forgiven you." He had no problem with sexual deviancy of any kind. It's we who have that problem. And it's a problem for institutionalized religion as it is for institutionalized anything. The institutions will tend to exclude.

BILL MOYERS: And this pope at least sends messages of inclusion.

THOMAS CAHILL: He's saying we shouldn't be so… we shouldn't be concerned about these things.

BILL MOYERS: But so far, he has said very little about including women.

THOMAS CAHILL: I think he cannot make the changes, the sexual changes that need to be made without many more people in agreement with him. He is not going to legislate female priests or new forms of divorce or any of those things that have, that other popes have been against. It would be too hard for him. He wouldn't have the backing that he needs. He's not-- he is a politician. He's not stupid.

BILL MOYERS: He can go further on economics, can he? Because--

THOMAS CAHILL: Yes.

BILL MOYERS: --there is a long tradition among the bishops of economic justice. Of being—

THOMAS CAHILL: Right, and there’s the long tradition among the popes. I mean, the papacy was one of the first institutions to stand up in favor of unionism. In the 19th century, when no one was in favor of unionism, the popes were in favor of unionism. They still are.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think, you know, this is an old argument, do you think monotheism encourages intolerance of other beliefs.

THOMAS CAHILL: I don't really think that monotheism particularly does that any more than other religions. I think one of the problems with religion in general is people getting on their high horse about one thing or another. And when they get on their high horse, they make terrible mistakes. Such as starting wars. You don't have to be religious to do that. You just have to have a high horse. You know, you just have to have something that you're going to promote to the death, because it's so important that you can't possibly imagine the world without it.

BILL MOYERS: How far do you think Francis can go in lifting the window of inclusiveness?

THOMAS CAHILL: I think it depends on things that are yet to happen. It partly depends upon his vigor.

BILL MOYERS: He seems to have plenty of that. He doesn't seem to like this idea of being addressed as, "Your Holiness."

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, it is absurd. I mean, no one is--no human being can actually be addressed as "Your Holiness." And he, no, he's not interested in any of that. It's really extraordinary.

BILL MOYERS: Where do you place yourself on that spectrum, between, say, John XXIII back in the '60s, the second Vatican, and Pope Francis? You've had a lot of different kinds of popes in between.

THOMAS CAHILL: Well, I like both of them.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah right, you’re on the extremes.

THOMAS CAHILL: And I think that all partisanship and sectionalism within Christianity is stupid. I don't think there really is anything to fight about. Christians should just stop it. There's nothing, you know, and actually, in this exhortation, Francis constantly speaks of Christians.

He never talks about Catholics. He says Christians, you know, should-- Christians have to go out and take care of the poor. Well, he's talking to everyone. He's not just talking to Catholics. He's passing that by. Which is to me, extremely refreshing.

BILL MOYERS: So are you a believing Christian, but not a practicing Catholic?

THOMAS CAHILL: I'm a believing Christian who finds himself equally at home and equally impatient and equally ill-at-ease in virtually any church.

BILL MOYERS: Why is that?

THOMAS CAHILL: I just don't think that it matters that much. I think that we've, you know, in the 16th and 17th centuries, we killed one another over doctrine. It was after this period that you finally had in the period of the enlightenment, people saying, "Do we really have to keep doing this? Do we really have to keep-- is it really necessary to kill one another? Couldn't we just agree to disagree?" And then you have the beginning of a new era. And it's time that we got past the largely silly divisions, theological divisions, which really don't count. Because people don't care about those things anymore.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think they care about? Or what do you care about?

THOMAS CAHILL: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." That's Christianity. The rest of it, isn't worth a hill of beans.

BILL MOYERS: Thomas Cahill, thanks for being with me. Let’s continue this conversation online and talk about your new book Heretics and Heroes.

THOMAS CAHILL: Yeah, I’d love to.

Segment: Thomas Cahill on the People’s Pope

In just a few months, Pope Francis has proven to be one of the most outspoken pontiffs in recent history, especially when it comes to poverty and income inequality. In a message to be sent to world leaders marking the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Peace on January 1, he criticized the “widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs.”

Francis is the first Jesuit to ascend to the papacy, so this week Bill turns to Jesuit-educated author and historian Thomas Cahill to get his perspective on Pope Francis and the relevance of the Church in the 21st century. “[Pope Francis] is talking about the poor, as Jesus did. He’s talking about the absolute necessity for us to take care of the poor, to do something for them.”

Cahill has written a series of best-selling books about critical moments in Western civilization; his latest is Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World.

Watch Part 2 of Bill’s conversation with Thomas Cahill.

Producer: Candace White. Editor: Rob Kuhns. Intro Producer: Lena Shemel.

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  • Anonymous

    Mr. Cahill speaks of the choosing of the Pope and what the cardinals are looking for and what they might expect.

    But its always been explained by the church, that when they meet in their chamber, they collectively pray to God to guide them in their choice through his holy spirit.. And in that, the choice is not really theirs but the choice of God. He sees to it that again through his holy spirit that whomever it is that he wants to lead the church, will be chosen.

    So, does it matter what political leanings one might have when it comes to accepting Pope Francis? By the churches own teachings, if you are to disagree with him, you would also be disagreeing with God.

  • Arm of Keaau

    What does it matter a bunch of old guys get together and fantasize about a fairy tale? (_: FBI

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t to me personally, as I’m an atheist…Just pointing out what I consider to be a giant flaw withing the church, when those within it feel they can disagree with their Pope. Sometimes it seems that their own ideology trumps even their God.

  • Ancient Observer

    Some Catholics think ANY criticism involving Holy Mother the Church is “Anti’Catholic”. They are unthinking sheep.

  • Ancient Observer

    You really believe this? Are you 8 or 9?

  • Ancient Observer

    So you actually haven’t a clue. SOME Catholics do believe as you say. MOST do not, including, I think, most prelates who,like all ambitious men, go along to get along.

  • John Astle

    But certainly pro-Christ, in my opinion.

  • Ancient Observer

    Given the question I think I can answer for him: He agrees with you!

  • Anonymous

    I’m not talking about what you or other individual Catholics believe. I’m talking about the official teachings of the Catholic Church..It has always been the stand of the church. that the Pope is chosen by God and that God speaks through the Pope…

    You seem to be angry, as you cannot make a comment or state your opinion without trying to demean others. That makes any case you try to make extremely weak.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your response Mary.. I’m not saying that God is responsible, as I previously said, I am an Atheist..But it has always been the official position of the Catholic Church that God picks the Pope through his holy spirit imparted on the cardinals who are praying to him for his direction.. After all, whoever is chosen, is to be God’s mouthpiece, and does not speak for himself, but speaks for God. Yes there are many within the church as in any religion,that choose the parts they like and discard the rest..I am just stating the official position of the church.

  • Mark

    Just an excellent and enlightening interview. The Holy Spirit is speaking and hopefully there are enough of us listening to make a difference. God is a God of love and Christ’s message of inclusion and economic justice should be a clarion call to anyone professing to be a Christian.

  • Jason

    You explained yourself well Ganges. These people are either bent on twisting your meaning or have severe reading comprehension issues. But, well said!

  • Laura Emerson

    Great interview!

  • Anonymous

    Betty Draper, it won’t do to state that Cahill “made several incorrect statements” without specifying what they are.
    As things stand now, *your* statement is entirely without value.

  • Ella McEachern

    If Bill Moyer wanted someone knowledgeable about Pope Francis and Church doctrine, he should’ve invited Cardinal Sean on his show instead of Thomas Cahill.

  • JonThomas

    Good points.

    I agree that Jesus’ message wasn’t as inclusive as many portray, but there is a word that does help. That word is… potentiality.

    For example… in your first set of points…

    “What about the people who lived before Jesus, or on the other side of the world during Jesus’ time? They never had the chance to hear the gospel and be born again so they’re doomed to Hell through mere bad luck. The same can be said for infants who died during Jesus’ time.”

    It may be helpful to keep in mind that the scriptures point to a resurrection of the “righteous and the unrighteous” (“just and unjust” etc… wording depending on the translation.) Acts 24:15

    What happens under each condition is different, but the potentiality exists.

    John 5: 28,29… “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

    If a person feels that Jesus, and Christianity is simply about feel good love, without responsibility towards righteousness, they are fooling themselves.

    Jesus engaged in many controversial efforts during his ministry when dealing with sinners. In stark contrast to many of the spiritual leaders of that time, he showed loving compassion. However, at no time did he condone either self-righteousness or wrong doing (‘wrong doing’ as defined by God’s word.)

  • Ancient Observer

    You misunderstand something. The Western Catholic Church faithful (which used to include me – I’m not angry with you but with the hierarchy) pays little or no attention to Rome.

  • Ancient Observer

    If you choose to believe something created by a tyrannical Pope in the mid 19th Century (Vatican 1). It is, essentially, nonsense with was drilled into all of us.

  • Ancient Observer

    But only since the mid 19th century (A marvelous story of corruption, BTW)

  • Anonymous

    That’s all well and good, except the article being discussed here is not about the Western Catholic Church.. Its about the Pope, in Vatican City..

  • Ancient Observer

    You note. I hope, that they don’t throw us out for disagreeing with them on rules and even doctrine.

    Why?

    We are the primary $$$$ source

  • Eileen Kardos

    Is anyone mentioning the child-rape scandal? This silence is very disturbing. It’s very nice what he says about helping the poor… but it seems like a distraction from this appalling crime against humanity.

  • nnyl

    Earlier this month he said he will setup up a commission to advise him on protecting children from pedophile priests and on how to counsel victims. Last April, he directed the Vatican to punish pedophile priests.

    Not much, but it is a start. And more than his predecessor.

  • Eileen Kardos

    Thank you. Please, if possible, direct me to where I can read more about both these things you mention, and others like them?

  • nnyl
  • Anonymous

    Although there is brief mention of (the lack of) women in the church, we can’t underestimate the failure of most contemporary faiths in this regard. No wonder there is such a block between religion and sexuality when half the human population is disregarded and worse, tormented by exclusionary beliefs since the advent of monotheism.

  • JonThomas

    Would you give an example of “TORMENTED by exclusionary beliefs” please?

    That’s such an interesting statement, and it left me with an odd feeling.

    It’s (the feeling engendered – yes a bit punny – by your statement) like it makes me feel sad for those who are *TORMENTED,* but confused because I don’t actually know anyone – nor can I think of examples of people – being ‘tormented by exclusionary beliefs.’

    Perhaps there’s a place where torment happens and I don’t know? Benefit of the doubt suggests that maybe they suffer their torment in a personal way.

    Anyway, for my own piece of mind, I just had to ask.

  • Jeff Martin

    Overall a good piece Mr. Moyers, but Mr. Cahill’s escape on your question “Does monotheism encourage intolerance of others’ beliefs was much too easy. Later in the discussion Mr. Cahill even referenced internal Christian conflicts of the 15th and 16th centuries, then there was the small matter of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and modern conservatism of Pastor Hagee’s church, newsworthy in Texas I think, to name a few of thousands of examples of institutional intolerance. But that’s what politics does, spin the facts all the while distaining politics.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your inquiry, Jon. By “tormented,” I mean the marginalization of women. Not just in Christianity, but think of the culture of rape, sex trade and slavery, domestic violence, et al “engendered” (good pun) by the exclusion of women from full and equal recognition.This was not always the case, historically.
    As long as anyone is seen as the other or the lesser, then there is rationalization for cruelty. The history of maltreatment of women and children (yes, men too) by church leaders is rather disheartening. Think inquisition, witch burning, treating victims of rape as the person at fault.
    I think you meant “peace” of mind.

  • Anonymous

    I have rarely heard so much gibberish spoken by so foolish a man as Thomas Cahill. He is totally ignorant of the teachings of Jesus. His understanding is childish at best. He said nothing of the evils of the Catholic Church: the bloody crusades, the terrors of the Spanish Inquisition, murders, bribery, whoring and political intrigue in the Vatican, the tortures and slaughters of Jews and Christians, and centuries of religious wars. The Roman Catholic Church ruled Europe for nearly three centuries with an iron fist. The wealth of the church was gained by wars, extortion, and theft. The church legacy is child molestation and worse. Now the new pope talks about taking care of the poor from the balcony of a palace, where he lives in splendor. Jesus never harmed anyone at any time for any reason. He had no money and slept under the stars if no one offered him hospitality. The Roman Catholic Church has nothing to do with Christianity, except that it pretends to be Christian.

  • JonThomas

    Lol, well I may have been subconsciously lamenting the hollowness left by the thematic lobotomy. :-P

    Sometimes a cigar is not a cigar. Sorry, that just SLIPped in.

    Ty for your well explained response.

    I do believe the word… ‘tormented’… may have been a bit strong when applied to the teachings (beliefs) themselves (as each monotheistic canon, and attached dogma, is different,) but there is no denying that people, both men and women, have indeed been tormented by practitioners of monotheism.

    Your point is well taken, even if I, personally would refute the ‘half’ of the population statement.

    It is extremely, and especially disheartening when abuse comes from people claiming the epitome of love.

    As a matter of fact, people have been tormented by practitioners of all forms of religion.

    Teachings, when taken into an individual’s mind, do become ‘beliefs’. There then occurs an ‘alchemy’ of sorts

    I shall not defend those who use a belief system to carry out atrocities, but neither can I always blame the teachings themselves for what the so-called followers do when the beliefs become warped in the practitioner’s mind… unless, of course, the teachings do support abuse… There is no doubt that such exists!

    As you point out, the abuse of power is an on-going tragedy. We see it in every walk of life… spiritual, and secular. Since the Catholic church has been, and continues to be, so powerful over so many years of recorded history, there is no shortage of sad examples.

    Even today we find public examples of abuse from people in perceived positions of spiritual authority.

    Personally though, just as the law isn’t usually to blame when a police officer exceeds his position, so neither is ‘monotheism’ to blame for all the atrocity committed by those who claim adherence.

    I even submit that before the concept of monotheism existed in any specific culture, there were atrocities of the same order.

    In the case of monotheism, or any case really, spiritual positions and beliefs simply provide cover for those whose self-desires lean, or yes, sadly are even perpetuated through family and cultural teachings – toward oppression and self-seeking hurtful desires.

    I’ve heard many claims that the Bible fosters sexism, but from my studies, the problem seems to fall mostly (even solely) on misunderstandings, or rather, misapplications by the followers themselves.

    Just to jump ahead a bit in the discussion…

    I will also not deny that the Bible itself does draw differences between men and women. I cannot speak for other monotheist belief systems, but nowhere have I found where the Bible itself actually supports sexist abuse.

    It is though, an appalling shame when churches (or anyone, especially in positions of power) codify, perpetrate, tolerate and/or cover up abuse of any nature.

  • Shumphreys

    “Peace” of mind frees one from torments and tormentors. Another word that might make sense to Mr. Thomas is persecution–denying people their rights, making them second class citizens. There have long been claims as one man above states that Catholics aren’t Christians, yet they are the ones that invented Christianity. They annihilated all their opponents in order to claim Jesus as their own Christ and now others have taken Jesus from them and try to claim him as their own. It all comes down to greed and control over others, the prime movers of Catholics and Protestants wold wide.

  • Shumphreys

    I am not sure that “monotheism” is to blame for intolerance. But that is a curious question to pursue further. Perhaps it is just “religion” in general that is to blame for intolerance and I mean religion in the broadest sense of the word–unquestioning acceptance of doctrine and dogmas (extremism might be another word). Thus Atheism can be and is as intolerant as any Theism or Deism or Monotheism or Polytheise or Environmentalism or any “ism”.

  • MikeD

    Pope Francis was treated like a rock star at his Christmas address in St. Peter’s Square mostly by young people. Young people can detect hypocrisy a mile away but what attracts them in droves is authenticity. What alarms many Catholics about this Pope is that he is talking the radical talk of Jesus, taking them out of their well-established comfort zones. What makes him a hero to so many more is that he is also walking the walk.

  • Anonymous

    The Pope speaks as a Humanist. I was raised Catholic and the basic teachings were to take care of the poor and love everyone. I am 69 and have strived to follow those simple themes. One cannot change history, but one can move forward with love and caring. Mr. Cahill is close to my age, and so, i identified with his thoughts.

  • JonThomas

    As you surmised, I will state emphatically that the Catholic Church did not ‘invent Christianity.’

    If you read Jesus’ words, he repeatedly warns of those who would come ‘as wolves in sheep’s clothing.’

    It’s really not a matter of ‘claiming [Jesus] as their own,’ but rather simply doing one’s best to follow the original teachings of the Christ.

    While there is corruption in every facet of human endeavor, each person’s attempt to live as, and follow Jesus does not ‘come down to greed and control over others.’

    It’s true that this subject, especially on the organisational level, does tap into the deep divisions present between those who see themselves as Christians.

    However, not all persons or groups are about control.

    As someone raised as a catholic, but no longer affiliated, I will give one example that may help those not aware of the controversies, understand why valid divisions exist.

    At John 4:23, 24 Jesus said…

    “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    At John 17:17, Jesus, while praying to his father said…”Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

    So, those who seek the truth about Jesus’ teachings search God’s word.

    There is no guarantee that they will be perfect, but those who do their best to find the truth in God’s word, learn from, and follow it, will most clearly reflect Jesus example.

    One stark example is found in the book of Matthew. Beginning at Matthew 23:9 Jesus said directly… “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ…”

    The Catholic Church ignores this admonition from their so-called leader.

    Another has to do with prayers to Saints…

    Jesus pointed to, and helped to clarify, many of these issues in what is often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount.

    There are many more distinctions, but at it’s core is the exhortation to seek truth, wisdom, and understanding. Prov. Chpt. 2; John 4:23 et al.

  • Marty Cox

    Those who can only see the negatives of something will never be able to celebrate the positives because you are mired in your own perhaps outdated conclusions and prejudices!!!

  • ytee

    Cahill said, “Jesus had no problem with sexual deviancy of any kind”, and his the justification of this ‘HERESY’, he says, “Jesus lifted a prostitute out of the mud and told her, her sins were forgiven”. He conveniently left out the rest of that scripture…”go and sin no more”, which clearly states that Christ called sexual deviancy a sin. From Genesis on through to now, sexual deviancy is a HUGE topic in scripture, but is also forgivable through Christ and THAT is the point. According to CAHILL, anything outside of caring for the poor and the meek inheriting the earth…the rest doesn’t mount to a hill of beans. I hope it’s not cruel to call this guy a total ignorant ding-a-ling.

  • scat

    There are probably many people who are knowledgeable about the pope and the Catholic doctrine.

  • scat

    There are many seemingly contradictory passages in the Bible, which is why many people do not see it as infallible but rather a record of what people understood to be Godly pronouncements. Like all things human, it has flaws.

  • Edward Moriarty

    No it’s not cruel to call him that, just ignorant.

  • Edward Moriarty

    He moved out of the palace. This pope is not the cause of perceived shortcomings of the Catholic Church. Give the man a chance.

  • Edward Moriarty

    And what year were these quotes from the “bible” first written?

  • JonThomas

    I do not perceive a profitable, up-building motive for your question.

    The approximate dates are easily found through a search on the same device through which you are using to comment.

    To respect the owners of this space, since it seems quite off topic, it would probably be best for you to do the research for yourself.

    It’s good to see someone taking an interest in the Bible, I’m sure your time learning will be well spent.

  • Anonymous

    That’s like saying someone in the neo-Nazi party is not responsible for what Hitler did.

  • Edward Moriarty

    I question the veracity of “quotations” first put down in writing 350 yrs after they were reportedly spoken. I love the messages but reject the use of these passages a a proof in conversation.

  • Anonymous

    You are quite correct. The Jewish rabbi Yeshua observed the laws of Moses which condemn homosexuality. The Spirit of Christ guided the author of the book of Romans, which condemns homosexuality. In the beatitudes, Jesus spoke of the poor in spirit, not the poor per se. God hates the proud in heart. Jesus said, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart (poor in spirit).” He also said, “The poor you have with you always, but me you have not always…(putting himself first).” He also chastised a huge crowd who followed him after he fed them with a few loaves of bread a few small fishes. He admonished them to seek the kingdom of God, not a free meal. Reducing the teachings of Jesus to helping the poor and being nice does violence to his message. When he returns, the world will be destroyed by fire.

  • Glenda Clemens

    Really enjoyed this discussion and have expanded my reading list again!!!! Thanks again Mr. Moyers for the eye opening and brain expanding discussion. Wish he had been more detailed and forthcoming in his response to the question about whether monotheism encourages intolerance. It is my feeling that any religion that puts itself above another religion encourages intolerance. In fact, I’ve often said, “Religion is not the opiate of the masses it is the oppression of the masses.”

  • JonThomas

    Someone didn’t do their research lol. The dates, while not exact, are dated and excepted by the archaeological community as quite a bit earlier than that.

    Besides, the discussion to which you are replying is doctrinal. The only ‘proof’ intended is that they use the accepted scriptures for reference to expand on the topic in discussion.

    If I had used the scriptures as some sort of self-existence proving exercise, then your point would be aptly taken.

    For example… If there was a discussion about a recently written book (which book detailed events from hundreds of years ago,) involving passages found within the book to highlight interesting points, not about the subject period of history, but about the book (or it’s message itself,) even if the book was fiction, it would be completely valid, .

    However, it is easily understood in this day and age how people, I suppose like yourself, find it difficult to accept the Scriptures as they claim to be. I guess the most common questions refer to divine inspiration and authorship.

    While I tend to be passionate, and can sometimes be inflexible, even obstinate if I’m not careful, I also try to understand the skeptical position.

    I was raised Catholic, never devoutly (like most children, did what was required of me by my family,) then as a teenager left it all behind for many years, but later in life, when I wanted to know certain things, I read the Bible for myself.

    After reading the Bible, and even when I decided to follow it’s message to the best of my ability, I could never again follow the ways of the Catholic Church.

    From my perspective, the Church has a long way to go to get back to Christ’s teachings. I hate to say ‘never,’ but I do not see it happening.

  • Geoffrey Harris

    Actually historically monotheists have been far more intolerant and hostile than polytheists. Monotheists believe in 1 god, 1 truth, and 1 way, and are dualistic thinkers. They believe one is right or wrong, “with us or against us”, of God or of the Devil etc.

  • Geoffrey Harris

    Greeko-Roman and Hebrew societies were patriarchal. Also note how the story of Adam and Eve and Pandora’s Box denigrated women.

  • Rob Hill

    But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Betty Draper

    i agree. why bill moyers would have this man as a guest is beyond me. normally you don’t interview just any old person about any old subject. moyers wouldn’t interview me about the implications of stem cell rearch, for example, even though i have opinions about it. poor job, moyers.

  • Betty Draper

    and pope john paul II didn’t walk the walk? he didn’t have millions of adoring young fans? how quickly we forget the truths of history when the media is spinning its spin….

  • Betty Draper

    nope, i don’t have a problem with the pope. funny you think you can read my mind, michael stevenson, and you assume my name is a pen name. cahill kinda did the same mind-reading, assumption game during his interview.

    just because a person writes a book does not mean he is an authority. cahill’s “theory” of how and why popes are elected is not based in fact at all. the holy spirit has no “agenda.”

  • AugustineThomas

    That is the part I love about Frank the Hippie Pope!

  • Betty Draper

    speak for yourself.

  • Betty Draper

    i wish moyers had interviewed you instead of cahill. at least you got the election part right! :-)

  • Shumphreys

    Mr. Thomas who do you think invented Christianity? It certainly wasn’t Jesus. He was a practicing Jew, as he said not here to abolish the law but to fulfill it, as in live it, or live what he saw as the true meaning of it, which was pointed out by Rabbi Hillel, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”. What we have today is a mismash of Pagan practices, mixed with a little this and that from all the religions of the area. There is NO TRUE or authentic or right version of Christianity.

  • Shumphreys

    That doesn’t mean that monotheism is to blame for intolerance, as in they invented it or are the only ones that practice it. Intolerance is a human imperfection and IF God is PERFECT as many claim how could God be intolerant of anyone (homosexual as opposed to heterosexual) or any religion or non-religious believer? So the intolerant aren’t doing God’s will they are pursuing their own will/Ego’s.

  • Ancient Observer

    Unlike the hierarchs and fearful sheep I ONLY speak for myself and comment on what I personally have observed.

  • Ancient Observer

    Maybe the hierarchs misinterpret the word “suffer”

  • TWinDC

    This need to declare the Catholic Church as not Christian is ludicrous. There is no Protestantism without the 1600 years of imperfect Catholicism before it. The hideous history of the inquisitions, Crusades and extortionist tithings (thank you, Medicis) is the work of men abusing power, and no Church I am aware of has been immune from it. Despite this history, the essence of the gospels has been and remains the backbone of the Catholic Church, whether you care to acknowledge it or not. As an institution it would have been long gone had not men like Francis and the likes of Augustine, Aquinas and Mother Theresa not appeared to remind the world of the simplicity of that message.

  • JonThomas

    I am not as well versed in Greek mythology as others are so I will leave Pandora to someone else.

    The story of Adam and Eve though… we can take a short look at that one.

    One problem with complicated subjects is that people who look from the outside do not always have all the facts. Look what happens in science. A study comes out, and 10 different people make 10 different inferences because they only heard the results. They all have perspectives, and they read into the results from their perspective. It’s a natural phenomena, but not necessarily helpful.

    In the Adam and Eve story, when an outsider looks at what has been presented, especially by secular sources who turn the story into simple allegory, misconceptions abound.

    In the book of 1 Tim. it clearly says that Adam was not deceived. Yes, Eve was deceived. The responsibility for sin therefore rests not on the woman, but on the man.

    Adam CHOSE to sin. He bears the blame.

    The scriptures go on to give the woman more credit because it is through her ability to bear children that a sinless man may come to restore what was lost. Thus Mary gave birth without a sinful man as father. Because Adam willfully sinned, sin is passed from one generation to the next by the man, not the woman.

    Deep subjects such as this is what leads people to make false inferences and to twist the scriptures into some defense for abusing, or forcibly subjecting women.

    Keep in mind, although many men do not like to hear this, it was God who reminded Abraham… ‘listen to your wife.’

  • JonThomas

    I agree with most of what you are saying. I too do not condone the mixing of pagan practices into Christianity. 1 cor. 10 18-24

    This is where I, and others, stand apart from many (most) of the ‘Christian’ churches. We do not make a hard distinction between the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek. To us, it is one message.

    Christianity came about during Jesus’ life. It literally means to be ‘Christ-like.’

    It was Jesus who encouraged his followers to walk after him, so if one was to look for who started what we today call ‘Christianity,’ then as a human, it would be Jesus. I suppose however, it was God who sent his son to provide an example, so one could say it was God himself.

    Jesus did fulfill the Law. However, there is more to fulfilling the Law then your description implied.

    ‘The law was our tutor.’ The purpose of the Law was to lead us to the Christ. With that purpose filled… faith! Gal. 3:24

    There’s more to the fulfillment of the Law, and the role Jesus plays, but it is not just as you said… “as in live it, or live what he saw as the true meaning of it.” There is much more to the role the Law played in the lives of Christians.

  • MaryfromKelowna

    It intrigues me as to how narrowly and literally people interpret the language of the Gospel. Hell is not a place except that place of mind we create for ourselves here on this plane with wrong thought. Humans are much more – at this stage in our evolution – prone to experiencing hell than creating heaven (or right thought – the acknowledgement of the power of God who is not a man in the sky but the natural and unchangeable laws of the universe), which is why the subject of hell is foremost in Jesus’ teachings. We get to ‘heaven’ (ie. peaceful existence on this plane) through the difficult struggle to change our minds (it is an inner ‘battle’). Further, the setting of ‘a man against his father, etc.’ is the changing of one’s established (and fear-laden) thinking patterns, etc. etc. which are generally passed from generation to generation, etc.
    We need to get out of the literal interpretations and get to the real spirit of those profound teachings, no matter who Jesus was.

  • Persuasive

    Christianity, properly practiced, as evidenced by so many Catholic saints of the past, and some very recent prospects for sainthood (Mother Teresa) is the servant of mankind. It does not aim to put itself above other religions but only in its proper place which is after Judaism. The two are attached at the hip and rightly so.

  • Persuasive

    Keep it within the love of Christ. Even the wandering stranger needs to be shown hospitality; but yes I’ve also noted what you say and it is so.

  • Persuasive

    Save your judgment for another day; or better yet leave it to dry up and die. You have a good grasp of many things so rejoice and be not discouraged by these misunderstandings.

  • Persuasive

    The eye of the needle is small and the golden thread which most easily flows through is not within every ones grasp. Do not be deceived by slick tongues so easily. There is likely another motivation at play here. God bless.

  • Persuasive

    Catholics are not alarmed my friend, they are equally enthralled and as always grateful for the Catholic Church.

  • Persuasive

    Your anger is not without justification but it borders on hatred. It isn’t necessary for the brotherhood of Jesus. It could actually leaves you out in the cold, for Jesus said to love and pray even for your enemy and this was not without reason. Pray always for the Catholic Church, that it may always and in all ways resume the path for which it was created.

  • Anonymous

    Please understand i am no longer a catholic nor a follower of any religion, but am pleased at Pope Francis’s coming back to basics.

  • ytee

    Perhaps “ding-a-ling” was a bit harsh, but speaking of the love of Christ and His dealings with those who would twist His Word for personal gain or serve to corrupt His truth to promote a “anything goes” worldview, let’s say that Christ has used words such as “den of vipers” for such fellows.

  • JonThomas

    Dear sir (Madam?),

    While I did use scriptures to back up my doctrinal points, I was not really interested into getting into scriptural debates in this forum.

    So, I will only add the thoughts and scriptures that should back up my words on this subject. After that, I hope we can leave it there (in all these references, it is beneficial to read from more than one translation.)

    Contrary to your statement, the scripture At Gal. 3:24 says EXACTLY that the Law led us to the Christ!

    “Therefore the Law has become our tutor TO LEAD US TO CHRIST…”

    Earlier in the same book, same chapter, at Gal. 3:19, Paul gives of one of the purposes which the Law served…

    “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.”

    In this regard, the Law taught those who wished to follow God’s ways the difference between right and wrong. It showed what God sees as wrong, not what people (including the religious teachers of Jesus’ day) thought, or said, what was ‘wrong’. Romans 3:19-26

    When Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not just the prophecies, it was to provide a perfect example of how to please God – the purpose of Law itself!

    Now, this is not a simple subject. There are a multitude of facets concerning the purpose of the Law, including but not limited to, the Priesthood (Levites, not Catholic) and the sacrifices.

    When the scripture at Gal. 3:24 literally says… ‘to lead us to the Christ…” and you say exactly the opposite, I’m sorry but I find it a waste of both our time to discuss it further.

    I recommend to anyone interested, that they read the entire book (letter) of Galatians, and even the book (again, letter) of Romans. It is important to take in the entire context. Otherwise people can skip around to make whatever point they would like. The Bible is a big book, it has been misused for many purposes, some unintentionally, and some nefariously misleading.

  • ytee

    I think you miss the boat here, you and many are failing the monotheistic test on a very basic level…it should read, “With God or against God”. The question I think you mean to ask, or hopefully answer for yourself, is; Does God exist? If so, is historical scripture divinely inspired? Monotheists have answered that question for themselves based on what they believe to be God inspired, thus, “what God is intolerant of, I am as well.”

  • ytee

    You make a very dangerous statement, almost on the level of Cahill’s. You presuppose

  • ytee

    ridiculous

  • ytee

    ridiculous again

  • Matthew Fowler

    I interpreted what he said to mean that Christ was not reviled by sexual sin, but rather, loved all people. I think you’re putting words in Cahill’s mouth to suggest he meant that Christ enjoyed a sexually deviant lifestyle.

  • Shumphreys

    How could a PERFECT God be intollerant of anything? Intollerance is an imperfection. The argument that God is Perfect in everyway has been used to prove that God exists. Then men proceed to endow God with all of their own human imperfections; he is jealous, narciscistic–demanding to be worshipped in a particular way, he is intolerant, vindictive, quick to anger… I would think that a PERFECT God would love all equally and understand all and wouldn’t care how or if he was worshipped. Now an imperfect God…..?

  • Anonymous

    Read the Bible. Read the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus castigated the ruling religious elite of his day and told them they would be cast out of the kingdom of God. Jews and Christians were burned at the stake as heretics by the RCC. Others were hideously tortured to death in other gruesome ways. The RCC has led and is leading millions into perdition with false doctrines.

  • Persuasive

    Says Cahill “I’m a believing Christian who finds himself equally at home, and equally impatient, and equally ill at ease in virtually any church.” (16min.) Why? “I just don’t think that it matters that much.” I point anyone here toward Galatians Chapter 5 of the New Testament. Exhortations to Christian Living. Read from 1-26. But regarding Mr. Cahill’s remarks of being “Impatient” and “ill at ease” in any church while simultaneously finding himself “at home” and all these in equal measure, there is Galatians 5: 22,23. ‘In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. 26 Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.’ Now Chapter 6 is the final one of Galatians from 1-18. And I encourage you all to pick up the Bible in regard to what I have put here before you. But not me by myself, yet through the Holy Spirit so that all who come upon this may see more clearly the correct way forward to the light. Mr. Cahill may be lacking the necessary patience and self-control included above. Look also in this regard to Galatians 6: 4-10. And as this is new years day 2014, a holy day of obligation, let me conclude with Gal. 6:18. ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.’

  • JonThomas

    Sorry, but “a holy day of obligation?”

    As declared by who(m)? Janus?

  • ytee

    They struck my last comment to you so I will shallow it up a little for the unlearned…simply, God has revealed Himself to us lowly men all throughout history and has shown Himself to be intolerant of many actions. So much so, He took the time to write the first 10 intolerant ideas OF HIS, in stone! So much so, He sent His sacrifice to wash us clean from the actions He is intolerant of. He will also NOT change…ever…something we all have to get used to, and THAT won’t change whether we believe it or not, so choose wisely.

  • Persuasive

    Jesus castigated those who fell under the old law; those ruling elite. He came for one reason and set in motion many important indicators of how best to fulfill our destinies. One was His establishment of His holy family here on earth through His bride the Catholic Church. Where the holy spirit is there you will find Him; even where two or more gather in His name. The Church, while it has floundered and faltered still celebrates through the mass those most important rituals Jesus Himself both preformed and said to continue to preform in memory of Him. He also promised to send them the holy spirit to guide them forward in the richness of time and until He would come again. These are undisputable indicators and it depends not on others who will become impatient or lose self-control and wander away to find some other path to follow. You and I wouldn’t wander away from American democracy without first and always trying to work within the new law so to speak. With Jesus the stakes are much greater still. But everyone has free will and a beautiful gift of mind, body, and heart to search out their own conclusions and how best to fulfill their destines. Leave judgment in all things to God always. Praise God always in everything you say and do. Now that is a ritual we all can improve upon and what better way than in the Church, before His alter, calling on the holy spirit; and then out among the people, all of us as brothers and sisters in Christ. God bless.

  • Persuasive

    Can I reply here?

  • Persuasive

    It seems that yes I can.

  • Persuasive

    I will go very slowly to allow for the spiritual meaning to reveal itself to those of good will to both man and themselves.

  • Persuasive

    There are wanderers about which is good in that a wandering person with a soul of good will is still searching for the way, the truth, the light.

  • Persuasive

    Being slow to anger and willing that we shall have a free will of our own to love in a similar way in which He perfectly loves while we are here on earth; now Jesus through a perfect love (visible to us all) and participatory willingness (recall Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist all there at the new beginning) to always only do that which is the will of His Father in Heaven, (At the temple as a child; women did you not know I’d be out about my Fathers business) reveals the depths to which submissiveness will, can, and for always shall be our own saving grace both here on earth and in the great beyond.

  • Persuasive

    Allowing for the conversion of poor souls and sinners even until the very last moment, in His love for us all and to gather as many as may so desire to live their gift of life both from the moment of conversion until forever. And having fully understood our weakness and our daily stumbling, thus allowing for repentance and the conversion of our sins through confession so as to reunite our minor will here on earth to His ultimate most beautiful will in the Heavens beyond.

  • Persuasive

    Pray to God always and to His Son Jesus. A good confession may be your ultimate saving grace. I shall not judge you for it is not mine to do so and thank goodness as I am as the worst of those who believe in their own gifts without seeing the love of the Father in all. As a Catholic and a Christian I invite you back into the family of Christ by both begging your forgiveness and hoping for your familial contribution to all of our mutual benefit as followers of Jesus. May the Holy Spirit come down upon you not because I but because you yourself wish it to be so and allow you also to find the saving forgiveness which Jesus taught us all to practice so that all may see His recreated and miraculous wonders manifested in His people both here on earth and one day in the glory of Heaven. Amen and to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Once again Amen.

  • Shumphreys

    I think it is more correct to say that the Catholic Church as we know it was formalized during the reign of Constantine. It’s roots are with Paul and his reaching out to gentiles. At that time and for quite a while after there were many differing groups all claiming to be the TRUE followers of Jesus each with their own take on what he taught. You are right there is more than one surviving church, Greek Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Syrian, etc., etc., etc. The Roman Catholic Church however is the largest and has had and continues to have influence over American affairs for better and worse.

  • Persuasive

    What will happen according as it is written, in the fullness of time is not of primacy in our faith and in our new life as a family of followers of Christ the Lord Jesus. Neither need it concern us whether the popes have faltered in one way or another; or even if we are in the last days since days to our Father in heaven are of another matter than we can reasonably surmise. In the fullness of time all things will be, become and forever remain as our most high Father so judges that they shall be. Our concern is to offer our fellowship to one another in Jesus so that many may see this family for what it is, for what it has become and that they too will realize the transcendent nature of our family who are each others helpmate and who glory always in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Reconsider that if Jesus taught the apostles to do this (the braking of bread and the drinking of wine, His Body and Blood) in His memory, it must so be done as He Himself did do in order to prepare all His followers for the persecution which would follow; both His and His bride on earth.

  • Paul Linxwiler

    I can always tell a social conservative by their interpretation of just that one story. Ask a conservative what the most important line in the story is, and they always say that it’s “go and sin no more.” They’re wrong, of course. It’s “Neither do I condemn thee.”

  • ytee

    I can always tell a liberal by the labels they put on everybody. The lady was accused of adultery, emphasis on “accused”, when Christ knew the truth. Only God is judge…and mankind is notorious for picking and choosing what scriptures to take to heart. I guess I hope for your sake you and Cahill are right…but biblical history would say you are wrong. What I think doesn’t really matter and by the agree/disagree marks, what I said is not popular. People want what their itching ears want, even if God in fact disagrees…but what He says still goes and is the only opinion that matters.

  • Paul Linxwiler

    Fortunately for you, mercy will trump justice. God will forgive you for thinking he’s as judgmental as you are.

  • Anonymous

    Reminder: Cardinal Bernard Law is still in the Vatican letting the statute of limitations run out on his ability to be prosecuted in Boston. Pope Frank could solve that problem in a nanosecond and order him back to face the music if he cared. Apparently, he doesn’t, so let’s not make more of this Pope than his actions indicate.

  • Kay Cee

    Thank you for the reply, and, yes, I’m more comfortable with your wording of “formalized” and specifying the Catholic Church than with the previous seeming implication that the Catholic Church somehow “invented Christianity.” That really was my only point: distinguishing between “Christianity” as a religious and/or moral concept, and the later use of that concept as a foundation for very organized religious/political structures such as the Orthodox and Catholic denominations. Though I believe the Catholic Church claims the Pope is the spiritual descendent of Peter, not Paul, the “rock” upon which Christ claimed he would build his church. That is not to diminish Paul’s achievements, of course, but to the best of my understanding, the Catholic Church is quite insistent on the Peter connection, considering Peter was one of the Disciples, (whereas Paul never met the human Jesus, becoming an Apostle much later after repenting of his former role as a persecutor of the faith). Cheers, KayCee

  • Persuasive

    Yes, we’ve heard of the ills of past and the Catholic Church. The history has been overly misrepresented even where the mistakes have been acknowledged. No one says in the same discussion the overwhelming good which has been and continues to be done by this bride of Christ. The rock upon which the Catholic Church was founded was not himself perfect, even so acknowledging this fact, that being likewise crucified he asked and was indeed put to death upside down upon the cross. It will take time for the Catholic Church to fully right itself in the eyes of the Lord but always moving forward in time to feed its flock. O yes prophecy exists; too often as a distraction to the focus on ones self, and to the judgment placed upon others; a very dangerous habit worth defeating.