Beliefs Culture Faith Institutions News

A Vatican conspiracy persists, and a bigger mystery unfolds

Pope Francis embraces Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before opening the Holy Door to mark opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican
Pope Francis, left, embraces Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI before opening the Holy Door to mark the opening of the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, on Dec. 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

(RNS) The Vatican has always been a hothouse for conspiracy theories, and a new controversy over the so-called Third Secret of Fatima is showing just how persistent such fixations can be — to the extent that the latest episode even forced Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI out of seclusion to refute claims that he once shaded the truth about the mysterious prophecy.

At the same time, however, the new Fatima saga has overshadowed what could be a much more problematic bit of Vatican intrigue: how Benedict’s presence as the first ex-pope in more than six centuries is continuing to raise questions about the nature of the papacy, and the authority of Francis, the current pope.

So far, most of the media attention has been focused on the three Fatima “secrets” that the Catholic Church believes were vouchsafed by the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in Portuguese town of Fatima in 1917.

Two of the prophecies were published back in the 1940s but the Third Secret – supposedly too dangerous to reveal – remained sealed in the Vatican archives.

That silence naturally inflamed the religious imaginations of true believers in the secret prophecy.

So to calm the fevers, Saint John Paul II ordered the Third Secret published in full in 2000. He also had his top theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, issue an accompanying explanation of the prophecy’s graphic descriptions of persecution and murdered popes and bishops.

But conspiracy theories die hard. And this year, shortly after the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima, a traditionalist blog published claims that Ratzinger – who was elected Benedict XVI after John Paul died in 2005 – told a friend that there was more in the secret than had been published.

The blog also suggested that the hidden bits were dark predictions about the current papacy of Pope Francis and the turmoil, and even heresies, that some conservatives believe Francis has encouraged.

The charges were so explosive that the Vatican press office on May 21 issued a forceful denial directly quoting the frail, 89-year-old former pope. Benedict called the reports “pure inventions, absolutely untrue” and confirmed that “the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.”

Of course, not all Fatima devotees were convinced, and some argued that the denial was just part of the conspiracy – and so it goes.

From Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” to rumors of rigged conclaves, from the medieval legend of “Pope Joan” to whispers of Masonic plots and papal assassinations, Rome’s secretive culture sprouts intrigues like mushrooms.

But just as the Fatima story was making headlines, Benedict’s longtime personal aide, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, delivered a surprisingly candid speech that reignited the equally potent issue of whether there are two popes or one, or whether the papacy itself has been redefined.


RELATED STORY: Is Benedict XVI the REAL pope? 4 factors fueling Vatican conspiracy theories


Speaking at a May 20 event at Rome’s Gregorian University for the launch of a book dedicated to Benedict’s pontificate – and a day before Benedict’s Fatima statement gained so much attention – Ganswein said that the papacy “remains the foundation of the Catholic Church” but he said “the papal ministry is not the same as before.”

Benedict, he explained, “left the papal throne and yet, with the step he took on February 11, 2013, he has not abandoned this [papal] ministry.” Ganswein said quitting in that sense would have been “quite impossible after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005” when the conclave of cardinals elected Benedict pope.

Ganswein went on to say that Benedict intentionally “built a personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a communal ministry.”

Consequently, he said, there are “not two popes, but de facto an expanded ministry – with an active member and a contemplative member,” referring to Francis and Benedict.

The emeritus pope “had taken only one step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy.”

(Elements of Ganswein’s talk were reported by various outlets but the National Catholic Register has the most complete version.)

It’s an open question as to whether Ganswein clarified or confused the concept of what the papacy is today, and in what sense there could be two popes at the same time.

But the archbishop – who, in addition to looking after Benedict, also plays a largely ceremonial role in Francis’ administration – continued to make his case. In the talk, for example, he sought to distinguish Benedict’s resignation from that of the last pope to quit the office, Celestine V.

Celestine was an elderly hermit, Pietro da Marrone, who was chosen as pope in 1294 by cardinals who had been deadlocked for two years over a successor. Celestine was overwhelmed by the job and the intrigue, and abdicated after five months, reverting to his original name.

He was imprisoned by his successor, Boniface VIII, who feared that some might rally around Celestine as an antipope; Celestine languished in jail and died in 1296.

In his speech, Ganswein said Benedict’s resignation was not akin to Celestine’s because unlike Celestine, Benedict did not return to using his baptismal name, Joseph Ratzinger, after he stepped down, nor did he stop wearing the distinctive white papal cassock.

Yet Ganswein’s assertions actually seem to run counter to some of Benedict’s own words. The pope emeritus, after much speculation about why he kept the papal title and white cassock, told an interviewer in 2014 that “there were no other clothes available” when he resigned – an explanation that many found odd, to say the least.

He also said that he wanted to be addressed as “Father Benedict” in retirement rather than “Pope Emeritus” or even “Benedict XVI,” but he said “I was too weak at that point to enforce it.”

Benedict himself has always stressed that Francis is the one legitimate pope but Ganswein’s remarkable argument for a “transformed” papacy and an “expanded ministry” with two popes working in tandem raises all manner of questions given the Catholic Church’s clear teaching on the supreme authority and central role of the pope, the successor of Saint Peter.

Indeed, from the moment Benedict stunned the Catholic world, and especially his tradition-minded allies, there was a debate over whether a pope could in fact resign, or abdicate, or retire. (Benedict himself used the term “renounce.”)

In his infirm final years, Saint John Paul II declared that such a resignation was impossible – “Did Christ come down from the cross?” he reportedly said. Ganswein seemed to be trying to thread the needle by noting that while Benedict did resign, Benedict is also in some sense still pope, or at least a pope.

Not everyone was convinced. Ganswein’s “claims that we have two popes are clearly absurd and ridiculous” tweeted Massimo Faggioli, a church historian and theologian at Villanova University.

From the other side of the spectrum, the blogger known as Augustinus, who writes for the traditionalist website Rorate Caeli, responded to Ganswein’s speech by arguing that “the idea that the papacy itself has now been transformed in its very depths, and that to effect this transformation Benedict XVI’s will and actions in February 2013 were enough, raises extremely sensitive, nay, disturbing questions about the very theology of the Church.”

Rocco Palmo, who writes a clerical insider’s blog called “Whispers in the Loggia,” called Ganswein’s model a “Papal Diarchy” — as opposed to a monarchy – a meme that was already being championed in the Italian media two years ago by fans of Benedict.

Under that reasoning, Benedict renounced the governance aspect of the papacy, but shares the other powers, and he remains in a monastery in the Vatican itself to express that shared authority.

Now, that’s a recipe for a Vatican conspiracy as big as the Third Secret of Fatima, and the flames don’t need much fanning, given how Francis has shaken conservatives.

Benedict was in fact already a rallying point for Catholics unhappy with Francis, and the retired pope’s disciples continue to launch initiatives to promote Benedict’s legacy.

Moreover, while the emeritus pope pledged to stay “hidden from the world” following his stunning resignation, he has periodically appeared at Vatican events – often at the behest of Francis, who encourages him to be a “grandfatherly” figure to the church. He also regularly speaks and writes to faithful followers to convey his views on various issues.

All of that has sparked the dry kindling of conspiracy.

Now Benedict’s own righthand man has thrown gas onto the fire, and it seems unlikely to die down anytime soon.

In his speech at the Gregorian, Ganswein expressed regret for comments he made in March describing Benedict – who was about to turn 89 – as “a candle that is slowly, serenely fading.”

That remark sent jolts of panic through many in the church, and not a few obituary writers.

Ganswein said, however, that his comment “was stupid.” Benedict, while frail, is mentally sharp, he said, and continues to receive visitors and deal with correspondence.

Ganswein also said that Benedict may make a major public appearance at the Vatican on June 29, which will mark the 65th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. “[T]his may present an opportunity to show that Benedict XVI is well,” he said.

It may also be an opportunity of touch off another round of speculation about who is really the pope, or if there are two popes.

And if that weren’t enough, the Vatican has announced that Francis (the other pope) is planning to visit Fatima next year for the centenary of the Marian apparitions.

At this point the plot lines could write themselves.

About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

85 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • The real question is, why would the Virgin Mary make an appearance to three illiterate peasant children in the middle of nowhere in a minor country, giving them prophecies about something or other? She could have appeared in Lisbon. Or even better, New York.

    The answer to this question is the same as the answer to this one:

    Why would she appear on a taco?

  • Your comments suggest that reason is not at work in revelation, as if it had to adhere to the predictably safe, narrow-minded ways in which it is largely constricted by its current application in the sciences, political discourse (a euphemistic term for sure) and rationalistic philosophy, as examples.

    A much better application for reason has always been to let it expand its powers to affirm the existence of God (or Transcendent Reality, if you like)… not keeping it servile, or on a leash, merely sniffing out scientific facts…

  • Yet Luther declared reason to be the enemy of faith. Go figure.

    Reason and facts are not the same. As Homer Simpson said, you can prove anything with facts.

  • But it must be stated that Luther was lured by Satan through Luther’s own pride away from the Church of Christ, so anything from Luther is to be dismissed.

  • The Third Secret? I know all about it. It is in fact, the story of the complete and utter destruction of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult of Pedophiles for all the evil crimes against the children they have perpetrated.

    They were also warned by their two Saints, Saint Peter Damian and Saint Pope Pius V to clean up their acts in relation to their continued raping, enslaving, torturing and murdering children. But of course, they all believe they are above the laws of both humanity and the Universe.

    Well, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, and all of you Pedophile pimp Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops who covered up these Crimes Against Humanity and the Children of the World? All of you who still stand up and defend them? Listen up.

    YOU will be destroyed. For it is now time for your church to pay for their crimes. YOU were warned and you all failed to heed the warnings.

  • Funny, that’s just what die hard Protestants say about Catholics. Go figure.

  • I would have imagined that for anyone who can assert acceptance of a trinitarian god a binary papacy should be a doddle.

  • That’s only if you’re interested in proofs. Facts relate to the most impoverished form of human cognition, which is something Buddhists tend to realize more than others…

  • As homer Simpson said…

    proofs? IF I told you I was sleeping with your wife, you’d demand proof. It’s facts, not Buddhism, that enable you type this message to me.

  • One could just as easily ask the question as to why the God chose that His Son be born in a stable in an obscure village in an obscure country.

  • One could ask that indeed…

    of all of the many saviors who were sons of God, born of a Virgin, who came to save mankind through his death. There were a lot of them.

    I suggest you find a book called “bible myths and their parallels in other religions”, by TW Doane.

  • Ben,
    Assuming that you’re serious in your question, it seems quite simple to address.
    In many situations the illiterate appear to have been chosen: Sister Faustina, to whom the devotion to Our Lord’s Mercy is credited; St. Bernadette Soubirous, to whom the discovery of the healing waters at Lourdes is credited; St. Juan Diego was entrusted with the message to his bishop …. these are all examples of God not choosing the “educated” or “urbane” or self-important. Christ Himself was born not in Jerusalem or Rome or somewhere equally important, but in Bethlehem.
    Now — if, as I suspect, you treat all religious claims as absurd on the face of it — I put to you another question. If we assume God doesn’t exist, and if we assume that all the events I’ve mentioned are elaborate fictions: Why would there be so many (for I have just scratched the surface) stories of God choosing those the world considers unworthy. Is it because of a vast conspiracy to hatch a religion on an unsuspecting world, or is it perhaps because multiple hundreds of years ago the writers of these stories knew that gullible people in later ages would gain strength from such nonsense? Or is there another possible explanation?

  • Ben,
    Ok. So you’re a non-believer, who pities all the fools who believe the quaint stories about Jesus — and other bible myths. Fair enough. On the argument you present — Jesus, surely, should have come to somewhere important — Why didn’t Jesus come to somewhere the world (or at least the intelligent, educated skeptics in it) consider important?
    On the strength of your position, though, why should anyone take you seriously? If others begin by accepting the stories and you begin by rejecting them…. and since those who accept are just ignorant rubes who can’t be trusted to have anything worthwhile to say… why should anyone trust the word of an unbeliever?

  • You are putting a huge number of words, concepts, and beliefs into my mouth that I did not say, would not say, and have expressly disagreed with repeatedly.

    I have said repeatedly that I have no particular beef with religion itself. I don’t share those beliefs, nor do I believe that they represent any kind of reality. I went through my religious phase as a child, and could not maintain it. The reasons aren’t important here. I returned to religion as a young man, this time as a Christian, and rejected it again. I don’t have those beliefs. I do believe in one less religion than you do.

    My beef is with religion that is used as club against others, used to harm others, used to denigrate others, used as an excuse to justify what cannot be justified by any other means. religion that spews out a toxic mess and then claims innocence when the results are toxic.
    I don’t consider people who do believe to be rubes. Nothing I would ever, or did ever, say. I have said repeatedly, and I will say it to you. If your religion makes your life better, and you a better person, I am all for it, even though I don’t think that religious belief BY ITSELF has a thing to do with it. But we all need our metaphors. But I will also say this: it doesn’t make a lot of people better, it makes them worse. It absolves them of personal responsibility. It assures them that they are better than other people, and justifies whatever they do.

    I didn’t say “Why didn’t Jesus come to somewhere the world (or at least the intelligent, educated skeptics in it) consider important?” You did. I question why I message so important would be left to illiterate peasant children in the backwaters of nowhere. You can reply that that is what faith requires. But as I say, we all need our metaphors.

    I would argue faith is the least trustworthy approach. Let me relate a story.

    About 20 years ago, a pattern of lights suddenly began to appear on the walls of a small Catholic church in the Sierras, every day at approximately the same time. People could “see” in it a resemblance to the Virgin Mary, much like both she and Jesus have both appeared on tacos and toast. The news began to spread. People came from miles around to witness the miracle of her appearance.

    I remember one lady in particular. “It IS the Virgin Mary, and her message is world peace.” An absolutely faith based response. The local bishop weighed in with THIS classic: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. for those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.” Well, he certainly covered his butt with that one. And yet, ironically, it was far truer than he knew.

    A scientist was called in. He could not determine the source of the pattern of lights, but was fairly certain it was caused by refraction, possibly reflection, of sunlight somewhere in the church. He just couldn’t find it. but he did predict that the lights would not appear on any completely cloudy day.

    And he was right.

    As a professional photographer, who dealt everyday with the qualities and directions of light, it would have taken me roughly five minutes and a long stick to determine where the light was coming from. But they didn’t ask me. The miracle, of course, ceased to exist.

    You could also go with the miracle at Fatima, if you like. Thousands allegedly saw the sun dance. Thousands did not. People a few miles away did not. No one else in the
    world saw the sun dance. There were no disruptions of weather or anything else.
    So did the sun dance? Or did it dance only in the eyes of the faithful?

    Please don’t attribute to me what I don’t say. Look to yourself, not to me.

  • As I said in my previous response to your comment, faith is probably the least effective judge of truth.

    Sister faustina? I have read a little bit about her, so I cannot really comment.

    St. Bernadette? She never claimed that she saw the Virgin Mary. She referred to her vision as “that little maiden” and, I believe, “that thing”, though it has been a long time since I read any of the source material. The vision itself referred to itself as “The Immaculate conception.’ It was the CHURCH that declared it was the virgin mary.

    Juan diego? It’s questionable whether he actually ever existed. “Definitive” proof only came to light when he was being considered for sainthood.

    “Now — if, as I suspect, you treat all religious claims as absurd on the face of it”: No, I don’t. I have had a few experiences myself. But that doesn’t mean I accept the Christian story, or anyone’s story, for that matter.

    “If we assume God doesn’t exist”: Not my assumption. I have no idea, but I also don’t think the question matters.

    “and if we assume that all the events I’ve mentioned are elaborate fictions” I don’t assume that either, though I think many of them are. Religion is as old as mankind.

    “Why would there be so many (for I have just scratched the surface) stories of God choosing those the world considers unworthy. Is it because of a vast conspiracy to hatch a religion on an unsuspecting world, or is it perhaps because multiple hundreds of years ago the writers of these stories knew that gullible people in later ages would gain strength from such nonsense? Or is there another possible explanation?” Which God? Even if there is a god, does that mean it’s only the Christian god? Because those stories exist for every religion, whether existing now or ceasing to exist. I would suggest you read Doanes’ “Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other religions.” It’s an old book, but well researched. These stories are repeated everywhere, even in the pre-contact new world.

    I think there are lots of reasons for religion, and three of these reasons are about power, money, and dominion. Belief in god or gods may represent a vision of reality; then again, it might not. We have the word of every faith that all of the rest of them are false. as I said, I don’t think the question matters…
    except when religion is used as club and a weapon.

  • I shall have to return to this another time. Please know that I have read what you have written, in both recent responses, and would reply if time allowed. I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, so I’m sorry if I did actually do that. I meant only to take the questions you posed and require of myself that I answer them (or, at least, address them) from a non-religious perspective.

  • This church is so mistaken in the natural world, that there is no need to speculate that they operate in any other silly regime.

  • ‘ It absolves them of personal responsibility. It assures them that they
    are better than other people, and justifies whatever they do.’

    You claim you were once a Christian? Think. When accepting that worldview did you detect those thoughts or behaviour traits in yourself? – or only in others?

  • It wasn’t Christianity that taught me to take responsibility for my actions and my presence in the world. I have never thought I am better than anyone else.

  • In evading the question you show how confused you are. Physical light, as used to make images, you may quickly detect, but the detection of the spiritual Light, as in Way, Truth and Light, is more than a flesh and blood achievement, and destroys images.

  • I am not sure how I have evaded your question, but let me try again.

    It wasn’t Christianity that taught me to take responsibility for my actions and my presence in the world. And it wasn’t Christianity that taught me to look at other people, not to judge them, but to look at myself and ask myself if I wanted to be like them. I still ask myself that question.

    When I was young, Like Most young people, I was not responsible at all times. I had to teach myself that responsibility. Christianity did not do it, asking forgiveness from God didn’t do it. Asking forgiveness from the people I had wronged did it. I’m still not perfect, and I don’t claim to be.

  • What you call spiritual light I would probably call being the best person I can be, treating others with respect and kindness, harming no one intentional,y and if I do commit harm, making amends,

  • Born again Christians know why – repent and study the Word of GOD! Your Mary apparitions are nothing but tricks of the devil to deceive more foolish roman catholics.

  • Funny how the Church of Sweden helped the Germans in WWI, even mining the waterways to block the Allies and give safe haven to the German military. And we won’t even go into how the Protestant churches of the world are just as guilty of homosexual sins and more. No church today is safe.

  • Funny how no one mentions how equally evil all Protestant churches are today. Together they hoard more money than the RCC, have just as much if not more homosexual crimes committed on children, teach Gospels other than the one Jesus taught, own mega churches, private jets, mansions and more. I am not defending the RCC, just putting it all out there in the light. The RCC has it Mary appearances while the Protestants have prophets making profits and Jesus appearing on trees, in toast and more. There are a whole lot on both sides headed for a dark nasty place where there will be plenty of gnashing of teeth. If you don’t believe in God, you don’t have a dog in this race and if you do believe in God, you better figure it out for yourself before you die and stop worrying about what others are doing. If Satan is anywhere, he’s got a computer network feeding the masses conspiracies, lies and more to all those who have itchy ears just ripe for sucking it all up. Good luck with that.

  • On what scale should we accept your view as the true one?

    A lot of people are sincerely wrong.

    No mater how you view things, at the end you will have to realise that the Truth is in Jesus-Christ.

    No mater how you deny God, at the end you will have to admit His ever Soveringty

  • First of all, Mary was no longer a virgin after she had Jesus because she had other children with Joseph. Secondly, I don’t know what those kids saw that day, if anything, but I can assure everyone it was not Jesus’ mother. The bible clearly says that it’s appointed to everyone once to die and then the judgment. There are no such things as apparitions. The only person to rise from the dead and live forever is Jesus Christ – remember Lazarus died a second time. Lastly, I cannot think of a more idolatrous religion that puts itself above Jesus Christ than the Roman Catholic Church. And, btw, the Apostle Peter was NOT the first pope – that would have been kind of hard since he lived two centuries before the RCC was even invented.

  • The RCC is not the only evil church. Many Protestant churches are the same way. Some will even tell you (Church of Christ) that unless you go to their church you are going to hell. Many teach different gospels like prosperity churches. I have news for you, there is NO church that does everything the way they are suppose to. Read Acts and see how they ran the first church. Nobody does that and the closest is sects like the Amish or Mennonite. It is not about what ‘church’ you go to, it is about who you are worshiping.

  • The ever going mistake is that the human thinks he is the center of the world.

    We are not the story, we are part of the story. If we are alowed to step in, it is because of the amazing love of the Creator.

    This not our story, it the story of God and the glory of his love.

  • “And we won’t even go into how the Protestant churches of the world are just as guilty of homosexual sins and more”

    Easy accusations

    Proofs please.

  • Are you freaking serious? Just google “protestant gay pastors”. Google “homosexuality in the protestant church”. OMG! It is rife with it! You would have to live under a rock not to know homosexuality is in every single group of humans!! The Catholic church doesn’t have the market cornered in that accusation by any means. And that is just the leaders!! The ranks are full of those taking advantage of little boys.

  • In the evangelistic world, people who stand by the Word of God, can easily recongnise the false prophets.

    So, it is not true that Protestant churches are equally evil. The way you say it, you make belive that all Protestant churches are equally acting the same way.

    One evil I can see though, is a “righteous” one with no base or basic scale to estqblish his “perfect” way of thinking. Only vague statements with no proof to back it up.

    I am not saying that certain churches tend to distance the sane doctrine, as there is nothing perfect in this world. Even Paul the Apostle was complaining about certain people distorting the sane doctrine to their own advantage.

    But all the Protestant churches ? No way !

    I will tell you an other thing “rightehous”: you can beleive or deny whatever you want, but if you are as wise as you want people to beleive you are, you will try one thing and try it honestly: Defy Jesus.

    Yes ! Ask Him to show you that He realy exist and that He is the One you should put your faith in.

    I garanty you a result that you never experimented before and it will be so lovefull, you will regret you never did that before.

    Jesus is alive, and waiting to show you how much love He has for you and all the blessings He has in reserve for you.

  • And who do you worship ? Yourself ? God or just a certain god ?

    All I can read of you, it’s “free” accusations.

    If all you have is accusation and no edification, your no use to anybody and not even helpfull for yourself.

  • Your are right ! But the day you will join a perfect church, it’ll be the day that church became imperfect.

    Googling protestant homosexuality does not in any wayproves that all the Protestant world is homosexual.

    Are you serious or just trolling ?

  • I am not trolling, but I also did not say ALL the protestant world is homosexual. I was just implying that no church is without. No church is better than the RCC and in some cases they are worse in many ways. Christianity is not about church, it is about each persons personal relationship with God/Jesus. I believe there are saved Christians in every Christian church, but there are also many demons and non-saved as well.

  • Your are right again !

    But, tell me what is your action when you see that kind of behavior ?

  • Churches are not evil at all. It is those within that make any part of them evil. Just as it is not what goes into the body that makes you evil, but what comes out of your mouth. God will not judge you on where you go to church, he will judge you on what is in your heart. If you are a true Christian you will go before the Lord at the Judgment seat of Christ before going on to your reward in heaven. [This statement was corrected of my error]

    Not every true Christian has the gift of discernment at recognizing false prophets. Not every Christian has all the gifts of the Spirit, but only the gifts the Spirit gives. I don’t need to give you proof that all churches have their evil people. If you don’t see that yourself, you are the one trolling me.

    I don’t need to convince you of anything, the truth is out there for you to see. I have no need to defy Jesus or ask him anything. He already knows what is in my heart and he has shown me. And this long after I already accepted him without proof. For years after I accepted him, the Holy Spirit lead me on a long journey that still goes on today. I have no need to prove to you or convince you of this as any faith will not be on me, but on the Lord. Go your way and I will go mine.

  • I worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. My accusations are accurate and all you have to do is Google the news, and do some research. There is plenty available. Are you incapable of doing that? This isn’t rocket science or some sort of obscured information hard to find. I thinks you are giving me a hard time for a reason. Trolling? Troll on, if that is what you want to do.

  • What do you do about that ? Just post on internet general accusations? Act like a”Righteous” and get down to a real teaching that will produce a blessing for everyone.

    I would say you just provoke in trying to look like the guy who knows better than anybody else.

    Your statements are just too “general” and all of it drives toward endless discussions whithout real other interest but have the last word

  • Ben, I disagree with you in this last assumption. Yes, the question does matter, in every case, if not to a multiplicity of that religions proponents as a whole, then at least on each and every single proponent. It matters not in the least to those who have doubts about its truth, nor its way, nor its light. It matters to that one lowly or their “Heavenly” use as a point of its existence and “Way OF Use”, be it their explanation for its clubbing effect, severity, and “THEIR NEED FOR THEIR TRUTH.” It is the explanation of their existence, even if it was Mary Madeline Ohare’s Validation of her own existence – heresy – for those of us who believe in the God of Avraham, Yitzaak and Yaakov – though not in her atheism – BUT, her god.

  • You said:” I don’t need to give you proof that all churches have their evil people. If you don’t see that yourself, you are the one trolling me.”

    I never said there wasn’t evil in churches. As a matter of fact, I said “if you ever find a perfect church, the day you enter it, it will be the day that church became imperfect.” And the same applies to everyone of us, because it is the very reason the Lord Jesus had to shed His blood for us on the Cross.

    You said:”God will not judge you on where you go to church, he will judge you on what is in your heart. If you are a true Christian you will go before the Lord at the Great White Throne Judgment before going on to your reward in heaven.”

    With that statement, it obious to me that we do not have the same teaching. Because of what John 3.16 says, it doesn’t talk about work. And Eph. 2.8 and 9 is clear that it is by faith period. The perfect work has been done at the Cross and no one wil be able to boast about his own righteousness.

    The Great White Thrône is for the non beleiver.

    But it’s ok, I will go my way as you say, but I would be glad to know that you will pray for me if I am not in the right direction or understanding of the Scriptures.

    I will certainly have a kind prayer for you before the Lord and He will sort things out between us.

    God bless you abondantly and your family.

    François

  • What would be the benefit to Google and surch for the churches that have hosexuals in it ? So I can hate them more ?

    We don’t need to Google, the news of these churches comme in our mail box every day.

    We are in the last days, brother ! And the Lord even said: “Mais, quand le Fils de l’homme viendra, trouvera-t-il la foi sur la terre?” Luc 18.8 (sorry, I can only give you the reference in french. It says “when the Son of Man will come back, will He find “faith” on the earth).

    So, lets not be surprise that you find churches that do not confor to the Word of God or derive from it to have it fit their sin.

    All we can do, is pray and hope ! If you only accuse them, it doesn’t do the job. It is the job of the Spirit to enlighten.

    Enough said on that post.

    I quit.

    God bless

    François

  • Where are all these saviours, sons of God, etc now? We only know of one who has billions of followers all over the world after 2000 years.

  • Alright, here you go:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/presbyterian-assembly-gay-marriage-christian-212658672.html?bcmt=comments-postbox&ref=gs

    ***Ok, you may be right in questioning that commenters comment about Protestant churches and homosexual sins, and so forth, because this link above, from yahoo does say this:
    “Of the mainline Protestant denominations, only the United Church of Christ supports gay marriage outright.”,
    BUT, as many newsletters as I get about the Lord, and prophecy, and other such subjects, I can see it spreading, as our bible tells us, the world will get worse and worse, as time goes by, because satan knows he has, but a short time!! It won’t be long, before ALL churches will accept it. Here’s some examples:

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/united-church-of-christ-to-be-first-mainline-denomination-to-financially-support-olympic-style-gay-games-122314/

    Of course, you’ve heard that Obummer is leading the way, and ordering priests to marry homosexuals, and the Pentagon was strongly urged to boot chaplains who oppose “gay marriage” (That article I was holding in my favorites was taken off the internet, or I would have shared the link).

    And here’s where Obummer told the heads of the five military branches to support his agenda of “gays” in the ranks or find another job.

    http://religionnews.com/2016/05/27/a-vatican-conspiracy-persists-and-a-bigger-mystery-unfolds/

    So you don’t think the churches are going to be forced to support homosexual marriage? Or else? Think again! The law is coming down hard on anything and anyone who won’t go along with this government’s agenda!!

    http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/support-gays-in-ranks-or-quit-chiefs-told/

    But here’s, where at least, the North Carolina PASTORS, are trying to fight it:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-carolina-pastors-rally-gay-marriage-ban-233147133.html?ref=gs

    I’ll stop there, but I have tons of links about how the the Supreme Court made same sex marriage legal in all 50 states, and more! Surely, you remember that big controversy, about 3 months ago? And I have another link, where Pope Francis suggest Gay civil unions “may” be tolerable by the church. After people start accepting THAT, then they’ll move onto “the catholic church accepts gay marriage” period! And I have another link, that says, the Church Of England is considering “transgender baptism” service! And dont let me get started on all the links I have on THAT subject!
    Anyway, do your own research, put in the words “homosexual marriage” and “church” in your browser, and read on….forever!

  • I shared quite a few links with “soifranc”, about the churches and homosexual marriage, above. It’s pretty horrible, the days we live in! Satan’s time is getting short!

  • Ok, maybe not all of them are….but just wait! It won’t be long….everywhere else the homosexual marriage issue is getting pushed on everyone. If you don’t want to accept that satan rules most churches, and most churches ARE ACCEPTING this kind of sin, then you are just keeping your eyes closed. They’ll be no arguing with you while your still asleep..

  • First, there is nothing I can do for them, second, general accusations? I told you before, as apparently others have, there is plenty of evidence out there. Again, if you don’t see that you are either inept with the Internet or have some other issues. I have no need to look like anything. I gave you all you asked for. Any further discussion on this subject with you will just be like kicking a dead horse. Enjoy your day.

  • You are correct, I misspoke, I meant the judgement seat of Christ as in 2 Cor 5. I never claimed to be perfect. As for my statements, I do back them up if there is not ample proof readily available.

  • I hope you don’t hate anyone. Hate the sin, yes, but not the sinner. As for the last days, we have been in the last days since Jesus ascended into heaven. Yes, it is getting exponentially worse by the day and prayerfully we will see the end in our own lifetime, but seriously, I already know how it ends. Whether I am here or in heaven does not matter to me. I send you my peace. May God also bless you.

  • The question matter to those who think it matters. I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter to me. What matters ot me is to be the best person I can be in relation to my fellow humans. you might say I prefer to worship good, rather than the god.

  • proving that once again, the worst enemies of some Christians are other Christians.

  • As with Dawn above, you are proving that once again, the worst enemies of some Christians are other Christians.

  • The fact that you equate homosexuality to pedophilia shows willful ignorance on your part. Solid research shows that there is no such link. It was made up as the usual scare tactic by social conservatives against the LGBT community. That’s why legal and legislative hearings generally ignore the “testimony” from social conservative groups against LGBT rights; real intellectuals laugh at their gross ignorance behind their backs, including those taking money from them. Family Research Council and the World Congress of Families both know that such allegations are false because they invented them to scare social conservatives into donating more to the cause (lining their pockets with cash).

  • And it makes you really happy to think that your vengeful god is going to come after me.

  • And on hat scale should anyone accept your view as the true one? After 2000 years, 2/3 of the world does not accept the Christian story. And Christians themselves are splintered into hundreds of denominations. And, as you can see, so many of them are willing to claim all of the rest of them are false Christianities.
    No, I will not have to realize the truth is in Jesus. Not if Christians are any guidelines. I haven’t the slightest need for a god, and eternal salvation sounds boring as hell– pun intentional. If I meet god after I die– and no one has yet proved that anyone meets god, and lived to tell the tale, then I will be happy to acknowledge his sovereignty.
    Though an atheist, I don’t insist there is no god. What I do insist on is that religion answers no questions about god.

  • While pedophilia does not lend itself directly to homosexuality, when it involves men and boys it certainly does have a play on the abusers part. You can slice and dice it however you want, my point was that homosexuality and or pedophilia has no boundaries and no church or denomination is immune. Is that clearer for you? You want to argue about definitions? Go for it, it won’t change my stance that the RCC does not have the market cornered on homosexuality or pedophilia. It also does not change my overall point which is the RCC is no different than the Protestants when it comes to any other point such as teaching a different gospel or any other aspect people want to label the Catholic church with. I didn’t make my post to argue the different aspects of sexual deviation.

  • Both. It matters not. My point was and is the RCC is no different than the rest of the worlds Christian denominations.

  • No, the worst enemies are those who commit crimes against anyone. Religiously speaking, Christians have more enemies outside their religion.

  • Wrong. Real psychologists do not classify any pedophiles as straight or gay, since their sexual focus is on children. And in fact, most predators of boys get married to women and many have families with kids of their own. There are several university studies on the issue, most notably a recent one by researchers at UC Davis. Efforts to link gays to child predators is just part of the scare tactics of some socially conservative religionists who need live boogeymen to revile from the pulpit.

    As for changing minds, you must have vested interest in pushing Evangelicalism. It always works that way for those who cannot be moved or influenced by reason and real facts. And that’s on you.

  • Again, this has zero to do with my point. I am not going to argue terms with you. You can label any of them anyway you wish. It doesn’t detract from my point. Are you going to argue that there are more pedophiles in the RCC than there are in the Protestant churches? If so, we have something to discuss. The only thing I would push is belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Son of God as your savior. I don’t believe in denominational religion. The facts you want to push have zero impact on what I am discussing. I am not defining gays, pedophiles, straight or any other sexual aspect of human nature. What part of that are you not getting?

  • Okay. I got it the first time. I’m not particularly interested in who is more corrupt between the RCC and Protestants. Most organized religions have a degree of corruption in their religious infrastructure; it’s just the nature of the beast. But that corruption sometimes does influence which social issues get pushed and which do not. I will grant you that. Evangelicals like to use LGBT as their boogeymen, since the Mormons are growing faster than they are, making Mormons a less valuable target for derision. Since LGBT simply are not a growth area, they make great targets for corrupt preachers.

  • I can agree with that. It is just every time I get on an article concerning the RCC everyone wants to make them the black sheep of the family. I try to show them that that perspective is not true at all, they just get the blunt of the bad mouthing because they are the largest Christian organization in the world, but certainly not the worse when you take the Protestant sect as a whole. Humans are nasty creatures. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that even a good portion of self proclaimed Christians are in deep trouble. Pride and boasting gets in their way, not to mention the lack of Berean-like studying of the scripture. Only one thing will keep anyone from heaven and that is the rejection of God.

  • You might instead, read Raymond E Brown’s “Birth of the Messiah”. He deals with anything he could find that possibly related to Jesus’ birth, including whatever influence/explanations he can find for the text as we have it. I’d suggest that his work is a lot more reliable than Doane’s work.

    PR Chris

  • Proofs ? Read the book “A Woman Rides The Beast” by the late Dave Hunt, Harvest House publishers, 1994. It documents the sordid history of the popes and the historical connections and collusion between catholicism and secular, often fascist governments, like that of the nazis and the ultra right wing Ustashi of Croatia among others.

    Each chapter of this eye opening book has footnotes and references to its sources – often from official catholic documents themselves. The book has been around for a long time, and may be out of print, but you might be able to obtain a copy from your local library. I recommend it – you will be shocked.

  • I remember in some point feeling like you do about it, but it is by the lightning of the Holy Spirit that we come to know and understand in this spiritual realm.

    Even if I read or heard about God, it did not make sense.

    But, one day when someone asked me if I would be willing to ask Jesus to come in my life, I said yes and repeted the prayer he was saying, but in my mind, I was sure that it was just lost words.

    Without forcing anything, and certainly without expecting anything, the Lord realy came in my life and shed light into all of this spiritual realm, way beyond what I would have dreamed of understanding.

    So, dear friend, I don’t expect to convince you, but in that Book you don’t beleive being the very Word of God (wich was my own thought too before), He says that “all” will have heard the “Good News” and won’t have any excuse of having ignored it.

    And in that same Book, it says that man lives only once and then comes the judgment. Heb. 9,27 It’s in this actual life that you have to make the decision to beleive in Christ or not.

    Actually, you have decided not.

    So, if you want to be credible as an atheist, chalenge Jesus. Ask Him,” sincerly” if He dares to come in your life and show you if it’s true that He realy loves you that much.

    If you don’t have an answer, you will be right to say that God does not exist, and christianity is a fake.

    But, Jesus has always been faithfull and He loves to respond to a “sincere” prayer.

    You are right that, as christians, we are a bunch of hasbeens. But you see, it is the very reason why Jesus had to shed His blood in a perfect sacrifice on that Cross. Because we are and will be a bunch of feables and ugly sinners that need to always go back to the Book to know how to act and react, until the day we can be perfected in the new life promised.

    We are natural sinners and if we try to think by our own wisdom, we automaticly try to distance ourself from God.

    Now you know the difference between a christian that stand by God’s Word and one who ajust the Word to justify his sin.

  • The real issue about pedophilia and the Roman Church were the extensive cover ups by those in authority. All human institutions are vulnerable to inappropriate sexual behavior. Most other churches because of the governing structures and number of qualified clergy more readily filter or remove those who violate sexual norms.

  • Study some history. The Roman Church was very corrupt at the time of the Reformation. Issues included sexual abuse, abuse of authority, and financial corruption.

  • They may have been better at covering it up, but like everything else, all institutions have their skeletons and cover ups. The reason the RCC gets so much more coverage is because of it’s size and prominence in the community. As you say, I suppose because of the hierarchy of the church, it probably compounds it, but I heard plenty in other churches I have attended. Also, the RCC makes good news while no one cares or hears about the little corner baptist church in national headlines. We would never have heard about Bill Cosby if he had not been such a famous person. Same difference.

  • I can appreciate your sentiments and the time you took to write them. I tried Christianity as a young man. I eventually rejected it. Im Glad it works for you.

  • I love Mary too much to believe she would fail to warn gullible parents about the abuse of children. With a global audience in the 20th and 21st. centuries, why would she fail in her motherly duty?
    Her knowledge of politics and global events is astonishing…prescient…yet she has no knowledge of the creeping crimes in the Church, especially those that harm families?
    I believe Mary cares deeply about the safety of children and the reputation of her Son’s name…not just communism, masonry, and Popes. Perhaps someone should ask her who has no agenda.

  • The Catholic Church is a joke and has destroyed all credibility of Christianity in the eyes of the faithless. The Harlot of Mystery Babylon is alive and well but God will soon take His vengeance on you. Come out of that “church.”

  • The Jubilee belongs to Jesus Christ. HE promised it, HE will deliver it. Neither of these men are sufficiently righteous to implement such a Jubilee. Their damnation is assured for their pedophile evil, it will destroy the Vatican & their false Christianity. Vatican Freemasons do not want Fractional Reserve banking to end, they want to enslave humanity forever.

  • Ben, I want to reply in total support of you. The approach is measured, kind and never hateful. I too am a Non- Believer, and even at 67, I can’t “Come Out” to a lot of people. You have made the most profound points and best replies I’ve seen in a while. Like you, I love people, the World in general but, he, we have very similar problems with some people catching up with the year 2017.

ADVERTISEMENTs