Vatican seeks ‘courageous’ ideas to combat priest shortage

Pope Francis laughs while greeting school children after he arrived at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, on Sept. 24, 2015, after his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican called for courageous proposals to cope with a shortage of priests in the Amazon, and said it wouldn’t rule out debate on whether married men could step in to fill the “precariously-thin presence” of the Catholic Church in the vast region.

In a preparatory document seeking input from South American bishops for the Vatican’s 2019 meeting on the Amazon, organizers also said the church must identify new “official ministries” for women to play in the region.

The call on Friday (June 8) was not a suggestion that women could be ordained priests, which Catholic doctrine forbids and Pope Francis has reaffirmed.

But it leaves open the door to making official some ministries that women in remote parts of Latin America already perform, including celebrating baptisms.

And it calls for “new ways” to increase access to the Eucharist in a part of the world where the church counts around one priest for every 10,000 Catholics and where remote communities can go weeks or months at a time before a priest arrives to celebrate Mass.

The call for “courageous, daring and fearless” proposals suggests that the Vatican wants the region’s bishops to put forward concrete proposals on whether married men of proven virtue — so-called “viri probati” — could celebrate Mass in places where priests are in short supply.

The “viri probati” proposal has been around for decades, but has drawn fresh attention under history’s first Latin American pope thanks to his familiarity with the challenges facing the Amazon church.

At a press conference Friday, organizers of the Amazon synod said the document and the attached questionnaire will solicit suggestions from regional bishops that will then be incorporated into the document that will guide the October 2019 debate.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri said he didn’t use the term “viri probati” in the document because he wanted to let church leaders in the field make their proposals.

“We don’t want to preclude anything,” he said.

Similarly, he didn’t identify which “official ministries” women could undertake.

Women currently do much of the heavy lifting in the Catholic Church in the Amazon region. Francis has appointed a commission of experts to study the role of women deacons in the early church, presumably with an eye to seeing if an ordained female diaconate could be permissible today.

Deacons, an ordained ministry currently reserved to men, can preach and preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals. But only priests can celebrate Mass.

Unlike women’s ordination, which is forbidden as a matter of church doctrine, the practice of a celibate priesthood in the Latin rite Catholic Church is a discipline that could be changed. Many eastern rite Catholic Churches allow married men to become priests.

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Nicole Winfield


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  • Certain commentators crow how the RCC is growing everywhere in the third world, yet there is STILL a shortage of priests.

  • We have the same problem in the USA.

    Successful growing industries are always starving for more talent.

  • Abandoning the man-made rules about priestly abstinence and marriage, and the non-scriptural, anachronistic ban on contraception would be good first steps in reversing the downward trend. The first created the ongoing priest abuse scandals and the second drove women and their sympathetic families into less patriarchal belief systems. The RCC has lost the miracle, mystery and authority Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor said was the cement that held the Church together.

  • I’m not sure I understand your second sentence, but the RCC in the USA is far from a successful growing industry.

    “.. a [2015] report released … by the Pew Forum finds that the total number of Catholics in the United States dropped by 3 million since 2007, now comprising about 20 percent – or one-fifth – of the total population.

    And perhaps more troubling for the church, for every one Catholic convert, more than six Catholics leave the church. Taken a step further, Catholicism loses more members than it gains at a higher rate than any other denomination, with nearly 13 percent of all Americans describing themselves as ‘former Catholics’.” ~ quoted in Crux, a Catholic religious news and analysis magazine.(Oddly, many people still self-identify as Catholics even though they’ve lost all connections with the Church.)

    In any other industry a diminishing customer base would lead to a surfeit of workers, managers and executives. With the Church it’s the reverse: as the congregations go, so go the managers and executives.Nuns are a vanishing species, with the few remaining mostly over the age of 50.

  • Worldwide the Catholic Church is growing at an exponential rate:

    In the USA from 2005 through 2014 there was 11.7 percent Catholic growth compared to 9.6 percent population growth.

    My comment to which responded noted what is happening in the USA with jobs, not with the Catholic Church, but the numbers do not support your dire assessment.

    The Pew report, as the article discusses, appears to lack a factual foundation.

    That is no surprise since Pew has been reporting gloom and doom for all sorts of things for three decades without hitting the target more than 10% of the time.

  • You should know that when ever you disagree with the voice of Bob, the Voice of bob will inform you that you are wrong.

  • You sure do not like the concept of lively discussion, do you First Name: Ben, Last Name: In Oakland?

    Crypto-fascists apparently are all the rage in the Bay area.

  • No one mentioned global Catholic growth rates, which are an established fact. Your ambiguous comment was directed toward the US.

    Re:the WSJ article, I would question the objectivity of a report put out by the Vatican, just as I would question a report on Russian political freedoms put out by the Kremlin. It’s not *my* dire assessment. The Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life has amassed and analyzed data over decades, and the organization itself is well-respected for its objectivity in this and other fields of study. If you read the original Pew study you will see many, many citations to back up the report, as it is Pew’s practice to do.

  • You may question anything you wish.

    I don’t respect the Pew establishment in any area, but then again I’ve had to deal with their “facts” in a variety of contexts, looked at their actual questionnaires, and compared their results with other pollers using better polling documents.

    Your snarky equation of the Vatican with the Kremlin is noted.

  • There are two obvious labor pools the Church could draw from in order to get more clergy: Married men (mentioned in the article); and women (married or not).  

    Let’s be clear about what happened: The medieval Church imposed celibacy on clergy in order to prevent sons from inheriting their positions from their fathers. By preventing them from having any legitimate heirs, clerical offices ended up being appointed by hierarchs or the Pope himself, which of course enhanced their power. While this did make the clergy less attractive than before, there were more than enough younger sons of nobility around, and some of them (especially those who stood to inherit nothing) still saw entering the priesthood as an opportunity to have a life. So young men continued entering the priesthood. Later, when the middle class began entering the clergy, some of those young men likewise saw it as a viable opportunity to get an education and make a living, not to mention getting a leg up in the social order of the time.  

    In modern times, though, the R.C. clergy is vastly less attractive than it had been. Education in the occidental world is universal; the class system is dead, or dying; and opportunities are wider-ranging than ever before. And the celibacy requirement is a major impediment. Where once it could be balanced by the aforementioned factors, that’s no longer the case. If things remain as they are, the R.C. clergy is in danger of dying out. The only thing keeping it alive, at the moment, is that in the Third World, where class distinctions remain strong, education is meager, and economic opportunities are fewer, there are still young men who see the clergy is a viable option … even in spite of the celibacy requirement.  

    Eventually, though, even this source of labor is likely to dry up. If the Church doesn’t want the ranks of its clergy to die out completely, it will inevitably have no choice but to do something to bring more people in. Allowing women to be ordained would immediately at least double the number of available entrants, and allowing married men would have a similar effect. Doing both would allow the R.C. clergy to flourish.  

    If that were to happen, though, it’d no longer be the insular “bachelor’s club” of men with no loyalties, allegiances, or dependencies other than the Church itself. That would fundamentally alter its nature, however, so I doubt either of those things is something the current hierarchs will be willing to do. They’ll have to get more desperate … and that might take another few generations. Ultimately, refusing to change is simply not an option — even though the Church insists it’s changeless (this is, in fact, stunningly untrue — it HAS changed in the past even if it claims it never has).  

  • Ah, you missed the point again. I did in no way compare the Vatican with the Kremlin. My analogy was to illustrate the folly of depending on a source that has everything to gain from equivocal reporting. Just as the Vatican wishes to promote its point of view that US numbers are up, thus encouraging the faithful, so does the Kremlin wish to promote its point of view that Russia is a place where dissent is encouraged and divergent political opinions respected to beguile the gullible. (Check out Russia Today for mind-boggling examples of how wonderful life is in glorious Worker’s Paradise II.)

  • Ah, you missed your point again:

    “… I would question the objectivity of a report put out by the Vatican, just as I would question a report on Russian political freedoms put out by the Kremlin.”

    The fact that you question a report by the Vatican, but trust the Pew propagandists, says it all.

  • Ireland, an old Catholic bastion…recently had all of seven priests being prepared in Irish seminaries.

    Yep, growing like gangbusters!

  • You intentionally missed the point again trying to legitimize your earlier misapprehension, which tells me you’re unlikely to benefit from any exchange that questions your exalted opinion of yourself. Sort of mini-mini-Trumpism on a very small scale. 🙂

  • I quoted you.

    Did you read yourself?

    I’ve hear of fake news, but this is a first – fake interpretation of your plain words.

  • “And it calls for “new ways” to increase access to the Eucharist in a part of the world where the church counts around one priest for every 10,000 Catholics and where remote communities can go weeks or months at a time before a priest arrives to celebrate Mass.” This problem of Catholics going for weeks and months without Mass due to priest shortage is also true in the Diocese of Northern Alaska. It pains me that the church will not allow women priests when the need of the people is so dire. I can’t believe that Jesus would want that. Elsewhere in the article it said that women are doing the “heavy lifting” of the pastoral work in the Amazon Catholic communities, so the church does have faith in their pastoral abilities. As far as the USA goes, I wonder how many Catholic churches would still be open if the presence of women priests allowed the bishops to have enough priests to staff all the churches. I have never believed the arguments given for why the priesthood must be reserved to males. They just don’t ring true.

  • “I can’t believe that Jesus would want that.”

    Jesus will want what the Church hierarchy tells Him to want. Or else.

  • 1 Timothy 3 New International Version (NIV)
    Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons
    3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
    8 In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
    11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
    12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.”

    “8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2

    13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” 1 Samuel 13:13

  • If the RCC desires “courageous” ideas, I have one. How about all the priests, bishops, cardinals who waste time, money and energy on non faith vocations be sent to areas desperate for priests? The main purpose of any priest is to spread the faith and offer the Mass. It is not about hobnobbing with celebrities, pushing papers, gazing at the stars, digging up relics, redecorating their “palaces”, artistic endeavors, or anything else. There are plenty of priests who do as such, and live for their own sense of vocation rather than what their jobs really are. So grab people from that pool and let them do some actual spiritual work for the Lord.

  • In the first paragraph, #1-13 are descriptions of virtues and personality traits that women can exhibit.

    In the second paragraph, #8-10, same as above.

    #11-12: I believe this is an expression of the cultural norms of the time and culture, which don’t really apply now, 2000 years later in the West. The original writers would never have thought to question whether a woman could lead, because it was not in their social conditioning; it was outside their mental scope of reference. More importantly, Jesus never said any of this. In fact, his treatment of women was of much greater respect and kindness than was the norm at that time.

    #13-15: I am surprised that you seem to be taking the Adam and Eve story as if it refers to two specific human beings. Adam represents mind, and Eve represents the emotional nature. Both of these are in each human person.
    The story of the fall does not have anything to do with men vs. women.

  • Paul was chosen by Christ for the gentile church. What he taught was what he learned from Christ while in Arabia and as Christ is omniscient, He knew what Paul would teach – and had no problem with it . I have no need for any excuses to reject Christ’s word. Thanks

  • Same old same old. The RC church can only grow in the third world, within ‘traditional societies’ where sex roles are accepted. Educated upper middle class people in affluent countries are dropping out in droves. So the RC church will become the church of the third world and of the lower classes. Until as we hope they their economic situation improves, they become educated, and their ‘traditional societies’ collapse. And then they will leave.

    This pope is just the same old same old. Same promotion of the traditional family and traditional sex roles. And that is locked in forever. The Church’s vision, for all it’s laudable opposition to cutthroat capitalism, is of a wealthy peasantry—family with benign patriarch where there’s always room for another little one at the table and mama popping out another every year until menopause, all deferring to the wisdom of the village priest. That’s Catholic Social Teaching. Yes, it’s better than cutthroat capitalism. No it isn’t an ethic of fairness. It isn’t compatible with modernity and has no place outside the third world.

  • Same old same old.

    The anti-Catholic diatribes describing non-existent non-existent growth, the pop analysis of “Catholic Social Teaching” by individuals who can’t distinguish a social teaching from a social disease, and the usual feminist claptrap.

    I suppose it should make room for the modernist atheist charities lining up to do its work – except there are none.

  • Multiple studies over many years have concluded that celibacy was unrelated to abuse by priests. That’s why the rate of abuse by public school teachers, ministers, and others is higher than for the Catholic clerics.

    Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor was describing the Orthodox Church.

  • So you’re suggesting that a woman can be faithful to her wife?

    Within the context of Catholicism – the article – your first three paragraphs are essentially meaningless.

    The Catholic belief is that this creation in some way iconic of the divinity and the world to come. The family mirrors the Trinity in both headship and love.

    It is also believes that Christ was not bound by “the cultural norms of the time” and was free to act according to the divine will.

    That church considers Orders a sacrament – a divinely instituted source of a specific grace – the content of which cannot be altered.

    None of this is consistent with denominations with no particular creed, no set dogma, and no required ritual, and so one cannot inform the other.

  • “Ring true” is terminology associated with taste, not theology.

    Or to put it another way, I am rather certain the Catholic Church would not be interested in finding out that its beliefs do not spin your particular propeller.

  • Thank you for, once again, demonstrating complete vacuity on matters of Catholic theology.

  • Hi there—feminist ClapTrapper here! No atheist and, teaching at a Catholic college well aware of Catholic Social Teaching. Agreed: there are no ‘atheist charities’ lining up but providing a better life shouldn’t be the business of charities. It isn’t a matter of charity but justice, the job of the state, and there are welfare states in Western Europe who do the job—providing social safety nets, promoting fairness, and a better life for all without the conservative communitarian claptrap your RC Church promotes. The empirical fact of the matter–just check it out–is that educated upper middle class people are not going to put up with your claptrap.

  • I am sorry to hear that you teach at a Catholic college, particularly when you write things like “your RC Church promotes”.

    That would indicate that you teach at a “catholic” college.

    I am sure you will be unsurprised that I find nothing you propose that bears the slightest resemblance to anything without a Marxist basis, including “the job of the state”.

    One can only hope that your area of teaching is in something like sociology so that no one takes it too seriously.

  • I’m no Marxist–ridiculous rubbish. Just a straight lefty-liberal Democrat and welfare statist. And I don’t teach sociology, communications, education, gender studies, ethnic studies, or anything in the crap area. There is no Marxist basis to the Western European model of social-democratic welfare states with mixed economies which I my modest proposal.

  • The underlying ontology of “lefty-liberal Democrat and welfare statist” feminist is Marxist.

    If you were unaware of that, you are now slightly better informed.

    We are not going to engage on the topic, so enjoy the rest of your day.

  • Childish, ad hominemal, irrelevant and avoidant.

    You might learn by discussing the value of your post with a proper RCC PR person.

  • Don’t baffle Bob with facts – they are wrong if they don’t agree with his certainty.

    One would think that someone who is truly confident in their infallibility would be able to respond without embellishing their bigotry with playground personal attacks rooted in ignorant assumptions about someone unknown. John 11:35

  • Beautiful suggestion.

    But actual sacrifice is much harder than fake sacrifice, and Tim and Frank really like the bling.

  • Arguing with Sandimonious is like arguing with a cute little megalomaniacal lollipop tripled dipped in passive aggressive psycho.

    You have been Warned!

  • ” . . . it calls for “new ways” to increase access to the Eucharist in a part of the world where the church counts around one priest for every 10,000 Catholics and where remote communities can go weeks or months at a time before a priest arrives to celebrate Mass.”

    To me, the most creative–and courageous, way to increase the number of priests would be for the Roman Catholic Church to move into the 21st Century and allow both married priests and female priests. That would cut the ratio of priests to parishioners down by several-hundred-to-one.

    The Episcopal Church has done the latter rather successfully for nearly 50 years, and they now actually have a surplus of priests here in the US. Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and celebrating the Eucharist has nothing to do with one’s genitalia. Instead, it has everything to do with one’s religious commitment and answering the call to serve.

    I wouldn’t serve anywhere in the Amazon (a country in South America, not the purveyor of practically everything via FedX and UPS!) without a loving wife, were I to (gasp!) be a priest or member of the clergy.. Would you?

  • From the travelogue of my recent trip to Germany.

    We are spending our first few days in Wurzburg, where my in laws live. We decided to make first day an easy one, and visited the gardens of the Residenz, where the former Prince-Bishops of Wurzburg used to live before they got religion. The Residenz, which I have visited before, is, if not larger than Versailles, certainly giving it a run for its money, both in square footage and extravagant, excessive richesse. Those nescient, want-wit Bourbons were simply clueless about what could be accomplished by taking a vow of poverty while working for the Roman Church. As St. Oscar Levant so aptly observed, NOTHING exceeds like excess. But to be fair, the Prince-Bishop didn’t actually own the Residenz, but merely had the run of it for as long as he lived. And the servants. And the gold. And the armies. And the influence. And unlike the Bourbons, the Tudors, the Hapsburgs, and the Hohenzollerns, he didn’t have to worry about any offspring taking undue interest, pro or con, in the state of his health.

    Well, at least, not any official offspring. Children born on the wrong side of the cassock are not exactly unknown. But since they officially could not possibly exist, and since the Prince-Bishop could not possibly own anything, neither inheritance nor sudden and completely coincicidental succumbing to previously undiagnosed medical conditions could enter into calculations for future retirement.

  • Did you know what would happen if you put 100 catholic priests on an island and came back 70 years later? The island would be completely empty of people!

  • Exactly. That was yet one more nasty personal attack by typical Christian “Bob Arnzen”.

  • No, it’s not the same problem, “Bob Arnzen”. Your religion industry is dying; it’s losing both adherents and salespeople.

  • No, BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca, you clearly missed the point and misinterpreted what was said, to suit your kooky agenda.

  • LOL. Doesn’t matter, Sandi Luckins. Your crazy holy book is filled with contradictions, and so Eleanor can read anything she wants into it to suit her agenda, exactly as you do ad nauseum here.

  • Our fellow blogger writes, “Jesus doesn’t want female pastors.” When challenged, she replies — in typical fashion — from sources *other than* Jesus. She’ll also tell us that Jesus taught the Israelites of old. You’ve been warned :o)

  • I agree, the Church’s “official” celibacy means priests’ illegitimate children are born into an untenable position. Of course the Church won’t do anything about it; that would lay bare the reality that some priests have “wandered off the reservation” (if you will) and that would embarrass the Church — so they try to keep a lid on it. 

    Really, though … any Church which is truly run according to the teachings of Jesus the Christ wouldn’t allow these children to grow up under such a handicap. Such an organization, being charitable, humble (among other things, willing to admit its mistakes) and contrite, would take care of them, and in some way make up for their lack of a contributing father. 

    Sadly, Christians have historically refused to abide by the clear teachings of their religion’s founder, and instead have simply gone and done whatever is convenient for them. The R.C. Church is hardly alone in this regard. That doesn’t mean, however, that they have any kind of valid excuse for what they’ve done. 

  • Jesus, of course, never identifies himself as any kind of priest in the Gospel (CCC-125). If other N.T. sources are any indication, neither do his followers. Based on Jesus’ self-identity, they acknowledge him as a “prophet”. The earliest Christian communities had no ministerial ordination, much less any kind of priesthood different from that conferred by baptism into the Christian church. Later Christian writers, appealing to Jews to join the church or to remain within it, relied on typology to promote Christian belief and practice. Typology, of which HEBREWS is the most prominent example, proves nothing in terms of basic Christian doctrine in the canonical gospels. In the Church of Rome, ministerial ordination is ultimately a *disciplinary* practice with a faux doctrinal veneer. Over the years, Rome has given us excuses, not reasons, to deny presbyteral and episcopal ordination to women.

  • This is why Bob’s Church of the SubGenius never attracted me. At least with the Church of the Invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster you get a choice of sauces, and Prince spaghetti on Wednesdays. Ramen.

  • Some comments are arguing over claims the church is growing. I used to live in a small town in northern New Mexico. When the Baptists came to town everyone turned out, it was a party, free food, chance to see old friends. The Baptists went away happy thinking they had converted so many new souls. On Sunday the Catholics went to their church, the Methodists to theirs and the local Baptist church hadn’t gained any new members.

    A month later another group came to town, another party, more free food, and the same outcome.

    I suspect the same is happening in other countries, when you offer the only entertainment in a small town everyone turns out! And they will do the same the next week for whichever group shows up next!

  • “….men of proven virtue….”

    Men of Proven Virtue ?


    Reminiscent of a line from Monty Python –

    ” And Now for Something Completely Different “

  • “….men of proven virtue….”

    And which of the corrupt criminal clerics of the RCC, who will do the vetting of these ” men ” , have any concept of ” virtue “.

  • I read this after reading for the nth time your assessment that the Masterpiece case involved the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was mean to the defendant.

    You wouldn’t know a fact if it danced by you in a red sequined dress, a head covered in flames, clicking castanets, with a spotlight trained on it, singing “Facts are here again!” at the top of its lungs.

  • The key to salvaging the Catholic Church and increasing the number of priests is banning homosexuals from the priesthood. 80% of all cases of child molestation in the Catholic Church involve priests and boys, which has cost the church billions in settlements and millions in members.

  • FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP, a standard response across the board with the “walking with god clerics” now forever walking with the common man–

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy “I did not have sex with that girl” Clinton, John “Marilyn Monroe” Kennedy”.

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger “I am so sorry for getting caught” Woods.

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan or football coach since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of “neithers” they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women, football coaches), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Paterno et al Clinton, Cardinal Law) or child endangerment (Paterno in abstentia, Sandusky et al, Lynn) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder (“Kings David and Henry VIII).

  • Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the “bowers”, kneelers” and “pew peasants” are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of “worthless worship” aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

  • As usual, typically Christian BobbyJo Arnzen Carioca has a vicious comeback to slide in.

  • False as usual from BobbyJo. The Catholic church clearly wants to be in everyone’s trousers, all the time.

  • You mean the material you cut and paste from sources without verification or understanding?

  • “More importantly, Jesus never said any of this.” This is the only thing that really matters, since sandinwindsor is quoting 1st Timothy. He is not quoting 1st Jesus.

  • ” Until as we hope they their economic situation improves, they become educated, and their ‘traditional societies’ collapse.”

    Thecla’s points have been proven out in South America. As a perfect example the fertility rate in Brazil has dropped from 6+ in the early 60’s to less than two today, and it’s the direct consequence of much better education, far more opportunities for women, and a culture that encourages female participation in the economy….not too mention changes in cultural expectations. All of this in spite of a powerful Roman Catholic Hierarchy preaching birth control and Brazil having no legal abortion.

    Obviously the Vatican is taking note of massive changes in Brazil and trying to fumble it’s way to some sort of better participation for women before Brazil and the Amazon region are permanently lost to the ‘nones’ or to the Evangelicals. Catholicism needs to change it’s intransigence on the priesthood or fade off into oblivion in less than 100 years. Women are not going back to the days of no choices. That will prove out as well in Africa as it has everywhere else.

  • Almost 100% of the childhood sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has been committed by ordained Roman Catholic priests, who be they gay or straight, were assumed to be celibate. That is why the billions have been paid out to survivors….all the abusers were ordained priests. You can delude yourself by blaming the abuse crisis on gays, but the facts are Roman Catholic bishops ordained all of those priests and there by certified their fitness for the priesthood. What’s rotten in the system is much much more than what orientation a given priest might have. Before you go all gay on me, do some research into the abuse of girls, both historically and in today’s developing areas. You might learn something about how duplicitous the idea of a ‘celibate’ priesthood has been for it’s entire history.

  • 80% of New Testament/Pauline scholars seriously doubt that Paul wrote either of the Timotheon letters. The letters are assigned to Pauline Pseudepigrapha, written by someone else pretending to be Paul, to lend authority to the letters.

    The teaching about men only bishops & deacons didn’t come from Paul, so it didn’t come from Jesus, as you claim.

    But once again, you don’t know any of this because you don’t really know anything about “the Bible.” You only know what you believe about English translations.

  • There is no country in South America named Amazon. The Amazon is a mighty river that flows through a number of South American nations and shares its name with the huge South American rainforest.

  • In general as income goes up, people become more self-absorbed, selfish, and birth rates drop.

    “We now face the danger, which in the past has been the most destructive to thehumans: Success, plenty, comfort and ever-increasing leisure. No dynamic people has ever survived these dangers.” – John Steinbeck

    There is no mystery there.

    The Catholic Church has traditionally done a poor job in Latin America of staffing.

    Evangelicals make ministers in as little as a month. The Catholics take years.

    With over a billion adherents and an exponential world-wide growth rate, it seems rather unlikely that it will “fade off into oblivion in less than 100 years”.

  • David, you’re a very careful reader. I didn’t edit my message well enough. I meant to say “river” or “region.” The point i was attempting to get across doesn’t change though.

  • You can believe man, or you can believe God, David
    See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8English Standard Version (ESV)

  • It’s sad how little that you know and the ignorance that you try to cover with some verse you can quote.

    So God has said somewhere that Paul is the actual author of 1 & 2 Timothy, even though it’s pretty obvious, when compared to the letters that we know almost 100% that he wrote, that they are not?

    You appear to have absolutely no concept about the history of the Bible or how the canon of the Bible was arrived at. Nor do you appear to realize that different churches have different canons of the Bible.

    You are the blind leading the blind. Watch out for that ditch!

  • True, there are things that I don’t know, but I do know when someone is lying to me about scripture:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

  • Almost 100% of the childhood sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has occurred:

    – in dioceses who failed to follow Canon Law and remove from seminaries and ministry seminarians and clerics who were guilty;

    – in dioceses who sent those who offended to mind mavens such as St. Luke’s in Silver Spring, Maryland, for “treatments” to “cure” the offenders, who were returned to the ministry “cured” and promptly re-offended;

    – to boys and young men in dioceses who looked the other way either in their seminaries or their ministries at those who had same sex attractions.

    Those who did none of these things – Lincoln, Nebraska, for example – had zero suits, paid zero money, and had increases in vocations.

    Celibacy has had absolutely nothing at all to do with it.

  • LOL!!…That’s a good one, alwayspuzzled! I thought I was the only one to notice that the Roman Catholic Church thinks it’s in charge of Almighty God! THANK YOU!!! ???

  • Didn’t Roman Catholicism invent simony, Bob? The Renaissance popes certainly did, big time!! ???

  • The Epistle to the Hebrews is most certainly NOT typology; no reputable Biblical scholar would view it as such.It’s not designated” The Epistle to the Hebrews” for nothing. Read it again, slower…??

  • “As early as the second century, this treatise, which is of great rhetorical power and force in its admonition to faithful pilgrimage under Christ’s leadership, bore the title ‘To the Hebrews.’ It was assumed to be directed to Jewish Christians. Usually Hebrews was attached in Greek manuscripts to the collection of letters by Paul. Although no author is mentioned (for there is no address), a reference to Timothy (Heb 13:23) suggested connections to the circle of Paul and his assistants. Yet the exact audience, the author, and even whether Hebrews is a letter have long been disputed.
    “The author calls this work a ‘message of encouragement’ (Heb 13:22), a designation that is given to a synagogue sermon in Acts 13:15. Hebrews is probably therefore a written homily, to which the author gave an epistolary ending (Heb 13:22–25).”


    We disagree, Mr. Ringo. This “letter” is most certainly an example of typology. It was used to encourage converts to remain steadfast in their Christianized Jewish faith, one of the purposes of typology employed by even later (post-70 CE) Christian writers who also used this communications approach to attract Jews to the new faith.

    Typology used “back in the day” was/is no different than a political campaign manager telling a select audience today that Candidate X is the fulfillment of Ronald Reagan’s dream. Wikipedia, with respect to its use in theology, states, “Typology in Christian theology and Biblical exegesis is a doctrine or theory concerning the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament. Events, persons, or statements in the Old Testament are seen as types pre-figuring or superseded by antitypes, events or aspects of Christ or his revelation described in the New Testament.” Typology, whether in theology or politics, proves nothing in and of itself. It is used to appeal to a targeted audience to gain its support.

  • LOL!! Now THAT was funny, Bob! Your opponents have you wrong; you DO have a sense of humor! At any rate, your non-response would suggest that you’ve been bested; you cannot help but concede that you’ve heard the truth. I admire your desire to defend your belief system, but only to a point; certainly not at the expense of historical accuracy and plain truth. No one has to lie about the unsavory portions of your church’s history, Bob, and YOU KNOW THAT. Relating the established truth about Roman Catholicism doesn’t make anyone anti-catholic; the ongoing pedophile scandals are doing a good job of that, my friend…???

  • “From the late second century to the nineteenth, Pauline authorship of the three Pastoral Epistles went unchallenged. Since then, the attribution of these letters to Paul has been questioned. Most scholars are convinced that Paul could not have been responsible for the vocabulary and style, the concept of church organization, or the theological expressions found in these letters. A second group believes, on the basis of statistical evidence, that the vocabulary and style are Pauline, even if at first sight the contrary seems to be the case. They state that the concept of church organization in the letters is not as advanced as the questioners of Pauline authorship hold since the notion of hierarchical order in a religious community existed in Israel before the time of Christ, as evidenced in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Finally, this group sees affinities between the theological thought of the Pastorals and that of the unquestionably genuine letters of Paul. Other scholars, while conceding a degree of validity to the positions mentioned above, suggest that the apostle made use of a secretary who was responsible for the composition of the letters. A fourth group of scholars believes that these letters are the work of a compiler, that they are based on traditions about Paul in his later years, and that they include, in varying amounts, actual fragments of genuine Pauline correspondence.

    “If Paul is considered the more immediate author, the Pastorals are to be dated between the end of his first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:16) and his execution under Nero (A.D. 63–67); if they are regarded as only more remotely Pauline, their date may be as late as the early second century. In spite of these problems of authorship and dating, the Pastorals are illustrative of early Christian life and remain an important element of canonical scripture” ( ).

    It would appear that authorship is more complicated than you might otherwise wish.

    You write, “You can believe man, or you can believe God.” In fact, biblical scholars reject the idea that the Judeo-Christian scriptures were verbally/literally dictated by God to earthly transcribers. Muslims, on the other hand, regard the Holy Quran as the literal word of God.

  • “All Scripture is breathed out by God…”

    How do you interpret the phrase “breathed out by God”?

  • “With over a billion adherents and an exponential world-wide growth rate, it seems rather unlikely that it will ‘fade off into oblivion in less than 100 years’.”

    Perhaps just in the West.

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