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May 12th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Why taken Catholic Church so long to acknowledge role in child sex abuse?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The pope is finally admitting that the Catholic Church itself is to blame for the worldwide child sex abuse scandal. It took long enough.
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Pope Benedict XVI calls the crisis "truly terrifying" and suggests "the greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church."

Benedict also stresses that quote "forgiveness is not a substitute for justice."

It's refreshing to finally hear the pope talk about this growing crisis head-on. For weeks, as accusations piled up, we've heard other Catholic officials blame anyone but the pedophile priests and officials who covered it all up.

They blamed the media, they blamed homosexuality, and they described the whole affair as "petty gossip."

But thanks in part perhaps to the relentless reporting of the scope of the scandal worldwide by the media, the pope is now talking; and he will likely be controlling the message from here on out.

Hopefully this is a sign that the pope, who's been criticized for not taking enough actions against allegations of abuse, understands how deeply this crisis has affected the Catholic Church. But so far it's just all talk.

Victims groups want more than talk… and rightfully so.

Here’s my question to you: Why has it taken the Catholic Church so long to acknowledge its role in the sexual abuse of children by priests?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Catholic Church • Children • Pope Benedict • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion
March 25th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

In light of the pope's role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again. Time now for another chapter in the tawdry tale titled: The Pope and the Pedophile Priests.
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The New York Times reports that top Vatican officials - including the future Pope Benedict XVI - refused to defrock a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.

Deaf boys? Doesn't get much sicker than that. This is despite the fact that several American bishops repeatedly warned the Vatican about this creep.

Church files show that although officials disagreed about whether the priest should be dismissed, their top priority was protecting the church from scandal. Of course.

This Wisconsin priest - the Rev. Lawrence Murphy - was never tried or disciplined by the church. He also got a pass from police and the criminal justice system. We all know the story by now... Instead he was "quietly moved" to a different diocese where he spent the last 24 years of his life freely working… ready? With children! He died in 1998... still a priest.

The Vatican calls this case "tragic" and says part of the reason the priest was never defrocked was his poor health and lack of more recent accusations.

Meanwhile this comes on the heels of a sex abuse scandal spreading across Europe - From the pope's native Germany to Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands.

There are other accusations against Pope Benedict that he didn't alert authorities or discipline priests who were sexually abusing children, when he was both an Archbishop in Germany and the Vatican's top doctrinal enforcer.

Critics say it's time for the pope to resign. But that's only happened a handful of times throughout history - and not for 600 years - so don't hold your breath.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the pope’s role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Pope Benedict • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion • Scandals
December 15th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Republicans more likely to be 'highly religious' than Democrats

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More proof that religion and politics are deeply connected in the U.S. - especially if you're a Republican.

A new Gallup poll shows the religious intensity of Americans is a strong predictor of whether they're Democrat or Republican. In a survey of nearly 30,000 people:

49 percent of Americans who call themselves Republicans say they're "highly religious"... meaning they go to church at least once a week and say religion is important in their daily lives. That's compared to 37 percent of Democrats who feel that way.

At the other extreme - only 26 percent of Republicans say they're "not religious" - meaning they never attend church and say religion isn't important... That's compared to 56 percent of Democrats.

When it comes to race - the poll shows that African-Americans are strongly Democratic - regardless of how religious they are. Also, Latinos skew more toward the Democratic party.

However, the religious connection is strongest among whites. Consider this: Whites who are highly religious are more than twice as likely to identify as Republicans rather than Democrats... and - exactly the opposite pattern emerges among whites who are not religious - by a 2-to-1 margin they are likely Democrats.

In all - about half of the white population in this country is both highly religious and leans toward the Republican Party.

With numbers like these - it's no wonder we hear Republican politicians invoking God and morality more often than the Democrats.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that Republicans are more likely to be "highly religious" than Democrats?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Democrats • Religion • Republicans
November 23rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Catholic Church denying communion to politicians who support abortion?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Catholic Church wants Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy to stop taking communion - due to his support of abortion rights.

The bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, says he told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" to keep receiving the Catholic sacrament.

That request is suddenly in the spotlight as the Church gets more involved in the health care debate, particularly regarding the issue of abortion. Kennedy - the nephew of this nation's only Catholic president, John F. Kennedy - revealed the bishop's request to a newspaper over the weekend.

Just last month - Kennedy had criticized the bishops for threatening to oppose the overall health care bill if it didn't include abortion restrictions. The Church called Kennedy's position "unacceptable" and "scandalous."

Rep. Kennedy is not the first Catholic politician to want it both ways. In 1984, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro came under attack from the church for not backing its position on abortion.

Kennedy's father - the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy - along with former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo - both Catholics - were also forced to defend their support of abortion rights.

At 30 percent, Catholics are the largest single religious group in Congress. Look for the Church to keep up the lobbying pressure on these lawmakers. When it comes to the health care bill - that could include not only abortion, but issues like immigrant rights and stem cell research.

Here’s my question to you: Should the Catholic Church deny communion to public figures who support abortion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?
FULL POST


Filed under: Abortion • Religion
May 7th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Does it matter if president publicly observes Prayer Day?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama broke with yet another Bush White House tradition today by not holding a public ceremony to recognize the National Day of Prayer. During the Bush administration, the White House hosted an interfaith service in the East Room every year - inviting Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders.

Bush's father, along with President Reagan, also marked the day with a White House ceremony. But this White House says: "Prayer is something that the president does everyday," adding that Mr. Obama would sign a proclamation to recognize the day.

They wouldn't comment on whether Bush's ceremonies were politicized, but said that President Obama "understands, in his own life and in his family's life, the role that prayer plays."

Meanwhile both Christian conservatives and atheists are criticizing the president's decision. The National Day of Prayer Task Force says it's disappointed in the toned-down observance: "At this time in our country's history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer."

A group called American Atheists wishes the president would take it one step further and ignore the day altogether. They say it's not the president's job to tell people to pray; and the separation of church and state should mean just that.

Here’s my question to you: How much does it matter whether the president publicly observes the National Day of Prayer?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President Barack Obama • Religion
May 1st, 2009
04:40 PM ET

Why are frequent churchgoers more likely to support torture?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the debate about torture rages on in Washington - with calls for investigations of the Bush administration - here's a perhaps surprising nugget about how Americans view torture of suspected terrorists.

Turns out the more often people go to church, the more likely they are to support torture - that's according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The poll finds that of more than half of Americans who attend church services at least once a week, 54 percent say the use of torture is often or sometimes justified.

Only 42 percent of people who seldom or never go to church agree...

Evangelical Protestants are the religious group most likely to agree; while people unaffiliated with any religious group are least likely to support torture.

Of course evangelicals were a major voting bloc courted by President Bush both times he ran for office; and former Bush officials continue to speak out now about how the harsh techniques yielded critical information that helped keep this country safe. But it's ironic that the faithful are more supportive of torture, isn't it?

Overall, Pew found 49 percent of Americans say torture is at least "sometimes" justified; while 47 percent say it rarely or never is. Republicans are more likely to support the actions than Democrats; while a majority of Independents believe that torture is sometimes justified.

Here’s my question to you: Why is it that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture of suspected terrorists?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion
March 10th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

More Americans say they have no religion

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More Americans are saying they have no religion - according to a wide ranging study done by Trinity College.

The survey shows 15 percent of those polled say they have no religion; that's up from about eight percent in 1990. Northern New England and the Pacific Northwest are the least religious regions. And the number of Americans with no religion rose in every single state.

Organized religion seems to be playing a smaller role in many people's lives. 30 percent of married couples say they didn't have a religious wedding ceremony, and 27 percent say they don't want a religious funeral.

Nonetheless almost 70 percent of those surveyed say they believe there is a God; and another 12 percent say they believe in a higher power but not the God of traditional organized religions.

Some suggest that the rise in evangelical Christianity is actually contributing to the rejection of religion by other Americans. The survey shows about one in three are evangelicals. The number of evangelicals is actually increasing while the number of Christians overall is declining.

Other findings include:

- The percentage of Catholics in the U.S. has remained steady since 1990.

- The percentage of Muslims has doubled since then but remains statistically very small.

- Mormons have remained steady as a percentage of the population.

- Finally, the number of Jews is falling if the category includes only those who define themselves as religious Jews.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when more Americans say they have no religion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion
June 24th, 2008
05:40 PM ET

Do you believe in miracles?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans have got religion... at least according to a new poll.

The Pew survey of more than 35,000 people found that 92% of those surveyed believe in God or a universal spirit and more than half pray at least once a day.

It turns out we Americans are a tolerant bunch, at least when it comes to religion. Although a majority of those polled say religion is very important to them, nearly three-quarters believe that many faiths besides their own can lead to salvation. Also, most think there's more than one way to interpret the teachings of their religion.

Experts say this seems to go against the theory that the more religious people are, the more intolerant they are. They add that tolerance might come from the great diversity of the U-S.

The report also found that across many faiths, those who pray more often are also more politically conservative. For many of these people, the fight against abortion and gay rights remain key issues. Findings show that the South is by far the most religious part of the country... and the Northeast is the most secular.

It also found that almost 80% of Americans believe in miracles, 74% believe in heaven and most believe in angels and demons, too. Only 59% believe in hell.

Here’s my question to you: Do you believe in miracles?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion
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