Anti-Pope protesters, pilgrims face-off

2011-08-18 09:01

Madrid - Thousands of protesters angry over a visit by Pope Benedict XVI for a lavish youth festival took to Madrid's streets on Wednesday, to be confronted by Catholic pilgrims and riot police.

The protesters were separated by lines of riot police from the pilgrims who sang "hallelujah" and sat on the ground and prayed, but clashes broke out when the police arrested an anti-pope demonstrator who attacked them with a bottle.

Late on Wednesday the police dislodged the last protesters from the central Puerta del Sol square. Media said two policemen had been injured and six people arrested.

"God yes, Church no!" was one of the slogans chanted by the protesters as they marched across central Madrid on the eve of the 84-year-old pope's arrival in the Spanish capital for the rock-festival style World Youth Day celebrations.

More than 100 groups took part, uniting many causes, including those seeking a change in the Church's attitude to gay rights and those fighting for a clearer separation of Church and state.

But the outcry that has struck a chord with many - including some priests - is over the official €50.5m price tag, excluding the cost of police and security, of the Madrid celebrations.

High unemployment

The protest groups, some of which argue the real cost of the event to taxpayers is more than €100m, are joining under the slogan: "The pope's visit, not with my taxes."

Organisers say most of the cost will be covered by a registration fee from the assembled pilgrims, and the celebration will be a massive tourist boost for Spain.

But for many the celebrations are jarring at a time when the economy is faltering, the government is making painful cuts and the unemployment rate stands at 20.89%. For those under 25-years-old, the jobless figure is over 45%.

"We criticise this scandalous show at a time of such a terribly distressing economic situation, with entire families unemployed," said Evaristo Villar, of Redes Cristianos (Christian Networks).

"This ostentation is causing a lot of damage and distancing a lot of people" from the Church, he said.

Many of those in Spain's 15-M "indignant" movement - launched on May 15 against the management of the economic crisis - were also taking part in the protest.


One huge placard at the march displayed a picture of the pope next to that of Stephane Hessel, the writer who inspired the "indignant" movement, with the words "Clash of the Titans".

Another banner said: "We demand a real secular state, freedom of conscience is a right."

Among the protesters was one man dressed as the pope in a fake "Popemobile", a devil's head next to him.

Hundreds of pilgrims in the yellow WYD T-shirts and sunhats were gathered in the Puerta del Sol square when the marchers reached the site.

They sang "hallelujah" and shouted "Long Live the Pope" and "Benedicto" at the demonstrators, who responded with cries of "Nazis!" and "Paedophiles, watch out children!"

Some of the pilgrims knelt on the ground and prayed.

Call for protest ban

One of the protesters, Ignacio, aged 18, was bleeding from the nose.

"I was at the protest with my father, and one of the Catholics punched me in the face," he said.

One Roman Catholic group called Hazte Oir (Make Yourself Heard), called on the authorities to ban the protest march, with a petition describing it as "an expression of intolerance and religious hatred".

Spanish gays and lesbians say they will hold a separate protest "kiss-in" after the pope's arrival on Thursday, in protest against the Church's attitude to homosexuality.

For the August 16-21 Catholic celebrations, traffic is banned from much of central Madrid and a huge white stage has been erected for events in the emblematic Cibeles Square.

Huge speakers were blaring out pop music throughout the day as hundreds of thousands of faithful fans in floppy hats sweltered in the August heat.

Prayer vigil

The Roman Catholic Church has opened 200 white confessionals in the form of boat sails along the main thoroughfare through Madrid's Retiro Park.

The pope will hold a "Prayer Vigil" on Saturday evening at an airbase southwest of the capital, where the pilgrims will spend the night on an esplanade the size of 48 football pitches.

He will celebrate mass there on Sunday morning at a white altar almost 200m long in front of a wave-shaped stage and under a giant parasol "tree", made of interwoven golden rods.

A 24-year-old Mexican chemistry student accused of plotting a gas attack on protesters against the pope will appear in court ON Thursday, a legal official said. He was one of about 30 000 volunteers helping in the World Youth Day celebrations.

  • sganja - 2011-08-18 09:14

    Pope read the bible and if God don't need homosexual marriage then be it. You can't criticise the church for this....

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 09:19

      If only the Pope WOULD read the Bible instead of trying to re-write it...

      Theresa - 2011-08-18 10:16

      @Matt:-) one can tell where you've come from... with this kind of disrespect... How old are you? and married with children I believe! You should be trying to set good examples instead of provoking the situation!!

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 10:26

      @ Theresa - I don't disrespect Catholics at all. But I know my history and I don't keep quiet. I know about the content of the Catholic Bible stemming from Textus Vaticanus, I know about the Apocryhpa and why non-Catholics reject them, I know of the whole list of dogmatic changes made over the centuries, most of which are directly anti-Scripture. I can do the whole Catholic debate, but in the end, I can only ask one thing of Catholics - just please, READ the Bible. That's all you need to do. Don't let the Priest interpret it for you, don't read Catechisms instead, just the Bible. That's all. Examples of bad catechisms off the top of my head: * "we are little Gods" (no we're not!) * removal of the Commandment "thou shalt not make unto thee graven images (idol worship)" and splitting up the 10th Commandment in two to make up the numbers (Catholic Bible does have Exodus 20:4 correctly, but the Catechism hides it to avoid awkward questions) In addition, I'd recommend you watch the movie Luther (can't be too offensive, SABC3 showed it last year). Normally I'd never recommend movies, but this one accurately shows what happened and why.

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 10:30

      Thank you for stating that we should blame religion and not the church. You make a good argument.

      Theresa - 2011-08-18 10:49

      @Matt:-) what on earth gives you the idea that I (or anyone else for that matter..) do not 'read' my Bible...? Do you think that you are the only person who 'reads' your Bible...? I'd also like to know what 'version' you 'read' and question 'your' interpretation...? Fyi, I do not go to church for the 'priest'... I go to church for 'God'... and I have with respect made that known to at least 3 parish priests... I have a mind of my own and exercise it... without the need to be disrespectful to any one individual... regardless of colour or creed! and that is what I try to teach my children/grandchildren/godchildren... with the hope that just some day we can all live in a more acceptable world... Do you think this is wishful thinking...?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 10:50

      @ Theresa - so where do you think I came from... OK, so I turn 31 tomorrow, originally from England but grew up in Holland - in Holland I lived in an area that was borderline Protestant and Catholic, but mostly Catholic (traditionally in Holland, anything south of the Waal is Catholic and anything north is Protestant); and in an area that was mainly Protestant. Not that any of this mattered because I grew up atheist and hated both. But I got saved in SA when I was 24. Since then I've done a heck of a lot of study into Christianity, but also studied many other religions to know what they're about. So fear not, there's no blind hatred within me against any person. If I say anything that may upset the Pope, Catholicism, or anything for that matter, it's because I made the effort to know stuff :-)

      Nikelle - 2011-08-18 10:55

      @matt for a book to be in the Bible it is deemed to be inspired by God .There are 73 Books in the Catholic Bible(The original bible) and 66 in the other christian Bibles . The difference of 7 books are deemed by non-catholics as nice to read but not inspired by God . So befor you say that they(the Catholics) removed stuff from the bible make sure you know what you talking about . Also these people should be glad to pay for this becuase all the pilgrims are going to need accomidation , food not to mention other bits and pieces which all creat employment.Though it will be short live it is better then nothing and could bring more travelers in the future so in the long and short run it could be money well spent .

      zaatheist - 2011-08-18 11:03

      hee! Hee! All these sky daddy worshipers arguing about who worships the magic man in the sky correctly. Guys. He does not exist. Think about it for a moment, here is a deity who is all-powerful, all-knowing, etc., and what does he do? He complains that people aren’t worshiping him enough. Hell, he destroys whole cities of people and floods the entire world because humans weren’t “good enough” for him. People killed by God in Bible: 2,473,633 People killed by devil in Bible: 10

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:05

      @ Theresa - I'm glad you do! Usually the MO is to have believers NOT read the Bible. For centuries it was banned under punishment of death, then Luther kind of scuppered that one by having it translated into German :-) so nowadays many believers are referred to Catechisms if they want to read anything. And as much as I hope you don't experience this, normally if a Catholic goes to the Priest with a tough question, the answer boils down to "how dare you question my authority". And look, you're making this out to be a case of lacking respect of another's beliefs. Ad homonym doesn't make the issue go away. Twice have I said I have respect towards Catholics, and indeed towards anybody else. I do respect the right to believe whatever one wants. But this is not about "my disrespect" is it. I said something about the Pope, which based on history and facts is a valid thing to say, and you're upset that I even dared question the Pope. I have every right to criticise the Pope, for the Word of God says 1 thing and the RCC does many other things, most of which goes directly against that same Word. The Pope is NOT above God, nor God's Word. Anyway, I only read the KJV - again, after careful study. And, to the RCC's disgust no doubt, "sola scriptura". If the Word of God was too difficult for the average person to interpret as many believe, it wouldn't be the Word of God. Suggested instant reading: John 14:6 onwards 1 Timothy 3 + 4 (especially the beginning of each) Peace :-)

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:23

      @ ZAatheist - number of people murdered by atheist Stalin in 32 years: 40-60 million number of people murdered by atheist Mao Tse Tung in under 30 years: tens of millions Deaths at the hands of countries enforcing atheism via communism - Cuba, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, Kampuchea... start counting! And your point is? @ Nikelle - yes, I know about the omissions (Catholic Bible adds 7 books + 2 chapters). I also know about the references condoning witchcraft and suicide in them. They're interesting books (the extra 2 chapters in Daniel are very interesting) but definitely not Scriptural. And do you know about the other additions and removals in the Catholic Bible? Until the 16th Century at the very least, the Pope had full authority to change the Scripture.

      Theresa - 2011-08-18 11:35

      @Matt:-) ok noted with interest and respect.. You come across as a well read person with a mind of your own.. not gullible like (it seems) the average person out there… that's even more reason why young people like yourself should help with promoting good examples and values on sites such as this… it would do a lot more good than provoking any situation… especially when it comes to religion... Have noted your Bible refs. Good luck to you and your family.

      NuttyZA - 2011-08-18 11:37

      Matt.. I think ZA Atheists point is, that if there is a god and a satan, god would be the far more violent, vengeful and bloodthirsty of the 2, according to your bible! But yes, I am just going to sit this one out and watch you guys argue amongst yourselves... actually quite fun!!!

      Tooth Fairy - 2011-08-18 11:43

      Logic 101 according to Matt: Stalin was evil and liked bananas Barak Obama also likes bananas Conclusion: Barak Obama is evil (Copyright: Matt) Mao, Hitler, Stalin etc. were psychopaths - or close to it. So is the mass murderer Robert Mugabe - who happened to be a devout Catholic!!

      sganja - 2011-08-18 11:51

      @Matt :-) and Theresa I like that.... @zaatheist are you promoting satanism?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:57

      @ Tooth Fairy - Oh brother... OK, let's have a look. Jozef Stalin was a Georgian Orthodox (close to being Catholic) and went to an ecclesiastical school. Then he read The Origin Of Species and became atheist. From the early days of communist USSR, he BANNED religion. At the end of WW2, he "tolerated" it. Meanwhile, he had sent MILLIONS to Russian concentration camps ("Gulags" - read books by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn about this topic). And what of Mao? Well, guess what his favourite book was, which turned him atheist... during the Cultural Revolution (read: bloodbath), missionaries were being murdered at the rate of 15,000 a month. The message that was spread across China: "religion is poison". Hey, isn't that similar to what the News24 atheist commentators often say? One thing you need to realise if you ever decide to study ;-) ... An atheist does NOT have to be a Communist But, a Communist DOES have to be an Atheist (otherwise it fails from Day 1) And Tooth Fairy, what of all the other East-Bloc countries? what about Bulgaria, where secret police posed as pastors to discover who was religious, and then promptly arrested and executed just for believing in God? Where contact with foreigners was in secret, just in case the foreigner smuggled in a Bible? At the border posts they'd practically dismantle a tourist's car in case there was a Bible hidden in the panel... so I understand you are naïve, but "imagine there's no religion" has been done - the results were abominable!

      JMan - 2011-08-18 12:06

      Oh god not this again..who is right, who is wrong,who killed more my god is better than your god BS..blah blah blah blah blah blah..........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 12:07

      Thanks Theresa and good luck :-) Also consider Luke 16:20-onwards (if you know your dogma, you'll understand why I suggest this part); Luke 2:22-24 (it refers to Jewish tradition; for an explanation read Leviticus 5, especially 5:7) and simply ask the question "why did she do this" (again, know your dogma). Peace :-)

      Tooth Fairy - 2011-08-18 12:13

      Logic 202 according to Matt: Stalin read Darwin and also murdered people Bakak Obama read Darwin. Concusion: Barak Obama will become a murderer (Copyright: Matt) Mugabe never read Darwin and murdered people - therefore .... err....

      NuttyZA - 2011-08-18 12:15

      @Matt... what about the Spanish Inquisition !!!

      Moi1980 - 2011-08-18 13:04

      @Matt - I've had various discussions with you previously as regards Catholicism and though you are well read and educated, you tend to come across as condenscending. You have some very biased assumptions and generalisations of the Catholics and seem to believe that they are all factual. Let me just add that Bible Study, without a Priest being present, is very common in the Catholic community. Also, being 31, I went through many years of Catechism and I there were only ever 10 Commandments, which does include the not worshipping of idols. I am happy and at peace with my faith but I can also admit that there are facets of my faith with which I do not agree. However, I will never have that much arrogance to presume mine is the only right faith and spend my time finding faults with other faiths, which is what you seem to do.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 13:45

      @ NuttyZA - The Spanish Inquisition. One of the results of that is white people in SA... because that persecution included, for a large part, Christians following the Reformation. The Spanish controlled Holland till 1648 but were still there throughout the 17th Century and there was a drive in Europe to "reclaim" Catholicism which included murder of those who refused to convert back. They fled from Holland, Belgium and France and guess where they went :-) @ Moi - I don't look to offend or belittle; I'm for truth and against lies. If I'm wrong, I say so. I'm sorry to have used "Catechism" in this example, that's WRONG of me (Catechisms do contain plenty bad stuff - by a former nun just for 1 link of many). But Catholic literature has done unto the Commandments as I mentioned. Read a textbook used in Catholic schools called "Growing in Christian Morality" by Julia Ahlers, Barbara Allaire, and Carl Koch, page 40. It has both nihil obstat and imprimatur (official declarations that a book or pamphlet is free of Catholic doctrinal error). The authors of this book know these commandments are deceitful. Look at what they say: "...These are the Ten Commandments, from Exodus, chapter 20, in the traditional way they are enumerated by Catholics NOTE: They did NOT use what THEIR CATHOLIC BIBLE (THE NRSV) SAID, THEY RATHER "enumerated" them the TRADITIONAL WAY enumerated by Catholics." (and then list the "nine" Commandments").

      zaatheist - 2011-08-18 14:39

      @sganja Silly boy. How can I promote something that does not exist. Go and read your bibble and verify what a murderous fellow your god is. The mythical Satan is benign by comparison.

      Russel - 2011-08-18 15:15

      @Matt Part2 - A Christian should therefore have three pillars on which to ground his/her faith these being: - Conscience - Holy scripture - Church teaching These three should always be in agreement and when they are not then there is a problem. By simply throwing out Church Authority the Christian becomes a lot more vulnerable and this is very clearly evidenced in the number a factions within the Church these days and the number of other denominations and sub-denominations and factions within sub-denominations. I have multiple translations of the Bible and I have read them all. The fundamentals are sound in any translation approved by the Bible Society of which the Catholic Church is part. The specific translation used by an individual has far less to do with variances in faith then does the interpretation thereof. To close off I would urge you to consider the following: 1. Personal time with the Bible is a life giving necessity for any Christian but no individual Christian has infallible interpretation. 2. As a Catholic I can promise you that your understanding of the Catholic Church and what it stands for is deeply flawed. 3. Do what you can to seek Christian unity, not division. The fruits we bear are the only true indication of our faith. God Bless

  • 2WhiteStars - 2011-08-18 09:40

    You know the world is going mad when a staunchly Catholic country sees protests against its own religion. What they *should* be protesting against is the Islamic invasion of their country and their continent, not the Pope.

      Daemos1 - 2011-08-18 10:12

      Your ignorance is astounding islam has been in spain since the 8th century, you're a little late go join the templar knights

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 10:28

      @ Daemos1 - correct (they were called Mores back in the day), but Spain has always been majority Catholic.

      daaivark - 2011-08-18 10:36

      Actually "moors".... although the confusion IS amusing, as the word "mores" is usually used to refer to "moral standards".

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 10:52

      @ Daaivark - oops, the Dutch influence came out there... in NL we referred to "Moren" you see.

      Daemos1 - 2011-08-18 10:58

      Yeah but really, there is no "invasion" Islam is part of spain's history, I don't like it when idiots just regurgitate what someone else sais without thinking

      Hurricane5 - 2011-08-18 11:16

      Re Islam invasion. Apart from the fact that most Spaniards remained Catholic even when the Moors ruled the country, some people better read up on their history. Spain, like most of the Mediterranean countries, was Christian long before Muhamed started up his religion in Mecca. Then the Muslims fought and burnt and killed their way all across North Africa, until they invaded and occupied most of Spain from around 800 AD. It was only through a long and hard war that the (Catholic) Spaniards slowly won their country back until the whole of Spain became free of Islam's domination in the sixteenth century. So don't blame Christians for pointing out the dangers of a new Muslim invasion, albeit by immigration and stealth and cashing in on the stupidity of many Europeans.

      Majik - 2011-08-18 15:52

      100% correct Hurricane5. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Johnny - 2011-08-18 10:09

    the catholic church welcomes all people through their doors, even gays but that does not mean that they welcome gay marraiges or even acknowledge them, purly because it is a sin in the eyes of God. i have never seen a Catholic church chase anyone away

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 10:30

      Last time I visited a Catholic church, it was the large cathedral in Cologne. As the churchgoers were doing their thing, Bosnian refugees were breastfeeding by the doorstep - barred from entering.

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 10:32

      Yeah, they certainly didn't chase child-molesting priests away, they just shuffled them around.

  • CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 10:17

    Anyone with a functional human brain can think of at least one reason to protest against the Pope. It's good that the Catholic Church is made aware that it is not infallible or immune to criticism.

      zaatheist - 2011-08-18 11:05

      Sadly the Catholic Church is it has forgotten its fundamental mission: to protect the flock, not the shepherd.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:26

      @ Zaatheist - thumbs up! From me to you! Can you beleive it? There IS a God, lol

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 11:44

      Matt, Matt, Matt... your lol notwithstanding, you thumbs-upping zaatheist is, sadly, about as convincing as any other evidence of your God's existence. I.e. 0% convincing.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:59

      @ CapeTownJunk - oh but it's true - I even gave you one for the original comment. Even if someone makes terrible comments generally, credit where credit is due.

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 12:14

      Matt: Fair enough, I suppose my original point was that we would each have reasons to protest the Pope if he showed up in our home town. You often see that in religion-based arguments - the unlikeliest of bedfellows find themselves together when there's a common enemy to be opposed. (Just like all religions, despite their mutual incompatibility and enmity, put up a common front when science challenges them.)

      Russel - 2011-08-18 15:29

      @CapeTownJunk - The only clash between science and Christianity (this is the main clashing point) is that which is trumped up either by atheists attempting to use science as a tool to justify their particular world view or by religious people whose faith is not as strong as it should be and thus they feel threatened by scientific discovery. Faith and science can and do exist quite comfortably side by side.

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 15:56

      @Russel: Oh really? So you have no problem with the scientific consensus that the universe was formed by the Big Bang, and the diversity of life on earth is explained by evolution and natural selection, and that there is no evidence that any gods had anything to do with it? Faith and science do co-exist quite comfortably - on opposite sides of the fence, as sworn enemies.

  • Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 10:24

    If only these protests will become global and better organized, we might have a shot to put the Rat in the Hat on trial for crimes against humanity!

  • Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 10:35

    why do gays and lesbians always protest against church rules? if they don't like it, don't join it... The bible is clear on homosexuality, but for some reason they want the church to change along with the world. then it won't be the church of God. Each person make their own choices, and I don’t judge or condemn them for it, but why try to change the church to accommodate them?

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 10:41

      The church unfortunately shape public perception, especially in countries with a big catholic community. Thus, church policy does have bearing, even on non-members.

      Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 10:48

      good point Poaul. but should the church then change their principles to accommodate the world? don't get me wrong, i agree with matt on the catholic church. i myself had to leave a church(not the roman catholic) because i did not agree with it. i siomply found one that did agree. if the church changes according to the world standards, then the church will be in serious trouble. they need to stand string on their principles.

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 10:57

      They've done that for years. The church is always evolving, albeit slowly. What I advocate is the removal of religion in any and all public fora. If people buy into religion they should do so in their own time and not have any sway on anybody else, including their children, if it was up to me...

      Daemos1 - 2011-08-18 10:58

      If you feel persecuted, you protest

      Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 11:18

      @Deamos1 - my question remains. in what way do they feel persecuted? i might not understand this because i do not live in that country, but if they don't agree with the principles of the church, why do they want to join it? furthermore, if the don't agree with the principles of the bible, way join a church?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:27

      @ Paul - they did that already in East-Bloc Europe. Didn't go very well.

      daaivark - 2011-08-18 11:34

      Piet, to me it's simple really. I am participating in this debate although I am neither religious, nor gay. I am however, upset by intolerance. So my point: One's gender or sexual orientation is a very small part of one's make-up, so I think it is perfectly understandable for people to wish to adhere to a faith or religion for a host of reasons that have nothing to do with sexual orientation. And for those people to appeal to the people formulating the dogma regulating their faith to allow them acceptance is perfectly reasonable. Most people commenting here make all sorts of assumptions based on "interpretations" of their religious texts, which notably are generally already written by commentators AFTER the religious figures were around, or on texts dug up and just assumed to be scriptures, so it's all rather arbitrary. Gay people are no less "good people" or religious than the bigot who sticks blindly to some exclusive interpretation. Perhaps they are actually more "saintly" in their general demeanour or daily life than many of the speakers here, who are filled with so much hatred that their saviour would roll in his grave.

      Daemos1 - 2011-08-18 12:21

      @Piet, to my mind, People are born into religion and it is as much a part of them as their sexuality. So you have homosexual people who don't want to leave the church they grew up in, but cannot accept that their lifestyle is viewed as an 'abomination' So maybe they feel stuck between their faith and being true to themselves, who knows, it's a complex issue, but it's hard for people to leave their church for any reason.

      Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 12:33

      @Daemos1 - a very good argument, i believe that if someone really loves God then God will convince Him of the sin in his life. truth is, all of us have things present in our lifes that we know God won't approve of, we therefor cannot judge others. but i also udnerstand the church's side of it. if they keep chaning to accommodate the world, then there's no point to the church in the first place. very difficult subject. i believe both sides have a valid point.

      Messenger - 2011-08-18 13:00

      Daaivark "For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error." (Romans 1:26-27) So tell me, what is so difficult about interpreting these verses? Can they perhaps be explained in another way?

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 15:57

      @matt: I agree. Rather simply let Christianity and all other religions go extinct due to attrition and starvation, because as soon as you oppose religion, it thrives...

  • Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 10:35

    why do gays and lesbians always protest against church rules? if they don't like it, don't join it... The bible is clear on homosexuality, but for some reason they want the church to change along with the world. then it won't be the church of God. Each person make their own choices, and I don’t judge or condemn them for it, but why try to change the church to accommodate them?

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 10:59

      Homosexuality is natural. It has been recorded in over 200 species of animal. Homophobia, on the other hand, has only been recorded in one species: Homo sapiens. Gays and lesbians protest against religions that try to suppress their human rights and their quest to be treated as equal members of society. The church opposes homosexuals, therefore homosexuals should oppose the church.

      Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 11:12

      @CapeTownJunk - why do the church suppress it? they simply state what the bible says about it? if they are homosexual, are they in any way affected by it outside the church? The church condemns sin, they have to. but not the sinner. why join a church thats if you are against its rules?

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 11:47

      Piet, it's not about joining a church. It's about opposing what that church stands for. In many nations, the dominant religion exerts great influence over the government. A government is representative of all of that nation's citizens. A religion is not. This protest, and others like it, are to tell the church not to meddle in affairs which are none of its business, and over which it has no authority or jurisdiction.

      Tooth Fairy - 2011-08-18 11:58

      100% Correct Pietman, the Bible is also clear about murdering your naughty children, and murdering people like me who do not want to listen to a priest. You want to assert that as well Piet? Not? Selective application Piet? Sies! “Sophisticated” theologians who urge a non-literal reading of the Bible always put themselves in a bind. And it is this: if the Bible is not to be read as a literal account of the truth, then how do we know which parts really are true, and which parts are fiction or metaphor? Nobody has ever found a convincing way to winnow the true from the metaphorical, and so it becomes an exercise in cherry-picking” – Jerry Coyne. Theology is a highly developed form of rationalizing preordained conclusions, not a way of finding out answers” – Jerry Coyne

      Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 12:25

      @CapeTownJunk - that makes sense. i suppose nobody likes being told what to do or believe, some of the comments made in this blog are also insulting towards believers. i don't have a problem with homosexuality. i don't think the bible allows it, but that does not mean that i judge and condemn anyone who practises it. the bible also does not allow rage foe example, but we still get angry... @Tooth Fairy - you simply can not take a couple of versus out of a book and mis qoute it by saing that it's fine to kill people. yes, the stuff you mentioned did happen, but if you do more investigation you will discover the reasons. There is not a single church that will allow murdering of people, even if they are evil. yes, the RCC have done really bad stuff throughout history, but this is the acts of single persons, not the church as a whole. you have crasy people in every part of society, this includes the church. to condemn all based on the actions of a few is crazy.

      Tooth Fairy - 2011-08-18 12:46

      Ahhh, thank Pietman So you have decided that the homo part of your fairy tale is true, valid and should be adhered to. The parts that I mentioned should be rejected, are invalid, not applicable, outdated, cr@p, "should be more investigated", etc? I distrust those people who know so well what God wants us to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. – Susan B. Anthony "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" (W.F. Trotter)

      Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 13:02

      @tooth fairy - yes, after investigation i have reached a conclusion about God and what kind of a God He truly is. but that is my interpretation of the bible and i cannot say that its correct or not. However my experience of God confirms this do you honestly think that i just blindly accepted my faith without doing some investigation, and being involved in discussions such as this are not still investigating and making up my mind about it? i ask the same questions you do about stuff like the tsunami's and other disasters(natural or inforced by humans) but my conslusion of it is different than yours. I also read the versus you mentioned, but my conclusion is different. I’m not uninformed about it, I simply formed my own opinion of it, just like you have

  • Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 10:39

    Just to share a light-hearted joke from Northern Ireland (and no, I'm not Irish): Ian Paisley (Protestant guy) was at the edge of a river and had to get across with his pal. But the river was infested with crocodiles. So his pal said "Ian, what do we do?" So Ian Paisley put in a T-shirt with a slogan "I love the Pope". His pal asked why, and he responded "nobody will swallow that"

  • Stan - 2011-08-18 11:05

    AS for me this Pope thing still don't make no sense... What is he a Pastor, a god, an idol???? Do Catholics use a normal bible???

      daaivark - 2011-08-18 11:37

      Wow, do you have a lot to learn. Best not learn from the fanatics on here though.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:40

      @ Stan - quick links for reference: To try to explain though: * Bible: They have the Catholic Bible. This comes from the Latin Vulgate, aka Textus Vaticanus. As for Christians, the KJV comes from Textus Receptus and the "new translations" from Textus Sinaiticus. The Christian Bible has 66 books; the Catholic Bible adds 7 books + 2 chapters to the Old Testament; the additional books are called Apocrypha. But Catholics, in addidion to the Catholic Bible, also get official literature from their church called Catechisms, which often violate Scripture and go dangerously near "cult" status as many followers stick to Catechism rather than the Bible. * Pope: Catholics consider him to be the "Vicar of Christ" (not me, I'm not Catholic), or, the closest thing on earth to God Himself. (even though God doesn't appoint anyone; the clergy in the Vatican decides who God appoints, which says it all) Many Catholics have photos of him in their houses and while I don't THINK they worship the Pope, I have known Catholics to PRAY to dead Popes (which is violently anti-Christian, John 14:6). If you have more questions, I've studied Catholicism (and other related topics) in-depth so PM me on and I'll make contact from there :-)

      Jason - 2011-08-18 12:09

      Dear Matt:-) You are very vocal on something you are actually ignorant of. Let me explain, if you read about Christian history from an anti-catholic protestant author, you will get the anti-catholic perspective. Hence the whole Catholics don't read the Bible rubbish you've spouted. We do read our Bible. Maybe even more than you do. I'd suggest you start also reading Catholic authors and neutral historians to get a better balanced view of the history of Christianity. Which up until the 11th Century was only Catholic. A lot of what you believe as a Protestant/non-Catholic are modern inventions post 16th Century. Here's a thought. What you choose is what you are inherently biased towards. Obviously this goes for everyone including me. So I challenge you to read Catholic or neutral historians, you may be surprised. The Pope does not have the authority to alter the bible. It is Luther who changed the Bible. Not Catholics who added books. Read Jewish history of the Old testament. Specifically the difference between the Hebrew and Greek versions of the Old Testament. You will see that the early Christians picked the Greek version. And Luther and his followers picked the Hebrew version. The issue is so much older than Catholic/Protestant. Go read history, you are actually ill informed. Also did you know that Luther wanted to remove the book of James from the Bible because it didn't line up with his personal Doctrine (verifiable history). continue...

      Jason - 2011-08-18 12:12

      The quick-links you have supplied are from a anti-catholic authors, they are therefore going to distort the truth or simply lie. Please, please stop with your anti-catholic bigotry and go read some facts. "There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be." — Fulton J. Sheen

      Jason - 2011-08-18 12:37

      @Stan The Catholic understanding of the Pope is: * the Pope is the Bishop of Rome. * the first Bishop of Rome was St. Peter. * St. Peter was made the head of the church by Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18) * therefore all Bishops of Rome inherit the title and responsibility of St. Peter. * the Pope is the servant of the servants of the people of God. i.e. he is supposed to serve the other bishops and priests who in turn are supposed to serve the laity (ordinary people) * the Pope is not to be worship, and Catholics don't. He is to be respected, like one would respect your elders or people in authority, heads of state, kings queens etc. Other than that he is an ordinary guy who works for the good of the Church and the people of God. And on the issue of the Bible the Catholic Bible is the original the protestant Bible is the different one. A point of interest, the Catholic New Testament and the Protestant New Testament are identical, only the Old Testament differs. Read up on the Jewish sriptures (Greek vs Hebrew). The term Catholic comes from the Greek word "Kataholos" which means universal, and was used by the early Christians from around the 2nd century. Peace

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 12:40

      @ Jason - Martin Luther started off the Reformation, but also had his issues - like continuing to worship Mary. But the bit about the Greek/Jewish OT... the English translation of the Bible comes from Hebrew, which you agree is better. So then, what about the Latin Vulgate which would be younger than the 64,000 manuscripts used for Textus Receptus... Anyway, you are not saying where I erred in the above. Trash the links if you wish, but you haven't said where I went wrong. Why? Because you KNOW I am right about certain Catholics praying to Popes (including a well-documented case in the media a few months back). You KNOW the Pope is referred to as the "Vicar of Christ". You KNOW that whatever the Pope says must be believed by good Catholics. About 75% of Catholic dogma is directly Pagan, often directly violating the Bible. For example, if you adhere to the Assumption of Mary, that was only a required belief as from 1950, as per Pope Pius XI. As from 1870, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Papal Infallibility. Indeed, the Pope DOES have authority to change Catholic beliefs AND Scripture. I could give Catholic links, but why... for example, Catholic scholars claim that "brothers" in Mark 6:3 "actually" means "cousins" (despite "cousins" appearing later in the Scripture). Why? Because this would disprove the "perpetual virgin" dogma. And... care to share the "Peter/Rock" lie that the Pope repeatedly states? Was Peter even ever in Rome, let alone its bishop?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 12:59

      About the Peter/Rock/Pope lie which I touched on. The RCC claims that THEY are the only true church, because Peter was the first Bishop of Rome (Pope) and as proof, Matthew 16:18 when Jesus referred to Peter as the rock upon which the church shall be built... 1) Reading around the verse, it's very clear Jesus was referring to Peter's attitude/answers. 2) Shortly after, Jesus called Peter "Satan". Church of Satan? 3) There is no proof, Biblical of Historical, that Peter ever WAS in Rome, let alone was its Bishop for 25 years. 4) The RCC was only founded +/- 310AD. Jesus died +/- 30AD. Do the math. 5) Clement, 3rd bishop of Rome, remarks that "there is no real 1st century evidence that Peter ever was in Rome." 6) Thniking about this; how would Rome have a Bishop during a time where Christianity was banned? About the title "Pope": The title of Pope (universal bishop) was first given to the Bishop of Rome by the wicked emperor Phocas in 610AD. This he did to spite Bishop Ciriacus of Constantinople, who had justly excommunicated him for his having caused the assassination of his predecessor emperor Mauritius. Gregory 1, then bishop of Rome, refused the title, but his successor, Boniface III, first assumed title "pope." Jesus did not appoint Peter to the headship of the apostles and forbade any such notion. (Luke 22:24-26; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1st Corinthians 3:11). Just saying.

  • garry.otton - 2011-08-18 11:19

    Here in Scotland protesters were censored and silenced. Overseas aid funds were plundered to meet the costs and the Catholic portion was turned into an interest-free loan. This is a shambles of an organisation. There is the gun-running, the financial wheeling and dealing, the laundering of illegal funds and the Magdalene laundries of incarcerated women; the denial of rights to women and people of a non-heterosexual orientation; the concordats with South American dictators; the deals with the Mafia and the administration of the Nazi rat-runs. After the war, twenty Catholic agencies helped spirit away the likes of the commander of Treblinka, Franz Strangl who murdered 900,000 people; deputy commander of Sobibor, Gustav Wagner who murdered 250,000 Jews and Adolf Eichmann amongst many, many others. Then there are the endless cases of sexual, physical and mental torture it put children through before the Vatican tried to cover it up, often blackmailing its victims into silence or moving priests to different areas where they could go on abusing even more kids. ARREST ROMAN CATHOLIC CLERIC, HERR RATZINGER!!! The UK is in solidarity with the Madrid protesters!

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:45

      Interesting fact: At the Council of Trent, it was declared as official policy that if a Catholic murders a Protestant, it is not considered a sin and should not be punished as one. Guess what... the law was never repealed, so it's still in effect today! And while we definitely shouldn't fear when walking past the local monastery, it DOES still happen sporadically. Last case I'm aware of was about 10 years ago in Peru and Chile. There is also a suggestion about Pope JP2 selling lethal chemicals (Xyklon B I think) during WW2, joining the RCC to avoid prosecution and ending up as the Pope, but I can't (and therefore won't) confirm if that's even true - just something worth looking up...

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 11:46

      Oh, and have a look at the Vatican's 1947 eulogy of Adolf Hitler :-O

      Jason - 2011-08-18 13:27

      A brief look at Wikipedia shows that the incidence of child molestation in the USA is between 2% to 9% of the general population. The studies of Priests who are Child molesters are about 2% to 6% of the Priest population. To over exaggerate the issue is disingenuous. The reality is that it is tragic, evil, a sin and should never have happened. As a Catholic I am ashamed of the way in which the Catholic Church has reacted and responded to the problem. It should have been harsher and quicker to respond to protect the children. And certain Bishops should never have tried to cover it up. Currently in SA the Catholic church has very strict protocols to deal with this issue and a priest who is suspect is handed over to the police for investigation. About your other allegations... The ratlines... very interesting but I'm not sure what you are trying to prove? There are 1.2 Billion Catholics in the world, some of them are going to be saints but most of us are sinners. Get over it.

  • Bafana Radebe - 2011-08-18 11:40

    @Nikelle re: "There are 73 Books in the Catholic Bible(The original bible) and 66 in the other christian Bibles . The difference of 7 books are deemed by non-catholics as nice to read but not inspired by God . So befor you say that they(the Catholics) removed stuff from the bible make sure you know what you talking about " They might have added 7 chapters but they are ignoring what's already in the Bible .. Like Keeping the Sabbath holy ...they changed this law to their preferred day (Sunday) ....Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this boo

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 12:02

      @ Bafana - I don't like quoting websites, but check this one out, it backs you up 100% and is scary...

      Tooth Fairy - 2011-08-18 12:18

      ummm... There is a certain Matt who cracks up eveytime I quote.. Careful of him..

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 12:42

      @ Tooth Fairy - don't take too much credit bud - most of the time I remain in 2nd gear ;-)

  • JMan - 2011-08-18 12:04

    €50.5m for ONE visit???????? I could think of 400 000 'things' where it would be better spent in Somalia! Bunch of Hypocrites! Sies.

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 13:12

      Actually, the main focus of the Spanish protests is that taxpayers' money is being forked out for this visit. So this is very much about the cost.

  • Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 12:52

    @zaatheist - do you know that it is really really offensive and insulting towards us to call us 'sky daddy worshippers'? are you unaware of this or is that your intention?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 13:04

      @ Piet - a few weeks back, there was an article about a man who was kidnapped, murdered and thrown in the river. The man was a pastor. Certain atheist regulars, including ZAAtheist, used the opportunity to insult Christianity as much as they could. That's the kind of person we're dealing with here, just so you know.

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 13:11

      But sky daddy means pretty much the same as heavenly father. Maybe zaatheist just wants to minimise keyboard wear and tear.

      cerveza - 2011-08-18 13:27

      @Matt - just like you took the opportunity to state homosexually is wrong on articles about people being murdered for being homosexual. Seems you and zaathiest have much in common, maybe different sides off the religious line, but the same style of forcing their view on others just because you think you know better, and therefor should tell everyone what is better for them and everyone who disagrees must be ridiculed

      Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 13:38

      @Matt - the weerd thing is that these people will never speak out in discussions face to face. however they feel the need to insult at every possible oportunity and try to convince us we are brainwashed. @cerveza - we are not saying that gay people deserve to die. we are saying that the bible which we believe in says that its wrong, a sin, like any other.

      cerveza - 2011-08-18 14:00

      @Piet - I am not saying you think guy people should die, I am pointing out that Matt and Zaathiest are very similar in the opportunistic way they want to get their viewpoint across, both not caring where and how they do it. Except from where they stand on a topic they are the same "kind of person" As for your opinion on gays, I am sure telling gay people that they are sinners hurts them more than saying 'sky daddy worshippers' hurts you. Both sides have individuals that takes joy in telling the other side that they are wrong and are trying to inspire more to believe their side and in doing so they promote hate and in the end violence and murder but will claim innocent because they did not commit the anti-religion, anti-gay anti-what-ever deed themselves. Rather focus on the parts of the Bible that tells you to help the poor and love your enemy and make the world the better place and not state what you regard as a sin

  • Holdout - 2011-08-18 13:14

    did Martin L not revert back to Catholicism???

      CapeTownJunk - 2011-08-18 13:15

      Does it matter?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-18 13:48

      @ Holdout - never heard of that, although he did worship Mary till the end.

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 15:47

      That's like asking if he preferred Coke or Pepsi, he still had rotten teeth.

  • Holdout - 2011-08-18 13:24

    did Luther not revert back to Catholicism????

  • Piet Lombaard - 2011-08-18 13:34

    @Moi1980 – but don’t you find the stuff Matt mentions worying? I’m really not against catholics. I think some of the nicest people I know are part of the catholic church. But the RCC seems to change scripture to fit their needs. I’ve seen this on so many occasions. It’s also very concerning the way they pray to maria, etc. how can you read the bible and still do those things? Please, I’m not judging or anything, I’m trying to understand.

      cerveza - 2011-08-18 14:12

      @Piet - religion, including Christianity is very complicated. Christians have tortured and murdered each other about if The Holy Trinity is all equal or if the have levels of authority. People have always interpreted things differently and have had different traditions influencing them, many things that people do every day is anti-Bible, people just don't realise it or just see it in a way that allows them to do what they want or what they are used to Do not read Matt's anti-RCC rhetoric, he just uses them as a scapegoat to blame all autocracies that was committed in the name of Jesus on them instead of realising that people through history have used all religions and even anti-religion movements to manipulate people to commit horrors onto other people. It does not make one religious group better or worse, but it exposes most of them as an easy tool to force individual views on groups

      Moi1980 - 2011-08-18 14:15

      Not at all. The thing is, if I were to spend a morning on google, I can promise you that I would find plenty of articles/stories which label other faiths as pagan,satanistic etc... Everyone can interpret what they read in their own way. Give 10 people the same exctract from scripture and the chances are the you will get 10 different explanation for what was read. When we "pray" to Mary, it's actually asking her to help The Lord in looking after us and to intercede on our behalf and ask Him for mercy. Same as a child will go to his mother and ask her to ask/convince the father to borrow the child the car etc... We don't worship her, we respect and honour her, the same as we do our earthly mothers.

      Elle - 2011-08-18 14:18

      @Piet, at least you're asking. We do not pray to Mary. We honour her as the mother of Christ - she must be a very special woman to be chosen by God as she was, don't you think. Just like the average person goes to their mother for help, we ask her to pray FOR us. We don't pray TO her. It's more concerning how other Christians dishonour her

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 15:53

      Mary, Jesus, no difference in the outcome mate... That's like the story about George Bush saying he has a direct line to God. People loved him for this. Would they have felt the same if he said he has a direct line to God via his hairdryer? Is there really a difference between the statements?

  • Luapolku - 2011-08-18 13:45

    When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion, 2. And the earth throws up her burdens (from within), 3. And man cries (distressed): 'What is the matter with her?'- 4. On that Day will she declare her tidings: 5. For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration. 6. On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done). 7. Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! 8. And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it. (Quran)

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 15:46

      Nice quote, but is it relevant in any way?

  • Elle - 2011-08-18 14:15

    Firstly, the descriptions of the WYD celebrations are slightly offensive, including "lavish youth festival" and "rock festival-style WYD." This is a celebration of the youth in the Church and a chance for us to engage with the Pope on issues close to our hearts, not a frivolous festival. Secondly, if thousands of foreign pilgrims, essentially tourists, are staying in local accommodations, buying food from local shops and vendors in Madrid, how can the locals have a problem with the economic impact on the city?? If anything, they've done a disservice to its future tourism potential. The Church has specific beliefs for a reason and those who publically cause havoc over them have often not done their research, asked Catholics about their beliefs and may be wilfully ignorant. Freedom of speech is all good and well, but what about religious freedom? An excerpt from Madrid's Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela's homily delivered at the opening Mass of the WYD: "Since that first convocation of World Youth Day 1985 in Rome all the way to World Youth Day Madrid, a beautiful story of faith, hope and love has been unfolding for three generations of young Catholics and non- Catholics who have seen how their lives are transformed in Christ and how countless vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, Christian marriage and apostolate have emerged from them"

  • Russel - 2011-08-18 15:14

    @Matt Part 1 – Picking up where we left off yesterday there is a great deal of misunderstanding demonstrated in your posts. Let’s address a few fundamentals here. 1. Prior to around the year 400 the Bible didn’t exist in the form in which we now know it. The Bible was assembled by the Church over a period of time under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 2. Christ Jesus gave the Church the commission to do this when he established the Church and appointed Peter to lead it. Evidence that the Church has authority to teach is plain in Acts 15 where the matter of adherence to the Jewish law is addressed. 3. Jesus gave his assurance that the Church would stand against all attacks. The problem with anyone relying solely on their own interpretation of the Bible is that we are each fallible in our own capacity and we tend to focus only on what agrees with our own particular bias. There is actual scientific evidence for this. This is why Jesus established a Church as a community and didn’t send the Apostles off each on their own. To Part 2

      Poaul Zwarts - 2011-08-18 15:45

      Please prove points 2 and 3.

  • Russel - 2011-08-18 15:21

    @Matt Part2 - A Christian should therefore have three pillars on which to ground his/her faith these being: - Conscience - Holy scripture - Church teaching These three should always be in agreement and when they are not then there is a problem. By simply throwing out Church Authority the Christian becomes a lot more vulnerable and this is very clearly evidenced in the number a factions within the Church these days and the number of other denominations and sub-denominations and factions within sub-denominations. I have multiple translations of the Bible and I have read them all. The fundamentals are sound in any translation approved by the Bible Society of which the Catholic Church is part. The specific translation used by an individual has far less to do with variances in faith then does the interpretation thereof. To close off I would urge you to consider the following: 1. Personal time with the Bible is a life giving necessity for any Christian but no individual Christian has infallible interpretation. 2. As a Catholic I can promise you that your understanding of the Catholic Church and what it stands for is deeply flawed. 3. Do what you can to seek Christian unity, not division. The fruits we bear are the only true indication of our faith. God Bless

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