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President Carter says he clashed with 'fundamentalist' Pope John Paul II

March 23, 2012

Former US President Jimmy Carter has disclosed that he had angry exchanges with Pope John Paul II about liberation theology and about the ordination of women.

The former president said that he complained to the Pontiff about the Church’s “perpetuation of the subservience of women” while Blessed John Paul II was visiting the US in 1978, and “there was more harshness when we turned to the subject of ‘liberation theology.” Carter said that he classified the Pope as a “fundamentalist,” placing him in that category along with Iran’s late Ayatollah Khomeini.

In the same interview Carter said that “it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies,” although he suggested—“maybe arbitrarily”—that churches should not be required by law to solemnize same-sex unions.

Carter made his remarks as he introduced a new edition of the Bible with his own study notes, helping readers to follow his understanding of the Scriptures.


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  • Posted by: - Mar. 24, 2012 9:26 AM ET USA

    The priggish arrogance of this man is breathtaking. Imagine lecturing the Pope on these subjects!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 23, 2012 11:23 PM ET USA

    I had mellowed on Jimmy Carter until I read this. Now I remember how little I cared for his opinions. Who made him an expert on the theology of the priesthood!

  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 23, 2012 10:29 PM ET USA

    They say that Jimmy Carter was self taught about religion. That relieves my alma mater, Georgia Tech, and the U.S. Navy from responsibility for a great number of his nutty comments.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Mar. 23, 2012 8:47 PM ET USA

    Jimmy Carter continues to astonish. He combines a vile personality, risible intelligence, and effrontery in such rich streams of quantity that words fail utterly. And, yes it is a Friday in Lent, but I'm not being uncharitable. Accurate. Only accurate.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 23, 2012 8:30 PM ET USA

    Mr. Carter, especially in his later years, has really shown himself to be a rather mean spirited, mad at the world, radical thinker, both politically and morally. He has already gone on record as blaming all of the political problems in the Middle East on the Jews and their intransiance, and now he equates Pope John Paul II with Ayatollah Khomeini from a religious and moral perspective. How sad and misguided.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Mar. 23, 2012 8:15 PM ET USA

    A man vs a boy. Not a fair match.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 23, 2012 6:57 PM ET USA

    From one of the worst presidents in US history. Who really cares what he has to say about anything, much less his ecclesial views?

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 23, 2012 6:30 PM ET USA

    A fine example of the saying "to try the patience of a saint." Pray for President Carter.

  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 23, 2012 6:23 PM ET USA

    What, Carter didn't know how the Church stood on a variety of subjects? It is as if Catholic doctrine hasn't remained the same for some time now. But to equate Pope John Paul II to Khomeini just shows how far anti-Catholicism has reared its ugly head.

  • Posted by: visions - Mar. 23, 2012 6:15 PM ET USA

    I really like to write something very uncharitable...........but it's a Friday evening in Lent.