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Thursday, July 21, 2005



So true, Carl.

I can't remember hearing a single homily at my local church that mentioned the words "mortal sin" or "Hell" or the need for confession (other than a wishy-washy inclusion while mentioning the sacraments in passing). Instead, we hear about the need to live out Christ's Love -- with no mention of what that means or how to do it or what to avoid. Would anyone else agree that we need to hear a lot more of the fire-and-brimstone approach and less of the let's-hold-hands-and-be-happy blather?

EWTN seems to be the only place where I can get consistently good homilies.



Christianity without Christ? Without the Cross? It's good and helpful to note what Osteen's preaching lacks but also it would be helpful to see why people are responding to Osteen's message.

Obviously Joel Osteen appeals to many. Many people are looking for the affirmation and confidence that they did not get from their parents because of divorce and parental neglect and so forth. Our culture depersonalizes people as commodities rather than unique individuals in so many ways.

God created us good and in His image and likeness. Beyond our sins and failings God affirms us as good. People respond to this message. Mercy, grace and repentance, and so forth are also needed along with the affirmation that "God did not create junk." Some learn this in 2nd grade CCD class or in Catholic school or at home when they are young, others learn this at a Evangelical MegaChurch when they are well into adulthood.

fr richard

"Osteen is a talented motivational speaker who happens to have started out as a pastor but was never comfortable with the more demanding elements of Christian faith, theology, and practice."

Well, his mama bragged at the dedication of the arena-church that "he never even went to seminary or studied theology."

Who'd a thunk it?

fr richard

Okay, so second post, but I gotta let it out.

His "stories" are sometimes so fantastic and unbelievable that I question where the line is drawn between exaggeration and falsehood.

I remember one story about him coming home at an unexpected time, and he was locked out when he got there. He knocks and knocks and nobody answers. Joel goes on and on about all kinds of details. Finally when gets in through the back door, there is his wife "with another man!" (Some repair guy that had been called.) The story was about how much he trusted his wife.

Oh, they were hooting and howling in the seats all the way through.

But when the camera panned over to his wife, twice, the look on her face said, "What in world are you talking about? I don't have a clue!" And she wasn't laughing. Just a little fixed smile as you could see the memory wheels in her brain turning to try and recall when this happened.

And all Joel's little children speak just like adults...all the time!

Ah. I feel better, now.

Kevin Jones

I haven't paid much attention to Osteen, but there's a regrettable, definite trend in American religion, dating back at least to Thomas Jefferson, to make Jesus Christ into a pocket savior for Ethical Living and Personal Fulfillment.

William Woods

Before reading this piece, I had never heard of Joel Osteen. Now I know enough to avoid him.

There are so many Osteen wannabes among Catholics, including clergy, that it's scary. My own solution has been to take weekly refuge at an indult (Tridentine Rite)mass in our diocese. At that service, sin and its forgivness are given their due. All this "feel good" stuff leads ultimately to despair simply because it isn't true.

David Deavel

I agree with all the above comments, but I think we should remember that hellfire and brimstone were preached in many fundamentalist churches--at least till recently--and that many people react to the presumption of judgment prevalent in past congregations (if Catholic funerals preach people into canonization, fundamentalists are not afraid to assume damnation on the part of the individual and preach it in the funeral "message") and go to the opposite extreme.


Thanks for the mention, Carl. Much appreciated.

A Barnhill

Our pastor frequently (every week) speaks of mortal sin; the need for frequent confession, etc. Last Sunday the topic of his homily was "Heaven and Hell". We feel very fortunate to have a really Catholic priest who is not afraid to preach the truth.


Carl, as usual you hit the nail right on the head about Joel Osteen. This guy has a stained smile on his face all the time, which is a tip off to me that he is not real. Unfortunately a lot of people are sucked in by his "feel good" religion. Mary


My rule of thumb: A televangelist's credibility is inversely proportional to how much hair spray he uses.

Michael Lichens

Osteen is nothing more than an sharp salesman with a psudo-Christian beat. I just have to be glad that the gospel writers had a bit more gaul than Joel-boy there. Can you imagine it, "I am the way, the truth, the life, the comfort, your best fishing bud, and everything else that you need for $9.99 or less."

Terry Miller

Joel Osteen uses all of the things he has learned from the world. That is what attracts so many people,IE a world that preaches self indulgence. People listen to what satisfies thier needs. They forget who the "Creator" is. They forget that Jesus'only commandment is "To love your neighbor/ enemy as I love you" The world's Commandment is "love yourself above all others". Self satisfaction can come from the good things you do to help the less fortunate but when you put the things of the world as your god then you break God's Old Covenant first commandment.

Wayne R

We have been watching Joel Osteen for a number of years. There is nothing wrong with his message. He may not speak of everything you think should be included, but we get that from other priests and pastors. But Joel`s message you get only from him. There is room for all of us. Lets not be "holier than thow" bigots. As of yet there have been no scandles in his church. There have been MANY in ours. By there fruits you will know them.


I agree with Wayne R. I am mature enough to get what I need from Osteen and question what it does not make sense to me. For me, Osteen is a good motivator who helps me to feel better inside. At least he woke up my spirituality, and motivated me to look for God. Any pastor or preacher who talks all the time about hell woke up my spirituality before. I dont need to live afraid of God, so I dont let nobody to scare me about hell. Who are these people to condemn me? For these Christian people, you need to live unhappy, afraid, miserable, etc, etc, to go to heaven. For them, I do not deserve to live happy and live a good life here, i will get that in heaven. I want to be happy here, and go to heaven.

Rev. Rafael D Martinez

Our ministry just delivered a workshop entitled "Behind The Smile: A Look Behind Joel Osteen's 'Your Best Life Now'" which we taped. A Real Audio presentation of the talk is now on our website. Tapes of it may be purchased from the Evangelical Ministries To New Religion coalition whose annual conference is where we delivered this at.


You know what, the people are critizing Osteen obviously don't learn how to respect people, what Jesus wants. That must be something that the teaching of the Catholic church "lacks". I mean if that is the way our Lord Jesus christ and Savior wants to use Osteen, so be it. Treat and love your neighbor as yourself. If you feel that Osteen lacks discussing more of Jesus' sacrifice, then pray for the man.


I watch Mr. Osteen every Sunday when I get the chance and I am impressed by the way he preaches parts of the gospel (the keyword is parts). It is true that the holy spirit is working through him, but I believe he's missing half of the message that needs to be sent out to every person. Yes its true that we must all think positively because negativity is a pathway to sin, and we should be happy with who we are and what God has given us, and we should use our talents for good, and I do believe this is how God wants us to be, but we must not forget the sacrifice. Just think of the Catholic mass where there is the liturgy of the word and the celebration of the eucharist. We need both in order to obtain the full message of our lord Jesus Christ and we need both to live life the way God fully intended us to be. Isn't it that good works AND faith and not just faith alone or good works alone can we obtain true salvation? That is as I see is the flaw I see in Joel Osteen's sunday services. In his sermons we have the teachings (given in themes) but we don't have the sacrifice relived that our lord Jesus Christ endured for our redemption over 2000 years ago through the bread and wine turned into body and blood.

Now I am not here to bash him, or to fully support his ways either, but we must give credit where credit is due. There is no doubt that the holy spirit is working through Mr. Osteen, as I believe that all good things on this earth are given or at least inspired through the holy spirit, but the whole truth isnt there. He's only figured out half the message...


Pastor Osteen is blessed with his gift and God is using him and working through him to reach to others to know God and to walk in God's path.

Everyone is designed specifically by God and given different talents, abilities and characteristics to each of us according to his plan.

We are all learning and growing constantly through the Holy Spirit from Jesus Chris. His love is pouring down to us and allowing us to grow in Faith.

We are sinners and none of us have the right to condemn another men. Our sins are washed away by Jesus's blood, but that doesnt give us the right to condemn one another. He wants us to love, help and support each other. Only Jesus Christ has that right condemn us.

Pastor Osteen is being and doing what Jesus Christ is leading him to do through the Holy Spirit and he will certainly continue to serve the Lord and grow with every brothers, sister, and everyone esle in Jesus Christ the Lord.

No matter what you think of Pastor Osteen. Let us pray for him and let us continue to serve God, love one another and let Him use us to spread His love and good news around.


I heartily recommend Fr. John Corapi. He is a Roman Catholic priest who is probably the best homilist it has ever been my good fortune to hear.

He is, as far as I can tell, 100% faithful to 1) Scripture, 2) Sacred Tradition and 3) Magisterial Teaching. He doesn't like preaching about hell and damnation, but he does because he must--because it IS part of the truth. However, he doesn't overdo it, and balances it nicely with the Faith, forgiveness, obedience, etc. messages that also make up the truth.

In my opinion, his sermons RING with Truth. I love to hear them. In a Catholic world sometimes starved for truth and obedience to The Faith, this priest is an oasis of fresh, pure water and Spirit!

R. Snouffer, MD

Dennis Thompson

Joel Osreen is a Heritic and one who publicly denied Jesus Christ in front of Millions on Larry King. He also has millions in the bank. Steer Clear.

Luann Kelly

It is a pleasure to say that I would rather listen to Joel Olsteen than even think about my traditional catholic upbringing or organized church. I unfortunately have become so appalled at the Catholic Church. Growing up, we had a priest in our church that pounded on the pulpit - screaming and yelling (it was absolute fear). I don't want to love God or Jesus out of pure fear. As the years went by more and more has happened within the Catholic Religion. Priests sexually abusing children - do they get ex-communicated and tossed in jail like you and I? Of course not - they move them to another church. Should a priest put the fear of God in children by telling them that according to Catholic Law if you don't do this and you don't do that, you are going to hell? No! Judging? I have heard priests, preachers, pastors, reverends and what have you condem by judging, yet I have also seen (with my own eyes) toxically intoxicated clergy, practically naked (sitting by the pool) clergy, evil treating, bad mouthing clergy and clergy who feel they are so powerful that they themselves have the power to send you to hell. Why do millions of people flock to hear Joel Olsteen and the like? They have already been taught the fire and brimstone, they have had the fear drivin into them and now they want the God that the Gospel describes. The all loving and forgiving God. The God that says "put your trust in me", The God that said "Love thy neighbors". The God that is loving, kind, mercyful. So, what does Joel Olsteen preach. Yes, you can change. Yes, life can be wonderful, loving and kind and mercyful. Do your part and trust in God. Yes, Yes, Yes I have the fire, brimstone and condemnation education. I think the organized churches could maybe take a few tips from Mr. Olsteen. Judge not lest thy can be judged perfect. God does not only have one way of getting his word to the people. God wants people to find him, to seek him out and love him. And God does get his word out in many different ways. If you pay attention closely, those many different ways are all telling us the same thing. Do you really think God wants us to be afraid. Afraid to live, afraid to die? Do you really think that he wants us to live worried? Unhappy? How about negative? How about pessimistic? Angry? Depressed? I don't think so. Yes, evil, immoral, sinful and the consequences of those are very important to understand and to think about. But that is not what God is only about. Fire, brimstone and condemnation teaches you all the negative behaviors. How many of you that live in a negative life have positive things happen to you.
Joel Olsteen, who did not spend years and years in seminary makes more sense than many preachers that have spent years in seminary.

Dan Schneider

To Miss Luann Kelly:

It's a sad thing that you have been exposed to some negative individuals and therefore have chosen to focus on their poor examples to help shape your overall view of the Catholic Church...

Some questions that might be helpful to you:

1. On sexual scandals: those have no sanction and nothing to do with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Ask yourself this question: what would happen to Joel Osteen's (and others like him) church if there was even a mere allegation of sexual abuse involving him and a child? The answer is obvious: that would be the end of the largest congregation in the United States. Of all the reported abuse at the hands of Catholic Priests, isn't it purely on divine grace that there has been virtually no fall-off in Church membership over the same time period? Don't let the acts of a few bad people frame your entire opinion about Christ's one true Church!

2. Doesn't it speak more to today's society's preference for "quick" and "easy" that there is such demand for a "no-accountability" evangelism? Unlike Osteen's claim that it's "easy to be a Christian", being a Christian is, in fact, very, very difficult. It requires a complete separation from the individual's natural tendency to "look out for number one". It requires study. It requires contemplation and prayer. It requires evangelization. It requires one to completely give their life over to Christ. It's hard, hard work. Now, with mortgages and credit card debt that people can barely afford monthly payments on, with society's powerful influence towards all things flesh and material... Gosh, is it any wonder that a fresh-faced, perfect-speaking guy seems so attractive with his 30-minutes-a-week-to-salvation approach? Don't take the easy way (the Devil's way) out...Christ sure didn't...

3. Have you ever contemplated the following: in the US there are something like 30,000 different Protestant denominations...yet, there is only one Church that dates back to the time of Christ? (That's the Catholic Church, in case there was any question...) This is staggering to contemplate...

Go to a million different "Catholic Answers" websites, check out or buy books on the history of "The Church", buy up anything and everything Scott Hahn... Come to your faith and your frame of reference on being Catholic based on facts...the "truth", as they say, will "set you free"...


Growing up, we had a priest in our church that pounded on the pulpit - screaming and yelling (it was absolute fear).

Ms Kelly, by not naming this priest you label every priest. What was this priest's name, his parish and the location? Someone who reads this blog will have been or know someone who was a parishioner during his tenure and we can get some feedback as to the veracity of your claim.

I personally am tired of the 'a nun in third grade hit me with a ruler' and 'a parish priest was a psycho' claims. Let's name names and put a year to these claims so that they can be verified.
We wouldn't accept unsubstantiated claims against a family member so let's not accept them against priests or nuns.

Nichole Choice

Ah, Joel mentioned the blogs in yesterday's sermons...

I read alotta blogs, but never has one mentioned my Beloved Joel. I thought: hmmm... What's he talking about?

Now, I see. You people...

Oh, let me not practice condemnation ;)

My thought is: if he makes people happy by using what I believe to be very New Age-y approach (positive visualization), then Amen!




Dennis Thompson is right on. That was my experience going through 12 years of Catholic schooling. I have known people who have had serious thoughts of suicide who have been pulled from the brink from Joel Osteen's program. He may not be heavy on fire and brimstone but he presents the love of God beautifully.

Nichole Choice

What happened to my entry? Am I being censored??

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