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CNN Larry King Live

God or the Girl?

Aired April 13, 2006 - 21:00   ET


DAN DEMATTE, CONTEMPLATING PRIESTHOOD: If I was called to marriage, it would definitely be to someone a lot like Amber, if not Amber.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, the love of a woman versus the love of God, meet potential priests in a controversial new reality show. Will they choose God or the girl? And, should priests have to make that choice? The debate heats up next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. "God or the Girl" is a five-part documentary series that follows four 20-something men as they make a crucial decision. Will they enter a seminary to become Roman Catholic priests or will they follow a life path that could lead to marriage and fatherhood? The series debuts on A&E this weekend on Easter Sunday.

Before we get it let's remind you that what you'll be seeing "God or the Girl" is a five-part documentary series that follows four plus series. It debuts this weekend. They will not be revealing what their choices even though the complete series has been taped.

Let's meet our guests to begin things here in Los Angeles Dan Dematte, profiled in "God or the Girl," one of four young men deciding whether or not to enter the seminary or become a Roman Catholic priest.

Also here in L.A. is Joe Adair, another of the young men in the same position. And, in Philadelphia, Mike Lechniak, Mike is also profiled in "God or the Girl." The series debuts Easter Sunday, kind of a unique day to start.

How did you get involved in this Dan?

DEMATTE: Well, the casting producers called all the campus ministers and they actually called my campus priest and my priest threw the idea out to me. And then they came out and interviewed me for a weekend.

And, as it turned out four months later I hear from them and they ask me to do the show and kind of caught me off guard because I hadn't heard from them for four months. And so I was like, oh, well they just -- it was nothing. But, I told them I wanted to take it to prayer and so I asked for a week and during that week I sought the Lord in prayer and about halfway through the week he gave me a scripture passage that kind of encouraged me to go forth and to do this asking me to be a witness of his love, of his truth and of the church to the country.

KING: Your decision has been made right? The show is -- the series is complete but we won't ask you tonight what it was.


KING: Joe, how did you get involved?

JOE ADAIR, CONTEMPLATING PRIESTHOOD: I was involved about a year ago. I got a call from a casting director and went out to L.A. a couple days later after we spoke on the phone for a little bit and I got a sense of what the show was going to be about.

Originally, it was going to be -- they were going to take it in a different direction but after we spoke for a bit they realized that to do a show about the decision making process of becoming a priest or getting married needed a great deal of respect to do that well. And so, they ended up, you know, taking it in a completely different direction and that's what the viewers are going to see this Sunday when it airs on A&E at 9:00.

KING: And your decision already made as well?

ADAIR: Yes and in five you see it, yes, absolutely.

KING: And, Mike, how did you get involved?

MIKE LECHNIAK, CONTEMPLATING PRIESTHOOD: Hello. My story is very similar to Dan's in the fact that they had contacted my campus ministry director at College Misericordia and he had contacted me and said, you know, "This producer from Hollywood gave me a call and asked about possible young men that thought about going into the priesthood or are thinking about going in the priesthood."

And he said, "Would you like (INAUDIBLE) to get in contact with you" and I said "Yes, sure, why not?" So, like I said, it's very similar to Dan's. From then on it was just you didn't hear from him for a while, then heard from him, didn't hear him from and then, boom, here it is today.

KING: Glad you did it?

LECHNIAK: Yes, I am. I'm very glad I did it. I was a little apprehensive at the beginning. This is a very serious choice and very serious decision in my life and I was a little apprehensive and nervous of putting that onto TV. But seeing the tapes and seeing the trailers of what the producers have done it's amazing.

KING: And we'll be showing you some clips from the shows which debut Sunday.


KING: When did you think, Dan, about becoming a priest?

DEMATTE: Well, I think every little kid, I grew up Catholic, I was at mass every single week and so naturally when everybody's at mass the priest would be up there preaching his homily and I would just think, hum, I wonder if I could do that but it wasn't anything serious.

And about three years ago I took a year off after I graduated high school to just do a year of missionary work and during that year I fell deeply in love with the church and I fell deeply in love with Christ and I actually started an active prayer life. Every single day I was turning to the Lord spending about a half hour to an hour in prayer.

KING: Before the show came about were you debating girls or God? Were you saying to yourself "I want to be a priest" or I want to be -- do I want to be celibate?

DEMATTE: Yes, it's actually been, the last three years has been a big battle because there is, as one of the trailers show, there is a girl in my life that I wanted to give myself to her but we were in a dating relationship and I realized that, you know, I can't give myself fully to this girl because I still have that pull in my heart of God saying "Wait, what if I'm calling you here? What if I'm calling you here?"

And so, we actually took six months apart. We broke things off for six months. We weren't going to talk or see each other and during that six month period I was just going to seek out God's will intensely to try to discover where he's calling me.

KING: Might it be possible, Joe, even though the decision is made that you might regret it?

ADAIR: Well, I don't...

KING: Like let's say you chose to be married and meet a girl.


KING: And then one day you wake up five years I should have been a priest or vice versa?

ADAIR: Yes. Well the decision that I come to in the end is the result of prayer and I believe it's where God led me and so I don't know that I would regret it. Once that commitment is made and if the person maintains a good prayer life, I think God always keeps us happy. We just have to trust God and we have to...

KING: No matter what you choose?

ADAIR: No matter what we choose, yes. It has to be what you're called to do but if you go through a good decision making process and you maintain a good prayer life you can find happiness. KING: Mike, it has always puzzled the non-Catholics and we'll have one coming on with us in a little while, why would you choose a life of celibacy?

LECHNIAK: Well, that's a big issue among the secular world and non-Catholics that, you know, are you choosing a life of celibacy? And it's really not all that. It's more of are you choosing a lifestyle of the commitment to the church and being a priest.

So, a lot of people look at that, you know, oh you can't have a wife. You have to be celibate your whole life. But it's so much more than that and that's what I hope people get out of this show too that it's not just sex/no sex or, you know, having relations with a woman or not. It's so much more than that for the decision to become a Catholic priest or not.

KING: Would you admit, Dan, that maybe the church might be wrong in this area that celibacy keeps a lot of bright, young people away?

DEMATTE: Well, I mean the issue of priestly celibacy is -- there's a difference in the church's teaching between doctrine and discipline and things that fall under doctrine, anything concerning faith or morals, these are things that are without error and they cannot be wrong and the church firmly believes this.

Celibacy is a discipline and disciplines can come and go but it's one of those deeply rooted theological disciplines and I don't think the church is wrong. I think it adds something to this world that the world needs.

KING: The pope could change it tomorrow couldn't he Joe?

ADAIR: He could, yes, yes.

KING: And it wasn't always this way right?

ADAIR: No, we have...

KING: The early stages of the church did not have priests who were married right?

ADAIR: To my understanding we've had celibacy for about 1,000 years. It's been -- it's been mandated for 1,000 years for priests.

KING: And you like the idea no matter what you've chosen?

ADAIR: I certainly appreciate the idea. I understand the church's wisdom in asking priests to be celibate because it allows the priest to have a single heartedness about their work and I think on a more practical level it gives them the energy.

They're going to have more energy for their ministry and they're going to have more time for people as well. And so, in those ways it is a very good thing. But, you know, in another sense I think it would be good to have a dialogue about celibacy and to look at the situation today and revisit that. KING: In a little while we'll be meeting three priests and a pastor and Dan will be staying with us. And, we'll be also including your phone calls. And we'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does a normal human being conquer the evil?

DEMATTE: I've decided to abstain from sexual relationships with women.

LECHNIAK: I am falling in love with Ali (ph) and it's making my decisions that much harder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I'm fortunate enough, God will make me a priest.




LECHNIAK: Being in the wedding, you know, it makes me feel special. It makes me feel needed. It makes me feel like I'm serving God in a way that, you know, a lot of my friends might be sitting at home right now and I'm serving a wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus told them "Fill the jars with water so they filled them to the brim.

When I see Father Ficelli(ph) doing all this stuff I could see myself being Father Ficelli. I can see myself -- I can see the characteristics that he has I can see that I could have someday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help them to create a home together.

LECHNIAK: But on the same token when I go to a wedding like this I think of Ali and having a family and having kids.


KING: Females, you see a girl in a short skirt and high heels don't you have some lust?

DEMATTE: I -- back in high school I suffered a lot with sexual temptations and lust but the Lord has pulled me a long way so that I can actually...

KING: Taken it out of you?

DEMATTE: Well, the temptations are always there but the Lord he allows you to see the true beauty of women and women have a dignity that this world has destroyed and God has allowed me to see the great beauty that women are to this world. KING: Joe, I understand during the series you went on a three- day pilgrimage with no money. You traveled from Cleveland to Niagara Falls?

ADAIR: That's correct, yes.

KING: Why?

ADAIR: Well, the purpose of the pilgrimage from going from Cleveland to Niagara Falls without any money, without a car or credit cards is to learn to trust in divine providence. And I met all kinds of people along the way and God provided for me. God provided food for me. God provided transportation.

KING: No, people did.

ADAIR: People did. I think God worked through those people. That's a good point but when I met these people I told them why I was doing this and they wanted to help. And I told -- and we had spiritual conversation when I met these people and they wanted to learn about this. And it was a very positive experience and for me it affirmed that God loves me and God will take care of me.

KING: You went on a retreat too Mike?

LECHNIAK: Yes, I did, Larry.

KING: Where did you go? What did you do?

LECHNIAK: I went to a retreat house, stayed with some sisters up there and basically my whole retreat and my view of a retreat was just to be alone and be alone with God, not have to deal with the stresses of being with Father Ficelli and what he wanted for me and the stresses of Ali and what she wanted with me, just kind of be by myself alone in the wilderness with God.

KING: You realize, Dan, of course if you chose celibacy and priesthood you'd never a father.

DEMATTE: Well, you would actually be a father to a lot more people. I know that we just had a priest leave my parish a couple weeks ago and I have 217 kids in my youth group and all 217 of those kids called that man father and all 217 of those kids were in tears when he was leaving.

It's a different kind of fatherhood and it's naturally not the one everyone else has but it's a spiritual fatherhood and it's an honor to receive that kind of gift from God.

KING: Wouldn't you like to be a dad, Joe?

ADAIR: I would and I came from a good family and I would like to be a father. I would like to raise children myself and so that's -- that's part of this whole struggle for me. I would like to have a wife and a companion in life. And a lot of people will focus on the sex part of it and this is more than that. This is about having a companion and about having someone to raise a family with and working out your salvation with someone else.

And, in that sense when you go through this decision making process you're asking yourself what's the best way that I can work out my salvation? What's the best way for me to live my life and find God in the end when I die? Is it as a celibate, a celibate person or is it as a married person?

KING: Mike, frankly wouldn't it be great if the church ended celibacy though?

LECHNIAK: Larry, it's just such a controversial issue right now. If they did would I go right in and sign up tomorrow and go into seminary tomorrow? I don't know. I'd have to go through my determinate process again. I'd have to pray about it. I don't know. If that was where I'm at in life right now which, you know, who knows?

DEMATTE: Larry, I think that celibacy is something that this world needs. It's something -- celibacy is a sign to this world that there is a love beyond human love. There is a love that God will fill your every need. You don't need a woman to satisfy you. You have God the Trinity.

KING: Joe and Mike, thanks very much for being with us. Dan will remain.

ADAIR: Thank you.

KING: And we'll be joined by three Roman Catholic priests, one of whom left the priesthood and a very well known evangelical Christian pastor and we'll get into a lot more of this. Don't go away.


ADAIR: I'm on my way to the Niagara Falls area. I'm doing a pilgrimage and I'm heading to a Carmelite (ph) Spirituality Center there and it's supposed to be really pretty and there is some nature around it.

The foundation lesson of the pilgrimage is to go out and, you know, without a plan and trust in the Lord. At this point, I'm drawing to the clothes of my decision making process. I feel that this pilgrimage experience is going to help me become more aware of what I'm being called to do.



KING: We're back now on LARRY KING LIVE, all of this in connection with the new A&E show "God or the Girl" which premieres Sunday night Easter Sunday. Staying with us here in Los Angeles is Dan Dematte, one of the young men profiled in that show.

Joining us in New York is Anthony Podovano, a Roman Catholic theologian and author. He is an ambassador for Corpus (ph), a ministerial community of an inclusive priesthood. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1959, resigned from the full time service and got married in 1974.

A familiar friend John MacArthur, evangelical Christian, pastor, teacher of the Grace Community Church, author and host of Grace to you and president of the Master's College, founder of the Master's Seminary.

Father Michael Manning returns, Roman Catholic priest, Society of the Divine Word, pastor at St. Anthony's Parish in San Bernardino, host of The "Word in the World." He entered the seminary at age 14, ordained at age 28.

And in St. Louis, Father John Bartunek is a Legionnaire of Christ, comes from an evangelical Christian background, became a Roman Catholic in 1991, ordained a priest in 2003.

Anthony, what do you make of all this?

ANTHONY PADOVANO, RESIGNED FULL-TIME PRIESTHOOD TO GET MARRIED: The entire discussion I thought it was very touching. The yearning of faith in these men was impressive.

What disturbed me was that so much energy has to be put into the issue of celibacy when the real issue is service to people and faith in God and this dichotomy that it's God or a girl is a very false dichotomy. A woman does not detract from one's commitment to God, nor does marriage.

KING: Father Manning you are celibate are you not?


KING: You've lived a celibate life?

MANNING: I've lived a celibate life to the best of my ability.

KING: Should the rule be changed?

MANNING: I think that there needs to be an openness to the possibility and it's already happening. We have the eastern Catholics where they are, a married man may be ordained a priest. We even have some Anglicans that are...

KING: What's the reason for it?

MANNING: Well, I think when you go back history wise you find that it was -- on a political level it was oftentimes there was nepotism going on. But deeper down I think that there's a real call with regard to the Scriptures.

Jesus was a celibate. I believe that despite the controversy of "The Da Vinci Code." I believe that Paul was calling us to some real strong commitments to be missionaries.

The second coming, we're people of the second coming and there's that urgency of Christ, the urgency of Paul to live a life that just goes completely as best you can to serve others.

KING: Father Bartunek what do you think?

FATHER JOHN BARTUNEK, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST: Well, I'm glad that I'm not married and that I'm a priest and I'm extremely happy to be a priest and to be able to be fully available for the, you know, for my people, for the church.

You know when I was deciding the priesthood it was wonderful to hear those young men and the same struggles that they had. I was just ordained two and a half years ago and I still remember those times.

I was seeing a woman very seriously and I loved her very much and I knew in my heart that she deserved someone who could be her husband, someone who was completely given and dedicated to her.

And when I was discerning my vocation I felt there was part of me that wanted to be a husband for the church that wanted to give myself completely to the service of God's people and so I couldn't marry her because I knew she deserved someone who could give more than I could give. And that to me was a sign that with the gift of the vocation to be a priest God was giving me the gift of celibacy.

KING: John MacArthur?

JOHN MACARTHUR, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN PASTOR: Yes, well I think from a biblical standpoint we need to readdress this issue on a couple of fronts. Number one, according to the New Testament, you can't be a pastor unless you are the husband of one wife and have proven that you're able to manage your household well.

The apostle Paul also said that one of the false doctrines, he called doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 4, is forbidding to marry. There is no biblical basis for this whatsoever. You can't use Jesus as an example. He's God in human flesh.

There is no biblical foundation. In fact, Paul said it's better to marry than to burn. So, you put a priest in an impossible situation, then stick him in a confessional all day to listen to people reciting all their sexual sins and I think that's just way over the top if you expect somebody to live a pure life with that kind of temptation thrown at them.

KING: You say a pastor should be married, you mean someone comes out of seminary they have to be married or they can't be a pastor?

MACARTHUR: Well the bottom -- yes, the bottom line is there could be exceptions. You could have a widower. You could have somebody who did never marry. But the qualification for a pastor is the husband of one wife, a one woman man.

KING: So you think the idea that even though it's a discipline of the church it's a bad idea?

MACARTHUR: Yes, I don't think it's a biblical idea at all and it came, as Father Manning noted, because priestly families were building fortunes and in 1079 when that became law at the Lateran (ph) Council, it was because Rome started seeing that money was being kept in these massive families. If you don't have any children, you can't pass on anything.

PADOVANO: But see I...

DEMATTE: Larry, I think...

KING: Any of it -- all right who wants to speak? Hold on.

PADOVANO: I would like to say a word if I might, Larry.

KING: Go ahead.

PADOVANO: I don't think the issue should be celibacy and marriage. If you make this system optional everyone that wants to be celibate can be fully celibate. I think celibacy has a value as long as it's optional. The problem is not celibacy or marriage. The problem is the institutional making it mandatory. Mandatory marriage or mandatory celibacy would equally be problematic.

If the issue of celibacy is important then people are going to do this with all their heart. But what do you do with all of the other people who also feel call to full ministerial service and who at the same time believe that being married can make them even more deeply impressive disciples of Christ?

KING: Does this discussion do something for you Dan?

DEMATTE: Well, Larry, I think that the words mandatory and forbidden have been used and that's wrong. We have to look at the vocation. Vocation comes from the Latin word meaning to call and like our call to the priesthood is an invitation from God. Our call to the married life is an invitation from God.

We don't have a right to the priesthood. We don't have a right to a wife. We don't have a right to children. And that's something that this world just doesn't understand.

If we're called to the priesthood that's simultaneously a call to the celibate life and that's something -- it's not -- we're not forbidding the celibate life. God is inviting us into a life consecrated solely to him only to him. It frees up our schedule so we can pray, so we can dedicate our life 100 percent to God and to his people.

PADOVANO: But, Dan, Peter was called both to marriage and to priesthood and Jesus Christ accepted that.

MACARTHUR: Well, Paul the Apostle said "I have a right to marry" 1 Corinthians 9:5, "Do not I have a right to lead a sister as a wife?" And that was clearly a right, a God-ordained right. KING: Aren't there a lot of contradictions, Father Manning?

MANNING: I think there are and I think it's something that we need to be challenging ourselves. As a priest I struggle with celibacy of course but at the same time I do believe that it's a wonderful gift and it's enriching. But, I'm really bothered by the fact of the low number of priests in the church today and I -- is the answer celibacy? I'm not sure.

KING: It's got to be part of it.

MANNING: Got to be part of it and I'm really struggling with the fact that there are more priests that die than are ordained here in the states and so let's -- we got to -- let's look at it and let's see if perhaps we can come up with a better solution.

KING: We'll be right back. We'll be including your phone calls. I'll get the thoughts of Father Bartunek as well. Don't go away.


DEMATTE: One of the biggest sacrifices in my life recently is simply cutting off communication with Amber, a girl that I was dating.

AMBER: Daniel, since the moment I met him has wanted to make me happy. It's one of the things I really appreciate about him.

DEMATTE: No girl I've ever met is quite like Amber. She lives her life and embraces her womanhood in a way that I've never seen in someone else.

AMBER: Daniel is definitely someone that I had thought about and dreamed about having a family and building a life with.

DEMATTE: If I was called to marriage, it would definitely be to someone a lot like Amber, if not Amber.



KING: Father John Bartunek in St. Louis, you were a Protestant who changed?

BARTUNEK: That's true. As a teenager I was involved in an Evangelical Christian Church. I was born-again, non-denominational church. And it's funny, when I was in that church and when I was in that faith, I really never felt called to be a pastor.

It was only when I began to explore the Catholic faith and really came -- became convinced that the Catholic church was the church Christ founded. And then when I became Catholic and as I was becoming Catholic my -- I kind of began to have that desire which was my calling, which was to serve Christ as Christ had served his church, to serve his church wholeheartedly. And even as Saint Paul himself, who was not married, who gave himself wholeheartedly to serve the church. You know, there's a lot of misunderstanding and I think the most important thing is to remember that first of all, historically, celibacy was not invented a thousand years after the foundation of the church.

There were always celibate priests and there were also married priests. And then, through the years, the church in her wisdom reserved the priesthood for the celibate, for celibacy. That's historically.

And then common sense, you know, Larry, someone who is in love with the church and in love with his parish, in love with his parish family. It's like a love affair. It's like his family. And if he also has his own family, his own wife, it's hard not to be divided. And St. Paul, in the Bible, actually discuss that if you read first Corinthians chapter seven and he actually says the better way is the celibate way, but it's not the required way.

KING: Father Manning do you dislike the title -- hold on, Father Manning do you dislike the title "God or the Girl?"

MANNING: It seems very bad. As a celibate the thought of somehow divorcing myself from women is crazy. I need women, I need the spirituality, the encouragement and that's very vital. Oh, yes. It's not that, it's all of a sudden you choose God and you forget about women, not at all.

KING: John?

MACARTHUR: I took God and the girl. And my life -- my ministry is aided by my wife and her faith and my children and my grandchildren, who undergird what I preach by the life they live.

They are the greatest support in my ministry. They give confidence to my -- I'm not an island. They see me in a real world and they see my family surrounding me and they know what my life is like because it manifests itself in them.

KING: Now Anthony, you are now married and also leading a flock, right?

PADOVANO: Yes, I am, Larry. I like to say two things just very quickly. One is if we say that marriage divides your heart, what do we do about all of the devoted Protestant pastors, rabbis and imams who serve their people with incredible devotion?

And secondly, when you make something mandatory, like celibacy, without intending it -- the church does not intend this. But you do become misogynistic because you're saying somehow or other, a woman makes a man less worthy of God, less worthy of service.

That's why the title of this God or the girl is only possible when you're in a mandatory situation. There are some men who will serve without marriage. God bless them, that's wonderful. Francis of Assisi who was a celibate was an extraordinary example. But a married person, St. Peter is one example that I gave before, also can serve. This is a very false dichotomy.

KING: Dan?

DEMATTE: Well actually, we didn't start off with the title "God or the Girl." After all of the filming was done, they called me and it was like, two or three months after filming, they're like, "Hey, we just changed the name of the show. It's called 'God or the Girl.'"

KING: What was the original name?

DEMATTE: It was originally called, "Holy Journey." As Joe was saying, each of us set off to an journey.

KING: That don't sell.

DEMATTE: It doesn't sell. So they told us "God or the Girl," and I was like, "Oh no, what have they done?" And like, I was picturing they took the footage and they edited it into some terrible show like "Temptation Island." But -- and it's not theologically correct. The church doesn't believe God or the girl. No matter what, God is No. 1, even if you're married. Like, God is the source in all that we do.

KING: Nashville, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER: Hey, how are you?

KING: Hi, do you want to speak up?

CALLER: Hello, good evening.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I am Christian and I don't understand everything that goes on with the Catholic faith. However I do have a question, are nuns required to take the same celibacy oath? And are there -- everything they do in line with the same regulations, requirements, restrictions, as the priests?

KING: Father Manning?

MANNING: Yes, that's true. You take a vow of celibacy as a nun. Poverty, chastity, and obedience. It's in a religious community that you do that, yes.

KING: Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Yes, thank you for taking my call. I'm Orthodox and I just don't understand how priests can understand families if they don't have a family life. When they say you cannot divorce, they're not put in that situation where they could understand what they're supposedly preaching.

KING: Father Bartunek, how could a member of the Catholic church go into confession or discuss with a priest a major problem involving he and his wife and their children, when the priest has absolutely no experience?

BARTUNEK: Well, it happens all the time and it's -- in my own experience, I can say it's very fruitful. The priest has a lot of experience. The priest meets with couples as they're preparing for marriage, councils couples in difficulties during marriage. Sees hundreds of couples and families and follows them through their life.

Has a lot more experience you know than many married couples with only their own marriage. So a priest really becomes like a doctor of souls. You know, it's like saying if a doctor had to suffer cancer in order to treat cancer, there's kind of a contradiction there.

A priest is a man of God, for others, and his experience of dealing with so many families and so many couples enriches him. The other thing, is, Larry, the church never says that only the priest -- that only priests can help council couples. The priest is a spiritual father, a spiritual counselor, but the church encourages lay men and women to also take on the role, different roles of ministry and help other married couples.

KING: Let me get a break. And we'll come back with more and more of your phone calls. Barry Manilow is our special guest tomorrow night -- Barry Manilow, don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've had plenty of time. And haven't you even had, you know, some of your advisers or your spiritual directors say, you know, you can just take so much time and then you need to decide?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. If you want to have peace and get on with your life.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Max, don't eat that Max. It's disgusting that he eats the donkey poop.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the cool thing about living in the brotherhood. We just do random things together, like something like that everyone drops what they're doing and all of a sudden we're consumed in building this cross, just because it was fun.


KING: We'll get right back to the phone calls and we'll discuss this at a major length another night. But a quick question for Anthony Padovano. What do you make of the new gospel of Judas, which purports to say that Christ asked Judas to turn him in? PADOVANO: I'm not very much impressed with it, Larry. I'm impressed with idea that they did find something from the 3rd or 4th century, which shows that a lot of Christians believed in that particular way.

The problem is, though, gnostic gospel says that our bodies are bad and that Jesus wanted his body destroyed. And I think that that kind of thinking leads to a dreadful spirituality. The whole idea of an incarnation, that God becomes one of us, means that our bodies are beautiful and that our relationships are meaningful.

KING: So you say it's -- it's -- it's fraud?

PADOVANO: Oh, no, no, no, it's not fraud. It's a true document from the time which reflects that thinking of Christianity. It's not an insight I believe into Judas or into Christ in the 1st century.

KING: We'll do another show on it. Ottawa, hello.

CALLER: Hello, why didn't John MacArthur refer to 1 Corinthian 7 where Paul says that it's better to be married but if you can't -- better not to be married but if you -- get married if you -- if you burn. And also Jesus said the very same thing in Matthew 19. So it seems that MacArthur is very selective.

And also my question for the Catholic priest, isn't it true that the Catholic church is the only Christian church that was founded by Jesus himself, where all of the Protestant churches were founded by mad men like Joseph?

KING: OK, thank you.

MACARTHUR: That put me a category.

KING: There are John, admittedly, a lot of contradictions. You can quote from 1, from Corinthians 2, Matthew 6, Luke 4, and everything sounds opposite.


KING: No, there's no contradictions in the Bible, are you saying that?

MACARTHUR: No, there's no real contradictions in the Bible.

KING: No real contradictions.

MACARTHUR: There are conflicting interpretations but the Bible doesn't counterdict itself because it has one author, and that's God. What he's saying is that in 1st Corinthian 7, Paul says better to marry, not to burn.

On the other hand, if you're single, he says stay later, stay single. That has certain advantages. But it comes down to what the former priest said a minute ago. That's a choice you make. That is not fair for the church, any church to impose that on man as a sign of true spiritual devotion.

KING: And Father Manning, did Christ in fact form a church?

MANNING: Not necessarily.

KING: Did he die a Jew?

MANNING: As the church -- he was very much that. We started to move later on in that -- certainly there were the apostles, there were the group. But, yes, no I agree, yes.

KING: You can chime in, too. You're more than a student.

DEMATTE: Christ -- the Catholic Church does not believe that Christ did not start a church. The Catholic Church teaches -- we proclaim every day in the creed, we believe in one holy Catholic apostolic church. We believe in one church, founded by Christ, and that church was founded in Matthew Chapter 16, where Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of God.

And with that, it goes back to the Old Testament where the Old Testament kings would hand over the keys to the kingdom to the prime minister went that king was going to leave.

And so while Jesus was leaving our kingdom here on earth, he was going to the kingdom of God and he gave his keys over to Peter, the prime -- with primary lead in our church and that's where our papal primacy comes from. That's where our authority comes from. And that's where Jesus establishes the church.

KING: Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is, don't you think that if priests could get married, that the church wouldn't have to be paying out so many millions because priests are substituting for a wife, substituting maybe little boys?

KING: Good point. Father Manning?

MANNING: Well it's interesting. Andrew Greeley has come up with a real study in the midst of all the pedophilia discussion. That really says that really isn't a valid argument. That celibacy is not the cause of pedophilia. Pedophilia is a deep, deep disturbance in your mind and it can happen whether you're married -- even married men are pedophiles. So the argument is not really that strong. I'm not convinced of that.

KING: We're going to take a break. I assume Anderson Cooper is standing by, as he always is at the ready. Anderson Cooper will host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour. Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, thanks very much. Yes, Donald Rumsfeld under fire. The chorus of retired generals calling for the defense secretary to step down is getting louder, with another joining the fray today. We'll tell you who that is in an exclusive report. You'll hear from him, from the Pentagon. We've also put together sort of a war council, our own panel of the generals who weigh in on the controversy and what it may mean for troops actually fighting for this country.

We'll also bring you a strange story developing right now out of Pennsylvania. Family of six found dead, a young man is in custody. You won't believe who he is. All of that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: Wow, we better stay tuned for that. "A.C. 360" at 10:00 Eastern. We'll be right back with more, don't go away.


DEMATTE: We're actually Catholic. We also have a lot of other Christians that come. Andrew (ph) and I ran across this guy named Zack (ph). I never met someone like him before, definitely a fundamentalist Christian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that the Catholic church has led people into error. Maybe some people, some priests I'm sure were very -- very genuine, very earnest people. I think you guys are very genuine, very earnest. But I think you're looking at the wrong things. I think you have been.

DEMATTE: Your saying because we're Catholics, you can't -- Christ wouldn't want you to hang out with us?



KING: "God or the Girl" debuts on A&E Sunday night. Knoxville, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. It's an honor to be on your show. My question is to all of the gentlemen that you have there, is when is the -- mainly the Catholic Church going to accept the fact that gays and lesbians are also children of Christ and God, not children of the devil?

KING: That's for everybody. Anthony?

PADOVANO: Yes, I think that's a very good question. I think, clearly, if a homosexual, by and large, is formed that way, genetically or hormonally, that there is no choice involved. Then one has to say that this person has to be included within the community. I can't imagine Jesus rejecting someone who stood before him and said, "The only one that I can love is another person of the same gender. But I want to do that with all my heart, with all the generosity and mercy and hope and healing that you've been talking about."

KING: Father Bartunek?

BARTUNEK: Well, first of all, it isn't so definitive that it's something that we're born with. There's a lot of studies that show that it's developmental.

But the question is wrong, Larry, that all are beloved by God. They all are children of God and the church teaches that. And the church's actions show that. The church is the one who's caring for the most AIDS patients in the world, for instance.

The real issue is, not, you know, the temptations, the orientations that we have, the real issue is following Christ and being true to the morality that Christ taught us.

And you know if someone doesn't agree with that, no one's forcing them to be Catholic. But God accepts and loves all of us. And encourages us to live the fullness of life by following the teachings of Christ.

KING: John?

MACARTHUR: Yes I don't think that reflects a biblical view at all. The Bible is crystal clear, homosexuality is a sin and anybody who lives that kind of lifestyle will not enter the kingdom of God.

KING: Even if you didn't choose it, even if it was shown to you that it was genes? No? You wouldn't buy it.

MACARTHUR: It's not genetic, you choose it.

KING: How do you know?

MACARTHUR: Because it's a sin. It's categorized by God himself.

KING: So you have an answer that medical science doesn't know? Still being studied?

MACARTHUR: If medical science says it's genetic, then they need to read what the scripture says.

KING: Do you know why someone would choose it?

MACARTHUR: Well I think there are all kinds of psychological reasons why you might do it. Something as simple as your first sexual experience you get gratification, it's easy, it comes easily. I do think that with regard to the priesthood, that this is one of the tragedies that occurs in that kind of environment in celibacy. But no matter what are you say, it is defined in the Bible as a sin for which God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, for which people are kept out of the kingdom, until it's repented of and trust in Jesus Christ is...

KING: ... You think -- what would Jesus Christ do with a gay person? Do you think he'd hug him, hold him, care for him, love him?

MACARTHUR: I do not think that they are all children of God.

KING: So he would turn away.

MACARTHUR: The world is divided into the children of Satan and the children of God. Jesus said that himself. You're of your father, the devil. The difference who is puts their trust in Jesus Christ.

KING: So what I'm saying is, Christ would turn way?

MACARTHUR: I think he would endeavor to communicate the truth and the gospel. He would confront the sin and he would offer the salvation through repentance and faith in himself and his death and resurrection.

KING: Dan, what do you think?

DEMATTE: Someone who says that the Catholic Church teaches the -- people with homosexual orientation are children of Satan obviously have not read the church's documents. Anywhere in John Paul II's writings he speaks with so much love and compassion for these people. Yes, we cannot accept their sin of sexual acts, but never, never has a church said that homosexuals themselves are wrong.

KING: Can you take communion?

DEMATTE: Any person who is participating in a life of mortal sin should not receive the Eucharist. But Christ -- I mean Christ promises us that we should deal with these people with love and compassion. Those people who bear the cross and it's a heavy cross -- to live their life celibate, if they are of homosexual orientation, because that's what the call is, to live a life of celibacy -- if they bear that cross, how great is reward in heaven going to be for them?

KING: Father Manning?

MANNING: I agree with that. It's the reality of Christ's love is over pouring. He loves all and even the woman at the well, married so many times, he loves her and cared for her, and even empowered her to be one of the evangelists that brought the good news.

But there is a line you need to draw. You can do right and there's wrong and you make it clear you may not have sexual...

MACARTHUR: ... So even those who don't repent of that sin?

MANNING: No, no. I'm saying...

MACARTHUR: Are going to heaven?

MANNING: ... God loves all and he's continually in a process of...

MACARTHUR: ... Well you're saying he loves them in a general sense, not in a saving sense.

MANNING: No, in a personal way. He's calling people continuing to make the right decision.

MACARTHUR: But what if they choose not to move away from that? What if they choose not?

MANNING: That's a decision. KING: Anthony, quickly, I've got to get a break.

PADOVANO: All right, but I think what makes us moral is not the fact that people tell us we're bad, but that they give us love. It's went someone loves you and you want to measure up to them so that you don't disappoint them, which is the thing that makes you moral.

KING: We'll get a break and back with more right after these words. Don't go away.


DEMATTE: I've been sleeping in a sleeping bag for a company of years now. Sleeping on the floor is a sacrifice. We've got all of my statues up here. I'm a big sucker for religious statues. Sacred heart of Jesus. I keep Jesus on my mirror so every time when I wake up, instead of looking in the mirror, I can remind myself that that's who I'm supposed to look like, not me.

I love reading. Actually I don't read many books. I kind of just collect them. Coffee machine, crucial. Spider-Man, also crucial. Right here, it's all the ladies in my life.




DEMATTE: It's important to go to an abortion clinic and pray the rosaries, simply because we provide a support for the women who are going in. Seeing people out there on their knees, just praying for them. I pray that gives them support and let's them know that someone loves them. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death amen.

KING: Dan DeMatte, following in the good Catholic tradition, anti-abortion.

Washington Township, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hello, how are you tonight?


CALLER: Quick question. If you take procreation out of the mix and God created Adam and they have this wonderful relationship, walking through the garden every night and yet the Lord somehow said think not good, you are not complete and then he creates a woman. Does it not lend to the philosophy that man cannot be complete without a relationship with a woman?

KING: Father Bartunek? We only have a minute left.

BARTUNEK: It could, but it's a wrong interpretation. You see with Christ, he showed us that it is possible to be complete, fulfilled and live a fulfilling life for one's self and for others, without being married. He did it himself, Saint Paul did it, and there's been an unbroken succession of saints through history in the Catholic Church who've shown that it's true and that it's possible with God.

MACARTHUR: But it's important to say that Saint Paul, there's no evidence that Saint Paul was not married. The evidence is to the contrary. He says that and he was a member of the San Hedron and marriage was required.

KING: Anthony?

PADOVANO: But you know, Larry, I think if you listen to people, they're not concerned about whether their priest is celibate or married. What they really say is can this man give me hope? Can he help me to believe in myself again? Can he help me think that there really is a God? Can he heal me when my heart is broken in a thousand pieces?

If he's celibate and he can do that for me, God bless is celibacy. If he's married and he can do that for me, God bless his marriage. The issue is hope or healing, it is not the marital status.

KING: Shouldn't that be what counts?

BARTUNEK: Actually, the issue, Larry...

KING: We've only got 10 seconds, John.

BARTUNEK: .. Whether the priest is another Christ. There are many who minister to many within the church but the priest is called to be another Christ. To sacrifice his life as Christ did.

KING: Thank you all very much. Thank you, always good seeing you. Tomorrow night, Barry Manilow. Next week, the guests will include Jane Fonda, Senator Ted Kennedy, John Walsh, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. That's all next week. Barry Manilow tomorrow and right now, we go to New York. Anderson Cooper is standing by to host "A.C. 360." Anderson, it's yours.