Sunday, May 15, 2005

And then there's this too

(story link via Atrios)

So, it's happened. The rift is beginning to widen in the Catholic community. Some 100 parishoners were denied Communion in a St. Paul church today for wearing rainbow-colored sashes in support of homosexuals. One of those denied Communion was a nun, Sister Gabriel Herbers. Archbishop Harry Flynn said the decision was made because those people wearing the sashes were protesting Church teaching. Just a thought, but wasn't it this stifling of discussion that led to the Reformation?

I firmly believe if it had not been Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger chosen as the new Pope, things would not be coming to this. I was hoping there would be a different Cardinal, so the Church could finally have the dialogue it has long been lacking about the status of gay people. Instead, our new pope is a man with limited tolerance, who had Father Thomas Reese, the editor of America, the Catholic magazine, fired for publishing articles that expressed dissent with Ratzinger's positions as guardian of church doctrine.

I'm Catholic. I'm in dissent with the Church's position on several issues right now, but I still practice on my own. I pray, I follow the Holy Days, I observe Lent, etc. I think the only way the Church can have a true future is to have a brutally frank conversation about where our religion is going. Jesus changed a lot of tenets, and made enemies because he challenged the Old Testament. He demonstrated that God has flexibility in his teachings, that there are not as many moral absolutes as we once thought. The evangelical movement claims to be part of Jesus' teachings, but ignores much of what the Son of God actually taught. Their tolerance is very limited, considering Jesus saved an adulteress, a prostitute, and lepers. Pope Benedict XVI is unfortunately part of this movement, in a sense.

If this conversation does not take place, Catholicism will experience another schism. Many dioceses in South America and Africa are breaking the rule about contraception in order to try to prevent the spread of AIDS. Priests in South America often marry or have relationships in the alley, so to say. It is not enough to "just say no." The idea of sex purely for procreation is antiquated. Married couples, let alone the unmarried ones, enjoy having sex. When it comes to AIDS, as Nick Kristof pointed out in a recent column, it's beginning to spread more among married couples in Africa because they don't know they're infected. This is where condoms could save thousands, if not millions of lives.

Also, every other religion in the world allows their preachers to marry. Why not Catholicism? Having children is a gift from God, so why should priests be prevented from having this gift? Furthermore, wouldn't this help raise the number of priests in Catholicism, considering that we have a genuine crisis in our lack of priests. What keeps many men from joining the priesthood is an inability to partake in what is part of natural instincts, the desire to raise a family. More men are committing to marriage and monogamous relationships than ever. I mean, around the time I was 13, I was thinking that I might be a priest, but the idea of not having a family kept me away. It does the same to many others.

It might be a foreign concept in America right now, but Darwin's law applies to the Catholic Church of 2005: Evolve or slowly become extinct.


Blogger E. M. Zanotti said...

We are going to have a major discussion on this. I need some serious time to compose some thoughts, though.

10:35 PM  
Blogger E. M. Zanotti said...

I am very pleased with the direction that the Church has taken, with the elevation of Ratzinger, and the new doctrinal hard line. Many people forget that Catholicism is a religion, and that by virture of that characterization, it is a voluntary choice to belong. If you have a problem with the direction of the Church, there is nothing keeping you as a member--you are always welcome to find a different religion that suits your tastes--the Church needs no false friends.

My basic point is that, rather than capitulate to modern secularism and moral relativism, Ratzinger (now Benedict) and the Church would rather remain a bastion of light in the dark. I realize that this opens the Church up to criticism about the recent sex scandals, but those scandals are the result of a myriad of Church problems caused by the very secularists who seek to undermine and change the Church's direction--those in the Church's heirarchy that believe as you believe--that the Church needs to "come into the 21st century." They believe that by creating an acceptance for the homosexual lifestyle, they can somehow become more in tune with the popular culture, but it was a bad decision for the Church, and it would be a bad decision for the doctrine. Not to mention the very people who claim to despise the Church for its scandals are the very people who call on the ACLU to defend people like NAMbLa, who are as much a threat to anyone as any pedophile, so lets dispose of this issue right now.

Tolerace is the virtue of a man without convictions. The Catholic Church is more than happy to celebrate the personhood of the homosexual, but the doctrine of the Church strictly forbids the practice of homosexual sex. We don't look on them as dirty or unclean--the Bible, and the Church's doctrine specifically states that we love our neighbors. Homosexual sex, on the other hand, is abhorrent. It is a sin. Why those who do not share in this beleif find the need to constantly challenge the Catholic Church is beyond me. We have no obligation to tolerate that which we do not believe is right. To allow for such behavior within the Church is hypocritical, both to the Church and to God's natural law.

Before I am accused of being a bigot, let me explain what natural law truly is, and why its influence is continually pervasive. Catholics, and many Christians believe that there are certain laws that are permanent. They are against crimes that are evil in themselves. There is a certain moral code that is ageless, it is timeless and we must ascribe to it. We cannot merely accept certain moral shortcomings simply because we feel that it would be "good for our society" or "it feels right." Moral sancitity means holding on to those basic tenets of the faith that are essential to it remaining pure--respecting God, respecting our neighbor, and respecting ourselves. Simply loving thy neighbor does not mean that we must love everything they do, or that we must accept it. There is a reason that that is called moral relativism. When we begin to acccept practices that are contrary to God's law and to the natural law, we alter our thinking, and well allow those practices to become what is right, rather than what we know to be right. We give in to temptation and we ruin the fabric of our complete morality.

The tolerance of the practice of sex outside of marriage is the finest example of moral relativism. Sex outside of marriage ruins what the sex act truly means. Sex is the most beautiful connection that two people can have--it is not merely an act that should be done because it feels good, or because the rest of society says that its okay to do it. The rest of society may practice this, but it does not mean that those who are true to the Magesterium need to. Pope John Paul II was especially hard line on this subject.

Could condoms save lives? It doesn't seem so. Condoms, contrary to what appears to be popular knowledge, while they may protect against pregnancy when used correctly, do NOT protect against sexually transmitted diseases. The only true protection against AIDS or any STD is complete abstinence. That's also the only way that the spread of AIDS has been curbed. The only places that the spread of AIDS is on the decline is in countries where the government has followed the suggestion of the Catholic Church, among other religious organization, to preach absinence.

Joining the clergy is not that kind of a decision, I am sorry to say. As a member of the clergy, you are married to God. Take it from me, I went through four months of apostalte training as a nun in the Domincan order. Joining the clergy is about forgoeing the joys of the flesh, and the joys of materialism for a life wholly devoted to God. Unfortunately, many have lost sight of this because of the lack of discipline the Chuch has exercised after Vatican Two. Joining the clergy means forgoing having a family--if you are called to engage in marriage or have a family, then the preisthood is clearly not for you. Those who feel that they are called to be married to Him, and to devote their lives to Him would do so better.

I'm not sure what else to say, these are pretty blanket, but I can get into detail on the Magesterium and the Catechism, if you present the challenge. I would be happy to engage in a discussion on this.

By the way, Darwin has several laws, none of which are "evolve or slowly become extinct!

11:52 AM  

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