Pandora over at DL brought attention to a story about Catholic groups gathering a petition to the Pope for changing the Church’s views on birth control and sex education. I made the following comment which was described by another commenter as “hostile”:
Of course it’s time for the Catholic Church to update their antiquated and barbaric views on sex education, but you’re talking about the institution that just a couple of years ago, finely tuned their doctrine on exorcism for fuck’s sake!
Such a medieval view on the world will not just leap into the present without causing a huge upheaval on their faithful. Keep in mind that the Catholics in the US are some of the most progressive in the world, but represent a small fraction of the faith. Many in the smaller, more isolated communities are very old-school when it comes to subjects such as gay rights, female priests, or sex ed.
A wild switch in policy on any one of these would completely alienate a majority of the Catholic faithful.
Hostile? Yes, absolutely! Justifiably so, in my humble opinion. See, the Church holds antiquated views on birth control, that’s no secret. However, when they prohibit the easiest, cheapest, most available form of birth control, the condom, they are also prohibiting the easiest, cheapest, most available form of disease prevention.
Yes, I know they want to fill the world with tiny little Catholics who will then grow up and try to control the rest of us, however the Church is not totally blind to the financial woes of today’s family. Thus, the rhythm method. For those that don’t know, the rhythm method is the method of timing unprotected sex during the woman’s fertile days (if a baby is desired) or infertile days (if the married couple just wants to fuck).
The rhythm method has a very high failure rate, and also doesn’t protect the couple from any transmission of STD. Plus, there’s still what should be a Catholic moral dilemma of the man spilling his seed (so to speak) without the direct goal of making little Catholics. We’ll come back to that in a moment.
First, I want to talk about the very real moral dilemma of forcing this doctrine on their faithful. As the article that Pandora link states, this doctrine has an immediate negative effect on the poorer countries that are in the throes of an AIDS epidemic. Efforts to educate on and provide preventatives in these countries have been blocked by the power of the Church. Because of this moral doctrine , scores of people are getting infected and dying of AIDS. Allowing innocent people to die painfully because of a bewildering retention of this anachronistic and ill-considered ideal is simply wrong, immoral, and unjust.
Now, the article also states that the Church does much for AIDS relief. No doubt, he is thinking of the Catholic Relief Service’s AIDSRelief program. This program “cares for and treats more than 325,000 people, and more than 125,000 people are on antiretroviral therapy (ART).” (link) Don’t worry, I’m not going to dump on this program. I think it provides a necessary service, and probably gives a lot of comfort to those who are in their last days.
However, that’s kind of the problem, too. These people are being treated because they already have the virus. Barring some sort of unforeseen accident resulting in death, these people are going to die of AIDS. Imagine if the Church could simply join us in the present and temper their care with some real, working preventative aid to those that desperately need it. I know I’d rather feel confident that I have the knowledge and tools to not get AIDS than to be well-cared-for once I’ve gotten it.
Yes, my attitude to the Church on topics such as this is hostile. It’s hard not to be when I see so much suffering in the name of antediluvian doctrine when the world so desperately needs to move on and do what it takes to care for all of its people.