Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why I stay Catholic

I’m often asked why I stay in the Church, and I give answers in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky, but the subject is never exhausted. An article in NCR Reasons to stay renewed the question in me.

Maine’s effort to legislate marriage equality failed recently after Catholic bishops spent thousands of dollars to defeat a bill granting rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, despite research showing that 58 percent of Catholics favor acceptance of homosexuals.

A greater rift between hierarchy and most American Catholics exists on the issue of contraception, with most people in the Church ignoring the bishops’ prohibition. That “each sexual act must be open to the possibility of children” violates plain sense, as it would ban sex to all people incapable of having children.

The bishops’ understanding of procreation as the primary purpose of marriage is obsolete by more than 1500 years. When Pope Paul VI imposed the ban on contraception with the encyclical Humanae Vitae, he ignored the majority of moral theologians and the Birth Control Commission advising him. Shortly after the encyclical was issued, over 600 scholars signed a statement dissenting from its ruling. They found the moral arguments against birth control faulty and gave serious reasons for changing the teaching. Widely understood is that the Vatican simply did not want to admit its position was wrong.

Its silly position on contraception robs it of credibility on other issues, including abortion. If the bishops really want to lower the rate of abortions, they will accept the most effective way to accomplish that—contraception—and have the courage to admit faulty judgment in the past.

What keeps me in the Church are the many Catholics who resist official repression and follow their conscience, those who think expansively, give generously, and act hospitably. Most of these broadminded people are not hierarchs. It must be hard to be a clergyman if you really do not agree with the official hard line.

3 comments:

Evelyn A. Guggisberg said...

It is not the teachings the Catholic Church has on marriage which are obsolete. It is your understanding of its teachings that is obsolete.
It is your thinking which violates plain sense. Of course the Church does not ban sex to all people incapable of having children. You had two examples of that in your own family.
Love is the basis of Church teaching on marriage. Love is inclusive & therefore it goes against the very nature of Love to NOT accept the children that the God who is Love & knows our limits beter than what we ourselves know, since He is our Creator, would allow us to conceive.
The Church does not dissalow contraception. It merely recognizes that natural family planning is the only method that TRULY complies with TRUE Love. Even in marriage, sex can become an obsession devoid of love. When the couple refrains from sex during the woman's fertile periods, they are expressing GREATER love because they are recognizing among other things, that their partner consists of a whole lot more than just an object for sex, (merely a sexual being).
The element of courtship also comes into play during this abstinence time, which helps to rejuvenate the LOVE between the married couple.

Jeanette said...

I don't believe members of the Catholic hierarchy, who have no experience with conjugal love, understand it better than those who practice it daily. As Vatican II articulated, the Church includes all its people and they have come down decidedly in favor of contraception.

Anonymous said...

Accepting homosexuals is not the same thing as accepting homosexual marriage. As a Catholic, I believe every person, including homosexuals, deserve to be treated with kindness, since they have a soul given them by God. However, to say that their union is the same as a marriage between a man and a woman is nonsense.