Monday, April 14, 2008

Protesting the Pope

Q - Interesting article. What are your views on these protests?

A -
Thanks for asking. Warning - you asked for my opinion. So, I will give it to you, though I will tell you that it does not necessarily represent my employer or anyone else. To be quite frank, I don't find the article interesting at all. I normally just ignore these kind of articles because they are the same arguments that have been tossed around since I was born (and well before). But, since you asked, I will address some of the issues raised.

First I want to point out the bias in the article. Anybody that complains about the Catholic Church gets space in it, but the ONE person who represents the Church in a positive light gets 51 words out of a piece of almost 1,000 words (thanks to word count in Word) = 1/20 of the article. Also, notice that the Church's doctrine is mischaracterized in such language as "the Vatican's ban on contraception", "a women-priest movement condemned by the Vatican", and "the Vatican's opposition to artificial birth control". It is the Vatican's opposition, not the Catholic Church's - at least in the author's view. This gives you an idea of the mindset from which this is written. Of course, I would expect little else, because there is such ignorance about the Church and there is little regard for opinions that challenge the culture of death's status quo in the mass media today.

Now, as for the protesters themselves. They got too much press as it is. There are a small handful of people who would join such groups (total less than 1% of the Church) and yet they get all this time. Why don't the faithful Catholics who are doing wonderful things get press? Because it isn't scandalous or provocative.

*"Women priests" is a nonplus to me. It isn't a justice issue either. I can't be a mother, is that a matter of justice? No. Neither can a women be a priest (a male function instituted by Christ and his apostles - all men). The priest stands as Christ when celebrating the Sacraments and a women cannot be that same image of Christ. It has to do with the complimentarity of the sexes. If we really want to get to the heart of equality - then we have to deal with the fact that we are different. I have written a couple of articles on the issue - here is one (pdf) on this issue that explains it in more detail.

*Homosexual lifestyle advocates want the Church to change the doctrine that sex isn't just about pleasure. They don't realize that it is intimately (excuse the pun) tied to procreation and imaging of God as well. Sex is Sacramental as well, but we can't realize this when we are bound by our passions. Sex is so much more important and beautiful than just having a good time. John Paul II's theology of the body dives deeply into this topic. To sum it up - sex that purposefully excludes either (or both) dimensions of the sexual act - procreation and unity of the spouses - becomes less than it was intended for by God. Homosexual sex excludes both. This issue isn't about compassion for the person of homosexual inclinations, it is about wanting acceptance for an sinful act. Sex is about a gift of the whole self to the other, not just fun.

Now, as to the contraception arguments - they don't stand up under pressure. See here. In fact, I noticed the argument in the article that "most" Catholics don't follow the Church's teaching on contraception, but when have numbers of opinions determined truth? I have never had an honest conversation with anyone who - after we talked - agreed that contraceptive arguments stood on solid ground. Most admit they don't. But, ignorance is the majority here.

The last group has the most compelling argument, but I have to ask the question - would it really have been enough for them if the Pope did meet with victims and did visit Boston? When will it ever be enough? I think it is absolutely horrible that certain representative of the clergy did what they did to innocent boys, girls, men and women - but I have to wonder what would be enough for some who haven't been satisfied by anything done so far.

Regardless, I will continue to pray for all of those who feel alienated, hurt and far from the Church's teachings. I also agree with one person in the article who said that he "believed in miracles". I do too. I believe God can change hearts and draw everyone far from the Church to her once again. I believe that those that dissent from the Catholic Church's teachings can have a change of heart. I have seen it happen in my own life and the lives of countless others. The truth is very attractive, in fact the truth isn't just a set of propositions, it is a person - Jesus Christ - whom I pray all of us encounter as the Pope visits our country!

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