Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catholic Teachings: Not Fashionable

'Everybody knows' what those Catholics are like.

'Catholics are Stupid and the Church is Icky'

Details vary, depending on who the 'everybody' is.

For many American Bible-thumpers, the Catholic Church is the epitome of evil. Dedicated secularists and folks who want to be very up-to-date with the latest intellectual fashions seem convinced that the Catholic Church is the fountainhead from which comes all intolerance, hatred, and - for all I know - climate change.1

Whatever the trimmings, the basic idea is that the Catholic Church is icky, and that Catholics are pretty much stupid, deluded, or pedophile priests.

That's an oversimplification, and there are folks in this country who aren't particularly near either of those extremes.

Self-Control and Other 'Shameful' Ideas

It's not just America, apparently. Here's something I found on an op-ed website:
"While the world is joining hands to find better ways to curb the spread of the killer HIV/Aids pandemic, the Pope's comments on condom use in 2009 provoked shame and dismay over the church's role in issues relating to sexual health.

"On his journey to Africa in 2009 - where 22,4 million people are reportedly infected with HIV, two- thirds of the world total - the Pope seemed very clear that condom use was the cause of more infections across the globe...."
"Where Does Pope Benedict XVI Stand On Condom Use?"
Munesu Benjamin Shoko, NewsTime (May 31, 2011)
That's on the newstime.co.za website - presumably based in South Africa, given the .za country code.

The second paragraph is sort of true. The Pope was in Africa, and did mention condoms. What he said didn't assume that
  • People have no self-control
  • Condoms solve all problems
Hence, in my opinion, the standard-issue "shame and dismay" claim. I've been over this before.
Again, I'm over-simplifying - but not, I think, by much.

Free Will and Responsibility

Me? I'm a practicing Catholic. I assume that free will exists,2 that people can decide what they do and what they don't do - within certain parameters - and that technology won't solve all our problems. Not even if the technology is that mainstay of grooviness, the condom.

I've put a couple links to articles with a somewhat more informed look at what Father Juan Jose Perez-Soba - and the Vatican's representative to the United Nations in Geneva - said, under News and views.

Freedom of Religion - No, Really

I'm a practicing Catholic, so I have to believe that freedom of religion is important.2 That's "freedom of," not "freedom from," and I've been over that before.

About the Church, AIDS, and assumptions? That's for another post.
Update (June 8, 2011)

The Church, AIDS, and assumptions:
Related posts:
News and views:

1 See:2 Background and sources:
  • Free will: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1730
  • Freedom of religion: Catechism, 2104-2109
Not an exhaustive list.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

I think there's a word missing: "and Catholics pretty much stupid"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

P.S. These people who are shocked and dismayed do realize that condoms and other methods of birth control do no protect against sexually transmitted diseases, right?

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

Thanks, and changed. As in the other blog, I could argue correct syntax: but in this case, parallel construction is clearly the better choice.

Re. P.S. They may, and they may not. Note the disclaimers for non-barrier contraceptives in television advertising. Quite a few folks are astonishingly unburdened by common sense, when it comes to connecting knowledge of germ theory and disease transmission vectors to behavior.

Also, although they are not effective in stopping the spread of infections, they do slow it down. It's sort of like the difference between "fire proof" and "fire resistant."

Which is not to say that I disagree with the Church's positions.

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.