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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Catholicism

By: Michael Akerman


The Potent Potentate of the Papacy



Something about Catholicism confuses me. Their indoctrinated beliefs all seem to stem from the fact that it's "always been" the indoctrinated belief, with no reference to rationale. For instance, everyone's favorite, contraceptives: the idea, Ed has said, is that the people suffering under AIDS shouldn't pick and choose what parts of doctrine to follow. But what does that have to do with the enlightened West (I mean that with no sarcasm. As much as the environmentalists would have us believe we're brainless, heartless, bloodthirsty savages, the very fact that we have an environmental movement defines us as enlightened)? Do we not, as the sinless (relatively), have a duty to reach out in aid to the sinners?

Is the ideal in the Catholic Church to refuse food to the starving, because the fed are picking and choosing which parts of the doctrine to follow? If China were giving all the rice to the richest 5%, would the Catholic Church simply tell them to stop that and hope it will happen? Sinners will stay sinners, and affect innocents. Perhaps that is the most important thing to remember in the contraceptives debate: it's not just the rational (?) adults that are affected. Fornication leads to pregnancy, and the children are punished for none of their own wrongdoing with a curse of AIDS, as well as poverty and orphanhood.

Yet, the Catholic Church decides that it cannot offer aid, or allow some minor sin to better fight a worse. Do they really believe contraceptives are worse than a child with no parents, living alone, starving, and poor, and suffering under the blight of a disease for which he has neither money nor ability to fight and will kill him before he grows to maturity? And without contraceptives, this situation only grows. Pregnancies are not averted. AIDS is not averted. So the devil steps through the door in the guise of both. The child becomes not a beautiful creature, as he should be, but the product of illness and blight, stricken with the hand of Satan, with no help from the supposed servants of God. Frankly, there is no defense of the Catholic doctrine in this area. It is, indeed, heinous to fight against contraceptives in a situation like that. Would Catholics refuse taxes to pay for government services, since tax collectors have long been considered sinners, even if the government services do great good? Would Catholics refuse food to the innocent refugees in a war, because the participants, their fellow countrymen whom they have no control over, follow a false god and are sinning in their unrepentant murder of others?

This is what they do when they refuse contraceptives to Africa. The blood of innocents stains the hands of the Catholic Church, and I ask, what do they intend to do about it?




Recurrence



The sad fact is, it is this way in many cases in the Catholic Church, though not to the degree of unabashed evil of the contraceptives debacle. The refusal to ordain female priests stems purely from a few variably interpretable lines in the Bible, sheer tradition, and some foolish notion that since Jesus only picked men, that means he only chose men on purpose, not because of random chance (there were only 12 disciples. The odds of them being all men are not low) or because men, in those days, were the only educated people who could be trusted to treat the Word with the sanctity and respect it deserved. Frankly, I can't see how any of the supposed "evidence" defines the doctrine such that females should not be ordained, now that they have the same educational opportunities as males.

As a final note, I wonder what devout Catholics will do when a new Pope changes the doctrine. There is a fundamental paradox in the church, which is why no robot will ever join, in that, since every Pope is infallible (though the Pope, if my understanding is correct, has only had to use unqualified, unreasonable infallibility in two cases, when the Catholic God-King declared some doctrine that didn't have solid Biblical basis) about church teachings, then two Popes cannot disagree without disrupting the order of the universe. If God is always correct, the Pope is the voice of God, and the Pope is infallible because he always hears the voice of God correctly, then either that statement is false, or the meaning of right and wrong are changing. Doctrine has changed in the past centuries, so, since the doctrine is the Word of God, right and wrong must be shifting with the times. Wouldn't a devout Catholic have to throw out their ideals as Popes change the interpretation of the Bible? When John Paul II began to reach out to Muslims, who was right, him, or Urban II, who advocated the Crusades to cleanse the Holy Land?




The End of Days



Sadly, as far as world politics goes, my analysis is that, unless the next Catholic Pope can drastically modernize the flexibility of the Church, the Catholic Doctrine will slowly lose its place as a force in world politics. I say sadly because, for all the inflexibility and uselessness the Doctrine has shown in modern times, the Church has wrought great good with its evil. The Crusades, looking back, were wrong, but providing education for at least part of the population during the Dark Ages blunted somewhat the destructiveness that was that era. For all the death in the name of God, there has been far more life and charity in the name of the same. Frankly, I don't want the Catholic Church to go the way of the poodle and the dodo, because its sway is commonly useful for great good, but unless it can change, the Protestant churches will be the new Catholicism. But Protestants don't have a centralized authority (and, I hope, never will), so they can never be a major player on the world stage.

The slow choking off of Catholicism progresses already in the United States, and other liberal nations, aided not a little by the Priestly Abuse scandal (which the Church seems to accept without much argument, sadly, but that's another post). Modern education has opened the eyes of students to the problems of the world, and they see the glaring points where the Catholic Church will not take action more than the points where the Catholic Church makes good where evil once was. Such is the way of observation. The same way we see the scandals more than the triumphs in politics, we see the sex with boys and the refusal to aid Africa more than the charity in religion. If the Church doesn't turn around, it will die, as a tree under vines, in the modern liberalization and modernization of the world.

To some, the preservation of ideals may be more important than the preservation of the Church. In that case, the Church will die with them.

~By my hand,
~Michael Akerman

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