The Church in the Modern World

contraception

Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies are bad things, right? So, the Church should let people prevent them through the use of contraceptives, right? Wrong. Let’s break down the reasons why.

Sex should not be separated from marriage. Pre- and extramarital sex – vaginal, oral, manual, anal, wherever – is at all times and in all situations improper. Furthermore, marital intercourse must have two aspects, unitive and procreative. Casual sex denies the former (and often the latter). Contraception obviously denies the latter. Less obviously, barrier methods prevent full unity. A husband’s body is not his own, but belongs to his wife. Likewise, a wife’s body belongs to her husband. To use a condom is to withhold the man’s seed to his wife and to use a diaphragm is to deny a woman’s seed to her husband.

What about the people dying from [insert disease here] because the Church forbids them to use condoms? Millions are dying (in Africa for instance) not for want of condoms but for want of self-control. Giving condoms to them is like putting a bandaid on a massive hemorrhage. How are we to help people who so obviously can’t or won’t control themselves? We need to teach them the value of chastity and monogamy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to paint them all with the same brush in some prejudicial sense. I am merely looking at the statistics. I’ve said similarly disparaging things about people who choose to smoke in spite of the clear medical evidence that it’s unhealthy. Filters are like condoms. They don’t solve the problem – obstinate people who won’t do what’s good for them and cease risky behavior. Obviously, this analogy can only go so far since smoking is nowhere near as bad as promiscuous sex in the midst of a deadly pandemic, but I think the gist is clear. Besides, how can anyone be so certain allowing Catholics to use condoms would help? If the people who are spreading the disease are Catholic, they’re obviously not following the Church’s moral proclamations pertaining to pre- and extramarital sex. If they’re ok with breaking that rule, why don’t they break the rule about artificial birth control? The more I think about this, the less I think this is a Church problem. It’s not like the Church is barring secular or other religious institutions from providing condoms to people.

Unity and procreation must be intimately connected. The love between a man and a woman should be so superabundant that it must be expressed in the formation of another person to be loved. I think Sacred Tradition and Scripture clearly indicate that if one is not ready to have children, one should not yet marry. Children are not an optional side-effect of marital union. They are the obvious, natural end. There should be no such thing as an unwanted child. Those unwilling to raise children should a) refrain from marriage and intercourse b) give up the children they have for adoption. Those willing but unable to have children should adopt. Planned Parenthood’s catch phrase of “every child a wanted child” shouldn’t mean “If a child is unwanted, kill it”, but rather, “There is no such thing as an unwanted child”.

It is as a consequence of these truths that I take issue with the Church. I am becoming increasingly disillusioned by natural family planning (NFP). Too often, it is used explicitly as a contraceptive method – a very effective one at that. The Church teaches that one should always use NFP apologetically and only for grave reasons. What constitutes a grave reason? I think many couples practitioners use it because they don’t want children for various selfish reasons and because it’s not forbidden by the Church. Some want the Church to make artificial contraception licit. Far from that, I’d like the Church to be clearer about the ways in which NFP is often illicit.

abortion and stem cell research

Abortion is part of a contraceptive mentality. As already stated, children are not an optional side-effect of marital union. They are the obvious, natural end. Besides, preventing unwanted pregnancies by abortion is like preventing unwanted weight gain by inducing vomiting. It’s unnatural, unhealthy, and illogical.

The Church currently teaches that human life begins at conception and must be protected. Thus, abortion and embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) are both unacceptable. If the Church were to ever change its belief that life begins at conception, ESCR might become acceptable, but abortion would not because it subverts the natural end of copulation.

“For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Psalm 139:13-16

homosexuality

I find the United Church of Christ’s recent TV ads very insulting because they imply that to reject active homosexuality is the same as rejecting the aged, the inform, those of color, etc. It’s a sort of “guilt by association” trick. I’m suddenly as bad and nasty and unChristian as though who discriminate based on age, race, etc. We’re told Christianity is a religion of love and acceptance, so we should accept embrace homosexuals without question. Acceptance of homosexuality is a thoroughly unChristian thing to do. Sexual activity outside unitive and procreative intercourse in the context of the marriage between a man and a woman is always and everywhere sinful. Homosexual activity is contrary to the created order and an abomination in the eyes of God.

Even if it is sinful, some say, it should be accepted because the Church is full of sinners that don’t get excluded for their sins. The problem with this analogy is that the Church, while not sending people away, doesn’t condone their sins. To accept the gay lifestyle without criticism would be like accepting adultery, abuse, theft, blasphemy, or any number of common-place sins. Gays want to be able to be part of the Church without having to renounce homosexual behaviors. If you want to say homosexuality is just one of a myriad of sins committed by Christians, at least recognize that like any sin it must be confessed with contrition and the sinner must earnestly desire to stop committing it. We can’t have a double standard for sin such that we look the other way when certain groups are offended because their favorite sin isn’t accepted as normal or righteous behavior.

An important thing to remember is that Jesus loved the sinner, but hated the sin. That phrase doesn’t appear explicitly in Scripture, but the idea does.

“‘but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.'” – John 8:1-11

After the adulteress’ accusers depart, Jesus tells her to sin no more. How about Zacheus? He gave up his sinful ways to become a disciple of Christ. If Jesus spoke about homosexuality, it’s not recorded. That doesn’t mean Scripture has nothing to say about it. Should we be judgmental of homosexuals? No. Does that mean homosexuality is OK in God’s eyes? No.

I don’t have time right now to find Paul’s condemnation of it. Jesus’ views on marriage aren’t hard to find, though.

“Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.’ They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?’ He said to them, ‘For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.’ The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.’ But he said to them, ‘Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.’ “- Matthew 19:1-12

  1. Jesus refers to Genesis and reaffirms the importance of maleness and femaleness as they were created.
  2. Man and woman are to become one flesh, not two men or two women.
  3. Jesus teaches against divorce, which was permitted under Mosaic law. When He later fulfilled and superceded the old covenant, the ceremonial laws were essentailly repealed, but the moral laws were left in tact (see Paul for evidence of this, particularly Galatians), which state that homosexuality is an abonimation in the sight of God.
  4. I believe that those who suffer from same-sex attraction but refrain from acting on it are counted among those who are eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom (Matthew 19:12).

There are some things the Church can change and other it can’t change. Of the former, there are some the Church might be willing to change and others it probably won’t. Dissident Catholics and the news media need to learn the differences. It is unclear whether the next pope will allow married priests. It is doubtful that he will lift the ban on artificial contraception. It is highly unlikely that he will allow female priests. He will not declare abortion or homosexual acts acceptible.

Comments 59

  1. Jerry Nora wrote:

    ” One final note: I would rather see female priests than married priests. The potential negative impact of the latter is serious enough that it outweigh my concerns about the former.”

    Okay, so you would personally rather see female celibate priests than married ones (odd…), but think that the logistics or trouble of doing so outweighs your preference?

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 3:45 am
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    “What are the problems of a married priest that aren’t found by celibate female ones?”

    I should think it’s fairly obvious. Theological issues aside, why would the celibate priesthood be any more difficult for women than it would be for men?

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 5:44 pm
  3. Rick Grucza wrote:

    That said, I do think we have a fascinating topic for discussion here (not pontification – no pun intended)…. Rather than just say, “My way or the highway!”, I’d like hear your opinions.

    I suspect if you really wanted to hear a diversity of opinions, you wouldn?t be so enthusiastic about throwing around labels like ?hereitc? and ?dissident?. When those words come out, you usually get a choir preaching to itself rathe rthan a ?conversation?, much less a ?dialogue?. I know plenty of people who bust their tails for their parishes and their Churcuh, and have been doing so for more years than most of the people participating here have been alive — who would meet your definition of ?dissident?.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 4:04 am
  4. Tom wrote:

    celibate female priests than married priests

    I would respectfully request you rethink that. Celibacy is a discipline, maleness is required for validity. I’d rather go to an Eastern Catholic Mass celbrated by a married Maronite priest than an Episcopal service with “Father” Judy.

    And I want to see Cardinal Ouellet to be elected Pope, just to see the look on the faces of those aging hippies at Call to Action, and We Are Church.

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 10:24 pm
  5. Steve N wrote:

    Criminy, Funky, you’re more liberal than I am… AFAIK, JPII (requiescat in pace) pronounced infallibly on (and against) the ordination of women for the priesthood, so don’t anyone hold their breath.

    Actually, I’m not bothered by the idea of married priests at all, but of course am perfectly happy with the current discipline.

    On the other issues, all I can offer is good hearty (ex)evangelical Aaaymen… We’re still struggling with the total contraception picture, but I think in our hearts we know it’s right.

    Cheers!
    Steve

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 3:39 am
  6. Steve N wrote:

    err… that the RCC’s view is right! [whew]

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 3:41 am
  7. Jerry wrote:

    Funky: there are married priests, there were married apostles. There have never been female priests, celibate or otherwise.

    Hence my surprise that you thought an innovation (be it legitimate or not, we never had them before) with the priesthood would be more desireable than a married priesthood, which did exist for a time in the Latin Church, and continues to exist in many other Churches, Catholic and Orthodox.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 7:23 pm
  8. christy wrote:

    Great post! I’m with you!

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 1:30 pm
  9. terry george wrote:

    Hi Funky et al. I’m a catholic new to blogging, and was invited to see this string from powerblog. Here goes:

    Married Priests:
    1) If it is allowed generally, I’d persue it. But I’m not holding my breath.
    2) It could be problematic to integrate worldwide. Places where the chuch is growing outnumber the US & Euro catholics, and they don’t seem to have the same shortage. Could stall their growth to begin allowing it now, or to reward the most wayward dioceses / countries by allowing it in them only.

    Female Clergy:
    1) In light of JPII’s theology of the body, there are different roles for the different sexes (as if the havoc of radical feminism hasn’t proved this to us also). God didn’t just accidentally chose male roles as “Father” and “Groom”. I hope that if you consider this issue in light of this, you can see it with less ambivalence.
    2) I thought that JPII had ‘ex cathedra’ declared it is impossible. Whether he did or not, Jerry Nora shows breifly that it is still out of the question.
    3) The female clergy that I’ve seen in other denominations have ALL demonstrated serious shortcomings to me. I would Not want to be pastored by them! See point (1).

    Contraception: you make some great points. Also consider:
    1) Artificial Contraception (A.C.) has been spectacularly UNsuccessful in preventing STD’s. Only the intro of abstinence education has led to success (ie Uganda vs rest of Africa).
    2) A.C. is not stored properly, especially in the third world. Read the label; avoid excess humidity and heat (or as they taught us in college, don’t put it in your pocket). How many of those condoms in Africa do you suppose stayed in a cool dry hull while being shipped across the ocean and a cool dry warehouse up until the time they were used?
    Has anyone done a scientific study on the breakdown of condom material in the actual African environement and consequent real disease prevention rates…
    Don’t anyone think that we’re much better off in USA, I worked in stores unloading the trucks that carried the goods, including A.C. They were sweltering in summer and frigid in winter, not ideal storage conditions…
    2) Our government funded analysis (CDC, HHS) of available research shows that condoms are imperfect at preventing diseases even under ideal conditions.
    3) The people who resort to the use of A.C. for protection are already choosing a risky behavior (extramarital sex versus abstinence). Therefore, they are likely to take further risks by not using the A.C. properly. Studies of real life A.C. success rates bear this out.
    4) A huge portion of those who are now affected-by or in-danger-of AIDS in Africa are AIDS orphaned children who don’t have good guidance on avoiding risky behaviors, making good moral decisions, or even how to use A.C. (plus A.C. is proven to be less effective with children than adults).
    5) I think that Churches should try to put pressure on outside entities to change the world for good. Church and politics must mix to a degree.

    Abortion: won’t be solved without an end to the widespread use of A.C.

    Homosexuality: again you make some great points. It is both a sin and a mental disorder (makes sense, all disease, including mental disorders, entered the world because of sin). It must be treated as such to be overcome (like most addictions I beleive). Perhaps the next pope will highlight groups like Courage by visiting them.

    Thanks for the forum,

    Terry >

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 4:34 am
  10. Steph wrote:

    Hi! I’ve been enjoying reading all the comments here. I am a 22-year-old female grad student in math and I am Anglican (Canadian), although I have recently been attending an Anglican Catholic Church because I am not impressed by any of the local Anglican churches.

    I am surprised, as many others seem to be, by your statement “I would rather see celibate female priests than married priests. The potential negative impact of the latter is serious enough that it outweigh my concerns about the former.” I’ve noticed that many of the people commenting seem to accept “the potential negative impact” of a married priest, i.e. that a priest could not possibly devote sufficient time and energy to both the church and his family, as a real threat. I would like to challenge that. I think that a priest with a family could actually strengthen the church.

    Take my own family (They’re in the US). My father is a full-time professor at a liberal arts college and serves as an Episcopal priest part-time. But how is it possible to be a priest only part-time? He conducts communion at two Episcopal churches almost every Sunday—one is an half-hour and the other is a full hour away from the town where he lives, in addition to a weekly reading group, visitations to the sick, funerals, weddings, beptisms, youth nights, etc. This clearly takes up more than the five-ten hours a week he officially works. In addition, there are seven children in my family—more than in any family at the local Catholic church. To say that he is overworked and overstressed is an understatement. But the churches that he ministers to are thriving and my own siblings love that they can participate in the church and share something with my dad. Two of my brothers serve as accolytes, my sister sometimes reads the lessons, four of them sing in the choir, and after church they take turns playing the bells. My dad took my oldest brother Chris with him to Turkey a few years ago and while there, they decided to purchase incense. After they came back, they spent hours out in the garage figuring out how to make it smoke. The next Sunday Chris tried to make the inside of our little church as blue with smoke as those in Turkey. His enthusiasm, as well as those of my other siblings, have endeared them to the church—although he has been asked to refrain from using incense unless it is absolutely necessary! The churches, which had been withering under the direction of single women priests, are coming to life again. Other children like coming to church because they can rely on my brothers and sisters being there. I think that having children helps a priest bring life back into a dying parish. And if it can help that parish, what could it do for a thriving one that just lacks a priest?

    And it’s not just my family. The local Orthodox priest also has a family and works outside the church in order to support his family. However, the Orthodox church, which is only a few years old now, is also growing. I would also like to point out, that in neither of these examples are the priests trying to bring in anything modern. They are following traditional practices. In fact, in the case of my dad, our liberal bishop can’t figure out why the two churches under his care are thriving, not dying.

    So, while I agree that a married priest would feel the stress of a family, I do not think that it will hurt the church–it may even improve his family life. Paul certainly wasn’t against married priests. However, as my examples above illustrate, the question of how to financially support a priest’s family is probably more of an issue, especially for small parishes.

    With that said, I’m not arguing for the Roman Catholic Church immediately to allow priests to marry because I don’t think that now is the proper time. Too many other challenges to the priesthood, like allowing homosexuals and women to become priests, might succeed as well (Let me assure you that neither works–and I come from within the North American Anglican/Episcopal Church where both are accepted).

    Posted 10 Apr 2005 at 1:54 am
  11. Jan Gommers wrote:

    I consider myself a faithfull Christian, who is not at all unhappy with the fact that Christianity was imbued in me in the RCC of my youth. Perhaps I was lucky, I have nothing but tender and beautiful memories on that. Especially for children the RCC CAN be a very nice thing. It was so for me. I feel at home in the sacred beauty of the RCC and I have the impression that I would now, as an adult, not have this receptivity for this unique way of feeling and expressing , were I raised as a Protestant. And I say this because my arguments against some changes in the church derive from this experience. For me Vatican II had good things, but also destroyed some of this sacred beauty so essential in my experience. Now for the issues: the Church should not give in to anything, except for reasons of prudence. It should vehemently remain opposing abortion except in some extreme cases. It should oppose womens priesthood but it should accept women helping out because there simply are no priests enough, in some places. It should oppose contraception, but here it should insist on prudence. Abstinence is to be prefered over extramarital sex, but it can be better, in some communities at some time, to tell the people : look, the dangers are great, if you have to, use a condom. Homosexuality is the most difficult issue. Theologically and socially no position currently available satisfies me. For the moment I feel prudence is the best thing. Urge for normal monogamous sex. If not possible, at least try loving , monogamous (homosexual) sex. By far the most important issue is the issue of abortion. Since Roe v. Wade one and a half billion children have been murdered worldwide! The most innocent and vulnerable! This generation speaks about ‘human right campaining’, but it is all a gigantic lie because of this. After I have seen films that actually portray WHAT HAPPENS in the womb in an abortion on a child of 11 weeks I am utterly convinced about this. It is the biggest shame since slavery and the holocaust. It a huge,colossal collective moral error,only possible because one does not SEE the child in the womb when it is butchered. I have seen. I now know. We have brought Auschwitz in the motherwomb. We have cruelly butchered one third of our children since Roe v Wade. We are the worst of all generations. This horrific outrageous horror is the worst thing that momentarily goes on. We will all be guilty for God and the butchered children,we will not be able to say what the Germans said: Wir haben es nicht gewusst (we didn’t know). Not a single day goes by that I am not horrified by the thought of this still going on and the unspeakable perverted way that especially the Left is talking about it. The many stories available now from women whose lives were destroyed by the aftermath of abortions speak also volumes. Free choice is fiction; young girls are heavily pressured and later on ,when they feel guilt they get the harsh:it was your choice,response.
    To me we are not at all different from prehistoric pagan people that cruelly sacrificed their babies to their pagan Gods. Our pagan God is called Convenience. Abortion is the huge black stain on the presentday generation worldwide and the most outrageous is that this generation is stubbornly denying it. If anything the RCC must keep on railing against this outrage. Abortion is also destroying our sense of right and wrong. Murder is evil, except when done to an unborn child. Why then is it at all evil on others?Everything is going down because of this. And we all are guilty as hell.

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 5:04 am
  12. Teresa O'Neal wrote:

    I converted to Catholicism *because* of the Church’s stands on all of the issues mentioned. It’s kind of amusing to me how non-Catholics all have opinions on what the Church should say about this or that issue, and who the next Pope should be. I think it just shows how truly relevant the Church is in the today’s world. If the Church were as out-of-touch and irrelevant as people (especially the media) would like us to believe, why are they so obsessed with the Church conforming to their beliefs?

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 8:34 pm
  13. theomorph wrote:

    I don’t care what the church does. If they modernize, then Catholics will go around claiming that their religion is still relevant and responsive in a rapidly changing modern world; if they maintain their gender inequality and opposition to birth control, etc., then anybody who is terrified of the modern world and its changes will flee to Catholicism because ancient traditions make them feel more comfortable. Either way, people are just doing what makes them feel nice.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 1:20 pm
  14. Arwen/Elizabeth wrote:

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, so I might be repeating what someone else has already said, but – I, like you, thought that someday the Church might ordain women (even though I personally think it’s a bad idea) until this spring, when decided to write my thesis about it. If you do the research, you’ll realize that the Church will not ordain women. In fact, it has declared itself unauthorized to ordain women. See Inter Insigniores (1976) and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994).

    Posted 10 Apr 2005 at 9:36 pm
  15. c matt wrote:

    I hope the next Pope is as charitable and as strict.

    And if not as charitable, at least as strict.

    Pontificator, I think it’s silly for someone who’s not even Catholic to refer to Catholics as pick-and-choose Protestants..

    Silly as it may seem, he is correct. As a cradle Catholic (like that should make you feel any better), I agree with him 100% on that.

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 8:03 pm
  16. David wrote:

    I share your ambivalence about female priests, but probably only because I haven’t researched it as Arwen/Elizabeth has done.

    But I find the supposed arguments you posted about female ordination, and your comments awfully short-sighted:

    “Having established sexual bifurcation, God had to choose one sex or the other for His incarnation. The way I see it, He could have just as easily chosen to be a woman. There are various historical reasons that I don’t think a female messiah would have had global impact, but all are speculative. ‘Christ chose only male apostles.’ That may have been a historical nessessity, but again I cannot prove that.”

    This implies that God was forced into a corner where he had to make a choice. As if he decided to create male and female and then when he got to the whole messiah thing he suddenly realized He had to choose? Not to mention the fact that Christ already existed when God created humanity. And the same is true for the cultural necessity of a male messiah (that he may be received by the culture) and the historical necessity of choosing only male apostles. These are a matter of timing, and if it was going to take another 2,000 years, wouldn’t God have waited? Isn’t his timing perfect?

    All of these assume that God’s hand was forced by circumstance. Somehow, I think the Creator of the Universe, who sacrificed his only Son in order to redeem us, also figured out the whole gender-of-the-messiah thing.

    Again, I really don’t know where I stand on this issue, but as far as the reasons you give here, if that’s the collection of the best arguments in favor of female ordination, I would imagine that Arwen/Elizabeth’s thesis didn’t take much effort. :)

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 3:33 am
  17. Funky Dung wrote:

    I state my opinions and beliefs openly and honestly. If someone wishes to take me to task for calling certain beliefs heretical or dissident, I’d be glad to hear their reasons.

    I’d like to point out that, as demonstrated by earlier comments, my beliefs do not match up perfectly with official teaching. I think there are some issues for which there is some leeway for debate and disagreement and others for which there is none. I do not believe it is wrong to call certain beliefs heretical if that is indeed what they are. It’s one thing to disagree with disciple and another thing entirely to disagree with dogma or doctrine. Let’s call a spade a spade, folks.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 4:38 am
  18. npetrikov wrote:

    I’m an agnostic whose ancestors, once upon a time, were Protestant, but who’s sympathetic to Catholics, and would sooner be RC than anything else.

    Democracy is infecting American Catholicism as it infects other aspects of our national life; it’s the modern trend. We see it in the Army and we see it in Red China, two traditional foes of democracy.

    It makes no more sense for the Church to be democratic than it does for the Army to be so. And why? Because both institutions are result-oriented.

    Democracy, by contrast, is process-oriented. The theory of the democrat is that (a) social evils are unavoidable; so (b) let’s choose a process that makes those evils less intolerable, because self-inflicted. No thought is given to the result, because the result is inevitable: evil.

    Church and Army are different: with them, it’s “save the soul” or “win the war.” Process is secondary, if the desired end is achieved. Thus, to require these institutions to emphasize process without regard to result is idiotic. Democracy mixes with these institutions, as oil mixes with water.

    Nevertheless, Americans will continue to demand democratic change in the Church, because they dearly love false analogies: if it works in one sphere of life, it must work in all. Witness Social Darwinism. This is unfortunate, but it’s part of our national psyche.

    Where John Paul II did Americans a favor was in trying, as nicely but as firmly as possible, to point out this defect in our national character. I hope the next Pope is as charitable and as strict.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 5:09 am
  19. Bec wrote:

    I’m not sure how you can support the statement that you would rather a celebate female clergy than a married one?

    Surely the concern about the validity of sacrements performed by said femail clergy is of paramount importance. A married clergy – it is not a good idea for several practical reasons.
    But women priests? This has so many elements of concerned that have little to do practical admistration. The church must be able to guarantee the validity of it’s sacrements! The condition of souls is at stake here!
    You really should read what the Holy Father had to say on the matter.

    Cadence

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 6:06 am
  20. Nathan wrote:

    I’ve decided to address this on my blog, instead of in your comments box, because my reply would be far too long for this box. You can check it out over at my blog, I’ve decided not to wait until after the nine days of mourning to address it.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 11:46 pm
  21. Funky Dung wrote:

    If husbands are passing it to wives, how are the husbands getting it?

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 3:40 pm
  22. theomorph wrote:

    In response to Steve, many comments up from here . . .

    Then allow me to clarify what I meant:

    No matter what the church does, the faithful will interpret its actions to bolster their faith. I.e., if the church maintains tradition, the faithful will praise tradition as the Great Thing about the church; if the church changes, the faithful will praise flexibility without the loss of identity as the Great Thing about the church.

    Or, to make it more complicated, no matter what the church does, the faithful will split into two groups and (a) interpret its actions to bolster their faith or (b) interpret their indignation with its actions as a sign of their faith.

    For example: If the church goes through a period of corruption, the faithful will condemn the corruption and claim their condemnation comes from the true center of the church, currently misplaced. If the church goes through a period of nobility, the faithful will tout the nobility of the church as evidence of its truth.

    Hence, from the perspective of keeping the faith, it doesn’t matter a bit what the church does, because the people who believe will always find a way to wriggle out of the institutional shapes and definitions and believe what they want to believe.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 5:47 am
  23. Pontificator wrote:

    Interesting article. As a non-Catholic I hestitate to comment, but I would like to express my surprise that you even consider the question of women’s ordination to be an open question. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is just about as definitive as one can get in a papal document:

    “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    The whole point of having a Pope is to decide on tough questions when presented. John Paul II did this. Canon lawyers can argue all they want about whether the statement qualifies as, in itself, an infallible decree; but clearly the Pope, confirmed by the Congregation of Sacred Doctrine, believes that the male priesthood belongs to the deposit of faith and is to be believed by Catholics with definitive assent.

    If a Catholic still believes this is an open question for the Catholic Church, then I suggest that he has become a pick-and-choose Protestant at heart.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 6:05 pm
  24. Funky Dung wrote:

    Jerry, my preference is one based on concern for the well-being of priests’ families and the world’s congregations, not innovation for its own sake.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 8:28 pm
  25. terry george wrote:

    John, I wonder if you read my comment above. True, Uganda (and now some other countries it seems) has used the ABC program, but the emphasis is still on abstinence first.
    As to whether those condoms are saving anyone, please reconsider. While under ideal conditions they might be 99% effective at disease prevention (1% failure), the real life failure rate is closer to 15%. Therefore, by 5 encounters (with a ‘new’ condom each time), they are more likely to fail and allow disease transmission than to succeed and prevent it! Just 5 lousy times! Surely those people who are using them are having more than 5 encounters, so telling people that they are ‘safe’ if they use a condom is ridiculous. In fact, it is a lie. Unless they are limited to only 4 sexual encounters lifetime, they are more likely to become infected than not!
    For the sake of the of those millions of people dying from AIDS, especially the many children, PLEASE reconsider your position on the use of condoms to combat AIDS.

    In Christ,
    Terry

    Posted 14 Apr 2005 at 3:22 am
  26. Tom Smith wrote:

    Me: I do, however, think that utilizing total abstinence as a means of birth control is unquestionably permissible.

    Steve-o: In addition to clearly violating scripture (I Cor. 7:5), the idea of total abstinence within marriage would seem to be proscribed by the CCC, e.g.

    Okay dude, you’re clearly right on this one. I didn’t think about that one enough.

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 11:12 am
  27. the_methotaku wrote:

    My thoughts overflowed the comment box, so I responded to you on my blog.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 8:12 am
  28. Steve N wrote:

    Nathan fumes,

    Pontificator, I think it’s silly for someone who’s not even Catholic to refer to Catholics as pick-and-choose Protestants.

    However silly it may be, the fact that he is not a Catholic has no bearing on the validity of his opinions, which seemed to me to be rather spot on… alas, another non- (at least not quite yet) Catholic.

    The pick-n-choose (“Protestant”) mentality is a pervasive artefact of, and endemic to, all modernity. As such it infects Catholics just as much as Protestants, the only difference being that it was the latter that kicked it off a while back. Salad bar “Christianity” is among the most important reasons I recently left Evangelicalism…

    Teresa, I’m with you. If I convert to Catholicism (seems like absorption might be a better analogy), it will also be precisely because of its teachings and the strength (and permanence) with which they’re held.

    Theo, thanks for the clarification… I’m out of time right now so I’ll respond a bit later…

    Cheers!

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 11:32 pm
  29. Pontificator wrote:

    Nathan, since I was personally asked by Ales to comment on his article, I think that is sufficient reason enough. Your response, however, proves the very point I was trying to make.

    Though I may be a “Catholic” outsider, I probably know Catholic theology better than a lot of Catholic folk. One thing I have learned: To be a Catholic is to assume an internal posture of humble submission to the magisterial authority of the Church. Anything else, as Newman would say, is private judgment, which is the heresy of Protestantism.

    The question of women’s ordination is not an open question within Catholicism. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis clearly intended to definitively close that question. If a Catholic feels free to dismiss this decree because it is not an “infallible decree,” he simply has not understood what authority means within the Catholic Church nor has he understood the wholeness of the Catholic Faith.

    Is it out of place for me to speak so directly? Perhaps. I am a Protestant. But precisely as a Protestant I can nose out Protestant spirits. If you still believe that you have the freedom to dissent from authoritative teaching on the question of women’s ordination, then you would quite at home in my little sect.

    Posted 10 Apr 2005 at 12:04 am
  30. Mary wrote:

    NFP can certainly be used with bad intent — to enjoy sexual intercourse without having children when there is no grave cause not to. Since, to be right, not only the action itself but the intent must be right, it is sinful to use it thus.

    A married couple who have always refrained from sexual intercourse have a ratified marriage, and can be separated if one of them wants it.

    A couple who refrain from sexual intercourse after consummating their marriage can not be separated. As for doing to it prevent conception — it depends on how serious a reason you have to avoid having children.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 2:02 pm
  31. Powerball wrote:

    NO to all of the above. The Church is not, can not, should not, better not be run on polls and opinions. It should hold to the tradition of the Church and Word of God. It’s does not matter what the world thinks.

    I just heard a Rabbi make a great case for unmarried clergy. He himslef is often torn between his family and his duties as a Rabbi. You are often neglecting one no matter what you do.

    Women preists. Is not biblical. I’m not sexist, it’s just against God’s plan.

    Contraception is a inviatation to immorality. It has not done anything to curb abortion numbers, AIDS continues to grow. If you have sex outside of marriage you are doomed. The mere fact that some forms of contraception could cause an abortion should be enough of waring to stay away. If life is valued that goes for all life.

    Homosexuality…. please see the part about sex outside of marriage. It’s against God’s law and that law can not be repealed, changed or altered no matter how large you political action group may be.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 6:33 pm
  32. Steve N wrote:

    On the issue of married clergy, Funky muses:

    I think being a parent and priest is unfair to both congregations and families. How can a priest possibly devote sufficient time and energy to both?

    I think that the allowance of married clergy might bring more men to the priesthood, thereby alleviating some of the burdens. As near as I can tell, there is a profound shortage of ordained clergy in the RCC. Of course, married clergy would have to have LOTS of kids (if they were able) to be good examples to the flock, so this would place a yet bigger burden on the church to support them. In the end though more (married or not) priests -> more money… possibly a good tradeoff. The faithful should just give more. Tithing (10% of gross income) is taught (and practiced) widely in the Evangelical church. If we go RCC, we’ll surely continue this practice there.

    Funky, your points about church vs. private property are well taken. Do all Priests take a vow poverty? (A misleading term really, since it’s actually a vow of non-ownership, a la, I promise not to own significant property as long as you take care of me.) If so, this might have to change a little bit to support married clergy. But it doesn’t seem unresolvable.

    Cheers!

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 4:14 pm
  33. Nathan wrote:

    Pontificator, I think it’s silly for someone who’s not even Catholic to refer to Catholics as pick-and-choose Protestants.

    Just because the Pope says something does not make it true. Just because the Pope believes something does not make it true. Only when the Pope states something infallibly, which must be manifestly done, is it absolutely true. It is possible for a Pope to be a heretic; it is not possible for a Pope to teach heresy as infallible truth.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 8:37 pm
  34. Michael Gallaugher wrote:

    Protestant here (but you knew that), I concur 100% with the opening
    statements of your post here. I
    have two reactions.

    1. If a person goes to a Catholic Church and says ?Hey ____ is wrong, we
    need to change that? they
    are not a Catholic and should go to another church. Religion is not a
    buffet, and I?m shocked that
    so many polls are collecting data from people suggesting it is.

    2. If Catholicism were to morph into something new, I would rather
    scripture be the guiding light of
    this move, rather than the seeker sensitive morons.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 6:20 pm
  35. Tom Smith wrote:

    Ratzy has come out and said that we are to treat Ordinatio Sacerdotalis as infallible. But we are to treat all papal documents as infallible, even if they aren’t necessarily such. Because unless & until they are contravened by later magisterium, they are the teaching of the Church.

    I would, too, like the Church to emphasize what are and are not good reasons to employ NFP, because, you’re right, it’s very possible to use it as an effective means of contraception. I do, however, think that utilizing total abstinence as a means of birth control is unquestionably permissible. NFP is only okay insofar as it’s like abstinence, if you ask me. I’d like to hear more about what other people think about this.

    As per married Roman-rite clergy, I tend to think that it really wouldn’t be terribly tragic to see an all-celibate priesthood go. Other than the logistical issues (which are big, granted), I don’t see too much of a problem with married clergy. In the Orthodox world, a good number of priests take monastic vows in addition to receiving orders. Those that don’t take vows most often have wives acting as (I may butcher the spelling) matriushki: the spiritual mothers of a parish. A matriushka is frequently the spiritual director of the parish’s women, and takes part in the apostolate (or ministry, Eric?) to the parishoners. An office like this would be kinda cool. Then again, I think the married diaconate takes over this office.

    Regarding the ordination of women, I really must say that I am convinced by a few arguments made by the various apostolic churches on the matter (but not all of them). If Christ had wanted to ordain women, why didn’t he? He certainly had female disciples, and raised gender-related scandal at other times. He was breaking all the other rules; why not that one? Also, the Orthodox make a spin on the [i]in persona Christi[/i] argument, namely that the priest is an icon of the Lord. My beef with this argument is that, if the priest is a symbol of Christ, and therefore must be male, why doesn’t the altar have to be male? They’re symbols of Christ as well. The one that convinces me most is the simple Tradition argument. The apostles did not ordain women to any sort of sacramental orders (at least not in scripture, and not “orders” in the Catholic sense). The legitimate debate on the matter, in my opinion, is limited to women in the diaconate or subdiaconate. As near as I can tell, there were never deaconesses in the West. There may have, at one point, been subdeaconesses, but since the subdiaconate does not exist in the Novus Ordo Missae, it’s kind of pointless to argue about it. Also, nearly all theologians have always claimed that the subdiaconate isn’t a sacramentally-ordained order. Evidence of this is found in the Old Rite subdeacon’s use of a humeral veil to carry the sacred vessels (only ordained ministers were able to touch the chalice, paten, and ciborium) and the office of “straw subdeacon,” in which, if only two priests were present, a layman could stand in as subdeacon.

    That was long and rambly, eh?

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 11:58 pm
  36. Funky Dung wrote:

    Really? Tell that to Uganda.

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 1:26 am
  37. Emily T wrote:

    Steve – Glad to see you back posting on Eric’s blog – and earnestly considering the Church!! :-) The zeal of converts is the best!

    I thought I would add this, partly to emphasize Eric’s post, which I see has grown since I read it this morning. This is from an article written by George Weigel at some time before the Pope’s death:

    At the outset, it may help to clarify what the issues are not. Neither the next conclave nor the next pope is going to change the Catholic Church?s teaching on the morally appropriate way to regulate births, although the cardinals may well discuss how to present that teaching with greater pastoral effectiveness.4 Neither the next conclave nor the next pope is going to endorse abortion-on-demand or euthanasia; the inviolability of innocent life is a bedrock principle of both natural and revealed law, and the Church has no authority to declare the use of lethal violence against innocents morally justifiable.5 Similarly, while the pre-conclave prattiche and the conclave itself may involve some discussion of the effects of the revolution in women?s lives (and the concurrent revolution in men?s lives) on the Church and the world, the Church?s practice of calling only men to the ministerial priesthood is not going to change, because, as John Paul II stated eleven years ago, the Church is not authorized to change that practice.6 There will likely be some discussion of the advisability of ordaining viri probati, proven and tested older married men, to the ministerial priesthood in situations where the shortage of priests is drastically impeding the Church?s sacramental life ? but the cardinals well know that this solution, if in fact it be that, will create some problems as well as address others, and we need not expect (nor, from my point of view, should we want) a full-scale retreat from the ancient linkage of celibacy and ordained ministry in the Catholic Church.7

    Which is to say that virtually all of what the New York Times imagines are “the issues” for the Catholic Church aren?t, in fact, the issues, and aren?t going to play a significant role in shaping the next conclave and the next pontificate.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 4:28 pm
  38. Jerry Nora wrote:

    Steve, the pope held back from defining the teaching about female clergy. That said, ordinary episcopal infallibility (i.e., the continuous teaching of the bishops of the Church) and extraordinary episcopal infallibility (deriving from the Councils, I reckon) are all unanimous on this point, so the pope need not make an ex cathedra statement about this. It’s quite entrenched already, and an ex cathedra statement would not do much save make people think that something is up for negotiation until the pope specifically defines it, which ain’t true. (The Eucharist has not been defined, nor does it need to be. Might as well define oxygen while you’re at it.)

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 4:17 am
  39. theomorph wrote:

    Terry–

    I’m talking about people’s use and rationalization of beliefs as regards the institution that codifies and represents those beliefs, not reason and logic in general. The idea is not that people can believe anything if they feel like it, but that a particular motivation (i.e., perpetuating an institution) can lead them to rationalize a wide variety of beliefs, some of which are contradictory.

    Posted 16 Apr 2005 at 8:40 am
  40. Funky Dung wrote:

    Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.

    Pontificator, I’m not certain that the issue is still open. However, neither am I certain that it is not. I’m a convert from Lutheranism. Maybe I’ve shaken it off entirely. I don’t think my friends and regular readers of this blog would call me a “pick and choose” or “cafeteria” Catholic.

    Nathan, read the article ELC linked to. It gives a pretty detailed account of why Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is infallible. I don’t know if I agree with it yet, but it’s worth taking a look at (and possibly responding to).

    Teresa, please don’t be hard on Protestants who comment here. I explicitly asked for their input. It’s not their Church, but Catholic policies affect the world.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 11:48 pm
  41. ELC wrote:

    The teaching in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that the Church has no authority to ordain priestesses is an ex-cathedra definition and is, therefore, infallible and irreformable.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 7:36 pm
  42. Steve N wrote:

    Theo says:

    anybody who is terrified of the modern world and its changes will flee to Catholicism because ancient traditions make them feel more comfortable.

    Though I’ve no wish to further foment the culture war, I thought I would note that one need not be “terrified of the modern world” to find its zeitgeist more corrosive than not to one’s “aesthetic judgements”. In fact, terror is one of the last emotions I would associate with such a view–those coming sooner to mind including: disgust, sympathy, sorrow, amusement, and (ultimately) pity.

    And though I can’t (neither can Theo come to think of it ;-)) speak of the motivations of everyone, much less garden variety Catholics, I hardly the think the choice to follow (or continue following) the Church’s teachings (a choice I am now earnestly considering), which seem to grow more at odds with western/modern thought every day, is a choice for comfort. It is rather, I would guess, a choice in the opposite direction, i.e., contra comfort. It is just such a comfort “emphasis” that I have personally forsaken in recently leaving the Evangelical Church. And should I and my family join Rome, it will be precisely because comfort is the one thing you cannot find by seeking it.

    Cheers!

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 3:55 pm
  43. terry george wrote:

    Theomorph,

    OK, but your earlier comments seem to generalize anyone who believes in a faith institution as falling into that category.
    So, what truth have you discovered? What do you believe in?
    Terry >

    Posted 17 Apr 2005 at 6:20 am
  44. terry george wrote:

    Theomorph,
    I think that you are demonstrating the very position which you protest: namely that people will believe whatever they want to and then simply perform mental / verbal gymnastics to ‘support’ themselves. It would appear from your comments that no matter what postition somebody took and how well they supported it, you would claim that they just made their own logical mold to fit whatever they want to believe.
    Well heck, you can say that about anyone if you want to because it cannot be proven or disproven. But that doesn’t make it true. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that there are some people out there who would fit your mold, at least some of the time. Mt 11:16-17.
    It seems to me that you are seeking for some idea to believe in which cannot be disproven. I guess I could offer two ideas:
    1) the statement that no absolute truth exists (or any permutation thereof, ie: we cannot know absolute truth) is itself a statement of absolute truth. So it’s very existence shows that it is false, and we have just demonstrated that we know some absolute truth. More is available, keep looking.
    2) whatever absolute truth exists and is knowable will be mimicked, hypocritically pronounced, mixed with falsohoods, and otherwise degraded by ALL of us imperfect humans. But it still exists and can be discovered, keep looking.

    I gave up on consciously looking for the truth for a while, but later realized that it did truly exist and that I needed to live by it even if it was not what I wanted to believe.

    sincerely,
    Terry >

    Posted 14 Apr 2005 at 3:47 am
  45. John wrote:

    They are getting it from unfaithful husbands. But it still isn’t their lack fo self control that’s causing the problem.

    But that’s a tangential issue. My real concern is that programs advancing condom usage have tended to save untold lives, where as programs stressing abstinence only have tended to cause the epidemic to get worse.

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 12:35 am
  46. c matt wrote:

    This is all fun and games, but the bottom line is that the only “issue” of the ones you raised that is negotiable at all is married priests. In the current climate, I don’t see much possibility for it. I also don’t see it really having a big impact on vocations. The lack of vocations is caused by our toxic culture. Allowing marriage or not, our culture is still too toxic to raise the self-sacrificial candidates needed.

    Posted 12 Apr 2005 at 8:18 pm
  47. Funky Dung wrote:

    To clarify: I’d rather see celibate female priests than married priests because although I have reservations about the former, I find the possible impact of the latter more worrisome.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 5:14 am
  48. Steve N wrote:

    Tom says,

    I do, however, think that utilizing total abstinence as a means of birth control is unquestionably permissible.

    In addition to clearly violating scripture (I Cor. 7:5), the idea of total abstinence within marriage would seem to be proscribed by the CCC, e.g.,

    2366 Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful.

    2373 Sacred Scripture and the Church’s traditional practice see in large families a sign of God’s blessing and the parents’ generosity/

    In short, I don’t see how total abstinence within marriage (at least among those physically able to do otherwise) is congruent with a Biblical, sacramental view of marriage at all. (Aren’t marriages anulled for this very reason?) Moreover, total abstinence for the purpose of “birth control” would nevertheless be contraception which AFAIK is still considered a grave sin.

    I know that early on some married folks (back in the “Manichean” days, when folks really thought sex was dirty) took holy orders that included celibacy, but would not the RCC frown on (or even proscribe) such a vow today? I certainly hope so!

    On the issue of ordaining women, why is no one mentioning St. Paul’s pastoral epistles? Surely the lists of qualifications for bishop (episkopos–though not exactly clear how this might extend to presbyters) make it clear that such a one must be (at least) a man. (Of course, these same instructions also indicate that he should be the husband of one (perhaps meaning no more than one and perhaps no) wife. But it does seem to be at least one additional argument against ordination of women to the priesthood.

    Cheers!

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 3:28 am
  49. Jerry Nora wrote:

    What are the problems of a married priest that aren’t found by celibate female ones?

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 2:51 pm
  50. Jerry wrote:

    What sort of concern is there for that? The Orthodox Church has fallen on some hard times, but not by virtue of having married priests.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 11:06 pm
  51. John wrote:

    While your theoretical discussion on contraception seems nice and pretty, it is well worth noting that it does not match the observed data. The countries in Africa which have pushed condom usage (more accurately, who have pushed hte ABC program) have been the ones who are successful in saving their population from the epidemic.

    You clearly have a theological aversion to contraception, and that is a legitimate belief to hold. However, don’t fudge the facts to try to make your point of view the only reasonable one. The fundamental question is whether or not the theological desire to eschew contraception is worth millions of lives. If you believe that it is, then fine. But don’t try to change the conversation to make your hard decisions appear easier.

    Lastly: most women whom contract HIV in Africa contract it from their husbands. So don’t blame them. And in general, saying that it’s their own damn fault that they have AIDS is a fairly morally reprehensible stance to take.

    Posted 11 Apr 2005 at 3:28 pm
  52. Amy wrote:

    You raise a lot of good and interesting points on all of these topics. I’m interested in your thought that a female priest would be a better situation than a married priest. As a female, I find that I would be more comfortable if the Church were to allow male priests to be married (which it already does in certain cases). It might just be my own personal impression based on what I’ve seen since girls were allowed to become Altar Servers.

    Also, about ABC v. NFP… I think that another issue to take up with the Church is over-all lack of promotion of NFP. Before I was married, if I mentioned that we would be using NFP, the assumption was that I would be pregnant in the blink of an eye. I, of course, knew better. So many people still see NFP as the “rhythm method”. I once heard a priest dismiss talk of NFP as basically “oh, yeah, the Church allows the rhythm method”
    I agree with you that there are couples out there who tend to use NFP for very selfish reasons and that there needs to be more discussion about that, as well. I know, for myself, it can be hard to determine what is truly a grave reason… which is why we re-evaluate our reasons nearly every day. The other thing that I struggle to remember is that what might look like selfish reasons to me could be far more serious for another couple. There is a LOT of gray when it comes to serious and grave reasons for postponing. It’s hard in a faith tradition that is so often very black and white.

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 3:36 am
  53. howard wrote:

    Your ambivalence on matters of the priesthood aside, I thought I’d offer this J.D. Mullane column (from your former hometown paper), in which he is one of few journalists to declare that John Paul II was “not a stubborn old man but a thoroughly committed Christian disciple” — too many people are sounding relieved, as in “Now that he’s gone, we can finally stop following all those pesky rules.”

    I suppose part of the appeal of Catholicism, at least to me, is that it isn’t a sort of religious buffet (take as much, or as little, as you want).

    Posted 08 Apr 2005 at 6:50 am
  54. Jan Gommers wrote:

    I consider myself a faithfull Christian, who is not at all unhappy with the fact that Christianity was imbued in me in the RCC of my youth. Perhaps I was lucky, I have nothing but tender and beautiful memories on that. Especially for children the RCC CAN be a very nice thing. It was so for me. I feel at home in the sacred beauty of the RCC and I have the impression that I would now, as an adult, not have this receptivity for this unique way of feeling and expressing , were I raised as a Protestant. And I say this because my arguments against some changes in the church derive from this experience. For me Vatican II had good things, but also destroyed some of this sacred beauty so essential in my experience. Now for the issues: the Church should not give in to anything, except for reasons of prudence. It should vehemently remain opposing abortion except in some extreme cases. It should oppose womens priesthood but it should accept women helping out because there simply are no priests enough, in some places. It should oppose contraception, but here it should insist on prudence. Abstinence is to be prefered over extramarital sex, but it can be better, in some communities at some time, to tell the people : look, the dangers are great, if you have to, use a condom. Homosexuality is the most difficult issue. Theologically and socially no position currently available satisfies me. For the moment I feel prudence is the best thing. Urge for normal monogamous sex. If not possible, at least try loving , monogamous (homosexual) sex. By far the most important issue is the issue of abortion. Since Roe v. Wade one and a half billion children have been murdered worldwide! The most innocent and vulnerable! This generation speaks about ‘human right campaining’, but it is all a gigantic lie because of this. After I have seen films that actually portray WHAT HAPPENS in the womb in an abortion on a child of 11 weeks I am utterly convinced about this. It is the biggest shame since slavery and the holocaust. It a huge,colossal collective moral error,only possible because one does not SEE the child in the womb when it is butchered. I have seen. I now know. We have brought Auschwitz in the motherwomb. We have cruelly butchered one third of our children since Roe v Wade. We are the worst of all generations. This horrific outrageous horror is the worst thing that momentarily goes on. We will all be guilty for God and the butchered children,we will not be able to say what the Germans said: Wir haben es nicht gewusst (we didn’t know). Not a single day goes by that I am not horrified by the thought of this still going on and the unspeakable perverted way that especially the Left is talking about it. The many stories available now from women whose lives were destroyed by the aftermath of abortions speak also volumes. Free choice is fiction; young girls are heavily pressured and later on ,when they feel guilt they get the harsh:it was your choice,response.
    To me we are not at all different from prehistoric pagan people that cruelly sacrificed their babies to their pagan Gods. Our pagan God is called Convenience. Abortion is the huge black stain on the presentday generation worldwide and the most outrageous is that this generation is stubbornly denying it. If anything the RCC must keep on railing against this outrage. Abortion is also destroying our sense of right and wrong. Murder is evil, except when done to an unborn child. Why then is it at all evil on others?Everything is going down because of this. And we all are guilty as hell.

    Posted 09 Apr 2005 at 11:19 pm
  55. Funky Dung wrote:

    Just so folks who happen upon this post know, Pontificator eventually swam the Tiber. :)

    Posted 28 Apr 2006 at 3:55 pm
  56. Steve Nicoloso wrote:

    And so did I.

    Posted 01 May 2006 at 12:48 pm
  57. Funky Dung wrote:

    Looking back at this post a year and a half later, I think I’ve figred out why I’m not unequivocally against female clergy.

    1. Axiom: Only validly ordained priests can confect the Eucharist.
    2. Premise: Maleness is necessary for valid Holy Orders.
    3. Deduction: Women cannot be validly ordained.
    4. Deduction: Female clergy cannot confect the Eucharist.
    5. Premise: Reception of the Eucharist is required for salvation.
    6. Conclusion: Female clergy cannot supply a requisite for salvation.

    My problems (aside from those mentioned in the post) are with #5. I do not believe that one need be Catholic or Orthodox to be saved. My interpretation of EENS (which I think is in agreement with the CCC) is rather broad, extending beyond those who explicitly worship Christ. That is, those who are not against Christ are for Him, so there are many in His flock that we are unaware of. Consequently, reception of the Eucharist is not necessary for salvation (guaranteed source of grace though it is). Therefore, female clergy would not be irredeemably deficient in performing their duties.

    All that said, you won’t be seeing me at any mock ordinations on a riverboat. 😉

    Posted 20 Sep 2006 at 3:04 pm
  58. gbm3 wrote:

    How about this:

    1g. Axiom: Jesus makes the rules.
    2g. Axiom: The Church follows Jesus’ rules (at least tries).
    3g. Premise: Jesus conferred Apostleship only to men as a rule.
    4g. Premise: The Apostles confer ordination to future bishops and priests.
    5g. Deduction: The Church only has men as bishops and priests.
    6g. Premise: In the modern world, the Church still follows (tries) Jesus’ rules.
    7g. Conclusion: The Church in the modern world only has male bishops and priests.

    May be obvious, but I think this is the logic used the Magisterium regarding the topic of female ordination.

    3g. does not exclude women, but it is said that Jesus would certainly confer Apostleship to at least one woman if he wanted it to be an example.

    I didn’t get into Theology because I believe there really is no other logic behind this rule (revelation of Jesus).

    Posted 20 Sep 2006 at 4:37 pm
  59. Sharon Woo wrote:

    Hi Funky Dunk, I happened to bump into this blog more than 3 years later after you gave your post.

    I agree with you that female celibate priests are better off than married priests because I would imagine that married priests are distracted by their families.

    I think that people are generally in favour of married rather than female priests because more jobs always made available to men, so restrictions on them should be decreased. And the paradox is, the ones who are actually being against female priests are the females themselves. The males generally favour them. This is not at all a surprising situation. In Buddhism, a lot of the extra rules conferred on ordained females as compared to their male counterparts are because of cat-fights between females. To go against one another, the females from the cat-fights, who feel that they have been victimised, request for the additional rules.

    http://www.surveyusa.com/ArchivedArticles/suntimes0603.htm

    Posted 23 Aug 2008 at 12:15 pm

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  1. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » TCitMW: Responses to Critics on 14 Feb 2006 at 11:37 am

    […] TCitMW: Responses to Critics By Funky Dung I wish to thank all those who have contributed their opinions to the discussion what ways the Church can/should change in the next pontificate and ways it cannot/should not change. Some of the reponses have come in the form of full blog entries, rather than comments. I’d like now to offer rebuttals and clarifications. the_methotaku, “an unapologetically progressive Methodist”, called my post “reactionary garbage” and offered his progressive opinions at his blog, Finding God in Cartoons from Japan. […]

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