Category Archives: The Vatican’s Sexy Seven
Controversies that are always in the news: contraception, abortion, gay marriage, celibacy, abstinence, and divorce. And the latest (less doctrinal) addition, pedophilia!
I found the story on Beliefnet’s Belief Beat: St. Joseph’s Hospital has been stripped of its Catholic affiliation. (I wonder if the hospital will have to change its name.) Their crime? The hospital’s doctors performed an abortion on a woman who’d been pregnant for eleven weeks because the pregnancy was threatening her life. As blogger Nicole Neroulias observed (a little more sarcastically than I would’ve expected in the site’s news section):
Apparently, the hospital should have allowed her to die, rather than return to her four children at home. Or, perhaps St. Joseph’s could have transferred her someplace that wouldn’t have to answer to religious authorities. God forbid — literally — we leave medical decisions to the doctors and patients.
In practical terms, obviously they cannot. Cat-sized condoms do not exist, and cats lack both the manual dexterity and neurological abilities to make barrier methods of contraception practical. Any methods of contraception, in fact – except of course those chosen by pet owners.
Which is why PETA and other animal-rights organizations advocate spaying and neutering your pets, so they can’t propagate new populations of animals that will suffer on the streets or end up needlessly euthanized in overcrowded animal shelters.
And because condoms are in the news lately, thanks to the Pope’s recent remarks on condom use, PETA has decided to make the point in a new ad campaign using the image of the Pope to remind pet owners that it’s our responsibility to ensure our pets don’t reproduce.
I’ve always been extremely glad I’m not a Catholic politician. I’m all too aware that I don’t always live by Catholic orthodoxy. (Oh, who am I kidding? I hardly ever do.) But I would still be distressed to have bishops calling me out on it in public and telling me that I am not a Catholic when, for better or worse, that’s what I am.
Which is why I want to write a few words of encouragement for Illinois governor Pat Quinn, who just got called out by Bishop Thomas Paprocki for supporting legislation to permit same-sex civil unions. Bishop Paprocki warns that a true Catholic is “accountable to Catholic authority”, and reminds Quinn – and the rest of us – that homosexuality in any context, from the street-corner hookup to lifelong love, is “contrary to the natural moral law”.
By now we’re probably all aware – or at least mostly aware? somewhat aware? heard a joke on the Daily Show? – that Pope Benedict has made a somewhat uncharacteristic statement about condom use: he said it’s not automatically, inherently evil. For AIDS-infected persons, choosing to use a condom instead of risking a sex partner’s infection would be the morally superior choice.
Read that statement over one more time. Now marvel at the fact that it’s newsworthy. A seven-year-old could tell you that it’s wrong to give somebody a bad sickness when there’s a way to prevent it. And yet we celebrate as if this is the depth of moral clarity because – let’s be honest – we’re used to the Catholic Church being totally out-of-step with humane morality when it comes to contraception.
I wanted to write about this earlier in the week, actually even sat down and started to draft a post about what this moral shift means. The more I wrote, the more I realized that, in some ways, it’s not much of a moral shift at all. It’s a media shift. The Pope hasn’t changed Church teaching. He’s changed his public relations.