Oct 122003
 
Authors: Thomas Wanebo

I was raised Catholic. I know what the Catholic Church means to

so many, and I know how much good it can do, but I can take the

current Church no longer. It’s time for a new attitude, a new

policy and a new Pope in the Vatican.

Pope John Paul II has become kind of like George W. Bush; they

are both completely incapable of making decisions themselves (the

Pope because of age, Bush because he’s dumb); they are both the

puppets of the unidentified people working entirely behind the

scenes; and they are both pushing agendas far more conservative

than advertised.

Recently, the film “The Magdalene Sisters” was condemned by the

Vatican because it negatively portrayed the order, despite the fact

that the Magdalene Sisters themselves acknowledged the truth of the

film and apologized for the crimes of their past. But the Vatican

wouldn’t hear it; the condemnation remained. The movie portrayed

something Catholic negatively, and therefore it should be swept

under the rug.

This is a sign of how far the Church is going to blind its

members from itself, to maintain the absurd facade of

infallibility. This is the same mentality that refuses to apologize

for some of the heinous crimes of its past, even 400 years later.

This is the same mentality that allowed so many abusive priests to

remain in their positions, even after multiple accusations; the

Church leaders stick their fingers in their ears, and scream at the

top of their lungs “We can’t be wrong!” and pretend to hear nothing

else. And they’re telling Catholics around the world to do the

same: if a movie is negative, don’t see it; if a book is critical,

don’t read it. This is scary stuff. This is thought control. This

is a religious organization announcing that it doesn’t want its

members to be thinking critically about their leaders and what they

are doing. A religion should arm its members to face the world, not

try to keep them from it.

Recently, as has been widely published, the Vatican has

instructed Catholics around the world to withhold support of

political candidates who promote gay rights. This, again, shows how

reactionary the Church has become; when the beginnings of positive

social change emerge, because a one-time reference in the Old

Testament goes against it, the Church instructs its members to try

to halt it. This is another sad regression toward the steadfast,

unblinking conservatism of the Church’s dark past.

And now, the Vatican has finally crossed the line. Now the

Catholic Church has lost my respect, my patronage and my soul. I

will go elsewhere for my spiritual needs. The Catholic Church has

proclaimed that condoms do not prevent the spread of AIDS, and that

they should not be used. This is disgusting. These people, so

determined to impose their medieval notions of morality on the

world, are placing millions at risk. “AIDS…has grown so fast

because of the availability of condoms,” says Archbishop Raphael

Ndingi Nzeki.

Now, this has little effect on me personally; I know how idiotic

this idea is. But there are millions around the world who blindly

follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, who subscribe to its

infallibility. And the Church is now taking the very lives of its

members and wielding them, without regard, like a battleaxe against

the social change and sexual liberation of the last half a century.

It’s blaming a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of some

20 million and infected 40 million more, on the one thing that

might stop it. If the Church wants to instruct its members not to

have sex, fine. But because the church is so bent on preventing

sex, and because it believes condoms encourage it, it has now

turned to the most appalling of tactics. It is now instructing its

members not to use condoms through fear: sex with a condom will

give you AIDS. The Church is blaming condoms for the spread of

AIDS.

Think about that.

I am not arguing against the Catholic faith. I have a lot of

respect for it, and I have a lot of positive memories of it. I am

arguing against the current Catholic Church. I am calling on

Catholics who think this is wrong to stand up and make themselves

heard. Because as long as you’re silent, you are giving tacit

approval to recent actions of the Church. It is time for

progressive, forward-thinking Catholics who are not so attached to

the semantics of a book as to disregard the human needs of the

present to change the Church. A religion can only lead its members

as far as they allow themselves to be led. Take a long look at the

leaders in the Vatican, what they’re saying, what they’re doing and

the direction they’re going. The masses are always stronger than

the leader, and they need to recognize it and take the direction of

their religion into their own hands.

 

 

 

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