Saturday, April 23, 2005
Being a liberal Roman-Catholic, I've seen a lot of discussion on the new Pope. I've kept to myself on the issue but, alas, our media has done a murderous job of creating problems where there are none and ignoring problems that do exist.
WaPo's Richard Cohen did a decent job. The fact is that the Catholic church ignores reality in many cases. Some times they ignore reality because they must take the moral high ground (eg, War on Terror, Abortion, etc). The church can't come anywhere near condoning these activities because they fear that might lead to more. Hopefully the stance that abortion is a sin, a mortal one certainly, will deter abortions. Anyone, in my book, who might be convinced not to have an abortion because the Pope says it is a sin probably shouldn't have it in the first place. Abortions are for young girls who realized they screwed up and want to make sure that screw-up doesn't change their life (because young boys who make the same mistake tend to get away scott-free). So taking the moral high ground on these issues certainly saves lives.
But some issues a "moral high ground" is just unrealistically disastrous. Cohen discusses condoms in Africa--a continent stricken by AIDs. Africa has a significant number of Catholics, and its numbers there are growing quickly. Getting off the moral high ground and getting realistic when it comes to condoms in Africa could realistically save tens of thousands of lives. Alas, Benedict XVI won't do this.
Why? Well as Sister Helen Prejean (of Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents fame) told TIME Magazine when asked why the Church is far more obsessed with abortion than other culture-of-life issues: "If you look at the history of the church on moral issues, there's always been great emphasis on anything the do with sex."
While I'm not a huge fan of the idea of married priests, I'm warming up to it. While they might lack the absolute moral authority, there would be more of them, they'd be less obsessed with sex, and we'd likely avoid many of these nasty scandals.