Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The World's Worst Catholic™ Explains the Church's Position

                         It's missionary. And don't enjoy it. And whatever you do, don't wear a raincoat.

                Although I may not really be the World's Worst Catholic™, (I sure there are a few priests who out-worst me), it's my trademark and I'm sticking to it. It doesn't help that the Church's position on birth control, abortion, captital punishment, embryonic stem cell research and war is so convoluted as to give even Jesuit apologists a headache, I'll take a stab at hashing it out. This latest survey from Guttmacher Institute further muddies the waters. According to this study the legality of abortion has little to do with whether women seek out abortions. It has a lot to do with how many die from botched abortions, approximately 70,000 per year. Worldwide the number of abortions have fallen from 45.5 million in 1995 to 41.4 million in 2003. It is doubtful that this is due to countries passing more restrictive abortion laws, only three have done so, but it may well be correlated to increased use of birth control, especially in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America where abortion is highly restricted. Now the Church, having lurched far to the right, has been careful to differentiate innocent life, which includes the unborn and terminally unconcious, from the rest of us. While Catholic politicians (and voters) have communion withheld and are threatened with excommunication for supporting abortion rights it appears to be a lesser sin to pull the plug on a condemned criminal and no sin at all to rain death on civilians from the skies during wartime, whatever side you happen to be on. My dad talks about mass dispensations before particularly nasty raids over Europe during the war. You were covered for what you did and what you were about to do. But that's always been a tricky moral dilemna, solved only by the Mennonites and Quakers. Nobody has ever accused the Catholic church of evidence based anything but the continued fight against contraception is particularly troubling. And contradictory. Of course, as Scranton's Bishop Martino found, American Catholics are going to do what they're going to do anyway. Particularly regarding birth control.  Now I perfectly understand how abortion can be seen to be tragic, maybe even murder, but I also believe that until the fetus is viable, it more a part of the woman's body then an independent human and it is her choice whether to carry the pregnancy to term. And under no circumstances should a women be forced to bear a child having severe birth defects or conceived as a result of rape or incest. The tragic part is that most abortion is unnecessary and the Catholic Church plays a large part in the fact that, per capita, catholic women are more likely to get an abortion than protestant women. Probably because of its Medieval stand on birth control. You think the Church could take a hint. For once.

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