When the Church Breaks 80…

April 8, 2009

My hat’s off to Tony Blair for having the chutzpah to   criticize the Pope’s antediluvian views on homosexuality. I’d love to see President Obama challenge the old codger’s ideas too.

Of course, the Catholic Church’s views on contraception, abortion, celibacy, and homosexuality are about as current as their outfits. (They must piss people off at the movies with those   mitres …)

But that church has always been a little slow to accept new ideas. I remember when I was about 10—I was cutting the last strings to Catholicism and even   then thought it a bit odd that a bunch of priests (who were not married and not supposed to be romantic with anyone) so enthusiastically volunteered advice about family and relationships.

They talked about love and marriage and sex all the time. Why don’t they farm that sort of thing out, I thought. Did people really have “father, my-wife-is-having-trouble-orgasming” conversations with their parish priests?

That they-don’t-know-what-they’re-talking-about feeling is the same feeling I   now get when my friend Pete gives me pointers about my golf swing.

Pete is a worse golfer than I am.

He simply does not have the right to say jack about my swing or my game. I tell him, “I’ll solicit your empty golf tips when you break 80, pal. In the meantime, worry about your own problems.”

Same with the church. Families and relationships can be immensely complex parts of life. The Pope and the church ought to back off from any hard-line positions until they actually know what the hell they’re talking about – and knowing what you’re talking about, in this case, requires experience. (i.e. consensual experience.)

My non-Catholic father had to go through   Pre-Cana in order to marry my mother. Pre-Cana is the how-to-be-married school that the Catholics send couples through – young straight couples, that is. I can only imagine what was going through my father’s head as some jive celibate was schooling him on sex and marriage.

But bad Catholic advice doesn’t end with celibacy or marriage vows. Let’s not forget that the Catholic teachings about contraception and abortion are often dealt to poor people in places that often have far too many mouths to feed and hands to employ. The Church’s blithe be-fruitful-and-multiply attitude has thrown gas on population fires in places like Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, and Mother Theresa’s Calcutta. Anti-condom pronouncements from Catholic churches in South Africa help sustain the world’s worst AIDS epidemic.

One can hardly conceive of a more damaging policy than the prohibition against contraception in poor or disease-ridden regions.

Finally, there’s homosexuality. Let’s pretend for a minute that the church itself does not employ some gigantic population of gay priests. Let’s just focus on Jesus and who he hated or condemned or sought to deprive rights from. What’s that? God loves everyone? He just hates the sin, not the sinner?

That, is a load of crap. Put yourself in the position of the sinner, and remember that A. Chances are he or she doesn’t really believe it’s a sin, and B. The behavior is not something you can simply   decide not to do anymore, like stealing candy bars or cheating on your taxes. Being attracted to members of your own gender is almost certainly genetically founded, and cannot be separated from the person engaging in it.

Hating the sin in this case, IS hating the sinner. The Catholic Church really ought to get out of the hating business in any case.

They really shouldn’t preach to others until they can break 80…