Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Myths about the Catholic Church

There are quite a few myths and misconceptions going around about the Catholic Church in light of the HHS mandate forcing church organizations to pay for abortifacient drugs, against their beliefs and consciences.

Some may be deliberate hyperbole born of either virulent anti-Catholicism or anti-religionist views in general. Some of these myths may be disseminated by people who actually believe them, but all of them, or a good majority of them are so egregiousness that they immediately peg the person as anti-Catholic or highly misinformed.

The first myth is that the Church wants to make all birth control illegal.  The Church has no interest in banning all forms of birth control.  America is not a theocracy and there are many Americans who are not Catholic.

The second myth is that the Church will "one day" forbid other drugs such as Viagra, merely because they have something to do with sex.  Wrong again.  There is no theological reason to forbid a drug that has nothing to do with directly preventing conception, or killing a child already conceived.

The third myth is that the American bishops' stand against the HHS mandate has to do with primarily with birth control.  It does not.  It has to do with religious freedom.  As in myth #1, the Church is not objecting to citizens having legal access to birth control.  The Church wants the freedom to be exempt from the law, which, by the way, was not passed by the Congress, but mandated by Health and Human Services.

The 4th myth is that because many Catholics ignore the Church's teaching on birth control at some time in their lives, society, including many who are not Catholic, or who are anti-Catholic, should dictate to the Church what its teachings should be!  I'm sure that nearly 100% of Catholics have violated the Church's teaching against lying, envy and coveting at some time in their lives.  Should the Church, then, decide that lying, coveting and envy are A-ok?

This HHS controversy has brought many people who happen to be full of hatred for the Church out of the closet.  This will do nothing to attract Catholics to their points of view.  I think, as citizens of the U.S. and of the world, we should try to find common ground and work together for the rights of all people to follow their consciences.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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