It is interesting how quickly the topics shift in national politics. One day we are talking about war and the next we are talking about sex. You’ve got to admit, at least American politics isn’t boring!
I felt I should chime in on this Catholic contraception debate because as usual, the media portrays the extreme sides and there isn’t very much thoughtful debate, usually just a bunch of sound bites and splashing the word faith around.
I find this debate interesting because it isn’t about Evangelicals for once but the mild mannered, hardly roused Catholics. These are the people that faithfully go to Church on a weekly basis but are just as likely to disregard doctrine they find outdated.
I also find it interesting because I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school for 12 years and yes, was even an ALTER BOY!
So needless to say, I know how things work in the Church. Even though I no longer consider myself a member, it is still part of my background and the experience remains part of who I am.
Even though I would side with the Liberals on most social issues I have to say they are not correct this time. As Santorum pointed out, it is about “Economic Liberty,” and the Catholic run institutions should not be forced to provide something that goes against their doctrine.
However, I would say that most Catholics I know have or continue to use birth control. In my High School where everyone I knew was Catholic this was not an issue at all. You see, Catholics my age aren’t exactly considered “Fundamentalist.” The difference between Evangelicals and Catholics is like night and day.
The claim has also been made that Catholic students might actually be more sexually active than public school students! I don’t know about that, but I can tell you there was a lot going on in just about every Catholic high school when I was a student.
So let’s look a little more deeply into why the Catholic hierarchy are so against this. I would say that it is not the contraception itself they are against but instead, having sex before marriage that is the real problem. On this point, a good number of regular Catholics still agree (not in my high school of course and almost none of my age agree).
You cannot have sex before marriage and even after one has married, the official belief is that it is only for having children. That is the official stance. But as I said before, Catholics in the US rarely pay attention to any of this.
There was one or two cases in my high school where girls did get pregnant right before graduation and even though most of my classmates knew, we had to keep it secret from the administrators because they would have been suspended and not allowed to graduate. So we did keep it a secret and they did graduate.
Contraception would have definitely been useful for the two girls involved but it was very hard to get (unless you were brave enough to go to the Quickie-Mart). It’s ironic that contraception is not allowed but if they become pregnant then they get suspended! This just goes to show that the real issue is sex before marriage and the Church believes providing contraception would encourage this.
As this issue starts to wrap up, I like seeing the Nuns take a stand yet again and make themselves heard. If you want some good moral yet reasonable opinions you always have to go to the Nuns, never the Priests or Bishops. The Bishops and Pope live in a world of outdated, stale doctrine whereas the Nuns can apply and bend the doctrine a bit to fit the needs in the REAL world.
I liked seeing the Nuns take a stand for Obama’s healthcare bill when it first came out in direct contradiction to their superiors (they would hate that categorization of being inferior to Bishops). This splashed out in the media and many many Catholics cheered them on.
This time, it looks like they have mediated quite nicely by having contraception be provided by individual insurers while still keeping in line with the doctrine. Well done sisters, well done. I would like to nominate Sister Carol Keehan, the head of the Catholic Health Organization for POPE!
She says the compromise “protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions.”
She is correct, the government shouldn’t tell the Catholic church what to do, especially when it goes against their doctrine. But it is in what she does not say that it a master stroke and I would bet that she is not against contraception in itself but does not encourage sex before marriage either. However, being a realist she wouldn’t be against having it provided for those that ask. That is just my hunch.
Finally, I wish that Boehner and Santorum would handle this issue a bit more gracefully and not make it look like Catholics are akin to Evangelicals in being all fundamentalist about this. Most Catholics (of the younger generation) use birth control and ignore what those bishops say. But again, the government shouldn’t tell the Catholic church what to do as yes, it does go against doctrine, as stupid as that doctrine can be.