It’s time for a page one rewrite for the Roman Catholic Church
Before I begin I want to let Catholics know that I’m not trying to “come down” on Catholicism. I was raised Catholic and I to a certain degree understand what it means, or meant I suppose, to be Catholic. I write this in the spirit of constructive criticism. I don’t want to see the Catholic church disappear. Despite my disbelief I think the Roman Catholic church isn’t all bad. Catholicism is still one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. The music it has helped create like Gregorian chants, chorales, hymns etc… are pretty timeless. I still think Enigma’s MCMXC a.D. is one of Enigma’s best albums because of the Gregorian chants. The Catholic church’s influence in art is amazing; Sistine Chapel comes to mind, statue of David. So I don’t think it is all bad, even the rituals which are full of pomp are interesting and beautiful.
That said, some things really need to change. I think it is more than fair to say that the Catholic church needs to either make priests marry or ordain women priests. I don’t see any controversy in this. Priests used to be able to marry. Orthodox churches have priests who are married and seem to be doing OK for the most part. I can see that ordaining women could be more controversial because the church has never done it before, but I just don’t see a down side despite traditionalist prejudice. By doing both, the Catholic church would have many more priests than the current deficit they are experiencing.
Second and I’m not joking when I say this, the church needs to relinquish any magisterium over issues of sexual behavior except for maybe urging people to be married and being against adultery. The church has no moral, emotional, or logical authority on these matters. The sex scandals and its cover up have taken any moral argument the church may have had. The church has such a negative view on sexual issues in general that it has harmed generation after generation of what would otherwise be normal and healthy sexual relationships. The teachings of the church has harmed me personally through instilling sexual hang-ups. I know I’m not alone in this. Its view on masturbation, despite the fact that many mammals on this planet masturbate, has shown me at the very least the church has no idea what it is talking about. If you click on the links above, especially to the ones that go to the Catholic church, it is a veritable guide on how to develop sexual hang-ups. The Catholic church has wrongly concluded that sex is only for procreation and anything else is sin. Bonobos and dolphins have sex for pleasure, and guess what, humans do too. Homosexuality is also seen in just about every animal, including insects. The fact of the matter is neither oral, anal or vaginal sex is unheard of in the animal world, and other animals have sex for pleasure. So basically on all counts the Catholic church’s assessment is wrong. Their distinction for defining things as “natural” or “unnatural” is nothing more than prudish squeamishness masked as holiness. Even the use of toys is natural, moose for example will use a tree to help them masturbate. I think it is high time that the church just recognize that this fundamental issue has been made into something sinful by the church alone. The church neither has their reasoning correct or the maturity to tackle sexual ethics. If the church is to have a say in issues regarding sex, they need to rethink sexual ethics in light of nature, modern psychology, have a fresh look at exegesis and of course clean up their act. The fact of the matter is that both child rape and masturbation are seen as equally evil according to Catholic theology and this of course shows the absurdity of this position. I would further add it’s stance on contraception is deeply flawed for reasons already mentioned.
The last suggestion I have is the most controversial, and that would be to get rid of the concept of an eternal hell altogether. I know, I know, I’m an atheist, what would I know of such things. My reply is that this belief is psychologically damaging. It’s time to reevaluate what it means to be in heaven or hell. Having an OCD theme that is particularly sensitive to this, I think I’m in a position to say that this was the single-most repugnant belief in Catholicism that ultimately challenged my belief in a good God. But what if the church is emptied because people are no longer afraid of hell fire and my reply would be you missed the whole point of why believing in God and specifically Catholicism is special. There is more art and music in the church than I can shake a stick at. Personally I would say to you I miss communing with others. Even if I didn’t believe, I would still attend because of the emotional ties to my church family. Instead I am forced to choose between logic/reason/science, no evidence for God and eternal damnation. It’s just too much of a cognitive dissonance for me to resolve.
I still find the life of the saints interesting enough to read about them. I’m not rabidly anti-Catholic (at least I don’t think I am), but I think there is deep misunderstanding between God, Church, Reality and Parishioner that is bursting at the seams. The symptoms are apparent to everyone it seems except to the hierarchy. I don’t blame the Catholic church for the behavior of a few priests, but a systematic indoctrination of unhealthy sexual preoccupation mixed with shame and subterfuge to not accept the moral responsibility of bringing these people to justice can only be blamed on the church. It’s time to change. The traditionalists are already bolting for the door after Vatican II. You’ve lost the ultra-conservatives and liberals because of theology, now you are losing the moderates because of antiquated teachings and especially the sex scandal. If the Catholic church doesn’t have the back of its members, can you blame them if they don’t want to go to place that isn’t safe for them?