Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm Having Trouble with This One

Earlier this week, the Vatican's doctrinal branch decided to make it possible and easier for Anglicans to come in to full communion with the Catholic Church. From what I gather, there is going to be an "Anglican Rite" branch of the Catholic Church and entire parishes may convert and enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. I'm not familiar with the doctrinal aspects or the historical aspects of what is going on. Here I'm reacting to the reasons and the motivations given behind it. Apparently, the idea is to attract Anglicans who are angry with the Anglican communion's ordination of women and openly gay priests and bishops and their acceptance of homosexual marriage.

So, practically speaking, the Catholic Church's marketing pitch to Anglicans (and the world) is, "Is your church (even though according to us it's not really a church) a little too gay? Not sexist enough? JOIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! We're the (slightly) less gay (much) more sexist option!"

Seriously, I love being Catholic. I love having a tradition of reasonable theological discourse. The long tradition which persisted until the council of Trent of engaging and having theologically productive debates with those of differing points of view gives me hope today. I love that, since the middle of the 2oth century, Catholic Biblical Scholars have been some of the best in the world. I love that even with the doctrine of papal infallibility, the Church's official teachings on slavery, religious freedom, the other religions, democracy, and social justice have managed to keep up with the times.

What turns my stomach is when the image of the Church that the Vatican presents to the world is so intolerant and mercenary. By making it easier for the most intolerant and sexist members of the Anglican Communion to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is basically digging its boots into turf that has become no-man's-land for anyone with half a brain in their head.

Let me ask a simple yes or no question: Is sexism wrong?

Let me ask a slightly more complicated yes or no question: Is discrimination on the base of sex or sexual identity wrong?

The answer to both these questions is "yes." Sexism is wrong. Discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual identity is wrong.

I have a difficult time justifying my participation in a church which so blatantly embraces immorality, that encourages it in its members and seeks to incorporate more like-minded individuals. Basically, the magisterial teaching is that God is sexist and God discriminates on the basis of sexual identity. In reality the teaching office of the church has built an idol that looks a lot like them. So doing, they discredit themselves yet again. They ignore human reason, God's greatest gift to humanity. They ignore the sciences. They ignore ethics and common human decency. This pope and this CDF are trying to take our church into the dark ages of intolerance and bigotry. It is sad and disheartening. I want to raise my daughter to love the Church I love, but how can I do that when so many of the Church's leaders behave so hatefully?

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