Moral Relativism in the Catholic Church

Back in March, I wrote a post about how the Catholic church isn't a democracy and therefore has no obligation to change its teachings in line with popular opinion. One theist commenter enthusiastically chimed in to agree and to insist that this was exactly the point:From my own perspective, the constancy (and internal consistency) of Church teaching is an enormously reassuring thing. How am I supposed to trust a religious tradition which claims to teach about right and wrong but is willing … [Read more...]

The Pope and Gay People: Nothing’s Changed

DeadEnd

The media has been in a tizzy these past few days over some remarks made by Pope Francis on an airplane flight back from a trip to Brazil:"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word "gay."Judging by the rapturous response from some quarters, one might think that these few mildly conciliatory, off-the-cuff sentences had wiped away centuries of dogmatically entrenched … [Read more...]

World News Roundup

FoundationBeyondBelief

I can't write about every story that crosses my radar, as much as I'd like to. But so much that's noteworthy has been happening in the world lately, I'm overdue for a catch-up post.First, there's a glimmer of good news: the Dáil, the lower house of Ireland's Parliament, easily passed a bill that (slightly) relaxes the draconian, no-exceptions abortion ban that killed Savita Halappanavar. The upper house, the Seanad, still has to approve it, but since the government controls both houses by a … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: March 16

Coffee

• As you all know, there's a new pope in town: Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires. He talks a good game on poverty, although like all Catholic hierarchs, he doesn't seem to grasp that his opposition to birth control perpetuates the very problem he claims to want solved. As if there was any doubt, he's also a staunch social conservative who's called same-sex marriage "a move by the Father of Lies".More worrisome, though, is the accusation of Bergoglio's complicity in the Dirty … [Read more...]

Fifty Reasons to Boycott the Catholic Church

SaintPetersSquare

This article was originally published on AlterNet.Last year in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died, and she shouldn't have. Savita was a 31-year-old married woman, four months pregnant, who went to the hospital with a miscarriage in progress that developed into a blood infection. She could easily have been saved by an abortion of the already-doomed fetus. Instead, her doctors did nothing, explaining that "this is a Catholic country," and left her to suffer in misery for days, only intervening … [Read more...]

The Increasing Problem of Religious Hospitals

The needless death of Savita Halappanavar last year, after a Catholic hospital refused to terminate her doomed pregnancy, drew a worldwide outpouring of fury against the religious dogmatism that killed her.But as I wrote at the time, Savita's story was only the tip of the iceberg. What happened to her wasn't a fluke or an aberration: it was and is the official policy of the church that if a pregnant woman's life can be saved by abortion, it's better to let two die than to save one.It's … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Is Not a Democracy

Pope Benedict's surprise resignation has set off a frenzy of speculation as to who the next pope will be and what changes he might bring to Catholicism. Benedict was well-known as an enforcer of orthodoxy, cracking down harshly on nuns, supporters of same-sex marriage and other progressive factions within the church, and the beleaguered liberals in Catholicism are hoping that the next pope will bring a change of direction.However, the odds of this are slim. All of the cardinals who'll elect … [Read more...]

The Church Isn’t Too Good at Introspection

AbandonedChurch

While doing research for another post, I came across a slew of articles with a common theme: young people are leaving the Catholic church at a high rate, and the church's apologists are trying to figure out how they can stem this tide.They're not wrong about this, either. A 1999 survey found that only 14% of Catholics born after 1960 say the church is "very important" in their lives, and a 2009 Gallup poll found that church-going among Catholics has declined dramatically since the 1950s. A … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: February 10

Coffee

• No matter how many compromises the Obama administration offers, Catholic bishops just don't want people to have access to birth control.• Beliefnet is afraid of feminism, telling liberal Christian pastor and blogger Kristine Holmgren that she wasn't allowed to use the word in her header or her blog (at which point, to her credit, she broke ties with them).• Astrophysicists have calculated, on the basis of data from NASA's Kepler telescope, that six percent of red dwarf … [Read more...]

The Twitter Report: Let’s Have A Rousing Welcome for the Pope

Postcards

On a related note to my last post, you've probably heard that the Pope recently took a bold step forward into the 21st century by joining Twitter. This is significant because it marks, to my knowledge, the first time that the Catholic church has ever taken a bold step forward on anything. (He chose the Twitter handle @Pontifex, I assume because @Popehat was already taken.)It's an interesting experiment, but I'm not expecting it to last. It's not just that the Pope's tweets so far have been di … [Read more...]


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