Why Do Non-Catholics Want So Desperately for the Catholic Church to Change Its Teachings?

Question mark

Why do non-Catholics want so desperately for the Catholic Church to change its teachings?

It’s fascinating, the amount of emotion at least some non-Catholics seem to have about Catholic teaching. I can tell you that when I was in the anti-God period of my life, I did not give one whit what any church taught. I paid them the ultimate diss of not giving a care.

But from what I’ve seen on this blog, there are a large number of people who claim to be atheist or some what-not version of what I was in my anti-God period, who appear to think about Christianity, the Catholic Church in particular, 24/7. They appear to be, in a word, obsessed with the minutiae of Catholic teaching.

If you doubt this, go to some of the atheist blogs. All they ever talk about is God, Christian teaching, and the Bible.

There are a few issues in particulate that really rev their engines. They are:

  • Who gets to take communion in Catholic Churches (which they insist, even while they debate this endlessly, is just a superstition and a wafer.)
  • Why the Church won’t affirm gay marriage.
  • Why the Church won’t say it’s ok for them kill people they want to kill (the unborn, the elderly, disabled, etc.)

When someone confronts them with the obvious inconsistency implied in their obsessive demands that a Church they claim is a stupid cult alter teachings that they claim are based on a myth, they start denouncing Catholics for using their rights as American citizens to vote and advocate according to their consciences.

It’s as if it offends them that Catholics have the same rights to vote, free assembly and to petition their government as other citizens. I suppose it’s true that it does offend them. Because one takeaway I get from reading the comments from most (not all, there are a couple of clear exceptions) of these people is that they are, at base, bullies.

I also think that the core reason they keep coming around here to drop off their load of insults (most of the truly insulting ones never see the light of day on this blog) is that they are either mental on some level, or, whether they will admit it or not, they are God haunted people who desperately want what the Church offers, which is peace with God, eternal life and a spiritual home. It’s just that they can’t bring themselves to go to God on God’s terms. They want Him — meaning His Church — to come to them on their terms.

These are people who refuse to be forgiven for their sins. What they want is to have the Almighty ratify their sins. They are obsessed with finding, not absolution, but vindication, from a Church they claim they believe is a fraud.

However, that’s just my reaction. Yours may be different. I’m going to throw this open for discussion.

Why do you think nonbelievers are so obsessed with the Catholic Church?

  • Kathleen

    “What they want is to have the Almighty ratify their sins.”
    I agree – I think it’s because they have guilty consciences.

    • Bill S

      I am caught in the middle between natural materialism (atheism) and believing in an intelligent designer and some form of divine intervention in the small miracles that I have experienced. The atheist side of me enjoys exposing teachings of the Catholic Church that betray the whole idea that it is always right in matters of morality. Some things that I know are ok at least in certain circumstances but that are condemned by the Church are gay marriage, contraception, divorce and remarriage, abortion (or at least the morning after pill and early term abortions), pre-marital sex, IVF, cloning, stem cell research, to name a few. There are times and situations when things that the Church condemns under all circumstances that reasonable people can agree have little or no negative impact on anyone. They should therefore be ok.

      • hamiltonr

        Bill, you mention too many things to take on in a combox, but I will say that every single on them in one way or another references the core idea that human beings are special and that we are also subject to certain basic realities about how we are created. Gay marriage is simply a nothing. Two men and two women can’t be married because their union is not what marriage is comprised of. It’s sort of like CO2 cannot be water, no matter how much it may want to be water and no matter if I pass laws saying it’s water or not. It takes the basic components of hydrogen and oxygen — in the right formula and within certain exacting laws of realty — to make water.
        In the same way, it takes the basic components of one man and one woman to make marriage.
        IVF, cloning, abortion at any stage are all directs attacks on the human person. By the very nature of what they do, they create the fiction that an innocent human being’s right to life is conditional of superficial ideas of how that person’s murder may benefit someone else. If we make human life conditional on the benefits that a person’s death may provide for other people, none of us our safe. I really don’t know why people who favor abortion are so blind to this.

        Aside from that, our lives are a gift from our Maker. They are not ours to dispose of as we will.

        You have evidently been given the grace of encountering the miraculous and it saved your life. Stop trying to hand the gift back because of these nattering nothings of issues.

        Go back to square one. You are a live, and that is not and never has been of yourself. Your life is a gift, and you are a gift.

        Sometimes Bill, you just have to take “yes” for an answer.

        • Bill S

          Rebecca,

          I appreciate your response, but I am having difficulties putting any trust in the Catholic Church. I am also still unable to concede that there is anything supernatural even in the chain of events that saved me. Since it is so difficult, the only thing I can do from my heart as well as my brain is surrender to Saint Faustina’s words on the portrait that she described to the artist: “Jesus, I trust in you”. This relieves me of overthinking what you call “nattering nothings of issues”.

          I was too anxious to pounce on those who professed Church teachings on issues that I believed the Church to be wrong about. While I still believe that the Church can be and is wrong, I have bigger fish to fry. Opposing Church teaching is for me an obsessive compulsive disorder. Trusting in Jesus, even if I don’t believe in the supernatural, is the best I can do for the time being. Even when I receive communion, I tell him that I am doing it in memory of him but that I don’t believe he is physically present. I ask him to help my unbelief.

          • hamiltonr

            Well said, my friend. I do pray for you Bill. I have ever since you first came on this blog.

            • Bill S

              I know there had to be times when I frustrated you and you had to censor my comments. My insistence on my being right and you and others being wrong was a psychological burden that is lifted by trusting someone who exists at some level, even if he just occupies my subconscious mind. Whoever he is and wherever he exists, I can do no wrong in trusting my life to him.

              • http://mrsdbliss.blogspot.com/ MrsDBliss

                My prayer is “I have faith, help though my unfaithful” (Mark 9:24).
                I’d love to hear your testimony Bill. Yu sound like you’re on a wonderful journey.
                mrsdbliss.blogspot.com

                • Bill S

                  Mrs. Domestic Bliss,

                  I have moved from atheist to agnostic and have come to the conclusion that I should place my trust in Jesus regardless of whether or not I believe everything that is said about him. The worst that happens is that he only turns out to be my imaginary friend. Even at that, my image of him helps me overcome many of my faults. When I rebelled against him, my life got really bad and I tried to kill myself. I credit him for the circumstances of my rescue and my failure to end it all. I used to argue about politics and religion much more than I do now. I see it as my own obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). When I feel the need to elevate my opinions over those of others, I say the prayer that Sister Faustina had put under the portrait of her vision: “Jesus, I trust in you”. This says it all. Whoever and wherever he is, I can do no wrong by trusting in his divine mercy. He is my Saviour.

                  • http://mrsdbliss.blogspot.com/ MrsDBliss

                    Thank you for sharing Bill. I know what you mean by rebelling against him. People think of sin as breaking God’s laws. However, there is a reason for Jesus’ reference to himself as a doctor. I thin sin is more like cancer, destroying life. God bless.

                    • Bill S

                      Mrs DB,

                      I think the whole concept of “sin” has become a tool for the Church to control people by offering forgiveness in exchange for the forgiven person’s loyalty and devotion. I no longer look to the Church for forgiveness. Instead, I look to my wife, my sons, or whomever else I may have offended. Instead of offering himself up as a kind of sacrificial lamb for the forgiveness of our sins, I believe that Jesus died because he challenged both religious and civil authority. Shortly after his death, ritual sacrifices at a temple holding central religious authority and the central authority of Rome were both replaced by Christianity.

                    • Andrew Patton

                      Why do you not take Him at His word when He said, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, this is the Chalice of My Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant, which will be shed for you and for many?”

                    • Bill S

                      No. I’m not taking anyone for their word when what they are saying is impossible.

                    • Andrew Patton

                      You are calling something impossible for God? Where is your faith? For what purpose was God Himself conceived of a Virgin?

                    • Bill S

                      I’m sorry, Andrew. I am trying to separate and give credit to all the good the Catholic Church has done while insisting that they were done without the aid of the supernatural which I believe does not exist. I will never believe anything that is impossible without proof of its reality. If someone can talk me out of that position I would be interested in what they have to say.

                    • Andrew Patton

                      How then, can you say, “Jesus, I trust in you?”

                    • Bill S

                      I did that for a while but now I find it to be unnecessary. I do nonetheless see the necessity of faith based institutions even though I, myself, do not have faith. Go figure.

          • Almario Javier

            Look, there are Church teachings that I find hard to come to terms with. I don’t like them. But I assent to them because I trust that they were taught by the successors of those Jesus appointed.

            • Bill S

              Succession of authority does not guarantee competence of rule. Look at how bad some popes, kings, czars, emperors, etc. have been. The Church has been corrupted and reformed many times. I don’t think succession has anything to do with legitimizing the Church’s authority. That’s a fallacy from the times that monarchies ruled most of the world.

      • peggy-o

        Quick clarification it’s embrionic stem cell not adult that’s the problem. I can’t say things any better than Rebecca except to say on my other comment, I hope you persevere and stay on our team.

        • Bill S

          Thank you for the clarification. I find it to difficult to accept that the Catholic Church has any inherrent authority over what I do, think and say. But, I contribute to it and partake of its sacraments.

          • hamiltonr

            Bill, the Catholic Church’s “authority” over you is entirely a matter of your own assent. I chose — chose — to follow Catholic teaching, even when, as does happen sometimes, I find it difficult. The reason I do is that my life experience has taught me that my own reckoning can and has led me into advocating horrific things. For me, I guess it’s a kind of humility, or at least an acceptance of my own limits as a moral arbiter. What you assent to is your own decision. This authority you feel weighing down you on you is an illusion. You chose Bill. We all do. That’s how God made us: Free.

            • Bill S

              The only real problem I see is when Catholics take a moral principal that applies to them because being Catholic requires them to accept the principle because it is a Church teaching, and think that it applies to everyone. Gay marriage is condemned by the Catholic Church. All that means is that Catholics cannot gay marry. It does not mean that those not practicing the Catholic faith cannot gay marry. They are doing it and it is recognized by both society and the government. That makes it real to them and others whose faith does not condemn it. The fact that it can’t happen according to Catholics does nothing to negate it. They are just as married to their partners as I am to my wife.

              • hamiltonr

                What you are objecting to is the fact that, since Catholics disagree exercise their free rights as American citizens to vote according to their consciences and to petition their government according to their beliefs.

                What you are objecting to is the simple fact that democracy applies to everyone. There is nothing wrong with this. I support the right of others to vote according to their consciences and to petition the government, even when it disagrees with my ideas, as in the case of gay marriage and abortion. We all have these rights.

                • rx7ward

                  Just … no! If the Church will stay out of government, then they can do as
                  they please. We don’t want affirmation. We want you to stop using the
                  government to tell us what we can and can’t do.

                  • hamiltonr

                    In other words, you want people of faith to stop exercising their rights as citizens? There are names for that– tyranny, dictatorship, etc.

                    • rx7ward

                      No, that’s not it at all! But you can’t vote away my civil rights! It’s really that simple.

                    • hamiltonr

                      My point about the rights of Catholics. Thank you for making it.

                  • savvy

                    In addition to what Rebecca said, I will add, that certain opposing views such as on marriage will come into conflict sooner or later, whether we like or not.

                    There is a reason why certain fundamentals have to stay the same.

                  • FW Ken

                    Actually, you can do pretty much what you want to do. You just can’t send the rest of us the bill.

                • Bill S

                  I object to the Church spending money to influence the outcome of a referendum to allow gay marriage like it did during state elections. I object to Bishops claiming that it is a sin to vote for a candidate who does not oppose abortion. That is dirty politics.

                  • hamiltonr

                    Bill, the bishops are not only within their rights to say what is or is not a sin; that is their responsibility.

                    • Bill S

                      So. Everyone who voted for Obama committed a sin?

                    • pagansister

                      What does it mean if I not only voted for him the first time, but the 2nd time too?! I must be in big trouble. :-)

                  • savvy

                    You are not the kind of person to compromise on your principles, so why do you expect someone else to do what you are not willing to do?

              • savvy

                The lobbying continues in the church to accept this. Some people cannot practise what they preach, and that is the issue.

          • savvy

            You are a royal hypocrite. If I were an atheist, would not partake of the sacraments.

            • hamiltonr

              Savvy, do not call people names on this blog.

            • Bill S

              I have come to the conclusion that I can put it in Jesus’ hands. I don’t worry about whether I am a hypocrite or not. I simply say “Jesus, I trust in you” and leave everything up to him. Do you have a problem with that?

              • FW Ken

                Bill, if you were in my parish, I’m pretty sure the Fr. David would encourage you to come for Communion. Not because he would agree with your beliefs, but because he would trust Jesus in the Sacrament to draw you to Himself.

                Grace is a funny thing. Unless we actually resist Him, God has ways around our sins of the intellect, the spirit, and the flesh. That is sort of inherent in His being God and me not. You said something somewhere something about trouble with the “supernatural”. I have no trouble with the notion of the supernatural, but it seems to me that Grace works in the most natural of ways, if we accept the notion that God is with us .

                • Bill S

                  Ken,

                  When I say that I don’t believe in the supernatural, I mean the supernatural that is described by religions. It is hard to imagine that Nature itself is not the product of something greater than Nature that could also be called supernatural. Wherever Nature, Life and Consciousness came from, that is where the answers to our most profound questions reside. Not knowing exactly what and where that is, I trust Jesus to be or have all the answers I need.

                  • FW Ken

                    Got it. I couldn’t find your original statement so worked from memory. My point obtains: the movements of grace, or, if you prefer, the human psyche, are phenomena built into our humanity. I’m saying that wrong, but maybe you get my meaning.

                    • Bill S

                      I’ll take it a step further. My relationship with Jesus consists speaking to him as if he exists in the recesses of my mind. That is the only way I can believe in his existence. I don’t have any belief of a spiritual world other than that of my imagination.

                    • FW Ken

                      That’s not a bad place to start. I have known a fair number of AA folks over the years, and they got to a “higher power” from places not to much different than that. I remember one struggling with the second step – she just couldn’t accept the notion of “God”, so her sponsor landed her her god. Sounds silly, but it worked as a stop-gap.

                    • Bill S

                      The thing that sealed the notion of there being a higher power for me is the concept of intelligent design, which is the bane of hard core atheists. DNA is coded, like a computer program, only much more advanced than any program ever written by humans. The program is information. Information requires an intelligent source. If the information came from an intelligent source and is now self replicating, what happened to the intelligent source? Does the intelligent force still generate information? Or has it ceased to exist and if so what would cause it to no longer exist? Where is it now and what is it doing?

                    • FW Ken

                      Now I’m smiling because it sounds like the argument from design, which never made sense to me: if we had tails, that would be “normal” for us. But the notion of replicating DNA is intriguing. I’ve never given intelligent design much thought (although I obviously believe in an intelligent designer), but it does occur to me that the tiny changes over time do speak of a creator actively involved with the creation. I’m now over my head scientifically, but it does seem to be a movement from deism to theism.

                      But I have to admit I’m laying here watching Ancient Aliens, so it’s probably just as well to ignore anything I say.

                    • Bill S

                      I think misunderstand the concept of intelligent design. If you look at God as Creator and the Word, through whom all things were maid, that is intelligent design. The opposite is to say the there is no designer and therefore no God.

      • fredx2

        Bill, you “know” all these things are right. But there are millions who “know” they are wrong. Doesn’t that cause you pause and want to back off from “knowing” that they are right, and maybe there are legitimate arguments against them? Each of them has serious drawb acks that the general culture refuses to recognize.

        • Bill S

          Fred,

          Certain things are just facts of life that are counter to Catholic teaching but work nonetheless. There are gay couples who are successfully married and also divorcees living successful second marriages. There are successful couples living together who choose not to marry and those who successfully use contraceptives. There are women who successfully conceive through IVF and the list of people successfully doing things that the Catholic Church condemns goes on and on. By successful, I mean that the intended purpose is achieved at no significant cost to society or those involved in terms of detrimental effects. To me these things don’t need to be condemned by you, me or anyone else.

          • savvy

            We are honest about our views. You have a hard time accepting the fact that we disagree. It’s like you want our approval and mad that you do not have it.

            This is what Rebecca is talking about.

            Your conscience that is wrestling with itself.

            • Bill S

              Nothing I object to about Church teaching has any connection to my own conscience. I actually don’t have much of a problem complying with Catholic rules. I am advocating gay marriage even though I am not gay and my gay son is celibate as far as I know and has no interest in marrying another man. I advocate marriage for divorcees even though I have been happily married to the same woman for almost 40 years. And I am not mad about anything. I respect your right to disagree with me and I assume you respect mine to disagree with you.

              • savvy

                The issue is that you want the church to advocate your views.

                What about the rights of those who disagree with gay marriage?

                • Bill S

                  The rights of those who disagree with gay marriage? What rights do they need that they don’t already have? The right to discriminate against gays? None of us have that right. The right to tell other people how to live their lives? I suppose that, beyond freedom of speech and the right to vote, they don’t have as many rights as they would like to have if those rights would negatively impact gays.

                • Daniel Schealler

                  You don’t have to get gay married if you don’t want to.

          • savvy

            A sexual contract between two people for tax purposes might work for them, but why should the church trade a covenant for a contract, something more for something less. Why should it reduce commitment to selfish convieniance?

            Reduce aiming for something higher to just settle for the status quo.

            These people might be successful, by reducing people to their base instincts, but the church looks at the larger picture, at the whole person.

            • katiehippie

              Why is everything have to be about sex?

              • FW Ken

                Perhaps you ought to watch a few episodes as Queer as Folk then get back to us.

            • Bill S

              The success I am talking about is more than just base instincts. I’m talking about people living happy and fulfilling lives, which I suspect that many people like you would begrudge them of.

        • Andrew Patton

          No, because I know that they have no legitimate arguments. They are merely trying to justify the unjustifiable. Is Catholicism hard and demanding? Most certainly. Catholic teaching says that if you are forced to choose between denying Christ or death, you must choose death, even death by the most extreme torture. We teach that if you deny Christ to save your life, even facing the most extreme torture, you forfeit your salvation, because you neither trusted in Christ’s promise that not one hair on your head would be harmed, nor feared His warning not to fear men, who can only kill the body, but rather to fear Him, who can kill the body and then damn the soul to fiery Gehenna.

      • savvy

        What makes you think the breakdown of the family and male-female relationships has no negative impact?

        I teach kids with learning and emotional problems, and the dysfunction in their families, gets a greater toll on them, than their disability does.

        • Bill S

          That is not an indictment of gay marriage. If anything, it is an indictment of dysfunctional families mostly involving heterosexuals.

    • pagansister

      No guilty conscience here.

      • katiehippie

        That’s one of the reasons I left church. They thought I should have a guilty conscience. Ummm no.

        • Dee

          And yet here you are, spending your time and effort posting about the church …

      • Bill S

        That’s because you are blinded by your sinfulness. :-)

        • pagansister

          Yep. Must be the reason. :-)

  • Dennis Mahon

    To quote Peter Kreeft: “Because we are the iron ball in the pit of the stomach of the world – we cannot be digested or absorbed.”

    In short, because we’re frightening.

    Happy Hallowe’en!

  • SisterCynthia

    I assume some of it is the transferred feelings of guilt you allude to, most likely the case with those who seem motivated by rage. Someone like myself, a Protestant who likes much of the Catholic church but cannot get beyond certain aspects of her teaching to go ahead and actually “convert,” can find it tempting to voice disagreement, but that is useless for all of us, as I am an outsider and my thoughts are irrelevant when the issue is your response to the teachings of your leadership… kind of like someone jumping into another family’s internal arguments–it never goes well.
    I DO find it curious when atheists go after Catholics in particular, even tho they don’t much like Protestants who seek to live godly lives, either. Perhaps it is because you have a very well defined hierarchy and virtually unchangeable teachings. While those who hate Christian teaching in general CAN hope to bully or persuade “leading” people over time into adjusting their “understanding” of issues among Protestants (the rot within my own, American Presbyterian church’s diffuse leadership springs to mind), the laws of the Catholic Church and the leadership of the Popes is NOT subject to such cultural drift. Even when specific priests or religious rebel against the Church, we all know that they do not have the power to speak FOR the Church, just themselves. The human ego not being one to abide any refusal to bow before it, I think that makes your Church a target. And yet, when I think of those who thus target her trying to “humble” the Church, I am reminded of the scene in the Disney movie, Mulan, where the leader of the Huns is blustering at the Chinese Emperor to bow to him, and the Emperor replies that no matter how the wind may howl, the mountain cannot bow to it. Which is to say, all their anger will not give them victory, and I think that just further infuriates them.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      Cynthia, do you watch The Journey Home program on EWTN? It’s a great program of interviews with Catholic converts and what made them overcome their objections. They also have most of their old episodes on youtube. I’m not trying to convert you, but you might find something there you can identify with.

      • SisterCynthia

        Manny, Now that I think enough time has passed that I can reply without hijacking the thread into a Catholic/Protestant thing, I wanted to say thanks for your comments. I am about as close to Catholic as I can get without true conversion, and have tried to wrap my brain around some of the bits that are problematic for me, just to no avail. Now I am married to a very staunch Protestant, so… not likely to happen, tho one never knows. ;)
        At any rate, I wanted to say, in praise of the Church’s unwavering stance on things in the face of popular opinion, I can credit my vague, cultural understanding that Catholic teaching holds suicide to be a mortal sin with getting me thru a suicidal depression in college, many years ago. I know much more now, theologically, than I did then, but I’ve never looked further to see if that is indeed unwavering doctrine. Whether it is or not, just the thought that the escape from pain I was seeking would lead to eternal pain was enough to keep me from trying it, even when fear of failing or concern for how my friends and family would feel no longer seemed significant enough. We Protestants waver, we want to be gracious to those dealing with loss, and sometimes our concessions (which never seem to stop) have the unintended side effect of people feeling license to embrace actions that lead to death. So, I am ever grateful for the Church’s stability. :)

        • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

          God bless you Cynthia. I am glad you over came that pain. I understand the difficulites of family pressures. Consider yourself an honorary Catholic. You can be with us in spirit.

        • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

          Did my reply get deleted? Perhaps i forgot to hit post. All I wanted to say was I understand your family pressures, and I hope then you can consider yourself an honorary Catholic. You can be with us in spirit. God bless you.

    • Kathleen

      “I DO find it curious when atheists go after Catholics in particular,”

      I was listening to Threshhold of Hope on EWTN – Fr. Pacwa is working through Fides et Ratio. Paragraph 28: People can even run from the truth as soon as they glimpse it because they are afraid of is demands. Yet, for all that they may evade it, the truth still influences their life. [...] One may define the human being, therefore, as the one who seeks the truth.

      They “go after” the Catholic Church because that’s the truth that still influences their lives. Otherwise – why bother?

  • Teri

    I think they want to be god. It infuriated Satan enough to make him who
    he is and I think many men/women believe that our God isn’t fair, needs
    to wise up to the current times, needs to give them what they want. The
    interesting part of all of this is how extraordinarily unhappy they are
    with getting what they want. As they pass laws against humanity, they
    are only more angry for getting what they want. In the end, they create
    and live in their own hell.

    • pagansister

      I have absolutely no wish to be a goddess. Why would I?

  • dancingcrane

    I was an atheist for intellectual reasons. The “old atheists”, Russell, GBShaw, Hitchens, et al, made good cases against the Christians whose ignorance and irrationality made me run screaming to scientific materialism at an early age (the best argument for people knowing their faith before thumping others with it). When I became Catholic, I went back to the atheists, hoping to help them see what I saw. Among the “New Atheists” I found what you described. The same ignorance and irrationality that I had run from before. “Feels” instead of thought, and a desperate, heartsore need to be validated as a good person – that’s why the insults on atheist sites, and in comment boxes as they reassure each other that Christianity is bogus. I remember one talk with a friend, who walked me through the 10 Commandments to prove she was a good person even without the first one. She realized with shock that she’d broken all of them except for killing someone. I said great! That’s where we all begin, knowing ourselves, finding the broken and fixing it. I said that that was ok, that she was loved anyway. But she was shaken, scared. She wanted to be perfect already. To her, you threw away broken things and replaced them with new, perfect things. She seemed to envision Hell as the trash can for broken things. Failing to find a religion that ratified everything she’d done, she turned to atheism because it took all the rules away. It was her safe place, but she was still haunted. I learned you have to find and heal the hurt, before people will listen. Unless of course they get a Paul on the way to Damascus moment, like I had.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      I had my athiest period too but I felt a certain saddness that to my perception God didn’t exist. I wanted the Church and religion to be true but couldn’t see it. Thank God my eyes eventually opened. That’s a great story dancingcrane, and I’m glad you found our wonderful faith.

    • Steve

      Why are the atheists even downvoting this? Are they just mad that one of their own became a Catholic? Does it offend them?

      Anyways I found your story to be insightful.

  • Sus_1

    There are some Catholics that feel the Church teachings should apply to all instead of just Catholics.

    • AnneG

      Sus_1, thing is, Church teachings DO apply to everyone. Now, if someone chooses to disregard those teachings they have free will and will suffer the consequences. That’s what we call sin.

      • Sus_1

        It goes both ways then. If Catholics think everyone should live by the Church teachings, then everyone can have opinions on those Church teachings.

        • FW Ken

          What teachings would those be? Divorce ? Nope, we aren’t advocating for the repeal of no-fault divorce, despite the harm it causes children. We are advocating for restrictions on abortion, but murdering babies isn’t a specifically religious concern. Same-sex marriage? This novel and recent innovation had a lot of non-religious arguments to be made against it.

          That leaves immigration-reform. Yep, the bishops need to stay out of politics.

          • katiehippie

            No-fault divorce is the reason I’m alive right now. I think greater harm is possible when a woman is too afraid to get out of a relationship because she has to “prove” something against the man.
            So tell me, what non-religious arguments are there against same-sex marriage. Citation needed.

            • FW Ken

              Divorce hurts kids. Look it up. Glad it worked out for you. As I noted, no one is trying to repeal no-fault divorce.

              As to same-sex marriage, what is the basis for privileging any relationship? In other words, what is the community interest in marriage of any kind

              As a single person, I am well aware that marriage has social costs, for which I pay taxes. There are the direct costs of tracking marriage plus the family courts that deal with family dysfunctions, including divorce. Plus, police intervention and court intervention for family violence costs me money. A big cost is the taxes for schools I will never use.

              So what do I get for all that money I’m shelling out? Well, during school hours I can be safer on the streets with less chance of having my head bashed in. As noted above, the pro-social indicators for kids from stable homes with a father and a mother are much higher than those from other homes. So again, I can go to the grocery store with less change of getting mugged.

              But there is another facet to all this: the normative structure in which we care for one another is the stable family. Parents care for one another and children care for the parents as they age. I saw this in my own family. Mother cared for Dad as his Altzheimer’s prgressed, then she re-married after he died, and she and Sam took care of one another, all of this with help from us kids. With this structure forming the normal means of care, resources are available for the extraordinary situations.

              The question for same-sex relationships is whether the cost-benefit ratio is about the same as hetero-sexual couples. Now, I have known gays in long-term relationships, but many more gays whose relationships last a year or two at most. Or a night or two. Most of the older gay men I know are lonely and concern themselves mostly with where to pick up the next hustler boy and how much they will have to spend.

              So what to do about the few stable gay relationships that do exist? They are always talking about how their personal relationships are their business (you’ll see some of that on this site), so my question is why they want marriage license? Contract law and living wills are perfectly adequate for those few cases.

              Any religion in that?

              • katiehippie

                All the gay people I know are in stable long term relationships. My anecdote trumps yours.
                So marriage prevents mugging? A bit of a tenuous link there.

                Gay people can have just as stable loving relationships as anyone else.

                Why do different sex couples need a marriage license? Contract law and living wills are perfectly adequate there too. Aren’t their personal relationships their business?

                • FW Ken

                  You asked for non-religious arguments, you got them. Now you change the subject Why am I not surprised.

      • JT Rager

        Thing is, you only claim that the teachings of your church apply to you. And you only claim that we will suffer consequences. Religious people of every stripe, not just Catholics, claim that their god’s rules apply to everybody, and us atheists don’t see any good reason to assess that one religion is more true than the other because we have no good evidence on any side.

        Therefore, when Catholics (and other religious adherents) do things that we find harmful to society, like removing gay rights and contraception, that is when we start complaining.

        • Almario Javier

          If by gay rights you mean so-called gay marriage, you can’t remove what was not there in the first place. And if you argue that, do you have a problem with the other side complaining about things we find harmful to society?

          • Sus_1

            Your comment is exactly why non-Catholics have an opinion on Church teachings.

          • Nico Prime Ferrise

            I would call a person who is gay has the right to feel safe in their own home, in their school, at their job, and not have to worry about being thrown out simply because of who they love. Instead they get harassed, assaulted, killed, isolated, abused, raped, and other such painful experiences.

            To treat another with such disrespect and violence isn’t a very “good” thing to do, and to condone it speaks volumes of one’s character

            • hamiltonr

              Nico, I agree with you about this. However, I want to add that everything you just said about homosexuals can apply — and even more so — about women.

            • Almario Javier

              Where did I say anything about condoning rape, or abuse, or assault? For one thing, I support anti-bullying legislation as a victim of homophobic bullying myself in the past.

              I kindly ask you to not put words into my mouth. My objection was to so-called gay marriage. We’re not taking anything away. It is you who is trying to put something there that did not exist before.

            • FW Ken

              The gay rights movement has advanced largely though claimed victim status such as this. I suppose such things happen, but they are rare. Both my experience and stats demonstrate that the main danger to a gay person in their home is their partner. I recently posted stats from a gay site in Brazil showing that the free cases of adult on a gay person were generally tied to drugs or by their partner. A new book out demonstrates that Matthew Shepherd was killed in a meth rage by men who knew and had partied with him. One, at least had had sex with him.

              • Nico Prime Ferrise

                Shall I point out some of the more common insults people(albeit younger people) use to describe something they don’t like? gay, fag, faggot. Referring to genitalia like they are something to be ashamed of. True there is also a problem with drugs in our societies, but that is a separate issue with loose ties at best to the treatment of those in the LGBT community.

                For example of violence against those of the LGBT community that do not have drug problems directly associated with them. A 14 year old boy after coming out to his mother was disowned by her, resulting in her father taking over guardianship of his grandson. There is a letter from the grandfather to his daughter over it about on the internet.

                A friend of mine (who really gets on my nerves) was beaten by his father, raped by an older woman from their church, and he couldn’t even get his day in court over it as it was dismissed repeatedly. He also had a number of other instances that he mentioned, but didn’t go into detail about. He lives in Texas.

                The simple fact that those of the LGBT group (or at least new to it) feel like that they have to hide for fear of being ostracized by their family, friends, and community (rational or irrationally so). One of the more common reason why is attributed to religion, another is that it is against nature.

                To finally address your first sentence, yes they are victims in a great number of cases for just being the way they are. To say that they are not, is incorrect. As far as I can tell or have heard, religious individuals have not had a reason to react in such a manner. For all that I can tell it is individuals falling into the Hero syndrome or to Narcissism. That would be on a personal level though

                • FW Ken

                  Yes. And a know gay men who rape little boys. Therefore…

                  You told some tragic tales as though they were a refutation of what I wrote. As though calling names is the same as rape and murder. You are exploiting the tragedies off others, just as gay rights activities exploited the murder of Shepherd for their purposes. Gay activists murdered him a second time. Just add they murder everything around them.

                  • Nico Prime Ferrise

                    Do you think being called names doesn’t hurt Mr. Ken? it drives some people to commit suicide, others to murder when it is taken to extremes. If you’d like I suggest looking up the poem “To this day” by Shane Koycsan and listen to his thoughts on name calling. It may not be the same, but it still hurts.

                    if by exploitation, you mean providing anecdotal evidence then yes. In the Sheperd case, the girlfriends of the murderers and thieves testified that they were not under the influence of any drugs. I fail to see who gay activists murder everything around them nor do I see how they mudered Sheperd’s character.

                    If you know gay men that are actual pedophiles then they should be reported. Problem is in my friend’s case, No one thought it was wrong of the woman who raped him. I see that as the fault of the community that they let a crime like that go unpunished. A crime is committed by an individual(s) but that is no reason to color the subculture all as pedophiles. If that was the case, a lot of religious leaders would have unfounded accusations levied against them.

                    then again this is entirely off topic from the original post

                    • FW Ken

                      Actually, the gay pedophiles in question have been reported, been to prison, on parolee, our discharged parole. The point is that anecdotes prove nothing.

                      As to Matthew Shepherd, the facts are as I stated then, according to a new book:

                      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/14/matthew-shepard-murder-wyoming-book

                      In fact, all of this was known years ago:

                      http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=277685

                      As to name-calling, you really don’t know me or anything about me.

                    • Nico Prime Ferrise

                      If anecdotes don’t prove anything, why are they used to provide a face for a statistic? I don’t know why you brought up a gay pedphile’s resolved case. perhaps it was to show they are not victims, perhaps it was something else.

                      the new book says it is a theory (a scientific theory)

                      Since I don’t know what happened as I wasn’t there I will go with what the court decided to be true and not assume to know better.

                      No I don’t know you Mr. Ken hence the question and the suggestion.

                      This is off topic since it is a digression from the original post. Why should Religious beliefs of others deny rights (like anti discrimination laws and marriage) to those of the LGBT subculture that are Americans and should be treated as equally under 1) the law and 2) as people? As the source (the bible or the Koran or whatever) for the notion that the LGBT culture as bad advocates for stoning, running out of town, death, And can not be the established religion or be given special treatment (of the United states at least), why should it’s values be applied to people not associated with it? My opinion and a number of others think that it shouldn’t, for moral reasons with legal reasons to back that reasoning up.

                    • FW Ken

                      I’ve explained twice the point of mentioning gay pedophiles (plural: pedophiles are my day job), so I doubt another run at it would get through to you.

                      As to the Jiminez book, and the underlying facts which were known a decade ago, you seem to prefer your fantasy over facts. The court found the two methheads guilty of murder. Gay activists found them guilty of a hate crime. Gay activists lied, as interviews with the actual participants have shown.

                      Now prattle on about “religion” while you shove your ideology and lies down out throats. It’s not the “ick” factor gay ideologues claim as the basis for revulsion: it’s the lies and manipulation that disqualify you from a legitimate voice in social discourse, Nico.

                    • Nico Prime Ferrise

                      if pedophiles are your day job, how many straight pedophiles do you deal with? More than gay ones? The point that I am getting from bringing them us is that not all of them are victims and you are implying that none of the LGBT community deserve the same treatment as straight people because of these pedophiles.

                      Facts like the two murderers were not under the influence of drugs at the time, that they testified they only wanted to beat him up and rob him? I don’t know why someone would think these two are very trustworthy as they lied about where they were, what they were doing, and their intentions to Sheperd? Forgive me if, since I wasn’t there, I take everything said with a grain of salt.

                      My ideology? Please, If I wanted to shove my ideology I’d take a leaf from a couple of religions and condemn people to eternal damnation or straight up force them. What lies and manipulations are the LGBT group, who advocate for the right to get marred, the right not be discriminated against in the work place, to not be considered a mental illness that needs to be fixed, that fight against Heterosexism and homophobia, to fight against discrimination and harassment in school and on the streets, and other such things? What of the lies and manipulations of religious organisations pushing for their ideology to be given preference? For example: Attempting to outlaw Abortions for everyone, restricting access to birth control for woman, demanding the requirement of prayer in schools, demanding creationism be taught in the same class as evolution and other sciences (creationism and evolution being two separate fields), Freedom to shout at, condemn, insult, and threaten those that advocate for equal rights. Any of those seem right?

                      See I am not a religious person, Some might consider me a pagan or a practitioner of Wicca or Taoism or just spiritual (similar to Native American tribes). I could care less if someone wanted to get an abortion or to pray in school. It would be the individual’s choice to do so, but requiring them to do so (or forbidding them from doing so) is against my philosophy. If a woman wanted an abortion, she is going to get it, so make it safe for her to do so cheaply. If it is against her religion, she won’t, simple.

                      Still saying I don’t have a voice in this argument? That I don’t have the right to disagree or that I don’t matter?

                      That is exactly what is in error with many people making arguments for or against an issue. Making people Second class or insignificant is, quite simply, shame worthy in my eyes.

                    • FW Ken

                      Nico, apparently you are unwilling or unable to deal with facts and reality. For myself, I’ve wasted enough time running in tight little circles with you. Take care.

        • FW Ken

          As noted, gay rights are a very recent invention. Same-sex marriage even more so.

          As to contraception, no one is trying to make it illegal. When it was, I’m pretty sure the country was run by protestants, so go talk to them. In any case, the issue at hand isn’t making contraception illegal, but mandating that Catholics pay for it, including abortion inducing contraceptives.

        • Dee

          A little intellectual honesty would be appreciated. First, gay rights are a very recent creation, and are being used to directly violate long standing, clearly Constitutionally based freedoms of speech and expression of religion. Second, there is no attempt to remove contraception, just opposition to forcing religious based entities to pay for it.

      • Donalbain

        Then why does the church lobby for the laws of the state to oppose gay marriage?

        • hamiltonr

          Because they are American citizens.

          • Richard Thomas

            By your logic you support Muslim Americans lobbying the government to pass laws based on the Koran. How does your Catholic constituency feel about that?

            • hamiltonr

              That would be their right as Americans. It would be my right as an American to petition the government not to do so. Can you understand the idea that everyone in this country has the right to petition their government, including people who don’t agree with you? It’s been this way for over 200 years now.

              • Rationalist1

                The Catholic Church and certainly has the legal right to lobby the government to oppose gay marriage but one could argue they have the same moral right to do that as they do to restrict divorced people from remarrying or to not allow people access to contraception or to prevent selling of viagra to unmarried men.

                • FW Ken

                  One could argue that we do in fact have the right to lobby the government for anything we wish. As do you. Why are you so anxious to push Catholics out of the public square if not to impose your own moral code on us?

                  How many times has Rebecca had to say that Americans are free to petition the government as they see fit? How many times have atheists and homosexualist ideologues indicated that Catholics need to shut up and obey them?

                  In fact, you seem unable to distinguish between people saying “this is right” or “this is wrong” and the passing of laws to enforce those judgements.

                  • MichaelNewsham

                    How many times do people have to say the KKK are free to petition the government as they see fit? How many times have non-racist ideologues indicated that white supremacists need to shut up and obey them?

                    • FW Ken

                      Being gay had no connection to race, nor the KKK to the universal and historic understanding of human sexual nature. Universal, that is, until recently, when a whole lot of bogus “science” took over the discussion.

                      Bring gay is a subjective, self identification. Race is an objective fact.

                • Andrew Patton

                  The divorced people fall outside our jurisdiction if they are not baptized or were married to someone who is not baptized.

      • pagansister

        How is it that Church teachings DO apply to everyone? I disagree. The people who do not belong to the Church but to other denominations or no faith at all are not obliged to follow the RCC’s rules. This doesn’t make them “sinners” this makes them folks who had different ideas that aren’t always those of the Church. There are many other faiths, none superior to another, IMO.

        • FW Ken

          Because doctrine aren’t rules. They are descriptions of reality. They may be faulty descriptions, and thus wrong, but they aren’t “rules”.

          • Bill S

            Any connection between religious doctrine and reality is purely coincidental. Doctrine does not define reality and is usually its direct opposite.

            • FW Ken

              Your statement would seem to affirm my definition. What is a doctrine such as “God is love”, if not an attempt to describe reality. Which description, as I said, might be wrong.

            • AnneG

              Bill, look up the studies done on the adult children raised by homosexual couples. Very clear even though small studies. Aberrant practices are a disaster for kids, including homosexual couples.

    • jaimjackson

      The entirety of the moral law taught as doctrine by the Catholic Church can be derived from Natural Law: it needs no necessary reference to sacred scriptures or divine revelations. As long as a proposal, policy or program is defensible via Natural Law — in rational, secular terms — it deserves to be considered on its merits the same as any other proposal.

      To say otherwise is invidious discrimination — that is, a prejudice based on an irrational animus.

      Going further, I would say that in my 60+ years I have always seen official Catholic spokespeople use the public forum to promote arguments which have a strong natural, this-worldly basis. Any sensible person who speaks on public policy — be they Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Mormon, Methodist, or Muslim — will do well to use such arguments, because they are accessible to all.

      • DKeane123

        Natural law produces homosexuality in almost every single animal species.

        • Steve

          Natural law isn’t actually about animals. Assuming things doesn’t pay.

        • jaimjackson

          You have made a category error here. You suppose the definition of Natural Law is “stuff that happens in nature.” That is not what Natural it means.
          Natural Law is an ethical examination of things as they either contribute, or fail to contribute, to the full flourishing of human nature, on the moral, psychological, physical and social level, and also on the level of the human person, the family, society and culture,
          The fact that there are circumstances in which one male animal will attempt to copulate with another male, is irrelevant. Every kind of deviation and disorder occurs “naturally” amongst animal species.
          I will not speak of gay people specifically,.Anyone — “gay” or “straight” — intentionally derogating fertility and splitting it off from sexuality (this includes sodomy and any deliberately sterilized sex by straight people) leads to the weakening, and —rather quickly — the disintegration of persons, families, and societies.

          • DKeane123

            I have no problem with your definition of Natural Law, I actually kind of like it. You do not offer evidence that any of the acts in your final sentence degrade “family, society, or culture” – what yardstick are you using?

  • FW Ken

    It’s not just atheists. I know protestants, believing Christians, who seem to have all sorts of opinions on Catholic matters, with the subtext that the Church is just wrong and needs to change. A favorite “concern” seems to be clerical celibacy, but sometimes it’s other matters. I was recently exposed to a Reformed pastor who regards Catholics as damned. Some folks like that seem to be genuinely caring. This guy, not so much. Of course, this all leaves me wondering why they are so interested. You would think they suspected the Catholic Faith might be true. ;-)

    I know there have been times in my life when some aspect of my faith went south. Usually it was just a matter of preferring my sin to God, sometimes it was hurts in my life, or in my church life. Well, life’s tough, filled with hurts. Grow up and deal with life as life presents itself. I’ve spent years being ticked off and got nothing for it. Hopefully, my writing this in the past tense isn’t just wishful thinking. :-)

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    That’s a great question. It’s akin to a question I ask every time I debate someone who lives in a foreign country (and is not American) why they argue over internal American issues. Why the hell do they give a damn and why should i give a damn what they think?

    • Tish Morgna

      I would agree more with your assessment here if it weren’t for the fact that the United States is currently trying to enter into the charity field with the promise of changing it so that no country can receive charity from others without first changing their laws to suit the godless western “leaders” in regard to abortions, contraception, euthanasia, and homosexuality laws.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Well, I would disagree with my country if they were trying to do that. But that’s not an internal American issue. That’s external and I can understand you engaging and debating if it effects your country. I would completely understand.

  • AugustineThomas

    I think the problem is too many heretics at Novus Ordo who turn other people off because they make the whole thing seem like a joke.

  • Charlie Jackson

    This post could come across as pretty arrogant; I don’t think that was your intention. But a lot of Catholics seem to revel in their “differentness” like they’re living out Brideshead Revisited.

    Some of us disagree and want you to change because we genuinely believe you’re wrong, while deeply respecting where you’re right.

  • Phoenix_Lion

    Spot on! I have seen this also and have tried to explain to the self described atheists that they are in torment from their sins and that is why they are so angry with God and His Church.

  • Tish Morgna

    Your assessment = Nail meets head.

  • Sweetredtele

    Don’t go changin! You are mistaken. Many non-Catholics and non-religious want the church to stay the same. I do!

  • Donalbain

    If the Church was only refusing to affirm gay marriages, that would be fine. They can affirm, not affirm, whatever they like. I don’t care if racist churches refuse to affirm mixed race marriages. What makes me angry is when they lobby to prevent other people, who are NOT catholics, from enjoying the rights involved in marriage. And I want them to stop doing that, just as much as I want other groups of people to stop promoting policies that I believe are evil.

    • hamiltonr

      In other words, what makes you angry is that people who don’t agree with you have the same rights as American citizens as you do to vote according to their consciences and to petition the government. This is not “the Church” doing this, by the way. It is American citizens, exercising the same rights that you exercise when you advocate for gay marriage.

      • sTv0

        “It is American citizens, exercising the same rights that you exercise when you advocate for gay marriage.” No, not the same, not even close. Those who object to gay marriage are doing so based upon only one perspective: religious teachings. That’s it. Those who advocate same-sex marriage do so based upon the need for equality. That’s it. Human rights. The RCC is well aware of it’s track record on human rights over the centuries, and as much as it wishes that record to “go away”, it won’t, and the rest of us will see to it that it stays present in as many minds as possible. We will not allow the RCC to *ever* return to its self-appointed position of power and authority. Never. Again.

        You want to have a religious faith and practice said faith, fine. You’ve every right to do so, and many of us stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you to fight and, if necessary, die for that right. Try to impose your religious doctrines on the rest of us, and you can fuck right off.

        • hamiltonr

          Sigh. The rights to vote according to personal conscience and to petition the government or to seek redress in the courts are not subject to the dictates of your individual ideas as to whether or not you approve of the motivations of those doing so. All Americans have the right to vote according to the dictates of their conscience and to petition the government as well as to seek redress in the courts. This is what you are arguing against. The issue of whether or not you approve of their private motivations for doing this is entirely non sequitur.

          Have you any concept of the idea that these rights belong to everyone, even people who disagree with you? I begin to wonder if our many visitors from the atheist blogs can understand this notion.

          Oh, and by the way, clean up your language, please.

        • FW Ken

          Actually, my objections to same sex marriage are not at all religious, although they do reaffirm the truth of the religious doctrines.

          “Equality” , like “fairness” and “justice”, is an essentially moral motion that actually derives from the Judaeo-Christian tradition. That you appropriate it, divorced from Jewish and Christian faith, to satisfy your own needs, inevitably leads to this fascist desire to control those who disagree with you.

          • avalpert

            “”Equality” , like “fairness” and “justice”, is an essentially moral motion that actually derives from the Judaeo-Christian tradition.”

            Motherhood and apple pie too…

        • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

          “Those who object to gay marriage are doing so based upon only one perspective: religious teachings.”
          No that is most definitely wrong. Gay marriage is only a phenomena of the last ten to twenty years. All cultures historically have not supported gay marriage, whether on basis of religion or logic. Sorry, no matter how you twist logic, two men don’t make a marriage and neither does two women. The parts don’t fit, or don’t you know about birds and the bees?

          • katiehippie

            I’d like my next marriage to be more than just “parts fitting”. How awful is that?

            • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

              I didn’t say that was all marriage was. But it is a subset.

      • DKeane123

        This is why the US is a constitutional republic and not a democracy- the rights of a minority are preserved by the Constitution regardless of the whims of the majority. The Constitution cannot be lobbied. “a majority… united by a common interest or a passion cannot be constrained from oppressing the minority, what remedy can be found…?”
        ― James Madison writing to Jefferson 1787

  • EdmondWherever

    As an atheist and a gay man, I can certainly say that I am not “god-haunted”, and I’m not after “vindication” of my so-called “sins”. When I do wrong to another human being, I apologize to them. But some of the things that I do, are simply not “wrong”. There is a huge disconnect between the Church and the nature of humanity, if a person is vilified for finding happiness and companionship with someone of the same gender, especially when that other person is a consenting adult. We have not chosen to have same-sex desires, we should not be expected to completely repress those desires for our entire lives. Likewise with atheists. We find stories of magic to be unconvincing. This is not a “crime” which merits any punishment. Give us more convincing stories, and maybe we will find agreement. But we are not “evil” people just because talking animals and magic powers make us blanche.
    .
    But this is all incidental. Of course, the Church is free to vilify whoever they wish, and to treat human nature as crimes. But the reason that some of us would like to see the Church change its doctrines, is because the Church has a tremendous influence of the world which we must live in. Those of us who wish to marry our deepest loved one, must contend with the interference of religion, even religions we are not part of. We are slandered as “abominations” or “disbelieving fools”, and the resulting stigma can make life incredibly difficult.
    .
    Essentially, the Church is free to make its own decisions, set its own policy, and guide the lives of its willing adherents. Unfortunately, today’s Church has many tentacles in many aspects of the lives of EVERYONE, even non-adherents, and the rest of us are tired of tripping over them.

    • hamiltonr

      If you think the Church vilifies gay people, you haven’t had much contact with it.

      • EdmondWherever

        I am unable to tell if you mean “You think the Church is bad NOW, wait till you get closer!”, or if you mean “You need to get closer to the Church because you have a misunderstanding of us, we don’t actually vilify gays”.
        .
        I’m sure the Church teaches a very kind and tolerant attitude toward gay people. As long as we’re celibate. But once we dare seek companionship, partnership, or even sex and marriage, these are “crimes” of some sort, for which we must beg forgiveness. Well, that’s not happening. I haven’t wronged anyone, I have no one to apologize to, and nothing to apologize for. I have no understanding for a doctrine which teaches that I should ignore part of what makes me human, or that I should learn to live without it, simply because it makes someone mad that I’ve never met, seen, heard, felt or been able to confirm their existence in any way. If there is a God, and he wants me to be heterosexual, then his simplest solution would have been to fill me with heterosexual feelings instead of homosexual ones. If he wants me to believe in him, then he should supply more plausible stories. He should stop letting human beings act as his spokespeople, and make an appearance himself. How many religions claim divinity, and truth? How many can be right about that simultaneously? Only one? How many can be wrong? All of them? Those aren’t terrific odds. Resurrections and virgin births don’t help the matter.
        .
        Please understand that my position is not held out of a sense of rebellion, or hatred, for either God or his followers. I am who I am, and I see no problem with that. My partner and I make each other very happy, and neither of us could imagine our lives without the other. I will absolutely reject any doctrine which suggests that we are doing “wrong” and must repent, especially one which cannot provide any proof of its claims. The world is too full of supernatural claims, most of them contradictory to one another, and to follow ANY of them without confirmation is dangerous. You would be just as likely to be following a doctrine concocted by humans, if you have no way to be sure if the doctrine is actually true. Truth is important to me, and I cannot rush to belief until overwhelming evidence convinces me.
        .
        More contact with the Church is not going to serve me in any capacity. I’m sure there are very kind people within who treat gay people with the utmost respect. Unfortunately, they hold many OTHER positions based on supernaturalism, and that immediately raises red flags for me. Faith is an incorrect way to discover truth, and I cannot brook it.

        • hamiltonr

          So you don’t accept Church teaching on human sexuality. What then is your beef? Do you expect everyone to agree with you? No one — no one — is stopping you from doing as you wish. The Church will and does support you and help you if you get sick, need help or are subjected to unjust discrimination, regardless of how you feel about Church teachings. The Church will never turn you away because of your opinions or actions. If the Church teaches that some of the things you do are sinful, remember that they are not talking about you, but sin itself. The person who decides whether or not this is a sin and goes to confession about it is you. No one forces you or condemns you or makes you do anything. But if you do go to confession, you will find absolution and kindness there. As for your behavior being a sin, I was once ardently pro choice and had many of the same beliefs that my ideas were right. When I changed and came to the Church, they didn’t just forgive me, they wiped it clean and never reproached me or made me “be” that sin. The Church is loving toward people, even those who disagree with it.

        • savvy

          Edmund,

          You sound sincere, but try and understand our perspective. The same people who never cared about sacramental marriage are now pushing for major change in sexual morality just to fit in gay marriage.

          They want us to trade something more for something less, and reduce human relationships and marriage to contracts for tax purposes and selfish convieniance.

        • Maxximiliann
    • Rationalist1

      Also, the official Church teaching is often quite different from what the person in the pew thinks. Most of my family is still conservative Catholic and while they may not agree with homosexuality for themselves have little if no problem with it for non-Catholics. I actually don’t know anyone who wants to ban gay marriage. That may be because I’m in Canada and we’ve had it for over 10 years now and they realize it doesn’t affect them or their beliefs any more than allowing divorced non Catholics to remarry.

      • savvy

        I am Canadian, and Canada is a different country. In the US both state and church are signing up for this and putting pressure on other people.

        • Rationalist1

          The only pressure I see here is that opposition to gay marriage for all is becoming socially unacceptable and people don’t like it. If a person’s church doesn’t marry gays, that’s okay, but if they wish to say no gays can marry that’s not acceptable to most.

          • Dee

            You completely ignore all the violations of Christians’ First Amendment rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion that have occurred and will continue to occur as a result of the pro gay marriage movement. I don’t know if you’re truly ignorant of it – for example, the Alberta Human Rights Commission’s prosecution of the magazine Insight for writing about Catholic teaching in this area – or are deliberately ignoring this aspect, or just don’t think it matters, as long as there’s “tolerance” for your agenda.

          • FW Ken

            You guys really need to make up your mind. Either gay marriage is a minority opinion protected by the Constitution, or its the majority view to which Christians need to bow. One our the other.

            • Rationalist1

              Only some Christians disapprove of gay marriage. many are in favour of it. At least in Canada gay marriage is protected just as remarriage is protected.

              • FW Ken

                Only some disapprove… many approve.

                Great pairing puff words there. And you wonder why we think talking to you is a waste of time. Yes, in Canada, it’s protected by bullying anyone who disagrees with it.

                So tell me this: when “many” approved of capital punishment for sodomy, did that make it right?

    • Andrew Patton

      Why should you not be asked to suppress those desires your whole life? Christianity is a hard religion; anyone who told you otherwise lied to you. What we require of you is no more than what we require of the divorced and of those who cannot find a spouse despite desperately wanting one.

  • Rationalist1

    I’m an ex-Catholic, now an atheist. Speaking for myself and many of my other atheist’s friends I only care about Catholic beliefs when they seek to impose them on a society as a whole. If Catholics don’t want gay marriage, don’t marry gays. But don’t seek to impose that belief on non -religious people or religious people who support the rights of gays to marry. In a similar fashion I would be the first one to defend the right of the Cathoic Church to not be required to marry gays, or gay people or first cousins, people who are living together, or men who are impotent, etc. I don’t agree with those prohibitions, but the CHurch has a right to practice them.
    I don’t want vindication for my choice, just respect my choice and do not choose to impose your choice on me. And I will do the same.

    • hamiltonr

      You’re talking in circles and trying to limit American freedoms to a small area that you can control. All Americans have the free right to vote according to the dictates of their consciences and to petition their government, as well as seek redress through the courts. What you are arguing for is the limitation of those rights to the people who hold your viewpoints. If this was acted on, in time, it would inevitably come down to you alone having these rights, since no one agrees with any of us absolutely. You can not argue away the rights of democracy from groups of people who disagree with you without also arguing away democracy itself.

      • MichaelNewsham

        No, you can’t,but you can impose limits on democracy where it infringes the rights of the minority- as in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, which imposed a highly unpopular view (allowing interracial marriage) on a majority who opposed it (the people of Virginia.)

        • hamiltonr

          That decision occurred because all the people have the right to petition the courts, you know.

    • savvy

      I happen to agree with you, but there are Catholics who do not. They see civil marriage as a stepping stone to gaining entry into the church.

      There are concerns about religious freedom, and the rights of those who disagree with gay marriage.

      • Rationalist1

        How are the rights of those who disagree with gay marriage infringed upon any differently than the rights of those who disagree with remarriage? Civil marriage has existed for decades for all sorts of situations where the Catholic Church disagrees and it hasn’t altered the Church’s position. Here in Canada we’ve had gay marriage for over 10 years and no CHurch has been forced to accept it. It’s purely up to them.

        • Dale

          Rationalist1, I just explained the view of the Catholic Church regarding same-sex marriage. The Church considers civil marriages between a man and a woman to be valid, even it such marriages would not be conducted by the Church e.g. a divorced man or woman remarrying. The Church recognizes such “natural marriage” because they fit the divine role of marriage, that of uniting man and woman so that they can be whole. From their union comes many benefits for society., which is as God intended.

    • Dale

      Savvy, simply because a group of people fear something doesn’t mean their fears are well-founded.

      The
      Catholic Church does not oppose allowing civil same-sex marriage because it believes it will be forced to perform such unions. The
      Church is opposed to same-sex marriage because it considers marriage to
      be a divinely created institution to unite men and women, and thus make
      us whole. In the Church’s view, civil marriage simply is a legal
      ratification of this union between a man and a woman. The Church
      opposes same-sex civil marriage because it confuses society about the
      nature of marriage.

      The Catholic Church believes that marriage
      is essential, not only for individuals, but for society. Marriage is a
      fundamental building-block. Changing the traditional definition of
      marriage to include same-sex marriage is a threat to society.

      Rationalist1, I understand the appeal of your perspective. The view you expressed is popular in the US, and for good reason. It respects individual liberty and freedom of choice.

      I just explained the Catholic Church’s position, and I realize you disagree with it. That is okay. However, the Church can not be expected to back away from what it sees as fundamental to the welfare of everyone and required of us by God. The Church regularly advocates for values in keeping with its faith e.g. feeding the hungry, welcoming the immigrant, etc. The public opposition of the Catholic Church to same-sex marriage is of the same cloth.

      • Rationalist1

        I don’t expect the Catholic Church to back away from its viewpoint but they have no right to impose it upon others. For instance my viewpoint and the viewpoint of most Canadians (many of them religious) is that same sex marriage is not a problem and actually good for society. Should the majority of Canadians seek to impose that viewpoint on a Cathoilic minority? No.
        Can you see why we shouldn’t do that? And if so why the converse is qually unacceptible?

        • hamiltonr

          I don’t know much about Canada’s government, but in America, everyone has the right to vote according to what they believe, to petition their government to change laws according to their personal desires and beliefs and to seek redress in the courts. That is the only way in which Catholics try to impose their will on others. To the contrary, practicing Catholics both here (and from what I’ve read, in Canada, as well) are more and more being asked to do things that violate their consciences as a condition of their employment. Of course, they are going to seek redress in the courts and petition their government for protection of their rights. As for people of faith trying to pass laws that reflect their beliefs, that is exactly what those who favor abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia do, as well. What’s sauce for the secularist is also sauce for the Catholic.

          • Dee

            The pro-gay marriage movement doesn’t simply want tolerance for gay marriage, it demands approval and the silencing of all who disagree. That movement bullies, belittles and attempts to intimidate those who exercise their rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion.

            In your own country, the Alberta human rights commission prosecuted a Catholic priest and magazine, Insight, for doing nothing more than citing church teaching on sexuality and explaining how the right to gay marriage would eventually impact all Canadians’ ability to exercise their religious liberty. The fact the commission would even open an investigation into a a Catholic magazine based on complaints from the gay lobby shows that they are not only determined to impose their beliefs upon society in general, but they are also determined to deny others their long held civil rights.

        • Dale

          Rationalist1, the Catholic Church is simply one voice in the public debate. Catholics do not form a majority in the US population (i am not familiar with the situation in Canada). But even if Catholics were in the majority, repeated surveys show that a large percentage of Catholics dissent from the teachings on the Church with regard to social issues.

          Granted, Christians nominally from a majority of the US population. However, there is a great deal of disagreement among Christians, and among Christian denominations with regard to social issues. There is no Catholic bloc or Christian bloc (although leaders may wish to think so.) I mention this because the participation of the Catholic Church in the public (and political) debate is not a matter of a majority imposing its will on a minority. We are all simply players in the same game and protecting the rights of minorities is definitely an important consideration.

          You suggested that Canada’s legalization of same-sex marriage did not affect those who disagree with it. I am not sure that is true. Changing the definition of marriage in such a fundamental way affects definition and function of marriage within the society. This change affects everyone within it, whether they are gay or not, married or not.

          How much of an effect it has remains to be seen. Likely, it will not be felt for a generation or two, as children grow up in a different cultural landscape.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Hi Dale –
            For sure, the Catholic church has the right (and probably a Christian responsibility) to participate in the public debate. Having done so vigorously, it’s surprising that the author of this post is objecting to those who take issue with the church’s very public position. Further, it always surprises me when the church makes a moral judgement about others (e.g., “gay relationships are immoral”), then objects when others make a moral judgment about her (e.g. “the Catholic church is bigoted”).

            • hamiltonr

              Since you mentioned me, I’ll butt in briefly. I didn’t “object” to anything. I merely asked the question why some people, who claim to be unbelievers, are so obsessed with getting the Church to change its teachings. The rest, as they say, was rock and roll, as troops of offended unbelievers descended to post comments in varying degrees of angry (the vast majority of which were deleted, much to the commenters chagrin) to “prove” that they are not obsessed with getting the Church to change its teachings by … well … giving a fine exhibition of that exact obsession.

            • Dale

              Hi Ford, thanks for joining in the discussion.

              Yes, I agree that if the Catholic Church is in the public square, advocating for change on a political or cultural level, it should expect some pushback from opposing views. This is well and good, the essence of democracy and free speech.

              However, I have noticed over the years that there are many people in the US who believe that clergy or religious denominations should be silent on matters of public policy. I disagree with their objection, and I think that was part of Rebecca’s disagreement as well.

              I have less experience with the other aspect of Rebecca’s article; that non-Catholics would like the Catholic Church to change its teachings. I suppose it is related to the first objection. Some people may recognize the right of the Catholic Church to participate in public policy discussion, but these people would like the Catholic Church to change what it is advocating. For example, such persons might approve of the Catholic Church advocating for increased funding for food stamps, but those same persons might object to the Catholic Church advocating to restrict abortion. (At least, I think that is what Rebecca was getting at. I hope she will let us know if I got it wrong.)

            • FW Ken

              My question for both Ford and Dale is this: what our who do you mean by “the Catholic Church”? This isn’t just semantics. I always suspect that the term refers to the bishops primarily, bit they are not the Church. All of us Catholics are the Church. From my perspective, it’s inaccurate to speak of the Chubby as an institution (though there are institutional aspects) because we are a community.

              So to what does “the Catholic Church”.refer?

              • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

                Hi FW Ken –

                I mean the Catholic church in the same way the author uses it to describe church teaching: the RCC as rendered by the church leadership. You’re absolutely right, communities of pew sitting Catholics often have personal beliefs that run contrary to the catechism (as do, I suspect, many parish priests). But when we’re talking about official church teaching, we are necessarily referring to the institutional church and her leaders.

                Not for nothing, I am a fervent believer in the Holy Catholic Church – the body of Christ pursuing something much greater than any one sect’s specific sets of beliefs. Christ never excluded anyone, nor should I just because I believe differently. Thanks for reminding us of that.

              • Dale

                From my perspective, it’s inaccurate to speak of the Chubby as an institution (though there are institutional aspects) because we are a community.
                erm… wha?
                “The Chubby??” I’ve never heard that one before! LOL

                Okay, to get to your question Ken, my view is much the same as Ford’s. When I write “the Catholic Church” I am referring to the persons (both clergy and laity) who identify as Catholic and guide their actions according to official teachings of the Church.

                Catholics certainly form a community, but I wonder if it wouldn’t be more precise to say that Catholics form communities (plural.) A fair amount of diversity of opinions and attitudes exist in the Church, and like-minded individuals often associate with one another, e.g. traditionalists or pacifists or pro-life activists, etc.

                • FW Ken

                  It is to laugh! O! ha.ha.

                  This is the sort of thing that happens when your cell phone auto-corrects like crazy and you (I) can’t proof-read on-screen. :-(

                  Thank you Dale and Ford for your replies. I’m always curious what the phrase means by the people using it. Dale, I’m not that far from your definition. I do think that the single doctrine of the Church binds us into one universal community, but it’s also true that legitimate diversity of place, state of life, and interests creates multiple communities.

                  If memory serves, Cardinals Ratzinger and Kasper used to spar over which was primary: the Church Universal, from which local Churches derived, or local Churches, which came together into the Church Universal. Either can be supported from history.

      • pagansister

        Same sex civil marriage is opposed by the Church because it confuses society about the nature of marriage??? Confuses? Really? I disagree. SSM is a threat to society? I disagree there too. SSM most certainly doesn’t fit the Church’s definition, but it isn’t a threat to society, IMO. 2 people who love each other and wish to stay together as a couple do not threaten anyone or most certainly isn’t confusing anyone either.

  • LivingCatholic

    Pope Francis made this wonderfully Catholic loving response in his interview with Rev. Antonio Spadaro, editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, an Italian Jesuit journal whose content is approved by the Vatican.

    In a remark then that produced headlines worldwide, the new pope said, “Who am I to judge?” At the time, some questioned whether he was referring only to gays in the priesthood, but in this interview he made clear that he had been speaking of gay men and lesbians in general.

    “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he told Father Spadaro. “I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

    I hope that this gives everyone, whether Catholic or not, the truth about what the Catholic faith teaches us about. It is what Christ taught, love and mercy.

    I can only guess at the many reasons people feel the need to project hatred. In my experience of life and as a licensed pastoral counselor, many times we hate others when we hate some part of ourselves and when we feel out of control of something in life. There is a deep human need, a God-gifted need to be accepted and loved. When this does not happen, it hurts us. As humans we must turn to God when we hurt, examine ourselves, and move on to true healing.

    Who knows what God will say when we come to meet him at our physical death?
    I think God must laugh at us a lot! I can hear God saying while shaking his/her head “Oh my gosh, that’s NOT what I meant!”

    • FW Ken

      The problem is that when Catholics, and other Christians affirm the historic teaching that same-sex acts are immoral, we are told that constitutes hate. I’m fact, if it’s a true statement, then it’s loving to point out that cliff in front of those running full speed towards it.

      • Andrew Patton

        Indeed. We will physically restrain people who are suicidal; should we not also rescue those who are committing suicide in slow motion by giving themselves over to mortal sin?

        • FW Ken

          To point out the cliff and prevent the plunge are separate matters.

          Anyway, suicide is usually not a decision made freely, but proceeds from Depression, a treatable disease. Moral illness involves the will, which we treat with care.

  • Erasmite

    Recently, the Episcopal Bishop of Milwaukee, who is a strong proponent of gay marriage, announced that he will not allow Episcopal priests to bless or preside over gay marriages. He said that although gay marriage is an important civil right, there is no theological basis for it in the Episcopal tradition.

    When he announced this, many Episcopalians were stunned. After all, wasn’t it hypocritical to call for civil gay marriage, but refuse a religious ceremony?

    The lesson in this is that if it is bigoted to deny the equality of gays in the public sphere, it is bigoted to do it in the private sphere as well. Those who want the Catholic Church to allow civil gay marriage will not stop when it is legal. They will want the Catholic Church to perform gay weddings as well.

    Americans often say they don’t want morality to be legislated. In reality, declaring something to be wrong is really the first step to making illegal. The number of people who want the state to allow gay marriage, but who have no problem with a religious tradition denying its gay members marriage, is small indeed.

    • savvy

      Well, said.

    • Dale

      Erasite, the reasoning you presented is faulty. There is no conflict if an Episcopal bishop (or anyone else for that matter) supports civil marriage for same-sex couples but denies religious marriage to those same couples. Those two types of marriage are independent of one another. It is possible to have a civil marriage without a religious ceremony. Similarly, it is possible to have religious marriage without getting it legally blessed. This basic separation is well understood by proponents of same-sex marriage. .

      Simply because some Episcopalians think their denomination should perform same=sex marriages is not a reason to think that The Episcopal Church will be forced to conduct them. The only way this change would happen is if the leadership of that denomination decided to change past practices. Granted, such changes seem to be occurring in some Protestant denominations due to pressure from their members.

      However, there is no reason to think that the leaders of Catholic Church will change its beliefs regarding the sacrament of marriage. We have a different view of Tradition, and its divine origin, than do Protestant denominations. For example, some degree of popular sentiment to allow female priests exists in the Church, but such a change is not going to happen.

  • Carol

    Christianity is the de facto civil religion in America. As such it affects our civil laws, which in turn affects the lives of both believers and unbelievers.

    I know a lot of atheists/agnostics and people of faith from other religious Traditions who simply want a more inclusive spirit in our society and see a threat in exclusivist religious beliefs that they feel marginalize and/or disfranchise their fellow citizens for a life-style choice that they believe should be strictly personal.

    I am a Christian person of faith who has been influenced by the wisdom of other Christian and non-Christian Traditions who believes that there should be zero tolerance for predatory behavior and that non-predatory behavior should be a matter between the believer or non-believer and his or her own conscience.
    Stop a moment and compare the Church’s teaching with the revelations of the Catholic sex scandal and think about whether it is their sins or the institutional sins of the Church that may be disturbing both Catholics and non-Catholics.

    “My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In these depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith. On this level, the division between believer and unbeliever ceases to be so crystal clear. It is not that some are all right and others are all wrong: all are bound to seek in honest perplexity. Everybody is an
    unbeliever more or less.” ~ From “Apologies to an Unbeliever” by Thomas Merton

  • Christine

    In my opinion, non-Catholics seek to change the Church and its teachings because it is apparent to them that there is a valid and moral way of life associated with it. Because of this, people will try to match up their way of living to the Church as much as they can without changing the bits of life that they are unwilling to give up. I just finished reading Emily Simpson’s new book, “These Beautiful Bones,” which is all about the Catholic way of life. In it, she states that “While the resurrection of the body is the work of a moment, the redemption of the body is the work of a lifetime.” While we undergo our redemption of the body, the Catholic Church gives us teachings to help guide us on our path, without specifically prescribing the direct steps. That is part of the beauty of being Catholic. This also seems to be why non-Catholics want to change the Catholic teachings. They want to be included, but they are unwilling to be the ones to change.

  • Slocum Moe

    This is semantics. Non Catholics don’t care much what Catholics believe. It is the people that used to be Catholics and driven out who want the Church to change and obviously the reason is that they would like to go back and be Catholic again.

    • Dee

      No, that’s not necessarily true. IRL the people I know who are most obsessed with Catholicism are atheists or agnostics who are not ex-Catholics.

      • FW Ken

        To be accurate, the most virilently Catholic hating bigots are anti-Catholics. I don’t think that if we went all Episcopalian that they would come back. The Episcopalians have not enjoyed floods of new members since they made a bishop of a patterned gay man. In fact, their attendance had dropped by about 25 percent in the past decade.

        The most interesting attack on us, however, is that we want to “regain” our political power, since protestants have historically been the power in this country. Goggle up the “Know Nothing Party”

  • Rick

    I believe Catholics can believe whatever they want. I do object when the Catholic hierarchy try to impose their beliefs on everyone else. Catholic bishops like to talk about their “religious freedom”. What about those of us who want the freedom not to have religious dogma/teachings imposed upon us ?

    • hamiltonr

      We’ve been over and over this on this one post. The Bishops do nothing other than express Church teachings and exercise their rights as American citizens. Catholics who vote their consciences and petition their government or seek redress through the courts are doing the same thing. What you are objecting to is other people, who have ideas that differ from yours, exercising the same rights that you exercise yourself. I have no idea what is wrong with people that they have such a dislike of democracy, but it seems to run strong in some people’s minds. Freedoms such as these belong to everyone, even people who think differently than you, or they don’t exist at all.

      • FW Ken

        What’s wrong with these people, Rebecca, is that they have abandoned charity for licentiousness, reason for obsession. Was it John Adams (a deist) who pointed out that virtue is a pre-condition for a workable democracy? That’s why they hate democracy. As with atheists, it’s all about power.

        Of course, when it comes to “religious freedom” the topic at hand is our being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, not same-sex marriage. But that’s a mere detail.

    • DianaG2

      It sounds like this article was written with you in mind specifically.

      Why are you claiming to be Catholic?

      If you just want to go sit in a room — when you feel like it — with a cross and listen to a feel-good lecture, there are many ecclesial communities where they do exactly that. Why not just join one of them?

  • Patti Maguire Armstrong

    Great article! It’s ironic that non-Catholics think they should have an opinion on our faith at all. We don’t go around telling them what they should be doing because it’s not our faith. But Catholics need to guard against allowing our faith to erode either by outside pressure or within. I recently read a great book on this topic: http://www.amazon.com/Dangers-Faith-Recognizing-Catholicisms-Opponents/dp/1592767257


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