Being Catholic does not mean that you have to be stupid, ignorant, superstitious and dead.

Being Catholic does not mean that you have to be stupid, ignorant, superstitious and dead. October 14, 2022

Vaccine saves lives. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Steven Depolo

My Patheos colleague, Fr Matthew Schneider wrote a post about the anti-vax statements being made by his crazy brother priest, Fr Chad Ripperger.

I’d never heard of Fr Ripperger before I read this article. I Googled, and he’s evidently an exorcist who writes books and posts YouTubes and who has also decided to bless Denver with a new community of his own making for other “traditionalist” exorcists.

Along with casting out demons and such, Fr Ripperger has decided to start handing out medical advice. Or at least that’s one of the takeaways I got from Fr Schneider’s blog post. He is making pronouncements on how serious various diseases, COVID in particular, “really” are. The real non-scientific and totally made-up truth according to him is that COVID ain’t all that bad, so “the faithful” shouldn’t worry their little heads about it.

I guess he never visited the cardiac rehab where I go and hasn’t seen all the COVID patients, trying to heal their badly damaged hearts and lungs from the long-term devastation of COVID. I’ll bet he for sure hasn’t been to my family gatherings where family talk is about the missing ones, the dead ones, who refused COVID vaccine because their Republican-worshipping preachers like the good father told them they shouldn’t take it.

In addition to handing out free medical advice, Ripperger has written that “almost all” vaccines are “illicit.” Illicit is a word that “Orthodox” Catholics like to throw in people’s faces when they are condemning something their sinful brethren are doing. It is more or less synonymous with “unacceptable” with a twist of “forbidden” to give it that good old condemnatory sizzle.

I haven’t read Ripperger’s writing on this because, as I said, I never heard of him before. I also don’t care enough about what he thinks to bother to look it up and read it now that I have heard of him.

All I know for sure is that I’m way past sick of these nut job priests wandering around the internet like so many banshees. Fr Schneider makes a stalwart attempt to answer Ripperger’s crazy. He dives deep into technical, arcane, theological gobbledy-goop to show that Ripperger’s logic is in fact Ripperger’s logic and not Catholic teaching.

I appreciate the effort he made. I am aware that there are a lot of people who take this Catholic Kabbala stuff seriously. I run into them on the internet all the time.

But for those of us out here in the back pew, it’s ridiculous. The whole discussion is an illustration of the snake-swallowing-its-own-tail, gnat-straining, obscure nonsense that passes for Catholic teaching these days.

Instead of all that stuff, here’s my take.

Following for-real Christian teaching like

  1. Don’t commit adultery.
  2. Don’t lie.
  3. Don’t steal.
  4. Don’t slander.
  5. Don’t kill people.
  6. Don’t take bribes.
  7. Love people.
  8. Help people.
  9. Save lives.
  10. Tell the truth.
  11. Love God.
  12. Trust God.
  13. Etc

following for real Christian teaching like that is plenty hard enough for most pew-sitters. In fact, it’s also plenty hard enough for most priests and bishops.

We don’t need the added burden of being harassed by internet priests demanding — on pain of some legalism that they have elevated to Mortal Sin — that we kill ourselves and millions of other people with diphtheria, COVID, pneumonia, polio, cervical cancer, penile cancer and all the other endless plagues and horrors that vaccines prevent.

Most of the people alive today would not be here if it wasn’t for vaccines.

This may not be complicated theology, but I assure you that God gave you a brain so that you could think for yourself. Being Catholic does not mean that you have to be stupid, ignorant, superstitious and dead.


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