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Old 07-06-2007, 07:18 PM   #21
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When Vatican passed the law of protecting the right of same sex marriage and abortion, I'd believe what this big-hat-man said.

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Old 07-06-2007, 07:31 PM   #22
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And give a pass for the complicity with authoritarian states, sexual repression and child abuse?

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Old 07-07-2007, 09:41 AM   #23
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The problem with this and any other Vatican pronouncement is that it is filled with "code phrases." "Modernity" is an interesting choice of word, because the word of choice for centuries was "modernism"--which was declared a heresy by Pope Pius X in 1907, mainly because it challenged church authority and its insistence on unchanging "absolute truth." This defiant stance was rescinded in 1967, mainly because the term had been abused and was considered to be overly ambiguous. The fact that Benedict XVI is digging up this pre-Vatican II corpse is quite telling.

Other than that, there's some interesting choice of words in here. Combining "traditional values" (i.e., whatever the Vatican says) with a "future of hope" is probably a reference to what they view as the "culture of death," a phrase tinted with anti-abortion polemics and homophobia. "Authentic humanism" is a swipe against self-described humanists, who are often agnostic or atheist.

Basically, this is nothing all that special in the larger history of Vatican appeals. In my view, if the Vatican wishes to revive its relevance in the "modern" world, they need to sit down and evaluate their own conscience, rather than stubbornly accusing the outside world of being entirely wrong. This requires sitting down and deciding which doctrines and ideas are the core of Christianity and which ones are just the fallible philosophical concepts of medieval theologians.

That's not to say that they have to or even need to toss out everything from medieval traditions; they just need to sit down and ask why they still exist, beyond a stubborn insistence on tradition. It has to be remembered that there were female priests for the first few centuries of Christianity and married priests for the first millennium. Both of these changes were the result of medieval theologians.

I also believe that if they want to be more relevant on modern family life, they need to moderate on their absolute opposition to contraception and their medieval view of sex. I'm not expecting them to ever approve of abortion. The fight between those for and against it is, for the most part, philosophical, rather than scientific. If you don't believe that life begins at conception, there's no hard-and-fast rule to claim when life begins. If you believe that life begins at birth, it ignores that, in a hypothetical scenario, the fetus could be ripped out of the womb early and survive independently. However, things like condom use, masturbation, and oral sex, even if it is not all that elegant or romantic to talk about, are things that even married couples engage in. And I won't even start on their haphazard views on homosexuality, which include a theoretical acceptance of the scientific views, rhetorical tirades against it based on medieval theology, and a private admission that the Bible makes no mention of modern homosexuality (since their Biblical scholarship is generally quite admirable, even from a secular POV).

If they are to oppose abortion, then they should, at least, advocate for a society that is conducive to having a family. Scapegoating homosexuals, which has been their traditional cop out highlighting the Vatican's out-of-touch irrelevance, ignores that many people are not having children, because they flat-out can't afford them and have the luxury to prevent pregnancy. I'll tell you right now that after going through six years of college and $50,000 in debt, the last thing I can handle right now is children. Children aren't going to pay my student loans, and not being able to work a flexible schedule that often requires long days would be a career liability. I also don't think it's fair to a child to have them raised by day care centers, in my personal opinion. Note that I'm not judging anyone here who might fit that bill; my sole point is that this personal conviction is a reason for me to hold off from having children indefinitely.

Instead, the modern Catholic Church is corrupted by politics. For all their polemics and threats against "liberals," conservative Catholics are just as schismatic. They often support the death penalty and war, in defiance of the Vatican's opposition to both. There are many that flat out reject the Second Vatican Council. And when conservative politicians (ab)use moral positions merely as vote getters to advance their corruption, the Vatican not only doesn't call them on it--they often encourage it. This is a church that has often supported any government that pays lip service to it, no matter how authoritarian or cruel it is--most infamously Francoist Spain. And they wonder why the Spanish public flat out ignores them today? You reap what you sow.
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:55 AM   #24
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Yeah, they need to come to terms with gay marriage. I'm all for it. The Vatican is all screwy with it.

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