The pope’s latest policy

October 29th, 2009

The Vatican has once again turned its infallible back on women and homosexuals.

This time, the Catholic Church is making it easier for Anglicans to convert to Catholicism while still retaining many of their Anglican traditions. The aim of this move is to attract those who are uncomfortable with the Anglican Communion’s support of gay marriage and female priests and bishops.

And so the church that calls itself “universal” continues to be led by an exclusive group of homophobic, misogynic elitists who cling to outdated traditions and confuse moral authority with moral infallibility.

It’s times like these that I wish I had some say over the direction the Church chooses to take on issues of morality. Maybe it’s because I’m American and I’ve grown up in a society that promotes the principles of democracy and the rights of individuals. Or maybe it’s something more.

I used to believe that, while there are many paths to salvation, the Catholic Church offered the “straightest” of those paths, with its traditions extending all the way back to Jesus Christ himself.

But at the near-culmination of 16 years of Catholic education, that no longer seems to be the truth. Instead, I now find shallow arguments that prevent millions of good Catholics from being able to completely take part in their faith.

Take, for example, the Church’s theological argument for why women cannot join the clergy. In short, it’s based on nothing more than flimsy logic covered in a veil of metaphorical nonsense that is borderline – no, outright – sexual discrimination.

And it’s not just women that are affected by this decision. I feel as though all of us are being deprived of the scriptural interpretation and spiritual guidance of a whole half of the Church.

Then there’s the Church’s persistent stance against homosexual marriage, which just goes to show how disconnected the Vatican is from reality.

Why must the Church go about pretending that women are inferior and will forever remain that way, and that homosexuality is a “disease” that can be cured?

Perhaps it needs to be reminded that its history is far from perfect. Just look at how it persecuted Galileo in the seventeenth century for saying that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe.

It took the Church over 300 years to apologize for its ignorance towards Galileo. Will it take another 300 years to correct its bigoted treatment of women and homosexuals?

Part of the problem is a lack of accountability in the Vatican, which allows this Middle Age mentality of infallibility to persist. Although the Catholic Church has many sound theological and moral arguments, this latest decision seems to indicate that it is moving in the wrong direction, and most Catholics are powerless to prevent it.

So while I doubt that a movement in a “liberal” direction will happen any time soon, I also doubt that this latest decision will result in any sort of increase in Catholic conversions. In fact, by highlighting the bigotry of the Church, the Pope’s latest policy will almost certainly have the opposite effect.