Friday, February 29, 2008

CM at others' comboxes -- 2

At Rich Leonardi's site, he blogged about a recent survey of American religiosity that his city's paper (the Cincinnati Enquirer) had localized, with comment from people there who had left the Catholic Church. Here is one excerpt:
Reasons for leaving vary. Janet Steele of Springfield Township cites the priest sex abuse scandal and the [C]hurch's teachings on birth control among the reasons she's no longer Catholic. Her family joined Forest Chapel United Methodist Church in Forest Park, where she is now lay leader.
My response follows:

I maybe shouldn't say this given some of my own struggles, but ...

I will never understand leaving the Catholic Church for some other Christian body over the teaching on contraception. Not because the teaching is objectively correct and you'd have to be ill-willed or stupid to think otherwise; I can well imagine being unpersuaded by the church's teaching on any particular matter.

It's that, if you have any faith to begin with, it just seems so petulant ... jeopardizing your soul over a matter that, while not trivial, is not life-or-death either. And it occurs in that field of human activity where ... to put it delicately ... the human capacity for self-delusion, selfishness, rationalization and being-guided-by-passion are at their greatest.

I mean ... what's the worst thing that can happen if you obey the teaching: (1) you might not have as much sex as you'd like; or (2) you might have more children than you thought ideal when you first married.

(1) can be a painful PAINFUL sacrifice but, at the end of the day, hardly seems worth damnation. As for (2), ditto the first part, but, at the end of the day, I don't know too many parents who seriously, existentially regretted having a particular child, once born.


A Simple Sinner said...

I think this would constitute by far my most tangetial comment in a com box (BTW, I agree with your point)...

But your graphic of "the pill" in dispenser with dispenser-packaging made me for the first time ever wonder why it is that "the pill" is packaged in that fashion which is so convienant for remembering daily dose...

But life saving medications like the 4 my elderly grand-mum takes daily aren't packaged in such a fashion? Wouldn't packaging them that way make as much or more sense?

Show our priorities.

Jennifer F. said...

This is such a great point. I think one of the reasons Catholics get lured into outright rebellion over the contraception issue is that there's a big lie in our culture right now that says that the very meaning of life is to do things for yourself, to go on vacations, to take a day at the spa, etc. and any time you're serving other people you're "putting your life on hold." I've heard that phrase so many times lately -- people taking care of elderly parents, moms and dads with young kids, are all supposedly not really living life to the fullest, the implication being that the meaning of life is to live solely for yourself.

I think that the lie has gotten so big and so alluring that even some Catholics are starting to buy into it, and therefore reject the Church teaching because having more kids means you'd have to do something terrible like "put your life on hold" for a longer time.

Great post!

A Simple Sinner said...

"I think that the lie has gotten so big and so alluring that even some Catholics are starting to buy into it, and therefore reject the Church teaching because having more kids means you'd have to do something terrible like "put your life on hold" for a longer time."

I hear it all the time too. The attendent ideals of consumption and pleasure seem to have a lot of people chasing happiness like some dogs chase cars... Like the dogs, God help them if they catch it!

My grandparents were all of a generation that still had large families and as a result my paternal grandmother was one of 11. I think there are 4 of them left now. The funerals are still beig affairs and the progeny that are direct descendants of my great grandparents now number in the hundreds. The family gatherings used to be big and moving... now we have gone different ways.

I just can't fathom or wrap my feeble mind about how this legacy they left today would be considered "putting your life on hold"...

Jen said...

You know, aside from the problems people have over being told not to do things they would otherwise prefer to do, I think the reason why people leave the Church citing those reasons is that they *don't* have the sense that they are thereby damning their souls.

I don't just mean that priests don't teach about mortal sin anymore. I mean -- though this is *really* hard for me to get my brain around -- a large number of people don't seem to think that God or the Eternal have much to do with a religion to begin with. There is often simply NO sense of the transcendent.

I have heard, more times than I can count, people cite reasons far dumber than contraception for leaving the Church, and reasons more moronic still for staying -- community, a sense of "belonging", an appreciation for humanitarian values, etc. A few have even openly admitted to me that, all the while, they don't believe in God. For heaven's sake, those of you in that last category, go join a Lodge! The Kiwanis Club would welcome you with open arms.

Why, oh WHY, would you choose religion, of all things?