Why I Won’t Be Returning to the Catholic Church Anytime Soon   4 comments


I’ve started reading a number of Catholic blogs. Ideally, I’d like to do for Catholicism what Slacktivist does for Evangelicalism. That is, I’d like to offer an informed critique from a former insider. In that spirit I’d like to offer the reasons I won’t be rejoining the Catholic Church anytime soon.

1) Gender Issues

The Catholic Church falls decidedly in the Complimentarian camp when it comes to gender. Men are men, women are women, and while their dignity is equal their roles are different.

I don’t really agree with this. Gender is a societal construction (a deeply embedded one, but still). Even if males and females do tend towards different things biologically, individual variations still mean that there will be plenty of people and relationships for whom fixed gender roles are wrong. Making those gender roles the only acceptable option for people has caused untold damage to people who naturally tend not to fit those roles.

Oh, and by the way, Adam and Eve might have been created male and female, but biology has other possibilities. Some people literally can’t fit into the male-female dichotomy, and I’ve yet to see a good Catholic response to those people.

2) The Reproductive Aspect of Sex

There are some couples who should be couples, but should not have children. For example, a couple where one or both of the people involved have serious health issues which make it difficult for that couple just to get by. There are people with health conditions that would prevent them from providing a child with the care and attention that child deserves.

Furthermore, removing the procreative aspect of sex doesn’t necessarily poison the loving aspect of sex. That’s not how sex works. That’s not how the human brain works. Removing a possible but unlikely possibility from an individual act doesn’t greatly affect the way performing that action affects us.

3) Hell

The doctrine of eternal hell is pernicious and false. It is not Biblically supported, it is not in keeping with the actions of a loving or just God, and it makes people who believe in it worse people. Just read one of the Church Fathers talking about their enemies suffering in hell and tell me it doesn’t harm people’s souls.

4) Hierarchy

A little bit of hierarchy seems to be necessary (seems to be). The extent to which the Catholic Church is hierarchical is corrupting, though. You can tell the difference between practicality and corruption based on whether or not the people at the top of the hierarchy listen to people at the bottom of the hierarchy. The Catholic Church (at least in the United States) doesn’t listen women or children, or anybody who doesn’t share the same priorities. The Catholic Church has even started ignoring the poor. You can tell that the Catholic Church has put too much effort into the abortion debate because it is paying less attention to other issues of human dignity than before it invested everything into abortion. Now the bishops are going after the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which was subjected to a “doctrinal review”), not over what the LCWR is teaching, but because isn’t giving abortion and gay marriage enough attention. The bishops aren’t just enforcing doctrine, which is understandable. They’re enforcing priorities.

5) The Collapse on Other Human Rights

The right to life, according the Catholic Church, comes prior to all other rights. That’s true in a chronological sense, but other rights are too fundamental for all of the attention to be placed on one or two issues. The Catholic Church, which used to side with the poor and the marginalized, isn’t really doing that anymore. The current conservative Catholic alliance with the pro-death penalty, anti-gun law, anti-social safety net, anti-health care GOP has politicized the Catholic Church while compromising its commitment to the poor.

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4 responses to “Why I Won’t Be Returning to the Catholic Church Anytime Soon

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  1. The problem with the catholic church that I have could be summed up in one sentence. What they practice doesn’t align with the Scriptures.

  2. To answer your question we are all flawed and to expect perfection is ridiculous. Were not called to show judgement rather just love, mercy, and grace towards others. Sadly, since I am trans and have been treated so poorly it tends to be easier said than done. I’d love to be able to worship with others but when I can’t even be accepted at the door it’s well difficult.

    • Yeah, I really wish I could say I understand, but I’m quite certain I don’t. I really hope for the day when Christians will welcome the marginalized and oppressed as they were meant to. In the meantime, I can’t imagine what I could do to help, but if you think of anything be sure to let me know. I’d be happy to pray for or with you, if only on a blog.

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