Of The Catholic Church, Censorship and High-School Sex


Ryan Dunn, the author of this post, is a student at Bishop Blanchet High School, a Catholic school, in Seattle, WA. Dunn was told by school administrators not to run the article in the school newspaper for fear of raising the hackles of the Archdiocese of Seattle , the organization that runs the school. For a brief prologue to this story, read Amie Newman’s blog post published last week.

The Institution of the Catholic Church is at a crossroads. As the turning tides of society and progress press onward, the dilemma has become how to avoid fading into antiquity, how to remain relevant in people’s lives while still promoting and teaching the essential Gospel values of Christianity. This is a time of flux for the Church, an uneasy time of change as centuries-old traditions such as celibacy, clerical marriage and  ordination of women are called into question. Some prominent members of the Church have even begun calling for a Vatican III to reevaluate and integrate the Church’s doctrine and practices into this modern world.

This is not unheard of; despite its firm foundation in tradition, the Catholic Church has always been a dynamic force. Just as the official teaching Church no longer condones the existence of witches or a geocentric universe, many Church teachings have been altered and adapted to be more appropriate and relevant. These revisions usually come in light of scientific discoveries, like the Vatican’s official apology to Galileo in 1992, or just to make Christianity more accessible to the masses, like the Second Vatican Council in the 1960’s that liberalized many of the Church’s long-held traditions, like the Latin mass.

However, there is one arena in which the Church seems unwilling to move an inch: the official doctrine regarding contraception. This controversial teaching, which bans all artificial forms of birth control, is rooted deeply in the Church’s commitments to sanctity of life and natural law.

“Conjugal sexuality is an expression of the faithful, life-enriching love of husband and wife, and is ordained toward the loving procreation of new life,” reads The Formation for Love and Chastity by Archbishop Alexander Brunett. “Genital sexual activity has true meaning and integrity only within the context of marriage.”

As a result, the Catholic Church supports premarital abstinence and calls all forms of contraception “intrinsically evil” (CCC 2370).

In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with this; the Catholic Church should be able to preach whatever they see fit. However, one must keep in mind that the Catholic Church operates more schools and educates more students than any religious organization in this country, and the practical outcome of the doctrine regarding contraception is sex education that teaches only abstinence. The Church sees this as necessary to align with traditional teachings, but more and more people are beginning to see this practice as harmful to children.

Abstinence-only sex education has been a hot-button issue for years, but flamed its way into the public eye during the Bush administration, when the government poured millions of dollars into federally mandated abstinence-only sex education. Programs such as these typically present total abstinence until marriage as the preferable choice, and withhold information about contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases. Dozens of scientific studies were conducted in these eight years in response to the federal mandate, and the overwhelming majority found that abstinence programs had little to no effect on students’ sexual choices, and often put recipients at a higher risk for pregnancy and STD’s.

Studies by Columbia University found that recipients of abstinence-only sex education are at higher risk for STD’s and unwanted pregnancies, and studies by Advocates For Youth concluded that abstinence programs have absolutely no effect in delaying first sex of students. Columbia University also conducted a study of teenagers who pledge virginity until marriage, and found that 88 percent did not keep that pledge, and those teens were less likely to use contraception or seek STD testing and were therefore at a much higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies. The  Society for Adolescent Medicine went so far as to say that “abstinence-only programs threaten fundamental human rights to health, information, and life.”

Faced with this evidence, the Church is placed in a precarious situation. It must balance its responsibility to effectively teach its doctrine with legitimate concern for the well-being of its students. It’s an unenviable state of affairs that goes much deeper than a debate about condoms; it calls into question all kinds of philosophical and ideological issues that challenge the very fundamental values of Christianity. It’s a classic battle, a clash of ideals, an archetypical struggle to maintain identity and cling to precious values in a world that changes with every passing day.

What it boils down to, however, is a debate of practicality. The Vatican devises its doctrine in a Catholic world, but educates its students in a secular one. While instilling the vital Gospel values of love, mercy and righteousness in its students is always the first priority, at some point, the Church, and the Archdiocese of Seattle, and Bishop Blanchet High School have to find a way to give students the information they need to protect themselves from STD’s and pregnancy.

Blanchet seems to have struck a good balance. Officially, health classes and religion classes that deal with sex must promote abstinence, but in a more liberal part of the country, the faculty seems to have a bit more leeway.

“When we cover the male and female reproductive systems we talk about the parts of the system and how they function as well as how they operate to achieve the primary goal of creating life,” said a Blanchet health teacher. “We discuss the different types of contraceptives and their effectiveness in protecting the individual from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy protection, emphasizing that abstinence is the most effective.”

The curriculum isn’t strictly abstinence-only, but it is a far cry from the comprehensive sex ed that is the norm at public and secular schools, and to many students it is not adequate.

A recent survey of Blanchet students found that 58% of students do not feel satisfied with the amount and quality of sex education they have received at Blanchet.

“At Blanchet, the health class only teaches the Catholic Church’s teaching, which would be abstinence,” said one anonymous student. “But I feel like the school should realize that not everyone is going to wait until marriage to have sex and that we should have more options.”

The results of the survey, which gathered statistical data as well as anonymous opinions from students, emphasized that students don’t just want to learn facts about contraceptives but how to use them, and how to find them. Others want the school to not just address contraception, but educate students in order to dispel potentially harmful myths, like the notion that women can’t get pregnant during their periods.

“Instead of just letting us know that there are places such as Planned Parenthood and that contraception is available in the world if we seek it, it would be nice if BBHS gave us a more direct line to these resources,” said another anonymous student.

Indeed, Blanchet’s lack of sexual health resources remains perhaps the most controversial issue among students. Survey respondents expressed desire for a clinic or teen health center (common institutions at public and secular schools) where students could have access to birth control, pregnancy testing, STD screenings and counseling on sexual matters. 20 different students said they’d like to see condoms available at Blanchet, another common feature in public and secular schools.

One student said, “I’d like to see at least more sexual health information. I know it’s probably out of the question to ask for pregnancy tests and birth control, even if that would be very beneficial.”

 Perhaps most shockingly, the survey indicates that 58% of Blanchet students have had sex, and 39% of those students have had unprotected sex. Sadly, 42% of all students describe their sex education as abstinence-only, and 16% say they have received no sex education at all.

The statistics seem to beg for a change, but again, it is a matter of practicality. Blanchet’s policies are the Church’s policies, and they aren’t arbitrary.

Humanae Vitae is the cornerstone of this debate, the source of the proverbial firestorm that surrounds this issue. It is a papal encyclical, a document published by Pope Paul VI in 1968. It is the source of the Church’s stance on contraception and the reason that it teaches abstinence to its students. It has always been an extremely controversial document; the opposition has been so outspoken and widespread that some blame it for the perpetuation of overpopulation, poverty and the spread of AIDS in strictly Christian African nations.

In essence, Humanae Vitae took the traditional Church teachings about contraception and took the extra step to set them in stone, to make them so official and permanent that reversing them would be near impossible. This was prompted by Vatican II, the ecumenical council in the 60’s that reevaluated and modernized the practices of the Catholic Church. This, along with the advent of new birth control methods like the pill compelled the Pope to create a Papal commission to decide whether to revaluate the traditional ban on birth control.

The committee voted overwhelmingly (30 of the 35 lay members, 15 of the 19 theologians, and 9 of the 12 bishops) that contraception was not necessarily immoral and that the traditional teaching should be overturned. They argued that the conjugal act itself should not be viewed as an isolated reality but in a larger context as a normal part of human life and relationships.

However, Paul VI decided to ignore the urgings of the Papal commission and instead publish the infamous document that would change the way Catholics deal with their sexuality. The encyclical lambasts and officially bans artificial barrier methods like condoms and birth control pills as a violation of natural law. It says that in order to be in accordance with God’s natural law, “each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life.” The document is still the official law of the Church, and still calls every form of artificial birth control “illicit.”

The reception in the religious community was mostly negative. Priests and theologians wanted to emphasize primacy of conscience, the idea that every situation is different, and Catholics must be guided by their consciences instead of blanket statements in order to do the right thing in their particular situation.  They wanted to acknowledge the fact that not everyone can realistically abide by the encyclical, and those that cannot should not feel separated from God’s love.

The question really is, Humanae Vitae is on the books, but is it a black and white law or is it a law to be strived for?

That’s a good question, considering that The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 97% of American Catholic women over 18 have used a banned form of birth control, and Harris Interactive says that 90% of Catholics support the use of birth control. With numbers like that, it’s clear that in this area, conscience is taking precedent over Church teaching.

With primacy of conscience, the idea of practicality comes back into play. If scientific research shows that abstinence-only sex education can be harmful to students, should Blanchet and the Church be guided by policy or by conscience? This is where the debate wades into some muddy waters.

Early Christian scholars upheld the notion that sex was only for procreation, period. The doctrine was eventually watered down to allow sterile and menopausal women to partake. Today, natural family planning – intercourse during the so-called “safe period” of a woman’s menstrual cycle – is even allowed. Maybe allowing artificial birth control isn’t that crazy; maybe it’s not even that far off. But one thing that is clear is that through the centuries of redactions and alterations to “infallible” doctrine, the underlying Gospel values of love, mercy, righteousness and purity of heart have not wavered a single inch. Traditions and rules and doctrines about things like sex may come and go, but the ability of the Church to change people’s lives for the better will remain solidly cemented in place for eternity. Maybe that’s what’s really important. And maybe there’s a way to instill those values in students and still teach them about contraception.

The debates about sanctity of life and natural law are best left to Biblical scholars, but for now sex is on the minds of Blanchet students. Responses to the survey show that this is issue a big deal for many of Blanchet’s students. Keeping this in mind, maybe it’s that time again. Maybe the paradigm is shifting. Maybe society is taking such a sharp turn that the Church will have to do its best to keep up. And maybe this is a good time for the Church to refocus its position. It’s done it before. Will it actually happen this time? That’s a question for another day.

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  • offred

    Ryan, according to the Blanchet website, your parents pay over $10,000 per year to send you to that Catholic school.

     

    Your parents are obviously very invested in your future. Are they not able to talk to you about sex and contraceptives?

     

    Why does the school have to go against its beliefs and values in order for you and your classmates to learn about sex, when you have much more qualified teachers in your own home?

  • kate-ranieri

    “Dunn was told by school administrators not to run the article in the school newspaper for fear of raising the hackles of the Archdiocese of Seattle , the organization that runs the school.”

     

    I find the above quote very telling especially the notion that students should fear raising the hackles of the Archdiocese or any church official. It seems the Gospel values of love, mercy and righteousness that Dunn listed should also include fear—as in fear of the priests, the Archdiocese, the whole papal industry.

    • faultroy

      You obviously are very poorly versed in religious lore.  I suggest that you pick up a Bible and read it critically.  There is actually much more righteousness and less mercy and love.  Fear is endemic to all early cultures and societal texts.  And his administrators had every right to tell him not to run it.  For copy so sophomoric, I seriously question the intelligence of his admiistrators and the people promoting it.  I give him a C since it shows poor critical thinking skills and even poorer research skills. –But then again–he’s jus a kid.

  • harry834

    your definition of “being invested” (while good enough for a lot of things) doesn’t necessarilly add up to “being qualified” to teach about sex and contraceptives, relationships. Many parents interpret their role of “what’s best” in ways that conceal, rather than teach and inform. And their not the only parents who define “what’s best” in that manner. This is not a conscious and deliberate intention to mislead. This is just parents doing what feels comfortable and makes sense in their worldview…not the same as what is actually true and informative about sex and relationships.

    Yes, good parents who otherwise provide consistently and do good otherwise and want their kids to be safe can have distorted views of what defines “safe and dangerous”. None of this requires the parents to have any bad intentions or malevolence towards their child, so intentions and “wanting the best” are necessary, but not sufficient, indicators of being qualified to teach these things.

    But all this is just my thoughts. I can’t speak for the author.

  • sweett

    @ Offred

    I went to Catholic schools. I know it varies from diocese to diocese, but the cost was almost wholly subsidized by the parish. Not that has anything to do with the article at hand, but I suppose ad hominem is what you’ll have to stand on, since you don’t have much else.

     

    Why does it go against Catholic teaching to teach comprehensive sexual education? Is it really that hard to get into the science and public health of it, with the caveat that, “Of course, as Catholics, we subscribe to a doctrine that only promotes heterosexual sex between married couples, and this is why…”?

    • faultroy

      “Why does it go against Catholic teaching to teach comprehensive sexual education?” …For the same reason that your Daddy told you curfew was at 9PM when you were a little girl…and that when you became an parent you would understand…be patient…it will happen soon enough!!!!

  • invalid-0

    Very telling indeed, seeing as how it quotes RHRealityCheck, and not the Church.

  • offred

    but the cost was almost wholly subsidized by the parish. Not that has anything to do with the article at hand, but I suppose ad hominem is what you’ll have to stand on

     

    The Blanchet website doesn’t mention anything about parish subsidies.

     

    And as for “ad hominem”, I asked him why he doesn’t talk to his parents (his first teachers) about sex. I think its a valid question in any discussion about sex education. No ad hominem was intended.

     

    Why does it go against Catholic teaching to teach comprehensive sexual education?

     

    According to the article, they do:

     

    “We discuss the different types of contraceptives and their effectiveness in protecting the individual from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy protection, emphasizing that abstinence is the most effective.”

     

    There seem to be two sticking points with the article: Ryan thinks the Church needs to get in line with the rest of society, and he is advocating that the Catholic school teach students “how to use contraceptives and where to find them”, including distributing condoms at the health center.

     

    The future journalist will find that different publishers have varying tolerance for self criticism, so the first point may or may not have been a problem. The second point, though, goes directly against what the publisher (the school and ultimately the Church) stands for, and he should not be surprised that his article got axed.

     

    He would find the same “censorship” if he was working for RHRC and started writing articles promoting the Catholic Church and abstinence.

  • colleen

    I think its a valid question in any discussion about sex education. No ad hominem was intended

    I suppose that is true were he seeking your advice about sex but clearly that is not the case. I hope that you are at least willing to admit that condescension was intended because your post drips with it.

    Your questions also suggest that you failed to read what he was actually saying. Had you done so you would see the answers to your patronizing questions are contained within the article.

  • amie-newman

    If you click twice – once to the blog post written about this on RHRC and then to the personal blog Dunn set up in order to share his article, you’ll see that these were essentially his words. Or you can read another article in The Stranger, on this story. 

    People seem to be mixing up Dunn’s desire to publish his piece as an informational and exploratory article on the influence of the Catholic Church on school teachings related to student’s sexual health with some kind of false idea that Dunn is on some kind of self-promotional tour for his work .

    As a student of a Catholic high school, Dunn is asking a very important question: just what responsibility does the Catholilc church have to ensuring they do their best to address student health concerns in this day and age? If young people are sexually active – and clearly from these surveys of the students at this high school (and undoubtedly from well known research of young people nationwide) – they are; and if young people are contracting STIs at much higher rates than the rest of the cuntry – and they are; and understanding that many young people do not get this information from their parents, maybe it’s time for the Archdiocese of Seattle to evaluate their students’ needs more comprehensively? There are certainly religious organizations – Catholic and otherwise – that value and advocate for comprehensive sex-ed in schools.

    Finally, I applaud Dunn’s courage, his intellect, and his tenacity all used on behalf of the greater good.

    • faultroy

      It’s pretty clear from reading this piece,  Dunn is trying to rock the boat and stir controversy.  From my read this kid thinks he just discovered Geometry.  Aside from the rather simplistic understanding of Church Doctrine and a naive world view, Dunn asserts that the Church “owes” something to the students because they “feel,” they’ve received insufficient sex education.  That’s not the Church’s problem anymore than it’s your employer’s problem that you don’t “feel” appreciated.  And this attitude of puppies questioning the decision making abilities of their teachers is pretty common in a  secular  society. It reminds me of female senators telling Military brass how to set policy when they have never even worn a uniform or wouldn’t know which end of the rifle to hold. And your comment about higher STDs with people that have abstinence only education is in my opinion totally discredited by the people doing the surveys.  We have seen time and time again that these  surveyors have a vested self interest.  The facts are–and by facts I mean what has transpired and through scientific data–that neither abstinence only or contraception ed has had any dramatic effect on any person’s actions and conduct. Kids are going to do whatever they want. I don’t need a study to tell me that.  We’ve had 30 years of sex ed, and the teen pregnancy rate did not start to decline until the Bush administration pushed abstinence only policies. Now do I believe that was the reason teen rates went down?  No, but technically,scientifically, and statistically  the case can be made and the data is irrefutible. That’s the problem with statistics; garbage in, garbage out.  So many “female” oriented studies are done by professors of Women’s Rights, and they are so rife with incompetent and biased methodologies, that even their own departments think they lack credibility.  The Social Sciences–particularly Sociology, Psychology, Education and Early Child Studies are so infiltrated with Feminists looking  to  “scientifically substantiate” their talking points as to have seriously undermined their Departments’ credibility. University standards REQUIRE researchers to allow the data to speak for itself.  It should go without saying that the soft sciences have whored with aplomb.   Even young inexperienced women are moving away from Women’s Studies programs for this very reason.  Women’s Studies programs are now on par with a degree in Basket Weaving or as Garrison Keeler of Lake WoeBegone fame puts it: a Masters in French Literature.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the more promiscous you are the more likely you will contract STDs.  So if we want to reduce the teen pregnancy rate and the STD rate, the first place you start is not by teaching children how to protect themselves, but to let them know that abstinence is really the only safe guaranteed way to protect yourself.  Now if you want to go to Step Two which is…but if you are going to have sex, do it in this way, that should be for the people in charge of the students to decide.  These “people” are usually called “parents.”  I really don’t personally have a dog in this fight, but I do categorically resent and criticize the hypocrisy of both sides’  advocacy.  And as far as you: “applauding Dunn’s courage,” you must be kidding.  LOL.  This kid’s mediocre paper did not just “happen” to find its way into the news blogosphere.  This was planted by people with the desire, ability, agenda and accessibility to get national attention.  And if you think this mediocre term paper rates such recognition, you  have one of the degrees in one of the fields mentioned above–ten bucks says Women’s Rights.  Oh, and just to save someone some time in making a comment, I don’t discredit all Feminist writers.  There are a number of feminist writer/researchers that I have high regard in furthering gender dialogue.  The problem is that those good responsible ethical ones with the desire for academic integrity have been drowned by a sea of mediocrity, dishonesty, bias, bigotry, pettiness  incompetence and downright misinformation.

  • invalid-0

     just what responsibility does the Catholilc church have to ensuring they do their best to address student health concerns in this day and age?”

    To answer your question: none, but they do it anyway.  Nobody is being forced to attend a Catholic school.  They are run as non-profits where administrators, teachers and staff make only a fraction compared to what they could at other schools.  Many, including the clergy, make nothing.

    Let me re-state the question you pose:  “Just what responsibility does the Catholic Church have to teach Amie Newman, or Ryan Hall’s idea of sex education?”  And that get’s an overwhelming “none, whatsoever”.

    The Church and her many schools have no more obligation to teach children to use condoms or birth control than inner-city schools have an obligation to teach their students how to safely handle a handgun.  In both situations, the message is consistent, clear and not changing: “Don’t do it”.  Not, “Please don’t, but just in case you do, and you probably will, here are some neat tips.”

  • kate-ranieri

    Here’s a tool that might be helpful for birth control information in lieu of quality information from your own physician or parents.

     

    • amyc

      The only problem is that most kids are not responsible enough to actually go and research it for themselves. Most kids depend on what they learn from their parents, school, peers, and last TV.

  • manymiles

    Well so if the predictions of Humanae Vitae have held true maybe there is more truth to this controversial document than the major dissenters give it.

     

    Hopefully part of your Catholic sex-ed class actually studies this teaching. It also sounds like some good old Theology of the Body would help to increase the understanding of the “58% of students do not feel satisfied with the amount and quality of sex education they have received at Blanchet.”  Which may indeed correlate to the survey finding further down of those 58% who have already decided to turn away from the guidance of the Church regarding this important hot-button matter.

  • invalid-0

    Theology of the Body is incredible.  Our local Catholic high schools and high school ministries have just begun teaching it recently and the response has been great- the teens love it.

  • crowepps

    On average, about 25% of the students aren’t Catholic and those students certainly would be unlikely to find Theology of the Body or “the guidance of the Church” not their own to have much relevance to the gaps in their education.   Just as the majority of the american people are not Catholic and find Theology of the Body and “the guidance of the Church” irrelevant.

  • kate-ranieri

    Your comment about teaching gun safety in inner city schools smacks of classism and most likely racism. Perhaps it might enlighten your sensibilities to learn that a new study from pediatric medicine reported that the number of kids killed by guns in inner cities is equivalent to the number of kids killed by guns in rural areas. While my comment doesn’t relate to the article it clearly relates to you and your perspective.

    • faultroy

      You’re right and you’re wrong.  You’re right that the incidences are similar.  Why? because the are so damn low–almost non existent.  And his comment was certainly not racist. Try checking out the homicide rates when they are in their teens.  In Milwaukee–statistically–a young black man has a 35 times higher incidence of violent death than his similar suburbia counterpart.  That ain’t racism kid–that’s the facts.  “Now whether it smacks of classism that I do not know—that’s a political question.

  • invalid-0

    Okay…

    The Church and her many schools have no more obligation to teach children to use condoms or birth control than rural and suburban, white-rich-kid-filled schools have an obligation to teach their students how to safely handle a handgun.  In both situations, the message is consistent, clear and not changing: “Don’t do it”.  Not, “Please don’t, but just in case you do, and you probably will, here are some neat tips.”

  • invalid-0

    Nobody’s forcing your kids to attend Catholic schools, crowepps.  We have long enough waiting lists.

  • crowepps

    I was addressing the ’50% plus want more information’ statistic and suggesting that those students who are NOT Catholic may be the reason that number is so high.

  • manymiles

    On average, 100% of those students enrolled into a Catholic school.  So just because they do not find a teaching to be relevant to their own lifestyle they shouldn’t expect an organization to bend or water down their time-tested values just to match popular opinion.  For example, many times young toddlers really want to play across the street or do something that could get them in trouble, and when told no that leads to a very upset child.  Does that lead the guardian to give the ok to run across the street whenever the kid wants?  I hope not.  But when that child later learns why crossing the street wasn’t allowed they also have learned to look for cars and only cross when it’s safe.  So that is an easy example of studying a teaching before deciding that it is indeed irrelevant.

    If this Catholic school decides to not teach the Church teaches it then ceases to actually uphold it’s Catholic identity as a defender of Truth.  In another analogy, it’s like an Agricultural school deciding that they shouldn’t teach how to properly raise cattle because 25% of the students are vegetarians.  But to me it sounds like Ryan and the other students in question in this article are indeed Catholic and just don’t like the teachings.  I’d also be interested to see an addition to these surveys that includes reasons why the 58% does not like those teachings.

    And now I’m just speculating but I’d guess that the majority of American people have never even heard of the Theology of the Body, which is unfortunate.

  • crowepps

    I realize that Alaska is different, but many kids here hunt and many kids here are permitted to carry handguns when in the woods in case of bears, and there are a number of gun safety programs for kids, and gun safety is a component in many other training programs for children such as Safe Sitters.  In this possibly unique area of the word, the message about guns is ‘you may or may not be around firearms, so we want you to BE SAFE if you are’.

     

    Certainly Catholicism has absolutely no obligation to teach anything in its schools, since as an authoritarian religion its upper heirarchy has no interest in or motivation to be responsive to those on the front lines in the lower heirarchy, the laity, the students or to reality itself, for that matter.

  • crowepps

    And now I’m just speculating but I’d guess that the majority of American people have never even heard of the Theology of the Body, which is unfortunate.

    Why is that unfortunate?  I have heard of it, and read it, but as a non-Catholic it seems as irrelevant to me as the solemn pronouncements of the elders of the Mormon Church are to non-Mormons.  The reasoning in it requires first buying into the contorted convolutions of Catholic theology/philosophy and if one does not accept those as predicates, it makes as little sense as the equally contorted convolutions of logic in the ‘theology’ of White Supremacists.

    • faultroy

      In the sixth century BCE, Zeno wrote a famous treatise: “The One Is: The One Is Not.” It is a study in logic.  And, if you have ever taken a logic class or a philosophy class, you would have heard it.  I suggest you read it…Enjoy

  • kate-ranieri

    It seems to me that there are a few who have posted in response to this article and to other RH Reality articles who are taken to proselytizing the ‘one true faith’ to all of the rest of us. Whether it’s the Theology of the Body or some other machination of the Vatican’s industrial complex, the RC-minded commenters are wasting their time. I, for one, would rather watch cartoons or fiction films than read or listen to the tortuous nonsense that is fed to the Pope’s minions as truth and is subsequently foisted on the unsuspecting as the gospel, the good news. 

  • manymiles

    First, I applaud you for taking the time to read it, as it takes a long time to go through it.  That is impressive as the English version is 768 pages and uses very rich language.  Second, I’m sorry that it left you to seem it as irrelevant.  It does take a leap of faith to believe anything about the beginning and purpose for our existence.  It takes reasoning in theology/philosophy to believe any truth and I tend to side with a Greater purpose rather then the popular purpose of seeking to maximize pleasure at each moment with the least amount of effort that feels comfortable.

  • amie-newman

    that there are people out there who could care less about young people’s health and lives. Instead of pushing doctrine that put teens’ lives and health in danger all because you’ve decided that’s what’s “right”, why not read – truly read – what Dunn has to say? He’s asking some honest and authentic questions here. To answer, “None. The Catholic Church has NO responsibility to teach young people critical information about their health and lives” is the most telling statement one can make about the (lack of) relevance and value of a Christian education. If this is what it means to push Catholicism – caring not one iota about the reality of people’s lives but honestly only interested in pushing doctrine that means nothing (which makes sense given: how many young Catholic pro-life women I saw come into the abortion clinic for which I worked for 7 years, how many pseudo-religious Christian hypocritical politicians there are spouting about abstinence-only educaiton while having extramarital affairs, how many young people contract STIs at alarming rates – including Catholic teens), then I applaud Dunn’s work all the more. He is fighting for the rights of young people to get some information and answers about ones’ life and health. If the Catholic Church could care less, that’s a dismal failure any way you look at it.

  • kate-ranieri

    In the United States (McDonald, 2000), the number of non-Catholic high school students in inner-city Catholic schools is often a majority of the student body, and on average, the number of non-Catholic students is approximately 13.5% of the student body (McDonald, 2004b).

     

    Source: Ten dimensions of inclusion: non-Catholic students in Catholic schools

    Catholic Education, March, 2007 by J. Kent Donlevy

  • crowepps

    It does take a leap of faith to believe anything about the beginning and purpose for our existence.

    It takes an additional leap of faith to invest the beliefs of one group of humans with correctness and assert that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

    It takes reasoning in theology/philosophy to believe any truth

    You lose me here.  “The planets in our solar system are small in the sky because they’re far away but actually scientific investigation has proven they are similiar to the Earth and much larger than they appear.”  It didn’t take any theology/philosophy to believe that.

     

    Are you referring only to those ‘truths’ which cannot be proven because they are about what things MEAN and different people(s) use their processes of reasoning to arrive at different theological conclusions about which they disagree ?  ALL of the various organized religions talk about their lock of an exclusive “Greater Truth” and use it to control their adherents and stigmitize those who resist or are indifferent to them.

     

    The American consumerist society’s focus on maximizing pleasure and minimizing effort seems historically typical of a state tipping into facism, since those attitudes maximize the profits of the corporations and minimize the threat to the elite who are living off the profits.  Such states routinely encourage religions that instruct the laity its their duty to be ‘submissive’ because it promotes stability.

  • manymiles

    To be fair you did butcher arex’s quote as well as missed the key part, “none, but they do it anyway.  Nobody is being forced to attend a Catholic school.”  These Catholic schools do have the responsibility to teach critical information about their health and lives.

     

    Dunn is asking very good questions, that need to be asked and answered. I’m not denying that there is a lack of proper teaching in Catholic schools, I’m suggesting that these schools actually teach what the Church teaches in the way it was delivered with the purpose to indeed care for every person: Believer or Not, and in every state of life and situation.  

     

    Just because people fail when they don’t follow the teachings doesn’t mean that the teaching was wrong.  To come to the conclusion that failure to follow = wrong teaching is illogical and not fully reasoned. It does sadden me at how hypocritical Christians are.  I’m not exempt from that, but it doesn’t mean that everything Christians fail to honor is not indeed truth, it just means we’re not doing a good job of following that truth.

     

    Yes, I think everyone needs to be aware of the harmful affects of STIs as well as the responsibility required in choosing to take part in a reproductive act.  But no, I don’t think that taking extra doses of estrogen and other artificial hormones to prevent the consequence of sex is right.  And that goes for all other forms of contraception too, which in the end leads to more irresponsibility as well as a lack of trust and love.

     

    So I do hope that Dunn’s blog brings an awareness of the value of sex.  That the teachings in Catholic schools do inspire a greater search for truth and not just a grasping at temporary pleasures that come with such tragic consequences.  

     

    If somebody wants to learn from the knowledge banks of milleniums of study from Church scholars and theologians then that’s great.  But if they choose not to follow that and rather choose that they know better, I hope that they are ready to deal with the consequences.  And when they do get to the point of dealing with those consequences that there will still be a Church of loving people to help them along.

     

    I tried to keep the Good News to the minimum, but you can check me on that.

  • manymiles

    Yes, indeed I’m referring to those truths which cannot be proven.   Which does in the end include your unreasoned example of a truth.  While I agree that these other planets are similar in size to Earth and not actually like a little glow in the dark sticker, that still doesn’t answer the question of why or how they got to where they are.  Nor does it prove your statement since you actually haven’t visited all those specks of light to make sure they aren’t indeed really bright glow in the dark stickers.  That’s where the leap of faith comes in.  I hope that clears up my statement about believing any truth.

  • crowepps

    I will grant that there is a difference between ‘proving by personal observation’ and ‘accepting that qualified people agree the preponderance of the evidence proves’ but I’m not sure it qualifies as a ‘leap of faith’ to accept the opinions of those qualified people that they have seen the evidence with their own observation, particularly when those qualified people are a GROUP which reached a consensus on and described the physical process of How.  Whether I have proven it with my own eyes or not, “nonetheless, it moves.”

     

    I’d point out, though, that if we’re going to operate in the realm of ‘every fact must be proven by each person’ then the arguments of men who want to proclaim the Why of pregnancy are always going to be secondhand and suspect, since their role is limited to that of observers and their ‘truth’ about the How in the past has been grossly wrong.

    “The historic Catholic theory of “ensoulment,” traceable to the Middle Ages, further reinforced women’s subordinate status, holding that a male fetus attained human form, and therefore a soul, about forty days after conception, a process half as long as for a female fetus.

    Among cutting edge thinkers of the 19th century (idealized era of the political right), western scientist Herbert Spencer asserted that women were not related to their children, but rather functioned merely as incubators for sperm.

    Notre Dame University law professor Charles Rice advocates outlawing abortion in cases of rape and incest, arguing that “Incest is a voluntary act on a woman’s part,” …

    Right-wing apocrypha alleges that pregnancy cannot result from rape. Only a consenting woman can become pregnant, declares right-to-life literature — “Fear prevents ovulation”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-swenson/male-entitlement-church-s_b_582869.html

    Based on those assertions of How, it’s difficult to believe men have any valuable insight into Why, particularly when the Why they assert is so damaging to women and so beneficial to men who want to use those women.

     

    If takes a much, much larger leap of faith to believe that a person who asserts he/she knows ‘the Truth’ about Why & How based entirely on pondering about it, or vesting themselves in what someone they respect says about THEIR pondering, and who asserts his/her particular Why and How are superior to those of all the other people who have pondered the same thing and come to different conclusions, when neither he nor they ever have any evidence whatsoever.

     

    In a religiously free and diverse country, certainly there shouldn’t ever be legislation that IMPOSES behavior predicated by one group’s particular Why/How conclusions on other people who are using another set entirely to guide their life.  Human fallibility being what it is, there isn’t any other way to choose one set of Why & How over another except “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” 

  • crowepps

    Do you have an opinion on sterilization?  10 to 15% of American men have had a vasectomy.  In addition, women prefer sterlization once their family is complete.

     

    “The rate for sterilization for U.S. women is 17 percent overall, and about a quarter for married women.”

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1992101,00.html#ixzz0p55ZmiEG

     

     

  • crowepps

    The number that I gave was one that purported to supply the nation wide average.

  • manymiles

    If you assume an absolute, then in any conflicting statement I think there are three possibilities 1.) One is right and the other is wrong 2.) Both are wrong and the correct truth is something else entirely or 3.)  Both are partially correct or they didn’t actually have conflicting statements and didn’t reflect the full truth.  The third possibility is where this personal proof exists, but that may not reach the absolute.  PROVE will always mean ‘personally prove’ it just leaves being personally wrong.

     

    Saying this I hope that I’m not imposing my belief that an absolute truth does exist, of which I make the leap of faith to live my life by, and that I am instead proposing that one can teach the beliefs that a collective group of thousands of years have constantly been studying.  And if those beliefs turn out to be absolutely wrong then they’re absolutely personally wrong.  I’m willing to accept that, and I’d hope that the Catholic schools are still willing to teach the beauty of male and female sex from the thousands of years of studying and being criticized has led to.  And hopefully one day the HuffPo will write an article about the Church, that maybe it was right in regard to sexual morality.  The science is getting there to back it up, but until it’s absolutely proven that when lived out it fails then it’s a leap of faith that they’re indeed right.

  • crowepps

    First, ‘truth’ about physical facts which can be investigated and studied is one category and with that one it is indeed possible to at least approach ‘the truth’.

     

    The existence of ‘absolute truth’ about how people should behave morally so that there are rules valid in ALL circumstances, however, is not provable, nor so far as I am aware even NECESSARY in order to make an effort at living a moral life. The only point of having ‘absolute moral truths’ is to STOP people from making moral choices, remove any necessity for them to think, and restrict them to a preapproved list of behaviors.

     

    As I understand the Church’s conceptualization of what you call “the beauty of male and female sex”, the way it works is that the man is entitled to demand sex whenever he wants it and the woman is supposed to submit so that married couples make as many babies as physically possible and even EXCEED what is physically possible, in which case women are supposed to die in the last attempt.  Oh, and then the man can remarry and use up a NEW woman making MORE babies.

     

    Frankly, that doesn’t sound like ‘sexual morality’ to me but rather like sexual oppression and exploitation, women as replaceable breeding stock. Certainly exhorting women to continue to “love and trust men” when the evidence is that the men don’t actually care much if their sexual entitlement kills the women and the trust is repeatedly betrayed seems far from ‘moral’ to me.

  • manymiles

    I think sterilization is not good, and I feel like humans should have more responsibility than their dogs and cats that they have to neuter or spay.  I also believe that it’s much easier to be unfaithful to your partner if you have been sterilized, besides contracting possible diseases there isn’t as big of a risk of an unwanted pregnancy to sleeping around with a co-worker since your sterilized. Obviously this could lead to a big lack of trust and separation of the couple.

    • goatini

      I’m just saying, I think you might have a lot of thoughts about sleeping around with co-workers.  Because I never even think of doing so, and I’ve had my tubes tied for 30 years.  

       

      The only thing that makes it “easier to be unfaithful” are the thoughts in your head.  And if “unwanted pregnancy” and “possible diseases” are major reasons to you for fidelity, I’d say that you already have a “big lack of trust” in yourself, your partner, and your relationship.  

  • manymiles

    There isn’t a chance to love someone if you don’t have the choice not to.  So the fact that there is a moral absolute to choose gives the possibility for love.  I’m sorry that your understanding of the Church’s teachings are very incorrect.  Sounds like there is a lot of pain in whatever experience you have with the Church and for that I’m sorry.  When I look at those using contraception and it’s best friend abortion, I have a very similar conceptualization of male domination.  That the act of contraception is a way for men to have on-demand sexual availability of women.  That they are able to coerce and even force sex whenever they want without needing to take responsibility because they’re using contraception that has many side effects for the woman.  And then threaten to leave if an abortion isn’t chosen to keep him from owning up for his actions, and to me that is not love but use of the female on the receiving end.  I hope that is a misunderstanding but I’m sorry that selfishness is what it looks like.

     

    Your understanding of the Catholic Church reminded me of something the late great Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

  • prochoiceferret

    I think sterilization is not good, and I feel like humans should have more responsibility than their dogs and cats that they have to neuter or spay.  I also believe that it’s much easier to be unfaithful to your partner if you have been sterilized, besides contracting possible diseases there isn’t as big of a risk of an unwanted pregnancy to sleeping around with a co-worker since your sterilized.

    So humans should be responsible enough that they don’t need (voluntary) sterilization… but not quite responsible enough that they don’t need the threat of unwanted pregnancy to discourage them from sleeping around?

    Obviously this could lead to a big lack of trust and separation of the couple.

    So if your spouse becomes sterilized, and then cheats on you, you’re going to blame a surgical procedure and not the person who made the decision to break his/her vows?

  • prochoiceferret

    When I look at those using contraception and it’s best friend abortion, I have a very similar conceptualization of male domination.  That the act of contraception is a way for men to have on-demand sexual availability of women. That they are able to coerce and even force sex whenever they want without needing to take responsibility because they’re using contraception that has many side effects for the woman.

    Yes, it’s not like women have any sexual desire of their own, or would ever want to engage in non-procreative sexual activity. Men are the only ones who actually want to have sex—women are kind of just there, sitting around waiting to be acted on. Kind of like cows. Moooooo.

    And then threaten to leave if an abortion isn’t chosen to keep him from owning up for his actions, and to me that is not love but use of the female on the receiving end.

    Naturally, since the female always wants to have a child, and the male is incapable of discussing the topic of abortion with the female prior to engaging in sex.

    I hope that is a misunderstanding but I’m sorry that selfishness is what it looks like.

    Add horny women to the picture, and things will look a lot more balanced.

    Your understanding of the Catholic Church reminded me of something the late great Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

    So it’s only our perception that the Church enabled hundreds of priests around the world to molest young children for decades? Or that they would rather a pregnant woman die in labor than live at the expense of her child? Or pronounce that the usage of condoms is not acceptable even to prevent transmission of HIV between spouses?

     

    Because when people’s lives are destroyed because of what the Church has done, or failed to do… it’s no longer a perception.

  • equalist

    I had my tubes tied after my last child, not because I couldn’t control myself, and not because I wanted to cheat on my partner without getting caught by an unwanted pregnancy, but because I’d had all the children I am willing to put my body through carrying, and I know that should I change my mind later there are plenty of children needing good, stable, loving adoptive homes.  I think this is the primary reasoning behind most women and men who choose to be sterilized.  My partner is planning to have a vasectomy as well in order to provide an added layer of protection from producing any more children at a time when we know we cannot financially or emotionally provide for more than the ones we have.  It is simply the responsible thing to do because being in an adult relationship does involve sex, whether one is planning to produce more children or not, and that sex, when in a committed, loving, and healthy relationship should come without the stress of worrying over miscalculations, and the possibility of failed birth control methods.

  • princess-rot

    Men are incapable of seeing women as anything other than ambulatory warm holes.  Women  and men are incapable of discussing birth control or abortion with each other. Women should use the event of pregnancy to manipulate their partners. Men should use sex to manipulate their partners. Relationships built on resentment, mistrust, and unwanted children are good for everyone. Women have no desires of their own, and would only use birth control to please men. Women don’t really like sex, but have it to alternately manipulate and please men, depending on whether we are being evil geniuses or gullible children today. Sex is something women have, and men take, and is therefore indistinguishable from rape. Babies are a way of proving to the general public that one is not having sex for their own ends, like it’s any of their business. Rape was not common before the advent of the pill. Nobody had sex prior to 1960.

  • prochoiceferret

    Men are incapable of seeing women as anything other than ambulatory warm holes.  Women  and men are incapable of discussing birth control or abortion with each other. Women should use the event of pregnancy to manipulate their partners … Babies are a way of proving to the general public that one is not having sex for their own ends, like it’s any of their business. Rape was not common before the advent of the pill. Nobody had sex prior to 1960.

    “Amen.”

  • invalid-0

     as an authoritarian religion its upper heirarchy has no interest in or motivation to be responsive to those on the front lines in the lower heirarchy, the laity, the students or to reality itself, for that matter.”

    And yet they’re still far and away the most charitable institution in the world. They run over 6,000 elementary schools, 1300 high schools, 234 universities/colleges and 66 schools for the handicapped, educating almost 2.3 million students.  The 562 Catholic hospitals treated over 85 million patients last year while the other 373 health centers treated over 6.7 million patients.  Community services to 3.6 million, food service to 6.3 million, family services to 1.1 million, housing assistance to 600,000 and financial, clothing and utilities assistance to 1.8 million.  Disaster relief to over 330,000.  That’s just their ministry in the US – doesn’t include the Mother Theresa’s of the world working with the REALLY needy.

    Clearly no motivation to minister to the laity or reality itself, huh?  You can point fingers all you want, but you couldn’t possibly point to an organization that does more good in the world than the Catholic Church.

    • amyc

      They run over 6,000 elementary schools, 1300 high schools, 234 universities/colleges and 66 schools for the handicapped, educating almost 2.3 million students.

       

      That’s 2.3 million students who will not get the sex education they need. Most of these students will go ahead and have sex anyways. Many of those will not use any contraceptives, and some of those will then contract STI’s or have unwanted pregnancies. The amount of children they impact only adds to the argument that they should teach comprehensive sex education.

  • colleen

    The 562 Catholic hospitals treated over 85 million patients last year while the other 373 health centers treated over 6.7 million patients

    And made a great deal of money doing so.

    If you define ‘charitable institution’ as ‘makes as much profit as they possible can while denying rape victims EC, killing women whose bodies cannot sustain pregnancies, and ignoring end of life directives and sucks down millions in taxpayer dollars while doing so’ you might have a point.

    Calling the Church’s hospitals ‘charitable institutions’ is highly misleading, many of those hospitals are for profit. The one just up the road refuses to accept people who don’t have insurance in their ER….thus the poor are forced to drive an extra 25 miles over a toll bridge to a secular hospital with an ER and often die en route as a result. And yet that same hospital is constantly soliciting charitable contributions from the community as if they were willing to receive patients who didn’t have insurance.

    In the US, most of what the Church calls ‘charitable’ renders the word meaningless.

  • prochoiceferret

    You can point fingers all you want, but you couldn’t possibly point to an organization that does more good in the world than the Catholic Church.

     

    Well, hey, Hamas does a lot of good things too! I guess that makes up for all the lives they’ve destroyed.

    • emma

      Although, tbh, I think the evils committed by Hamas pale in comparison to the evil perpetrated by the Catholic church – they have nothing approaching the resources of the latter. Hamas is pretty much an inevitable result of a brutal occupation – oppression, rampant poverty and hopelessness tends to breed fundamentalism (plus the fact that they originally got a lot of funding from the American and Israeli governments in order to destabilise what was then the PLO). The Catholic church has no such excuses – they’re just moral monsters (except for the liberation theologists, who are pretty cool, IMO).

  • crowepps

    There is an enormous difference between ‘ministering’ – we know best and will provide what we think you need and tell you what to do – and being RESPONSIVE – what do you need?

     

    In addition, this probably isn’t the greatest of times to brag about the Catholic commitment to children, since those 2.3 million children were NOT protected from pedophiles or abusers through an institutional failure that put the ‘pride’ need to protecting the insitution above their safety and wellbeing.

    • invalid-0

      My goodness, you guys are like parrots:

      *SQUAK* pedophiles

      Yeah, I get it, some priests are bad, and some Bishops didn’t know how to handle the problem.  You’ll have to forgive a group that has over 1 billion members for not being comprised solely of saints.

  • manymiles

    Ferret and Rot, you have a very odd sense of deduction.  But that helps me understand how you reach your line of thought on sexual morality.  That everything is the fault of men, and no matter what is said that is the only thing that you hear like a loud radio playing from the house next door.  Thanks for your comments and I’m sorry that is what you pulled from mine.

    • princess-rot

      I shall break it down for you.

      When I look at those using contraception and it’s best friend abortion, I have a very similar conceptualization of male domination. That the act of contraception is a way for men to have on-demand sexual availability of women.

       

      I replied: “Men are incapable of seeing women as anything other than ambulatory warm holes. Sex is something women have, and men take, and is therefore indistinguishable from rape.”

       

      Feminists in the past wrote about birth control as a tool of male domination, but not to decry the birth control itself. Their focus was on the fact that some men considered contraception to negate consent. The problem was that something that liberated women from permanant fertility was taken to mean that they existed in a permanant state of sexual availability.

       

      The right has latched onto this as a way to protest birth control as “hurting women”, but that’s not the original meaning. The right’s version is not better, because it posits that our only really good reason for refusing sex is pregnancy, and we should use that to control men’s advances. All the responsibility and no power, again. The real problem is toxic masculinity, rape culture, patriarchy and entitlement, not the pill.

       

      That they are able to coerce and even force sex whenever they want without needing to take responsibility because they’re using contraception that has many side effects for the woman.

      Again, rape was not invented in 1960. It is wrong to expect women to use the threat of pregnancy to manipulate men, as if women’s worth lies only between their legs and it’s the only claim to autonomy we have.

       

      And then threaten to leave if an abortion isn’t chosen to keep him from owning up for his actions, and to me that is not love but use of the female on the receiving end.

       

      Then the problem lies with the douchey male and cultural expectations of predatory male sexuality, NOT the bloody contraception! That man is not going to become Prince Charming if someone has his child. On the flip side, birth control sabotage is ALSO a tool of spousal control, as is pregnancy. Abuse is not new, hormone tablets do not cause it. Women’s sexuality does not cause it. Why is not obvious to you that there is something wrong with how women are perceived, NOT contraception?

  • crowepps

     I’m sorry that your understanding of the Church’s teachings are very incorrect.

    I wasn’t speaking so much of what the Church teaches as the real life consequences that proceed from those teachings, for which the Church takes no responsibility whatsoever.

     Sounds like there is a lot of pain in whatever experience you have with the Church and for that I’m sorry.

    I have never had a negative personal experience with the Catholic church, but instead am a reader of history.

    That the act of contraception is a way for men to have on-demand sexual availability of women.  That they are able to coerce and even force sex whenever they want without needing to take responsibility because they’re using contraception that has many side effects for the woman.  And then threaten to leave if an abortion isn’t chosen to keep him from owning up for his actions, and to me that is not love but use of the female on the receiving end.

    And just how does the possibility of pregnancy prevent men from feeling entitled to “on-demand sexual availability of women”?

     

    How does the possibility of pregnancy prevent men from coercing or forcing sex?  Do you think rapists care whether their victim gets pregnant?

     

    How does the possibility of pregnancy require men to take responsibility?  Men who feel entitled to use women don’t care if the women get pregnant and they don’t care if she has complications that mean the pregnancy will kill her and they certainly have never given a rip whether their children starve in the gutter.

     

    Sentencing women to a life of endless pregnancy and then letting them die when their bodies wear out because that might make men feel guilty about their ‘lust’ doesn’t seem to have made men any more responsible in the last 2,000 years.  Perhaps it’s time to come up with a new paradigm – one that actually works.

  • crowepps

    After my fourth pregnancy, and an extremely long and arduous delivery, my husband loved me enough to get a vasectomy so he wouldn’t have to worry about another pregnancy killing me in the future.  From my viewpoint, that increased trust and intimacy and was a loving and responsible thing to do.  It never occurred to me that his real motivation must have been so that he could more easily get away with commiting adultery.

     

    You certainly have a very poor opinion of men.  Considering that you do, your admonitions that women should love and trust them ring hollow.

  • manymiles

    Thanks, I hope that being sterile works out for you and it enables your family to be stronger.  That is definitely not for me; sex means a gift of your entire self, including each others fertility.  And during the times of fertility, I learn to love in other ways besides sex which matures the relationship by respecting the natural mechanisms of each others bodies.

    • princess-rot

      Thanks, I hope that being sterile works out for you and it enables your family to be stronger.  That is definitely not for me; sex means a gift of your entire self, including each others fertility.

       

      Then people would be forgiven for thinking that your religion is nothing but a contemporary interpretation of a fertility cult. It reeks strongly of woo and wishful thinking.

    • equalist

      The advantage to myself and my partner both being steralized is that we don’t have to limit the ways in which we can love each other at any time in the relationship.  You talk as if being sterile means that sex is the only intimacy we share, and truly that is not and never has been the case.  There are many different ways other than sex to show love and affection for a partner, and we choose to show our love in these ways not because to not do so would result in a pregnancy, but because we choose to.  Honestly, to me, it seems that it would be a stronger and healthier relationship to love in other ways by choice rather than by necessity.

  • bj-survivor

    When I look at those using contraception and it’s best friend abortion, I have a very similar conceptualization of male domination.  That the act of contraception is a way for men to have on-demand sexual availability of women.  That they are able to coerce and even force sex whenever they want without needing to take responsibility because they’re using contraception that has many side effects for the woman.  And then threaten to leave if an abortion isn’t chosen to keep him from owning up for his actions, and to me that is not love but use of the female on the receiving end.  I hope that is a misunderstanding but I’m sorry that selfishness is what it looks like.

     

    This idea that the it is only the availability of contraception and legal abortion that allows men to avoid “responsibility” is patently, unequivocally false. As is the implication that men never raped or coerced women to have sex prior to the advent of contraception and legal abortion.

     

    I will try to orient you to reality. Contrary to Catholic forced-birther delusions, men have been abandoning their pregnant wives/lovers and children since the beginning of recorded history. In my own family, my great-grandfather absconded with all the money from the sale of their recently-sold business, leaving his wife/business partner and their six children destitute. The family resorted to begging and shining shoes and often went without food. This was in the 1910s, well before the widespread availability of contraception or sterilization procedures. They were Catholic, by the way, as was my mother until very recently.

     

    AFDC was started in the 1930s, again well before the widespread availability of reliable contraception, due to an epidemic of men abandoning their families, leaving their wives and children destitute. At that time, not only was the country going through the Great Depression, but the majority of women were denied entry into the lucrative trades or professions.

     

    Most people, women included, enjoy sex. The vast majority enjoy it even more when there is not the constant threat of unwanted pregnancy. It’s obvious that the thought of women enjoying themselves makes you sad, but you are simply going to have to grow up and get over yourself.

     

    You have not simply misunderstood, but are so appallingly deluded that I urge you to see a psychiatrist. You really need to be on some heavy-duty antipsychotics.

  • crowepps

    Actually being alive to be part of the family has worked out very well for me, thanks.  The idea that the relationship would be stronger if instead we had spent the next 25 years spending a lot of time obsessing about whether or not intercourse was ‘safe’ seems to me to focus the marital relationship not only entirely on sex but on feeling guilty about desiring sex when the consequences could be life-threatening.

     

    Considering that the average married couple has intercourse twice a week for about 30 minutes per interaction, in other words only 52 hours a YEAR or .005% of their time, sex seems a frail reed to maintain and measure the success of the entire marriage.  There is or should be a lot more to a loving and mutually supportive relationship than that.

    • equalist

      Sex is not the point of marriage, it is a part of marriage.  Too often I think people forget this simple fact.  Sex is something partners can use to strengthen and further their relationship, for comfort during stressful times, and to learn more about each other and connect.  All of that becomes difficult when the entire process is dependant on ensuring that the female partner is infertile at the time of the interraction.  For instance, what comfort can be achieved by sex or intimacy when a partner has to fear for their very life if their calculations or the timing being off could result in a possibly life threatening pregnancy.

  • prochoiceferret

    How does the possibility of pregnancy require men to take responsibility?  Men who feel entitled to use women don’t care if the women get pregnant and they don’t care if she has complications that mean the pregnancy will kill her and they certainly have never given a rip whether their children starve in the gutter.

     

    “I come from a small town whose population never changed. Each time a woman got pregnant, someone left town.”

  • crowepps

    It’s always a little startling to find out how you come across to others and how bizarre your ideas look when they’re restated, isn’t it? Sometimes that can be very helpful because instead of endlessly repeating the predigested talking points they have been fed by religious or educational authority figures, people actually are motivated to THINK.

     

    You are promoting a system of belief – what actions flow from those beliefs when put into behaviors in the real world the majority of the time and what are the consequences of those actions to all the parties involved, including the community?

     

    Is it likely the behaviors will be different when the system of belief is not voluntarily adopted and so the behaviors are not voluntary but instead imposed by one group on another?  What are the likely reactions of saboteurs and rebels?

     

    Can you justify the belief system if positive effects can flow only with perfect use so that it has ‘good results’ 10% of the time but ‘creates suffering’ 90% of the time?

     

    “When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action.” Lois McMaster Bujold

  • offred

    my husband loved me enough to get a vasectomy

     

    Since you’re using your personal details to make your point about sterilization increasing trust and intimacy in marriage, I have to ask – are you still married to this man?

     

    Forgive me if that’s too personal – hopefully the answer is “Yes – happily”.

  • ahunt

    I have to ask – are you still married to this man?

     

    Your point?

  • crowepps

    Yes, that is too personal. I will share we were still a couple when the daughter whose tricky birth precipitated his decision graduated from high school.

  • ahunt

    If it helps, Offred…the BH’s snip came after two consecutive stilllbirths.

     

    Still wondering what was your point in asking?

  • paul-bradford

    Perhaps it might enlighten your sensibilities to learn that a new study from pediatric medicine reported that the number of kids killed by guns in inner cities is equivalent to the number of kids killed by guns in rural areas.

     

    Kate,

     

    The death rate might be similar, but enthusiasm on the part of the populace to teach gun safety to minors is very different when you compare rural and urban areas.

     

    I think there’s a legitimate correspondence in the two issues.  The policy inside the cities might very well be to keep kids away from guns (this is hardly true in rural areas) but ignorance about guns costs lives.  Same thing with abstinence.   In Catholic circles, the aim is to promote a policy of keeping sex within the confines of marriage — but keeping unmarried people ignorant of sex costs lives.

     

    There was an article on this ‘site earlier about H*YAS FOR CHOICE which talked about a group of students at Georgetown who were advocating that the student health center ought to provide contraceptives and comprehensive information about sex and sexuality.  Georgetown is in a bind.  It’s primary mission is to prepare its students for life and, from a Catholic perspective, it’s more important to teach unmarried 18-22 year olds how to remain sexually chaste than it is to help them to get into a good Med School.  Georgetown would consider itself a failure if its students were getting into prestigious grad schools but they were seen as encouraging unmarried students to have sex.  At the same time, though, they have a responsibility to save lives.

     

    It’s not like it’s an easy issue.

    • kate-ranieri

      The post was not meant to compare abstinence or sexual activity but to note how classism and racism seemed evident in the comments about guns and kids. You missed the point. However, while I’ll agree that the new point you made about abstinence and sex is not an easy issue, I’ll return to my perhaps too-subtle message. Racism and classism pervade many of the comments made by conservative, antiabortion, antibirthcontrol folks. They’re blind to the hidden darkness of their own perspectives. But that darkness, evident in racist/elitist/sexist comments, pervades their rhetoric.

  • crowepps

    I suppose one supposition could be that a man who deliberately makes himself incapable of getting a woman pregnant doesn’t have any reason to keep one around any longer and another would be that of course he would then feel free to cheat.  A pretty gloomy view of the purpose of the marital partnership, the value of pregnancy and men’s morals.

     

    Interestingly, my husband’s parents divorced when early in his wife’s sixth pregnancy his dad got his girlfriend pregnant as well.

  • ahunt

    nnnnnyeah…slightly OT but relevant…and no laughing, crowepps…

     

     

    In our case…the delay between the decision and the kindest cut of all was a shared fear of admitting we were finally middled-aged and done. No intimacy issues, just the realization that we were entering a new era in our lives, and the subtle angst that accompanies growing older.

     

    The BH teases that he entered menopause first…and I love him for it. Bear in mind as well…that our intimate moments were always tinged with the fear of my uber-fertility, and that I got a whole decade of hot monkey love prior to menopause.

     

    So just in case Offred’s “point” is that sterilization is detrimental to a couple’s intimate life…I’m disputing the assertion ahead of time.

  • manymiles

    Thanks again for the replies back that again distorted what I was saying I guess by applying stereotypes to form the delusion you think I have.  And again I’m sorry for the many stories of pain that have been revealed in these replies of hurt that you have gone through by those that should be loving and guarding you not wrecking you.  

     

    Just to let you in on a secret, Pro-lifers, at least those practicing Natural Family Planning have great sex lives and enjoy having sex as well.  If there is a reason to abstain during times of fertility then that time is used to grow in love in ways other than sex.  Because as was pointed out further down the line of posts by crowepps and said by Rachel Green on Friends years back, people don’t have sex all the time.  So why not just line it up with the infertile times the body naturally designed if you aren’t able to support giving life to a child.

     

    But getting back on topic to my first post regarding Humanae Vitae, I just think it is important to know the teachings of the Church if you’re going to bash them.  So to answer Ryan Dunn’s question he posed here…

    The question really is, Humanae Vitae is on the books, but is it a black and white law or is it a law to be strived for?

    Yes, in the Catholic Church the teachings in Humanae Vitae is pretty black and white as it has been reinforced by over 40 years of subsequent teachings by Pope John Paul II and many Catholic lay theologians, including female ones too.

     

    Now, I’m going on vacation for the holiday weekend and will likely not be near internet, so you may not see a reply back until Monday night if one is needed to clarify any more words you put into my posts.  So have a great memorial day weekend, I’ll be praying especially for all the 1/3 in my generation that were aborted and never had the chance to read this blog.

    • crowepps

      So why not just line it up with the infertile times the body naturally designed if you aren’t able to support giving life to a child.

      We don’t have to do the mental gymnastics of doing everything possible to prevent pregnancy and at the same time pretending that sex is all about ‘generativeness’.

       

      We can just say, we already have enough children and another pregnancy would be really dangerous so let’s be responsible adults and make absolutely sure one doesn’t happen.

       

      I had children because I LIKE children, not to keep God happy or to prove I’m a ‘real woman’ or to keep my husband from cheating on me.  Apparently you have children, if you actually do have any, because they were a ‘consequence’ you had to pay for having sex, which is really sad  for the children.

  • wendy-banks

    I, for one, would rather watch cartoons or fiction films than read or listen to the tortuous nonsense that is fed to the Pope’s minions as truth and is subsequently foisted on the unsuspecting as the gospel, the good news. 

     

    Yeah, me too. But then I personally think proselytizing should be a capital offence– It’s an invasion of my privacy and freedom of/from religion when a person insists on forceing their religious veiws on those that are not interested or to those that find religion offensive (Like I do).

  • wendy-banks

    Quite happy to be ‘spayed’ myself– Now, if I could only stop the bleeding crap… Can’t take the pill I get N&V big time– Not unlike being pregers– never doing that again.. My daughter used to bug me about haveing a brother or sister and I had to tell her ‘Uh, sorry not from me. You’er an only– Deal with it.’

  • mechashiva

    Excuse you, but they aren’t distorting what you’ve said. They are simply using hyperbolic language to illustrate a point. You are the one who has suggested that the threat of unwanted/unintended pregnancy is an important factor in maintaining fidelity and “real” intimacy. Why is it offensive when other people say it, but not when you say it?

     

    You don’t seem to understand crowepps’s point. People don’t have sex all the time, even those who use contraception, therefore sex (and fertility) is not the be-all end-all of a relationship. People who use contraception can and do love each other for more reasons than sex. That’s what differentiates love and lust… or do you think that people who use contraceptives are only capable of lust without love (which is patently untrue)? Also, using contraception does not limit your sex-life to intercourse alone. There are more reasons to engage in non-intercourse sexual activity than simply to prevent pregnancy (it’s fun and provides variety). All contraception does is provide protection against pregnancy. That’s it. It isn’t any more or less influential than that.

     

    Why not just use NFP? Because we don’t have to. Because not every woman’s cycle is predictable enough to do so effectively. Because even with perfect use, it is still less effective than using contraception. Because anxiety about unwanted pregnancy can actually harm otherwise healthy relationships. There are numerous reasons.

     

    By the way, with completely natural sex, around 75% of fertilized eggs fail to implant. If you are ovulating every month, you are more likely to experience blastocyst-death than if you are taking an ovulation-suppressing form of contraception. While using NFP, you have probably contributed to more “abortions” (as you define them) than you did while using contraception, because you are more likely to have ovulated and concieved. Chew on that for a little while before condemning contraception.

     

    I’m willing to bet that you don’t actually care if a woman has more pre-implantation “abortions,” even though she could have done something to prevent it by taking a contraceptive. That’s because non-action is acceptable to you, but action is not. In case that confused you, or you disagree with that statement, let me translate it from secular speech to Christian speech…

     

    “It’s alright if there are more pre-implantation ‘abortions’ as long as it is God’s will.”

     

    So much for “taking responsibility” or “saving babies.” We all know that’s not really what being pro-life is about. When you get past all the BS, the pro-life position is all about control, and how women (and men, to a lesser degree) shouldn’t have any and shouldn’t want to.

    • princess-rot

      Also, I just do not get why scheduling sex is “natural” but taking a pill is not. Both are (varyingly effective) artificial, human-created ways of preventing or spacing pregnancy. No moral difference. At least the forced-birthers who insist on using nothing at all are consistent, if not exactly sane.

    • manymiles

      My fiance told me of the many responses to his post, and I offered as a woman and someone who cares deeply about issues concerning women to post some research that I have found in my own studies. Frankly, I’m incredibly uncomfortable with posting, and have attempted at all costs to avoid conflict since I was a little girl.  And yet I worry that you may be incredibly misled by the “facts” you listed in your post, so I thought I should let you know some truth behind the assumptions you wrote of.

      The basis of the “facts” you list on blastocyst-death stem from the research of Luc Bovens, a professor who four years ago wrote an article arguing that the pro-life stance was misguided due to the fact that those using the “rhythm” or natural methods were in fact unintentionally causing the destruction of their embryos and hence destroying life.  While this argument may have been discussed in academic and scientific circles well before Bovens, he is in fact the first (from my research on the topic) to write of it in a journal for ethics….and so we see the real point of his article….

      Now it must be said that Bovens, though brilliant in his attempts, is at the heart a philosopher, not a scientist, physician, or medical professional.  He is an ethicist, and he uses this topic to explore not a medical issue but a new philosophical assumption, that being of “action/omission doctrine” and its use when applied to fertility/conception (however you want to say it).  And so we read the rest of the page…not just the article (embedded with misrepresented facts and, as one critic so beautifully wrote, “hogwash in the guise of research”) but we also need to read what his critics have to say.  Who are his critics? We see directors of fertility clinics, professors in medicine, and even “pro-choicers” who believe in the validity of NFP.  We also see editors of other medical journals, Bovens’ colleagues in the field of philosophy and ethics, directors of Natural Family Planning centers, and yes, even those pesky Catholics, who can’t seem to leave the issue that “all life is sacred” alone. 

      And so what do we find with these critics, (all of which have credentials, some far surpassing that of Bovens)?  We see article upon article evidence declaring Bovens’ position not only to be logically fallible, but more importantly (for sake of the point you were trying to make) empirically false.  Even when Bovens attempts to cite his research, this too is unmasked by specialists in fertility (which again Bovens is not).  Some of his critics even go in depth to discuss the cycle of fertility in order to disprove what Bovens was attempting.  Bovens, to his credit, does thank the critics for their dialogue, and yet still his only defense is a philosophical one.  Is he making a breakthrough in the area of medicine? Highly unlikely…but he is clever in his philosophical attempt to mask ideology under the guise of “medical fact.” 

      For more information on this, see http://jme.bmj.com/content/32/6/355.full/reply#medethics_el_570

      In your words I guess, “chew on that.”

      On a personal note, I am a woman, and am appalled at the accusations that NFP and other forms of natural family planning are in anyway against women or simply about men desiring “control.”  How sad to think that in coming to understand my cycle and fertility I am in some way having “less” control, or I am giving my control over to the man I am in relationship with.  If anything, I am taking more control of my fertility, because I am desiring to understand it at a greater length.  How beautiful it is to know when I am fertile, to know when I am not.  To your response that some cycles are “unpredictable,” sure this may be true, but if done correctly (especially methods such as Creighton), the knowledge gained about one’s cycle is so in-depth (and yes, even scientific) that cycles deemed unpredictable surprisingly become “predictable,” (believe me, it has happened to me).  I was shocked at how much I came to know about my cycle and body, knowledge I would have never gained on simple methods of artificial contraception.  Even some doctors now ask women to use such methods of charting one’s cycle, especially if they are struggling with having children.  It allows the doctors to know if problems occur and subsequently what appropriate course of action to take.  And to the charge that it takes away women’s control only to give it to the man, I can say there is nothing more freeing than in the man I love taking such a beautiful interest in my fertility.  Not because he desires to control me, or use me, but out of love for me, he sees my fertility (as I do) as a gift, and he wants to walk that journey with me. 

      I hope this post provides some insight into a different perspective, one that is *shocker* both scientific and pro-life.  Many blessings.

  • catseye71352

    If something cannot be proven, IT IS _NOT_ “TRUTH”!!!

    • invalid-0

      Prove it.

  • prochoiceferret

    Yeah, I get it, some priests are bad, and some Bishops didn’t know how to handle the problem.

    They moved pedophile priests from one diocese to another, where they would be in contact with more children, without warning the staff about the whole child-molestation thing—because it was more important to preserve the Church’s reputation than seek justice and put an end to the abuse.

     

    I can just imagine you as a lawyer. “Your honor, my client accidentally killed Ms. Moody, and then he didn’t know how to handle the problem, so he cut up her body and fed the pieces one by one into his kitchen sink’s garbage disposal. It’s not like he’s a bad person or anything.”

    You’ll have to forgive a group that has over 1 billion members for not being comprised solely of saints.

    Point the first: The Catholic Church has over 1 billion ordained clergy?

     

    Point the second: Does that number include people who claim they are Catholic, but have abortions and use contraception? I’ve seen some posters here describe these folks as not being “real” Catholics, so that would cut down the number quite a bit.

     

    Point the third: No, we don’t have to forgive. We’ll just remember that when the Church says something about morality, that it’s like Sarah Palin talking about foreign policy: it doesn’t know what it’s talking about, and should be ignored by anyone genuinely interested in the subject.

  • invalid-0

    Except you forgot the fact that the Church’s teaching authority isn’t derived from the perfection of its servants; any more than my math teacher’s teaching authority is based upon her ability to never miscalculate.

    Again, you’re finger-pointing.  Just because I speed or have stolen or had sex outside of marriage does not remove my ability to tell another person that it is wrong.  I am forbidden to judge the person, but I am supposed to help guide them to right action.  Just because I’ve sinned does not make sin any more right.

  • invalid-0

    Yeah, you know, just like how some of the comments made by liberal, proabortion, probirthcontrol folks show how blind they are to the fact that they love to attack the commenter instead of addressing the issue.

    Suppose I were a classist, racist adulterer who steals from little old ladies – what does that have to do with the validity of my original comment, Kate?  (besides “nothing”)

  • prochoiceferret

    Except you forgot the fact that the Church’s teaching authority isn’t derived from the perfection of its servants; any more than my math teacher’s teaching authority is based upon her ability to never miscalculate.

    Ah, so morality is like math. Woman + abortion = evil. Woman + man + sex – marriage = evil. Woman + contraception = evil. Woman + woman – man = evil…

    Just because I speed or have stolen or had sex outside of marriage does not remove my ability to tell another person that it is wrong.  I am forbidden to judge the person, but I am supposed to help guide them to right action.  Just because I’ve sinned does not make sin any more right.

    So it’s a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of thing. You know, we have a nice word for people who say that….

  • prochoiceferret

    Yeah, you know, just like how some of the comments made by liberal, proabortion, probirthcontrol folks show how blind they are to the fact that they love to attack the commenter instead of addressing the issue.

    Oh, we address the issue. But if the commenter is a poopyhead, we’ll address that too.

    Suppose I were a classist, racist adulterer who steals from little old ladies – what does that have to do with the validity of my original comment, Kate?

    Well, if your original comment talks about how things ought to be, your failure to treat your fellow beings with respect and empathy may suggest that the world you want to live in is not one that we (or anyone else) would want to live in.

  • crowepps

    Except you forgot the fact that the Church’s teaching authority isn’t derived from the perfection of its servants; any more than my math teacher’s teaching authority is based upon her ability to never miscalculate.

    The value of what the Church is teaching, however, can be judged by how well it guides its servants closer to perfection. Teachings which cannot enable the teacher themself to avoid sexual sins seem pretty worthless.

     

    Personally, I prefer a math teacher who actually can do math, instead of one whose talent is telling other people they’ve gotten the answer wrong, but maybe I’m excessively picky.

    Again, you’re finger-pointing. Just because I speed or have stolen or had sex outside of marriage does not remove my ability to tell another person that it is wrong.

    It does, however, make it pretty ludicrous. Why would anybody be willing to hear a lecture on virtue from a scofflaw, thief or adulterer?

    I am forbidden to judge the person, but I am supposed to help guide them to right action. Just because I’ve sinned does not make sin any more right.

    It sounds to me like it would be a lot more useful all round for you to stop focusing on the speck in your neighbor’s eye, which you cannot see clearly because of the plank in your own, and spend some time guiding YOURSELF to right action.

  • crowepps

    I guess the moral differences are that, one, it’s more likely to fail and result in a pregnancy; two, it creates more suffering; and, three, it’s under MALE control and if he decides to get her pregnant when she doesn’t want to be, he’s able to do so.

  • paul-bradford

    The Church and her many schools have no more obligation to teach children to use condoms or birth control than inner-city schools have an obligation to teach their students how to safely handle a handgun. In both situations, the message is consistent, clear and not changing: “Don’t do it”. Not, “Please don’t, but just in case you do, and you probably will, here are some neat tips.”

     

    arex,

     

    I reposted the comment you made that provoked Kate to accuse you of being classist and racist.  This got me to wondering, “What is the real story about gun violence in the cities vs. gun violence in rural areas?”  Fortunately, I live in the 21st Century so I simply checked the Wiki entry on Gun Violence.  I quote from the section called Urban Versus Rural Areas in the United States:

      

    In the United States, cities tend to have higher criminal gun violence rates but lower rates of gun ownership, compared with rural areas which tend to have lower criminal gun violence rates but higher rates of gun ownership. Some areas have widespread gun ownership with low rates of homicide. Conversely, research has found that in the United States rural areas with high rates of gun ownership tend to have higher suicide gun violence rates and cities with lower gun ownership tend to have lower suicide gun violence rates. In 2005, Wyoming had the highest number of homes with loaded and unlocked guns in the United States, at 33% of all homes in the state, and had a homicide rate of 1.7 of every 100,000, although Wyoming also has a very high suicide rate which researchers have accounted for due to the relative accessibility of firearms. High rates of gang membership and gang violence in urban areas have been used to explain these differences in crime gun violence.

     

    America’s level of gun violence cannot be attributed to urbanization alone as international comparisons show. Singapore has the second highest population density in the world (almost 6,814 people per square kilometer, or about 50% more densely populated than Chicago, Illinois) but has the lowest level of gun violence of all the countries in the table above. Its rate of gun violence is 99 times lower than that of the United States which is 200 times less densely populated. The only way for a civilian to own a firearm in Singapore is to acquire an Arm & Explosives license.


    Like you, arex, my perspective may be distorted by the kind of racism and classism that doesn’t afflict Kate. If this is so, I’m hoping that the conversation here will help me overcome the distortions in my understanding. At this time, however, I think that the Wiki entry does a good job of validating the prejudices I brought to the question — which is that criminal gun violence is worse in urban areas than in rural, and that gun ownership is more common (and more accepted) in rural areas than in urban areas.

     

    I also continue to think that it was completely valid for you to note how the correspondence between availability of contraceptives and contraceptive information and the incidents of unwanted pregnancy and STI’s brings up a lot of the same issues as the correspondence between gun control/ gun ownership and gun violence.  I also continue to think that you were making a nice contribution to our conversation when you pointed out that just as Catholic schools are less likely to teach kids about contraception than public schools, Urban schools are less likely to teach kids about gun safety than rural schools.

  • invalid-0

    The value of what the Church is teaching, however, can be judged by how well it guides its servants closer to perfection. Teachings which cannot enable the teacher themself to avoid sexual sins seem pretty worthless.

    Why must perfection be demanded of your teachers?  You ARE being excessively picky.  You judge these men based upon news coverage of their actions, without knowing any of them personally, and then discredit the institution they serve on account of their sins.  Who are you to demand such perfection?

    Why would anybody be willing to hear a lecture on virtue from a scofflaw, thief or adulterer?

    Some of the most enlightening talks on sin have been from the greatest sinners.  You’re unwilling to listen to the saints.  You’re unwilling now to listen to the sinners, too?  What does this leave other than your own unchecked desires to guide your heart and your actions?

    It sounds to me like it would be a lot more useful all round for you to stop focusing on the speck in your neighbor’s eye, which you cannot see clearly because of the plank in your own, and spend some time guiding YOURSELF to right action.

    Ah, yes.  Luke 6.  The infamous kryptonite for the Christian evangelist.  How dare ANYONE ever have any opinion about morality if they themselves are a sinner?  The great irony of course, is that you must judge me to discredit me.  Judge not – lest ye be judged, eh?

  • mechashiva

    On the flip side, birth control sabotage is ALSO a tool of spousal control, as is pregnancy.

    I’m glad you mentioned this actually. There’s overwhelming documentation of abusive men coercing women into pregnancy and childbirth, and then using the children to exert control over the woman. If she leaves, he uses the children as a legal hook to stay a part of her life. Children often end up caught in the middle, being used as pawns by abusers.

     

    This topic hits particularly close to home for me. My abusive ex felt that I was starting to pull away, near the end of the relationship. During sex he would say things like, “You know you’ll never really escape, even if you leave me. All I have to do is come around in a few years when your biological clock starts ticking. You won’t be able to resist, and I’ll get you pregnant. We’ll end up just like this again.” *shudder* And he thought he was being sexy when he talked like that.

     

    Fertility is NOT something that should be used as a tool in a relationship. It’s manipulative at best, and abusive at worst to treat fertility as anything other than what it is.

  • prochoiceferret

    Why must perfection be demanded of your teachers?  You ARE being excessively picky.  You judge these men based upon news coverage of their actions, without knowing any of them personally, and then discredit the institution they serve on account of their sins.  Who are you to demand such perfection?

    I don’t think “not touching little boys’ penises, and punishing those who do” is a particularly high bar to meet. (If that’s what passes for “perfection” nowadays, then the Catholic clergy has really gone downhill.)

    Some of the most enlightening talks on sin have been from the greatest sinners.  You’re unwilling to listen to the saints.  You’re unwilling now to listen to the sinners, too?  What does this leave other than your own unchecked desires to guide your heart and your actions?

    Most people have a conscience, and empathy, to help with that. I’m sorry that you seem to possess neither, given your unfamiliarity with them.

    Ah, yes.  Luke 6.  The infamous kryptonite for the Christian evangelist.  How dare ANYONE ever have any opinion about morality if they themselves are a sinner?  The great irony of course, is that you must judge me to discredit me.  Judge not – lest ye be judged, eh?

    If you have problems with the teachings in the Bible, I suggest you take them up with the author.

  • emma

    Meh, edited for excessive meanness. But next time you start rabbiting on about The Precious Unborn, think of parrots.

  • faultroy

    ….and you get and A+ for critical thinking skills.  Nice

  • colleen

    Why must perfection be demanded of your teachers?  You ARE being excessively picky.  You judge these men based upon news coverage of their actions, without knowing any of them personally, and then discredit the institution they serve on account of their sins.  Who are you to demand such perfection?

    First, the RCC clergy are not our teachers although clearly they are yours.

     

    When did refusing to comply with a pseudo-morality which protects child abusers and kills women and little girls become a demand for “perfection”?

    read this Grand Jury report:

    http://www.philadelphiadistrictattorney.com/pages/1/index.htm

     

    And the Bishop Accountability Project here:

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/

     

    and Talk to these people:

    http://www.snapnetwork.org/

     

    To get a sense of what sort of sick men you are making excuses for and what sort of sick men enabled and protected them and what sorts of crimes they’re responsible for.  The notion that we’re misled by ‘the media’ is an absurd and pathetic argument.The cites I provided should keep you busy for a week. After you finish those I’ll provide cites to what the Irish government found the Church had been doing with and too the most vulnerable of all children there.

     

  • janine

    ProChoiceFerret – you, colleen, emma, crowepps, and ahunt totally rock!

     

    on a side note – where is ProChoiceGoth?

  • invalid-0

    You’d think that a group of people with such an obsession over child molesterers would focus on whether or not their precious abortion clinics report statutory rape?

    At some point this particular board used to deal with whether or not the Church should be forced to change its teaching.  Anyone remember that?  Keeping you guys off sinful priests is like trying to keep flies off stink.

  • invalid-0

    My goal: save unborn babies

    My “parroted” message: save unborn babies

    Their goal: promote reproductive health

    Their “parroted” message: priests touch children

    Also, I happen to be a Catholic, and am protecting the faith my family has grown up in for the last 300 years.  To hear a small group of non-Catholics or misinformed Catholics disseminate their misunderstandings on a public forum prompts me to respond.  I pray my message is understood here.

  • colleen

    arex,

     

    I take it then that you failed to read the links I provided? too bad,

    Because see, the problem isn’t that we’ve been misled by the media, the problem is that you are refuse to deal with reality and are purposefully ignorant.

     

     

  • crowepps

    My goal: save unborn babies

    My “parroted” message: save unborn babies

    Their goal: promote reproductive health

    Their “parroted” message: priests touch children

    Gee, it sure sounds unreasonable when you frame it that way. It does not sound as unreasonable when it is put this way however:

    Your goal: stop abortion even if the unborn baby dies anyway and the pregnant women dies without

    Your parroted message:  Because the Pope says so and Catholic theology has determined women who aren’t virgins don’t deserve to live

    Our goal: protect the lives and health of women

    Our response to your parroted message: Who cares what the Pope says?

    If Catholic theology can’t regulate the sexual morality of professional Catholics, why would anyone NONCatholic find it useful?

    The fact that your family has bought into this delusion for 300 years isn’t a  recommendation to anyone else and convincing other people to join you in the delusion certainly doesn’t make the theology more true.  If success in gaining converts or success in getting government to enforce theology are the messure of whether a religion is Truth I guess we should all join Islam.

  • emma

    I’m just saying, I think you might have a lot of thoughts about sleeping around with co-workers. Because I never even think of doing so, and I’ve had my tubes tied for 30 years. The only thing that makes it “easier to be unfaithful” are the thoughts in your head. And if “unwanted pregnancy” and “possible diseases” are major reasons to you for fidelity, I’d say that you already have a “big lack of trust” in yourself, your partner, and your relationship.

    Yeah, I was thinking along those lines. Some of the above comments seem to reflect these incredibly depressing ideas about morality and relationships. Using NFP as a device to force you to take a break from sex and focus on other aspects of the relationship seems to work very nicely for some, but I would hate to think that my partner and I required fear of my getting pregnant to want to engage in non-sexual intimacy.

     

    As I’m on the pill (which I take for entirely legitimate medical as well as contraception reasons), we can have sex sometimes, while enjoying each other in non-sexual ways at other times, and we can base what we’re doing on what we feel is important to us and to our relationship, rather than on whether I’m ovulating.

     

    Our relationship is better for the fact that we’re not plagued by fear of an accidental pregnancy – neither of us wants that for me, particularly as I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and am dealing with severe, chronic, intractible pain, and the pain I have from Ehlers-Danlos would be greatly worsened by pregnancy. I prefer to think of sex as something I share with my partner, not a ‘gift’ I give to him, which he takes from me.

     

    Meh, am about to fall asleep; have got to cut this off.

     

    ETA: Basically am trying to say that I would hate being in a relationship in which the possibility of pregnancy was the only incentive for my partner and me not to cheat on each other. Such a relationship sounds as if it would be too unhealthy,  miserable and depressing to maintain.

     

    Wendy – yeah, I’m contemplating a hysterectomy. I’d keep my ovaries, but the pain and misery of having a uterus & endometriosis (especially if the fundies had their way and I wasn’t allowed to use the pill to control the condition somewhat) is sometimes a little too close to being unbearable.

  • emma

    Good to see you! You also rock. Plz to be posting more often! :)

     

    I miss Sayna and melankelly, as well.

  • cmarie

    Several years ago I read a book called
    The Lost Children of Wilder” It took place around 1975.  At the time Catholic children were frequently placed with Catholic families privately or, (if impossible) went into the general foster care system.  Likewise, Jewish children were frequently placed privately with Jewish families, or, (if none were available), went into the general foster care system. Protestant children though, went directly into the general “state wide foster care system” and were therefore denied any of the opportunities available to Catholic or Jewish children.  The Wilder case challenged that.  A young woman who had spend much of her life in foster care ( and was pregnant at 15) was represented by a progressive attorney in her battle against the state of New York to avail herself of the services other American children were able to access.  The young woman gave birth to a healthy boy who was likewise placed in foster care.  The young woman was placed in a Catholic institution where she received both care and education.  One of the rules of the school was that she could not be sexually active.  Her lawyer argued that the young woman had already been sexually active and in fact had a son and couldn’t be expected to be celibate at all, ever and HAD to be sexually active and practicing birth control. The case took many years and eventually the young woman (Wilder) won.  When the lawyer who represented her met her again, though, the reunion was bittersweet.  The girl never again got pregnant but she did get AIDS.  Just maybe, if they had listed to the Church and told the young lady that she had to wait to adulthood to again  become sexually active, she could have lived a long and healthy life. 

  • hekate

    I wasn’t aware that adulthood protected one from STIs.

  • crowepps

    The girl never again got pregnant but she did get AIDS.  Just maybe, if they had listed to the Church and told the young lady that she had to wait to adulthood to again  become sexually active, she could have lived a long and healthy life. 

    The logic failures here are:

     

    What evidence is there the girl didn’t have AIDS before she ever came in contact with the Church?

     

    How realistic is the notion that if they had told the young lady to wait ‘because God said so’, she would have obeyed them?

     

    Precisely what physical changes happen upon becoming an “adult” that prevent contracting AIDS?

     

    Forcing even minors to follow the tenets of a religion that is not their own because they are unwillingly required to live or go to school in a facility run by that religion is constitutionally forbidden.  I believe that was established by the Courts back in the 1850′s when Protestants insisted upon Protestant religious observances in the curriculum and discriminated against and abused Catholic student Thomas Whall.

     

    http://books.google.com/books?id=VNcJuYFE_OIC&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=%22Thomas+Whall%22+Protestant+10+Commandments&source=bl&ots=dSMD82mrKA&sig=sFu3Eg2EZ7fqz4rdHTBIIiS8dCQ&hl=en&ei=lhwDTKyBJqb4Mp-T2Ds&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCQQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

     

     

    On the brighter side, since she didn’t become pregnant again, obviously the birth control worked.

  • emma

    Arex’ message:

     

    1. It’s mean to judge priests for raping and molesting children. You don’t know them, and they might have really good reasons for raping and molesting children. And it’s not like they raped and molested the really important Unborn, so it’s not really a big deal. Besides, they’re really nice people, and they probably had really good reasons for molesting and raping children.

     

    2. I’m Catholic and my family has been Catholic for 300 years, so people shouldn’t criticise the Catholic church.

     

    3. I don’t like it when women get offended when I tell them they (and nine-year-old rape victims) should die to try to save the most important people of all, The Unborn. Women should always defer to me, and should graciously accept that their purpose in life is to incubate The Unborn.

     

    4. Your uterus is my property.

     

    5. The fact that I think women and little girls are worthless baby-machines is not a reasonable basis for referring to me as a misogynist.

     

    6. I’m going to go and pray to the non-existent sky fairy my family has spent the past 300 years worshipping. The non-existent sky fairy is not going to send me to hell for my idolatrous worship of The Unborn.

  • amyc

    It looks like you’re one of those parents who would rather dictate to their children the rules then ever explain why those rules are there. Children like boundaries, but not arbitrary ones. Children want to be told their boundaries, but they also need to know why. I’ll use your example. If I had a 9:00 curfew for my nine year old, I would sit down with her/him and explain the importance of a good night’s rest. What you seem to be advocating is simply: Do as I tell you to do and don’t ask any questions.

    Ultimatums like this simply don’t work realistically.

  • amyc

    Keeping you guys off sinful priests is like trying to keep flies off stink.

     

    The same could be said about keeping priests off altar boys…

  • amyc

    Suppose I were a classist, racist adulterer who steals from little old ladies – what does that have to do with the validity of my original comment, Kate?  (besides “nothing”)

     

    You would have a point if any of your original comments had some validity.

  • amyc

    You obviously are very poorly versed in religious lore.  I suggest that you pick up a Bible and read it critically.  There is actually much more righteousness and less mercy and love.  Fear is endemic to all early cultures and societal texts.

    Are you familiar with something called the New Testament? I believe the Church relies very heavily on the documents contained within it. Why don’t you read up and let me know how many times Jesus asks us to obey him out of fear and then compare it to how many times he talks about love and mercy?

    And his administrators had every right to tell him not to run it.

    True, they did.  But he also has every right to have his voice be heard. Now his paper is being read on a national level instead. Gee, I wonder how this could have been avoided…Maybe the article, if run in the student newspaper with no hoop-la surrounding it, would have been read a couple times by some students and then forgetten about. I mean if it’s such a “sophomoric” paper as you claim, it probably wouldn’t have been front-page news or anything–probably just buried in the back somewhere.

    For copy so sophomoric, I seriously question the intelligence of his admiistrators and the people promoting it.  I give him a C since it shows poor critical thinking skills and even poorer research skills. –But then again–he’s jus a kid.

    Honestly, I proof read student term papers at a university, and this paper is much better than most of the papers I see. I suppose if he were advocating something you agreed with, he might get a better grade. I would hate for you to my teacher.

  • colleen

    Honestly, I proof read student term papers at a university, and this paper is much better than most of the papers I see.

    It’s certainly far better reasoned and written than Faulteroy’s execrable word salads. Seriously, Faulteroy writes like Sarah Palin talks.

  • crowepps

    There is also supposed to be a progression as children mature, where a bare ‘because I say so’ is appropriate at three and the idea BEHIND the rules, also known as ‘values’, is explained in more and more depth as the children grow.

     

    Failing to explain the REASONS for the rules leaves the child after they are mature able to do no better than to be a moral bureaucrat who follows a checklist and ‘goes by the book’ even when doing violating the moral underpinning. If a parent (or religion) does a good job of explaining the underlying basis of social cooperation and general welfare which led to the rules, the child has the marvelous opportunity to establish a moral center which can continue as a guide even in entirely new situations where an established set of rules have not yet been predetermined.

     

    Certainly the Church’s weak explanations of why birth control is bad, the meme about the ‘contraceptive mentality’ being a bad thing because women are SUPPOSED to be totally self-effacing and martyr themselves for their husbands and children, doesn’t hold up to reasoned scrutiny. I would further point out that it never, ever works to attempt a fall back position of ‘because we say so’ after revealing that the reasoning behind the rule is profoundly flawed.

  • crowepps

    Thought of this when I ran across this article:

     

    Child Brides Escape Marriage, but Not Lashes

     

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The two Afghan girls had every reason to expect the law would be on their side when a policeman at a checkpoint stopped the bus they were in. Disguised in boys’ clothes, the girls, ages 13 and 14, had been fleeing for two days along rutted roads and over mountain passes to escape their illegal, forced marriages to much older men, and now they had made it to relatively liberal Herat Province.

     

    Instead, the police officer spotted them as girls, ignored their pleas and promptly sent them back to their remote village in Ghor Province. There they were publicly and viciously flogged for daring to run away from their husbands.

    Poverty is the motivation for many child marriages, either because a wealthy husband pays a large bride-price, or just because the father of the bride then has one less child to support. “Most of the time they are sold,” Ms. Naderi said. “And most of the time it’s a case where the husband is much, much older.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/world/asia/31flogging.html

     

  • ahunt

    Yah…tangent alert!

     

    I actually had some male aquaintance agree w/ US immigration policies…you all know…systemic cultural abuse of women is not sufficient grounds for granting asylum.

     

    Think I’ll email him this link and ask him what he thinks about the culture of marital rape of little girls…

  • princess-rot

    Indeed, faultroy, it will happen soon enough to the children who grow up being denied sex education and contraception. It will happen much sooner than is ideal for the child – and I suppose you’ll be along to patronize and shame them for it in no time – to make sure the harmful, ignorant conjecture is passed on to the next generation.

  • princess-rot

    Assuming that the young woman contracted AIDS while in the charge of the Catholic church,  and that she contracted AIDS via voluntary intercourse and not some other means like a dirty needle, botched blood transfusion, rape, or deception (a partner failing to disclose a HIV+ test, for example) how would witholding information about contraception (certain types of which protect from STDs as well as pregnancy), help her at all? The assumption is that she would go into adulthood after a childhood of abstinence and presumably start being sexually active again. How would a lack of contraceptive knowlege, and only beginning to have sex again in adulthood magically protect her from contracting diseases, cmarie? This reads like ManyMiles’ woo that “giving of the self” during sex will somehow protect you from heartbreak, or the old myth that owning a wedding ring and being a virgin is cast-iron emotional protection.

  • ahunt

    Not to worry Many Miles. We’re glad NFP works for you and that you are happy with your choices.

  • emma

    On a personal note, I am a woman, and am appalled at the accusations that NFP and other forms of natural family planning are in anyway against women or simply about men desiring “control.” How sad to think that in coming to understand my cycle and fertility I am in some way having “less” control, or I am giving my control over to the man I am in relationship with.

    I haven’t read over the thread, but I believe the point people have been making is that use of NFP can indeed be entirely reasonable for women in healthy relationships who are able to negotiate sex. There are, however, plenty of women who have not learned to negotiate sex or are in abusive or unhealthy relationships for whom NFP is not the most helpful method, as they may not be or feel in a position not to have sex during fertile times, and for those women, use of hormonal contraception may in fact be empowering, as it is a method controlled by them. I hardly think anyone is claiming that everyone who uses NFP is in a controlling or abusive relationship, just that it’s not the most reliable method for those who are in that situation.

     

    And no, I’m not claiming that it is preferable for women to take the pill or use an IUD rather than leave an abusive partner, but it’s shitty but true that some women are or feel that they are in a position in which they cannot leave their abusive relationships, and switching from hormonal contraception to NFP doesn’t really seem likely to change that situation.

    If anything, I am taking more control of my fertility, because I am desiring to understand it at a greater length. How beautiful it is to know when I am fertile, to know when I am not. To your response that some cycles are “unpredictable,” sure this may be true, but if done correctly (especially methods such as Creighton), the knowledge gained about one’s cycle is so in-depth (and yes, even scientific) that cycles deemed unpredictable surprisingly become “predictable,” (believe me, it has happened to me). I was shocked at how much I came to know about my cycle and body, knowledge I would have never gained on simple methods of artificial contraception.

    And that’s fine; it works for you, and I’m pleased for you that you’ve found a method of contraception that works for you and with which you’re satisfied. You don’t have to defend yourself. The point is that those of us who prefer to use hormonal contraception also should not have to defend our preference for those methods. That which works for you is not going to be everyone’s preference, and I really wish you’d appreciate that other contraceptive methods and choices are just as valid as yours. Even when single, I take the pill for medical reasons (endometriosis), and I shouldn’t have to defend that, either. Please try to understand that other people are not you, and other people’s choices will differ from yours, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    And to the charge that it takes away women’s control only to give it to the man, I can say there is nothing more freeing than in the man I love taking such a beautiful interest in my fertility. Not because he desires to control me, or use me, but out of love for me, he sees my fertility (as I do) as a gift, and he wants to walk that journey with me.

    And again, that is lovely, and your relationship sounds like a fantastic one. But it’s not my choice, and that is ok, too.

    I hope this post provides some insight into a different perspective, one that is *shocker* both scientific and pro-life.

    If you’re suggesting that hormonal contraception is in some way ‘anti-life’, that’s an unfair and unreasonable charge that is as invalidating as the suggestion that your use of NFP means your partner is controlling. I respect your choices, and I think it’s reasonable to ask that you do the same with mine.

  • jayn

    There are, however, plenty of women who have not learned to negotiate sex or are in abusive or unhealthy relationships for whom NFP is not the most helpful method,

     

    And even for those of us in healthy relationships, we may not want to limit our sex lives that way–abstinence does not necessarily lead to better sex, no matter what you’ve been told.

     

    I have nothing against NFP and those who use it, it’s just not for me and my husband.

  • crowepps

    NRP sounds like the ideal birth control for women who define themselves by and think their most important quality is their fertility.  For women who value  themselves for other qualities, it is far less useful.

  • paul-bradford

    The committee voted overwhelmingly (30 of the 35 lay members, 15 of the 19 theologians, and 9 of the 12 bishops) that contraception was not necessarily immoral and that the traditional teaching should be overturned. They argued that the conjugal act itself should not be viewed as an isolated reality but in a larger context as a normal part of human life and relationships.

     

    Ryan,

     

    You’re certainly right that a majority of the commission proposed that modern contraception be licit for married couples.  It is also true that the commission ratified what has always been church teaching that couples are properly motivated to share their sexuality with each other for reasons other than procreation.  It is, and always has been, perfectly fine for couples to have sex as an expression of love and as a means to strengthen their marriage.  It was never considered by anyone on that commission that Church teaching regarding sex outside of marriage ought to be reviewed.

     

    The conjugal act is “isolated” in that it’s conjugal.  Even if the Church modified its teaching on the matter of contraception it would still continue to teach that unmarried couples need to abstain from sex.

  • crowepps

    So the teacher can explain the theory of evolution in a long, long course detailing all the various facts discovered and the evidence known and the ideas that arise from that and how this information makes it possible to both understand the past and better predict what will happen in the future, and then on either the very first day or the very last day can say, “Or, alternatively, God did it.”

     

    Just as a comprehensive sex education course teaches the physiology of the body, the biological details of reproduction, points out the various social, psychological and medical concerns involved in sex and pregnancy and having children, and then on the very first day or the very last day can say, “And of course if you never have sex then you won’t need any of this information”.

     

    Saw a very interesting article about this ‘form their own opinions’ meme today –

     

    Do You Care Whether the Religious Ideas You Believe in are True or Not?

     

    … “I’m talking about people who consciously, intellectually state that they’re less interested in what’s really true about the universe than they are about their personal interpretation of it. People who consciously, intellectually state that reality can’t be completely understood, and therefore all interpretations of it are equally valid. People who consciously, intellectually state that it’s less important to understand reality than it is to not offend people by pointing out that their beliefs are inconsistent with the evidence. … People who consciously, intellectually state that, when it comes right down to it, they don’t care whether the things they believe are true.

     

    … When it comes to practical matters, of course they care whether the things they believe are true. It’s just the grand metaphysical issues, the issues where cause and effect isn’t blindingly obvious, the issues of God and the soul and eternal consciousness and whatnot… that’s where they feel they can make up any interpretation of reality that makes them happy.

     

    http://www.alternet.org/belief/147246/do_you_care_whether_the_religious_ideas_you_believe_in_are_true_or_not/?page=1