Catholic Church Needs to Reflect: What Would Jesus Do?

15 Mar

I have to start by saying that I think that the current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, is kind of a jerk. He reinstated a Bishop who was a known Holocaust denier; he has urged priests to deny the Eucharist (a sacrament for Catholics) to pro-choice believers (most specifically, to Nancy Pelosi); and most recently, he has advised physicians to deny abortion as legitimate option for women, saying “it solves nothing,” even when it can prevent suffering of the newborn or the death of the woman.

For the purposes of transparency, I feel the need to disclose that I was raised Catholic. I was one of those hyper-involved Catholics too. I sang in my choir, I was at 3 different services throughout the week, I was the leader of my youth group, I attended the National Catholic Youth Conferences, my volunteer work got me featured in a national Catholic magazine… you get the point. I was fully indoctrinated.

And I was lucky. I had an awesome priest. He listened to the youth in his congregation. He encouraged us to question the teachings of the church, and to have faith in the teachings of Jesus. Maybe he was unorthodox, but he was the perfect priest for someone like me.

Since Pope Benedict XVI was elected, the Catholic Church seems to be suffering more and more misogynistic and bigoted decrees, and surprisingly, less and less membership. This is the good news. The bad news is that the members that remain are more and more radical in their beliefs, and the Church is reinforcing these beliefs. It won’t be long before the Catholic Church is mimicking the Westboro Baptist Church and their message of hate in the name of God.

What the Catholic church needs to realize is that, without serious consideration for both the teachings of Jesus Christ and the current age that we live in, the Church is irrelevant. Or, rather, it has made itself irrelevant. Reasonable people are not interested in following a religion where everyone hates everyone else; where women and men are oppressed by their leadership, and where lives are put into needless danger.

Jesus taught us to love the sinner; to dine with the prostitute and the tax collector. The Catholic church is not infallible. It is lead by men. Men who are themselves fallible. Has the church forgotten their own message? The teachings of their prophet? And how can they expect thinking men and women to follow them when their message is mixed, at best, and tragically hateful, at worst?

Now, back to the abortion topic: If the Pope, who is the “mouthpiece of God” (for Roman Catholics), and a representative of Catholicism worldwide, is encouraging his priests to spread hate by refusing the Eucharist to members and is encouraging doctors to break their oath to protect their patients by allowing women to die when it could be prevented, when does it stop? The more radical the believers of a church, and the more justified they feel in their message, the easier it is for their members to perpetuate crimes (like the murder of a physician who performs abortions).

This must end. Regardless of the fact that I no longer consider myself to be Catholic, I have not excommunicated myself. Which means that I am technically a representative of the Catholic population. I have had an abortion. I am a woman. I am intelligent. I am appalled at the message that is being communicated to women in the name of “God”: you have no place here; you are worthless.

It may sound trite, but the church needs to ask themselves: What would Jesus do? I, for one, would bet that he would not approve of the Church’s more recent actions.

3 Responses to “Catholic Church Needs to Reflect: What Would Jesus Do?”

  1. 1 in 1000 March 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is such an articulate breakdown of the prejudice and hypocrisy of the Church.

    I grew up in a conservative rural area, where despite the fractures between Pentecostal, Baptist and Catholic, they were all agreed on their judgment of women with choice. It’s head-spinning that they do not recognize how un-Christian, unloving and uncharitable their judgment is.

  2. Kevin March 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Without advocating ANY Catholic teaching (Because it is by-and-large NOT a true church, refusing communion IS NOT what Paul taught) I rather expect that Jesus would say, “Go and sin no more.”
    Isaiah wrote that God asked, “Can a mother forget her suckling child”? Obviously and sadly, the answer is yes. God will not.
    I do not believe that abortion is any kind of solution. But I also recognize that all sinners, like me, need to admit that sin for the sake of approaching God’s mercy seat.
    I will also say though, I do not think he would pick sides; I am fairly certain that both the hypocrites and the abortionists (Not necessarily the women who get them, but I could be wrong) will be on his list.

  3. Serena March 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Christie, I’m glad that you are approaching this from the point of view of someone who actually knows about the Catholic Church, rather than some uneducated outsider, like me.

    I recently attended a workshop that was sponsored by Catholics for Choice, and the facilitator provided an excellent breakdown of how the Pope’s stance on abortion and birth control goes against the overwhelming majority of Catholic parishioners, who support abortion and birth control. I think it’s really important to highlight the ways that pro-choice Catholics (and by extension, pro-choice Christians) get alienated by their faith communities, and then they get alienated by the pro-choice community when we make sweeping generalizations that “all Catholics/Christians believe X.” I think that pro-choice advocates need to be very mindful of creating an open environment for people to come out of the pro-choice closet.

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