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Friday, September 7, 2012

Lobdell on Catholics and Reproductive Health issues

Weeks ago when Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas thundered "Contraception is Corruption!" I happened to have just finished reading William Lobdell's fine work, Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America -- and Found Unexpected Peace (HarperCollins Publishers, 2009). Talk about corruption! I burped as I learned how the Catholic Church authorities worked mafia-like to cover up or rationalize the countless sexual crimes committed by their priests. Among the shocking facts and riveting stories he divulged was about the case of Michael "Father Hollywood" Harris whose sexual offenses
would cause upheaval and historic reforms within the Roman Catholic dioceses of Orange and Los Angeles, generate the first of more than $1 billion in payouts to hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by priests and foreshadow by almost two years the church's national sex scandal.(62)
Chapter 15 of Lobdell's book also tells of a horrible case in St. Michael Island, Alaska "where a single Catholic missionary raped an entire generation of Alaska Native boys." (215) I don't know about Lobdell's other readers, but all these revelations about corruption in the Catholic Church made me sick with disgust. I was thinking, maybe had the Church not imposed this crazy doctrine of priesthood celibacy their holy men would have productively channeled their sexual urges within the context of marital and family life. And I keep wondering, how could these bishops and popes truly empathize with or understand experiences such as raising a family and sexual needs of couples? That our priests are out of touch with the lives of or alienated from their parishioners can be shown by the June 2011 SWS survey which showed that "82 percent of Filipino adults nationwide agree that 'The choice of family planning method is a personal decision of the couple, and no one should interfere with it.' The same trend is also true of American Catholics. Lobdell says,
A recent poll co-sponsored by the National Catholic Reporter found that the majority American Catholics believed they did not have to obey church doctrine on abortion, birth control, divorce, remarriage or weekly attendance at Mass to be “good Catholics.” Catholic women have about the same rate of abortion as the rest of society, according to a 2002 study by Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. And 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used a modern method of contraception, according to a 2002 national survey bythe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(206)


That's good. The more people reject the idea that popes, priests, pastors, ministers, and imams have a wifi access to heaven and therefore should be blindly followed, the better for the world.

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