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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Catholic Church Makes Mistakes

Posted by on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:29 AM

The Catholic church is wrong about human sexuality—just like it was wrong about the movement of the planets. Persecuting Galileo in the 16th Century didn't make the church right then and persecuting Catholic nuns in the 21st Century doesn't make the church right now.

UPDATE: A Slog commenter reminds us that sex and the movement of the planets aren't the only things the Catholic church has gotten wrong:

In the 17th century, based on a question raised by the Bishop of Quebec, the Roman Catholic Church ruled that the beaver was a fish (beaver flesh was a part of the indigenous peoples' diet, prior to the Europeans' arrival) for purposes of dietary law. Therefore, the general prohibition on the consumption of meat on Fridays during Lent did not apply to beaver meat. The legal basis for the decision probably rests with the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, which bases animal classification as much on habit as anatomy. This is similar to the Church's classification of the capybara, another semi-aquatic rodent.

And there was this:

In the late 19th and 20th centuries women began to struggle to win the vote, civil and political rights, higher education and access to professional employment. Catholicism was hostile to feminism, arguing in the 1920s against women’s suffrage. Women’s place was in the home, Catholic bishops argued, and their female nature would be debased by such rough masculine activities as voting. In 1930 Pope Pius XI condemned women’s emancipation as undermining the divinely founded obedience of the wife to her husband and a false deflection from her true and sole role as mother and homemaker.

UPDATE 2: And then there's slavery.


Comments (35) RSS

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Fifty-Two-Eighty 1
Nevertheless, persecuted they shall be. Because that's the way they do things.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on June 6, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Il Porno Star 2
Also, beavers are not fish, at it turns out.
Posted by Il Porno Star on June 6, 2012 at 8:37 AM · Report this
AFinch 3, logic and religion do not mix. I guess this is why you weren't able to go to seminary. Too much logic!
Posted by AFinch on June 6, 2012 at 8:45 AM · Report this
Vince 4
I just don't understand why anyone would be a member of an organisation they don't agree with. If you don't agree with the church, don't be a nun. It's a big world and life is short. Find yourself a place that doesn't condemn you, because the Catholic Church doesn't change. It clings to it's myths and superstitions because without them it can't exist.
Posted by Vince on June 6, 2012 at 8:47 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 5
Dan, why you gotta bully the poor, downtrodden Catholics like that?
Posted by MacCrocodile on June 6, 2012 at 8:48 AM · Report this
Supporters of Galileo at least could point to objective reality; in matters of right and wrong, as far as it's concerned, the Church owns its own team (or wishes to completely, though it has often failed at this), playing-field, and referees.

Beside, how else can Cardinal Law get back at the people who made him take sanctuary in Vatican City?
Posted by Gerald Fnord on June 6, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
I think the more pertinent question is: "What, during it's nearly 2000 years of existence, has the Catholic Church ever gotten RIGHT?"
Posted by COMTE on June 6, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Ironic, isn't it, that in its effort to avoid admitting that it's ever been wrong about anything, the Catholic Church manages to continue to be wrong on just about everything.
Posted by tniel on June 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM · Report this
Dont know what the argument (or rather excuse) for the beaver was but the capibara was clear classic catholic opportunism, its pretty hard to feed your army of conquestadores if there are only some tiny riverfish arround. Can't let some religious dogma get in the way of profitable conquest now can we? Say what you want about the hardcore protestants, at least they stick (a lot better) to their principles. Whishywashey "its all forgiven after a few hail Mary's and a generous donation to the church" catholicism is just disgustingly opportunistic...

Also, youtube "Stephen fry debates whether the catholic church is a force of good in the world", well worth the watch/share.
Posted by dutchie on June 6, 2012 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Oh, and I bet you are still one of those round-Earthers!
Posted by LML on June 6, 2012 at 9:35 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 14
COMTE: That wine & crackers go well together?
Wait, no, without a good cheese the crackers alone are too bland. So I guess they got that wrong too. Close, but no cigar.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on June 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 15
@ Comte, they certainly patronized a lot of good art and music. You can say that much for them.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
Knat 16
I appreciate the architecture and the art that the Catholic Church sponsored which we still have today, but that's where my support ends. Even then, I fume that the Church felt it necessary to censor "objectionable" parts of the latter.
Posted by Knat on June 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM · Report this
Fnarf 17
Update 3: the Catholic Church still today holds that contraception is a sin, because every sperm is a potential human being, on the medieval theory that every sperm is ALREADY a human being, a miniature, a homunculus, just waiting to lodge itself in a warm moist spot, which is all that a woman provides in this process. They didn't know about eggs back in those days. The Catholic Church still doesn't.
Posted by Fnarf on June 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
As a gay man, I don't have any experience, but I've heard that beaver sometimes smells like fish.
Posted by AndyInChicago on June 6, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Hernandez 19
@4 I invoke a similar rationale when religious foes of marriage equality crow that they're going to be forced to perform same-sex marriages. It's completely irrational. Why would two people want to be married by an institution that condemns them to damnation and actively works to restrict their rights? These people are so blinded by their persecution complexes.
Posted by Hernandez on June 6, 2012 at 10:23 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 20
@ 17, I believe they've amended it and accept the modern scientific consensus about how sex works. Now it's bad because sex for any purpose other than procreation is a sin.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
nocutename 21
Oh, oops. I sent you a link to the Sr. Margaret story, Dan, before I saw that you had posted it. (Emily Litella: "never mind.")
Posted by nocutename on June 6, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this
very bad homo 22
I can't even imagine eating beaver.
Posted by very bad homo on June 6, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Why do I have the sudden urge to rewatch the movie Dogma?
Posted by daphne24 on June 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
sasha 24
Beaver and fish. There are just way too many NSFW jokes waiting to be made from that one.
Posted by sasha on June 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
ALL religions get it wrong. They don't try for logic and free thought, they are based on creating fear and keeping people under control. Catholic church is really no better or worse than the rest.
Posted by lessa on June 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
The guys in the Vatican were never in a position to know much about women. They know their mothers and sometimes they deign to speak with nuns--who are by Church law, their subordinates. If the only examples of a group of people that you meet are your employees, you'll have a biased view of them.

The Church is like an older relative. Just because she has some outdated and flat-out wrong ideas, some of them related to very important subjects, doesn't mean I lock her in the attic and refuse to listen to a word she says. Most of what she says is wise and good.
Posted by DRF on June 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this

Although you'd think one of the world's largest privately held art collections would represent one hell of a lot of starving people being fed, housed and clothed - if only the Church could actually FOLLOW the teachings of Yeshua (e.g. Matthew 19:21).

So no, I'm pretty sure they got THAT wrong, too...
Posted by COMTE on June 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
As for saying that a beaver's a fish, there's a bit of wink-wink with that. Classifying the beaver as "okay to eat on Fridays" was about NOT coming in and telling Native Americans that they had to take on dietary habits completely impractical for their time and place in order to become Christians. The Jesuits did something similar in China when they argued that ancestor worship was a tradition rather than a religious practice--that way, Chinese converts wouldn't have to stop doing it. Stretching the rules to become more inclusive is a big part of Catholicism.
Posted by DRF on June 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 29
@ 27, you didn't ask for an overall rating of whether the church was good or bad, just for one example of something they got right. And if they weren't patronizing the arts, the artists would have starved (especially during the Middle Ages, when the church was really the only patron around).

Funny. I would think that this is something that isn't beyond you, given your profession, but you are an antitheist and you've got your own dogma clouding your vision.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 6, 2012 at 11:21 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 30
@26 - Okay, but what if that older relative has been raping children for as long as anyone can remember? Oh, that aunt Cathy and her child rape and broad influence over world politics! What a card!
Posted by MacCrocodile on June 6, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
As the descendant of Jews who were chased all over Europe through the centuries, and tormented, tortured and executed at the hands and words of the Church, I think we could maybe mention the whole Inquisition thing and the various Expulsions, too.

As late as the 1960's, and maybe later, they were still teaching their parochial school students about Jews having horns. I still vividly remember the fresh transferee to our public school, feeling my skull. Apparently they taught their kids that Jews could only pass by cutting off their horns, but you could still feel the stubs.

That Church has committed a number of crimes. Frequent murdering of the truth, slander and libel, among them.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on June 6, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Be careful, Dan, as evidenced by some recent comments, there are at least a few fundies out there who believe that women should have never gotten the right to vote, so some people out there think the Catholic Church got that right. Makes me sick.

Considering the Catholic Church literally ruled the Western world for almost 1000 years, and what they did to people during that time (torture, oppression, theft of money and land, expulsion of Jews and other "undesirables", etc.), the only good that has come from their existence is the patronage of great works of art and music. Otherwise, I believe that we, as a species, would be far more advanced technologically, mentally, and emotionally, if it were't for their actions during their time of power.

We cannot let religion, Catholic or otherwise (especially fundies), become the dominant power in our country.
Posted by SherBee on June 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 33
Always like to post this. Mr. Pope, this is for you:…
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on June 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
I would argue that the beaver = fish thing is something that the church got RIGHT. Yeah, it defies scientific logic, but it's a way to maintain doctrine without demanding a whole group of people starve. I haven't heard of anyone facing the Inquisition for suggesting that beavers aren't fish (though I haven't researched it, either).
Posted by LadyAlice on June 6, 2012 at 4:38 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 35
Geese were considered a fish for purposes of dietary law, as well, because they thought barnacles were goose eggs and that they appeared spontaneously from the water (no, I'm not making that up).
Posted by thecheesegirl on June 6, 2012 at 9:19 PM · Report this
I judge things by the times they were happening. Of course, there were times when technology was not around. Hence, know only what you see and hear, couldn't do more than that. But this is now. Steps have been taken throughout the years to learn. Science is leaned upon, Government laws are abided by, People are living the now, and if it were not for the Church, who would know about Jesus Christ. They are the ones who in their uneducated and backward ways spread the Word as Christ instructed them to do. And as for "contraception", it is the killing of a child. The child is formed, but cannot attach to the womb because of the contraception. Contraception does NOT cause the baby to NOT be conceived, it prevents the baby from attaching and growing into a full term child.
Posted by LearnHappy1 on June 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 37
Aw, come on, @36. Nobody could be that much of an ignoramus. You have a computer, obviously — I suggest you do a little research on your own.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on June 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Hello, ignorant sheep, I am a traditionalist Roman Catholic who ACTUALLY KNOWS THE DOGMA of which you speak. Actually, the Jesuits were eventually disbanded/sacked and totally re-ordered as a result of their overt heresy (ie. allowing Chinese ancestor worship) and lack of conformity to Catholic Dogma. It actually has been proven that they were one of the first implants of the satanic Jewish intelligentsia/freemasons in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. This obscenity called the "Jesuit Order" was actually composed of secretly unconverted Jewish elders. That is why they were expelled in masse from Spain in 1768. This situation is reminiscent of that which unfolded after the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. After they had neatly organized the satanic "French" Revolution, murdering thousands of innocent nobility, clergy, and peasants alike in order to acquire an importance power base, the satanic Jewish illuminati and freemasons still faced the arch-enemy. It was an obstacle to them controlling the world through their obscene intelligence, and it was the Holy Roman Catholic Church. They tried to assassinate Cardinal Siri, the actual winner of the election in the College of Cardinals, and instead implanted a known Jewish freemason, Pope John XIII as the pope using death threats, harassment, and the trademark tool of the Jews-their gold. He then proceeded to become the "anti-pope" and call the non-dogmatic (non-binding in faith and morals) council called Vatican II, thus creating the whore of Babylon as predicted by the Lady of La Salette in France in 1846, the unholy, impostor (V-2 sect) called the Roman Catholic Church, but actually the satanic anti-church with the fake "pope" (and those following John XIII were false antipopes as well as they were not validly elected due to the nature of the election of the latter man [cockroach]). What was the price? Years of child abuse and nonconformity to infallible Catholic Dogma, particularly regarding sexual matters (ie. the immoral practice of sexual relations outside of procreation), women's rights, ecumenism, the evil, satanic, and perfidious Jews, the use of Latin, the traditional Tridentine Mass, transubstantiation, the meaning of the mass, the gravity of the doctrine, and countless other issues that are utterly important to the one and true Catholic faith. Read up on Sedevacantism if you must do so and visit the website of the "Most Holy Family Monastery" NOT the incorrect and biased Wikipedia page about it!
Posted by nicolas7234 on July 9, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this

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