Catholicism is a Christian sect in which the leader makes pronouncements that the majority of followers totally ignore. Catholics have premarital sex, use contraception, divorce and remarry, have gay sex and relationships, and abortions at about the same ration as the general population. All of these actions are completely against the official church stance.
There is even a group known as Catholics for Choice that recognizes the harms caused by the inflexible outdated views espoused by the Vatican. For example, one of the projects they are involved in is the Coalition for Liberty & Justice that promotes both freedom of, and freedom from, religion by recognizing that a privileged status for one set of religious views does not promote religious liberty.
One part of their website is devoted to identifying anti-life aspects of some of these official stances:
Speaking to the UN General Assembly, Fr. Philip Bené, legal attaché to the Holy See, attempted to clarify the Holy See’s position on condoms stating, “The Holy See in no way endorses contraception or the use of condoms, either as a family planning measure or in HIV/AIDS prevention programs.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops cut off funding to the NYC AIDS Housing Network, a grantee of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, after an independent report revealed that the group had been distributing condoms.
At a Vatican conference on AIDS, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s representative at the United Nations, quoted from Pope Benedict’s book, “Light of the World.” He chose the passage that reads, “We cannot solve the problem (of AIDS) by distributing condoms.”
The bishops of Kenya released a statement with their interpretation of Pope Benedict’s remarks about condoms, saying, “We reiterate and reaffirm that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS.
Catholics for Changes recognizes the inherently disordered thinking behind these statements. The use of condoms protects people from diseases (of which AIDS is only one) and this protection from life threatening disease is lass important than demanding that every sex act have pregnancy as a goal. Even anal sex, that occurs in both hetero and home sexual relations, in which pregnancy is not possible, and disease prevention is the only purpose, condoms are condemned. There is just no way to view this attitude as pro-life.
Throughout their site, Catholics for Choice expose inherent misogyny in the Pope’s messages, specifically in his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudiam. Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, released the following statement about Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudiam.
“From this perspective, it is not a stretch to say that when it comes to women, this pope, like others before him, has a blind spot. He rules out any reform in the Vatican’s teachings on abortion and the role of women in the church. In this respect, Francis has shown himself to be like many other men from many different backgrounds. In liberal Catholic circles, for instance, there is an easy consensus over the importance of poverty, war and injustice. But there is little compassion for the unique problems faced by women, especially when it comes to accessing safe and affordable abortion services. And so it is with Francis.
“We know, for example, that Catholic women have abortions at rates similar to other women around the world. Despite this, Pope Francis has declined to address the hierarchy’s complete rejection of abortion as a moral choice, and its inability to see the possibility for change. However, we know that there is ample room in Catholic teaching to have a more equitable approach to women who access abortion care and support reform in the laws worldwide. One wonders if he needs to travel more among those who are most affected—the poor for whom services are too expensive or those who live in countries where abortion is illegal. The death of thousands of women from unsafe abortion each year is an ongoing tragedy of monumental proportions and a key social justice issue of our times. Catholics can, and do, in good conscience support access to abortion services. Pope Francis should listen to them and reconsider his approach.”
Another campaign promoted by Catholics for Choice is Condoms 4 Life.
Faith-based organizations—particularly Catholic agencies, which the Vatican claims provides 30 percent of AIDS care in Africa and 25 percent globally—take taxpayer money to provide healthcare services to the neediest communities throughout the world, but sometimes pick and choose who to help and which services to offer. Some of these providers deny people condoms, sexuality education, needle exchange programs, and other proven methods to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, and discriminate against some individuals, like gay men, sex workers or those who have sex outside of marriage.
If embedding doesn’t work, the video is available here.
We tend to view the Catholic Church as a monolithic organization, but it is important to note that there are individuals and groups within the organization who understand that it is impossible to support human rights without also supporting women’s rights.