Catholic church needs serious wake up call

(Graphic by Steph Truong)

Religion has always been an avenue where a person can practice their individual beliefs. For the most part, I leave my personal opinions of religious structure out of my tolerance of it. One religion in particular, however, continues to aggravate me: Catholicism.

Having been raised Catholic and forced to attend church every weekend, I feel like I am qualified to speak of the pitfalls of the religion and explore the reasons that finally caused me to leave the faith. While the Catholic church has a relatively dark and twisted history, as most religious institutions do, I do not wish to condemn them for their actions in centuries gone by. Undoubtedly, the church has an appalling past, but there is little they can do to change it now. Rather, my severe dislike of the Catholic church stems from the modern roots of its current structure and restrictions.

Marriage inequality and, in fact the church’s entire attitude towards LGBTQ rights, can be described as nothing less than pathetic and asinine. Firstly, the church should not have the right to deny same-sex couples the right to marriage. While this is simply a personal opinion, I recognize that as a private institution the Catholic Church will continue to discriminate and it should still be recognized for what it is: unadulterated bigotry. More importantly, the Catholic church’s view towards the LGBTQ community is damaging to children and young adults who are discovering their own sexuality. In dehumanizing this group, the church harms both children and young adults, as they are shamed into repressing feelings and concealing their sexuality from family and friends.

To shame young adults from expressing who they truly are is not only an incredibly sad notion, but can only be described as appalling as it only does serious damage.Another area in which the church must reconsider its point of view is towards that of contraception. If the church genuinely believes that the majority of people are willing to practice abstinence, then perhaps they should look at the latest statistics. Sure, there is the occasional person who will follow the church’s teaching on abstinence, but there are even “devout” Catholic couples that have a child on the way when they are standing on the altar.

The fact that the church believes its stance towards abstinence negates the need for contraception is naïve. This belief has led to the deaths of millions, and continues to cause innumerable cases of AIDS and HIV infections since without condoms, people are left defenseless to such sexually transmitted diseases. When looking at the seemingly backwards traditions of the Catholic church, it becomes a question of where we draw the line by sticking to these old beliefs. Is holding onto these 12th century values really worth the death of millions of lives?

If your answer to that is anything but no, I beg you to reassess this logic. The last time the church was subject to any sort of update was Vatican II, during the 1960s. An update every 50 years is not only called for, but completely necessary with such a rapidly evolving society. These reforms are not only for the betterment of society, but are necessary to help the Catholic church survive. For an institution which has been failing miserably for the past few decades, perhaps they should consider taking this advice for everyone’s sake.

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