College Newspaper Catholic Bashing

Today in my college newspaper this article was featured: theaggie.org/article/3440

When Rite Makes Wrong

Written by JAMES NOONAN
Published April 7, 2009
All right folks, Holy Week is upon us, and I think it’s about time we paid the topic of religion another quick visit.

Over the coming days, Christians from across the globe will be engaged in a weeklong process of prayer, fasting and countless hours of self-reflection during what is considered to be the most important week of the liturgical year. Fortunately, when it’s all over, the pious few can join together with secular many and celebrate the death and resurrection of a man who they believed to be the divine incarnation of God on earth with painted eggs, marshmallow chicks and the ever popular chocolate rabbits.

Regardless of the absurd lengths to which our culture has gone to commercialize this presumably sacred holiday, Holy Week remains an intensely spiritual time for thousands within our society. These people will go above and beyond what is usually expected of them, rearranging their busy schedules to attend services on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and maybe even a midnight reading of the Stations of the Cross. Come Sunday morning, these devout individuals will be joined by the millions of Christians who doll themselves up, arrive an hour early for the service, and sit through an entire Easter mass itching to get home and spend another 364 days without giving God a second thought.

In my mind, the latter half of this phenomenon only begs the following question: Are Holy Week and Easter some of the last relics of religion clung to by our increasingly secular society?

The facts are simple, as human civilization has progressed, advances in scientific and technological fields have continued to superseded, if not completely replace the teachings of religion. In previous columns, I’ve cited the Church’s resistance to Galileo’s heliocentric model and the principles of the Enlightenment as examples of the apparent incompatibility between dogmatic teachings and the needs of modern-day society. While I still consider these examples to be relatively strong, I’m often met with the reply that Christianity, specifically the Catholic Church, has evolved a great deal since this time, and is now much more inline with the secular world. Well … unless of course you’re talking about things actually evolving … aside from the Church, that is.

Lucky for me, the religious world’s most visible personification of religion as a relic, Pope Benedict XVI, recently dropped a media bombshell that essentially summed up my argument in one foolish and misguided statement. During last month’s visit to Africa, specifically regions that have experienced some of the greatest number of causalities due to HIV and AIDS, Benedict was quoted as saying, “You can’t resolve [the epidemic] with the distribution of condoms … On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

How’s that for a glaring inconsistency between dogma and truth? Not only does the Bishop of Rome state the traditional view that the use of condoms is immoral, he actually goes as far to imply that those who use them will likely contract AIDS faster and only make the problem worse.

Such remarks from the 86-year-old Papal father are not simply incorrect, but, as many within the media have already asserted, they’re downright dangerous. With a worldwide audience of impressionable Catholics listening, we have the Church’s patriarch completely disregarding the idea that condoms may be the most effective way to curb the spread of HIV in Africa, while simultaneously cramming the anachronistic belief that abstinence is the only moral way of dealing with issues of sexual health down the collective throat of his congregation.

Despite this new evidence regarding the Church’s place in society, even the most fair-weather believers will likely suit up this Sunday and uphold a tradition that they themselves have a hard time justifying.

I’ve said this before, but just to be safe, I will say it again: I don’t care which god, if any, you choose to worship, just as my religious beliefs should be of no concern to you. I only asked that when faced with such traditions, no matter how insignificant or essential they may be to your faith, you stop and ask, “Why exactly do I believe this?”

JAMES NOONAN wishes everyone a happy somber Holy Week. For all those bothered by this article, please send you favorite Catechism passages explaining why he won’t be attending the rapture to jjnoonan@ucdavis.edu.

I want to write a response expressing my dignified anger. Any suggestions on what I should say?

This is not deserving of a response.

They can’t even get the Popes age correct shows how good they have done their research.

On further reflection, ask the writer or editorial offices if they would have published a similar article about Judaism, Buddhism, or–God forbid–Islam?

If it’s insensitive hate speech to speak about these religions and their adherents in such a disrespectful why, why is it permissible to so speak of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular?

Dear James,

I advise you to treat the religious the same way I treat those who believe in alien abduction and conspiracy theories–ignore them. If I felt the need to explain in print exactly why I thought the idea of gray men kidnapping folk from various rural locales and probing their privates is foolish, I would have to ask myself, “Why is this so important to me?”

In the same vein, I ask you, why do you care what an 86 year old pontiff believes or teaches? In the “increasingly secular society” that you describe, surely he can’t do much harm, preaching to the few who have not found enlightenment? If you feel very strongly about condoms being the key to controlling the spread of AIDS, you are certainly free to propagate that belief and even hand them out, if you like. Well, so long as you are in a predominately Christian country. I’m not sure how well that would go over in a Muslim society.

James, that brings me to the other thing I wanted to mention to you. In our scriptures, we have an old fashion saying, “By their fruits, you shall know them.” Have you given much thought to what the fruits of the Christian faith are? Yes, let’s get things like the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials out of the way up front. We made mistakes and hurt people and for that, the Church has apologized and corrected Herself. But what about the rest?

Here’s something you can do. Look up the word “hospital” and examine the origin of it. Funny, it seems to have come from one of the ancient orders of the Church. What about the concept of intellectual freedom and inquiry? You might read some of the early Fathers, particularly Augustine. I wonder where the concept of justice, tempered with mercy came from? What if I compared the code of Hammurabi or even modern Sharia law with Canon law?

Regardless of our differences, I wish you a blessed Easter season. Please know that if we meet in person, I’ll buy you lunch and we can continue this conversation. You are in my prayers, my friend.

Paul

Ignore this drivel.

I wouldn’t use a copy of it to cleanse myself in the bathroom.

I have no problem with the article up until its concluding few paragraphs. Obviously, I believe strongly that the Catholic teaching on the issue is true, but the author is well within his rights to disagree, and to publish editorials expressing that disagreement.

It is in the flippant, dismissive concluding paragraphs that the insulting tone takes over There’s no need for that tone, and it makes the author look like a spoiled child. If I was to write a letter complaining about the article, that would be where I would focus my objections.

If, however, I was writing a letter disputing the articles claims (even though it barely bothers to make them; seriously, that’s a very poor editorial, because they seem to spend almost no time developing its main topic), I wouldn’t waste time complaining about its tone. It would distract people from your main point of defending the Church’s position.

I like this one. I would write and tell him his errors began with the Pope’s age and went downhill from there. That’s it. Nothing more.

You might want to chide the kid for his snotty, know it all language. Then tellhim he totally missed the point. The pope said that many people think of the condom as a magical solution to the problem of AIDS. The money would be better spent on the drugs that have saved the livesof millions of Africans. The dirty little secret about condoms is that they are birth control devises, and that the real aim of those who dispense them by the billions is not to control AIDS but to control the number of Africans. The Europeans have contracepted themselves toward a forseeable extinction of their breed. They rejoice in this, ascribing their comfortable life style to their declining numbers. Apres moi, L’deluge!

It’s an editorial. His statements about the RC teachings on condoms is correct, is it not? He doesn’t agree with it and he explains his feelings. Generally, he questions all of Christianity.

There’s a lot of concern on CAF about freedom of speech, yet when someone uses that freedom to voice a legitimate criticism or disagreement with a group (esp. Cathoics where CAF is concerned), that group immediately cries out that they are being bashed. It’s a two way street - if you have the right to criticize, so does everyone else - including folks who disagree with you.

I thought yours was an excellent letter.

Which college is this? If it tolerates this sort of things despite their public pledges of ‘tolerance’, there is no doubt that it is run by Masons or at least on Masonic principles. One should always try to attend a Catholic college instead!

Almost every public university in this country, and many private ones, would tolerate such an editorial. The reason is that student newspapers are usually given a good bit of latitude, and especially in the editorial section students are fairly free to express themselves.

Are you suggesting that the majority of colleges in this country are run by masons?

Be sure to point out that the author completely overlooked the critical role that baskets play in the celebration of Easter. Such shoddy research is inexcusable.

Given that the USA’s foreign policy is run by them, anything is possible.

I’d love you to show some evidence for this claim.

The USA is the centerpiece of the current materialist New World Order

I can make lots of crazy claims too. The moon is made of cheese. The Pope is actually an elephant. Water is spelled with no vowels. The hard part is backing any of them up. Until you can do that, you’re just another conspiracy nut.

It must be hard to go through life being so paranoid.

Paul

I would.

But who can deny that it is the USA which is the sword of global Freemasonry? Serbia and Iraq should be examples enough.

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