Skip to main content

Stray Thoughts: The Catholic Problem

⛪ Back On My Bullshit...

So it looks like Missouri is, amongst other states, about to legally outlaw abortion. If you follow me on Twitter, you've no doubt seen me retweeting a lot of women and journalists sharing their thoughts about the consequences and fallout of this decision. It's not that I don't have opinions, it's just that it didn't really feel like it was my moment to speak, so I elected to use my platform to amplify others. That said, this here website is my personal blog, so it's a place tailor-made for my opinions, so I'm going to give them now, but rather than retread what a bunch of better-informed-than-me people have already said, I'm going to talk shit about religion, something that I feel amply qualified to do.

Oh, that reminds me: this is one of those posts that's going to be hyper-critical of Christianity, so if that's not your particular bottle of vodka--or if you're my mom--maybe give this one a pass. KTHXBYE

So, a few years ago the Missouri election results raised a few eyebrows on a national level, as we had passed a number of progressive ballot measures but also elected some die-hard reactionaries (including human slime-monster Josh Hawley, who needs very badly to die in a fire--not that I'm advocating violence, at least not against people who aren't Josh Hawley, who, I wish to reiterate, needs very badly to die in a fire). The representatives Missouri elected are exactly the kind of people who would stop at nothing to undercut those progressive measures that had been passed by... the people of Missouri. This result resulted in a few well-placed W-T-F's, and rightly so. We joke about conservatives voting against their own interests, but never had it played out quite so literally as this. Pundits were genuinely perplexed. I, however, was not. Because I am aware of the weird dichotomy that comes from being in a state/metro-area that's this Catholic.

Let me explain.

As voting blocks go, Catholics in Missouri tend to fall in the moderate-to-very-slightly-progressive camp. That is, their views line up with most of mainstream America. The catch is that, because of a mandate coming down from the church fathers, many of them feel a religious obligation to only ever vote for candidates who are outwardly pro-life. I say "outwardly" because if you think "pro-life" politicians aren't willing to seek abortions if their daughters or mistresses get pregnant, you're being a bit naïve. And given the current political climate, only voting "pro-life" means only voting for fascists. (To be clear, I'm not saying that all Republicans are fascists, only that all Republicans in Missouri are fascists--oh, hey, that reminds, me, if you're a Republican in Missouri and haven't already bailed on this post... why?)

And this results in, well... exactly the kind of election results we have. Moderate-to-slightly-progressive ballot measures that will be immediately undercut by the fascists that were also elected in the same goddam election. Because that's how much sway the Catholic church has over its parishioners. The Catholic Church is 100% committed to a pro-life stance over anything else and the Republican party has used this to co-opt a bunch of moderate-to-slightly-progressive people into furthering its fascist agenda. And this is particularly fascinating to me because... well... how should I say this...

The Catholic Church has absolutely no moral authority when it comes to protecting children.

Yes. That's how I should say it. Literally zero. Less than none, in absolute terms. Because this is the same institution that spent the better part of a decade actively harboring child molesters and facilitating their molestation. Oh, and "better part of a decade" is not an exaggeration. What we think of as the "modern" clergy child-diddling scandal started in the 1940's--that's roughly the same time frame as the Catholic Church's support of Hitler and it continued up until the 2010s, if we're being generous enough to take them at their word. That said, if you want to go back into pre-modern times, the earliest mention of Church-related child-molestation occurs in the 11th century (read as: hundreds of years before the Spanish Inquisition--seriously, what is it with this Church and murdering Jews?). And yet, this "Church" that assures us it's put all of its Jew-murdering and kid-fucking behind it feels like it somehow has the right to tell its practitioners to vote for fascists because something something a fetus might be a person because of some priest's vague interpretation of Timothy.

Put another way, terrible things are happening to our Democracy because a bunch of people who don't understand biology are interpreting it through the lens of a holy scripture--a scripture that they haven't actually read!--as dictated to them by men who have never interacted with a uterus, at least, not an adult uterus.

Can I get a "Fuck that!"?

Look. I get it. I have been to exactly two Catholic masses, a funeral and a wedding--neither of which worked out particularly well for the people involved, but that's neither here nor there--and I get it. Catholicism is the McDonald's of religions. You can go anywhere in the world and get the same meal, and even if it's not good for you, it's at least familiar and comforting. I get it. I have Catholic friends. Ask me how many people I know named Mary and/or Margaret. In my immediate family, there are two people named Richard Pankau who used to be Catholic. I get it! (Oh, hey, that reminds me, if you're Catholic and still reading this... I admire your dedication I guess.)

So believe me when I say that I'm saying this with love: The Catholic Church, as an institute, needs very badly to die in a fire. (It can be the same one we use for Josh Hawley, you know, for conservation.) To be clear, I'm not saying that Catholics need to die in a fire. Catholic people are great. However, the historically Jew-murdering and more recently kiddy-fucking institution that they devote a tenth of their paychecks to is an abomination that must be destroyed in order to save humanity. I don't care if it's comfort food or not, it's doing real harm, and if it won't change, then there's not place for it in the modern world.

Because it doesn't stop with preventing reproductive healthcare, enabling fascists/pederasts, or literally supporting Hitler. The sins of this institution are legion. For example, the Catholic Church is vehemently against contraception of any kind, and this is a rule that American Catholics just kind of ignore. Something like 99% of America Catholics use birth control, even though the Church prohibits it, because--like all Christians--they are completely comfortable with only following the tenets of their religion that they like. But throughout Latin America a huge number of people are born into poverty because the Church is hugely influential and also insists that people not have condoms. And I'm not being glib here: women having access to birth control is one of the ways that society improves itself by allowing half of the population better access to career and educational opportunities. You end up with a happier, healthier, more productive society. Yet the Church is holding one-and-a-third entire continents back because they want to make sure they have a new generation of congregants. That's not even the most insidious thing they're up to--I mean, this is the same institution that has convinced the world that Mother Teresa was a good person.

Now I want to make something abundantly clear: Me being critical of the Catholic Church is not an endorsement of Protestantism. They're just as bad, maybe worse, but it's much more complicated because they're not a monolith getting their spiritual Happy Meals from an octogenarian in Italy. I'm sure I'll have more to say about them in the future. But as institutions go, chucking this one out the window and into the fires of Gehenna would go a long way towards making the world a better place. 

That's what I think, anyway,



Lyri Ahnam said…
Powerful insights, and unfortunately all too true.
I live in the metroeast (of St. Louis) so have better political choices (thanks to Chicago), but find the pervasive Catholicism exclusionary toward folks of other persuasions. I'm reminded of Bill Maher's Religulous--a great satire on the perversity of organized religions.
Ed Skinner said…
Where do you draw the line between killing pre- versus post-born children? On the one hand, we have pro-abortion, but on the other, we have those who complain about killers roving the classrooms of an elementary school. When does Okay turn into Bad?
(You're right about most organized religions, however. I carry my own brand in my pocket. It's not for preaching.)
Entlover said…
Kurt, I like your work.
I’m Catholic, a convert in fact.
You make some heartfelt points, but are misinformed about Catholicism. It is not a perfect institution by any means, but is not as horrible as you appear to think.
Most of the nasty priests in the last century were not pedophiles, but had ephebophilia, or attraction to adolescents. And it’s well documented that priests are not more likely to commit that sin than teachers, doctors, or laymen. And the church, for the most part, was not covering it up, they along with most of the world, thought that a little therapy would cure the problem. Now we know better.
Yes, Catholics are against abortion, because ripping kids apart, in the womb or out, seems like a poor use of medical expertise. And you may or may not have noticed that a great percentage of those fetuses are black babies, in keeping with Margaret Sanger’s goal of eradicating the black race.
Assigning the Catholic Church to destruction in a fire would eliminate the largest charitable organization in the world, so we probably don’t want to do that.
I admire your zeal for the poor and downtrodden of the world, but hope you will do a little more research before you blast the church founded by Jesus, who shared your worldview in significant ways.