Friday, January 21, 2005
I think the Catholic Church doesn´t get more heavy handed more often because it´s afraid it will alienate more people from the Church. But that becomes increasingly problematic as people who don´t agree with much of what the Church preaches use the label for their own benefit. (Of course, this is an old problem outside and within the Curch).
Regarding this labeling issue, we hear so many people today saying they are Catholic when in truth they are only Catholic when they find it convenient, or once every week, or if it´s related to some social church event. It would be an improvement if such people said, "I´m 25% Catholic," or "I´m Catholic on 3 issues," or "I´m Catholic for about an hour a week on Sundays." At least that´s honest. But I don´t think the Church itself wants that much honesty.
Which is why it would be interesting if all politicians had to take the BeliefNet religion test. Imagine a politician who declared: I´m 50% Catholic, 40% Evangelical, 30% Jewish, 37% Islamic, 5% New Age. I think they would lose all votes inspite that being a more truthful description than one label only! :-)
And it is sad that people pretend to follow a certain religion simply to look good among their peers or to get some votes. Last note: obviously this religious self-labeling problem is not restricted to "Catholics" alone.
Australia's Catholic Church is embroiled in a debate over whether the church should drop its insistence on celibacy for clergymen. A leading priests' association argues that doing away with the requirement could reverse a serious decline in numbers.
I am in favor. Get the homos and pedophiles out, get the saner married men back in. As long as the selection improves from what it has been in the past, as well.
It will be interesting to see how long the Church can insist on not having married priests since that is causing it to dwarf in seriously troubled ways. The only alternative to not admiting married priests is the new influx of Third World priests, which, much more than a few, are celibate only in name anyways.