Three in one day! Czechs and Catholics.

First, Godfather Peter, don’t put too much pepper on my pork!

Second, can we all give the Catholic church a break? I feel like a lot of people have these weird misconceptions about the actual Catholic faith, for two reasons:
- many Catholics don’t actually know what the Catholic faith is
- people confuse Catholics with fundamentalist Christians

The Catholic church, at least according to their rules, is very reasonable on most things! Granted, I totally disagree with them on a lot of things, and I could never be Catholic, but overall they’re not so bad.

Let me start with a disclaimer: This is all based on four years of Catholic high school theology class. I could be wrong on some things. I don’t have citations from the Catechism; I could go get them, but then, this blog is read by at most four people anyway, so I don’t think I’ll bother. To you four: if you want to dispute anything, say so, and I’ll look it up.

Misconceptions about the Catholic Church:

1. They interpret the Bible literally.
Catholics are totally not about interpreting the Bible literally. They go out of their way to state that anyone who does so is incorrect. If you get into an argument with a Catholic who starts quoting Bible verses (besides, say, Matthew 22:36-40) at you to prove his points, stop arguing, because you are probably arguing with a fool.

2. The Old Testament is as good as the New.
The Catholic Church is all about Jesus, which means that, while there are valid things in the Old Testament, the New Testament overrides it. So if you see stuff in the Old Testament about, you know, how you can’t get into heaven if you have no balls, or whatever, realize that the New Testament (“Love God and love thy neighbor”) overrides it.

3. The Catholic Church doesn’t want you to use a condom.
The Catholic Church is against contraception because they think it’ll lead to promiscuity. HOWEVER, any true Catholic will tell you, if you’re going to have sex before marriage, use contraception.

4. If you’re married, you should have as many kids as you can. Sex is only for babies.
Not really… Sex within marriage that is primarily for pleasure is okay, as long as you’re open to having a kid, if you do get pregnant. They advocate “natural family planning”, which is to say, if you don’t want a kid, only have sex during times of the month that you probably won’t conceive. (note that I personally think that this is one of their more preposterous rules. But that’s what they say!)

5. The Catholic Church hates gay people.
Again, not exactly… the Catholic policy is “Gay people are okay, gay sex isn’t.” Again, I think this is kind of bollocks, because it treats gayness as a problem, and it arbitrarily denies some people the pleasure of ever having sex.

6. Speaking of people denied sex, priests are all child molesters.
No no no. I don’t have numbers, but I don’t think, percentage wise, priests are child molesters any more than anyone else. Most priests are great people. Now, when a priest does abuse a child, it’s particularly creepy, because they’re the voice of God and all, and I don’t mean to excuse the priests that did abuse kids. But the problem was with a few individuals, not the church or its teachings.

7. The Pope is infallible.
Well, the pope IS infallible, according to the church, if he speaks ex cathedra. Basically, the Pope can issue an infallible decree if he wants, but only if he says it’s infallible, and only if it’s about church matters. If the Pope says “chocolate is better than vanilla”, we don’t all have to switch. It’s only been officially used a few times.

8. The church is the root of all evil.
This is popular among new young liberals, I guess. One of my friends in Maastricht was convinced this is true. Sure, they’re responsible for the Crusades, Inquisition, etc. But they’re also responsible for so many instances of helping people, teaching, healing, etc. I think, if you get out the big ol' scales, the church turns out good in the long run.

Okay, that’s all the church-defending I’m doing today. They’re really not that great. But they’re better than a lot of people give them credit for.

EDIT: I thought of another one!

9. The “Unforgivable Sin.”
You may have heard about The Blasphemy Challenge. Perhaps you’ve actually looked up the bible verse, Mark 3:29, that they’re referring to. Wow, seems like a pretty open-and-shut case, right? Blaspheme against the holy spirit, you can’t be forgiven!
But maybe, because you are a smart Christian, you looked up, I dunno, a couple verses around it. You don’t have to look far; Mark 3:28 is probably enough: “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.” At any rate, even without this verse right before it, the whole “unforgivable sin” thing wouldn’t hold up, because again, you’re not supposed to take the Bible literally.
So what does Jesus mean? What’s actually unforgivable? The actual “blasphemy” is shown by your actions and your life, not by a few words you speak into YouTube at some point. As long as you live a good life, or even if you live a crummy life but are at least trying, God will forgive you. God forgives anything, if you want it. The only unforgivable sin is not wanting forgiveness.
Like him or not, the Christian God does not work in magic words, and these self-righteous smug goons claiming that he does kinda pisses me off.


ash -

Great post, Dan. I just wanted to add on the contraception issue that in general barrier methods are considered ok, but you should use other methods (i.e. birth control or UIDs) as they directly affect the body and the body is supposed to be a temple. However, plenty of Catholics also use birth control. And my sources are the same as yours - High School Catholic Theology classes

Dan -

Hi, thanks! Did you mean “shouldn’t” use other methods? According to my teachers, IUD’s are not so good, because they just change the shape of the uterus wall so the fertilized egg can’t attach to it, so in essence you could have a sperm fertilize the egg but it just die anyway, which is “killing” a one-celled “baby.” Not sure if birth control works the same way.

JUST SO YOU KNOW, all you Catholics who want to strictly follow church teachings on “what you should do if you’re not going to strictly follow church teachings.”

Gerrit -

The fucked up thing about the rhythm method of birth control is that it actually creates a situation like the IUD, where an egg is fertilized just before it is dumped out as a part of the monthly cycle.

It’s not guaranteed to happen every time, but if you have sex at just the right time, there’s a good chance that it has ‘killed’ a zygote.

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