Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Sin, Statistics and Catholicism

Okay you guys, if I hear one more time that 98% of all women who identify themselves as Catholic (except when some of those women were baptized Catholic and are now actually Unitarian) use contraceptives, I think I am going to scream. Not kidding. I think I am going to go all ballistic and start pulling out my hair. And I rather like my hair so this is something I would like to avoid.

Let me just send a little message in all love and Christian charity: Sin is Sin. The consequence of sin is separation from God. Separation from God, if not corrected and continued willfully is a mortal sin. Mortal sins, if not corrected, will lead to Hell. Sorry for that, but that is the Truth. It doesn’t matter whether you particularly like a certain sin or whether you even agree that sin really exists. The truth is the truth whether you agree with it or not.

Being Catholic starts with baptism. But it doesn’t end with it. It is a journey and a constant battle, every single day. Believe me, there were times when I knew it would be easier to not be Catholic. I had that very thought the other day at the grocery store as I was passing the table of Girl Scouts selling their delicious wares (that fund Planned Parenthood). So it’s not a walk in the park and a yummy Samoa. But to me, it’s worth it in order to live my life aligned with the Truth. And I have been happier every day for it, even when I thought I was miserable in the moment (like when I had to wake up at 4am on my Hawaiian vacation to take my temperature). And being Catholic is something active. It involves things, very basic things, like going to Mass, availing yourself of the sacraments, and living the life that the Church in Her 2000 years of wisdom proscribes for us.

So here’s my main argument about that 98% statistic. If you don’t attend Mass and you don’t accept the rules that are being given to us (especially when not accepting them puts you in a state of mortal sin), then you are.not.Catholic. Even if some years back, your mother and father brought you into the Church in a beautiful little white dress and promised to raise you in the faith. Even if you attended Catholic school all your life until college and then had an “epiphany” that a “bunch of old guys in Rome have no idea what real life is like.” Even if you want to take birth control. The Church is not a democracy and your opinion doesn’t really count. You either are Catholic by actively being a Catholic or you’re not. This 98% squarely puts themselves in the “not Catholic” camp.  

I am so tired of being someone living the Catholic life to the best of my ability, and being the one ignored. Why are they measuring us by those who aren’t of us? I know this is media spin, and I know we have made strides, but really? There are plenty mass-going, NFP using self-identified Catholics and we never even pop up on the radar.

So what do we do? How do we make ourselves heard? What do we have to do to in order to prove that those of us who are actually Catholics truly live our faith and that it’s not really open to discussion?

If they can say “don’t like abortion, don’t have one,” can we all just say “don’t like Catholicism, don’t call yourself one”?


  1. AMEN! I AM also so sick of listening to all the arguing about this stuff!

  2. I couldn't agree with you more! I wish I could verbalize it like you!! :D

  3. I agree. I had a friend tell every was Catholic because she was baptized Catholic but had never been to a Catholic Church since her baptism. She didn't know the teachings of the Church and certainly didn't live by them, but other people perceived her as Catholic because she told them she was!

    My best friend was baptized Catholic as well (because it was important to her grandmother, not because her parents were practicing) and she asked if she could be the godmother of my children because she was "technically Catholic". And although these are people I love, I certainly don't want them representing my religion!

    1. LOL. "Technically Catholic." I love it, I should use that one. I'm technically Catholic, too. This is why the Church mandates that godparents must be PRACTICING Catholics in good standing.
      My future childrens' godparents will likely be people from church that we end up growing close to (at the moment, the only person in the running who qualifies is the Adult Education Coordinator). Sad, because my goddaughter's parents aren't Catholic, but her dad was baptized and partially raised Catholic and her mother is Episcopal. I will have to find a way to make them included, but they just can't be the real godparents!

  4. Another problem with the 98% statistic is that it isn't even being quoted correctly. The survey looked only at Catholic women who were NOT pregnant, post-partum, or trying to get pregnant. Of the women surveyed, 2% said they used NFP, 87% cited sterilization, condom, pill, iud, or some other method of preventing pregnancy. For some unknown reason (well, honestly, we know what it is -- the statistic looks better as 98%), the 11% who said "no method" are included in those contracepting. Additionally, it did not qualify what "not trying to get pregnant" means. There is a difference between not specifically trying to get pregnant and specifically trying not to get pregnant and it is unclear which side these women would fall on. The statistic, while disheartening, is not 98% of all Catholic women as people are trying to claim.

    1. I know, I actually read the "retort" on that from Jezebel (which is always, ALWAYS a bad idea.) Because, you know, WHY would a woman post-menopause or pregnant NEED contraception *sarcasm, snicker, eye-roll.* It made me mad. It actually prompted the writing of the blog. And many of them aren't even CITING the statistic, which is just bad journalism. So it's misleading, bad journalism AND annoying... It's like when NPR asks that nun for her opinion on things and she's all for women's ordination or whatever. Bleh.

  5. I don't know how I've missed this for a month (Can I blame med school? It's what I normally do anyways) but YES YES YES!!

    The good, Catholic side of me says we should just be persistent and pray. Unfortunately though that side proves to be quite small because most of me is saying "To Hell with them!" ;-)


Go ahead and weigh in. As Chesterton once said "Thinking in isolation and with pride ends in being an idiot."