Happy Monday, friends!
As a lapsed Catholic, I'm still keenly interested in the policies and work of the Catholic Church-- no doubt because I drank so much of the Kool Aide that it's not really possible to purge all of it from my body.
Anyway, there's a brouhaha churning. It seems as though in all religious congregations that there's a fundamental tension between those wanting to support holding the line on "family values," whatever that means, and those who push for social justice. Now, don't get me wrong, there are lots of people that push hard for social justice while still opposing same-sex marriage, abortion, etc, but I find (and found) them to be the minority.
This tends to bubble up quite prominently at the institutional level. There are many, many social justice programs under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. It is, after all, the largest charitable organization in the world, and one of the most well funded domestic entities is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. That is an organization that is the direct outreach of the Bishops of the United States (and consequently the Roman Catholics of the United States)to the people of the United States (as opposed to Catholic Relief Services which is their outreach to the globe) and it essentially follows along the lines of of traditional social justice: aid for the poor in the form of education/tutoring, health care, neighborhood development, food pantries/soup kitchens, micro-loans, etc. It is not an aid organization in and of itself, but it funds numerous programs.
WELL! Apparently, the people at CCHD got a little too excited and started funding things that are getting conservative Catholics all riled up! CCHD seems to have funneled money to groups that opposed Proposition 8, support access to reproductive health, support gay marriage and so forth. These things struck a little too close to the heart of the Millennium Development Goals and strayed a little too far from the flock, apparently.
I have to say that I have this little bit of hope that the Catholic Church will start to change at least some of its positions. Sometimes it puts forth blatantly reckless things. Imagine for a moment, just imagine, if the the world followed the Catholic Church's line and no one used contraception. Not only would we have prodigious amounts of sexually transmitted diseases but we would be, perhaps quite literally, drowning in children. We'd experience global poverty to an even greater extent than we do today. Reproductive health is a key component of the solution to ending poverty.
The Catholic Church was doing something right. It's a shame that people who are less concerned with the message of Jesus and more concerned with control over people's private lives still find themselves in power.