Since I am a Catholic, some wonder why I make periodic blog comments which are less than complimentary to the Catholic Church. Well, it seems to me that it is more appropriate to say something about my own religion rather than about someone else’s. Nevertheless, much of what I say about Catholicism is applicable to other religions too. Besides, the Catholic Church can take care of itself. My chief concern is with ordinary people and what they think. I can discuss topics and issues with regular folks where I can’t with the institutional Church. Too many of us sit idly by while our churches remain quiet on some important issues and take contrary liberal stands on others. As a result, among other things, a very conservative church like the Catholic Church overwhelmingly elected a president who opposes so much of what the Church espouses that it stands for and against, and it stands to do it again. Meanwhile, the tide in the Catholic pew continues to change on everything from abortion to homosexuality. For example, the LA Times just detailed the results of a new study from the Public Religion Research Institute. The findings are:
· Catholics are more supportive of legal recognition of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and Americans overall. Nearly three-quarters of Catholics favor either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry (43%) or allowing them to form civil unions (31%). Only 22% of Catholics say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship.
· When same-sex marriage is defined explicitly as a civil marriage, support is dramatically higher among Catholics. If marriage for gay couples is defined as a civil marriage "like you get at city hall," Catholic support for allowing gay couples to marry increases by 28 points, from 43% to 71%.
· Catholics overwhelmingly reject the idea that sexual orientation can be changed. Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) disagree that homosexual orientation can be changed. Fewer than 1 in 4 (23%) believe that it can be changed.
· A majority of Catholics (56%) believe that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender [are] not a sin. Among the general population, less than half (46%) believe it is not a sin.
With numbers like the above, I suppose I feel like I shouldn’t be asked why I question the Church and what’s happening with its members as much as I question why more Catholics aren’t speaking up. We may be accountable to do more than take refuge behind stained glass windows, catechism, and the mystique of a religion.