OK, I was encouraged by a reader to "go there", meaning to start shining a bit more light onto the Catholic church. I do have some baggage when it comes to this institution, so I guess it is healthy to start exercising it in some way. So, I'll just number them and go through my issues with the Catholic Church one by one.
1) The Priests themselves
Ohhh my, there are some HUGE issues with the way the priesthood is set up. Yes, there are some great priests out there and I really have no issues against good people doing great work for God. What I do have an issue with is Priests and their relationship with their sexual sides...or lack thereof.
I've always maintained that human beings have three aspects to themselves: the physical, the mental and the spiritual. You're golden if you manage to balance all three of those in your life...you're also very fortunate if you. For me, I was/am spiritual unbalanced...for the priesthood, they are physically unbalanced. They neglect their sexual selves by being celibate. Each priest is sexually unbalanced in a way that is extremely unhealthy for the body, and I would argue for the mind as well. I know, we've seen some very disturbing sexual crimes in the Catholic church, but I'm not convinced that is because of the celibate nature of the priesthood. What I'm more concerned with is that priests are supposed to be our spiritual guides to being human. How can they effectively fulfill that role if they are missing an entire piece of the human experience?
2) Sex, Africa and AIDs
Christians in general have hangups about sex. They love it, but they hate themselves so much for it. This almost relates to #1, but this time it's the Catholic Church's external efforts and attitudes towards sex that I have an issue with. They frown on extramarital sex. They frown on use of condoms. They frown on masturbation. It's no wonder Christians are so dysfunctional...they're all backed up ;)
What's probably most criminal is their whole stance on AIDs...especially in Africa. Go ahead on Google your heart out, but the Catholic church and their activities in Africa are well documented. They are preying on the uneducated...keeping them in the dark while this disease kills. It's disgusting.
I remember going to a Catholic wedding for a young couple some years ago. A large portion of the ceremony was directed at recruiting the couple's children into the Catholic church. I sat there, just flabbergasted wondering what gave this priest the idea that these kids would even want to be Catholics. They weren't even born yet and yet this guy has already decided what their spiritual path will be.
Actually, I shouldn't pick on just the Catholic Church on this one. This is an issue for all of the major religions. The decree that one is a Christian, or Muslim or Jew just because your parents are. If God's message is universal and speaks to the human spirit, then that very fact should be enough to let the child find their own path...not to have it dictated to them by birth.
That's it for now...but I do want to hear from others on this.