Saturday, January 10, 2009

Catholics in the News

I admit to an addiction - no matter how often I swear off reading anything about the catholic church, I fall off the wagon when I see an article like this one in Slate about the late John Neuhaus. Granted, "catholic intellectual" is a contradiction in terms, but whenever I feel low on adrenaline, the church can be counted on to give me a boost.

Neuhaus's views, as summarized by Winters, are so intellectually flawed I hardly know where to begin. Pro-choice advocates are not in favor of eugenics; tarring us with Sanger's views from nearly a hundred years ago is intellectually dishonest. If blacks are disproportionately opposed to legalized abortion, why do black women have a disproportionate share of abortions performed? I have heard the accusation that they are pressured into it repeatedly since the 1970s, but have never read a statistic or even heard an anecdote about how this is happening. Sorry, a vague accusation that society is responsible is not proof. There is a disparity between "blacks" being largely opposed to abortion, and "black women" choosing abortions. Is the opposition to abortion inflated by the opinions of men, while the decision to actually abort is made by women? Society should address poverty, but until that glorious day comes, women are faced with decisions about their very particular lives. Should individual women be forced to take on a burden that society shows little inclination to help them bear?

The Catholic Church's dogma about human dignity is a canard. The true social policy of the Church is a hierarchical one - rules are made from the top, by wealthy men who claim particular insights into the mind of God. Woman have no dignity in this view - they are simply to obey, and to let their bodies be subject to the whims of nature in a way that no man facing illness or hardship is expected to.

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