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November 20, 2007

Mary Mag Talks Religion

Okay, so obviously a girl who calls herself Mary Magdalene is going to have some pretty complicated feelings when it comes to religion. But can you blame me? Let's take a look at some of today's religious craziness, shall we?

Pope Benedict Says Pharmacists Have Right To Conscientiously Object To Fill Emergency Contraception
Pope Benedict XVI on Monday at the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists in Rome told attendees that they have a right to conscientiously object to dispensing drugs such as emergency contraception, which can prevent pregnancy if take up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse, the AP/Google.com reports. Conscientious objection is a "right that must be recognized for your profession so you can avoid collaborating, directly or indirectly, in the supply of products which clearly have immoral aims" -- such as abortion and euthanasia -- Benedict said (Reuters, 10/29). He also encouraged pharmacists to inform patients on the ethical implications of taking such medications. "Pharmacists must seek to raise people's awareness so that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death and so that medicines truly play a therapeutic role," he said. He added, "It is not possible to anesthetize the conscience, for example, when it comes to molecules whose aim is to stop an embryo implanting or to cut short a person's life".
Silly me, I thought a pharmacist's job was to fill my prescription, not raise awareness about the risk of eternal damnation to my evil slutty soul. And I didn't realize that having a few letters in common actually makes "pharmacist" totally synonymous with "ethicist". Good to know that next time I'm facing some sort of moral dilemma in my life, I can just head down to the SuperTarget pharmacy counter for a little heart-to-heart chat. Maybe next the pope can empower the cashier down at CVS to raise my awareness if I try to buy condoms or tampons or red lipstick.

Mitt Romney thinks Adam and Eve looked promiscuous
...the former Massachusetts Governor (and current Iowa and New Hampshire GOP frontrunner) made an odd joke, it seemed to me, while campaigning in New Hampshire today, reports ABC News' ace cub reporter Matt Stuart (LINK). At one young couple's house, Romney remarked at the large leaves on their tree, quipping, "Adam and Eve would not have looked as promiscuous if they had had leaves this big."
Um...seems to me you'd have to really work at being promiscuous if you were the only two people on the planet. Excessive masturbation? Bestiality? Dendrophilia? I don't know. Although I guess he did say that they looked promiscuous, not that they actually were. So he really just thinks that naked=slutty. That seems perfectly normal and healthy. I'm sure he'd make a great president.

Catholic Bishops Offer Voting Guide, Allowing Some Flexibility on Issue of Abortion
Abortion is among a few evils greater than others, the document asserts. But it also concedes that Catholics face difficult decisions when voting and in some cases might be able to vote for those who support abortion rights or stem cell research. “There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons,” the document says.

This is what passes for good news for women in the church these days. Abortion is horribly evil and wrong...but maybe just not the very most horribly evil and wrong thing of all time, or the very most important issue to base your vote on. Maybe. Sometimes. So if you vote for a pro-choice candidate, you probably won't burn in hell. As long as they don't support gay rights too, that would really be pushing it.

Two Faiths Divided on Women’s Ordination Ceremony

The Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Central Reform Congregation are on the same side when it comes to advocating for immigrants and the poor, often finding common ground in a zeal for social justice. But when the Jewish congregation offered its synagogue for an ordination of two women in a ceremony disavowed by the Roman Catholic Church, it drew the ire of archdiocese officials, who vowed never again to work with the congregation. The two women, Rose Marie Dunn Hudson, 67, of Festus, and Elsie Hainz McGrath, 69, of St. Louis, are scheduled to be ordained Sunday by a former nun as part of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a small movement that began in 2002 and is independent from the Roman Catholic Church.

I'm not sure how to feel about a group like Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Of course I believe that women should be allowed to be priests, and I think that the church is hopelessly backwards in its view of women. I also believe in working to change patriarchal institutions from the inside out as well as from the outside in. And there is definitely a history of women being active in the church and doing amazing things that has been hidden and distorted over time, and that story deserves to be told. But at what point do you decide that it's no longer worthwhile to try to be a part of something that has made it so clear that they don't want you...at least not as long as you insist on full and equal participation? Is it even still possible for the church to evolve beyond its dusty old way of thinking? I don't know the answers on this one, but there's a lot to think about.

Church To Sell Convents to Pay Off Sex Abuse Settlement

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles is evicting nuns from their convents in order to sell the buildings to help pay off a $660 million settlement with victims of pedophile priests. The archdiocese announced that it will sell up to 50 non-parish properties, including their headquarters, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A convent in Santa Barbara is the first property, after the headquarters, that church officials have publicly said they will sell. Three nuns of the Sisters of Bethany order that live there have until Dec. 31 to move out. "We’re just so hurt by this," said the order’s local superior, Sister Angela Escalera, who has lived in the convent for 43 years. "And what hurts the most is what the money will be used for, to help pay for the pedophile priests. We have to sacrifice our home for that?" The local community has rallied around the sisters, raising funds to buy them a new home in the low-income neighborhood they have served for over half a century.

"The pain is being spread around...This is just part of making it right with the victims, and we all have to share in the process even though none of us, the nuns, myself, harmed anybody," said Tod M. Tamberg, a spokesperson for the archdiocese. A former Bethany sister, Evangelina Diaz, pointed out that priests in Santa Barbara live in "fabulous-looking" houses in neighborhoods where, the Washington Post reports, homes go for $2 million. "You don’t see them getting kicked out," she said.

Women can't be priests because, among other (bullshit) reasons, they could never fully embody Christ in the world because Christ was male. What they can do, apparently, is pay for the crimes of people who met that all important I-have-a-penis requirement for priesthood, but who proved through their abusive actions that they were about as far from Christ-like as it is possible to get. And they can pay for these crimes that they didn't commit while other priests live comfortably in million dollar homes. It's just how Jesus would have wanted it, don't you think?

All of this is enough to turn me into an atheist.

Okay, no it isn't. But it does make me want to define spirituality in my own way rather than stand in a church that doesn't stand with me. Of course, that may just be all the years of Catholic school trauma talking, but those are stories for another day.

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