I have seen too much to ever leave the Catholic Church

This morning I was reading over at the other place, as I do from time to time. I read Brian Watt’s post, The Church’s Ongoing Gay Orgy, and the first page of the comments. The first comment was Bryan’s, and he proposed a solution to the gay-clergy crisis:

The laity should abandon the church. Stop giving money. Leave it. Only that will force it to change. It was so 500 years ago.

There are a few ways I can argue why this isn’t a good idea, and they involve using arguments that have already been used over and over, none of which are really my own. And I see that others have attempted this strategy over there.

Rather than rehashing old arguments, I’d like to share something dramatically more personal. I don’t think people here have read my book (and for a couple of you, that’s my fault since I still haven’t sent the copies I promised to send!). I mention the book because it outlines some of my experiences that led me to become Catholic.

The bottom line is that I couldn’t have seen what I saw about God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality had I recommitted myself to any sort of Protestantism after leaving the Gnostic cult. This is because what I saw about the distortion of those things has its roots and foundation in contraception. Everything that I saw about God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality, much of which Protestants can and do affirm, is grounded in the notion that contraception is contrary to God’s plan.

Pope St. John Paul II coined the phrase, “contraceptive mentality” in 1981 with his encyclical Familiaris consortio (The fellowship of the family)

You’ve probably all heard of the Catholic phrase, “the contraceptive mentality.” Pope St. John Paul II coined the phrase in 1981. I have noticed that the phrase doesn’t seem to make sense to non-Catholics, so I prayed hard for a long time about how to convey the idea in a different way. I finally settled on the following that I believe says essentially the same thing: that fertile opposite sex couples have a right for pregnancy-free coitus. I have used this phrase online many times, and it resonates with people. They believe that they do have such a right. I like this phrase because it captures something dear to people. We all do have rights, and rights are important. The State is obliged to recognize our rights.

Here is how the phrase applies to abortion: if fertile opposite-sex couples have a right for pregnancy-free coitus, then abortion must be legal, because it upholds that right. A right for pregnancy-free coitus positions the unborn as unwelcome invaders. Their humanity is irrelevant because they have violated the right. This is why they can be terminated.

Here is how it applies to same-sex marriage: I’m sure you recall the marriage wars at the other place. Those on offense argued repeatedly that marriage, sex, and children were not linked in a principled way. And in one sense they were correct. What I mean is that contraception is what unlinked sex and children in a apparently-principled fashion. The right to pregnancy-free coitus is so appealing that people don’t realize that it is a new right. It did not always exist.

Because of the new-found right for pregnancy-free coitus given by

Pope St. Paul VI reaffirmed the ancient Christian teaching on contraception in his 1968 encyclical Humanae vitae (Of human life)

contraception, children are added-back to marriage in an ad hoc, couple-by-couple manner. If sex is a presumptively sterile act, making the ad hoc approach to children the correct approach, then same-sex marriage is logically justified since same-sex couples cannot conceive their own children.

Let me make it clear that when I use the word “right” in this sense, I am not referring to a clearly articulated legal right. I am using the word in a colloquial sense, although certain significant SCOTUS decisions allude to it. For example, see Planned Parenthood v Casey and Obergefell v Hodges.

I know, beyond any doubt whatsoever, what God’s full plan is for marriage and human sexuality. I would never have understood this plan so thoroughly had I reaffirmed any sort of Protestantism after leaving the Gnostic cult. This is because the Catholic Church is the very last Christian body that understands the problem of contraception.

The gay-clergy and those who affirm them are wrong. They may do tremendous damage to the Church, along with the entire sexual revolution. Much damage has already been done. But for me, leaving the Church is not the answer to the destruction. The question is: who is right about the entirety of the sexual revolution, including contraception? We all think we’re on the “correct” side, but how we got there matters. I know where I stand, where I have driven my stake into the ground, and most importantly, how I got there. I can’t predict the future, but if I ever wanted to leave I don’t know where I’d go. By God’s grace I have seen so much of which I have shared a little here.


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182 thoughts on “I have seen too much to ever leave the Catholic Church”

  1. What I never understand about arguments like this us: if you are a Christian, you have to believe you do not need a formal congregation to get with God.

    A. You can talk to him yourself, like the first saints, the “desert fathers”; and

    B. Famously, two or three gathered together is enough to summon the divine presence.

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  2. There is the Orthodox Church as an alternative. It is most definitely not Protestant.

    (Full disclosure: I am a lifelong Orthodox. Janet converted from Protestantism, for many of the reasons you outlined. She would never have become Catholic.)

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  3. Having now been called out by name, I will respond even though I quit the other thread.

    I stand by what I said. If an organization is corrupt, it is perfectly reasonable to leave it. 500 years ago:

    On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, angry with Pope Leo X’s new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica, nailed a sheet of paper with his 95 Theses on the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door. Though Luther intended these to be discussion points, the 95 Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences, good works (which sometimes involved monetary donations) that popes could grant to the people to cancel out penance for sins, as corrupting people’s faith. Luther also sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences. Aided by the printing press, copies of the 95 Theses spread throughout Germany within two weeks and throughout Europe within two months.

    The Church eventually moved to stop the act of defiance. In October 1518, at a meeting with Cardinal Thomas Cajetan in Augsburg, Martin Luther was ordered to recant his 95 Theses by the authority of the pope. Luther said he would not recant unless scripture proved him wrong. He went further, stating he didn’t consider that the papacy had the authority to interpret scripture. The meeting ended in a shouting match and initiated his ultimate excommunication from the Church.

    The Catholic Church, was corrupt. Selling indulgences was happening, and approved by the Catholic Church. When Luther complained he was ordered to recant. The Catholic Church drove him. The break, the leaving was forced by the Catholic Church. The Reformation was good for the whole of Christianity, because it opened pathways to God that were not all one way. It also forced the Catholic Church to undergo its own reforms.

    I believe, today, the only way to get the Catholic Church to change is to demand it change, and if it does not, leave it. It worked 500 years ago, and would work today. And that is not an unreasonable, or anti-Catholic thing for me to say.

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  4. Hypatia:
    What I never understand about arguments like this us: if you are a Christian, you have to believe you do not need a formal congregation to get with God.

    A. You can talk to him yourself, like the first saints, the “desert fathers”; and

    B. Famously, two or three gathered together is enough to summon the divine presence.

    How Protestant of you.

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  5. Bryan G. Stephens:

    Hypatia:
    What I never understand about arguments like this us: if you are a Christian, you have to believe you do not need a formal congregation to get with God.

    A. You can talk to him yourself, like the first saints, the “desert fathers”; and

    B. Famously, two or three gathered together is enough to summon the divine presence.

    How Protestant of you.

    The Word of the Lord.

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  6. Bryan G. Stephens:
    I got chased out of the one on the other place. Only commented here because I was called out by name.

    What happened? What does “got chased out” mean?

    You can comment here even if no one name checks you, Bryan. I do it all the time.

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  7. I hardly ever pop over, but I did for this thread.

    Bryan, you were rocking it over there! It’s almost impossible to imagine you being an unreconstructed commie!

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  8. 10 Cents:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    I got chased out of the one on the other place. Only commented here because I was called out by name.

    What happened? What does “got chased out” mean?

    You can comment here even if no one name checks you, Bryan. I do it all the time.

    Oh, Chased out by a member. It was quite clear that the Catholics posting were totally unwilling to even acknowledge that leaving is a perfectly reasonable response to corruption in an organization. That is what bugged me the most. What I got was all sorts of comments about how the Catholic Church is, in effect, the One True Church and they could never leave it. Unbroken Popes back to Peter and all that. Doctrine is fixed and has never changed. Voting on Doctrine is scary. Etc. Not being Catholic, I don’t believe, any of that. 500 years ago, the Church was telling people they could buy their way into Heaven. Trying to say “Well, just because the Pope says it, that does not actually make it Doctrine or anything,” is dancing around things.

    Note, the escalation grew from a very simple post of mine, simply because it was not acknowledged that leaving could be reasonable. Note that they could never do it themselves (as is in this OP), but that the very thought is out of bounds. And supposedly I was perpetuating lies about the Catholic Church.

    So, I left the thread.

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  9. I’ve always been a bit puzzled by Catholics… It’s like if I don’t care for religious leaders wearing weird clothes or living in gold-plated palaces I can’t be a real christian or something!

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  10. Bryan G. Stephens:

    10 Cents:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    I got chased out of the one on the other place. Only commented here because I was called out by name.

    What happened? What does “got chased out” mean?

    You can comment here even if no one name checks you, Bryan. I do it all the time.

    Oh, Chased out by a member. It was quite clear that the Catholics posting were totally unwilling to even acknowledge that leaving is a perfectly reasonable response to corruption in an organization. That is what bugged me the most. What I got was all sorts of comments about how the Catholic Church is, in effect, the One True Church and they could never leave it. Unbroken Popes back to Peter and all that. Doctrine is fixed and has never changed. Voting on Doctrine is scary. Etc. Not being Catholic, I don’t believe, any of that. 500 years ago, the Church was telling people they could buy their way into Heaven. Trying to say “Well, just because the Pope says it, that does not actually make it Doctrine or anything,” is dancing around things.

    Note, the escalation grew from a very simple post of mine, simply because it was not acknowledged that leaving could be reasonable. Note that they could never do it themselves (as is in this OP), but that the very thought is out of bounds. And supposedly I was perpetuating lies about the Catholic Church.

    So, I left the thread.

    Thanks for explaining.

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  11. Damocles:
    I’ve always been a bit puzzled by Catholics… It’s like if I don’t care for of religious leaders wearing weird clothes or living in gold-plated palaces I can’t be a real christian or something!

    Are you talking about tele-evangelists now? 🙂

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  12. Bryan G. Stephens:It was quite clear that the Catholics posting were totally unwilling to even acknowledge that leaving is a perfectly reasonable response to corruption in an organization.

    This is true of most Democrat politicians. When they will not acknowledge or debate what is going on, one cannot expect them to act on it.

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  13. Dime, I think Brian W. is trying to describe the nature of the crisis by calling it an “ongoing gay orgy.” It’s gay gay gay all the way down with some prelates.

    Seawriter, I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t think I could have seen what I have seen if I had become Orthodox.

    Bryan, I’m not sure what you mean by “called out,” but it sounds negative. I’m sorry if I made you feel negative. I will be more careful next time.

    I have explained one aspect of how things worked for me and one aspect of why I became Catholic and why I won’t leave. I chose this aspect over others since it is related to past debates we are all familiar with, and it is my experience rather than an abstract argument. If anybody wants to discuss the content of my post, that’s fine, but I am not going to rehash 500 year old arguments at this time. I don’t see the benefit of doing so.

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  14. JJ,

    It is my understanding from my Catholic friends that they priest shop. They leave one Catholic church to go to one of their liking. Would you continue in a parish no matter what?

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  15. Bryan, leaving is not a reasonable alternative. It puts one’s soul in a state of mortal sin. Even if you disagree with that outcome, you are debating faithful Catholics who believe it to be true. At least respect that.

    On the other hand, ceasing all financial support is a reasonable alternative. I have not given any money to the Church for over a year.

  16. JJ:
    Bryan, leaving is not a reasonable alternative. It puts one’s soul in a state of mortal sin. Even if you disagree with that outcome, you are debating faithful Catholics who believe it to be true. At least respect that.

    On the other hand, ceasing all financial support is a reasonable alternative. I have not given any money to the Church for over a year.

    Why did you stop supporting the church financially?

  17. 10 Cents:
    JJ,

    It is my understanding from my Catholic friends that they priest shop. They leave one Catholic church to go to one of their liking. Would you continue in a parish no matter what?

    I have mixed feelings about parish-shopping. In principle I am against it, but I do understand why people do it. In principle, I think it is better to stay with the parish that would be considered the regular parish to attend for one’s address. However, it would be far better to parish-shop than to leave altogether. The Church does permit us to attend mass where ever we wish to attend so my preference may be too much of a burden for some people.

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  18. I didn’t answer your question. Would I continue in a parish no matter what? Probably not, but I’m also not sure what you mean. To my knowledge I’ve never been part of a parish with a scandal.

  19. 10 Cents:

    Damocles:
    I’ve always been a bit puzzled by Catholics… It’s like if I don’t care for of religious leaders wearing weird clothes or living in gold-plated palaces I can’t be a real christian or something!

    Are you talking about tele-evangelists now? 🙂

    Indeed! Although they mostly put up a pretty sad showing compared to someone who hired Michelangelo as his interior decorator.

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