Recently, my dear friend Ruth noted in response to another blog, "I'm torn between the idea that religions should be less rigid, and the notion that if you disagree with the tenets of a religion, it's up to you to change your ways or find a new religion."
It's true, most religions come off as rather stiff-necked, and Catholicism is no different. Well, except in one notable way.
Catholics have rights, and among them is the Right to Legitimate Dissent. This means that if I believe a certain tenet or practice of the Church is incorrect, incomplete, or in some other way wrong, I can say so. Not only that, I must say so. As loud as I can, and to as many people as I can. Shout it from the rooftops, if possible.
For instance, I believe the Church is wrong in its stance on contraceptives. As my high school religion teacher, Mrs. McKellogg once said, "I used the rhythm method (the only "contraception" allowed by the Catholic Church) and I have 11 children. That tells you how well it works." Women, Catholic women included, use birth control. It's a fact. To tell them they are wrong constitutes, I feel, a deliberate ignorance of contemporary life.
It is also a misunderstanding of scripture. Yes, God told us to go forth and multiply. He did not say, "Please, all of you, especially the poorest and most in need, pop out kids till you die of puerperal fever. Or watch your children die of starvation and disease." The God I worship would never be so cruel.
So I'm stating my dissent. In a blog. That hopefully will be read by as many people as possible. And that's my right as a Catholic. Pretty cool, huh?
We Catholics believe that the Church is the body of Christ, and we, the people, are the Church. Not some hierarchy over in Rome...us, the people. And if we make up the Church, we ought to have a hand in shaping it. Not that Rome (or even our own pastor) always listens, but it will take more than that to shut me up. I've got rights, see?