Letters to the editor

‘Catholic Church is shepherd; we are flock’

Dear Editor:

After reading students’ reactions to the new pope on stateronline.com, a few thoughts had crossed my mind concerning people’s interpretation of what the Catholic Church is.

It seems that many people hold a view that is consistent with “progressive thought,” which is very admirable in many situations. Without progressive thought, our nation would still restrict voting rights for certain groups, our nation would not have civil rights and we would not be able to consistently change our laws and rules to meet the needs of the times. Progressive thought has an important role in any government that wants to remain viable. However, when addressing the Catholic Church, I think that progressive thought is not something that applies in most situations.

The idea behind the Catholic Church is to challenge you to live up to a set of ideals. These ideals have been fairly consistent for about 2,000 years. One of these ideals is sexual intercourse should be saved until marriage, and at that time should only be with the person to whom you are married. It is also meant to be a means of reproduction — pleasure is a mere side effect. Any time a person uses false methods to deny reproduction, he has gone against the church. Whether you agree with this challenge or not, it is something that real Catholics are supposed to live up to. The Catholic Church does prohibit condom use. This may seem like utter lunacy to anyone who is sexually active, but if you are sexually active outside of wedlock, why would you listen to the Catholic Church? For this, it is unfair to blame the Catholic Church for the spread of AIDS because it does not approve of condom use — they don’t approve of casual intercourse at all! If you do decide to have pre-marital sex, then you should, by all means, use protection. You have already gone against the Church’s teachings; there’s no need to endanger yourself. The reason the Catholic Church does not come out and say this is because it amounts to tacit approval of premarital sex, and an institution such as the Catholic Church has firm decisions — there is no room for tacit approval. The Catholic Church is an institution which sets dogma; it is not a democracy, and it is not meant to appease the whims of the people. The people are meant to follow the Church. They are the flock; the Church is the shepherd.

This brings up a question I’ve been thinking about for some time: Why would a person listen to one thing the Church says, but not another? I think the answer may be that the person has a motive other than faith and commitment to the Church — I think it may be a way of trying to assault the Church’s beliefs and teachings.

If you want to assault the Catholic Church, there are many ways to do this that are more reasonable. It is not a perfect institution by any stretch of the imagination. The actions they took concerning the priest sex abuse scandal were hardly admirable — in my opinion they were quite shameful. There are many issues with the church that people can attack with a well-structured argument based on fact. However, many people seem to let emotion take over their argument. These emotions may stem from the fact that they disagree with a certain rule the Church has, but if you disagree with its rules, why would you care what those who accept the Church’s challenges do?

Religion is not for everyone — especially the conservative Catholic Church. If you choose not to be a religious person, I say, “More power to you.” In my personal life I’ve run the gambit of religious beliefs, as I suspect many of you will, too. I’m not a practicing Catholic, but I do respect those who follow their teachings in the way they are meant to be followed. I also do not let the actions of some corrupt priests destroy the ideology of something which is generally good.

Greg Cieslik

Junior Computer Information Systems major