Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heating up in Boulder Colorado

Over the last week, things are heating up in Boulder Colorado. As stated in the linked CNN news article, a lesbian couple is upset that its child was not allowed to re-enroll in a private Catholic school. To top it off, supporters have rallied behind the couple and think the Catholic school is in the wrong.

The arguments levied against the church are that this is an intolerant viewpoint and only punishes the child for the parents' sin. They have also made the case that many Catholics use birth control or get divorced, and yet their children are still allowed to attend. Therefore, if all parents are not forced to adhere to the Catholic teachings, then why is this lesbian couple being singled out?

In a culture that is becoming more restricted and suffocated by political correctness, I can see how it is easy to side with the lesbian couple. But if you step back from the emotional gut reaction, and really think about this issue, I think the Catholic Church's position is the correct one.

The Catholic Church, like the Orthodox Church, is the oldest sect of Christianity. Its belief structure, has been relatively unchanged for centuries. Part of its appeal and exclusivity comes from the strict adherence to original doctrine, and that continuity through the ages unites people around the world in one common faith. You don't have to like their belief structure, and if that is the case then you can choose to affiliate with another Christian or religious faith.

As the Colorado Archdiocese states in the linked article, the Church's position is not intolerant, in fact it is "quite the opposite. But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society. The Church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ." Knowing this primary tenet of the Catholic and Orthodox Christian faith, how can one be surprised or even angry about the Catholic Church's position on this matter?

Being a Catholic isn't a right, it's a choice. You may be baptized in the church, but you must earn the right to be a Catholic and receive communion through years of classes, followed by regular confession and mass attendance. In addition, you are expected to strive to live by the teachings of the Church. This is a religion that requires a commitment, and yes some stray here or there, but overall there is a universal understanding among Catholics because of these unwavering practices.

Furthermore, for a child to be baptized in the Catholic Church, typically your parents and god-parents are screened to determine whether they meet the strict standards of the Catholic Church. Why is this necessary? Because the parents and god-parents are making a promise before God, that they will instill the values of the Catholic faith in that child.

One can still try to argue that this is unfair and something horrid on the part of the Church. But this is not a practice unique to the Church. I think this is analogous to how people with a history of illicit drug-use are, in general, not welcome in governmental agencies like the FBI. Now, this isn't because all of these people are horrible criminals. Instead, it's because the FBI wants to recruit people that have demonstrated and lived the values that the FBI espouses, most paramount of which is strict interpretation and respect for the law.

So, with regard to the Boulder incident, I think the mistake was admitting the child in the first place. Not because of anything wrong on the child's part, but simply because the lesbian parents simply do not meet the Catholic standards that must be met by all heterosexual couples seeking to raise or educate their child with the Catholic faith.

For some reason the civil rights and woman's liberation movements have created this notion that nothing in this life is not within reach, and that social justice is universal. Unfortunately, not everything in life is an automatic right. There are many things that you have to earn. Quite frankly, being brought up in the Catholic faith is one of those. I'm sorry to the child involved, but I think the Catholic Church was correct in this matter.

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