Culture vs. Religion: The Catholic Church

I constantly say that culture and society are more of a driving force than religion. Headlines the last few days have made this painfully obvious, so I wanted to quickly discuss it. The argument made by most atheists is that religion, and religion alone, cause people to believe the things they do and act how they act. Our perfect example to refute this claim comes from the Catholic Church.

When someone mentions Catholic, one thing comes to mind, the Pope. The Catholics are well known for having a Catholic hierarchy, lead by the Pope. The bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles, with the Pope being the successor to Saint Peter. Basically what the Church says goes. To quote Wikipedia…

”The Church maintains that the doctrine on faith and morals that it presents as definitive is infallible.”

If the Church IS the Word, and religion causes people to hold the beliefs they do, Catholics would accept what the Catholic Church has to say about things. However, this is clearly not the case. The current Pope has said many things that go against Conservative Catholic beliefs but I will focus on the most recent story about the Catholic Church. Here is the headline…

Vatican proposes ‘stunning’ shift on gays, lesbians

In 2013 Pope Francis said about gays and lesbians, “who am I to judge?” When Pope Francis made the comment Catholics clearly did not follow his lead. Not only do Conservative Catholics judge gays, they actively engage in politics that deprive them of rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution. Apparently though, this latest statement was too much. The major quote from the Vatican is as follows…

“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”

The article, and has previously been reported, the Catholic Church has become more liberal about topics such as birth control. This really upset Conservative Catholics and this was the headline a day later…

Under conservative assault, Vatican backtracks on gay comments

Here are a few quotes from the article…

“Under furious assault from conservative Catholics, the Vatican backtracked Tuesday on its surprisingly positive assessment of gays and same-sex relationships.”

“But many conservatives complained that the statement watered down church teaching and did not accurately reflect their discussions here, where nearly 200 Catholic leaders are meeting to debate pastoral approaches to modern family life.”

“In response to such reactions, the Vatican backtracked a bit Tuesday. In a statement, it said the report on gays and lesbians was a “working document,” not the final word from Rome.

The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create “the impression of a positive evaluation” of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.”

Even though the Word of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, is definitive and infallible, and even though the report more closely sides with the Pope’s remarks, all it took was outrage from Conservative Catholics to send the Church running with their tail between their legs. They backtracked and tried to fix it by calling it a “working document.”

My question to you is who here is in control? Even though Catholics are split about 50/50 (according to Pew Polls and Presidential election stats) Liberal/Conservative, the Conservative half quickly and effectively made the Vatican, the definitive and infallible Word, change their statement.

Catholics that are opposed to gay marriage and other issues will certainly cite their religion as the reason for their beliefs, which will cause atheists to blame religion but this is ignoring the Liberal Catholics that support gay marriage and other issues. The fact that only half of Catholics hold these views, and the fact that they went against the Church and even changed the Church’s Word, demonstrates that Conservative Catholics are driven by CULTURE and POLITICS, not religion.