Catholic Church’s Procreation Problems

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter TurksonI read this morning over at the Bilerico Project, Top Papal Candidate Blames Child Sex Abuse Scandal on Gays. In it, John Becker quotes Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson as claiming that there are unlikely to be many pedophilia cases in Africa because the culture there just doesn’t countenance homosexuality. This is offensive in all kinds of ways, but let me start by naming two of the minor ways. First, I would think that someone from Ghana would not make the American mistake of thinking Africa is one homogeneous entity. Second, it is the most ignorant of people who think that by making homosexuality taboo a society will limit it.

What is most offensive about the comment, of course, is the old canard that pedophiles are homosexual. It turns out that generally what makes one a pedophile is not having developed a mature sex drive. Thus, they aren’t interested in adults as sexual objects at all. Of those who do, it seems to be a wash: statistically they are like the rest of the population. Now let us think: what is a good way to stunt someone’s sex drive? I can think of one way: dogmatic religious doctrine requiring priests to be celibate.

This got me wondering why Catholics are so anti-gay when in some ways they are fairly enlightened. Only part of it is the Bible, and I think they could get past that. The big anti-gay writings are in the Old Testament. The anti-gay passages in the New Testament were all written by Paul who seems to have had a hard on regarding the issue. In Romans 1:27, he’s downright pornographic, “And in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Jesus, of course, was silent on the subject. And no one at that time could have imagined the nice same-sex couples we have today with their very boring jobs, kids, and music tastes. On this issue, I think the church has to ask, “Are we really going to continue to base our theology of the bigotry of people 2000 years ago?”

The Bible is the least of the problem, however. The church’s position on homosexuality is primarily wrapped up in its totally messed up ideas about sex. But in its defense, at least it is consistent. The church claims that the pleasure of sex is only to encourage us to make babies. That’s why Catholics can’t have condoms or homosexuality. Of course, there are cracks in the philosophical edifice. The biggest is the embrace of the “rhythm method” of birth control. If God hates condoms then he also hates intended non-reproductive sex acts. Also, if God made sex pleasurable to encourage procreation, why did he make oral sex pleasurable? Why did is place the clitoris in its unusual position?[1]

The biggest problems facing the Catholic church come down to its ridiculous idea about sex being only for procreation. If that idea changes, then everything else will fall in line. The problem is that the church has spent so many centuries working out their careful “sex is fun only as a byproduct” philosophy, that they will greatly resist changing it. But they have little choice.


[1] The clitoris position is unusual from a theological perspective, not a Darwinian perspective. And from a “sex as fun” perspective, especially sex vis-a-vis mastrabation, it is extremely well placed. Now really: only an evil God would design sex organs like than and then say, “Don’t touch!”

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “Catholic Church’s Procreation Problems

  1. Stephen Law uses the "evil God" hypothesis a lot to demonstrate, logically, that presumptions of a good God are irrational, as any argument for the existence of a good God could also be made for an evil one.

    I don’t buy this. I think an evil God is far more probable than a good one. Pretty much any functioning adult can rule out Good God just from observing life on Earth. (And, no "free will" doesn’t begin to cover it. Does the importance of your having to exercise "free will" as an American health insurer empower the free will of my kid with cancer whose treatment you deny?)

    Evil God — maybe. Granted, the odds of there existing any anthropomorphic being which controls the universe are kinda slim, at best. However, no atheist can say for certain that an Evil God doesn’t exist. Like a "Star Trek" power that just rules our corner of the galaxy, escaping the notice of its superiors. Human children fry ants with magnifying glasses; what would stop an evil mini-God from frying and fucking with us?

    I’ve long thought, if I knew anyone with a really creative literary bent, that this would be a good starting point for a story . . . "Die Hard" with the heroes going after God instead of Alan Rickman. Philip Pullman did that a bit with the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, but it got pretty convoluted as it went, and you weren’t quite sure if God got killed in the end or just died of old age and irrelevance. Plus, Pullman’s a foreigner. We should have a good old-fashioned American six-gun one-man beatdown of God. He’s had it His way in fiction long enough.

  2. @JMF – I’ve never understood the whole free will argument. I don’t find any of the arguments for free will compelling. So people like Aquinas give these lame arguments for free will and then use that to explain evil. If they got me on free will, I might accept the evil…

    I agree with you about Law’s argument: I’ve always felt the same way. A good God would make sure that everyone was happy. An evil God might well be like the children with the ants: just being evil whenever something is in front of him.

    But the whole idea is absurd. The universe is pretty clearly unmanaged. If there is God, he is an alcoholic who doesn’t care if the children are feed or they get to school in the morning.

    As for that last part: I don’t follow. Are you saying Alan Rickman is [i]not[/i] God?

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