For one sample: [The Church] demands a tolerance for past error, and an exemption from the rules of civil society, that many Catholics find impossible to pass over. It contends, with a casuistry that can only be called Jesuitical, that the problem is not one for which the church alone must answer. There are many ironies and contradictions in its position. For most Catholics none will strike with such exquisite and even risible pain as the spectacle of an institution, the Vatican, that has done so much damage over so many years by telling people, on pain of mortal sin, how they should lead their sexual lives, itself now demanding that the sexual perversion of priests should be forgiven and forgotten.
And this: In a devastating piece in the current New York Review of Books, Garry Wills reports hearing two senior Roman priests saying that if the church changes its teaching on contraception, it will cease to exist. “Just think,” writes Wills, “all the original and saving truths of the church (creation, incarnation, resurrection, the sacraments, last judgment, eternal life) are not worth a thing if condoms are allowed.”
I happen to think the Church has a thoughtful position on artificial contraception—but you can’t help wondering at those priests mentioned above, and the words of Christ when he denounced Pharisees who “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” There is a sickness in any institution that places its own corporate welfare before that of its true mission—that is: the Gospel.