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Cardinal Donald Wuerl is intelligent and by most objective criteria a good man. But he is also a member and representative of the power elite of a powerful institution. Instead of creating a straw man to shoot down, i.e., a singular Internet reference to the church as a "hate group," and then recounting the true and impressive contributions of the Roman Catholic Church to Western culture and his own archdiocese ("Catholic Dogma Helps All," Jan. 29 Perspectives), he could have dealt more honestly with the church's "dogmatism" on sexual morality.
This "dogmatism" does not, as he avers, have a 2,000-year constant history. The church's moral teachings have always been a work in progress, evolving so to speak (e.g., slavery, ensoulment of the fetus, original sin, just to name a few) to a more refined "truer" level of what it means to be human and, dare I say, Christian. It is not the "dogmatism" of impenetrable beliefs/mysteries of a Triune God or the Immaculate Conception, for example, but the moral "dogmatism" of a clerical, male power-structure that is unable/reluctant to consider the sufferings of ordinary lay people with ordinary lives.
The Roman Catholic Church is sufficiently internationally entrenched historically, politically and economically to withstand a simple 21st-century call to justice -- a justice, beyond mere religious tolerance, for gays, burdened married heterosexuals and forcibly impregnated females. It's not the "goodies" Archbishop Wuerl lists that the church has brought us which are at issue. It's the "baddies" that prevail and clamor for amelioration.
The writer is a former college instructor in philosophy and religion.
First Published February 5, 2013 12:00 am