|An historian's artistic rendering of the 4th Lateran Council.|
This insight comes back to me frequently nowadays in internet debates (especially on social media), where it seems that for every authentic representation of a particular Church figure or a particular Church teaching there abound besides legion straw-men and bogies, such that in the end finding the Truth becomes like an ideological "Where's Waldo."
Among the more annoying convenient cudgels exploited by moderns who would denigrate or challenge the Church specifically in the matter of Her teaching on birth control (and I give benefit of the doubt that ignorance prevails in many of these cases rather than malice) is the canard about the Church "coming between a woman and her doctor."
Now there's a multitude of problems that I have with this particular argument, and as this (attached, of course, to the Church's presumed problem of misogyny generally) came up in a recent debate online, I decided I'd make a few observations about it.
Believe It Or Not, Not All Religious Persons' Reasons are "Religious Reasons"
|Even worse than this... that bad.|
But here's the problem: not all of the "reasons" the Church uses in Her reasoning are "religious reasons," nor are all of the reasons employed by members of the Church who adhere to Her doctrines. In short, a Catholic doctor might not wish to prescribe birth control not because he thinks it bad (although, presuming he is a good Catholic, he does think it's bad) but just as much because he thinks it bad medicine. He might recognize, for example, the links between hormonal oral contraceptives and the risks of various cancers, from cervical to breast cancer. He might recognize that these risks which result from the chemical elements at play are further exacerbated by lifestyle factors which also induce greater risk (such as, for example with breast cancer, delay of a woman's first pregnancy).
No, Beyonce: Not All the Single Ladies. Go Home, You're Drunk.In addition to doctors who could reason in such a way, would you believe that there may be - in fact, there are - women who reason this way? Yes, believe it or not, there are indeed women who deliberately seek out Catholic doctors and Catholic healthcare plans and providers and even Catholic employers so as to live their lives in keeping with the teachings of the Church.
|Yet nuns are less comprehensible in our culture somehow.|
|F'realz. They don't.|
Not all women subscribe to the sexual revolution. Not all women see the Church as a patriarchal and misogynistic historical construct, but as the living and matronly Bride of Christ who is of one flesh with Him... and they think that's pretty groovy. Not all women believe that taxpayers should have to pay for what is construed as a woman's choice to abort the living viable embryonic human being growing inside of her. In short, not all women see a dichotomy in the Church coming between her and her doctor when they actually believe that the her and her doctor are in the Church. They exist, these ladies. I know them. That's how they roll, and that's why they rock.
Those blinded by ideology and dogma and no longer reasoning in a universally accessible way are... well, those who pilfer piffle like the thesis that "all heterosexual sex is misogyny." (No, really.) Okay, to be fair, the author of the essay expounding the theory actually specifies she's talking about "PIV" heterosexual sex. I won't translate the acronym. You can click the link to find out. Or, well, I could simply say that Catholics have a name for it, too: and that is just "sex."
But perhaps such blindness is the just deserts of a thoroughly pagan culture. And perhaps the only witness that can ever break through such blindness, in such a culture, is the witness of martyrdom. I began this venting my frustrations at the bleeding-heart dramatics of those who yell about the Church coming between a woman and her doctor. Of course, ultimately, that's all hysterics and show and #firstworldproblems, an imagined veil over an insidious underlying ideology and agenda. But deadly serious, on the other hand - and worth praying about and contemplating - is a spectacle we've seen plenty throughout history, which is all too real (although it also veils an underlying Reality) - and that is what can come to pass when anybody tries to get between a woman and her Church.