by Beth Hallet
Some people think that the pope is nothing but a joke, fraud or even a hypocrite.
But I would like to set the record straight. Pope Benedict XVI was an adolescent when World War II wrought havoc upon the world, and like so many others was forced to join Hitler’s Youth to stay alive. I am personally friends with a young woman whose father was forced to do the very same thing during World War II.
So the pope joining Hitler’s Youth is not a horrible thing; it was so that he would not die. I cannot imagine anyone else blaming him for wanting to live. What I find inspiring is that he had the strength to resist the Nazi regime and stay true to himself.
He did not let them bring him down or control him with their desire to kill and their hatred, but he let his love and compassion for people grow so much that he decided to become a priest to serve others.
I think what we have to focus on is that while it is hard to fight for the things we believe in, it is much harder to fight for something that you do not believe in.
The pope asked the Catholics of Africa to not use contraceptives because they are Catholic. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states everything a Catholic believes and why, says that all Catholics do not believe in contraceptives (#2399 and #2370).
Catholics believe that sex is used only for creating life, and if you do not want the consequences of creating life then do not have sex. It is not the pope’s fault, or other priests’ fault, for the spread of AIDS.
If the people of Africa do not have sex then they will not spread the disease; it is their own choice if they chose to have sex despite the risks they are taking. It seems the lack of control over immediate pleasure is the problem, not the religion.
I am a woman, and I can walk into a drug store at any time if I wanted to, go down the “Family Planning” aisle and grab a box of condoms. Any man or woman can do that.
So I find it hard to believe that there are Catholic women out there who cannot get contraception if that is their desire. Last time I checked they don’t card for Catholics in drug stores. Your conscience is the only thing that will stop you because it is a sin.
Women who work in any Catholic institution and want their health care to cover oral birth control, then the situation is the same as above. This is a Catholic Institution: they are not going to supply birth control if they do not believe in it.
If you would like oral birth control to be an option, go find a job somewhere that isn’t Catholic or buy it full price yourself. If not, buy condoms!
Catholics shouldn’t have to compromise on their beliefs because of anyone.
What the pope does for the Church is simple: he defends the Catholic traditions when others tear them apart. He reminds the Catholic community why we believe what we believe, and he reminds the world that we have to respect people in all forms of life.
His power is balanced by his cardinals and priests who surround him; and he is balanced by his own powerful connection with God.
Catholics need the pope to remind not just us but the entire world that we still believe and that we are here to stay.
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