The Catholic Church Hates Women? (Understanding Birth Control)

The Catholic Church Hates Women? (Understanding Birth Control)

I have the pleasure of spending time with many college age men and women. I have always enjoyed this age group more than any other. I love their inquisitiveness and their idealism. I love that they look so deeply into the meaning of things, searching for lessons they can take forward into their lives.

So when last week, one of these friends of mine came to me to share some dialogue he had been having with a friend of his, I was more than happy to hop in and take a look. His friend seemed to think that the Church was anti-woman. He had responded very well, and I was very proud of him for not backing down against such ignorance. He stood up and did his best to defend himself and the Church we hold dear. May God fill our parishes with such bravery.

There is however the issue of the Church being “anti-woman”, and I thought it might be worth talking about.

After much browsing the internet, that be all end all of information, it seems that for those making this argument, it comes to two main points.

First, there is the issue of birth control. It’s amazing how often this rears it ugly head. Somehow, because the Church thinks pumping a woman’s body full of chemicals so that it will not function naturally is a bad idea, it must be against women. If I said we should pump Chesapeake bay full of chemicals so it couldn’t function naturally, there would be a riot. (I am often amazed at hypocrisy, but never surprised. It is so often the same people who want to save the earth and eat organic that want to keep killing babies and pumping women full of chemicals, messing with their natural feminine hormones. Go figure.)

But let’s get back to topic. Those who hold this position say that birth control liberates women, and the Church by its position against birth control is therefore stifling them. Birth control liberates women? How? Now they can rock it like porn stars? Sleep with every guy on the block? Doesn’t sound all that liberating to me.

Have you ever noticed that it always comes back to sex? We must be able to have sex, and dangit, we need to have as much as we want. Now I’ll be the first to say that sex is a very good thing, but what they call liberating, I call slavery. I can’t believe that I live in what is probably the first generation in history to be surprised that you can have a baby from sex.

Let me draw a parallel. I love food. Put a dab of blue cheese on a steak and I’m in heaven. I also am very fond of watermelon. I can eat a whole one in one sitting, seeds and all. But if you were to say that I could eat a pill that would allow me to eat steak and watermelon all day long, and never gain a pound, I would say you have missed the point. First, chemicals are not the proper response to gluttony. More importantly, why the heck would I want to? It’s way out of the ordinary to want to do nothing but eat all day.

C.S. Lewis put it even better, allow me to paraphrase. Imagine you walked into a town and there was a big show. The whole theater was packed to the brim. So naturally you want to go in to see what all the fuss is about. There on the stage you see a man standing next to a table with a drape over it. Now imagine that he slowly pulls back the cloth to reveal a steaming plate of mashed potatoes. The crowd goes wild! Men are hooting and hollering, women are drooling, this really has everyone’s attention. There are only two conclusions you could draw from this. Either 1) There is a severe famine in town, or 2) these folks have a serious food disorder.

That is exactly what we do. We pull back the curtain to show sexuality, and everyone hoots and hollers, but there is no famine here. In fact, there is more sex going on than ever before. This is just disordered. Sex is great, but it’s not so great as to take over the rest of who and what we are. Yet we use sex to sell everything from tires to soap, and it works.

This is supposed to be liberating women? Thanks to this national disorder, we have more porn than ever before, girls are uploading nude pics online from the comfort of their bathrooms, and women are left emotionally alone as the curtain closes on yet another one night stand. Teen pregnancy is ever on the rise, the single mother is a cultural norm, and children are killed by the millions through abortion. (Birth control didn’t help much there did it?) There is nothing wholesome or good going on here.

In fact, I find it insulting. How this group of people get by, saying they are helping women when they are really dragging them through the mud, is criminal at best.

If you are really looking for quality birth control, I have one time tested method that has only failed once. (and it works for men AND women!)

Abstinence.

The other issue these folks who feel the Church is anti-women get into, and this is the really hot one for them, is the Church’s inability to ordain women to the priesthood. That post can be found here.

 

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12 Responses to The Catholic Church Hates Women? (Understanding Birth Control)

  1. Tom says:

    Great analogies and clarifications! Love, love, love it!

    How far have we falled as a culture/society with the portraying sex in porn as the gold standard of pleasure and total fulfillment.

    You are right – sex is GREAT! if it’s within marriage and freely given and freely received. Outside of those categories, it only causes heartaches, pain and disaster.

    But then again, our “microwave” mentality is that we have to have it NOW! and we have to have it OUR WAY!

    SO sad………

    • I did it mmmyyyyyy waaaayyy. I’m gonna be singing Frank Sinatra for a week now, thanks.

      Your dead right though. Somewhere in the last 60 years, we have confused freedom with licence. It is truly a deadly confusion.

      Freedom is great and glorious. The ability to make your way in the world, and create a life for yourself that is good and wholesome without government oppression is an amazing gift.

      Licence to do whatever you want, even if it hurts you and the ones you love? Not so great. Sexuality is a remarkably clear example of this, but it’s really much deeper, reaching across the board.

  2. Linda Baytree says:

    I doubt that you have ever been to a third world country where married women who are at the mercy of their husbands keep having unwanted children. These women are not having one night stands, nor are they having sex with everyone on the block. Controlling how many children in their brood is not a bad thing. Walk one day in a woman’s shoes and you would understand. The idea that those who take birth control are only single women who sleep around is a misconception that the Catholic church likes to perpetuate. Many married CATHOLIC women take birth control because the demands of pregnancy and motherhood is too great when you already have enough children. What if a wife were to remain abstinent once she was done having children? I guarantee that CATHOLIC husband would find sex elsewhere. Or perhaps you are from the school of thought that it is a woman’s duty to have as many children as possible? Put yourself in a woman’s shoes for a moment and imagine having faith in a church that sees you as nothing but a walking uterus. Men like you have a false sense of superiority.

    • First, let me take a moment to thank you for you open nature, and your deep honesty. I think these are traits to be applauded. You have also made it clear that I need to treat this topic more thoroughly, and with less generalization. I will do that in the future.

      However, there are some things that I think I can try to make a little clearer now.

      You are right. In many parts of the world, women are “at the mercy of their husbands”. This is not as issue of birth control though, this is an issue of injustice, and should be treated as such.

      You are also correct, it is not only single women that are using birth control, and that is the only group I referenced in my post. Very unfair of me, I admit. However, within the single group, I hold to exactly what I said, that sex outside of marriage has no benefit, and can only bring sadness in the long term. I still firmly recommend abstinence. Having said that, let me share my thoughts on married birth control.

      No, I do not believe that women should have as many children as they possibly can, but at the same time I have to admit that having too few children is a problem as well. We are called as Christians to generosity and self giving, and I think many couples don’t take that call seriously. That being said, of course there are times when regulating birth is advisable. Maybe there are too many mouths to feed already, or there are health concerns. Those are real issues, and are not to be taken lightly. What I AM saying, is that birth control is simply not a natural, acceptable means to regulate birth. Pumping a woman full of chemicals is not the way to respect a woman, period. There are natural means that are more effective, and they should be used instead. The Catholic favorite is NFP, and it is what I would suggest as well.

      I also fully agree with your statement about the importance of sex in marriage. While abstinence in marriage is acceptable, it is not normally healthy. I certainly would never recommend that any wife remove her sexual nature from her husband, (except maybe briefly, and for spiritual reasons decided on together), that would be a disaster. Quite the opposite, I would recommend as much sex as is reasonable. All I am saying is that chemicals are not the answer to the world’s problems. And don’t you dare think of barrier methods either, the idea of there being any kind of wall between me and the woman I love most is downright assaulting, whether it be an emotional barrier, or a condom. Again, it’s just not natural, by which I mean, made out of plastic in some factory.

      One last thought. I would give my right arm to walk one day in a woman’s shoes. I have always deeply wondered what it would be like, and would love the opportunity to understand all the women in my life better. (especially since all my children are daughters) However, the idea that I, or the faith I hold so dear thinks of a woman as a walking uterus is rather unkind. I also think that forgetting that a woman naturally HAS a uterus is unkind. I am the first to say that a woman is more than a baby factory, but not at the cost of denying that motherhood is one the most important roles that she can fill. There is nothing that empowers and defines a woman as deeply as being a mother.

      As for me having a false sense of superiority, maybe you are right. Pray for me that the Lord may cure me of my vanity.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You said, “Somehow, because the Church thinks pumping a woman’s body full of chemicals so that it will not function naturally is a bad idea, it must be against women” then made an analogy about pumping water into a lake.

    Just so you know, sometimes purification plants pump chemicals into water to adjust its pH value so that it is the best quality for drinking. Just like a purification plant, sometimes women’s bodies NEED certain adjustments, chemically or otherwise, in order to function properly.

    A very close-minded general assumption that many Catholics make about the birth control pill is that the sole reason women take the birth control pill is for contraception.

    While some women do take the birth control pill for contraception- it’s called the BIRTH CONTROL pill for a reason- many others take the pill for other reasons. Taking the pill DOESN’T have to mean you are having sex.

    The birth control pill has been proven to remedy heavy periods, by making them lighter. The pill has been shown to help women overcome painful menstrual cramps and irregular periods, hormonal irregularities, menstrual-related disorders, menstrual- related migraines, and acne. Even women who are on the acne-medication Accutane are REQUIRED by their physician to take the birth control pill in order to take the acne medication.

    It seems like Catholics simply assume that the reason women take birth control is because they are terrible “gluttonous” creatures that crave sex.

    You said, “Have you ever noticed that it always comes back to sex?”

    I say – It doesn’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      pumping *chemicals into a lake. excuse me.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments! I always appreciate hearing other ways of thinking about things. I do however have some thoughts for you as well.

      You have hit on one of my main beefs about OB/GYNs. I cannot stand that the response to every feminine problem is to throw the woman on the pill. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert here, but I fear using any medication as a fix all is simply irresponsible. Every time I hear of someone trying to deal with a legitimate feminine issue, it seems the response is always birth control. Thank God the doctors don’t do the same thing with other fields of medicine, as if aspirin could fix every malady. That aside, I am no doctor.

      The body is a miraculous thing. So are lakes. Neither need to be pumped full of chemicals. Adding additives to drinking water is a separate issue, and one that has little relevance to this issue as I see it. All I was trying to say, is that the body of a woman is beautiful, even magical. Assuming no illness, it does not need to be “fixed”. A woman’s body is made for the many varying roles a woman fills, but clearly the main role is that of mother. In no sense can it be called “natural” to be having sex without the expectation of the possibility of children. That reality is a chemically induced one, and therefore as “natural” and “organic” as drinking pesticide straight from the Monsanto barrel.

      And I would say that most human beings, Catholic or not, crave sex. It is built in. (Thank God) The gluttony however is a choice.

  4. Rachel says:

    Then you must be against aspirin? You must be against any medication. Because every medication is putting chemicals in your body. Life saving surgeries are performed with medications that are chemicals put into your body. I don’t take birth control anymore simply because I find that my period becomes more regular without it. However my mother was having serious issues having a period and if left untreated could have led to serious health issues. Her doctor (evil man,) put her on birth control and it kick started her periods again. This pill your church is against possibly save my mother’s life, but it’s not okay because it’s a chemical.

    Abstinence because that worked so well for Catholic priests didn’t it.

    • I won’t lie to you. As someone who is not trained medically in any way, I am simply unqualified to respond to the medical question, and therefore I am at a disadvantage in really talking about this situation openly.

      To me however, I can understand hormone therapy being used to heal someone, and bring their body back to it’s normal state, but birth control is designed to do the opposite, to take a woman’s natural state, and alter it. A woman’s body is designed to be fertile, and we are using hormones to change that. It’s a lot less like aspirin, and a lot more like cocaine. Sure, cocaine has good uses, and can actually be used medically to help people, but it is fundamentally designed to alter your natural state, not to bring you back to a state of normal. It’s not about the chemical, it’s about the chemical’s purpose. The anti chemical thought was merely an illustration, not a belief of either the Church, or myself.

      As for your comment about Catholic priests, do you live up to every one of your ideals? Do you honestly expect perfection from someone else when you cannot attain it yourself? The vast, vast majority of priests are faithful, chaste men who I greatly respect, men who have dedicated their lives to serving other people to the exclusion of all else. But 100% of priests are human, and subject to human weakness. It’s a bit like saying all teachers are molesters. (FYI, the percentage of molestation among teachers is far, far higher than among priests. It is simply that priests are held to a much higher standard by the public eye, and rightly so. It is however asinine to classify a group of people by their insignificant minority.)

  5. Rachel says:

    Except that teachers don’t help other teachers hide their molestation practices in general. I doubt you can point out a case where a huge amount of teachers molested children and their principals hid it. The hiding of the abuse was rampant in the Catholic church. It wasn’t that no one knew, it was those that knew were in power and kept this knowledge to themselves. They didn’t do anything to stop it and it didn’t just happen in this country.

    Have you ever thought that homosexuality has sprung up because of an over population of our world? Yes we were designed to be fertile because our population was small. We needed survive. However in today’s time this no longer applies. Homosexuality is natural in all animals on this planet. Yet even though we are ourselves are animals the Catholic church is against gays.

    I never though after years of being raise as a Lutheran that I would disagree with Religion so much. What would Jesus say at all the hate that is being thrown around by Religions? My sister is still my sister no matter who she beds. She is still a human being, she still has a heart, a soul and God still loves her just like he loves you and me. She won’t go to hell for who she sleeps with anymore then you and I will go to hell for disagreeing on this topic.

    I have a hurtfulness inside of me it comes from being brought up to believe that God is great, that Jesus loves all and that he wants you to spread that love. The hurt comes from seeing so many of the men and woman I used to relate to show such an openness for hate, for rejection, for being closed off to new ideas.

    Yes in the bible it says that you should not talk to a woman when she is on her period, yet I am sure this not practiced any where in the USA. This is just one of many examples. We no longer stone people to death, it’s considered wrong, but yet you still want to reject gays, and birth control and abortions. You pick and you choose what makes you feel good. Not what’s really important.

    • I must thank you for your openness and desire to share your thoughts, you have done so in a very clear manner. I appreciate you taking the time to really pour out of your heart the frustration you clearly feel. Some of it is warranted, however, some of it shows some misinformation.

      When it comes to the priest scandal, I have to agree with you. The hide and seek game the episcopacy played was downright deplorable, even evil. I am disgusted when I think about it. That does not however mean I will accept blanket negative comments about such an amazing group of men due to a few (excuse my language,) bastards. I deal with clergy constantly, and have never met a single man among them that is not as disgusted as you and I are by what happened, so let’s not throw all priests in that pot.

      You also added some thoughts about homosexuality, which I have not addressed in this particular post, but I am glad to talk about. You say I am talking in some hateful manner, even insinuating that I think that anyone with that sexual bend might be going to hell. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have zero hate towards homosexuals, and have spent many years of my life with them as dear friends and even roommates. I have never insinuated that homosexuality is not a real thing either. That would be madness, as I watched as my brother, (that would be my blood brother that I grew up with, love with all my heart and would throw myself in front of a train for) as I watched my brother grow up, never being interested in a girl for a moment. For me, he was out of the closet before he knew what a closet was.

      To insinuate that I harbor some hate towards him because of his sexual orientation is downright insulting. If you do want to know my opinion, feel free to read it here.

      If you would like to know the offical opinion of the Church, you can find in the the Catechism, #2357-9. Note here, that to have any other opinion, especially hate towards homosexuals, is heresy. Here is the heart, 2357. Emphasis is added by me.

      “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

      As for your comments on the bible, yes, the bible says many odd things, especially in the Hebrew Scriptures, where your quotes come from. All of these scriptures must be seen with the light of who Jesus was for them to make any sense. Jesus changed things, He woke us up, baptized us and changed us forever. So we must stick with what He gave us, and not deviate from it. Homosexuality, birth control and abortion are not new issues to our time. They are issues that were dealt with in the early Church by men and women who were taught by Christ and His apostles, and we follow that continuity down through the centuries. We cannot deviate from His wisdom, no matter the age. He was, after all, God Himself. How can we say we know better? It’s not about feeling good about ourselves, it is about being obedient to the Master of life itself, and often, that means that like Him, we must carry our cross.

      Clearly you have had experience with people who use religion as a weapon. I am sorry that this has been your experience, many share that experience with you. Be careful not to allow these people to blur the truth of what the Church truly stands for.

  6. Susan says:

    As a product of the access-to-birth-control and pro-choice generation, I totally bought the myth of birth control: freedom, independence and control of my own body for myself and fewer abortions in the world. Instead, there was plenty of heartache and the illusion of freedom for me and many of my friends, and a staggering number of abortions in the world. Rather than empowering women, birth control has led us so far down the path of subjugation to men that it would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. We don’t need men to objectify us anymore, we do it to ourselves. I do have a background in health care, and feel justified in saying that the vast majority of women who use the pill or other forms of chemical CONTRAception do so for exactly that reason – to avoid conception. Imagine the surprise of a former “feminist” when I found true sexual freedom in marriage to a man who was committed to the church and to me, who loves me as a person, not just a warm body, and who welcomed every child we conceived regardless of whether we “planned” to or not. I fully realize what a blessing that is, but it is a blessing that every woman deserves, and deserves to expect from her spouse. Furthermore, it is a blessing I owe to the teachings of the Catholic church. A hard “pill” for a former feminist protestant to swallow, but there it is.

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