Have you been a bad Catholic today?

September 24, 2007

Have you been a bad Catholic today? I think even the best of us make mistakes or do things we know are wrong because they are easy. I don’t believe in perfect people, because if you were perfect you wouldn’t be a person. I came across an article that supports my views. The article shows that even a pope can be a bad Catholic occasionally. I wouldn’t normally present to you a story concerning religion in any way other than defending religious freedom, but a Time Magazine article really struck me.

Some of you may know that I am an apathetic Catholic at best. I disagree with huge portions of the religion, I think the organization of the church is shady and oft corrupt, and I only go to church on holidays and to keep the family happy. But I also believe no one really has the knowledge to disprove or disparage any religion. I also think organized religion is a good path to teaching children about morality and distinguishing right from wrong. And I believe the Catholic Church does a lot of good for the world through the massive amount of Catholic charity. I believe in science, in reason, in justice, and in the potential goodness of mankind. I am not willing to say I don’t believe in God, but I am not willing to say I do either at this point in my life. Everyone has to get right with themselves on the issues of spirituality, faith, morality, and religion. To each their own.

The controversial article provides an argument that the late Pope John Paul the Second was euthanized. The suggestion is that the pontiff refused a feeding tube that would have prolonged his life. The problem is if this is true that would violate Catholic principles. Why I find this interesting is that the pope is infallible in the Catholic faith. Now that does not mean a pope is not capable of committing or responsible for sin. What it means is that he can declare things as a matter of doctrine to be correct or incorrect. So the pope’s opinion can be used to set precedent for the doctrine that governs the billion or so Catholics in the world. If it is true, does that mean euthanasia is acceptable?

I think individuals have to make the call for themselves, but for me I believe people who are going to die, particularly in slow or painful ways, should be entitled to terminate their own lives. I wonder where everyone else falls on this issue, particularly the candidates. I am sure I could look up their official views, but I want to know what they would do if it was someone in their own family.