Joseph Ratzinger, current head of the Catholic Church, has said that doctors shouldn’t suggest to women that abortion is an option. Abortion solves nothing, he said, and doctors should defend women from such “deception.”
Of course abortion solves nothing for Ratty, but then, an unwanted pregnancy is never likely to be his problem, is it. Or if it is his problem, then truly, that would be a miracle that even David Hume would accept. I can see the headlines now – Celibate 83-year-old man pregnant!!!
My problem with this is not just that as usual, the Catholic church wants to control my body, and the bodies of all women, but that they don’t even see me, and other women, as being capable of thinking for ourselves. Our silly ditzy little lady branes can’t cope with thinking about moral issues, so we’re not even going to be told about them. Worse than that, the Catholic church wants to insert itself into the relationship I have with the medical practitioners who help me to care for myself. Ratzinger wants me to be unsure about whether my doctor will discuss all possible options with me. He wants to make sure that no woman can trust that her doctors will have her best interests at the forefront of their thinking, and their advice to her.
The remarks that Ratty made encapsulate all that is wrong with official church thinking about women. It simply does not believe that women are autonomous adults, able and willing to think for themselves, and to make moral decisions for themselves. They must be kept from knowledge, and must be kept from even contemplating some actions. That is not the stance of an organisation that respects women.
On top of that, who on earth is Joseph Ratzinger to talk about deceit? He and his cohorts have been guilty of deceit for decade upon decade, hushing up the horrors of priests raping children, shifting paedophiles from one parish to another, pretending that nothing was wrong at all, and that if anyone was at fault, it was those who dared to criticise the church. Perhaps he might like to consider what Jesus Christ is supposed to have said about hypocrites (Matt 23: 23).
As I’ve said before, I’ve no doubt, and indeed I have good evidence that there are many, many fine women and men who are members of the Catholic church. But as I see it, their leaders in Rome despise and fear them, and want to control them, not just in actions, but in what they may think about at all. It’s hard to understand why the good people in the pews would want to remain in the church, but I suppose that many of them feel that the church they love is being stolen from them, and they will not give it up, but instead wait out and quietly defy the women-hating hierarchy of the church.
But for my part, why, thank you, Joseph Ratzinger, for your concern. But actually, I’ll continue to think for myself.