Don’t worry their pretty little heads about it

Pope plea to doctors on abortion

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.

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5 comments on “Don’t worry their pretty little heads about it

  1. Mindy says:

    Those people in the Church pews have far more patience than me. Get your mind off my body Ratzinger and get the log from your own eye and church before criticising anyone else.

  2. paponda says:

    Well said! (Clap, clap calp!)

  3. “It simply does not believe that women are autonomous adults”
    No, the Church recognises three types of women: nuns, mothers and harlots.

  4. Craig says:

    And even when the more ‘women-empowerment’ nuns groups in the US, the oldest tradition of women-only spaces (I’m atheist, but in my academic interests I follow the workings of various religious organisations, Christian and otherwise), sought to drive a direction away from obsession with controlling womens’ sexuality towards combatting social inequality, the Vatican directly intervened to ‘put them in their place’, threatening excommunication if they didn’t shut up and get into line as subservients within that church’s structure (don’t have a link, but the NY Times covered it for a month or so).

    I’d consider myself a moderate atheist. I’m not agnostic – I’m absolutely positive that religion (across the board) is false. But I’m not one of those people who thinks that religion is a mental illness (hence making all Aboriginal groups who want to preserve sacred sites from mining ‘mentally ill’, and yet again defining normality in terms of western culture). People swallow more implausible stuff all the time – at least religious belief (in general, not the specific counter-scientific claims) has the benefit of being what Wittgenstein would call a bedrock belief, and hence not susceptible to logical refutation by reason of its circularity (for context, I think that all of us, myself included, are subject to circular bedrock beliefs) – unlike, say, trickle-down economics that is widely held but can be directly disproven on its own terms. Nor do I have an instant dislike for religious folk – when I was more actively involved in leftist activism the ‘christian left’ were always a key part of the protest alliance, and supplied some of the most dedicated activists of the late 90s. This was the era when the Uniting Church was conducting gay weddings in protest against UK law, and plenty of Anglican churches (who, due to their decentralisation, can vary anywhere from ultra-conservative and ultra-sexist to socialist pro-gay pro-choice) was starting to get openly gay/lesbian ministers getting promoted into middle-management bishop positions – so it’s hard for me to condemn religious people (as opposed to my being convinced that it is false). Not that it could ever make me accept the sheer absurdity (in my mind) of their mythology, but, well, there’s plenty of folk who believe that those arm-band thingies they sell at the royal show genuinely increase balance and strength, so I’m not too bothered by that aspect of it.

    What I’ve never understood is how the various churches can’t see that their eras of growth have always coincided with the times where they took the side of the poor and acted as proto-socialists, and that they’ve always shrunk when trying to control the sexualities of those around them. It’s hard to believe that the Timor priests who harboured the Fretlin and were executed en masse are part of the same organisation that condemns billions to suffering through discouraging birth control.

    Thing is, there are other, less reviled religions that hold similar views but refrain from having that ‘attempt to control’ element that makes christianity so threatening. Buddhism, insofar as it is represented by the Dalai Lama, explicitly prohibits homosexuality and contraception, condemining all sex that isn’t for the purposes of procreation. Pretty damn vile stuff. But at least when questioned on it, the Dalai Lama just says ‘look, this is a code that I follow, and that I believe will bring peace to those who follow it’ – he isn’t trying to influence legislation to control those who don’t share his beliefs.

    Either way, in the 1st world the churches – both the conservative and the progressive ones – are a spent force. The tories will drag them out whenever they want to bash feminists or gays, and the left will drag them out whenever they want to support refugees or attack corporate greed, but it’s a marketing sideshow to drag in a few extra votes. They wield no real power over here anymore. The 3rd world is a different story – especially because the African churches, started by the imperialist strains of the ultra-fundamentalists, are the most conservative christians on the planet. There the churches cause misery to women in droves – prohibition on contraception, legitimisation of rape in marriage, just for a start. And people complain about Islam – conservative christianity can easily be just as bad.

  5. […] Choice Position is Not Respect for Life expands on that great title with clarity, and BeeFaerie’s Don’t worry their pretty little heads about it also highlights the frightening paternalism behind religious anti-choice […]

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