What makes a feminist?

What makes a feminist?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Things the Pope says

A week ago, the Pope announced the women "don't have to breed like rabbits".  I'm probably taking this out of context, as much of the U.S. media did.

And yes, he's technically right.  In North America at least, there are means a woman can obtain to space out her pregnancies or avoid it altogether.  The RCC only endorses one means of avoiding conception, and NFP requires a degree of self-control.  It requires that women have not only the desire but also the ability to tell their partners/husbands "no, I cannot have sex tonight" and for their husbands to respect that (for those who weren't sure, marital rape is a crime in all 50 states).

The Pope will not endorse artificial contraception.  Most people may not understand why, but it's important to understand that the Catholic definition of marriage is not necessarily the same as the secular definition.  The secular world defines marriage as a joining of two non-related persons, the reasons for their choosing marriage are open to individual interpretation.  Catholics (and many Protestants) view it as specifically designed for a cisgendered man and woman, open to the intent of reproduction and raising their family in the church.  Is the secular definition any better/worse than the Christian one?  Personally I do not think so, and feel that at the very least, civil/secular marriage should be subject only to laws regarding incest and consent--that is to say, the couple entering into the union should not already be blood relations and should be entering into the agreement of their own volition.  Gender and sex are irrelevant to the secular union.  The religious institution, however, predates the modern secular world.  Houses of worship should be free to restrict who they wish to perform a ceremony for, provided they are abiding by laws that are intended to protect the well being of citizen.  No church should be able to FORCE matrimony on an unwilling woman (I should say individual but it tends to be the female who has less say in her future than the male in many religious communities).

Some religious groups follow a "Quiverfull" philosophy.  A famous example of this would be Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of "19 Kids and Counting".  Sex, in a QF marriage, is not something a wife is allowed to deny her husband.  They are brainwashed from a young age to serve their husband in all things and the marriage bed is one of them.  The concept of marital rape is not one that exists in these circles--consent is considered automatically granted when the ring is placed on the finger.

Because these groups tend to have large families, it's assumed that in Catholicism the rules are the same.  NFP, however, requires a respect for avoiding sexual intercourse for the sake of the dignity of the wife.  This is not something found in Quiverfull circles.

The Pope is not saying "disobey the Church's stance on contraception".  He's saying "it's okay to use NFP or periodic abstinence to space out pregnancy for the sake of your health."

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