News Editor/Deputy Editor
As you may have guessed from the above Nietzsche quote, I’m not speaking about economics this week. No, you see I am a terrible offender when it comes to putting things on the long finger, and a fully fledged subscriber to that old idiom “Hard work pays off in the future, but procrastination pays off now”. So this year I learned the most recent of many lessons decrying this practice, when I continually put off my defection from the Catholic Church month after month, assuming the opportunity to do it would wait until I had a lot of free time. Well it didn’t, and they closed the window of availability for defection earlier in the year, leaving me a fully signed up member of the church I was brought up in possibly forever.
Why would this be a problem you ask? Well, this refers to my decision to defect. Almost a year ago I asked myself, all things considered, do I see any connection between this institution and myself? This had nothing to do with me believing or not believing in a god, just the morals which the church attempts to uphold. The answer, I found, was of course not. I’m not homophobic, I’m pro-choice, liberal to the point of individualism and despite the odd joke, not even a supporter of the subjugation of women.
Even more than that, this was the first year I’ve really stepped back and looked at the effect Catholic rule has had on the Western world and it definitely gave me a new perspective. Basically, Catholicism paused European culture in the 4th century and it didn’t resume until 300 years ago. Since then, well, some pretty cool stuff has happened. Namely science, art, reasonable living conditions, liberalism and free thought.
It didn’t help that I started to study the philosophy of German thinkers like Kant and Hegel at the same time, who stressed the importance of progressiveness and working towards an enlightened society. Funnily enough, they use the Catholic Church as an example of what not to do, treating it as a dead dogma. I began to see their meaning quite quickly, and the image of the church as dead flesh on the body of society began to appear in my mind (albeit guiltily, conditioning will do that). In the context of the Murphy and Ryan reports, along with the church’s appalling stance on human rights, it was clear to me that this necrotic tissue had become cancerous.
Of course the Irish response has been “They do good work all the same” and “We should try and change it from the inside out” but the problem is that’s not how you treat cancer. You treat cancer by cutting it out. So how do we do that? I’m always quick to suggest violence, but there are pacifistic methods also. Next year there’ll be a census, and the religion figures that come out of it will be influential in deciding how much power the church will retain over the next 4 years. If you fully agree with the church’s doctrine and actions, then by all means you should tick the Roman Catholic box. If you don’t really subscribe to their ideals but tick it because your family do, or out of habit, be aware that you’re tacitly supporting everything they do, good and bad. A scary thought indeed.
Originally published in the 23/11/2010 edition of the UCC Express