According to Cosmopolitan magazine, “feminist” activist Gloria Steinem said the following about Pope Francis:
I had this thought that we should have this massive education campaign pointing out that the Pope and all of the other patriarchal religions that dictate to women in this way, accusing them of global warming. Because the human load on this earth is the biggest cause of global warming, and that is because of forcing women to have children they would not on their own choose to have … I’m glad the Pope spoke out about global warming and it was very helpful, but does he know he’s causing it? (emphasis mine)
I’m sure those of you still reading (since I’m sure several heads imploded at this statement) are as confused as I am.
How, exactly, does Pope Francis or the Church “force” me to have children? If I want contraception, there are three stores within a mile of my house that sell condoms and/or have pharmacies that dispense the Pill. That doesn’t include the Wal-Mart less than three miles away, where I can purchase hormonal contraceptives at $10 for a 90-day supply. Heck, if my contraceptives failed and I wanted to get an abortion, I could do that too. I don’t have to ask the Church’s permission first. I don’t have Swiss Guards standing at my door and following me around whenever I leave the house, making sure I don’t buy contraceptives or get an abortion. (If they did follow me around, that’d be pretty sweet – maybe I could rope them into housework or babysitting!)
So please, explain. How is the Pope accomplishing this astonishing act of mind control on me and “forcing” me to have children? I’ve never seen him in my bedroom. Sadly, I’ve never even met him. Yet Ms. Steinem believes that he, from six thousand miles away, is controlling my reproductive practices. How does he accomplish this? I’ve yet to have anyone explain this to me. I keep asking liberals who make this claim to describe exactly how it is accomplished, but they always ignore my question and just keep insisting that it’s happening. It’s baffling.
Does the Church teach that contraceptives are intrinsically immoral? Yes. But the Church does not force me to be a Catholic, and the Church does not force me to adhere to Her teachings. I do so of my own free will.
I wasn’t always a Catholic, and I knew full well what I was getting into when I became one. I choose, of my own free will, to be a Catholic. I choose, of my own free will, to adhere to those teachings. I make that choice again and again every single day. Because I have free will, I could choose not to follow the teachings of the Church. I could even call myself Catholic, go to Mass every single week, take the Eucharist every single week, and still refuse to follow Church teaching the other six days and twenty-three hours of the week. The Church doesn’t have Thought Police standing in the narthex of every Catholic Church, waiting to pounce on those who aren’t really practicing Catholics.
We have people who commit adultery yet call themselves Catholic. We have people who support same-sex marriage yet call themselves Catholic. We have people who celebrate abortion yet call themselves Catholic.
The Church proposes, not imposes. She offers us her moral teachings but we have to choose whether or not to follow them. And if we choose not to follow them yet still claim to be Catholic, we’ll have to answer to God someday – but we usually won’t get much much pushback in this temporal realm. In this age of moral relativism, people seem to easily accept the cognitive dissonance of claiming to be Catholic while simultaneously denying the teachings of the Church.
Granted, the “98% of Catholic women use contraception” statistic has been proven false, but there’s still an abysmally high number of women who self-identify as Catholic that also use contraception. If the Church is trying to “control” women with Her teachings on contraception, She’s failing pretty miserably. So why keep making that claim in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary?