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What it means to be Conservative Catholic

| Tuesday, February 15, 2005

In recent days, Conservative Catholics have been bashed because of their stance on the Queer Film Festival and the Vagina Monologues. I would like to clarify a few things so that people do not solidify in their minds wrongful stereotypes of what it means to be a Conservative Catholic.

First of all, it should be clarified what “conservative” means. The word is used so much that the meaning of it tends to be lost. In the context of Catholicism, being “conservative” is generally construed as believing in the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. Since Vatican II, there have been many theologians who have dissented from Church teachings, especially in matters of sexual morality, and Conservative Catholics seek to defend the Faith in the face of these opposing theologies.

Secondly, I think many people need to realize that Catholic teaching is not a composition of arbitrary decisions, opinions or regulations picked randomly out of a hat and subsequently passed down through the ages. The Church is not against homosexual marriage, contraception, pornography or anything else simply because it has had a tradition of doing so. There is a beautiful logic to it all that many tend not to understand nor appreciate, and it is a truth that does not become obsolete over time. I would truly be interested to know how many people who disagree with the Church really understand its teachings on human sexuality. Sure, you know that the Church thinks homosexuality is “disordered,” but do you understand this teaching in the full context of the Christian meaning of sex? If you don’t understand what the Church says, then how can you disagree with it?

Thirdly, Conservative Catholics are of the mindset that the “love” commonplace in our American society is a false love and an incomplete love. If Conservative Catholics are criticized for being close-minded or intolerant, it is because we do not accept the misguided ideal of love posited by our society. The message “you do want you want to do and I won’t criticize you for it” is not the message that Jesus communicated to us in the Gospels. To settle for being nice and tolerant of everyone falls grossly short of the love Jesus has called us to.

Finally, I hope that people get out of their heads that if you defend Church teaching that you necessarily hate those who disagree with it or do not live up to it. We are all sinners; to hate others for sinning would be completely hypocritical. And if you meet someone like that, then you are not talking to a Catholic.

In the spirit of love and understanding, I hope that you do not dismiss all the Conservative Catholics so quickly when you see us praying outside during the Monologues. Come say hi; we don’t bite.

David Cook


Morrissey Hall

Feb. 15