Conflicting Catholic Teachings

There have been many posts about Catholicism and what is and isn’t allowed. There is the one-true form of Catholicism that follows the dictates of the Vatican, but tthere are others who have chosen to deny the dicates and form their own Catholicism (one of free will). There are those who have abandoned the Catholic church altogether.

“It’s high time we admit reality: no amount of railing or threatening from popes or bishops seems to affect people’s decisions on the use of birth control made in good conscience. On this issue, people have learned to trust their own intuitions, faith understanding, and life experience. On other issues, they may let the church tell them what to do, but on this one they stand firm. Let’s applaud their maturity instead of berating them for a supposed ‘defection’”.

The cite is merely one among many about how US Catholics regard birth control dictates.

My question is not one of whether or not Catholicism is ‘wrong.’ The question is whether or you or someone close to you has received differing Catholic viewpoints from clergy or someone you trusted to be a spokesperson for the church.

My personal anecdotes:

My grandmother went to a priest during WWII and received permission to practice birth control when my grandfather was home on leave. She had to ‘go through’ several priests before she found one who would give this absolution.

My aunts found a Mexican priest who did not speak English. They confessed in English and were given absolution for use of birth control. (This shows you what sort of coniving family I come from!)

My Dad was terminally ill and did not want extraordinay measures taken to prolong his life. His first priest denied his request; his second honored it.

A high school science teacher (a nun) taught evolution and did not believe evolution and creationism were mutually exclusive. She believed and taught us that evolution occured and at some point god pointed to a newly evolved being and declared that being to be human. There was no question about the universe being far older than 6000 years; obviously it was. In later years, in a Jesuit university, this same theory was taught.

These anecdotes are not what kept me from chosing to leave the Catholic church, but are some of the reasons that allowed me to question the authority of the church.

Any others?


Conflicting Catholic teachings. It’s like they’re all individuals thinking on their own.

The Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church has gotten a lot looser lately about what used to be considered dogma. I say, more power to 'em. I’ve known more than a few priests and nuns in my time and I like the shift towards the mundane and practical aspects of their ministry that they show.

If there are conflicting Catholic Teachings I only think that they are only reflecting the nature of the world around us…

If there’s a Catholic teaching that evolution is bogus, I think it must be a frightfully old one. I’ve never heard someone who claimed to be speaking for the RCC say that evolution has any less merit than its scientific standing would justify.

Birth control, though, is another matter.

I think that you may find plenty of people who claim that it’s a good thing for the Church to encourage dissenting viewpoints within its ranks, but I’ll bet that it’s usually on matters where these people disagree with the Church to begin with. Just try to find someone who wants the Church to issue a statement like this: “While we have, in the past, supported charity to poor people, recently some Catholics have stated that they don’t like to give away their money. So, we’re going to stop trying to convince people that charity is really a good thing, and let them think for themselves.”

The Catholic Church does not treat the Bible as a science book, and has no quarrel with evolution. The current Pope restated this recently, but Popes at least as far back as Pius XII have said the same thing.

Birth control, in my experience, just doesn’t get mentioned. Everyone knows the official policy, and I suppose if we brought it up, our priest would hand us one of those brochures on natural family planning that’s collecting dust in the back of the church. You could say there’s a don’t-ask-don’t-tell mentality regarding birth control.

(1) As mentioned before, what the Sister taught in the example from the OP, IS in accordance to the RCC’s POV on Evolution. Not only no quarrel, but as of JPII, recognized as the presumed scientific explanation for life-forms on Earth.

(2) The Church’s doctrine IS that extraordinary, “heroic” artificial life-prolonging measures are not mandatory – as long as truly extraordinary, and it must NOT include expediting death. I don’t think there is a handbook with approved procedures listed by DRG, so a priest has to make a judgment call as to whether the standards are met – and some are more diligent than others.

(3)…about the “George Carlin” strategies to get easy absolution… Well, you are NOT supposed to use that kind of trick. You do run the risk of an invalid Confession.

HOWEVER… if in your Heart you are sincere, but just encountered a priest who is so rectally impacted with his own rank and authority that he doesn’t feel it’s worth his time to work with the penitents on their problems, the Church will not force you to stick to him. After all, you are confessing to and asking forgivenes from God, not the priest. He’s just the agent. But you MUST be sincere before God, not just seeking convenience.

As with any sort of law, it is impossible for Roman Catholic law to clearly codify every possible eventuality surrounding every set of circumstances involving every part of Canon law. The Church gives the priest a good deal of autonomy in deciding something is within or outside the law. So it should not be surprising that one can “shop” for a priest who interprets something more to one’s favor.