Does the Catholic Church have an obligation to change its stance on traditional beliefs?

Image Source - - Religions Arent Democracies

An ever increasing percentage of people are in support of rights such as gay marriage. It is definitely one thing to pass national and state laws on such matters.

However, many people, myself included, do not believe any religion should be pressured into changing their traditional beliefs just because there are people in society who believe otherwise in a modern culture. This extends to such controversial Western movements as gay rights, priests getting married, women being priests, etc.

The beautiful thing about being “traditional” with your beliefs, is that they are, well, traditional.  They are under no obligation to change anything for anybody. I would go so far as to say that if they are obligated to do anything it’s to preserve those traditions and protect them as sacred.

Regarding priests getting married or priests conducting homosexual marriages under the eyes of a particular religion’s god, I find it a little arrogant that people can be so bold as to suggest that a many thousand-year-old religious system change to suit their individual belief system when there are countless other denominations to choose from which suit the individual’s belief system more closely.

Many Christians who support Gay Marriage find themselves in a tricky situation. Do you turn your back on your traditional religion in order to support something you believe in? Is the religion automatically no longer relevant because your stance on a matter is in contradiction?

Many Christians believe homosexual rights are, in fact, supported in the Bible via the teachings of Christ, and it is a mistake that the position of the Catholic Church is to condemn it as another form of sin, like adultery.

Indeed, recently, question and answer website was recently asked the question:

Which biblical accounts would be helpful in determining how Jesus might respond or react to the gay rights movement? Would he stand by their side as he did for the woman accused of adultery about to be stoned in the streets? Or would he condemn them?Would Jesus’ reaction be in line with many modern day Christians’ take on this subject?
The debate rages on as to what the church’s stance should be on the matter, with many claiming religions should adapt or die.

But to quote Pat Buchanan, when discussing the equally controversial issue of women in the priesthood, “if you don’t like the Catholic position become an Episcopalian.”

Religions aren’t democracies. They are monarchies.

However, Religions are also human institutions: they survive as long as we believe in them. So conversely, if we are to leave the churches alone and stop lobbying them to change, then the same rules should apply to any religious organisation that insists that their beliefs should dictate, or even influence, public policy. Churches do this through the need to perpetuate and survive, but it is just as insidious as individuals forcing themselves upon a religion. If a church uses their power and money to lobby politicians to try and prohibit, for example, homosexuals who are not members of that religion from having the right to marry, then their right to maintain their own values is likewise diminished.

Enforce your policy among members of your religion and church, sure. But stay out of the affairs of non-members. This lesson could apply particularly well to Muslim countries, for example, where members of other beliefs are oppressed, even killed.

The day this happens universally though, will probably, sadly never arise.

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Categories: Health, Medicine, Multiculturalism, Science, Technology

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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6 Comments on “Does the Catholic Church have an obligation to change its stance on traditional beliefs?”

  1. James Hill
    February 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I guess that depends on what you mean by “pressure.” In a free, open society, we can and should question ideas, even if they are thousands of years old. There is absolutely nothing wrong with debating with Catholics (or anyone else) their stance on gay marriage, contraception or the afterlife and asking them to clarify their positions. Despite appearances, the church can and has reformed over the centuries and there’s nothing to stop it reforming here and now.

    That’s as much pressure as I believe we have a right to apply though: I feel we should be very careful in legislating a change of opinion for private organisations such as the church. We can change the law to recognise gay marriages as legally valid and on par with heterosexual marriages, but we should never force the church to officiate these marriages.

  2. keithybob
    February 24, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    Why would it change? If scriptures are the word of an infallible, omniscient being then surely they’re concrete. If they adapt and change due to the rising tolerance of man, with no word of concession from their dictator, then surely that’s an admission of fallacy. If that is the case then aren’t we acknowledging that perhaps they shouldn’t be a stable of morality and truth, thus rendering the entire doctrine, and all propagators of it, irrelevant. I don’t get this cherry picking mentality were you pick and choose the bits that suit your opinions and lifestyle.

    • February 24, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      You’d think so, wouldn’t you Keith. That’s how it’s certainly worded by the Church, infallible, yet throughout history they’ve made significant and not so significant changes. Contradictory!

      • keithybob
        February 24, 2012 at 11:32 am #

        Yeah it is. They obviously know themselves but I suppose religion is a business as well. Can’t allow a little thing like integrity get in the way of profits.


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