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Oh, the Vatican. The South Park episode about Catholicism and priests wasn't that far from the truth (Episode Name: Red Hot Catholic Love). Priests sneak in little boys to molest them and then lock the files away on pain of excommunication, you can read all about it now (in Latin) and it's called the Crime of Enticement (Crimen Sollicitationis) published in 1962, and tells priests how to deal with accusations of sex with minors (not miners, which would make for stranger but less sad reading). One quote in it reads: "anyone involved in a sex abuse investigation, the accuser and the accused, are to be restrained by a perpetual silence... in all matters and with all persons under the penalty of excommunication". Basically, it's saying that all the minor-sex files are locked away in the Vatican, and no on is going to read them. It's really quite amazing. This was a personal and confidential record of a felony within the Church and no-one outside of the Church was allowed to read it.

Casti connubii10 was a papal encyclical promulgated by Pope Pius XI on 31 December 1930 in response to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican church. It stressed the sanctity of marriage, prohibited Catholics from using any form of artificial birth control, and reaffirmed the prohibition on abortion. It also explained the authority of Church doctrine on moral matters, and advocated that civil governments follow the lead of the Church in this area.3

It covered four major topics: the sanctity of marriage, opposition to eugenics, positions on birth control & purpose of sexuality, and the reaffirmation of the prohibition on abortion. The Vatican forbids all contraception (even if a man with AIDS in Africa will kill his wife by having sex with her, sorry, no condoms). Also, they commissioned a study that says that the hormones from the Pill are coming out in women's urine and fucking up everyone's fertility. Sure Mr ex-Pope, ex-Nazi (circumstantial though it might be, calm down, it is true), that sounds rational.

Why are men in silly costumes and funny hats, who are constantly being accused of molesting children, the ones who decide who gets to have sex and how they get to have it? Even the good ones, who stick to their vows of chastity, shouldn't be making up rules about sex. They know nothing about it!

Oh, and about a Pope being a Nazi, here's the real truth. I don't want to be accused of sensationalism here, at least when it's not (entirely) true, nor blatantly ignoring a truth. To sum it up before we begin the quote, these were children being asked to do things by authority figures they are taught their whole life to obey as though they were god in the flesh. For an adult to abuse this power is a sin that gains you a reservation to one of the lowest circles of hell.

"Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Joseph Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth — as membership was required by law for all 14-year-old German boys after December 1939—but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings, according to his brother. In 1941, one of Ratzinger's cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and murdered during the Action T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics. In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer (air force child soldier). Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry. As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family's home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist, just as American troops established their headquarters in the Ratzinger household. As a German soldier, he was put in a P.O.W. camp but was released a few months later at the end of the war in the summer of 1945. He reentered the seminary, along with his brother Georg, in November of that year."1

Sounds like a pretty good guy, deserting the Nazis and all that. Of course, the Church pretty much supported the Nazis all along, because it's a political institution and a business and performs the holy rites on tours, holidays, and when the price is right. The Church thought that the Nazis were the winning hand and harbored them and supported them as necessary. "But wait," you say. "Isn't the Church supposed to be the most morally upstanding citizens of the Catholic faith?" Maybe they are, maybe they're not, but the ugly truth is that business comes before holiness. For most of the war, it looked like the Nazis were going to make Europe their bitch. Only insane ideas like "fighting a land-war in Asia"9 in a Siberian-type winter, far from their supplies and the Americans joining the war stopped their war-machine in its tracks. The Russians were much better at fighting on their own territory, not to mention throwing wave after wave of people at Hitler but used scorched-earth tactics to deny the advancing army any supplies they might sequester from the locals or land. The Russians are not only acclimatized to the weather but drink vodka like it's water. "The name vodka is a diminutive form of the Slavic word voda (water), interpreted as little water"2. And before you Americans get all jingoistic about America saving the day, realize that more Russians died fighting the Nazis then all the people that died in the genocidal holocaust, America got a paper-cut by comparison. Yes, the Catholic Church is a state like the Sunnis are a state, except a state with tentacles that go beyond and throughout supposedly protected borders. It is a game of thrones, and people believe in fairy tales of eternity much easier than they do ridiculous demagogues of the political here and now, puppets of state and world-killing economic practices.

But at least the Catholics were in opposition to the use of something horrible that wasn't solely Nazi in its origin: eugenics. Casti connubii speaks out against the eugenics laws, popular at that time, that forbade those deemed 'unfit' from marrying and having children: "Those who act in this way are at fault in losing sight of the fact that the family is more sacred than the State and that men are begotten not for the earth and for time, but for Heaven and eternity."4

Largely inciting people to anger and general frustration (probably some sexual frustration too) for its stance on contraception (I mean, that one still burns rubber today), Casti Connubii drew criticisms from all sides. In a 1932 article published in The Nation, Margaret Sanger gave her personal reaction to the encyclical, saying that it was an obstacle to general approval of the birth-control movement by political leaders unwilling to oppose the leadership of the Church. She also asserts that it is “not in accord with science and definitely against social welfare and race improvement”.5 Casti connubii is most noted for its anti-contraception position. Unlike major Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church has continued its opposition to artificial birth control. This encyclical, along with Humanae vitae, has come to represent that stance.

Offering my own opinion, this stance draws comparison to the war on drugs. People are going to have sex no matter how you try to stop them, and if you take away the one thing that can help them have it safely then all you are doing is spreading disease and creating unwanted pregnancies. Lest we forget, abortion is a non-solution for that poor Catholic couple that finds themselves pregnant at 16, their dreams of college shattered with only the shame-spitting Church to turn to. Their own parents will turn against them and side with the Church even though they are dealing with a biological imperative and desire strong enough that (gasp!) our own species would have died out without it like pandas in captivity. Oh I remember. The desire in me to have sex is strong enough now, but when I was 16 and first discovering women inside and out, the power of genital attraction is the handiwork of god itself. "Magnets! Yeah science, (and the obligatory) bitch!"9 And if for some reason they are unable to resist it, why should we give them a simple device that can save their lives and prevent them from having to bring their progeny into the world until such a time arises that they are able to care for it and raise it with maturity, financial stability, and all the other qualities a decent parent is expected to have.

But the Catholic Church says no to any form of contraceptive. It didn't even come from god, this imperative, but just a bunch of horny, child molesting men in silly costumes and funny hats who have never even had healthy sex. Yes indeed, they should be the authority on the subject. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XVI
2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vodka
3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casti_connubii
4) Casti connubii §69
5) http://www.thenation.com/article/popes-position-birth-control/
7) Pivarunas, Mark. A. (2002-02-18). "On the Question of Natural Family Planning". Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI). Retrieved 2007-06-03.
Harrison, Brian W. (January 2003). "Is Natural Family Planning a 'Heresy'?". Living Tradition (Roman Theological Forum) (103). Retrieved 2007-06-03.
8) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Pinkman
9) The Princess Bride
10) Latin: "of chaste wedlock"

mcd: I'm glad I got a somewhat divided response on this; shows I'm at least doing something right or at the very least stirring up entirely too placid waters.