When will the Vatican join the 21st century? As Pope Benedict's recent tour of Latin America illustrated, the church's antiquated ideals of chastity and opposition to birth control are far more important than the very real threat of AIDS in that part of the world and the changing social mores everywhere. This is the same man who told the people of the overpopulated and undernourished regions of Africa to "be fruitful and multiply." I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The Vatican is insulated in its own medieval world, all but ignorant of how society has changed. Yes, people now have sex before marriage, some women want to terminate unwanted pregnancies and control whether or not they become pregnant, and AIDS is a very real threat that can't be quelled through prayer and holy water, but condoms can be used to stop the spread of a disease that has taken many lives. Aren't Catholics supposed to respect the sanctity of life? Homosexuality is now generally accepted, whether the church likes it or not. And women actually want to be in positions of authority. Focusing on these little issues is the reason young people are leaving the church, not some demonic influence or the rise of other religions. For their part, certain progressive Catholic groups in Brazil protested the Pope's words, contending that spiritual growth should accept change rather than oppose it. The world has changed since the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church reigned over all aspects of life and could promote its gospel of misogyny and forced chastity at will. Some more extreme members of the church still think they have that power, but for the most part, the world has stopped listening.
On the subject of misogynistic religions, Muslim women in Europe are "regaining" their virginity through operations. Many of the women interviewed in the article said they did it because their future husbands expect to marry a virgin, and they've had premarital sex. I understand that some sexual encounters may be a source of regret, but if a man values a woman's virginity more than the woman herself, maybe the woman shouldn't be marrying him. If someone loves you, they will accept your past mistakes as in the past, and not demand an operation to "correct" it, or, in the case of most of these women, not even know because the operation was performed without the man's knowledge. These marriages, starting out on a lie, are not healthy. Another retreat, brought to us by religious fervor, back to the medieval days of enforced chastity (for women only) and faith spitting in reason's face.
That story makes me sick. Onto a happier topic. Bound is reopening this Friday at a more accesible venue, which means I can probably get out there more often. I desperately wanted to go last week to celebrate Dolphy's birthday with her (I'm sorry again that I missed it Dolphy, how can I make it up to you?), but collapsed when I got home from work and was in no mood to trek down to Southwest. After being unable to attend two friends' birthday celebrations (Dolphy and Trinity), with my birthday coming up in a few weeks, why should I expect anyone to show up at my celebration? Hopefully they'll come out anyway, and I hope they understand that I really wanted to go to their parties. I'm kind of new at this whole "having friends" thing, and getting out to see them sometimes requires a concerted effort on my part. It sounds crazy to you more normal people out there, but for me it really is a serious problem, that I hope my new friends will help me solve and be patient while I sort it all out.