Just Catholic

I just want to be Catholic. I was trying to articulate earlier a longing I have had recently to just be Catholic. No more fighting over whether the Church should or not have done such and such a thing. No more surprise that her bishops are, sometimes, disasters. Remember the Arians! No more “Why can’t there be a Tridentine Mass around me?”. No more “Why can’t we sing real hymns?”. No more “How can Cardinal Mahoney still be a bishop?”. All such questions are an exercise in evasion of reality.

Another aspect to this whole feeling, which I will no doubt describe very badly, as is my wont, is the desire to not bind where the Church has not bound. I can only think of one example right now, though I know that there are many out there. I swear. The example that springs immediately to mind, though, is the issue surrounding abortion-tainted vaccines. I won’t say where, but I have recently been exposed to some opinions which seem to state that the Church is wrong to allow Catholic couples to vaccinate their children with such vaccines. To be clear, the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) has stated:

“[W]e find…a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles.”

It is here clearly stated that “these vaccines” can be used. Not only the rubella vaccine. Vaccines. Plural. But “particularly” the rubella vaccine.

Similarly, the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) states:

One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.

The NCBC is not magisterial. Not even close. But they are faithful. As are others who come down on the other side of the issue. But in this, they basically parrot the PAL. We are “morally free” to use these vaccines.

None of this is in any way to deny the rights of parents to “abstain from using these vaccines” (PAL again). But it is to say that parents do have the moral freedom to vaccinate their children with them.

And here’s the point: I have no interest whatsoever in trying to second-guess the PAL in what they have said. They have spoken. Until they speak again, it is not my duty to attempt to bind where the Church has not bound. In this I find that the Church, as usual, is much more human and humane than your average axe-to-grinder.

And I rejoice to simply be human and Catholic and live as best as I can.


~ by Rob on April 4, 2007.

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