The Sex-Obsessed Church Should Focus on Justice Instead

| April 10, 2002

The Sex-Obsessed Church Should Focus on Justice Instead

It seems farfetched to find anything positive about the latest charges of sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church. And yet, as David Morris compellingly argues in AlterNet, the scandal opens a promising new path for the Church as a result of the publicity.

'The timing is felicitous,' writes Morris. 'Pope John Paul II is increasingly frail. Speculation about a successor is emerging. The current debate about changing the Church's thinking on sexual topics could blossom into the kind of full-throated debate about the Church's mission that shook doctrinal foundations a generation ago.'

One of the best options for this refocusing, according to Morris, is to reconsider the stance that the Church took regarding its mission forty years ago at Vatican II, a groundbreaking council of bishops that reexamined the Church's role in the modern world. From this council, the Church abandoned many of its restrictions and doctrines to better serve its members.

However, that era soon gave way to another phase of intolerance in which the direction of Vatican II was reversed--hence the Catholic Church's current negative view of sexuality.

But Morris argues that with the current weakening of the Church's longstanding authority on sexual issues and morality--which critics have long argued to be shortsighted, faulty, and too rigid to serve as a guide to the masses--the Church again has the opportunity to redirect itself to new frontier and become a more positive force in guiding its followers.
--Julie Madsen
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