Occasionally I find myself lamenting at the lack of humility and intelligence of the human race.
Last night while watching the ABC's Q and A programme I found myself shouting at the television! The show had a panel of quests and a live studio audience who were discussing religion and the existence of God. Among the guests were Jesuit Fr. Frank Brennan, a young Muslim gentleman who is a politics lecturer, a "militant atheist" and someone who called herself a "social Catholic."
What riled me the most was the way in which the audience and several panel members assumed that they knew what the Catholic church teaches about homosexuality and contraception. Fr. Brennan was asked about gay marriage, then later in the show, he was asked was homosexuality considered a sin by the church. In the limited time he was given he attempted to explain the churches teaching much to the surprise of the audience. They assumed that he had gone against church teaching. They ASSUMED that they knew more than a Catholic priest! In short he was trying to say that those outside of marriage are called to celibacy.
The other assumption was that if you follow the Pope then you must have 10 children. More shouting at the television! We follow the churches teaching on life, and we only have 3 children. According to those people I must not be an orthodox Catholic.
The "social Catholic" on the panel joked that her 80 year old mother says that she had a "Vatican bypass" thirty years ago. It is very easy to just say well I don't agree with x or y without knowing what the teaching are or why the church holds a particular view! I know because I felt the same way 10 years ago. I had a lot of anger toward the church. However, when I took the time to find out why the church teaches what it does, all my anger gave way to understanding.
I find it quite concerning that people with a very limited amount of knowledge assume that they have a handle on an issue. A little information can be a dangerous thing. Unfortunately many people take a position of authority when in fact they are almost totally ignorant. I believe this is due to laziness and a lack of humility. How much better would the world be if we took the time to research a topic before assuming that we know it all?
If I succeed in teaching my children to have an informed opinion before opening their mouths, I will have given them a rare gift. In educating my sons I am aiming to teach them that what they read or hear in the media might not be true. I will have failed if they do not question and research information for themselves.
If you are not Catholic, or you are feeling indignant about a Catholic teaching like contraception, I challenge you to do a some research. You might surprise yourself.