The Catholic Church may vehemently oppose suicide under all circumstances, but it seems hellbent on killing itself. Everything you need to know about the attitude of the "modern" Church and its juxtaposition with present-day society can be gleaned from its clergy's reaction to Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum over the weekend. After the heavily Catholic country approved same-sex marriage by a whopping 68 percent to 32 percent, the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, declared,
“I was deeply saddened by the result. The church must take account of this reality, but in the sense that it must strengthen its commitment to evangelisation. I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity.”
And that, ladies and gentleman, is the hymn of the doomed Catholic Church, which is the only entity in the world that doesn't know that its 2,000-year anti-gay run is over. Of all the predominantly Catholic countries that weren't supposed to legalize same-sex marriage, Ireland was on the top of the list. But not only did Ireland legalize same-sex marriage, it became the first country to do so by popular vote. Clearly, the laity is no longer a flock of sheep to be herded in accordance with collective carnal neuroses of sexually repressed old virgin men. Yet this, according to the cardinal, is a "defeat for humanity."
The Ireland vote is the latest part of an encouraging trend whereby Catholics are increasingly breaking from the Church on gay rights. This is especially true in the United States. According to an amazing Pew poll conducted last year, 70 percent of all U.S. Catholics say homosexuality should be accepted, including 57 percent of those aged 65 and over. Approval rates for same-sex marriage, however, drop off, but the only age group below that doesn't support marriage equality by a majority is the one that's going to die off the soonest:
Saying that the appropriate response to the Ireland vote and other steps toward gay equality is for the Church to "strengthen its commitment to evangelisation" is like the captain of a sinking ship saying that, with a little elbow grease, the vessel's next voyage will go much better. It's to be in total denial of a reality so obvious that you almost feel sorry for those who can't acknowledge it because they have on mentally crippling blinders. Truly, this is a sad state of affairs.
And despite the softer anti-gay rhetoric of Pope Francis, it seems the pontiff is no longer fooling people into thinking he represents some sort of radical departure from Church doctrine. The plain fact is he doesn't.
It's hardly a surprise then, that has the U.S. has become more socially progressive, the anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-women's ordination Catholic Church is hemorrhaging members. According to another Pew survey, released this month, the number of Catholics declined in total number (54.3 million in 2007 to 50.9 million in 2014) and as a percentage of the overall population.
As the Church steadfastly holds to its anti-gay ways, it will, more and more, resemble a disturbed mental patient growing more detached from reality every day. It has a choice: do what it must to align itself with the changing and morally right pro-gay social norms of Western society; or insist that the problem isn't with the Church, but reality. The former path leads to modernity and new-found relevance, while the latter path leads to self-destruction. And right now, the Catholic Church is choosing ghoulishly slow-acting euthanasia.