Church will never become irrelevant
A recent letter writer contends that the Catholic Church has changed frequently over the ages and if it doesn’t continue to change now, especially regarding contraception, it will soon become irrelevant. I offer a few points in reply.
Many of her points are either sweeping generalizations or bring up issues that require a nuanced, lengthy explanation of the “development of doctrine.”
Here are a few specifics that can be answered in this space. One is her assertion that birth control “is simply the act of having sex without the desire for children.” Actually, the church would say that contraception – by means mechanical or chemical or manual devices designed to stifle, thwart and interfere with the natural rhythms of nature for the main purpose of avoiding fertilization – is contrary to morality.
She also writes that the church is now coming to new “understandings” regarding purgatory, the priesthood and transubstantiation. She may be referring to the speculations of theologians here, but I am unaware of any change in teaching by the church itself.
If the church is becoming “irrelevant,” it is so in our own “advanced Western cultures.” The church has never promised people that it will meet their needs or fit comfortably into their current lifestyle or allow for personal moral tastes. It has merely promised the truth: “The truth that will set you free.”