Why I'm No Longer Catholic

(originally posted on Dreamwidth in 2018)

As of this past February, it has been 10 years since I officially STOPPED considering myself Catholic for good. And wouldn't you know, this weekend a bunch of Catholics are posting anti-birth-control bullshit all over Tumblr. So now is as good a time as any to enumerate all of the reasons I am no longer Catholic, in no particular order:

1. Claim that God is omnipotent. Also simultaneously claim that this same god is somehow unable to call a person to the vocation of the priesthood if that person was born with a vagina. No, seriously, ordaining a woman as a priest, or even pretending to, is an excommunicable offense. Because, apparently, the Vatican knows better than God about who deserves to be a priest and who doesn't. (Getting someone else who wants excommunicated to videotape my ordination is on the Bucket List. Just so I can send the video to the Vatican. Petty? Perhaps.)

2. The entire massive, multigenerational clusterfuck that is the perpetual mishandling of child-molesters in the clergy. Protip: If you want to make the Church look good, then every time you find out about a child molester in your ranks, MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF THEM. Publicly defrock and excommunicate them. If you want to make the Church look bad, then keep playing the game where you move them around from parish to parish, allowing them access to more and more victims. And yes, every single Catholic from the rank of bishop on up is 100% guilty of either deliberately moving around pedophiles, or covering the whole thing up. Even Francis, the feel-good pope.

3. Thanks to my spiritual and emotional abuse by a fundamentalist church-school (a Church of God, not a Catholic church, but my very Catholic parents still sent me there because it was the only Christian school in the entire county), I can either be somewhat emotionally stable, or I can be Christian, but I, personally, can no longer be both. Symptoms have included envy of the medieval flagellants, a deep-seated conviction that my sins were so great they could only be purged by blood, and young-earth creationism. (Yes, really. It was BAD, okay?)

4. Anti-LGBT+ bigotry. I'm bisexual. A large number of my friends are some variety of queer. I am not amused.

5. The doctrine of papal infallibility was a fucking huge mistake. Basically, it says that when the pope makes an official doctrinal statement, God is speaking through him and therefore he can NEVER, EVER BE WRONG. So...how do we know he's not making it up?

6. A massive campaign against ALL forms of birth control, along with abortion. I, like most folks who were raised Catholic, were lied to about these topics so, so very much.

a. We were told that the use of contraceptives caused enough additional adultery and non-marital sex to cause an INCREASE in the number of abortions. Trust me, there are not enough hours in the day for people to have THAT much sex. We're talking about a thousand-fold increase being necessary, here.

b. Oh, does the Catholic church hate condoms. To the point that, the first time I had sex, it was unprotected, because I thought that using a condom would be a far worse sin than the sex itself. I had a pregnancy scare and a weird depressive episode following what may have been a miscarriage or may have just been an abnormally heavy, chunky period. All because I was taught that condoms were evil.

c. "Sometimes" is not an accurate description of birth-control failure rates. It (quite deliberately) misleads you into thinking that you might have a HUGE chance of the condom breaking or the Pill being ineffective, when that's just not the case. Here are actual failure rates for most methods of birth control, and here is a guide to what exactly that means.

d. Holy abortion-related lies, Batman! Anti-abortion pamphlets taught me a lot of things that just aren't so. I got a very incorrect picture of how quickly that embryo starts to look like a baby (correct embryology, with lots of pictures, can be found here). I was led to believe that late term abortions occurred during the third trimester, instead of the second. I was led to believe that D&X was performed for trivial reasons. (Just because 92% of fetuses aborted through D&X had cleft lip and palate, doesn't mean that was the ONLY defect! FFS, nobody gets a late-term abortion just for shits and giggles!) I was led to believe that no mother ever has to terminate a wanted pregnancy. I was led to believe that the entire abortion process was one of pressuring the pregnant person into getting a "lump of tissue" cut out, and that afterward they basically just kicked you out. This sort of aftercare was something I'd never even considered being possible. Yet, by and large, women who have to terminate a wanted pregnancy due to defects incompatible with life--meaning, birth defects that WILL cause suffering and death of the baby either at birth, or within the first few years of life--are treated with care and respect, and given the opportunity to grieve their lost child.

e. More abortion-related lies: I was told that getting an abortion increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy. It doesn't. I was told that getting an abortion makes you less able to carry a wanted pregnancy to term. It doesn't. I was told that getting an abortion makes you more prone to breast cancer. There is no statistically-significant increase in BC rates after an abortion.

f. The Pill. Oh, did they ever demonize the Pill--talking up the side-effects, demonizing the "sluts" who used them, implying at every turn that giving birth was Our Destiny As Women and that any woman who didn't want to was broken. This poison was so strongly hammered into my brain that, in 2010, two whole YEARS after I'd cut ties with the Church, my mother actually shocked me. I was having the worst period you can imagine--cramps that had me doubled over in pain, bloating that had increased my waistline by two pants sizes overnight, anemia so bad I couldn't get out of bed. I was 24. She told me that it sounded like I needed to go to the gynecologist and get put on birth-control pills. I hadn't even realized that my period was abnormal, let alone that the Pill could be used to help in that situation. 8 years later, I'm still on the Pill, because it keeps me from feeling like my uterus is trying to kill me, and keeps me employable. I would not be able to hold down a job successfully if I had to worry about getting 2-3 days off work every single month for an abnormally-terrible period.

7. I had what I believe to be a religious experience, in which I believe I made contact with other gods. So...a monotheistic religion just isn't for me.