Resident Zoe Fry responds to a letter written by Father Patrick Michaels of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Churh in response to the news that the Mill Valley Planned Parenthood will close when the renovated full-service San Rafael Planned Parenthood center opens in the summer.
When I first saw this last week I felt a million responses rise up in me. Then as the comments flowed in I had a million responses to those, both cheers and disappointments. I think my greatest grief as a deeply spiritual, yet not religious person, is how often humans fall into the us/them trap.
I encourage Father Michaels to refine his capacity to articulate the important point he is making about our culture and the degradation of sexuality of all its depth, beauty, and Devine purpose, As a Mother, I am deeply grieved to see the messages the media and culture pound into my children about the lack of value their sexuality and bodies inherently have.
But I am shocked to see Jamie blame others for the offenses of the men who are supposed to be committed to holding the Virtues of the teachings of the Catholic lineage! Maybe sexuality is healthy and inherent and it's time for the church to realize that to ask its representatives to cut off a part of their inherent nature is asking the impossible. These men are men, not gods. My best friend was repeatedly penetrated by a priest in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. I am sure Father Michaels can look up the case, if interested. I can attest that the damage is not repairable. The beauty of her sexuality and body was stolen from her. So to pontificate from such a shaky moral platform about the wrongs of others, women who find in their hearts that they truly believe they are not prepared for the lifetime commitment of Motherhood, regardless of what choice or mistake landed them there, feels deeply wrong to me.
Planned Parenthood is an organization that primarily provides tools to prevent unwanted pregnancy. I am confused, isn't that what the church wants too, to prevent unwanted pregnancies? I would encourage Father Michaels, who is known to be losing partitioners because of his "politics", to sit and contemplate if it is not time for the church to spend some time cleaning their own house, evolving if necessary, and then coming to the community, with messages that inspire higher behavior rather than pitch themselves into a battle around "choice" that can never be won.
The 55 million and counting that Jamie refers to are in countries that are only entering the educational and cultural expectations of western society. What is going to happen to the church if it doesn't evolve to be able to share the spiritually of the lineage without the power and politics? Will the numbers decline, as they are now in Italy, with Italy having the fastest growth of atheists of any nation? I have many dear, Catholic friends, who are horrified that the joy they experience in their lineage is being marred by abuse and politics. So my question to you, Father Michaels,is how can you do better as a representative of something inherently valuable to so many in a way that honors the devoted and inspires our culture to hear the message?
Mill Valley resident
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