I’m pretty sure that if God were actually as intolerant and narrow minded as the modern-day minions in the Vatican who preside over His church, none of us would be here. I was born and raised Catholic, but I am no longer a practicing Catholic. However, I know what I was taught. Procreation was and still is a cornerstone of Catholicism. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any issue with contraception or family planning. But apparently that whole procreation thing only goes so far.
To wit, Emily Herx, a well-regarded English teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was fired last June after she requested time off to undergo in-vitro fertilization (IVF). According to the school’s Pastor, Msgr. John Kuzmich, Mrs. Herx is a “grave, immoral sinner” for undergoing these treatments because IVF kills embryos and that is morally unacceptable. He also told her that it would cause a scandal if she stayed on as a teacher. Although she signed a contract agreeing to uphold the religious beliefs of the Catholic church, Emily Herx said that the details of the contract were never explained to her.
Herx filed a complaint with the EEOC and won, and now she has filed a federal lawsuit against the school as well as the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Herx’s suit may be a moot point since, earlier this year, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that prevents employees from suing religious organizations and churches for job discrimination. There’s still enough “gray” area in the ruling that it could very well go in Herx’s favor, because the court refused to give a detailed description of what exactly constitutes a religious employee. We’ll have to see.
Some say that because Herx taught at a Catholic school, her decision to undergo IVF could be interpreted to be at odds with the school’s broader mission. However, Gregory Lipper, senior litigation counsel at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, disagrees. According to Lipper, deeming an English teacher “a minister” in a Catholic school is “Exhibit A of what goes wrong if the exception becomes too broad.”
Lipper goes on to say that if a teacher of purely secular subjects is viewed as a minister, then every single employee of the Church can be viewed as such. “It becomes an open license to discriminate,” he says. Mrs. Herx was an English teacher. She never taught religion, and she never discussed her IVF treatments with students.
From a personal perspective, I was born and raised a Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 13 years, including two years of junior college. However, I tuned out at a very early age. I can remember skipping church with friends. I can remember just going through the motions through junior high and high school when it came to religion class. My personality is such that I question and challenge a lot of religious teachings. That isn’t allowed. It’s all about accepting what you’re taught based on faith. Don’t question. Just believe.
What I did take away from what I learned in Catholic school was this: God gave man a free will to do with it what he wanted. In my opinion, the Catholic Church has failed to keep up with a changing world in many respects. The IVF issue is just one of them. If there is indeed a God, he gave man a brain so that he could use it to make advances in all kinds of fields. One such field is medicine. There are arguments and disagreements about how old the Bible is and how old the earth is. The Bible says the earth is 6,000 years old. Scientists say it is older than that. (For the record, l’m on the side of science.) However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the earth is 6,000 years old. If that’s the case, I still do not believe that God expects human beings to live under the religious dogmas that were in place 6,000 years ago. We were told that God knew all. Certainly, he was smart enough to know that the world would undergo tremendous change. Many of the Catholic church’s laws came from the Vatican hierarchy who interpreted God’s teaching and failed to adapt them to the modern world.
Finally, Catholics have “bought in” to the notion of Papal infallibility. How ridiculous is that notion? The Pope is nothing more than a mere mortal. God does not come and speak to him every night giving him guidance. It’s all about Papal power. Protecting Papal infallibility is the primary goal of the Vatican bureaucracy. Without it, the church would self destruct. Think about where this blind allegiance has led us. Nobody has ever questioned the Pope or the church. The notion that priests became pedophiles because they are celibate is incredulously naïve. The reality is that the Church, because of its unquestioned status, became a safe haven for pedophiles and gave them access to what they want. For years, the perpetrators of these crimes were moved around from diocese to diocese, committing atrocities on children at will. What was important was keeping it quiet and not tarnishing the reputation of the church. To this day, little has been done to hold any of the guilty accountable. The Catholic church has certainly not been held accountable. And frankly, the Pope has spent much of his time avoiding the issue. Yet, the Pope is supposed to be infallible and the world’s moral leader?
With all of this evil history, the Church is worried about a woman having IVF because she and her husband want a family? Wow.