Follow by Email

The Church said WHAT?!?!

There always seems to be some conflict (and A LOT of misunderstanding) regarding Catholic social teaching and the rest of the world. One of the big argument points (for the past few decades at least) is the use of oral contraceptives. Naysayers usually believe that the Church's stand on contraceptives falls within a range of archaic or just plain barbaric. They often treat the Church as we would an old geezer that is unable to keep with the times or as a male-chauvinist out to trample all over women's rights.

Let me just say it now....I disagree with these folk.

I know....I know... I know exactly what you're thinking..."Oh great, here's another brainwashed Catholic woman out to defend the RCC again..."

Okay, I'm Catholic. The blog title confirms it. However, I encourage you skeptics to look a closer look at the title.
Catholic Science Geek
WHAT?!? A Catholic who's into science?!?! What has the world come to!?!? That can't be right! 

Yes, I understand. Perhaps the media, the Evangelical nuts, and the militant Dawkins nuts have convinced you that religion and science are mutually exclusive. However, something tells me these guys are either ignoring some major facts...or they're just plain silly.
Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître
Yeah, like you can just forget that it was a
Catholic priest who first suggested the Big Bang Theory.

Gregor Johann Mendel if you could simply just forget about this Catholic priest. He
pretty much provided the evidence that Darwin's theory needed to be taken seriously!

Now back to the original point of this post. 

I am a scientist by profession (if you call "Overworked and Stressed Out PhD Student" an occupation"). Therefore, I usually take anything the media tells me with a grain of salt (a HUGE grain of salt). Likewise, I also used to take the Church's teachings regarding contraceptives with a grain of salt....I was one of the people who used to consider the Church as an "old geezer" unable to keep up with  the times. That was until I really started looking into contraceptives, such as the pill. I had the opportunity to listen in on a lecture, where a list of known carcinogens was listed. (Carcinogens are cancer-causing agents.) 

It takes A LOT of tests/analyses/etc. for a drug or compound to make it onto a "KNOWN CARCINOGEN" list. They don't just throw stuff up there for the hell of it, or because a Pope in Rome told them to do so. No, when something makes it on this list, you can pretty much guarantee that it's bad news. You can pretty much guarantee that it will not end up in your kid's lunchbox. You can pretty much guarantee that there will be people protesting its use. Well, that's what I used to think. 

The American Cancer Society has this list posted on their website listing a bunch of terrible things that are KNOWN to cause cancer. It's based on lists compiled by two pretty reputable (and unbiased) agencies, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the US National Toxicology Program (NTP). I invite you to take a look at the list. I'm not one to throw the bible at atheists, as I am not one to throw my Evolutionary Biology book at Evangelicals. I am one of the people who tries to speak in a way that people understand. The cool thing about being a Catholic Science Geek is that I got a religious as well as scientific understanding about things like "the pill." I also have a level of understanding that came from experience considering that I was one of the many women out there who actually took the pill for some time. 

Below are the first 50 known human carcinogens listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. I copied and pasted it from the American Cancer Society site. I think it's very ironic that people are rushing their teenage daughters off to get HPV shots in order to prevent cancer...but not thinking twice about getting them on the pill. 

I'm not saying that taking the pill is an automatic one-way ticket to cancer. After all, as Paracelsus once said "the dose makes the poison." Yes, the pill has levels of estrogen much lower these days than they were when it was first introduce and administered to women. However, you also have to consider that there is a limit to how low these doses can go without losing their contraceptive effects. I don't know about you, but the safest bet you have regarding  carcinogens is avoiding as many of them as you can. No matter what we do, we will be exposed to some level of any number of carcinogens on this list (more extensive lists than the one below if you check out the link above). However, we can control our exposure to other carcinogens (by choosing not to smoke, by not drinking ourselves to death....etc). 

After taking a look at this list, and reading up on the whole "contraceptive issue" (from a religious, scientific, social, etc) point of view....I cannot help but think that the Church should get some credit when it comes to their stance on this issue. She's not out to get us. She's not out to oppress us women. She's out there to look out for us....because that's why Christ went through the trouble of building her. 
Known human carcinogens
International Agency for Research on Cancer
Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans
  1. Acetaldehyde (from consuming alcoholic beverages)
  2. Acid mists, strong inorganic
  3. Aflatoxins
  4. Alcoholic beverages
  5. Aluminum production
  6. 4-Aminobiphenyl
  7. Areca nut
  8. Aristolochic acid (and plants containing it)
  9. Arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds
  10. Asbestos (all forms) and mineral substances (such as talc or vermiculite) that contain asbestos
  11. Auramine production
  12. Azathioprine
  13. Benzene
  14. Benzidine and dyes metabolized to benzidine
  15. Benzo[a]pyrene
  16. Beryllium and beryllium compounds
  17. Betel quid, with or without tobacco
  18. Bis(chloromethyl)ether and chloromethyl methyl ether (technical-grade)
  19. Busulfan
  20. 1,3-Butadiene
  21. Cadmium and cadmium compounds
  22. Chlorambucil
  23. Chlornaphazine
  24. Chromium (VI) compounds
  25. Clonorchis sinensis (infection with)
  26. Coal, indoor emissions from household combustion
  27. Coal gasification
  28. Coal-tar distillation
  29. Coal-tar pitch
  30. Coke production
  31. Cyclophosphamide
  32. Cyclosporine
  33. Diethylstilbestrol
  34. Epstein-Barr virus (infection with)
  35. Erionite
  36. Estrogen postmenopausal therapy
  37. Estrogen-progestogen postmenopausal therapy (combined)
  38. Estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives (combined) (Note: There is also convincing evidence in humans that these agents confer a protective effect against cancer in the endometrium and ovary)
  39. Ethanol in alcoholic beverages
  40. Ethylene oxide
  41. Etoposide
  42. Etoposide in combination with cisplatin and bleomycin
  43. Fission products, including strontium-90
  44. Formaldehyde
  45. Haematite mining (underground)
  46. Helicobacter pylori (infection with)
  47. Hepatitis B virus (chronic infection with)
  48. Hepatitis C virus (chronic infection with)
  49. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) (infection with)
  50. Human papilloma virus (HPV) types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 (infection with) (Note: The HPV types that have been classified as carcinogenic to humans can differ by an order of magnitude in risk for cervical cancer)
Okay, so I spoke to scientific to cater to the religion-minded as to why I stick by the Church when it comes to "the pill."

Respondens Simon Petrus dixit : Tu es Christus, Filius Dei vivi.17 Respondens autem Jesus, dixit ei : Beatus es Simon Bar Jona : quia caro et sanguis non revelavit tibi, sed Pater meus, qui in cælis est. 18 Et ego dico tibi, quia tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram ædificabo Ecclesiam meam, et portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam.19 Et tibi dabo claves regni cælorum. Et quodcumque ligaveris super terram, erit ligatum et in cælis : et quodcumque solveris super terram, erit solutum et in cælis.

Simon Peter answered and said: You are Christ, the Son of the living God.Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood has notrevealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I say to you: That you are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.19 And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

See the significance here? The world may not see the things in the same way the Church sees things...much like no one else really saw Christ as Peter saw him. However, Peter saw what was it was revealed to him. When the Church says no to the "pill," she does so for a reason. Perhaps it is not as toxicology-based as my reasoning above...but it is moral-based. Not oppression-based. Not male-chauvinistic-based. She made her decision regarding oral contraceptives based on some pretty sound and relevant thinking. I wish I had the time to explain it all in the way in which it was explained to me. If you ever get the chance, I HIGHLY recommend "Love and Responsibility" by JPII. It was a life-changer for me. He pretty much broke things down for me in a way that I could never break down for you. I cannot do this work the best I can to is highly recommend it for now.

Okay, back to studying for neuroscience! 
Pax Vobiscum

1 comment:

  1. "But Er, Judah’s firstborn, greatly offended the LORD; so the LORD took his life.c 8d Then Judah said to Onan, “Have intercourse with your brother’s wife, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.” 9 Onan, however, knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid giving offspring to his brother. 10What he did greatly offended the LORD, and the LORD took his life too." Genesis 38:7-10.

    I, like you, am a science geek and again like you thought that the Church didn't know what it was talking about when it came to sex. As it turns out, JPII taught me I didn't know what I was talking about when it came to sex. :)

    Also, neuroscience? Yuck, that's what I'm in now. Hope it's more fun for you!