Let me see if I understand this correctly. It's okay for those who haven't actually read the Catechism and the writings of our current and previous popes to criticize the Church, because the Church plays a role in world affairs, and thus, what the Church teaches affects more than just the community of believers?
I think that's what some of you are saying, at any rate.
While I understand the logic behind this statement, I would again caution you against painting our faith with such broad strokes. Still waiting on my books to get here.
My basic point, I suppose, is that you can't take one piece of Church teaching and say, "this is ridiculous and medieval" without looking at how it fits into the whole framework of Catholic teaching about the nature of marriage and the family. And, even if you disagree and see the Church as some kind of force for evil on the world stage (despite the incredibly large scale of Catholic charitable work), I would say that yes, it is degenerating to the level of "Catholic-bashing" to say, "I'm not going to read anything the Church says, but I'll happily tell the world that the Church is archaic and oppressive."
How is it, Kristen, that you believe that the Church, in particular, is wielding its political authority in a way that threatens you? By opposing the government funding of contraception? Couldn't I argue that secularists are wielding their political authority in a way that threatens me
by extracting money from me via taxation to pay for things that I find immoral? We aren't lobbying to make contraception illegal. Just teaching that it is wrong. How does that threaten your ability to live your life as you choose? Similarly, the Church is not lobbying to make sex between two persons of the same gender illegal. Just teaching that it is wrong. Andrew Sullivan is perfectly able to choose to reject this teaching. Admittedly, it is a very difficult one, and counter to our society's "sex can never be wrong, if it makes you feel good" ethos. But there are Catholics who face these challenges and are able to overcome them. And the Church does not teach that same-sex intercourse is a greater sin than, for instance, fornication or contraception. Or that homosexuals are to be reviled. I know you've heard, "love the sinner, hate the sin," before, and probably you don't buy that line of reasoning. But the Catechism itself condemns acts of violence against people for reasons of sexual orientation. (somewhere...must. locate. catechism...)
Anyway, that's what I have to say in my current sleep-deprived state.