There are a number of things I admire about the Catholic Church. I admire their reverence for life, their emphasis on service, and the beautiful music they use in their ceremonies. I admire the dedication to God that groups such as Opus Dei (who are nothing like the portrayal they received in The DaVinci Code) exhibit. I greatly admire the late Pope John Paul II for his courage in fighting politically instituted evil. During World War II (before he became a priest), his name was Karol Wojtyla and he helped many Jews to safety. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, he courageously encouraged the people of Communist countries to trust in God in their fight against oppression- even when it resulted in an assassination attempt masterminded by Soviet Intelligence. (1) In fact, if it hadn't been for Pope John Paul II pacing the way, the LDS Church may have never gotten into Eastern Europe. (And as a side note on popes, we should all put the accusations against Pope Benedict XVI of being a Nazi into perspective since there were few choices about political activity during World War II in Germany. His father was strongly against the Nazis. Pope Benedict XVI was conscripted into the Hitler Youth, and then was conscripted into the German army but later deserted. In fact, according to a Fox news article, when the Allies invaded his hometown, they set up their headquarters in his parents’ farmhouse. (2) Now back to our regularly scheduled program...)
My beliefs and the beliefs of the Catholic Church are similar in many ways. Like the Catholics, I believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died for the sins of mankind and that through him we can gain salvation for our souls. I believe that it is God’s will for us to serve our fellow human beings. I believe that baptism is a necessary ordinance for salvation. I believe that sex should be saved only for marriage between a man and woman. I believe that the Bible is the word of God. However, there are a number of things I disagree with the Catholic Church on- such as the celibacy of clergy, baptism of infants, the nature of the Fall, and a blanket prohibition of all birth control except for Natural Family Planning. But though we disagree on many points, I still respect the good that they are trying to accomplish. I admire Catholics who are honestly working to make the world a better place and follow Jesus Christ.
I can also agree with medical doctors on a number of points. For example, if I am ever in a horrible car accident (which I certainly hope never happens), the first place I want to be is in an emergency room. I may use chiropractic care, herbs, and homeopathy in my recovery, but only a surgeon would be able to put me back together again to begin the recovery process. If my child ever breaks a bone, we will go to the emergency room. I wash my hands after using the bathroom and cover my mouth and nose with my sleeve when I sneeze so as to prevent the spread of germs. However, there are obviously a number of things that I disagree with the medical establishment on. That doesn’t mean I have to get combative about it though.
For example, when I watch Anne of Green Gables and medical student Gilbert Blythe is on his deathbed from scarlet fever, do I make grandstanding speeches about how Gilbert could have avoided this state by eating a plant-based diet high in raw foods, taking a homeopathic remedy for his symptoms and maybe getting a good chiropractic adjustment? No. I enjoy the sweetness of the love story and the beauty of the movie. (While my husband complains that the acting feels very much like a ward roadshow and that music is too melodramatic and requests that we watch something that is more testosterone friendly.) When my friends post on facebook that their child has just had an asthma attack, or their baby is running a high fever, or that it’s winter and everyone in the family is horribly sick despite getting a flu-shot, do I say, “Ha! I told you so!”? No. I offer my sympathy and wishes for their good health. Actually, most of my close family and friends have no clue about my views on vaccination. I simply don’t bring it up. I have relatives on medications, family members who work in hospitals, and friends who are in medical school.
On the rare occasion when I do bring up “alternative” healthcare to them, I try do it as casually and kindly as possible and don’t pass judgement.
Likewise, I can admire the hearts of those physicians who are honestly trying to help, even if they may be wrong about the efficacy of the treatments they are suggesting. Most doctors simply believe what they were taught in medical school (and if you shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to go to medical school, wouldn’t you expect to be getting the best and most accurate education?) I see doctors in much the way I see Catholics: Good people who are trying to do the right thing and serve their fellowmen and who have some truth, but also have some error from the the misguided ideas of men.
Sources(1) Pope John Paul II http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II
(2) Pope Benedict the XVI during WWII http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,153942,00.html