Here's a good illustration of why I'm tired of Rick Santorum talking about the Catholic Church's views on marriage and contraception. The guest host filling in for Dennis Prager today--not sure who it is--just stated this and I'm paraphrasing:
Rick Santorum believes that if you have sexual relations with your spouse without an accompanying desire to conceive a child then that somehow diminishes your relationship with your spouse. And I have a problem with that.
First of all, regardless of whether this misrepresented anything that the former Senator from Pennsylvania said, what the talk show host stated definitely misrepresented the teaching of the Catholic Church. The church doesn't teach that you always have to be desiring a child when having intercourse. Otherwise what is having sex while using NFP? or while the woman is already pregnant? The Church teaches that married couples should be open to life, not that they possess a desire for pregnancy each time they engage in sexual relations. Father Pavone has often stated that it is more important to have welcomed children than wanted children, so that is another way to make the distinction.
So here's my problem with Santorum bringing all this up. It doesn't matter if Santorum said exactly that or whether he said something which better represented the teaching of the Catholic Church. Whatever he did say is now out there in the echo chamber and is being reacted to by people who understand and by those who misunderstand, by those who agree and by those who disagree. And this Presidential election is not about contraception at all. It's about the economy, it's about the size of government, it's about the role of government, it's about individual freedom. Et cetera. I don't think the HHS Mandate and that whole battle is really even about contraception either, nor sterilization nor even abortion. It's about freedom of conscience and the rights of religious institutions which are under attack.
Sure, I think it's great to spread what Pope John Paul II called the Gospel of Life, and there is no shortage of material available for anyone who wants to study and discuss it. The Roman Catholic Church has been incredibly careful to elucidate its teachings about human sexuality. A presidential campaign is a terrible venue in which to promote these easily misunderstood doctrines, and Santorum's off-the-cuff style doesn't help. Public figures who are Roman Catholic should be content to allow their strong, and sometimes large, Catholic families be a silent witness to their acceptance of Church teachings. They should certainly avoid looking like street preacher wanna-bes.