Let me start by admitting I have an uneasy relationship with the Catholic church. As a Christian who belongs in the "protestant" category, I have well-researched reasons for being there. I am too wise to fall into the "we-all-believe-the-same-thing-anyway" crowd. Frankly, we don't.
But, there is much good in what the Catholic church teaches.
For instance, I agree that in an ideal world, people abstain from sex before marriage, there is no promiscuity, and wise choices are always made.
But... we're talking the Philippines, here, people.
My brother is married to a Filipina and he currently supports some of the children in her family. I have an ex-fiance who's a conflicted "Flip" (Filipino). He's American, and his relatives accuse him of being the "whitest" Flip they know. But, he has visited his homeland, and he is only one generation removed from the islands.
Obviously our family has often crossed paths with the Filipino culture, so we have a great deal of knowledge about them.
One of the things that is striking about the Phillipines is the rampant promiscuity that exists. For example: As a result of this being an ego-centric culture, children are often thrown to the wayside. After all, kids can get in the way of a budding romance, so they are usually discarded. Yup - discarded like yesterday's fish.
It is not uncommon for a divorced or single mother to kick her young children out into the street or fend them off on relatives who abuse them or neglect them. Why? Because the new man in her life is going to want to start his own family and he doesn't want the burden of some other man's children. And, it's likely that her mother did the same thing to her.
Obviously if this is the way that many mothers feel about their children, most men are more than happy to take advantage of it. And this is just one example of the wanton lifestyle that exists not as an aberration, but as the norm.
So it is certainly no surprise to find that AIDS is soaring in their population.
The Philippine government has decided that they need to do what they can to reduce the STDs that are rampant over there, and they are especially concerned about AIDS. The cold, hard truth is that the government may not have to pay for all the street urchins, but they certainly don't need a plague on their hands. Homeless children aren't a direct concern, but AIDS could become so.
So, the government decided to put their workers on the streets to hand out condoms and roses to those who were passing by.
But, as the Associated Press reports, "It didn't get far. Within days, leaders of the powerful Roman Catholic Church began urging the faithful to reject condoms, reigniting a long-running battle over contraception in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation."
OK, yay for the Catholic leaders: They get to stand on principle. But do we really need to subject these people to such restrictions even when they're not truly practicing (or believing) Catholics?
Because, let's face it, a practicing/believing Catholic wouldn't be indulging in promiscuity anyway, nor would they disregard the care of their children. Therefore it's logical to conclude that most Flips really are Catholic in name only (at best).
Taking away a person's options to do what they want to do is not truly promoting belief. Instead, it is promoting restrictions. If the Catholic church wants to take control of the population, they should take over the government first. But if the Catholic church wants to control their hearts, it's going about it the wrong way.
Let's face it, the Bible teaches that God gave man free will. Even God doesn't want man to be forced to come blindly to him: God wants man to approach him with an open heart.
Why should the Catholic church behave any differently?