Is the Catholic Faith Bad for Women? The Propaganda Versus The Evidence

Note: The following blog is different from previous blogs in terms of its length and detail.  In this blog, I share a study that I have conducted which examined the relationship between the Catholic Faith and women’s liberty.  This is examined from a scientific perspective by analysing what the raw data/empirical evidence has to say on this subject. It is presented here for people who are interested in approaching this subject from an objective and scientific point of view. By approaching it this way, it is hoped that any subjective bias that the author may have will be removed from this analysis.  The study highlights the compatibility of the Catholic Faith and science.  It is hoped that by presenting the facts and explaining basic philosophical/theological principles, readers will then be able to see the relationship between the Catholic Faith and women’s liberty more clearly.  It is also hoped that people can then form opinions and views about the relationship between the Catholic Faith and women’s liberty based on reason and objective evidence rather than emotion and propaganda.  I will return to shorter blogs next week. 

The Catholic Faith and Women’s Liberty:  A Review of the Empirical Evidence from Around the World

The following article examines the impact the Catholic faith has on women by looking at data from the World Value Survey and European Value Survey.  While this article outlines a scientific investigation, it is written in a slightly more informal style so that it can be understood by those not familiar with reading scientific publications.  The author also hopes that enough information is provided and methods clearly explained that it can be critiqued and the results verified by any researchers who wish to review what is shared here. If the reader wishes to have access to any further data/tables/results or has any questions about what is shared below please contact the author at: truthandfreedomtherapy@outlook.com  

Overview/Abstract:

Many articles have been published and many campaigns have been launched to remove the influence of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith on women’s lives. This has been done mainly in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘women’s liberty’.  Data from the World Value Survey (2010-14) and the European Value Survey (2008-10) was used to examine the relationship between women’s perceived sense of freedom and the Catholic Faith.  Results showed that the Catholic Faith did not have a negative impact on women’s sense of freedom. Further investigation highlighted a positive relationship between the Catholic Faith and women’s sense of freedom.  The discussion looked at the implications of this evidence and what ‘freedom’ actually means.   

Introduction:

In 2018, the protection that the Irish Constitution offered babies was removed from the Constitution. This opened the door for the State sanctioned killing of babies.  One of the main arguments for the killing of babies was the cry for female liberty/emancipation. ‘My body, my choice’ was one of the favoured slogans of the pro-abortion lobby.  There was also much talk of women breaking free from patriarchal suppression.  Finally, there was the disgustingly irreverent slogan, ‘Keep your rosaries off my ovaries’ that was trumpeted by those campaigning for the legal killing of babies.  The Catholic Church was consistently portrayed by the media and pro-abortion advocates as the great patriarchal oppressor of women.  When the result to kill babies came through on the 25th May 2018, feminists celebrated and the Irish Independent published an incredibly crass picture with the caption, ‘Rosarectomy’, which advanced the idea that women had taken a huge step forward in their emancipation from the patriarchy (1).  The line that the Catholic Church prevented, and still prevents, female freedom was repeated so much that it was evident that many women believed that the Church and its beliefs were the only things standing in the way of their freedom and happiness.

The investigation below set out to examine the link between freedom, happiness and the Catholic faith. It was designed to investigate what the objective scientific data had to say on the matter, rather than rely on media reports or popular opinion.

Here is a short outline of the research that was conducted:

The Catholic Faith and Women’s Liberty

Human beings naturally want to be free and can feel oppressed and stifled when we are not so.  In addition to public safety, prisons are used to take away people’s freedom as punishments for their crimes.  Parents also use restrictions on freedom, such as grounding their child, to discipline their children.  Freedom is precious to us with St Thomas Aquinas noting that freedom is a natural desire of human beings (2).  People are drawn to that which offers freedom and they pull away from that which they believe offers chains or restrictions on their freedom.  Free will is part of what makes us human and distinct from animals. Nobody likes to be forced to do things against their will, so it is natural to want to protect, guard and seek to increase one’s sense of freedom.        

A sense of freedom and life satisfaction are intimately intertwined. Research on the World Value Survey and European Value Survey have shown that the strongest correlate with life satisfaction is one’s sense of freedom. This relationship is highlighted in a 2009 paper by Italian economist Paolo Verme, “Happiness, freedom, and control.” (3) Verme finds that:

The variable freedom and control is by far the most significant predictor of life satisfaction. It shows the highest coefficient, the highest odds ratio, the highest z-score and one of the lowest standard errors. For a one step increase in the one to ten freedom and control scale, happiness is expected to change about 36 percent of a step on the one to ten happiness scale …’ (4)

It must be noted here, however, that freedom is not an end in itself. The free choices we make can either help or hinder us in trying to achieve the ultimate end we were created for, i.e. eternal happiness.  Free will has been granted to us so that we can know, honour and love God/the Truth.  However, if we abuse the freedom we have been given we can end up in chains in a physical sense, e.g. being locked up in prison. In a psychological and spiritual sense, if we abuse the freedom we have been given and drift away from the truth, i.e. the Catholic faith, we can end up in chains as we become chained to vice and sin. We end up damaging our mental well-being and not being as free or happy as we could have been.  This is what the Church and the Catholic Faith teaches us (5).  Freedom does not just consist in the capacity to ‘judge for oneself’ but it is also dependent on making the right choices and choosing the real good, rather than an illusory, apparent ‘good’.  St Thomas Aquinas makes this clear in his ‘Summa Theologica’ which Fr Chad Ripperger (6) explains: ‘St Thomas notes that the root of freedom is constituted in reason for without reason, the will cannot perform its operations.  It also means that free choice of the will ultimately has its root in the truth, for if the intellect fails in its operation to judge rightly about something, the object presented to the will will be affected. Consequently, true freedom for man consists not only in the capacity of the will to choose or ‘judge for itself’ but also in the intellect’s right operation which consists in knowing the truth.’ (p. 118)

The alternative argument to this, which has been advanced ever since the Church was established, is that it is the Church and the Faith itself that reduces our freedom.  As stated above, throughout the last number of years, especially during the abortion Referendum campaign in Ireland, it was constantly asserted that the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith are particularly restrictive of women’s ‘freedom’. One of the main accusations that is thrown at the Catholic Church and the Catholic faith is that it is a toxic patriarchal system that oppresses women and restricts their ‘freedom’. For example, Una Mullally, with ‘The Irish Times’, writing in support of ‘women’s/abortion rights’ writes, ‘Ireland has existed in a vacuum of misinformation, taboo, and hostility towards abortion for so long, underpinned by Catholic dogma’ (7).  This same prominent and influential journalist has also asserted on her Twitter page that ‘Just in case anyone is confused about the fight for legal abortion in Ireland, it’s Catholicism versus women’s rights.’ These accusations have become so prevalent that many people seem to think that they must be true.  (Note: Freedom here is put in inverted commas as people who push for ‘freedom’ and believe that the Catholic faith is against ‘freedom’ have a flawed understanding of what true freedom is.  This will be explained in the discussion section. For now, the data will examine women’s sense of freedom). 

So there are two competing claims: 1.) Catholic Faith is liberating for women and leads to increased freedom and 2.) The Catholic Faith is oppressive for women and decreases freedom.  These claims cannot both be true. I decided to look at what the data said on this issue.

The study:

The following study set out to explore what the empirical evidence said about the competing claims above. It was decided to examine the raw data rather than rely on previous social science investigations for this study.  There were two reasons for this:  Firstly, it is based on the author’s experience studying, researching and working in the field of sociology and social/cultural psychology.  The author saw how unscientific and non-objective much of the research in this area is and how it is driven by Marxist, feminist ideology.  Secondly, and following on from the first reason, the majority of social science articles that are published today are not reliable. The peer review process has become a sham and what is published is not good scientific studies but rather studies that promote the pet theories of a particular researcher.  The reason for this is because the foundations of most social science research are based on principles that are not grounded in the truth.  Social science researchers admit and are even proud of this.  For example, see paper by Maurice Dobb, ‘a foremost Marxian economist of his generation in Britain’ (8), where he argues that Marxism is the foundation for social science research (paper cited below in references) and this review by a prominent professor of political science on ‘Karl Marx and the Social Sciences’ (9) where it is argued that, ‘It is this ‘social epistemology’ of Marx that provided philosophical and methodological inspiration for most of the radical social science and humanities traditions in the twentieth century throughout the world. It is also this legacy of Marx that we can see reviving itself in the contemporary intellectual efforts to make sense of what is happening to the human world under conditions of economic globalization, and the wild expansion of capital under neo-liberal reforms at global level.’ Marxist theories have a flawed and dangerous understanding of what a human being is and the above quote highlights how it is the legacy of Marx that has led to the current crisis we are seeing in much of academia.

Errors in the understanding of human psychology are fatal for sociology and social science research. As Fr Doolan (8) points out in his excellent book, ‘Philosophy for the Layman’, ‘Sound ethics and sociology can be based only on sound psychology’ (p. 76). The current bias has become apparent to some social science professors, such as Jonathan Haidt (10) and Jordan Peterson (11), as they point out the dangers of Marxist ideology to academia.  (Note: These two men point out some of the problems currently in academia but they fail to really address the root cause. Thus, they both fail to promote sound sociology as they both lack understanding about what a human being truly is and what the purpose of this life is. They are referenced here to highlight how even those who are not Christian are seeing the problems with the social sciences).  When the foundations of a discipline are built on dangerous errors, these errors tend to only multiply and the discipline and its adherents drift further away from the truth.  For these reasons, it is best to go directly to the raw data as one can cut through all the theoretical errors and see what the raw data actually says. This is what the author decided to do.

Method:

This research examined the most recent data from wave 6 of the World Value Survey (2010-2014).  The 2010-2014 wave interviewed over 80’000 from 64 different countries.  This data is freely available for download from the World Value Survey website (www.worldvaluesurevy.org). It is an excellent source of data and provides researchers with much to explore and investigate. The statistical software program, SPSS, was used to analyse the data.  The investigation looked at ‘descriptive statistics’ for certain questions. Using this data and program, the present study examined the average scores women gave on the following question:

Some people feel they have completely free choice and control over their lives, while other people feel that what they do has no real effect on what happens to them. Please use this scale where 1 means ‘no choice at all’ and 10 means ‘a great deal of choice’ to indicate how much freedom of choice and control you feel you have over the way your life turns out

No choice at all’ – 1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10 – ‘A great deal of choice

Samples: It was decided to only examine samples in countries where there were at least fifty female Catholic respondents to this question.  This was done so there would be sufficient sample sizes to draw conclusions from.  Twenty-eight countries remained after this process (see table 1 below for list of these countries). 

Results:

Scores for female Catholics on the above freedom question were compared with scores from the general female population.  This showed that Catholic women rated themselves as more free than the general population in sixteen of these twenty eight countries (57.1 per cent) (see table 1). 

Table 1: Scores on freedom question – General female population, female ‘Catholics’, female ‘basic Catholics’ and females with ‘no religion’:

Country Freedom question score – general female population Freedom question score -female ‘Catholics’ Freedom question score –  female ‘basic Catholics’ Freedom question score – females with ‘No religion’
Ghana 7.2 7.18 7.26 7.14
Nigeria 7.08 7.71 7.73 7.04
Zimbabwe 6.3 6.35 6.58 4.87
Singapore 6.8 6.74 6.94 6.71
Lebanon 6.82 6.88 6.92 No data
Philippines 7.4 7.59 7.75 6.08
Ukraine 6.5 6.5 6.25 5.94
T & T 8.23 8.47 8.19 7.74
USA 7.75 7.96 8.02 7.51
Belarus 6.12 6.62 6.93 5.67
Mexico 8.44 8.47 8.51 8.15
Brazil 7.68 7.59 7.52 7.86
Ecuador 7.78 7.68 7.81 7.67
Colombia 8.13 8.19 8.17 7.81
Poland 6.69 6.65 6.64 6.97
Peru 7.36 7.27 7.46 7.02
S Korea 6.5 6.75 6.94 6.37
Chile 7.11 7.21 7.2 6.96
NZ 7.92 8.05 7.68 8.18
Australia 7.72 7.92 8.09 7.93
Argentina 7.38 7.41 7.44 7.31
South Africa 7.03 6.89 7.69 6.7
Slovenia 7.95 7.76 7.42 8.26
Germany 6.95 7.23 7.28 7.18
Spain 6.87 6.86 6.97 7.11
Uruguay 7.74 7.65 7.96 7.93
Rwanda 6.82 6.88 7.28 6.58
Netherlands 6.94 6.84 6.55 6.97

Countries where ‘Catholic’ women rated themselves as more free than the general population: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Germany, South Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Trinidad & Tobago, United States (16)

These initial results suggested that the Catholic faith does not restrict women’s sense of freedom.  However, one must be careful to check whether those who profess to be Catholic are true believers as many people tick the ‘Catholic’ box when asked about their religion due to cultural or societal reasons.  To assess whether the females calling themselves ‘Catholic’ were cultural Catholics, i.e. they called themselves ‘Catholic’ without really believing or practicing the faith, further criteria was applied. The following criteria was applied to see how many of those who professed to be ‘Catholic’ held basic Catholic beliefs. This criteria was whether they:

– believed in God

– believed in hell

– rated God as important in their life (6 out of 10 or more)

– prayed at least once a week

This gave us a group of female Catholics who professed basic Catholic beliefs and practices. It also showed how few female ‘Catholics’ there were who believed basic Catholic beliefs or engaged in basic Catholic practices (See table 2 below). 

Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe (92.1 per cent, 91.2 per cent and 85.3 per cent respectively) have the largest percentage of women who call themselves Catholic and believe and practice the basics of the faith. Within the Netherlands, only 6.5 per cent of women who call themselves Catholic follow the basic beliefs and practices of the Catholic faith.

Table 2: Percentage of female ‘Catholics’ and percentage of those female Catholics who profess basic Catholic beliefs and practices

Country Percentage of Catholics (of female population) Percentage of female Catholics who profess basic beliefs/practices (in descending order)
Ghana 12.4 92.1
Nigeria 19.5 91.2
Zimbabwe 17.3 85.3
Singapore 5.5 78.9
Lebanon 21.5 78
Philippines 62.4 76
Ukraine 5.5 71.2
T & T 19.5 69.3
USA 17.3 66.9
Belarus 8.5 62.7
Mexico 60.3 62.2
Brazil 44.8 61.3
Ecuador 52.4 58.2
Colombia 50.6 55.4
Poland 90.7 53.6
Peru 66.5 51
S Korea 11.9 50
Chile 53.5 43.2
NZ 10.8 39.7
Australia 15.4 34.4
Argentina 61.8 30.9
South Africa 13.5 29
Slovenia 54.4 23.8
Germany 21.4 22
Spain 60.8 19.1
Uruguay 16.5 19.1
Rwanda 48.5 18.9
Netherlands 11.2 6.5

How free this group of female Catholics, who believed and practiced the basics of Catholicism, rated themselves was assessed.  It was found that this group rated themselves as more free than the general female population in twenty one of the twenty eight countries (75 per cent) (see table 1) . 

Countries where ‘Catholic’ women who had basic Catholic beliefs and practices rated themselves as more free than the general population: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, South Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Spain,  Zimbabwe, Trinidad & Tobago, United States, Uruguay (21)

This increase from sixteen to twenty one countries, or this 17.9 per cent increase, suggests that an adherence to basic Catholic beliefs, e.g. hell, and practices, i.e. prayer, increases freedom for women.  This pattern of Catholic women rating themselves as more free than the general population was more prevalent in countries where Catholics were a minority, e.g. Germany, Nigeria, Ghana, USA, Lebanon, South Korea, Rwanda. This suggests that it is not a predominant Catholic culture or environment that leads to this sense of freedom but rather the internalisation of the Catholic beliefs and practices themselves.  For example, in Germany, ‘Catholic’ women are a minority amongst women in Germany (21.4 per cent of the population).  Amongst these ‘Catholic’ women, only 22 per cent maintain basic Catholic beliefs and practices.  Despite this, these women, who hold basic Catholic beliefs, rate themselves as more free than the general population.  This pattern is repeated across the world.  This indicates that it is not the social or environmental conditions for Catholic women in Germany that can simply explain away this pattern.  The evidence indicates that there is something intrinsically liberating about Catholic beliefs.

This freedom, which basic Catholic beliefs and practices offer, is also evident when women who hold basic Catholic beliefs and practices are compared to women who have no religious beliefs. 

Countries where ‘Catholic’ women who had basic Catholic beliefs and practices rated themselves as more free than those women without any religion:

Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay (21)

In twenty-one of twenty-seven countries (Lebanon did not have a ‘no religion’ comparison group), or 77.8 per cent of countries examined, women who hold basic Catholic practices and beliefs rate themselves as more free than those women who have no religion (see table 1).  This difference between women with basic Catholic beliefs and women with no religion is largest in either poor countries, e.g. Philippines, and/or those countries that do not have majority Catholic populations, e.g. Zimbabwe, Belarus, South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Korea. 

Discussion:

The evidence above suggests that instead of offering poorer, non-Catholic majority countries feminist and Marxist ideologies, the women in these countries would be far better off and be truly free if they received the truth, i.e. the Catholic faith.   The data in table 2 also shows that most women in Western Europe don’t understand and/or practice the Faith.  Many may have the name ‘Catholic’, but this gives them no right to preach to those women in non-Western countries who know and practice the faith more than them.  The blind should not be leading those with better eyesight than them!

The research conclusions above give empirical evidence for the claim that adhering to Catholic beliefs leads to an increased sense of freedom for women. 

Objection: ‘This might apply to some countries in the world but it does not apply to Ireland’

What the data says: The most recent European Value Survey (2008-10) (see: https://europeanvaluesstudy.eu/) asked approximately 500 Irish women how satisfied they are with their life (see format of question below in figure 1) and asked them the above question about their sense of freedom.  Women who called themselves ‘Catholic’ rated themselves as more satisfied with life and rated themselves as more free to direct and control their lives than the general female population (See table 3).  The life satisfaction and freedom scores increased for ‘Catholic’ women who went to Mass weekly and they increased again for those women who went to Mass weekly AND rated God as very important in their lives. (Note: ‘God as very important in one’s life’ was taken as women who rated God as 8 or more out of 10 in importance in their lives – see figure 2 below for question format). Based on these surveys, there is no empirical data that supports the idea that women are oppressed by the Catholic Church or the Catholic faith in Ireland.  The evidence lends support to the belief that the Catholic faith is freeing for Irish women.

Figure 1: Life Satisfaction question

‘All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?

‘Dissatisfied’ – 1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10 – ‘Satisfied’

Figure 2: Importance of God question

How important is God in your life? Please use this scale to indicate. 10 means “very important” and 1 means “not at all important.”

Not at all important     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10 Very Important

Table 3: Freedom and life satisfaction scores amongst Irish women:

2008-2010 Freedom Score Life Satisfaction Score
General Population 7.88 7.2
‘Catholics’ 7.93 7.25
Mass going ‘Catholics’ 8.07 7.32
Mass going and God ‘very important’ ‘Catholics’ 8.1 7.45

Objection: Catholic women are socially and culturally brainwashed to believe that they are free when they are really slaves to the Catholic patriarchy.

Answer:   This objection verges close to an assertion that women cannot think for themselves and assess their situation clearly and accurately!  We can only assert what the evidence tells us and the data shows us that Catholic women rate themselves as more free than the general female population in Ireland. This is true across the majority of countries in the world as well.  This is more evident in countries where Catholic women are in the minority and where the culture surrounding them is predominantly non-Catholic.  This suggests that it is not cultural or social conditioning that increases the sense of freedom of these women but the Catholic beliefs and practices themselves.  The evidence supports the view that what women need is more Catholicism, not less of it.

Objection: Catholic women do not really know what true ‘freedom’ is.

Answer:For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.’ (2 Tim 4:3)

Answer (continued): There are many global social research organisations which promote and push certain ideas about what will increase human freedom.  One particularly influential and determined force is the CATO Institute (13). The CATO Institute have developed the Human Freedom Index and their own definition of ‘freedom’.  Their version of ‘freedom’ is promoted as the ‘freedom’ that women need.  This institute pushes social and economic theories and systems that promote a distorted sense of freedom. It discourages nationalism and taking any pride in your country, especially if this opposition is based on Christian foundations (14). This institute promotes homosexuality and transsexuality ‘rights’ in its most recent ‘Human Freedom Index’ (15) – two vices and lifestyles that undermine the very fabric of societies.  This ‘Human Freedom Index’ creates its own idea of ‘human freedom’ which is in opposition to true freedom, i.e. freedom through the truth/Catholic faith. It promotes licence, i.e. the idea that one should be able to do whatever one likes to do, and it protects and promotes vice.  Their theories are based on false foundations and their efforts to implement them can only lead to less freedom and more chains for people.  Their falsehood appeals to those who ‘will not endure sound doctrines’ and who have ‘itching ears’

Previous Popes, such as Leo XIII in his encyclical ‘Immortale Dei’ (16), were particularly aware of the threat that the confusion between freedom and licence could create in people’s minds and how weary people had to be about this: ‘If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favour and protection of the law.’ The licence promoted by wealthy, well resourced, global and influential social research institutes is the tempting ‘freedom’ that feminists and pro-abortion campaigners push for. It cannot and will not lead to a true increase in liberty for women as it will only lock more women in the chains of sin and vice and lead them to fall into the ‘abyss of corruption’.  They do not know nor do they understand what freedom truly is.  They replace true freedom (a real good) with licence and the legal right to commit vice (what looks like an apparent good in their minds).  How this confusion can happen was clearly outlined centuries ago by St Thomas. Here it is summarised by Fr Ripperger (6): ‘Real freedom is ultimately for choosing among real goods since the will is ordered toward the real good and not the apparent good.  This is why St Thomas says that willing evil is not freedom, nor a part of freedom, but merely a sign of freedom. In other words, freedom is fundamentally designed for choosing among real goods and the choice of evil is in fact a case in which man is engaging in an action which is not proper to his human nature. It is unnatural.’  He also notes that, ‘It is because of Original Sin and man’s seemingly never-ending slip into a life imbued with Actual Sin that it seems ‘natural’ for man to choose evil. Rather, the fact that man is choosing evil is a sign that he is not functioning according to the natural state in which he was intended to thrive.’ (p. 120-121).

Because we have drifted away from a true understanding of freedom as outlined by the Church and St Thomas, the notion of true freedom gets confused with licence. Chasing this apparent good, i.e. licence, rather than true freedom, ultimately leads to people campaigning for the legal right to kill babies.  Fr Doolan (10) points out how, ‘An error in definition is always fatal’ (p. 80) and Aristotle, has noted that, ‘The least initial deviation from the truth will be multiplied later a thousandfold’ (17).  This error in understanding what freedom truly is is one of the main reasons why we are seeing such chaos in our society today.   The Catholic Church explained these theological and philosophical arguments hundreds of years through the likes of great philosophers and Doctors of the Church, like St Thomas Aquinas.  Table 2 presented above on what percentage of ‘Catholic’ women believe and practice basic aspects of the Faith is evidence of how many of the sheep are scattered and lost. It is evident of how many toxic falsehoods have infiltrated people’s minds.  Now, again, we need strong shepherds to guide and protect people within the Church’s fold and we need Her members to stand up against the errors of our times, such as those pushed by the CATO Institute and other nefarious forces.

Conclusion:

Despite all the feminist rhetoric and propaganda, this overview of data from around the world has not found any empirical evidence that supports the belief that the Catholic Faith is bad for women, i.e. is oppressive or has a negative impact on freedom or life satisfaction.  The evidence actually suggests the exact opposite, highlighting how adherence to basic aspects of the Catholic faith is of benefit to women in terms of life satisfaction and their sense of freedom. 

The above study also outlines how compatible the Faith and science are. (For further insight into the relationship between the Faith and science, see Hagan’s excellent article on ‘Science and the Church’ – link in reference section) (18).  The data presented here supports and affirms the Faith and its practice. 

True freedom is within the grasp of each individual. It is not dependent on economic or social conditions. God offers His grace abundantly to all. It is up to us to respond to or reject His calling.  The CATO Institute pushes vice and globalist economic, social and cultural revolutions as the way to freedom, but as Fr Edward Leen (19) outlines in his insightful book, ‘Why the Cross?’, ‘The function of Christianity is not to reform or devise economic or social systems: her function is to reform and to transform the economists themselves.’ (p. 9).  This involves living a life of virtue and adhering to the truth.

The Catholic faith has always supported true liberty with St Paul telling us that ‘Now the Lord is a Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ (2 Cor 3:17).  The Church only encourages people to use the freedom God has given them wisely so that they can be truly free as St Peter, ‘For so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God.’ (1 Peter 2:16) and St Paul, ‘For you, brethren, have been called unto liberty: only make not liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by charity of the spirit serve one another.’ (Gal 5:13) remind us.  These reminders, that we must use this life and the freedom and gifts God has given us to know, honour and love Him, are the very things that many people rebel against.  They falsely believe that these cautions place a restriction on their freedom. These cautions are only there to guide people towards the spirit of liberty and essentially to eternal happiness.  While adherence to the Catholic Faith offers increased liberty in this life, St Thomas (2) also explains how perfect liberty cannot be achieved until we reach Heaven. This can frustrate people who are battling against the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil.  Rebellion against God, anger, impatience and avarice along with many other vices, are stoked up by anti-Catholic forces that want to drag people away from the truth, true freedom and true happiness. The freedom that is offered by those who make ‘liberty a cloak of malice’, e.g. the CATO Institute and Marxist/feminist researchers and campaigners, is not true freedom and will only enslave those who follow its calling.  

Finally, this study affirms Our Lord’s words, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:32).  He gently invites all people to follow Him so they can cast off the chains of the devil and ‘have it [life] more abundantly’ (John 10:10).  This is what women, and the world, needs to do.

References:

  1. Smith, S. (2018) ‘Irish Independent OK to publish ‘Rosarectomy’ Cartoon About Abortion Debate’  Available at:https://www.imediaethics.org/irish-independent-ok-to-publish-rosarectomy-cartoon-about-abortion-debate/[Accessed 27/08/19]
  2. Aquinas, T., translated by Collins, J. B. (1939) ‘The Catechetical Instructions of St Thomas Aquinas’.  Retrieved from Catholic Primer.  Available at: http://documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/1225-1274,_Thomas_Aquinas,_Catechismus,_EN.pdf [Accessed 28/08/19]
  3. Verne, P. (2009)‘Happiness, Freedom and Control’, Econpubblica Centre for Research on the Public Sector, Working Paper, 141.  Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1499652[Accessed 20/08/19]
  4. Wilkinson, W. (2011) ‘Happiness, Freedom and Autonomy’ Available at:https://www.forbes.com/sites/willwilkinson/2011/03/23/happiness-and-freedom/#5ceeac83fe5f[Accessed 21/08/19]
  5. O’Neil, A.C. (1912). Sin. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Available at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14004b.htm [Accessed 29/08/19]
  6. Ripperger, C. (2013) ‘Introduction to the Science of Mental Health’ Sensus Traditionis Press: Lincoln, USA.
  7. Mullally, U. (2018) ‘Borders of the middle ground being redrawn in abortion debate’. Available at:https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/una-mullally-borders-of-the-middle-ground-being-redrawn-in-abortion-debate-1.3363130?mode=sample&auth-failed=1&pw-origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fopinion%2Funa-mullally-borders-of-the-middle-ground-being-redraw [Accessed 29/08/19]
  8. Dobb, M. (1947) ‘Marxism and the Social Sciences’ The Modern Quarterly (London, new series) 3:1, 5-21. Available at: https://monthlyreview.org/2001/09/01/marxism-and-the-social-sciences/[Accessed 28/08/19]
  9. Uyangoda, J. (2018) ‘Karl Marx & The Social Sciences’ Available at:https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/karl-marx-the-social-sciences/[Accessed 28/08/19]
  10. Doolan, A. (1945) ‘Philosophy for the Layman’.  Dublin: Irish Rosary Office.
  11. Duarte, J. L. et al. (2014) ‘Political diversity will improve social psychological science’, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 38, e130.  Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences/article/political-diversity-will-improve-social-psychological-science-1/A54AD4878AED1AFC8BA6AF54A890149F [Accessed 27/08/19]
  12. Peterson, J. P. (2017) ‘Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism’ – YouTube video.  Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLoG9zBvvLQ [Accessed 28/08/19]
  13.  The CATO Institute website is available at:www.cato.org[Accessed 27/08/19]
  14.  Porcnik, T. (2018) ‘Nationalism and Populism Detrimental to Freedom’ Available at:https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/nationalism-populism-detrimental-freedom [Accessed 27/08/19]
  15. Vasquez, I & Porcnik, T. (2018) ‘The Human Freedom Index: A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil, and Economic Freedom’  Available at: https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/human-freedom-index-files/human-freedom-index-2018-revised.pdf [Accessed 29/08/19]
  16.  Pope Leo XII (1885).  ‘Immortale Dei: Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII On The Christian Constitution of States’ Available at:https://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_01111885_immortale-dei.html [Accessed 27/08/19]
  17.  Aristotle (350BC) – ‘On the Heavens’, trans. J. L. Stocks (2009). Quote from Book I, chapter 5. Available at: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/heavens.html [Accessed 29/08/19]
  18.  Hagen, J. (1912). Science and the Church. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved August 28, 2019 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13598b.htm
  19.  Leen, E. (1938).  ‘Why the Cross?’  London: Sheed & Ward.

Note:  All Bible quotes taken from the Douay Rheims Bible – see: http://drbo.org  

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