I’m not Catholic, but I’ve seen the good that the catholic church has done the in poor countries, providing education and health care. To say that the world’s 1 billion catholic matter in terms of the health of the world’s poorest is to over state the fact. Nonetheless, the Catholic Church’s strict adherence to religious dogma has left it far behind of western thought, and behind more liberal Protestants and Jews in the United States.
For example, protestant female ministers are no longer a strange sight, and homosexuals are more welcomed into Protestant churches, while the Catholic Church has declined to admit women into the priesthood ostensibly because they have no been given higher authority to do so.
Another area of controversy is the use condoms. Though the Catholic Church has long opposed the use of condoms in any situation, Pope Benedict XVI recently stated during an interview:
There could be single cases that can be justified, for instance when a prostitute uses a condom, and this can be a first step towards a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, to develop again the awareness of the fact that not all is allowed and that one cannot do everything one wants . . .
The thinking is that it is apparently OK to prevent an infectious disease by using a condom, but not to use a condom to prevent fertilization-as far as conventional Catholic theology goes. While official church policy has not changed, the pontiff’s comments mean that priests the world over may feel more comfortable about encouraging condom use for some of their flock.