“The Cardinal,” Abortion and Contraception

How many of you older folks who waste your precious time reading me have seen “The Cardinal?”  It was a film released in 1963, directed by Otto Preminger and starring Tom Tryon, Romy Schneider and John Huston, and it was nominated for six Academy Awards. It marks the final appearance by veteran film star Dorothy Gish as well as the last big-screen performance of Maggie McNamara as well as an early performance by Carol Lynley.

It was filmed in Rome with a Vatican liaison named Joseph Ratzinger.

Yes.  That Ratzinger.

In the film, The Fermoyle family, strong Irish Catholics, have a son who becomes a priest and eventually a Cardinal.  In one of the sub-plots he discovers the family is very upset because his sister Mona (played by Carol Lynley) wants to marry Bennie, a Jewish man.  The family refuses and insists he either convert or agree to raise any children as Catholics if Mona is to marry.

Bennie eventually refuses and goes off to fight in WW1.  Mona becomes promiscuous (read – has sex outside of “Holy Wedlock”) and pregnant.  She is dying in childbirth and requires an abortion.

The family and the priest refuse.   Mona gives birth to a child, Regina.

Mona dies.  Our priest has a crisis of faith – but gets over it.

This film was made sixty years ag0.  Do you think these religious folks have gone away?

Nah.  Half a dozen of them are sitting Justices of the Supreme Court.

For those of you to0 young to know, let me tell you what life for a teen was like in the fifties.

Though some of you might not believe it we had sex in the ‘50s.  Yes. We did. Even the Cleavers did it, though on black and white TV no one ever had sex. Or went to a toilet.

Now sex in the ‘50s had rules; they were all church rules.

No sex outside marriage. Especially us Catholics.

No sex with your girlfriend. Certainly, no sex with another boy. And no sex alone. No “spilling the seed”. In Catechism class all us boys learned about Onan. Besides, it could make you go blind. I wore glasses from when I was six. Girls didn’t have to learn about Onan.  They had other sins to worry about.

The church said all sex of any sort outside of marriage was a sin.

So basically, any sexual activity was limited to married couples only.  No same sex marrieds of course.  Further, even for married couples, contraception was forbidden tof any sortfor single women.

Griswold vs. Connecticut was decided in 1965, when the Supreme Court said married couples had the right to obtain contraceptives. This ruling determined that a state’s ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to privacy. Yes, that same right to privacy which was toppled in the Roe decision.  Despite the Griswold ruling, unmarried women still didn’t have the constitutional right to obtain contraceptives until the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird.

Catholics were still forbidden by their priests to use contraception; only the “rhythm method” was considered acceptable.  Take your temp, calculate ovulation and your fertile period and keep your legs closed.

Why all this fuss about sex?

Sex was only for pro-creation. Not for fun.  All sex must be in the confines of marriage and open to “creating new life.”  Anything other is a sin.  No contraception for single women.  No effective contraception for married couples.  No jerking off.  No gay sex.  No sex of any kind for single people.  Pregnancy outside of marriage is your punishment for being a sinner.

No abortions.  No exception for rape of incest or life of the mother.  You will pay for your sins.  It is God’s will after all.

My four grandparents had 13 children between them.  Rose Kennedy had nine.  She was “enobled” in 1951 by Pius XII to the rank of “Papel Countess.”  So much for the rhythm method.

So if you’re a teen boy living in Connecticut in the ’50s and wanted to obtain condoms in order to sleep with your girl (or your wife!) you had to make a trip to New York.  In half the country a single woman couldn’t buy contraceptives anywhere.  In Connecticut you might find a condom machine hidden in the men’s room of a seedy bar.

Now why would anyone give a rat’s ass about what their neighbor might be doing in the bedroom?  And why would the government care?

They don’t.  Well, not everyone. It’s the religious crazies who care, constantly butting their noses into other people’s business.  You see the pro-birth demonstrators – each one carrying a Jesus sign or interviewed by the media, more bat shit crazy then the next.  Do you think these folks are finished after Roe?

Don’t kid yourself.

All of you know I’m a non-religious person.  I don’t believe any of the religious claptrap I was taught as a kid.  My parents were not religious.  Never went to church.  My mom spent her teenage years in a Catholic orphanage run by Benedictine nuns in upper Manhattan as a ward of the state.  After she left at age 18 she never went to church again.  She would step into a church only for the wedding or funeral of others.  She insisted that her 3 children attend public schools.

I don’t believe in god or goddesses.  Religion is cultural; what religion you practice depends solely on where you were born and what religion your parents practiced.  It is all mythology and fable.

You don’t have to agree with me.  I’m not in your face about it.  I don’t butt into your private business.  Like your religion.  Or sex life.  Unlike those folks who want to make America a “Christian nation” theocracy.

They will not stop until abortion is banned nationwide with no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother – which will be as soon as the GOP takes control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency.  They will endeavor to outlaw the abortion pill.  They will seek to make going to another state for an abortion a crime.  They will seek to overthrow marriage equality.  They will seek to curtail contraception, such as IUDs for single woman and married couples.

It’s also a good way to keep women in their proper place.

The court has already punched two holes in the church/state separation wall in the last two weeks.  We can now all watch that football coach saying a prayer on the 50 yard line after a game.  I guess those teen football players will have to join him if they want a starting position.

I am a member of the most under-represented group in America – atheists.  I am tired of 5 Catholic school boys and girls of the likes of Monsignor Clarence Thomas (hubby of an insurrectionist) and Sister Amy Coney-Barrett (who attends mass with her cult each and every day and submits to her husband) making up their bull shit rules for the rest of us, all based on nonsense written by men 2,000 years ago who didn’t know why the sun rose in the morning.

This is supposed to be the 21st century.  If you want to believe, then do so.  Don’t insist that everyone do so.  Why should the government care if she takes contraception?  Or how many men she sleeps with? Or if she has an abortion?

I’m going to be 80 years old in a few months.  I don’t worry about contraception.  Any one who would sleep with me has’nt been fertile for 30 years.

If we were to expand the Supreme Court, I’m for appointing 2 or 3 atheists.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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6 Responses to “The Cardinal,” Abortion and Contraception

  1. beth says:

    I so with you on this

    Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete says:

    Three of us!
    I did (start to) see ‘The Cardinal’. It was on TV one night when I was about 25. As you might imagine, I didn’t stick with it, and turned over to something else after less than an hour.
    I have been an atheist since I was at senior school from the age of 11. Almost 60 years later, I still find it hard to understand why many apparently intelligent people believe ancient mythology is real. It’s just because they are scared of dying I suppose, simple as that.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    Hear, hear!

    Liked by 1 person

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