Pope Benedict XVI is making his first trip to the US this week.

And on the eve of this historic event I’d like to ask all of the readers who claim to be “good Catholics” a question: how do you rationalize the differences between the current teachings and positions of the church with your own beliefs?

I would never claim to be a good Catholic by any stretch of the imagination. I haven’t been to church in years- and even then it’s only been for weddings and funerals since I was a small child.

I lived with my girlfriend for half a decade before we ever got married. And I still believe everyone should have access to contraception and in women’s reproductive rights.

I also don’t think homosexuality is immoral and I think priests should be allowed to get married.

And I don’t expect the Church’s opinions – or mine – on any of these topics to change any time soon.

Fortunately, it turns out none of these topics (except maybe abortion) are at the top of the Pontiff’s list for his trip to the US.

Surprisingly, the message he plans to deliver here in the US matches up pretty well with stuff I believe.

First and foremost he’s going to discuss his disapproval of the US War in Iraq. Also the environment and poverty. All issues I can get behind.

Because I never claimed to be a ‘good Catholic’ I don’t really have a problem that some of the stuff doesn’t match with my beliefs and some does. I’m just happy the church is finally on the right side of some of these important issues.

But, again, back to my question… I’m wondering how all of the people who DO claim to be good Catholics can rationalize their pro-war beliefs with the anti-war message of the church.

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