"In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God’s will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God’s specially appointed representative in the earth and sole authorized and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; she was right, she was doing in this thing what the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery. Yet now at last, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and we see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain: it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession — and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance."
— Mark Twain
"It’s perhaps unfair of me, as a gay man, to moan at this enormous institution (the Catholic church), which is the largest and most powerful church on Earth, has over a billion, as they like to tell us, members, each one of whom is under strict instructions to believe the dogmas of the church, but may wrestle with them personally of course. It’s hard for me to be told that I’m evil, because I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love, and who feels love for so much of nature and the world and for everything else. We certainly don’t need the stigmatisation, the victimisation, that leads to the playground bullying when people say you’re a disordered, morally evil individual. That’s not nice, it isn’t nice."
— Stephen Fry
"The current (Bush) Administration seems to take Catholic views on abortion and family planning very seriously, but it is interesting to consider how different U.S. economic policy would be if the American Catholic bishop’s statements on economics were an integral part of the policy-making process. How much press attention was given to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s statement in 1999 on debt forgiveness or their appeal to end the death penalty?… Why does religion seem like the natural and appropriate basis for public policies concerning sex, but not for other ethically charged questions?… it is not as if these questions have no moral bearing."
— Janet R. Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini, Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance
"To insist upon maleness as an essential attribute of priesthood… is to commit the fundamental error of making the maleness of Christ more significant than his humanity."
— George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury