Pope Allows Condoms

Did I get your attention?

My. My. The MSM is quite breathless after a translation of the Peter Seewald’s book hit the wires. Here are some of the headlines

Pope says condoms sometimes permissible to stop AIDS

Pope Says Condoms to Stop AIDS May Be Acceptable

Pope Benedict says that condoms can be used to stop the spread of HIV?

Pope signals historic leap in fight against Aids: Condoms can be justified

Pope says condom use is acceptable in ‘single justified cases’

Pope says some condom use ‘first step’ of morality.

And the award for the stupidest tweet by a journalist goes to religion writer Ruth Gledhill: Pope’s Condom Conversion.

First read what the Pope really said about condoms. Here is an excerpt:

“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality. “

I have to get ready for Church, but here is a quick unpacking of the not so controversial comment by the pope.

Homosexual activity is gravely immoral.

Those with homosexual inclinations should develop the virtue of chastity and live celibate lives.

Homosexuals, often, do not follow the Church’s teaching on homosexual activity.

Homosexual activity is intrinsically sterile. It is neither unitive or fruitful. Procreation is not possible. Contraception is not possible.

While condoms are not the best way to combat AIDS, it could be permissible for male prostitutes, for example, IF it is a first step to a more moral understanding of human sexuality.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry and I have been married 39 years. But the deacon’s wife gig is a new twist. Larry was ordained in August of 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren. The oldest grandchild is ten and the youngest is three. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Moral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Pope Allows Condoms

  1. Pingback: The Pope, And Condoms And the Media: Oh My! | A Deacon's Wife

  2. Kerberos says:

    “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”

    ## This supports what the following quotation says:

    “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality. “”

    ## What I make of both quotations is this:

    To cut the cackle, the answer to the question “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?” is “No, it is not opposed in principle”. It is *almost always* opposed – but there can be exceptions. The Church does not in the least like the use of condoms – but does not absolutely and in all circumstances forbid Catholics to use them.

    How that can be reconciled with his past, and very public, opposition to the use of condoms, is not clear. The implication is that it is not sinful, or not always sinful, to use condoms – for a Pope has no right to permit sins. And if the Pope does not sin by permitting the occasional use of them – why in the past has there been so much condemnation of other pastors who have favoured permission of them ?

    Something does not add up – there cannot be one moral law for Popes, and another for the rest of the Church. His words are very significant, for if he had said in the past what now he has said, a vast amount of anguish & soul-searching could have been avoided :(

  3. Susan Kehoe says:

    Kerberos,
    you said:
    “Something does not add up – there cannot be one moral law for Popes, and another for the rest of the Church. His words are very significant, for if he had said in the past what now he has said, a vast amount of anguish & soul-searching could have been avoided.”

    The Pope has not changed anything in regard to condoms. In regard to illicit sex, especially homosexual sex, condoms are really not a moral issue. In homosexual sex, procreation is biologically impossible. Therefore the use of condoms is not a moral issue. Homosexual activity, however, remains gravely immoral.

    It is correct to say that the Pope and the Church has always maintained that handing out condoms is not the way to protect people against AIDS. But a proper understanding of the right ordering of human sexuality is. The Pope has not deviated, in his remarks, to this basic premise.

    As regards to the AIDS epidemic, it is important to read the entire answer that the Pope gave in his book. When asked about the controversy about his AIDS in Africa Statement the Pope, in the book, says:

    “As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to
    show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is
    understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.”
    Please read the real translation http://www.catholicworldreport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=221:pope-benedict-xvi-discusses-condoms-and-the-spread-of-hiv&catid=53:cwr2010&Itemid=70

    Really. The Pope has not altered anything. Please do not get your theology from the media.

    • Kerberos says:

      “Really. The Pope has not altered anything. Please do not get your theology from the media.”

      I don’t. If there’s no alteration – why the big fuss ? “Pope condemns condoms are immoral” is not news; it’s old hat – every knows (or thought they knew) that was the position. The argument is intelligible, & not exactly hard to understand: condoms disrupt or destroy the unity of the marital act. And that is not a new position. But this is a new fuss – which makes one wonder: why ?

      If the Pope has in fact reversed, modified, made more stringent, or other altered the Church’s position – Catholics have a right to know. No ?

      What matters is not what the Pope is thought to have said, desired to have said, wanted to have said, but what he did say, & what he meant by saying it. Fictions on either side have no place in the discussion – whether he has or has not been orthodox, depends on what he said, what he meant, and on the degree of theological weight he intended his remarks to carry.

      “Please do not get your theology from the media.” Peter Seewald is not to be relied on then :) – but he is the proximate source of the utterance that caused so much trouble. I agree: Catholics should not be required to pay attention to documents of no magisterial weight, such as interviews or books. Seewald is not a relator, or even a Catholic; I believe he’s an apostate – not the person to tell Catholics what the Pope thinks, or means,
      or says.

      If the Pope wishes to teach, he should do so in the proper way – not by talking to “hacks” & “groupies”. If the Pope has something he wants the faithful to heed, he has a duty not to cause confusion by saying what seems to be of doctrinal weight (but how much, he does not make clear) by way of a medium that has not been used by the Popes to express their intentions. That there is confusion, is the fault in considerable part, of the speaker. Not of the messenger, whether Seewald or the abominated Gledhill.

      This whole affair is a mess; confusion & faux pas seem to be a hall-mark of this pontificate :( Tacitus was right: this Pope is capax papandi, nisi papasset. As Parkinson said more recently, he is a natural No. 2, who should never have have been made No. 1. But he is No.1, so we are in for more muddle & confusion :( I can’t believe this atrocious PR would have been tolerated in the past.

      “I have to get ready for Church, but here is a quick unpacking of the not so controversial comment by the pope.” So if it is uncontroversial – why the controversy about it, even on weblogs with no fondness for the “wrong” NCR or for Bishop Gumbleton & Co ?

  4. Pingback: Excerpts From The Book On the Pope | A Deacon's Wife

  5. melissa says:

    No one has mentioned here another big issue: Whether the Pope allows condoms to stop AIDS from spreading or not, it is STILL birth control as well. Prostitution is rampant in some of these poor countries. NO CHILD is a mistake, no matter what kind of life he/she or to whom he/she would be born into!! CONDOMS PROHIBIT CHILDREN from being created by the CREATOR of all!! Shame shame.

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