Reader takes issue with article about Papal interview, condoms, scandal

See the original article: It is a scandal for the Vicar of Christ to discuss casually with a layman, for publication to the world, such matters as condoms and male prostitutes.

Paul D. writes:

I do understand that the Pope’s comments have caused alarm and disquiet amongst the faithful and this is something that more wise council may have delivered in a more robust statement. Yet it is of little wonder because many papal comments can cause distress and query.

We remember, though I was a child at the time, Paul VI and Humane Vitae. His holiness did not issue the encyclical to show how he regarded the recent Council of the Church nor did he state it to inflict his own will above that of many within his opening Church. He did it as a response to the world of the 1960’s wherein sexual morality was collapsing in the public forum. Nevertheless, it did and does today resonate with what many within the Church regarded as unnecessary conviction towards the moral question surrounding the sexual experience.

Benedict today faces a world with many more complications caused by the spread especially in Africa of the AIDS virus. He clearly and theologically does not agree that the use of plastic condoms can solve this problem or defeat it. However, he is aware from his clergy in that continent that the problem needs to be faced head-on. This may also cause effect around the globe. As leader of the Worlds largest Organization his is the seemingly impossible task of showing Concordia to such diverse views and claims on his authority and direction. If ever a leader required help and prayer it was surely the sitter of the seat of St Peter?

His views expressed are important of course but they are not dogma. They show the direction the church may choose and it is the response of the Catholic World to try and be faithful to that direction. This does not mean blind obedience but it does mean that we may have to step back and see what his dialogue or expression means. Like Christ we have to see the Spirit not just the law as it is written. Tricky!

Misguided or Misunderstood . . .the charges remain. Surely some may claim that such a person as The Pope should be more aware of his political influence. His words may be unclear and we all like clarity. If not him then his advisors should be shot for allowing this holy personage to be dragged down to the media gutter by devious and corrupted secular writers.

On the other hand, it is not surprising that the pontiff’s words should be used in ways that inflate contrary belief systems. That is part of human nature and hardly unique. If many jump on the verbal band wagon to direct it in their own direction and in ways that were clearly never intended then we should not be surprised.

It is absurd to suggest the Pope was advancing safe sex by the use of the condom. If many think this then it is true many think Jesus meant self harm when he suggested cutting ones hand off rather then sinning. Catholics that have been given intelligence no matter how small should correct the issue but do it with charity and not in some intellectual storm of sour regret. To suggest the Pontiff is in error because he failed to appreciate that his words may be misconstrued is rather disgusting.

Yet as children often write What Would Jesus Do? Benedict is not politically astute but nor is he a fool. He tries and tried to express in modern setting when it may be more charitable to choose a lesser evil. He faces a hostile world and a very hostile western media often governed by liberal atheism. It is shocking therefore that Catholic media should also lay the proverbial boot in! Under such outrage it is hardly any wonder that many of the faithful are left even more bewildered and confused.

So my response to your blog was of dismay not from what the Pope had said but from the editorial that does indeed sneer at this 83 year old with little appreciation that he simply cannot be allowed to interfere with secular press. The (writer’s) argument (appears) to boil down to who is (responsible): the Pontiff … OR …“certain members of his own Vatican apparatus, who have demonstrated abundantly that they are unreliable or incompetent at best and outright traitors at worst.“

Such language is very inflammatory and more so coming from a catholic editorial. But there is worse: In summary that “Something else must be noted in all candour: It is a scandal for the very Vicar of Christ to discuss casually with a layman, for publication to the world, such matters as condoms and male prostitutes. It is inconceivable that any Pope before Vatican II, or even John XXIII or Paul VI, for that matter, would have descended to such details. The utter degradation of discourse that characterizes the “modern world” now touches even the Roman Pontiff, despite his own evident piety, modesty and sobriety. Like all the other novelties spawned by the Council, the “opening to the world” and “dialogue with the world” are a monumental failure, as this affair demonstrates. The more the Pope deigns to treat with the world in worldly terms and in worldly forums, the more his authority erodes and the wider his flock scatters. The more he tries to “explain his thinking,” as Lawler puts it, the less the world accepts his explanations

Such a view is irresolute in its sneer not just of papal desire but of the Catholic Faith towards papal authority. It would if it were from a Catholic cleric be sinful. It is worse still as it is historically inaccurate and echoes of the heretic Lefebvre. The Second Vatican Council has its loony retractors. There are those that hearken back to days of some golden past when popes were rulers in their palaces and were only expected to engage with the world at Christmas or Easter.

Yet John XXIII was inspired by Christ to open dialogue and engage with the world. Paul VI famous retort to his heretical critics was that the spirit of the council is The Holy Spirit. John Paul II again and again acknowledged and restated the desires of the council and led the Church to advance into the world, openly and freely. So it is not a surprise that Benedict also wishes to continue such dialogue. What is so annoying is that some Catholic press members albeit arch-conservatives still resolutely refuse to bow before the will of the Council or its spirit.

I must confess, that I do not agree with all papal comments nor do I understand why I am expected to understand what may sometimes seem bizarre or absurd from the Church in this modern western world. I fall short however from nailing such disagreements to the door of my cathedral. My own inclination is all too often to do what I want and put these matters to one side. After all Holy Scripture is full of contradictions so why not challenge it and ignore it? Fortunately, perhaps by God’s loving grace I reflect that whilst I do not appreciate or fully understand my faith I nevertheless believe in the will of God etc. That the Catholic Church may be surrounded by wolves or lions sensing blood but that Christ remains the eternal Good Shepherd. He whom is almighty watches over us and our life as the life of his bride, the Church.

The claims that the Church has gone or is about to go down the moral gutter are premature. The pope’s authority does not lessen by his engaging with the world nor does his flock scatter. Christ speaks to us through his representatives and our pope. Because an author has interviewed and received copy of a papal book it should not terrify us. It would have been better and more in keeping with the will of Jesus if the editor of the editorial instead of knocking Benedict’s furtive attempts to address the wider world had tried to explain to the faithful why the pontiff is leading the church along this route. It would surely have been a clearer act of faith.

It is a scandal for the Vicar of Christ to discuss casually with a layman, for publication to the world, such matters as condoms and male prostitutes.

Surely what happened here shows why the Vicar of Christ is not at liberty to indulge in “sensational” and “fascinating revelations,” or “profound theological reflection” devoid of all authority, under “persistent” questioning by a journalist who “presses” him for answers and “tempts” him into speculation. The very process involved peril for the Church and thus the world.

That peril is evident at this very moment, when innumerable Catholics have no doubt taken the Pope’s words, spun by the media and “clarified” by his incompetent “spokesman,” as a green light for “safe sex,” the Pope’s nuances having immediately been lost to the wind, as he should have foreseen they would be. And now, in what is just a beginning, it is reported from the Philippines that “Malacañang [the Philippine equivalent of the White House] yesterday said Benedict XVI’s statement could ‘absolutely’ boost support for the RH [reproductive health] bill which seeks to control the country’s population by promoting the use of contraceptives.” That is hardly what the Pope intended, but the exercise of submitting to a journalistic interview touching on matters of faith and morals guaranteed the potential for unintended consequences. And who knows how far those consequences will extend?

Read more

Submitted by Doria2

Pope’s condom comments: A “Hell” of a way to promote his new book!


Link

Seen on the web: The best clarification of the Pope’s alleged condom remarks yet.

A commenter on Steve Kellmeyer’s Blog points out:

There cannot be conception in homosexual acts; therefore, neither can there be contraception in homosexual acts. This is precisely the Pope’s point.

Editor’s note: The Pope used the example of a male prostitute, engaging in homosexual sex.

In the specific case Benedict cited, the issue of contraception and condoms is absolutely moot … since conception between homosexuals is physically impossible, in any case.

Hence, there is absolutely no change to the Catholic Church’s traditional teaching that PROHIBITS THE USE OF CONDOMS for CONTRACEPTIVE PURPOSES.

Similarly, the Catholic Church typically does not expressly prohibit the “creative use” of condoms or condom-like devices,  for totally non-sexual purposes that have nothing at all to do with contraception (i.e. props, waterproofing, water containers, balloons, certain non-sexual medical applications, etc.)

From a recent AP article:

“If a condom is used as a contraceptive, certainly it will be condemned by the church,” the Rev. Deogracias Yniguez of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines told the AP. “But to use it to avoid a disease in specific circumstances, the church can take another mindset.”

Editor’s note: Does anyone really think that Catholics who are already engaging in adulterous, homosexual, or other types of illicit sex are actually worried about condom use?

Rumor Says Pope Approves of Condom Use In Certain Cases


Condoms: What Pope Benedict XVI really said,
with an extensive extract from Light of the World

Much was made yesterday concerning the Pope’s apparent “softening” of the Church’s position on the use of condoms – Jonathan Wynne-Jones, the Telegraph’s religion correspondent, even lead with: “The Pope drops Catholic ban on condoms in historic shift”! The implication that Pope Benedict XVI has somehow changed the Catholic position on the use of condoms is based on a quote from Peter Seewald’s new book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Sign of the Times. This book is the result of Seewald’s far-ranging six-hour interview with the Holy Father, and will be on sale from next Tuesday.

In light of the hysterical press coverage of Seewald’s new book, I would like to emphasise that the Pope has not changed or softened the Church’s stance on the use of condoms! All that has happened is that the Holy Father has now explained Catholic moral theology in such a simple way that even religious correspondents might understand it!

Here is the extract (in full) that deals with contraception and condoms – it is taken from Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times as found on the BBC News website:

Link

Study: Over a third of all unwanted pregnancies (35 Percent!) occur, despite the use of a condom.

Christian Fiala, one of the most famous abortion doctors in Austria: Condoms as a preventative aid is only partially effective — protection only “from some” sexually transmitted diseases.

Vienna [kath.net]
Surprise, surprise! Of all things Christian Fiala, one of the most famous abortion doctors in Austria, had warned on Wednesday against the use of condoms and in another broadcast he allowed that condoms as a contraceptive method is only partly effective. “They tend to lead unnecessarily to undesired pregnancies and therefore to terminated pregnancies,” said Fiala. Actually his Firm Gynmed has noticed an upswing in the number of undesired “condompregnancies”. According to an actual Gynmed Study (2009) over a third of all unwanted pregnancies (35 Percent!) occur, despite the use of a condom.

Pope criticised in luminaries’ letter

Critics in the U.K. have released a letter saying the Vatican has “been responsible for: Opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of Aids; promoting segregated education; denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women; opposing equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation”.

Let’s take these objections one at a time …

Condoms:

Despite Church opposition, condoms have been in world-wide use for generations, by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Babies continue to be born. Aids continues to spread. If condom use was the answer, the problem would already have been solved.

The Church teaches that abstinence/chastity or monogamous, marital sexuality is the only real solution to the Aids problem.  There is currently, no other solution, and all the facts bear this out.

Conversely, the Church does not view human procreation as a problem. Children are a gift from God. You can never have too many of them. To believe anything else would indicate a profound lack of faith in the providence of God.

The usual cause of widespread starvation and disease is political in nature, often the result of war, religious persecution, or acts of genocide. Artificial birth control plays no part in any of these. Man’s inhumanity to man, most certainly does.

Promoting Segregated Education:

What are these guys smoking? Catholic schools have traditionally offered the best possible education for children of every race, color, and creed, the world over. If by segregated, these guys are referring to some unknown and unfounded civil right that says homosexuality must be promoted in schools, then they better find a better word to describe it. The word morality would be good!

Denying Abortion to Even the Most Vulnerable Women:

Abortion is the institutionalized, government sanctioned murder of children … approximately half of which are female. Additionally, abortion hurts the mother (and father) and all of civilized society, as well. Exactly who could be more vulnerable than defenseless woman and children, and why should anyone have license to kill even a single one of them?

Opposing Equal Rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People:

No such rights exist, and should any government ever decide to extend such rights, they would essentially be inviting citizens to freely commit serious, grave sin, which might very well result in divine judgment and their eternal damnation.

The Church is in the business of helping people overcome immorality and sin (otherwise known as the world, the flesh, and the devil) in the hope of securing the eternal salvation of their immortal souls.

While free will is an established theological principle, the wages of sin is death, and each of us will indeed be judged for the choices we make, no matter how corrupt, earthly governments might choose to rule.

The Church has a sacred duty to clearly point this out, and to stand firm on all the eternal truths.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Failing to Address the Many Cases of Abuse of Children Within Its Own Organisation:

As if these guys could care less about such things! The only reason they bring this up is to use it as a club, with which to “beat” the Church.

Sure, the Church acted too slowly and somewhat late, in this matter! The Vatican routinely operates in just that fashion, in virtually every matter. It always has. Blame it on God, on Italians, or on bureaucracies. Your choice

At first, nobody even believed such a thing was possible. Then, the medical/psychiatric establishment failed, by providing faulty professional advice and counsel. Finally, in their frustration, some of the bishops “flipped a coin” and made wrong decisions. Having done so, they were stuck! Only when the facts began to come out did we learn the full extent of the scandal, and precisely how badly “stuck” they were.

The simple fact is, the problem has been identified, the victims are being compensated, the offenders are being punished, and the Church is taking comprehensive steps to make reasonably certain that the problem does not occur again.

I challenge anyone to name even one other religious and/or government organization (they all suffer from abuse scandals, and in much greater numbers than the Catholic Church) that has accomplished as much.

So, in the end, the critics are opposed to the Catholic Church primarily because the Church is just about the only thing standing in the way of their secular, humanist, homosexual, socialist/communist/atheist agenda … and they don’t want Pope Benedict coming around, getting people all riled up.

Too bad!