Monday, April 18, 2011

My New YouCat, and What the Pope Did NOT Say About Condoms

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Two things tonight: 1. I got my new copy of YouCat, the new youth catechism for the Catholic Church! It is so great. I love it. Not only are the format and content excellent from what I've seen so far, but it also has a flip book inside of it! I'm not kidding. There's a little stick man on the bottom corner of each page, and you can flip the pages to watch him do fun things!

2. You know, I really thought that the confusion about the Pope's remarks about condoms had been dispelled, but not so, my friends, not so. Someone, trying to justify condom use as being reconcilable with Catholic teachings, wrote this to me in a message:
"In one of his most recent books, Pope Benedict gives the example of how condom use among male prostitutes is beneficial in stopping the spread of disease. Although that is an extreme example, I can think of other less extreme instances where within a marriage, other types of health issues might come into play as well."
[My initial thoughts: ARGH!!! NO, NO, NO! The pervasive influence of the secular media who is completely uninformed about the teachings of the Catholic Church makes me CRAZY! Alright, let me settle down now, and share the calmer and more rational response I actually gave.]

I am quite familiar with what you are speaking of in regard to the Pope, and I'd like to clarify the matter a bit since the media made a big mess of what was really said. It was in the context of an interview that our Holy Father made his statement about condoms (not in a book that he wrote), and here's a little more of the context and the quote:
The German Reporter conducting the interview with Pope Benedict XVI, Seewald, asks: "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?"

The Pope answers: "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 humane way, of living sexuality."

And he goes on to clearly state that, "the use of condoms by prostitutes are a first step toward moralization, even though condoms are not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection".
In other words, the Pope is saying that, in the case of a male prostitute who has HIV, it would be a step toward moralization to use a condom, since that person is currently living a life with very little regard for the well-being of others. Using a condom in that situation would, indeed, be "a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more humane way, of living sexuality."

Clearly, the Holy Father is not advocating for the use of condoms by male prostitutes as some sort of solution to the world's moral problems. He is not promoting condom use any more than he is condoning male prostitution! Still, he is right to say that, in this extreme case, use of a condom could be seen as a step toward moralization, thus leading people to consider the interior dimension of will and freedom, rather than viewing the Church's teachings as some sort of imposed legalistic norm.

In short, Benedict definitively says that condom use is never a REAL or MORAL solution. He was absolutely not changing the Church's long-standing teachings on the transmission of human life.

As always, thanks for stopping by! A blessed Holy Week to all of you in the blogosphere.

Peace and all good,

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