The Relative Comment

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Contraceptive Baby Steps?

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Relative to: “Pope says in new book that use of condoms can be justified in case of male prostitutes,” by Nicole Winfield and Frances D’Emilio.

The story is in the title . In a new book, which is actually an interview , Pope Benedict the XVI upholds the argument that “condoms are not a moral solution,” but states condoms are justifiable when used by male prostitutes in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. This particular article calls this “a stunning comment for a church criticized for its opposition to condoms and for a pontiff who has blamed [condoms] for making the AIDS crisis worse.” The Pope goes on in the interview to reaffirm the Catholic stance on contraception, lamenting the loss of potential geniuses and Mozarts that are prevented from birth by condom use, and stating that abstinence and marital fidelity are the only solution to the HIV/AIDS crisis.

This is a subject I have long followed. I have strong personal feelings towards the Catholic Church, and would probably number myself among them if not for a few major disputes. Among those is the condom issue.  Frankly, teachings that prohibit the use of condoms are  irresponsible teachings from an era that has passed. But here is an instance of a Pope not known for endorsing change or modernity, admitting at least one instance of acceptable condom use. Is that a baby step towards reason? Or is such an obvious, common-sense statement as “male prostitutes should use condoms” not worthy of praise but simply long overdue?

A thoughtful, Christian friend of mine once said something like: they say the ship of state moves slowly, well the ship of the Church moves even slower, almost geologically slow. Indeed, the Church might be the only thing that moves slower than tectonic plates.


Written by Christopher ZF

November 20, 2010 at 14:52

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