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Post No. 45 (The Revenge of the Condom)

November 22, 2010

Uncork the bubbly!  Condoms are OK, says the Pope. Or did he?

It seems that excerpts from a book-length interview with Benedict XVI, by Peter Seewald, have been leaked by L’Osservatore Romano. Apparently this happened in violation of an “agreement” not to say or do anything about this book before its launch sometime this week. But enough of that.

Reading world headlines gives one to understand that Benedict XVI has a thing about condoms. He can’t talk about anything but. One would be forgiven for coming away with the impression that this interview was about condoms. It’s what everybody’s yakking about.

Some people are coming out and saying things like “U-turn”, “the Pope having changed his own stance”, and “exceptions where there had never been exceptions before” … *oh well*

It has, perhaps, escaped the notice of many that Benedict XVI was only giving his personal opinion. That is the most important thing. Anything he said – mistaken or not – is his personal opinion. That puts a whole new complexion on this brouhaha.

Second. Where does he say that it’s OK to use condoms? He only said that it’s the first step towards the assumption of responsibility; awakening an awareness that not everything is permissible – e.g. it is not OK to infect your partner (or client if you’re a male prostitute) with AIDS. Ideally you wouldn’t engage in certain acts, but if you can’t keep it to yourself, then use a condom. It’s a beginning. That doesn’t mean that it’s OK to “go latex”, but at least it shows that somebody cares enough about his/her sexual partners not to give them AIDS. (I’m mentioning AIDS and male prostitutes because that is what has been picked on in the reports about this book).

Then came the apologists. Waxing lyrical about the unfairness of it all, that the Church has never changed its stance about contraception, that the Pope’s comments have been taken out of context etc.

It made me stop and think. Why do they bother? Everything the Church says has to be misinterpreted, twisted beyond recognition, or unfaithfully reported.

I can imagine a couple of headlines in a few days’ time. Definitely something will crop up along the lines of “People needlessly sent to hell after the church performs a U-turn on its teachings about contraception”. It will probably come from the same quarters who are now vociferously condemning the Church for supporting chastity and continence above contraception in the effort to halt the spread of AIDS around the world. 

Damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t. The story of the Church in a nutshell.

Toodle-oo.

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