Is the Catholic Church Approving Condoms?

They are!

Kinda.

One year after the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican, in a reversal of church doctrine, is prepared to allow the use of condoms to combat AIDS.

In a victory for reform-minded critics of the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI has now reversed the Catholic Church’s long-standing position with regard to the use of condoms to combat the spread of the HIV virus.

The Vatican’s “health minister” Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who is close to the pope, told the Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica “It was the pope who took the initiative over this very sensitive and difficult issue.” Barragan, who is Mexican, added that the Vatican is preparing a document on condom use, but declined to reveal its details.

The Pope’s only decades behind everyone else now… he’s catching up!

Then again, he said the following on Monday:

“In an age when scientific developments attract and seduce with the possibilities they offer, it’s more important than ever to educate our contemporaries’ consciences so that science does not become the criteria for goodness,” he told scientists.

… the conservative German-born Pope’s public stand on issues such as abortion and embryonic stem-cell research lead critics to accuse him of holding antiquated views on science.

Is he contradicting himself? (Even if he is, might that be a good thing?)

(Thanks to Maria for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Catholic, Christian, Jesus[/tags]

  • Richard Wade

    EVERYBODY SING!
    (to the tune of “Oh Susannah”)

    Oh the Pope says you can use a condom to contain your load
    ‘Cause keeping AIDS from spreading’s where the rubber meets the road.
    Seems HIV and hepatitis kills a lot of flock
    So it’s no sin to use a skin when you’re as hard as rock.

    Oh Pope Benny, don’t you cry for me. For I come inside a condom to prevent spread of VD!

    The Vatican has sent rubbers to priests across the land,
    And the choir boys all hope that they’re the lubricated brand.
    They’re scared of hell so they won’t tell when Father plays caboose
    But giving syphilis to a kid will put him in a noose.

    Oh Pope Benny, don’t you cry for me. For I come inside a condom to prevent spread of VD!

    To be fruitful and multiply will need a clever trick
    When it’s okay to have a Trojan covering your dick.
    Somehow you gotta sire kids as fast as rabbits do
    But don’t infect your partner with a deadly microbe too.

    Oh Pope Benny, don’t you cry for me. For I come inside a condom to prevent spread of VD!

    A billion Catholics is enough at least for now that’s sure,
    So use the glove when you make love until we find a cure.
    And then we’ll make you have more kids, far more than you can feed
    And resume our domination plan by never spilling seed.

    Oh Pope Benny, don’t you cry for me. For I come inside a condom to prevent spread of VD!

  • http://enklabloggen.blogspot.com simple z

    i don’t know what this popely message is about, but, as a catholic, i have a guess:
    If a person marries someone who alreday has HIV/AIDS, then i’m guessing the pope realized that there is a way to avoid transmitting of the virus. He can’t forbid the couple to have sex.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    This is great news. Most people I know thought the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control was silly. Seriously, the rhythm method?

  • c.darrow

    i’m italian. don’t count on this. trust me. i can’t even imagine why maria thinks otherwise.

    condoms were briefly talked by the vatican about 2 years ago, nothing good came from that.

    this recent quote is just him making fun of science and scientists, as usual, after the facts at the university “La Sapienza”.

    currently we are without a government, the cardinals are very busy with politics and the law on abortion, but you can still find famous journalists and talk show hosts that speak of the condom as “the most disgusting thing ever invented”.

    so, don’t expect the vatican (and italy: in this day and age they are one and the same) to ever “catch up”.

  • c.darrow

    “This is great news. Most people I know thought the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control was silly. Seriously, the rhythm method?”

    two (2) days ago an italian senator, paola binetti, a psicologist, member of opus dei, told on italian public tv that the rhythm method works and should be preferred to condoms. there is NO great news here.

    “If a person marries someone who alreday has HIV/AIDS, then i’m guessing the pope realized that there is a way to avoid transmitting of the virus. He can’t forbid the couple to have sex.”

    he can and so far he does. catholics can’t decouple the “unitive act” from the “procreative act” (Encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”).

  • c.darrow

    (sorry for the double posting)

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    The pope can’t contradict himself. He’s infallible. Remember.

  • Renacier

    They can use condoms, but they have to use really cheap ones to give Jehovah a fighting chance.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Maybe in another 50 years or so the Church might become liberal enough to actually embrace the ideas in the Vatican II… (from back in the 1960′s).

    But this is a positive step on condom use. I mean.. aren’t most Catholics already using condoms anyway. Might as well make it official. It only serves to the Church’s detriment if they maintain beliefs that practically everyone has long abandoned. People then get used to not taking the Church seriously. Hmmm.. maybe it was better when they said no condom use. ever.. ;)

  • Maria

    i’m italian. don’t count on this. trust me. i can’t even imagine why maria thinks otherwise.

    I never said I thought otherwise. I just sent the article as a piece of news. My verdict: I’ll believe it when I see it. I know they’ve started down this road before, and didn’t get there. Even if they do, it will be said it took this long. Richard, I love your song!

  • Jen

    There was always something that bothered me about the Catholic church… oh right, the condom thing. It wouldn’t even bother me so much if they weren’t pushing it on the Third World, but they do, and they are all the bastarder for it.

  • (((Billy)))

    At the very least, it will make evidence of abuse easier to hide. Or at least contain.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com Anthony McCarthy

    The Pope’s only decades behind everyone else now… he’s catching up!

    No, not everyone else. Among all the geezer sex drugs and the 24-7 message that everyone should be having sex continually, with time taken out to shop, you will find literally no promotion of the sale or use of condoms.

    So, your assertion is, unfortunately, inaccurate.

  • http://www.voxclara.com Matthew

    Sorry to disapoint but that simply wont happen.

    Condemnations of artificial contraception in marrige is a infalable teaching of the church which will not change. My guess is that reports are false as is often the case when people try to put words in the Pope’s mouth.

    You said also that the Pope (and I assume you also mean the Catholic Church) is decades behind everyone else now. This implies that everyone else has made progress towords something else. I wonder what is this progress towords? Complete lack of morality when it comes to sex? Distruction of marrige as an institution? Well if that is progress than I am glad that the Pope and his Church is behind. Also often times progress is when you realize that you have gone to far the wrong way and you go back to correct your errors.

    The Catholic Church will never change its mind about this issue. For all those liberal Catholics waiting for it, I recomand chosing a religion that allows you to do what ever you want or perhaps if they already don’t believe in what the Church teaches to become atheists, its more honest that way.

  • Karen

    Richard – that’s hilarious!! :-)

  • Pingback: Catholic Church to ease ban on condom use « The Frame Problem

  • c.darrow

    “often times progress is when you realize that you have gone to far the wrong way and you go back to correct your errors”

    sure. the only problem is that in the mind of the catholic church (and many other forms of christianity, not to mention islam and other religions…) that error is the first amendment of the american constitution. 1791. that’s waaay back…

  • Siamang

    Ah, only 20 years later than the rest of the world. That’s got to be a new speed record for a major religion. That’s like a glacier winning the indy 500.

    Except as others note, it’s not likely to happen. Esp. with the current pontiff.

    Human lives are inconsequential when you start numbering them in the millions. We’ll have a national week of mourning for Heath Ledger. Meanwhile in the last 20 years of the AIDS pandemic, millions of children never got to grow up.

    We need to promote a morality that labels unintended but forseeable and avoidable consequences as the evil that they are. We need to recognize that this is sin and suffering and bloody sacrifice, not for God’s glory, but for man’s.

  • Steve

    You said also that the Pope (and I assume you also mean the Catholic Church) is decades behind everyone else now. (snip) Complete lack of morality when it comes to sex?

    Matthew- I’m not sure where you’re coming from. Condom use in a country ravaged by poverty, out of control AIDS infection and death should be encouraged- and I fail to see how that is immoral.

    Too many men in Africa believe that the cure for AIDS is to have sex with a virgin and every year, those infected men are raping girls to try and get rid of it. Those girls are getting younger and younger.

    One could make the argument that preventing folks from access to condoms and facts about the disease is immoral, and where does that leave the church?

  • Richard Wade

    Matthew,

    You said also that the Pope (and I assume you also mean the Catholic Church) is decades behind everyone else now. This implies that everyone else has made progress towords something else. I wonder what is this progress towords? Complete lack of morality when it comes to sex? Distruction of marrige as an institution? Well if that is progress than I am glad that the Pope and his Church is behind. Also often times progress is when you realize that you have gone to far the wrong way and you go back to correct your errors.

    This is about condoms, not orgies. Please explain what coercing married couples to have more children than they can afford to properly care for has to do with preventing immoral sexual behavior. If I am reading you correctly you seem to be setting up an absurd straw man argument by implying that wanting to have some control over the size of their families will lead directly to a “complete lack of morality when it comes to sex.”

    The Catholic Church has only one agenda when it comes to condemning artificial contraception and that is the domination of the world by sheer numbers. They literally don’t give a damn about the resultant poverty, disease and starvation that comes from this policy. The more Catholics there are the richer the Vatican becomes.

  • http://www.evolvedrational.com Evolved

    Why should anyone care what the Pope thinks about science? We do not ask gardeners their opinion on building plans, do we?

  • Stephen

    You said also that the Pope (and I assume you also mean the Catholic Church) is decades behind everyone else now. This implies that everyone else has made progress towords something else. I wonder what is this progress towords? Complete lack of morality when it comes to sex?

    Matthew, I have spoken to two Catholic women who both told the following story. One lived in Ireland, the other IIRC in Malta. Both were still not pregnant a year or two after getting married. Both were approached by the local priest who, using typically catholic circumlocation, suggested that he could perform a service by making the woman pregnant, while giving the distinct impression that he expected the woman to consent. And both of them subsequently learned of at least one other woman in the area who had had the same experience.

    That, Matthew is Catholic morality. Along with the sexual abuse of choirboys, maltreatment of schoolchildren etc, etc. And the progress we are making is towards a society where, among other things, people feel free to speak out against that sort of behaviour, and can feel confident that society will support them.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Matthew said,

    Condemnations of artificial contraception in marrige is a infalable teaching of the church which will not change.

    Matthew, I am an ex-Catholic, and I can confirm this statement to be factually incorrect. The Church is only considered infallible under certain conditions. Infallibility is used sparingly for teachings like the Assumption of Mary and the divinity of Christ. It most certainly is not used for beliefs about condoms. Furthermore, there is such a thing as “faithful dissent“, which allows Catholics to disagree with any non-infallible teachings given the proper conditions.

    Of course, in my opinion, the fact that infallibility is used sparingly does not much improve upon the concept.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Richard,

    You really outdid youself! I’m cringing as I’m laughing.. :) Long live the poet! :)

  • http://www.voxclara.com Matthew

    Steve,

    Too many men in Africa believe that the cure for AIDS is to have sex with a virgin and every year, those infected men are raping girls to try and get rid of it. Those girls are getting younger and younger.

    How is giving them condoms solve this problem?

    Perhaps teaching them sexual morality may not work in all cases (it doesn’t work in our educated world after all) however just giving them condoms will not solve the problem. I don’t think there is much time to put on a condom when you are raping… (Ofcourse I don’t mean that rape is the only way AIDS spreads)

    Condoms send the wrong message, they say that you are OK to have sex with people as long as you put that on. It doesn’t address the issues that are truly causing the desease to spread. They are false sence of security. It doesn’t work in the “educated” world it will not work there. (Plus the fact that the Church is a religious body with higher view of what it is to be human and human sexuality in which view condoms are immoral and rightly so)

  • http://www.voxclara.com Matthew

    To Richard Wade

    This is about condoms, not orgies. Please explain what coercing married couples to have more children than they can afford to properly care for has to do with preventing immoral sexual behavior. If I am reading you correctly you seem to be setting up an absurd straw man argument by implying that wanting to have some control over the size of their families will lead directly to a “complete lack of morality when it comes to sex.”

    Your understanding of the Churches teaching on sexuality is very small if you think the Church wants every married couple to have as many kids as possible. I recomand you have a look at Humane Vite encyclical which is quite clear about the responsibilties families have to make sure that each child is properly taken care of. This goes back to the higher dignity human person is held in the view of the Church.

    If you look at the studies of families who practice what the Church teaches vs. the families who don’t you will notice few facts. One of them is the fact that families who follow the Church in this matter have about 2% divorce rate where as familes who don’t have 50%.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Matthew said,

    Perhaps teaching them sexual morality may not work in all cases (it doesn’t work in our educated world after all) however just giving them condoms will not solve the problem. I don’t think there is much time to put on a condom when you are raping… (Ofcourse I don’t mean that rape is the only way AIDS spreads)

    I totally agree with you there. If the men believe virgins will wash away their infection, they definitely would not wear a condom. You have to educate them and get them away from their false beliefs first.

    (Plus the fact that the Church is a religious body with higher view of what it is to be human and human sexuality in which view condoms are immoral and rightly so)

    Then you lost me there. Rightly so? How is that?

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Matthew said,

    If you look at the studies of families who practice what the Church teaches vs. the families who don’t you will notice few facts. One of them is the fact that families who follow the Church in this matter have about 2% divorce rate where as familes who don’t have 50%.

    Please… Matthew. Statistics are just numbers. They are not necessarily the true picture. I personally know some of those 50% whose marriage is not really a marriage. I’m not saying that it’s good or bad. Just that the numbers are not at all indicative of whether religion works or not.

  • http://www.voxclara.com Matthew

    Linda,

    It is hard in a space of a comment to express what the Church teaches about human person, so I will just sketch is out very roughly and speak only of the sexual acts.

    The body has a language and as such it expresses what we feel towards the other person. Sex is sacred as it is a total offering of onself to the other. Complete self giving. It has a purpuse, it unites the two and it also aims towords procreation. If for what ever reason you block these two purposes it is as if your body was lying to the other. In Christianity if the love is not completely self giving it is not truly love. And that is what the church is trying to protect when it wants its followers (no one is forcing anyone to be Catholic) to follow complete self givnig love.

    If you remove the unitive aspect of sex than its like rape. If you remove the possibility of procreation than you are withholding a part of yourself and in your body you are saying to the other “I love you but not enough to give you myself completely”

    This is as I said very rough sketch. It is very easy to judge the Church when you don’t know what the Church actualy teaches.

  • http://www.voxclara.com Matthew

    Linda,

    You are right that numbers are not everything. However numbers are used all the time to blame the Church for everything imaginable. If one out of 1000 preists abuses a child (even that its way to big of a ratio and its to be condemned) the news and everyone jumps on the Church calling its members pedophiles etc…

    Numbers do however show something. 2% vs 50% that is a HUGE difference. It doesn’t just comes from using condoms or not but it shows a difference of mind set towords marrige and the human persons.

    I am sorry for not articulating what I mean clearly enough. Its imposible here.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Condoms send the wrong message, they say that you are OK to have sex with people as long as you put that on.

    Condoms don’t send the wrong message, telling people the condoms are infected with HIV is sending the wrong message.

    It doesn’t address the issues that are truly causing the desease to spread

    I think condoms exactly address what is causing the spread of HIV (unprotected sex). Sexual education is what is needed and any good sexual education includes information about condoms. Like it or not people will have sex no matter what you tell them. It is better to tell them the truth about sex rather than keep the ignorant about what can really happen. This is where church doctrine (“sex is bad”) is a roadblock to actually helping people.

    If you look at the studies of families who practice what the Church teaches vs. the families who don’t you will notice few facts. One of them is the fact that families who follow the Church in this matter have about 2% divorce rate where as familes who don’t have 50%.

    Have a link to these studies?

  • http://www.voxclara.com Matthew
  • BZ

    I’m not believing those 2% vs. 50% numbers without details of how that study was done.


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