Boston College Prohibits Condom Distribution On Campus

Boston College is a university, and a fairly good one at that. It’s a Catholic institution, stating that it “is committed to maintaining and strengthening the Jesuit, Catholic mission of the University.” Like many Catholic universities, BC has to balance being a religious institution with having a large and diverse student body that is no longer expected to necessarily be of the Catholic mold.

BC is very committed to its Catholic mission and, as such, it will not stand idly by as students violate one of its most important and emphasized doctrines. Refusing to help the poor? No, of course not. Not tending to the infirm? Wrong again! The intolerable violation was the distribution of free condoms:

Boston College officials are threatening to take disciplinary measures against a group of students who are distributing condoms out of their dorm rooms, calling the act a violation of the university’s mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.

Boston College officials sent a letter to students on March 15 demanding an end to student-run “Safe Sites,” a network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and safe sex information are available.

Students living in the “Safe Sites” were told in the letter that the distribution of condoms is in conflict with their “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”

Now, I know most of readers of this blog will find this to be utterly insane. Who needs condoms and good information about safe sexual practices more than a bunch of 18- to 22-year-olds who are outside their parents’ reach with doors that lock from the inside for the first time in their lives? These kids will benefit enormously from condom availability, especially considering that many will come from “abstinence-only” educational backgrounds, carrying with them a whole package of ignorance and misinformation that needs to be undone.

But you could say that BC is simply being true to its values. After all, students know they are entering a Catholic institution, and so they should expect Catholic rules to be strictly observed.

I mean, this isn’t feminism-friendly Barnard College. This is BC and the Catholic view of women is decidedly not “feminist,” right…?

Feminists from Boston College, past and present, gathered on Thursday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). The event, “Still Fighting the Good Fight,” welcomed a panel of speakers ranging from a professor to a current undergraduate to discuss the meaning of feminism on campus and advocate for change.

The Women’s Resource Center, by the way, is a university funded group dedicated exclusively to issues pertaining to women at the university. They have a “featured feminist,” promote healthy body-image programs, and have an array of resources to confront the issue of sexual assault. Reproductive choice is strangely missing from their list of issues, but it’s clear that BC is comfortable straying from the strictly patriarchal Catholic model in this case.

So they’re okay with the empowerment of women.

But surely BC won’t step on the biggest of Catholic landmines: homosexuality. This is non-negotiable! Current “pope emeritus,” then-Bishop Ratzinger, famously declared homosexuals to be “intrinsically disordered” and the church has been nothing if not clear that being gay is most certainly not okay. Homosexuality is a sin and, at the very best, homosexuals should be treated with “compassion” so they can resist and reject their sinful desires.

Boston College cannot dance around this stark prohibition, right…?:

Allies serves the role of a gay-straight alliance at Boston College. We are a group of GLBTQ and straight students working to foster a better community for everyone. Tolerance as an attitude towards someone of a different sexual orientation is not enough; the group promotes acceptance of all and equal rights.

I’m sure the church hierarchy thinks that’s just peachy. The college is not merely tolerant of this group on campus; they’re promoting it. The website is, in fact, hosted by the college itself and the group is listed as an official student organization. Beyond that, BC actually has an entirely separate organization dedicated to LGBT staff. That’s right, not only are activist LGBT students welcomed at BC, the staff that makes up the pillars of the community are welcomed no matter their sexuality.

Boston College has decided that Catholic doctrines about the roles of women are not very important while explicit Catholic orders about homosexuality and not important at all.

Yet, they somehow find the piety to prevent their young students from being able to access methods to keep them STI and pregnancy free. Because, you know, Jesus.

So remember: feminist lesbians are welcome with open arms at BC and they have some dynamite gay professors that will help shape you into the leaders of tomorrow. But make sure you don’t bring any condoms for your straight and bi friends, since moral consistency on Catholic teaching is awfully important at BC.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Claudia

I'm a lifelong atheist and a molecular biologist with a passion for science and a passionate opposition to its enemies.

  • McAtheist

    cart before horse, ban fucking, go right to the source. *sarcasm alert*

  • Gus Snarp

    I guess I never realized Boston College was a Catholic institution. Of all the terrible things the Church is guilty of, I really think that discouraging condom use is the worst of its modern ills. Not only does it cost thousands of people their lives, but it doesn’t even make theological sense, modern Catholics in the West don’t believe in it or practice it, and it leads to more abortions, which the Church sees as murder. So if you can stop one murder of a “child” by killing one more of the millions of sperm that are due to die in that moment anyway, isn’t that a great moral victory? Hypocritical fools.

  • CelticWhisper

    Dude. Don’t give them ideas. They WILL take that shit at face value.

  • C Peterson

    The image used for this posting is just begging for a caption contest…

  • Lucilius

    This reminds me of a 30-year-old comic strip, “Go Die” by Mark Peaslee: “The Vatican announced today that priests found to be molesting altar boys would still not be allowed to use condoms.”

  • allein

    Ironic that the college’s initials are BC.

  • Dan Allosso

    When he was being prosecuted in the 1830s for publishing America’s first birth control book, Dr. Charles Knowlton observed: “It may be that there is a class of men, generation after generation, who have an interest in inculcating opinions which are in fact erroneous, and to make it part of their business to spay and castrate, as it were, the infant minds throughout the land, before they arrive at the age of reason, that they may be tame and humble followers throughout their lives!” But in this case, hopefully even BC undergrads have the smarts and the guts to ignore the Catholic administration.

  • El Nopo

    Sorry Claudia, but you really hit the level of yellow blog writing on this one.

    Your words – The Women’s Resource Center is a UNIVERSITY FUNDED org.

    The University is a private university.

    The University does not wish to distribute condoms.

    The University does not have to distribute condoms.

    What you failed to mention is that they do not punish nor stop private students or non-University funded orgs from distributing condoms.

    I cannot stand christians/catholics but I also do not like bad reporting and skewed facts. AND, private orgs can make their own decisions in matters such as this. We do not have the right to tell them to give away condoms anymore than we have the right to tell them to distribute Spiderman comics, porn or free aspirin.

  • TheBlackCat13

    What you failed to mention is that they do not punish nor stop private students or non-University funded orgs from distributing condoms.

    Did you even read the article? That they are, in fact, doing this very thing is exactly what the article is all about.

  • RobMcCune

    The university is preventing students not affiliated with a university funded organization from distributing condoms of their own accord, and they are trying prevent off campus students from doing it as well.

    So now that you have the facts, you’ll turn around and defend the rights of students, right?

  • allein

    “We do not have the right to tell them to give away condoms anymore than we have the right to tell them to distribute Spiderman comics, porn or free aspirin.”

    But we have the right to express our opinion that they are wrong…which is all that is happening here, as far as I can tell.

  • Fact Check

    No, dig around a little – which is what I did – you know, actually reading the papers from MA etc….Claudia did not report the facts here; she reported a very skewed version of the facts.

    Hence the issue I have. Perhaps you should stop being reactionary without going off half-cocked?

  • TheBlackCat13

    What, exactly, did she say that was inaccurate?

    This is a bunch of students operating on their own with no university support or funding. The university has flat-out said that distributing condoms at all is a violation of school rules.

  • CS42

    The Boston Globe article says that the condoms are distributed by a student organization called “Boston College Students for Sexual Heath” and explicitly clarifies that the organization is not recognized by the university.

    Claudia mentioned The Women’s Resource Center as an illustration of Boston College is usually on the side of progressive causes. They are not the group that was distributing the condoms.

  • Gregory Lynn

    I went to BC. The school embarrasses me regularly. Cardinal Law, whom you may recognize as Boston’s pederast-in-chief, spoke at graduation. As did Gerry Adams.

    Best hockey program in the country, though.

  • The Commenter

    What “Catholic doctrines about the roles of women are not very important”?
    There’s some fuzzy thinking in this article. It’s not actually going against Catholic doctrine to have a feminist organisation or a gay support group for staff or students on campus.
    Fairly typical of atheist writing when it comes to the Church – have half an idea of what the Church teaches and knock out a few hundred words based on that to make a point. Does the author not realise how weak her argument is? How she hasn’t actually followed the evidence where it leads, like a good atheist and skeptic would?

  • The Commenter

    How does the opposition to condoms “cost thousands of people their lives”? How does it lead to more abortions? How do you know “modern Catholics in the West” don’t obey the Church’s teachings on contraception? Any evidence to back up those claims, or will it suffice them merely to assert them to a sympathetic audience?

  • The Commenter

    Hm. Because it’s funny to make jokes about child abuse, I guess.

  • The Commenter

    That quote flips right around onto the people who wish to inculcate the opinion that people are things to be used, and the only rule that applies in sexual morality is “get consent”.

  • The Commenter

    “Half-cocked” describes the OP too.

  • The Commenter

    More laziness from the OP: “The Women’s Resource Center, by the way, is a university funded group dedicated exclusively to issues pertaining to women at the university.” But the website says: “The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) was founded in 1973 to support, educate, and empower women and men in the full attainment of their intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual goals through a wide variety of services and programs.”
    Is the author lazy (didn’t check her facts) or a liar (the facts didn’t fit the narrative she wished to tell so tweaked them a little)? I find that athiest blog writers in general are much more likely to be lazy and/or ignorant than deceitful, so I’m going to go with the first option.
    Sharpen up!

  • TheBlackCat13

    How does the opposition to condoms “cost thousands of people their lives”?


    “This review indicates that consistent use of condoms results in 80% reduction in HIV incidence. ”

    How does it lead to more abortions?

    More unwanted pregnancies

    How do you know “modern Catholics in the West” don’t obey the Church’s teachings on contraception?

    89% of Catholic women had used condoms.”

  • chicago dyke

    ignorant and uptight! let me guess, you think the RCC is a terrific institution and only a few rogue bad apple priests raped children.

  • chicago dyke

    i think your reading comprehension skills are what’s in question here, sweetie.

  • John

    Honestly, that should be the only rule. If two (or more) people want to have sex and all are capable of understanding what they’re doing and the risks involved, why shouldn’t they? I dare you to give me one reason that doesn’t involve Jesus.

  • The Commenter


    But you’ve proved nothing: I asked you to show me how the Catholic Church’s opposition to condoms has cost “thousands” (how many’s that, exactly, anyway?) of lives. Quoting stats about AIDS doesn’t do that.

    Nor have you shown how it leads to more abortions.That you want that to be true doesn’t make it so. I’m sure, as a good skeptic/atheist, you won’t make a truth-claim without evidence.

    Nor have you shown that a certain figure which shows that Catholic women have used condoms “ever in their lives” (is that once? Many times, during a time when they’d left the Church, before they’d “reverted”? All through their marriage? What, exactly?) means that Catholics don’t obey the Church’s teachings on contraception.

    So basically, you’re still out at sea. Got anything else?

  • The Commenter

    What? So iy is funny to make jokes about child abuse then? To suggest otherwise is ignorant and uptight? Good grief.
    I do think the Catholic Church is a “terrific institution”, yes. One filled with sinners, and stuffing things up horribly at several points in its history. A few “bad apples”? No. More than a few, and more than a few mistakes made, and even crimes committed, when dealing with them.
    Your point?

  • The Commenter

    Well, one reason might be because there’s the possibility of children being produced, children who might then end up without their fathers being present for their upbringing. I don’t think anyone can argue that children need their parents in their lives.

  • The Commenter

    Sweetie. What else does the WRC is dedicated “exclusively to issues pertaining to women” mean? And what does the WRC is for “women and men” mean? Is there slippage there between what Claudia said and what the WRC site says or not? Sweetie?

  • Feminerd

    Contraception, abortion, and acknowledging the risk of pregnancy (if there happens to be a fertile man and fertile woman doing PIV things, none of which is necessary for sexy fun times).

    Children needs parents in their lives, yes. However, sex doesn’t have to lead to children. Try again.

  • Feminerd

    It’s only funny in the “laugh or you’ll cry” sort of way. You know, dark morbid humor of the type Jews have been practicing for centuries (not saying Mark Peaslee is Jewish, I have no idea, just there’s a long history of mordant, sarcastic, very dark humor coming out of Jewiish culture). The biting irony is the Church thinks using condoms is worse than raping children. There is no way to make that make sense in any sane world. You laugh so you don’t weep when you realize that it’s too true.

  • Tom

    The notion that people are things to be used is entirely at odds with the notion that one must obtain their consent.

  • SecularistAlum

    Comforting to hear that another graduate finds himself embarrassed by the institution’s behavior! I dislike it when they call for donations. Very attractive Gothic style buildings, though.

  • Dan Allosso

    Bigger possibility if you limit access to contraception. But that seems to be your point. And I don’t see how the fact that Knowlton called out “priestcraft” and its attempt to make everybody instruments of the church’s will “flips right around” and suggests Knowlton (or secularists today) are instrumentalists.

  • allein

    The Catholic church has a huge influence in African countries where the AIDS rate is high and education on the matter is low. That they actively promote the idea that people should not use condoms (even between married people where one is positive and the other is not) has a huge impact on public health. (And no, I’m not going to qualify my use of the word “huge.” There are plenty of articles, and posts on this very blog, about the subject.)
    Fewer unwanted pregnancies = Fewer abortions. It’s simple common sense.
    Most Catholics don’t have more than a few children. They are doing something to prevent the large families you would expect from practitioners of a religion that tells you every sex act must be open to procreation….

  • GloomCookie613

    There’s no law that states that comics must be funny. They can be disturbing or thought provoking too.

  • DonnaCM

    During a recent vacation in Rome, I found myself unexpectedly in need of condoms. Knowing that my new Italian friend wouldn’t bring any to the party, my (also female) travel companion and I set out to buy some. In Rome. At midnight.

    Finding condoms in Rome at midnight ought to be a challenge on the Amazing Race.

    We’d only seen one condom dispenser in the city, outside a pharmacy quite some distance away from our apartment. (The only condoms we saw during the entire trip were in coin-operated dispensers outside pharmacies.) None of the pharmacies in our area had said dispensers, and the shops were closed so there was no one to give us directions to somewhere that did.

    That led us to big hotels, thinking it’d be like back in Canada and there would be dispensers in the washrooms. Nope. Not even in the mens’ rooms, which I ducked into just in case.

    Finally my friend approached the bartender in a hotel bar. First mistake: asking for condoms. The shock and horror in his reaction were … apparent. He sent her to the piano player, where she changed her tactic and asked for a pharmacy, but he knew what she was looking for and refused to help. She finally got mumbled directions from the concierge and collected me from the washroom. I wondered why every employee in the place was staring at us as we crossed the lobby.

    Being middle-aged women who don’t much care what anyone else thinks, we laughed at the whole ridiculous ‘quest’. I can’t imagine myself laughing had it happened to me when I was 20, though, and I can see how easy it would be to opt for unprotected sex rather than the continued humiliation of the search.

    I thought I understood the influence the Catholic Church has. But after this experience, as someone who’s used to being able to find condoms everywhere – grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, corner stores, public washrooms, sex shops, etc. – I realize my ‘understanding’ was just words.

    It’s disgusting what I had to go through to be responsible.

  • Lucilius

    Way to miss the point.

    The comic wasn’t joking about abuse. It was pointing up the church’s hypocrisy in tacitly condoning molesters while opposing the beneficial use of condoms on supposedly moral grounds.

  • Emmet

    But you saying the Church has a “huge impact” doesn’t make it so. Prove it.
    Catholics on the African continent make up about 15% of the population.
    And why would people obey the Church’s teachings on condoms but not on pre-marital or extra-marital sex? If it’s OK with you, I won’t read the Wikipedia article – I’m sure you’ll allow me to be skeptical of Wikipedia as an authoritative source for anything, let alone on things to do with the Church.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of the sympto-thermal or NaPro methods of family planning – perhaps they are the “something” that Catholic couples are doing to space and plan their pregnancies.Point is, you don’t know if the self-identified Catholics in polls like that are Catholics who assent to all of what the Church holds as true, or “cultural Catholics” who barely assent to any Church teachings. Until you can identify that, polls like that aren’t worth much if you want to make a claim that “Catholics do this or that.”

  • Emmet

    No it’s not. Many people consent to a “mutual use” of each other. Discard when used, find another. One of the threads of the materialist tapestry is “relationships are about what i can get, not what I can give”.

  • Emmet

    Well let me make it clear: I mean that it seems to me that there is a growing class of men and women, who have an interest in inculcating opinions which are in fact erroneous, such as materialism or moral Darwinism, and to make it part of their business to spay and castrate, as it were, the infant minds throughout the land, before they arrive at the age of reason, that they may be tame and humble followers throughout their lives. Followers of the credo that says that you are merely an intelligent animal – do what you like because there are no absolutes.

  • Emmet

    Still waiting for the Catholic doctrine about the role of women that the university’s WRC goes against. If it’s doctrine, it’ll be written down. Can the blogger find it for us? Or does it not actually exist, but just sounded good for the purposes ofher article?

  • Emmet

    What are the down-votes for? Is my post true, or is it not? Did the blogger say something that’s incorrect, or did she not? Are the downvotes for “I don’t like truth”? Good grief.

  • Emmet

    Or, you know. Not have sex.

  • RobMcCune

    A person’s consent means they engage in sex for their own reasons that is entirely at odds with the idea that people are being used. The two concepts are contradictory. Your “materialist tapestry” is sadly woven by your mind, out of things that don’t conform to you narrow view. You should try understanding them before trying to weave them into a overarching framework.

  • Emmet

    We’re arguing two different things I think.

  • coyotenose

    It’s pretty clear that you’re going to rationalize away even the simplest logical consequences with further “nuh-uhs”, so there’s no point in re-explaining what several people already explained to you slowly and thoroughly. Your desperation for a defense is making you dishonest. You might want to look into that.

    You’d have to be a goddamn moron to not grasp how condoms are less available in communities where authority figures claim that they spread disease, as the Catholic Church does. Citing percentage figures doesn’t magically erase that. Likewise, you’d have to be an egregious twit, or else just a sad liar, to allegedly not comprehend how Catholics can follow one rule and not another, when it was just explained to you with statistics how they do it all the time.
    However, you’d only have to be ignorant (and yet still bizarrely talking anyway rather than educating yourself) to not know that Wikipedia has a little space towards the bottom of each page for references. One looks at those references, and magically, they almost always turn out to be legitimate citations for the information presented.

    This little fact makes disparaging Wikipedia, as noted, an ignorant argumentative tactic at best. Of course, it rarely is “at best”, since doing so nearly always turns out to be a disingenuous cover for a lack of an actual argument. Or to put it more simply, your dismissal of Wikipedia is almost guaranteed to be nothing more than you sticking your fingers in your ears because you already know you lost after the first response, and your poor religionist’s ego can’t handle it.

  • coyotenose

    It’s telling that when presented with the primary options of “criticize the RCC for protecting child rapists” and “criticize people who mock the RCC for protecting child rapists, thus becoming someone who protects child rapists”, you chose the latter.

    How does it feel to be a man who protects child rapists, Emmet?

  • coyotenose

    They’re arguing that people who engage in fair trade are not being used, because they understand English. You are arguing whatever you think will score points in any given sentence.

    So you are correct.

  • coyotenose

    Seriously, if you’re going to drag out the “if we’re all just animals, why don’t we do whatever we want” canard, you aren’t doing anything but making yourself look ignorant and dense. That has been shredded dozens of times on this blog alone.

    Jesus, at least learn to Google before you start opining in public. Those apologetics classes didn’t actually teach you anything that can fool anyone in the Internet Age.

  • coyotenose

    Ego much? Nobody is required to do your basic Googling for you. No matter how much you puff yourself up, your response to yourself is evidence enough that you are, in fact, just puffed up.

    Screaming “Take me seriously!” tends to have the opposite effect.

  • coyotenose

    I would say they’re for “being yet another in a long, boring line of fly-by-night twits who took some Apologetics courses and now think that playing dishonest word games is equal to having an argument.”

    We’ve seen you many times, Em. You Apologists are liars who parse words until you get the result you want. None of you are smart enough to realize that you’re presenting nothing new, and all of you have such massively overblown egos that you can’t grasp someone not being fooled by you, even when you’re told so outright.

  • coyotenose

    Your being a hypocritical child-rapist defender who is contemptuous of people who lack your neuroses is not an actual argument, no matter how many times you remind people of it.

    It is, however, very Christian of you.

  • Randay

    You wouldn’t be very happy in ostensibly “Catholic” France. Condoms have been distributed in school to junior and senior high school students for free for years. Now the government has decided to also make the pill, sterilet, the morning after pill, other forms of birth control free to young people between 15 and 18. Of course there is real sex ed in the schools. French Catholics don’t even bother to contest these decisions anymore. Anyway, only 5% of them go to mass. The stated goal is to encourage the teenagers to become responsible for their lives. Yet France is one of the few EU countries that has a birthrate that is above the population replacement level.

  • Emmet

    Sure. Look, if someone says, “The Catholic Church’s oppostion to condoms has cost thousands of lives (or “millions” as has been claimed on other atheist blogs – millions! really!)” that person needs to be able to show exactly how that’s happened, or they’re just farting in the wind. So the Church has authority in some communities (and those communities are where exactly? You’ll be able to tell me of course, or point me to a wikipedia article that tells me where) – is the incidence of AIDS in those communities because of what the Church says about condoms, or is it because of something else? Someone who says it’s because of the Church’s opposition to condoms needs to be able to prove it clearly, or they should shut their pie-hole.

    So: explain to me slowly and thoroughly again: how exactly do you prove the claim that people die from AIDS becasue of the Church’s opposition to condoms? Prove it, don’t just put it out there as a fait accompli. Can you actually do that, or will you just be content with insults?

    Anecdote: I’ts been said that some middle-class African women have caught AIDS from re-used equipment used for abortions, and many people used to catch it from re-used needles, until the drug companies wised up and starting sending only single-use needles into Africa. Take that for what you will – no citation, but no lie.

  • Emmet

    I’ve been chary of Wikipedia since a friend or mine talked to me about how the sole reference for an entry on the site was a link to a piece of writing by him which was on a blog to which he’d uploaded an essay for university. So, sure, my comment about Wikipedia was a little glib, but I don’t think it was completely off the mark.
    In any case, your notion that a person’s wariness of citing Wikipedia means that they don’t have an argument is, quite frankly, absurd.

  • Emmet

    Whatever. You’re read me wrong. There’s a third option, not the dichotomy you’ve drawn above: Criticise people for making jokes about child abuse while also criticising the people who’ve committed the abuse and the people who’ve covered it up.

    So in answer to your question: I don’t know how it feels to be a man who protects child rapists, seeing as I’ve never done that.

    Good grief. Grow up. Put your … what? anger? frustration? sore tummy? to some good use instead of parping away at some anonymous commenter in some backwater of the internet.

  • Emmet


  • Emmet

    Do you actually have an argument, or does it just make you feel groovy to post an insult on each of my comments?

  • Emmet

    :) I’m not asking for someone to do some googling for me. Neither did I really expect the blogger to respond. I just wanted to point out the inaccuracy of her claims. I think if someone says “The Church says X is doctrine”, they should be able to point to a source. Otherwise their argument is arse, isn’t it? Their atheist audience won’t know any different, but the writer is left with egg on her face. Truth – is it important to the writer or not?

  • Emmet

    Uh-huh. I don’t think I’m presenting anything you haven’t heard before. I just think it’s worth saying again.
    Again – do you actually have an argument to point out where I’m wrong (say, for the comments just above), or are you going to settle for insults?

  • pagansister

    Would they object if the Easter Bunny had condoms in the Easter basket? (along with chocolate bunnies etc. :-) You never know when they might come in handy for—oh wait, condoms are Bad because the sacred sperm can’t reach their destination to make more Catholics.

  • allein

    Well excuse me for not personally vetting all 54 references on the article. Read whatever the hell you want.

    Nobody said the incidence of AIDS is solely due to the church’s stance on condoms, but they certainly do their damnedest to prevent the distribution and use of them, up to and including outright lies about their effectiveness. (Is the BBC good enough for you? ) The incidence is due to a number of factors and they are actively trying to prevent one of the more effective ways of minimizing the spread of disease among people they know perfectly well are going to have sex. Because people have sex and no amount of screaming “abstinence!” is going to change that. How about teaching people how to be responsible and minimize the risks instead?

    “Family planning” is still contraception, it’s just not using artificial means. It is actively trying to prevent pregnancy. And nice no true scotsman. Whether they “assent to” all church teachings or not, the church certainly counts them in their numbers, but when you start asking who uses birth control, the “cultural catholics” don’t count.

  • DonnaCM

    Or, you know. Stop foisting your views on everyone else.

  • Emmet

    “Nobody said the incidence of AIDS is solely due to the church’s stance on condoms” – but plenty of people do. What else does “the Catholic Church’s stance on condoms has cost thousands of lives” mean? And *I’m* accused of parsing things duplicitiously!

    How can natural family planning be contraception if there’s no chance of conception taking place? Abstaining from sex is contraception? So you’re contracepting as you sit at your computer?

    Not a not true scotsman. I’m just saying that “X% of Catholics use contraception” doesn’t mean much if many of that X% call themselves Catholic but don’t obey many Catholic teachings. I think that’s a good skepticism to exhibit, don’t you?

  • Emmet

    Or, you know. Stop foisting *your* views on me.
    I thought this was the internet, where anyone can say anything. Expressing an opinion does not equal foisting.

  • TheBlackCat13

    Wait, what? Exactly what views are Donna foisting on you? The view that you shouldn’t foist your views on others? Are you serious?

    Let me guess: only you are allowed to lecture other people on what they should or should not do. But nobody else is allowed to do the same to you.

  • Emmet

    No, go for it, lecture away. Whatever. What do you want to lecture me about?
    That when a person feels sexual urges it’s compulsory to act on them, and that it’s “disgusting” to not be able to find condoms in order to do so?

  • allein

    I wasn’t the one that said “thousands of lives.” But discouraging condom use encourages the spread of the disease, which costs lives. That’s all I’m saying and I’m not being “duplicitous.”

    NFP is hardly foolproof (certainly less reliable than some other forms of birth control) and determining when you can’t conceive is not an exact science. But the whole point of it is for an otherwise sexually active couple to abstain when the woman thinks she is unlikely to conceive, thus preventing conception. How is that not contraception?

    I’m not in the business of deciding who is and is not a true Catholic. If you identify yourself as a member of a religion, you are a member of the religion as far as I’m concerned. I don’t really see any other way of determining who is what without the ability to read minds. What percentage of the teachings do they have to follow to qualify, anyway?

  • TheBlackCat13

    Not a not true scotsman. I’m just saying that “X% of Catholics use
    contraception” doesn’t mean much if many of that X% call themselves
    Catholic but don’t obey many Catholic teachings. I think that’s a good
    skepticism to exhibit, don’t you?

    Why don’t we use the same criteria that the Catholic Church itself uses? Surely the Catholic Church itself is the best judge of who is and is not a member of their own church, right? Under that criteria, they are all catholic.

  • Gus Snarp

    You are so not worth it. You’ve convinced yourself that you’ve got the one true answer and no amount of evidence and logic will convince you. Just as I cannot prove satisfactorily to a creationist that evolution is true, I cannot prove to your satisfaction that the Catholic Church is responsible for thousands of AIDS deaths. Obviously, it’s even less provable than evolution. But we can look at what we do know and draw reasonable conclusions. Here are some statistics on death from AIDS, primarily in Africa: We’re talking about millions of deaths. If I was attributing all of them to the Catholic Church, I’d have said millions. I said thousands. That’s a word that means anywhere between 2000 and 999,999. It’s intentionally vague. It means that I think, given the prevalence of AIDS in Africa, our knowledge about the staggering effectiveness of condoms in preventing the transmission of AIDS, and the Catholic Churches lies and general stance on condoms, that it is entirely reasonable that out of those millions of deaths, somewhere under a million, but more than 2000, could have been prevented if the Catholic Church didn’t work so hard to prevent condom use. We’re talking about as little as 2 tenths of a percent of one year’s death toll in Africa being prevented if the Catholic Church would have just never talked about or worked against condoms. I think that’s pretty reasonable. In fact, if anything, I’m being overly generous to the Church. I mean, either that or they’re the single LEAST influential organization on the planet.

  • Emmet

    Other possible reasons for deaths from AIDS in Africa: reused medical equipment; pallets of condoms unloaded from trucks in rural areas and left to sit in the sun; beliefs that sex with virgins cures AIDS.

    Bottom line: “no amount of evidence can convince me” – you have given very little evidence, just assumptions. If you can’t prove it, how can you claim it?

    If I’m not worth it, evidence is. Where’s yours?

  • Emmet

    What criteria are you referring to?

  • Emmet

    You need to read a bit more. NFP is 99% effective. That’s the almost-foolproof science of it. Your grandmother’s “rhythm method” it ain’t.

    How is abstaining from sex contraception? Again, if that’s contraception, then a Catholic couple is contracepting when they’re sleeping, when they’re at work, when they’re having dinner, when they’re bathing the kids. If absatining from sex during the fertile period is contraception, then they’re contracepting when the wife is fertile but the husband says, “Not tonight, I’m tired and have to get up early” or when one of the kids gets into their bed to sleep ’cause he’s scared of ghosts. Really? Is that the illogical argument you want to make?
    “Contraception” means “against conception”, not “abstaining from sex during fertile times” – *doing* something to stop conception, not *not doing* something. If it’s “not doing something”, then any time you don’t have sex with your fertile partner you’re contracepting. And that is absurd.

  • allein

    I know what NFP is and what it is not. But fine, I’ll give you that it’s effective if you are dedicated and disciplined enough.

    Keeping track of a bunch of subtle symptoms every day combined with periodic abstinence for the express purpose of avoiding conception = anti-conception = contraception.

  • Emmet

    No. Avoiding conception does not equal contraception. If there’s no sex, then there’s no contraception. How can there be contraception – ie, doing something *in the act* to deliberately avoid conception – if there is no sexual act?

    Analogy: If I’m not in my car, it’s nonsense to say I’m “avoiding speeding.” Of course I’m not speeding, but what the hell…? If I’m in my car, I can avoid speeding by putting the brakes on when I reach the speed limit – I’m actively doing something to stop speeding.
    Saying, “Look, if I get in my car right now, there’s every chance I’ll speed, because it’s a fast car and the roads are empty, so you know what, I’m not going to get in my car”, that’s not “not speeding”, it’s planning to avoid the chance of speeding.

    Otherwise, see above – I’m contracepting right now at my keyboard, and indeed every minute I do anything rather than have sex with my wife. Isn’t that absurd?

    a) Abstaining from sex, and b) frustrating the results of sex are two completely different things. The result may be the same but the means are completely different. A Catholic couple are free to be procreative (sex) or “non-procreative” (abstinence), but not to be “anti-procreative” (contraception).

  • Gus Snarp

    Not only are you not worth it, you’re apparently illiterate as well. Good day.

  • TheBlackCat13

    “The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; ”

    “The term ‘laity’ is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World.”

    In other words, as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, those who are baptized into the Church are considered Catholics. They can’t even leave if they want to.