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Pope’s Comments on Condoms Confuse Catholics, Correspondents

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Pope Benedict attempted to clarify the Catholic Church’s anti-condom policy in a recent interview with a German journalist over the weekend, but only seems to have caused more confusion.

Basically, the pontiff affirmed the Vatican’s stance against artificial contraception (condoms, birth control pills, etc.) but also said there are extremely isolated situations – citing the example of an AIDS-infected male prostitute, aiming to prevent disease rather than pregnancy — where condoms could be considered a lesser evil. However, this is not a change in church policy, though the initial reports prompted cheers from AIDS activists, health officials and progressive Catholics, and a GetReligion post criticizing media outlets for misinterpreting the original interview.

David Gibson explains at Politics Daily:

But Catholic teaching has never totally barred the use of condoms to protect people from contracting the HIV virus that causes AIDS. And the Vatican has never issued a formal pronouncement on the matter other than to stress that abstinence is always the best means of prevention, even if it that is often impractical. Earlier this year the Vatican said it had shelved a study to determine whether, or what, Rome should say on the matter, deciding that it was preferable to leave the question open-ended, depending on the circumstances rather than making a blanket judgment. 

Check out the Associated Press and National Catholic Reporter for more on this story:

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Henrietta22

posted November 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm


I can see why the Catholics are confused. CNN had their question about what the Pope said, so I backtracked and read what he said, aganist my better judgment. Here’s what I got; A prostitute can wear a condom when he is out doing his thing with the pop., but if a man has HIV he can’t protect his wife because it would stop them from procreating. Yes, that is what I read. What kind of reasoning religious or otherwise makes this holy?



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Grumpy Old Person

posted November 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm


“this is not a change in church policy”
UTTER B.S. It might not be an “actual change of policy“, but it is demonstrably a 180-degree turnaround on the Pope’s “thinking” on the matter …
“Pope claims condoms could make African Aids crisis worse
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/17/pope-africa-condoms-aids
“Pope: Condoms ‘Increase’ AIDS Epidemic in Africa
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,509488,00.html
It is because of the previous ‘belief’ that many ‘Christian’ commenters kept up the clamor to forbid condom distribution/use, quoting his Popeness verbatim that condoms not only did NOT work, they exacerbated the problem. And because of that ‘thinking’, people DIED.
Such hateful ignorance belongs in medieval times.



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KJV2

posted November 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm


What if your spouse develops an STD while you are married? Say a blood transfusion went awry and your spouse is infected with AIDS; are you then allowed to use a rubber? This is so stupid. Sex isn’t just for pro-creation. It is for enjoyment by married couples AND pro-creation. You Catholics need to stop rejecting your natural, biological functions and convert to Protestantism already.



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nnmns

posted November 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm


I give the pope credit for going an inch on a vital journey of miles. But at least he’s moving the right way, for now.



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Alicia

posted November 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm


I realize that this is “progress” of a sort, but to me it certainly brings to mind the intense misogyny of the Catholic Church. The idea that the only purpose of sex between men and women is procreation (but it is OK for male prostitutes to use condoms) suggests reasoning along the lines of “…if men must have sex with women, it must be for procreation only. Otherwise, why would anyone want to touch a woman?” Why didn’t the Pope also OK condom use for female prostitutes? Most of them are not intent on procreating.



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Robert C

posted November 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm


Why the hell do people who have no concept of Catholic theology blather on about what they ‘think’ its about and be absolutely and totally off the mark? And if what he has to say doesn’t matter to you, why the hell does it matter what he says. Hateful ignorance indeed. get a grip.



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joe gonzalez

posted November 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm


The pope is a ” Holy-double-talker ! ” , as in ” Holy Cow ! “. He luvs to make people crazy. In the last few days, he’s spoken about condoms in a ” don’t ask, don’t tell ” mode, about ‘ kneeling to receive Holy Communion, as if establishing a new ritual’s gonna really make a deeply spiritual reality come about. He’s a freak !
Just watch, one of these days he’s gonna come out wearing running shoes, instead of his usual magenta slippers, and say the running shoes make him feel more in Heaven ; then we gonna see all catholic Vatican-dependent people wearing running shoes under or over their cassocks.
Just a nice octagenarian ” fooled ya’ with that one, ha ” A veritable – but a pain instead of a comic – Jimmy Durante running the Holiest of Churches./



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nnmns

posted November 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm


Robert, it matters what he says because that influences way too many voters. When the RCC gets out of our politics you can more reasonably ask that question. In the meantime it’s inane.



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Robert C

posted November 22, 2010 at 4:44 pm


Voters? Voters? Your concerned how Catholics vote? How absurd. They vote their conscience and you should too. Very simple. But you obviously believe that individuals should compromise their belief systems to make liberal Americans happy. Smacks of the French Reign of Terror. The Catholic Pope should not be concerned with American politics in the least, especially since we ourselves can’t agree on a driving political philosophy. Nevertheless it should have nothing to do with the RCC’s marginal influence on American politics and everything to do with each individual voter’s belief system. You do not change a religious groups belief system by impinging its spiritual head. Do you really believe catholic voters will suddenly find certain politicians acceptable because someone has succeeded in intimidating a pope to alter basic theological tenets? I don’t think so.



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Henrietta22

posted November 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm


Robert C. I think you think that we who aren’t Roman Catholic really care what the Pope thinks. I don’t know about the rest of the uncatholics on here, but I wouldn’t have read what the Pope said about condoms if it wasn’t for CNN asking the question about what the Pope said. So I went back and read it so I could answer honestly. Any one on this earth who really cares and loves people would want to do the utmost to keep them well. It is plain ignorant to not do so, I don’t care who you are or what religion you are selling.



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stinky beans

posted November 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm


who the hell does the pope think he is…thinking he can decide how people should live…all the ignorant deserve to have their kids molested if they keep going to churches



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nnmns

posted November 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm


Actually I do vote my conscience. And it puts the needs of an actual woman and an actual family ahead of a blastocyst or a zygote or an embryo, and in many cases ahead of a fetus. And yours should too.
Are you telling me no Catholic churches talk about abortion and homosexuals more before elections? No bishops? When they do that they are trying to sway elections, so they affect me and it’s my right to try to affect them. I wish I could do more.



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Robert C

posted November 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm


Explore the definition of caring and loving. There are two sides to that coin as in everything else.
http://www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/EN2/Articolo.asp?c=440913



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Henrietta22

posted November 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm


You must be asking me to explore the definition of caring and loving, right R.C.? I’ve gone through WWll, Korean, Vietnam, and now Iraq. We’ve been married 57 yrs. and had two wonderful children, and lost them to cancer. I’ve lost most of my family as well, at least the elders, so I don’t think I have to explore the definition of caring and loving. You have nerve to even ask anyone to do that. Because you are Catholic doesn’t make you an authority on caring and loving despite anything your Pope might instruct you to believe.



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Robert C

posted November 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm


Then why question his definition? It is possible he cares as much as you but in a differing context. There are many shades and nuances to that mystery.
You presume I am a practicing catholic. Don’t presume. Similarly, someone who willingly practices a belief system doesn’t need to be instructed, as you suggest, they simply believe, regardless of the political consequences.



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pagansister

posted November 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm


Simple explanation—if you’re a male prostitute, the Pope says you can wear a condom—everyone else—you’ll go to hell if you even consider wearing one because you won’t give that little sperm a chance to meet up with an egg and make a baby. Naturally, you wouldn’t be wearing one if you’re gay,because if you’re acting on your homosexuality, you’ll go to hell anyhow. (of course if you’re a lesbian, I don’t know what to tell you, as a condom wouldn’t be necessary to you acting on your homosexuality). How hard it that to understand? Hope that clears up everyone’s confusion. :o)
Who really cares what Benny says, except Catholics? (and not all of them actually). The Catholics I know and love usually do their own thinking and I can almost guarrantee that they are using condoms/or other forms of birth control—not NFP, (only 2 or 3 kids) and are extremely good Catholics if their behavior towards others is any example. Give me free thinking Catholics anyday.



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RobbyD

posted November 23, 2010 at 12:42 am


There is no change in the Church’s stand on contraception…
How is a gay male prostitute going to procreate?
As long as other humans are thought of as tumors, clumps of cells or cats in heat lacking thoughtful self-control, there are much larger problems to tackle than trying to influence those who actually follow through on teachings of the Catholic Church…
I have NEVER understood folks like pagansister who spend time and energy railing against the teachings of the Church when likely according to her own arguments no one listens or actually follows the teachings anyway…
IMO those that do chose to be guided by Church teacings should be free to do so without the polemic and often disrespectful rants of ppl who are lucky to have a 1,000 said followers, let alone over 1,000,000,000 purported followers.
And pagansister, I seriously doubt your reaction to blatant disrespect and name calling would be as patient and carful as the responses from Pope Benedict…Of course, given your clear confidence in your self-defined superior enlightened positions, I could be wrong. At least I identify you by the name you prefer to be called.



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Robert C

posted November 23, 2010 at 9:09 am


Not so simple an explanation.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101123/ap_on_re_eu/eu_pope_condoms
‘Dilige, et quod vis fac’ Saint Augustine of Hippo



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elmo

posted November 23, 2010 at 10:22 am


well someone please talk dirty to me…my priest used to when I was younger. Now I’m presbyterian and now my rev. is gay. help. pless hurry



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nnmns

posted November 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm


Actually a gay male prostitute could procreate like any other male. But I don’t think the pope said “gay”. Or whatever passes for gay in Italian.
And IMO those of us who choose NOT to be guided by the Church’s teachings should be allowed to without having our laws changed to reflect the mythologies of those who do.



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Alicia

posted November 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Important update to the Pope’s initial comments:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheat-sheet/item/pope-ladies-can-use-condoms-too/religion/?cid=newsflash
I take back my bitter, angry words from yesterday. I’m very impressed by the Pope’s statement.



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Vanessa

posted November 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm


Well, it is a SMALL move in the right direction. I’ll finally have some respect for the Church when they admit that a married woman who has more kids than she can take care of can protect herself from bringing more children into the world. The Church limits women’s life options and perpetuates poverty. In my option, THAT is the real sin.



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pagansister

posted November 23, 2010 at 6:48 pm


RobbyD.:
First, thank you so much for calling me by my posting name. Appreciate that. Yes, years of living has made my confidence in myself higher, but not any more superior than anyone elses. Wrong assumption on your part.
By the way, who did I call names? If your referring to Benny—isn’t that his name? He isn’t my leader and as I have respect for a lot of what the Catholic church teaches, (spent 10 years teaching in a Catholic school) I don’t for their current leader.
I certainly have no disrespect for those that follow Catholic teachings, as it makes them happy—always a good thing. For those Catholics that don’t? That makes them happy too, and no less Catholic, IMO.
And I agree with you—there is no change in Benny’s attitude towards condoms/birth control….unless you are a gay prostitute, then they can go for it!!!!
Oh, as of a minute ago on the TV news, it’s OK for women too—even if it makes for no babies. Used to prevent the spread of AIDS and other STDs.



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Robert C

posted November 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm


RobbyD has a point Pagan. If you want respect and your pov listened to then you need to give it. Fine that you call the spiritual leader of the world’s catholic’s a condescending ‘Benny’. However when you recoil at some unkind things that someone else may say about Barack Obama, the latest initiated Wiccan priestess, or the hippy dippy weatherman then the law of return is in play. And nnmns, last time I looked there were no laws against condoms or birth control in all of the contiguous 48 plus Alaska and Hawaii. ;)



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pagansister

posted November 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm


No religion, faith or belief or politician (President Obama or anyone else) is beyond criticism so if unkind things are said about a Wiccan priestess, or the President or the hippy dippy weatherman or whomever I have no problem. Turn about is indeed fair play, Robert C. I agree.



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Robert C

posted November 23, 2010 at 11:27 pm


Ahh pagan. Criticism is one thing, contempt is another.



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Carlos

posted November 24, 2010 at 10:02 am


Wow. I was extremely surprised when I saw people celebrating the Pope’s “decision” to do the right thing years, if not decades, too late. But your stance, Ms. Neroulias, is even more irresponsible than the Pope himself. Yes, I think this man is extremely irresponsible in coming out this way, this late, about a topic about life and death. No condoms because of dogma, while children and innocent people die of AIDS? It would be a joke if it wasn’t so tragic. And celebrating his lukewarm approach to the subject, the way, for instance, Mr. Kandra, does it in his column in this same site, is, perhaps, even more irresponsible. Who cares, really, if the Pope smiles, when children and innocents are dying by the minute?
However we found a new low today with Ms. Neroulias’ commentary. Now we are supposed to worry about the Catholic’s “feelings” and “confusion”, again, when people are dying? And all of this because of … dogma??? I am catholic myself, and cannot believe we are being this irresponsible. Please … take a stance, approach it with logic and reason and kindness, and forget about dogma for a minute when talking about the crude realities of this world.



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nnmns

posted November 24, 2010 at 10:29 am


“And nnmns, last time I looked there were no laws against condoms or birth control in all of the contiguous 48 plus Alaska and Hawaii. ;)”
Yes, that’s worth smiling about. It’s not so long ago there were such laws and the bishops fought to keep them. So celebrate the fact those bishops don’t have the power they used to, partly because a lot of Catholics like Carlos who are smarter about Church policy than people used to be.
But there are those, not nearly far enough from power, who would return us to those days.



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Robert C

posted November 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm


….and how long ago was that nnmns? Year? State? Was Roosevelt still alive?
Carlos fyi the church has always allowed this. It’s not really a change. Take your own advice and approach it with logic and reason and kindness.



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pagansister

posted November 24, 2010 at 3:45 pm


RobertC: Contempt? Paragraph please to prove where I show contempt. Dislike, yes, disagree, yes–contempt–no. I save that for really horrible people, and even though I have no love for Benny, I have no contempt.



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Your Name

posted November 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm


“Pope Benedict attempted to clarify …”
This is odd, especially for something ONE particular poster here on B’net said was “perfectly clear”. Deacon Greg now has eight posts attempting to “clarify” this allegedly perfectly clear diktat, one of which is called “here’s the clarificationn”, several of which have links to other peoples’ ‘clarifications’, a few have been “UPDATED!” with further “clarifications” and one I think is called the clarification of the clarification.
I hope this is all clear to you. ;{O)
“”And nnmns, last time I looked there were no laws against condoms or birth control in all of the contiguous 48 plus Alaska and Hawaii. ;)”
“Yes, that’s worth smiling about. It’s not so long ago there were such laws and the bishops fought to keep them.”
Aaand, not all that long ago, there were a round of blogthreads right here on good ole Beliefnet from staunch Catholics saying that Catholic pharmacists should have the right to refuse to sell condoms or birth control. Even if there are “no laws against condoms or birth control in all of the contiguous 48 plus Alaska and Hawaii”, there’s almost always been a he11uva pushback against them from some Catholic quarters. As if every drugstore customer was a Catholic (or even a “good Catholic” (TM, all rights reserved).
‘Laws? We don’t need no stinkin’ laws.’



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nnmns

posted November 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm


There was still at least one such state law about 1970.



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Robert C

posted November 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm


The usual gobbledygook from the same semi-anonymous pot stirrers. no facts. no links. just the usual uniformed venom. LOL
nnmns. hmmmm One law in 1970. Sounds like a vestigal Blue Law to me. Where? and which bishop? Egads trivial pursuit.



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Henrietta22

posted November 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm


Nnmns was right about people in politics that would change our freedom of choosing how the individual and our medical world are operating right now in 2010. For instance I watched an interview with Sarah Palin being asked about birth control and she agreed this was necessary but when asked about taking the “night after pill”, she didn’t agree with this, because she believes it would interfere with life starting at conception that she believes in. That is her belief and she certainly is welcome to believe what she believes, but so are the rest of Americas citizens. Her group, and it would have to be the far right, would not be able to be bipartisan about anything, couple that with the Republican party and they would put us back into the distant past again.



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Robert C

posted November 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm


Stop hyperventilating H. You should have realized by now that despite the blathering of the uber left and the uber right that consistent political governance only is achieved from the middle. Veer too far in either direction and we have invective, dispute, lack of compromise and stalemate. If you are on either end of the spectrum then you become an obstacle to the commonwealth.



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Anan E. Maus

posted November 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm


there is a big difference between an institution of men, who try to represent Christ and Christ Himself.
Compassion and wisdom is always an expression of God’s will. Helping people not to die is a very very serious Christian duty.
It is also true that making sexuality devoid of moral responsibility produces a host of evils. The Church has every right to decry gross pleasure seeking ad nauseum…but in questions of morality, one must assess priorities. First priority is life, meaning stopping the risk of death. Obedience to lesser virtues come secondarily.



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