Belief Beat

Belief Beat

PopeWatch: Benedict Links Sex Abuse to Other Vices, Clarifies Condom Position

Two interesting bits of news out of the Vatican: more from Pope Benedict on the clergy sex abuse crisis, and his controversial/confusing comments about condoms.

Check out these links:

I must confess, I’m stil confused about the condoms stance. I understand what Pope Benedict seems to be trying to convey, but I don’t understand why the Catholic Church can’t formally clarify certain exceptions, like one for the use of condoms for a married couple where one spouse is infected with AIDS or some other sexually transmitted disease.


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

*Click here to subscribe to Belief Beat and click here to follow Belief Beat on Twitter.

Comments read comments(17)
post a comment

posted December 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm

He can’t help blaming things on “the other side” even when he makes a step toward ownership of the problem. I think you’ll find child molestation was going on in the RCC long before the 1970’s, and that relativistic philosophical thinking didn’t get a lot of traction there ever.

report abuse


posted December 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

The pope is also creating a straw man argument with his claim “child pornography seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society,”
This is complete bunk as the possession or production of it will get you in major legal hot water. Ask ten random people and you’ll find it is considered anything but normal. By saying this he’s undermining his credibility.

report abuse

Robert C

posted December 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm

nnmns child molestation was going on in every segment of society, in every culture, long before the 70’s so your insistence in re-branding the cow is anything but mensch.
As for the straw man argument it is anything but bunk. Despite the penalties it is prolifigate on the net, common in the gay “twink” culture, and sexual tourism was and still is quite common in certain countries.
Of course Barbara Blaine will blather to anyone to anyone who can still listen to her usual whine.

report abuse


posted December 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm

RC I’m not sure why you got off on me. PB was talking about the RCC so I did too.
So it’s whining to point out the RCC hasn’t gotten serious yet about their cancer?

report abuse


posted December 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm

According to the pope and bishops, the causes of the abuse scandal lie absolutely everywhere except the hubris of power and culture of secrecy which they continue to maintain unchanged even today. For that reason, we can expect continuing revelations of widespread abuse for many decades to come.

report abuse

Robert C

posted December 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm

tempting target. perhaps the only other person who you dawdle over more than PB is SP. You betcha!

report abuse


posted December 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Robert C, the fact that there is supply and demand for something illegal is not a sign it is becoming more accepted by society. It becomes more accepted because over time the penalties for possession and distribution decline in severity, and people’s attitudes towards it have become less harsh.
The statement “marijuana is becoming more and more accepted” is true while the pope’s statement is not.
However, using your logic I could say “murder is becoming more and more accepted by society” because people are still being murdered, and organized crime is willing to do it for money. This is obviously not true.

report abuse


posted December 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm

MH, you took the words out of my mouth (so to speak) about the Pope’s comment that child pornography is more accepted by society. How can something be accepted by a society that makes it illegal?

report abuse


posted December 22, 2010 at 6:19 am

The Vatican is in the news this morning at least twice, as usual in ways they won’t care for.
**put-link-text-here**The Vatican Bank is mired in scandal again (still).

This is no ordinary bank. The ATMs are in Latin, priests use a private entrance, and a life-sized portrait of Pope Benedict XVI hangs on the wall. Nevertheless, l’Istituto per le Opere di Religione (the Institute for Religious Works) is a bank, and it is under harsh new scrutiny, including money-laundering allegations that led police to seize €23m (£19.5m) in Vatican assets in September. Critics say the case shows that the “Vatican Bank” has never shed its penchant for secrecy and scandal.

The Vatican calls the seizure of assets a “misunderstanding” and expresses optimism that it will be cleared up quickly. But court documents show that prosecutors say the Vatican Bank deliberately flouted anti-laundering laws “with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital”. The documents also reveal investigators’ suspicions that clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and the Mafia. The documents pinpoint two transactions that have not been reported: one in 2009 involving the use of a false name, and another in 2010 in which the Vatican Bank withdrew €650,000 from an Italian bank account but ignored bank requests to disclose where the money was headed.

Also it’s reported the Vatican backed out of a deal it made to participate in a Holocaust remembrance organization because of concern doing so would increase pressure to release WW-II era secret records.

US cable reveals Vatican officials agreed in writing to become observer on Holocaust Task Force but reneged due to concerns about pressure to declassify records from WWII-era pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

The Vatican backed out of a prior written agreement to become an observer on the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research (ITF), a US diplomatic cable from October 2009 leaked to the Guardian revealed.

US diplomatic officials said the move “complicated Vatican foreign relations” but may have been made “due to concerns about ITF pressure to declassify records from the WWII-era pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

report abuse

Joe Gonzalez

posted December 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

You Catholics are a whole lot of ritual and very little substance, A big bone with nary a bit of marrow. i’m a Catholic, but with a small ” c : and no pretentions. I serve the Lord of the Universe, and not some red-slippered prelate. Jesus was never a rich man, never lived in a palace compound and didn’t die in bed with the best doctors in the world. You have the whole thing upside down, and have the unmitigated gall to call urselfs : ‘ the It.’ ‘ Woe to you, pharisees…”

report abuse


posted December 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm


report abuse

Mark Allen

posted December 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Well, Joe, I am not a Catholic but the Catholic church, with all of its faults, has probably done more good for humanity than the rest of us put together.
You are very quick to criticize… “a whole lot of ritual and very little substance”… so how do you personally compare with Mother Theresa?
Incidentally, even if you call yourself a Catholic with a small c, I believe that the name of the “Lord of the Universe” would be Jesus Christ, or do you have a problem with Him too?

report abuse

David Nixon

posted December 26, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom. He has chosen to unite Himself with His Bride, the Church, a gathering of sinners invited by Him. Some of those sinners avail themselves of His sanctifying grace and are made holy, while others choose to remain in sin. By uniting Himself to the Church, Jesus Christ sends forth His Light to the world, calling each person to repentance and conversion. The Catholic Church thus has no teachings of its own, only those given to it by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Church is not able to relax the teaching on condoms or any form of contraception because Christ did not give the Catholic Church the authority to relax the moral law, which teaches that artificial contraception is intrinsically evil.

report abuse


posted December 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm

If you believe that the Catholic church has “no teachings of its own”, you do not know the history of the Catholic church. I would recommend you buy a book on church history. You will find an “interesting” history of the Catholic church. It is filled with the teachings and traditions of men. Please open your mind and heart when searching and you will see that the teachings of the Catholic church often find a source other than the Word of God. Bless you in your search.

report abuse


posted December 30, 2010 at 1:14 am

PopeWatch: Benedict Clarifies Condom Position….ummm, missionary?

report abuse


posted January 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm

A product of moral relativism? The sexual molestation of young boys has been going on in the Catholic Church since it started thousands of years ago. This is not some new idea- this is not a product of “our times” its a product of man insinuating himself into God’s word. By requiring men to suppress their natural urges and act on them in the proper manner ( with marriage) the church has provided a good environment for sexual misconduct.
The Catholic Church is not the only church with this problem – we just dont hear about it as much.
Quit living in the middle ages and requiring “abstinance” of the priests and we would see a reduction in these numbers and advance childhood the world over.

report abuse


posted January 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm

“The Catholic church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail and for all the many millions on it to die in extremist agony than one soul … should tell one wilful untruth or should steal one farthing without excuse.”
You’ll have to say it’s beautifully phrased, but to me, and this is my proposition, what we have here, and picked from no mean source, is a distillation of precisely what is twisted and immoral in the faith mentality. Its essential fanaticism, it’s consideration of the human being as raw material, and its fantasy of purity.
Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to be well. I’ll repeat that. Created sick, and then ordered to be well. And over us, to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea. Greedy, exigent, greedy for uncritical phrase from dawn until dusk and swift to punish the original since with which it so tenderly gifted us in the very first place.
However, let no one say there’s no cure, salvation is offered, redemption, indeed, is promised, at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties. Religion, it might be said, it must be said, would have to admit makes extraordinary claims but though I would maintain that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, rather daringly provides not even ordinary evidence for its extraordinary supernatural claims.
Therefore, we might begin by asking, and I’m asking my opponent as well as you when you consider your voting, is it good for the world to appeal to our credulity and not to our scepticism? Is it good for the world to worship a deity that takes sides in wars and human affairs? To appeal to our fear and to our guilt, is it good for the world? To our terror, our terror of death, is it good to appeal?
To preach guilt and shame about the sexual act and the sexual relationship, is this good for the world? And asking yourself all the while, are these really religious responsibilities, as I maintain they are? To terrify children with the image of hell and eternal punishment, not just of themselves, but their parents and those they love. Perhaps worst of all, to consider women an inferior creation, is that good for the world, and can you name me a religion that has not done that? To insist that we are created and not evolved in the face of all the evidence. To say that certain books of legend and myth, man-made and primitive, are revealed not man-made code.
Religion forces nice people to do unkind things, and also makes intelligent people say stupid things. Handed a small baby for the first time, is it your first reaction to think, beautiful, almost perfect, now please hand me the sharp stone for its genitalia that I may do the work of the Lord. No, it is — as the great physicist Stephen Weinberg has aptly put it, in the ordinary moral universe, the good will do the best they can, the worst will do the worst they can, but if you want to make good people do wicked things, you’ll need religion.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!
Thank you for visiting Belief Beat. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy:   Beliefnet News   Good News Happy Reading!   ...

posted 4:57:28pm Feb. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Fun Friday: Atheist Temple Planned for UK's Nonbelievers
Author Alain de Botton has announced plans to build an Atheist temple in the United Kingdom, presumably so nonbelievers have a place to gather and share their philosophies. Um... isn't that what Starbucks is for? Also, I can't wait to see ...

posted 2:53:42pm Jan. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Alaska Airlines: High Payers No Longer Offered Sky Prayers
Alaska Airlines, now the country's seventh-largest airline, has announced it will stop offering prayer cards with its in-flight meals. (It's just raining religion news in the great unchurched Pacific Northwest lately.) I've flown Alaska ...

posted 11:07:56am Jan. 26, 2012 | read full post »

Washington's Gay Marriage Debate: Clergy vs. Clergy
I reported for Reuters at the Washington state Capitol yesterday, covering the public hearings on a gay marriage bill -- and in between, the breaking news that the state Senate now has enough votes to pass the bill. (The House already had ...

posted 11:24:39am Jan. 24, 2012 | read full post »

What Israel's Domestic Policy & Santorum Supporters Have in Common
Hope everyone had an introspective Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, whether observed as a faith-related holiday, a nice break from the work week or something else entirely. Check out this story from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly about how ...

posted 1:32:44pm Jan. 18, 2012 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.