The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


“The pope smiled”

posted by jmcgee

24popespan-cnd-articleLarge.jpg “In the book’s German and English editions, the text cited the example of a male prostitute, implying homosexual sex, in which a condom would not be a form of contraception. The church opposes contraception on the grounds that every sexual act should be open to procreation.

But questions emerged when the book’s Italian edition, excerpted by the Vatican newspaper on Saturday, used the feminine form of prostitute.

On Tuesday, [Vatican spokesman] Father [Frederico] Lombardi said that the Italian translation was an error, but that the pope had specifically told him that the issue was not procreation but rather disease prevention — regardless of gender.

‘I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine,’ Father Lombardi said. ‘He told me no.’ Father Lombardi said that he had spoken directly with the pope at least twice since Sunday and that Benedict had personally approved a statement he released on the condom question, indicating how adamant the pope was.

Benedict’s papacy has suffered from frequent communications missteps. But this time, it appeared that the pope was sending an intentional message. Father Lombardi said he had asked Benedict if he had recognized the risk in publishing a book of interviews in a complex media landscape where his words might be ‘misunderstood.’

‘The pope smiled,’ Father Lombardi said.”

– The New York Times report on the condom controversy, November 23, 2010.


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Dcn Scott

posted November 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm


Here’s the crux of this matter: If someone is engaging in sexual activity that is already gravely sinful (i.e., engaging in such relations with anyone other than his spouse), employing a condom does not increase the gravity of the sin. So, especially in an instance when someone is employing a prostitute, using a condom does not present a serious issue, employing a prostitute does, however. Now, if that same person who engaged the prostitute is married, whether he can employ a condom while having sex with his spouse is a different moral question. Now, someone may object, but usually their objection and subsequent argument will involve a category mistake because they will likely accuse the Church of being indifferent to the spouse of the person who consorted with a prostitute. Of course, the Church is not indifferent in the least.



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Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

posted November 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm


It seems to me that if a married person has sex with a prostitute (male or female), then they should be using a condom when having sex with their spouse, in order to protect him or her from disease.



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Goodguyex

posted November 23, 2010 at 11:17 pm


Maybe Pope Benedict has been more skillful with the media than many of us think. Perhaps this is not a blunder.
Maybe the Regensburg Muslim bruhaha was a clever plan to “innocently” incite to reveal the face of the “religion of peace”.
Maybe the pope knows about the media and public reoccupation about sex and “condomania”. Perhaps this comment about male prostitutes and condoms in this book was inintended to provoke the discussion both within and without the Church about moral nuances and process that is indeed going on.



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Joe Gonzalez

posted November 24, 2010 at 2:00 am


Good for the pope this time ! i, as a man have no ego-preferential
( ego as isn Freud’s ego, superego, and id structures ) attraction to other men ( and i say this because Freud stated – or implied – that in the id, that is the subconcious, all men and women are somewhat bisexual. A good example is Children, whom Freud called ‘ polymorphous perverts ‘, that is, a capacity to trasnform from one tendency to another given the correct stimulus. Such is also the case with the gravity of pedophilia, especially, but not solely, of the homosexual type.)
Like they would say when i was young (a loooong time ago ), ‘ the pope’s getting wth it .’
Good for the pope ! Let’s see somemore of that prudence show itself !
Prudence – i believe – as defined by Josef Pieper in his excellent book, as all his are, ‘ The Cardinal Virtues ‘, implies that ‘ Prudence is putting into practice eternal Truths in present and adequate forms, according to the mores and practices of the day.
Good for the Pope again ! ( Look, i even spelled it with a capital P )
Joe



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Joe Gonzalez

posted November 24, 2010 at 2:26 am


To Mr. DCN Scott ( the producer of the 1st commentary ).
St. Thomas Aquinas believed and wrote that ‘ prostitution is a lesser evil ‘, given the propensity of men to ‘ enjoy ‘ many liasons. The Church is built on St. Thomas Aquinas, one could say, and Jesus himself was often accused of consorting with ‘ misfits and prostitutes.’ Whatsmore, Jesus in his ‘ forgiveness clause ‘ ( if you’d like to give it a name ) says : ‘ forgive others or u won’t be forgiven by YOur Heavenly Father.’ Insofar as the frequency of the forgiving, Peter asks the Master ” Lord, how many times must i forgive my brother who sins against me ? ‘ Here, Peter was being rather pharisaical ( for lack of a much more precise word which right now escapes my mind. But the gist of it was : ‘ give me some limits, so i can vent past that limit ‘, in other words, ‘ tell me when i can say NO ! to an i’m sorry. Then it continues : Peter : 7 times ( in one day, i believe nsome texts have it ) ? ” I tell you Peter, not 7, but 70 x 7 – that is an innumerable amount of times ; an infinite if we desire. How many times has God forgiven us, implicitly or explicitly ( as if these terms could apply to God ! God is ineffable, nd so are His Ways ! There, Jesus put the matter to rest. But, u might say, what about the case of the adulteress ? Jesus forgave, but bhe also said : ‘ Neither do I condemn you. Go in Peace and sin no more.’ This is just God-common-sense, and by extension human common-sense. If my brother sins against me, i hope his apology is done in sincerity, which means he’ll try to correct the issue. If it’s not sincere, it’s Godlier not to apologize. What am i driving at ? That a prostitute that goes to confession should be led onto a path of true conversion, and only Love cures. Only Love can turn bad into good. So, if a priest who’s worth his oats takes on the confession of a prostitute, he should advise, command her : sin no more ; but also give her the wherewithal to make this metanoia, or conversion feasible. People – no matter what anyone says – are not born prostitutes. Prostitutes are made, and like an object badly put together must be put in order to function correcly ( if possible, and on these human matters, anything is POSSIBLE. But u can hinder or help. A disgusted priest, with nan attitude of ‘ what – again ?’, sincerely should remove his cassock and seek gainful employment somewhere else.



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JC

posted November 24, 2010 at 6:29 am


http://worldnewsvine.com/2010/11/pope-benedict-turn-around-in-condom-debate/#comment-16426
Maybe, and i do mean maybe, the pope is infact himself gay, this is why he is so keen for them to use protection. For the pope to come out in their defense over, say, the people following his religion that are at risk of the disease, is absolutely shameful. But so was his handling of the whole debacle with the animals who rape kids when not preaching the word of god.
As the writer of the piece i linked said, “condoms are great, they allow you to have sex with many different people without fear of catching disease or getting someone you don’t really know pregnant.” do you think we would all be here if people weren’t having sex before marriage was created?



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Holly Hansen

posted November 24, 2010 at 7:24 am


The Pope is smiling and so am I. God bless you Papa Benedetto !



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Klaire

posted November 24, 2010 at 9:31 am


It’s always interesting how many hear or read only what they want to see (or deny). Pope Benedict, has made it more than clear that condoms not only fail as a guarantee of safe sex (also supported by a study out of Harvard by an athiest scientist) but also that condoms are not “the answer.” I wish at least one person in the MSM would get that little nuance.
That said, If a male prostitute or anyone same sex DID use a condom, (it couldn’t possibly be for birth control), it would clearly demonstrate, a bit of charity, and perhaps the beginning of accepting God’s grace for something even bigger.
Happy TG everyone!



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Carlos

posted November 24, 2010 at 9:53 am


Why are we celebrating the Pope’s “decision” to do the right thing years, if not decades, too late? 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. Celebrating his lukewarm approach to the subject, the way you, Mr. Kandra, are doing it, is, perhaps, even more irresponsible.



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Goodguyex

posted November 24, 2010 at 10:16 am


Carlos writes “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?…….Celebrating his lukewarm approach to the subject, the way you, Mr. Kandra, are doing it, is, perhaps, even more irresponsible.
Anyone who counts on only condoms as continuous protection against HIV is an irresponsible fool, and possibly an evil fool to boot.



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Romulus

posted November 24, 2010 at 11:02 am


regardless of gender
I deplore this recent habit of using “gender” when “sex” is the intended meaning. Gender is a grammatical category. Nouns have gender. Sex is a biological category. Of course I understand the basis for this fad: the agenda of queer theorists declaring that sex is meaningless; that gender is constructed, socially or personally, and amenable to reconstruction at will. But I don’t understand why others should play into this assault on the human person.



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Steve

posted November 24, 2010 at 11:15 am


I’ve been reading Catholic blogs in the last day or so which completely ignore — don’t report, don’t link to, don’t acknowledge — the conversation Fr. Lombardi reported having with Benedict about condoms also being allowable among heterosexual couples for disease prevention (especially when one partner is HIV-positive). The Deacon’s Bench, to its credit, has been on top of that development from the get-go.
I wonder, though, what those Catholic bloggers on the right feel they gain by not acknowledging that conversation Fr. L had with the pope. Certainly not credibility. Those same bloggers are prone to blasting away at the mainstream media (one of them loves to call the New York Times “the devil’s newspaper” because, of course, we can’t kill the messenger but we can always say it’s the devil’s tool). Mainstream news sources, however, are at least reporting what the pope said, and what the Vatican spokesperson is saying. Maybe their headlines are a bit careless (headlines often are tortured things), but they’re giving us vital information. As a result of providing us with the details, I’m more likely to trust their analysis over the analysis of those Catholic bloggers who feel like they have to unring the bell the pope just rang. Talk about biased reporting. It’s not the NYT I’m worried about! (Many thanks, Deacon Greg, for this blog, which is both substantive and balanced.)



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Dante

posted November 24, 2010 at 11:23 am


I agree with Steve and wonder why those who tend towards the conservative side of things seem so bent out of shape at B16’s words and SEEM to be trying to explain it away in a form acceptbale to them. One site won’t even link to ANY coverage apart from those THEY deem acceptable. Funny…these are the same blogs/people who typically trip over every word a pope says whether it be dogmatic, moral or mundane…Congrats Deacon Greg on your commitment to objective reporting within the context of faith.



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Carlos

posted November 24, 2010 at 11:23 am


Nobody is counting only on condoms to fight aids. I have no idea where you got this from, Goodguyex, but it is a common misconception and defensive answer to the argument. Condoms are ONE of the tools to fight this decease, specially in places where 2 in 5 adults have it. There are many tools. Denying one of those tools you can use in such a desperate situation is, in my view, irresponsible. I am a practicing Catholic, glaringly surprised about our irresponsible approach to this issue.
Another common misconception is to label people and arguments “evil”, and even “fool”, instead of countering with reasonable arguments, facts, and logic. AIDS is evil. Death in those conditions is evil. Let’s not engage in futile discussions about dogma, trying to put words in the mouth of “the other side”, and resolve the problem !



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Carlos

posted November 24, 2010 at 11:32 am


By the way, don’t you find it contradictory, if not blatantly irresponsible, that the Pope now condones the use of condoms among prostitutes, but does not for married couples? In other words, prostitutes who are not even having sex to procreate, can use condoms to stop the decease. However, if you got aids because of a blood transfusion and don’t want to transmit it to your wife of 20 years, somehow you can’t? If this wasn’t coming from the Pope, I’d say THAT’S evil and … fool. Someone who does not know who the Pope even is (like most children in Africa dying by the minute) would actually call it evil and fool.
It’s a big gap and contradiction. That’s why I see this more as a public relations stunt, a lukewarm reaction to what people say, a half-answer to a critical problem, one that is not aimed at resolving it. As Catholics, let’s not celebrate it … let’s push for a real answer.



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Eka

posted November 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm


Carlos,
AIDS would never have become a crisis had people followed what this pope and every pope teaches as the belief of the church…that sexuality needs to be humanized and shared within the context of a loving relationship in a monogamous marriage.
The RC Church cares for 25% of the world suffering with AIDS (greater than any other institution), and was the first to care for them in many places…especially in Africa.
It is also statistically shown that Catholic countries in Africa have far lower rates of AIDS/HIV infections because they are more likely to be in monogamous marriages due to cultural differences.
Don’t allow your ignorance to feed your prejudice.



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Robert C

posted November 24, 2010 at 3:26 pm


Carlos you are horribly misinformed.



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Carlos

posted November 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm


Again, you accomplish nothing by labeling people as “evil”, “fool”, or in this last case “ignorant”.
Eka, no one disputes what you say about how much the Catholic Church gives to Africa. Very well put. All I am saying is that, in the case of the use of condoms, the Pope has been irresponsible. Everything you say is true, but it does not address my concern about using a perfectly viable solution to the problem, such as condoms.
When you say “AIDS would never have become a crisis had people followed what this pope teaches” it sounds like “it’s their own fault, why help them now”.
I am not debating that the root of the problem is(promiscuity, among others). But we are beyond the causes and reasons. We’re in a crisis, where people die every day. Should we wait until we change the attitudes of a whole continent, while children die? or should change attitudes and morals and sexual behavior WHILE we save innocent lives? I say let’s save people’s lives and forget about dogma during the crisis. It’s a pragmatic decision, that in no way diminishes the moral authority of the Church, if that’s your concern. On the other hand, dying African children could care less about the moral authority of the Church.
Your argument, Eka, sounds more like “who’s done more, Catholics versus the rest” (who cares about who’s given more, really). It sounds defensive, it sounds “us versus them”. Specially when you end with a condescending “you are an ignorant”, or a fool, or “evil”. Instead, we should focus on how to beat this decease with all resources possible. And condoms are one of them, like it or not. Not the only one, obviously. But it’s one that should not be denied to innocents because of dogma.
On another topic, can someone please try to explain why suddenly homosexual prostitutes are “allowed” to use condoms, but heterosexual married couples are not. I really don’t understand it.



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Eka

posted November 24, 2010 at 4:00 pm


Carlos,
By using the word “ignorant” I meant that you seemed unaware of how Catholic teaching has with great sincerity helped to both prevent and treat the tragedy of AIDS…I apologize if it came off as judgmental or nasty…I didn’t mean it that way. I was responding to your use of the words “evil and fool” in relation to Pope Benedict and his intentions.
I think the best thing would be to read the book…it puts everything in context.
Peace.



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JosephW

posted November 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm


I would like to think that people with AIDS would be more worried about their loved ones health and not about pleasuring themselves. When did sex become a necessity? When you think more of the person you might affect then of yourself your on the path to a moral life.



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Carlos

posted November 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm


I agree with you Eka. I was actually using the words “evil” and “fool” because someone else in the thread accused me of being such things when they read my posts. My lack of experience in labeling posts in this type of blog made it sound like my own words. I was, again, replying to such words from someone else.
I also agree in that one must read the book and we should all calmly come to appropriate conclusions, always aimed at resolving the problem. Myself, I have not read the book, but did read this excerpt, which triggered my posts:
“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”
According to the source site below, this is what the Pope replied to the charge that “It is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms”.
The source is: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=220:pope-benedict-on-condoms-in-qlight-of-the-worldq&catid=53:cwr2010&Itemid=70



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Dcn Scott

posted November 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm


To Joe:
Engaging in sex with a prostitute is gravely sinful. Engaging in sexual intercourse with anyone other than your spouse is gravely sinful. I do not need to look further than the Catechism of the Catholic Church for this moral guidance. While St. Thomas may remain very influential, not everyone is a convinced Thomist. Pope Beneduct certainly is not. Besides, the Church is built on Jesus Christ, not St. Thomas Aquinas.
I am saying precisely that if one chooses to engage in premarital or extramarital sex of any kind, it using a condom does not increase the gravity of the sin (or its mortality, as it were). In other words, go ahead and use a condom if you are going to engage in high risk sexual behavior with multiple partners. JosephW is correct that the answer for HIV positive people, according to the Church, is to abstain from sexual intercourse, even if you are married. Keep in mind that while condoms may reduce the risk of transmitting HIV, they do not eliminate it altogether. Epidemiological studies have shown that abstinence and fidelity campaigns in Africa have been more effective at stemming the spread of HIV than the distribution of condoms, which has the effect of tacitly encouraging sexual irresponsibility.
To act as though people are incapable of controlling their sexual impulses is to diminish their humanity greatly. We love reduce to the human person either to his/her libdo or his/her sexual use. This is certainly one of the greatest threats to our common humanity today and, consequently, to our civilization. This is precisely what the Holy Father means when he says that we must work “toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But [encouraging the use of condoms] is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”



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