The Pope's condom remark unsettles the CBCP
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-11-25
Pope Benedict XVI stirred a hornet’s nest when he created an opening in the hitherto strict prohibition on the use of condoms. An unsettled CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) wanted to wait for an official Vatican statement when it was very clear on Zenit (Vatican online newsletter) exactly what the Pope said. 

The Pope was reacting to the charge being hurled against the Roman Catholic Church — “It is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms” — when he made what is now the sizzling hot topic. The 83 year old Pontiff was quoted: “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.”

Asked if the Catholic Church is therefore not opposed in principle to the use of condoms, the Holy Father replied: “She (the Church) of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

The Vatican immediately mobilized to clarify the Pope’s statement on the allowable use of the condom. It was a mega damage control operation for the Vatican. They knew that after all this time that the Roman Catholic Church had been taking a hard-line stance against the use of condoms and other artificial means of contraception – the whole world will reverberate after hearing the Pope’s statement.

Vaticanologist John Allen Jr., a Chair Wrecker friend and also the CNN senior Vatican correspondent, made the distinction that what Pope Benedict XVI stated was his personal opinion and not yet declared Church policy. John and your Chair Wrecker were both speakers during a round table discussion at the 2004 NetOne International Media Congress organized by the Focolare Movement and which was held at the Papal summer residence at Castelgandolfo. John even featured your Chair Wrecker’s talk on “The success and failure of unity in the Philippines” in his National Catholic Reporter regular column.

Indeed, it is clear that the Papal statement was not yet a pronounced Church policy. However, with the Pope said to be infallible when it comes to matters of faith and morals, it cannot be helped if many people interpret the Pope’s statement as a precursor to a more tolerant Vatican policy on artificial contraceptives.

“Thou shalt not kill” the Catholic Church teaches us from the Ten Commandments, but Popes have blessed the banners of the crusaders who attempted to retake the Holy Land from the Moslems led by Saladin. Thus, “Thou shalt not kill” is not an absolute mortal sin and killing could even be considered ‘sanctifying’ if blessed by the Pope.

Unfortunately for the Roman Catholic Church, ‘infallible’ Popes have been corrected later on by more enlightened successors. Many acts that were once considered as heresy, especially during the infamous Inquisition, have later been reversed by the Catholic Church — St. Joan of Arc’s heresy, a classic case. Since the time of the popular Pope John Paul II, the Vatican has been issuing one public apology after another for now admitted past misdeeds.
Our local Catholic Church leaders, our Cardinals and Bishops, should be more circumspect when making pronouncements on issues. They have been sounding more Popish than the Pope, with one Bishop even hinting at excommunicating a Philippine President for supporting the RH Bill. Pope Benedict’s altered stand on condom opens a wide door for other pressing arguments.

If condoms are allowed for male prostitutes (actually why not female prostitutes too, make them compel their patrons to use it) in order to prevent the spread of deadly disease and as a step towards their moralization — why can’t the Vatican accept the RH Bill which can alleviate poverty, restore human dignity and even avert a social explosion. Are these not more compelling justifications than the moralization of prostitutes?

Our unbridled population growth has worsened the poverty misery index. Human dignity is lost when families cannot even afford the most basic things in life like ample nutrition, basic education and inhabitable human dwellings. If our country suffers a social explosion — something which our social conditions can easily provoke — would that not be a more justified exemption to an otherwise strict Vatican prohibition?

Prostitutes under condom protection benefit only the prostitutes and those whom they are in contact with in plying their trade. The RH Bill will benefit an entire nation, facilitate the improvement of social conditions and keep the Filipinos in peaceful and harmonious co-existence. How can the Vatican dismiss that argument after what the Pope just said about prostitutes and condoms?

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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