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Crossposted on Amplify

Since the 1960’s, the Catholic Churches official position has been that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to because it prevents new human beings from coming into existence, and therefore defies the will of God. However, this is beginning to change.

Pope Benedict XVI (yes, the same guy who was criticized of inaction during the sex abuse scandal) took a historic stance this week when he said condom use might sometimes be OK when it is used to prevent the spread of HIV:

Benedict said condoms were not "a real or moral solution" to the AIDS epidemic, adding, "that can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality." But he also said that "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."(NYT)

By "humanization of sexuality," I assume he means heterosexual intercourse between nice married catholic people.

I commend Benedict for taking this stance, even if it is many years overdue for the Catholic Church to recognize the importance of condoms in preventing the spread of HIV/ADS. This shows that the church is waking up to the realities of modern times. This isn’t to say that the Pope is anything close to being in favor of condom use overall:

It would be wrong to say, ‘Pope Approves Condoms,’ " Father Fessio said. "He’s saying it’s immoral but in an individual case, the use of a condom could be an awakening to someone that he’s got to be more conscious of his actions.

Sure. For now, that is a step in the right direction. Never mind that all over the world young people are facing a crisis of unplanned pregnancies and STI’s, all easily prevented by the cheap solution of consistent condom use. The Catholic Church is a very large and very powerful organization, a pro-condom campaign would have the potential to reach enormous amounts of people and save lives. While this is still a long ways away, it is not naïve to say such a future exists. Nick Kristof wrote about how the Catholic Church has not always been a conservative, hierarchical, male-dominated organization, and how today the Church does some amazing things:

The first-century church was inclusive and democratic, even including a proto-feminist wing and texts. The Gospel of Philip, a Gnostic text from the third century, declares of Mary Magdalene: "She is the one the Savior loved more than all the disciples." Likewise, the Gospel of Mary (from the early second century) suggests that Jesus entrusted Mary Magdalene to instruct the disciples on his religious teachings.

This is the church of the nuns and priests in Congo, toiling in obscurity to feed and educate children. This is the church of the Brazilian priest fighting AIDS who told me that if he were pope, he would build a condom factory in the Vatican to save lives.

I hope that the church goes in the direction becoming more and more open, of using the power of the Church to be a force for good in the world. Pope Benedict’s statement on condom use, however small, is a step in the right direction.

Dan Jubelirer is a 2010 Netroots Youth Fellow at Amplify, a youth-driven community dedicated to promoting sexual health and reproductive justice.

Originally posted to TeenAdvocateDan on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:56 AM PST.


What do YOU think of the Pope's statement on condoms?

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| 54 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Dan Jubelirer is a 2010 Netroots Fellow at Amplify, a youth-driven community dedicated to promoting sexual health and reproductive justice.

    by TeenAdvocateDan on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 06:56:58 AM PST

    •  So let me get this "straight"--according to the (8+ / 0-)

      pope, it will be kinda ok for me to use a condom (or at least "a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.") if I become a male prostitute. here I come!

      •  Yes, and just so folks are alerted. (4+ / 0-)

        If you are a hetero-sexual prostitute, or married couple, be warned, you will go to a worse and lower ring of hell, by virtue of the lack of this "first assumption of responsibility."

        For the sin of using condemns to prevent conception is now clearly outweighs the sin of using condems to prevent HIV.

        For the benefit of those unrepenatent hetero-sexual sinners, who never saw reason to read all the way to the end of Dante's Inferno, previous to this latest clarifications of God's will, homosexuals were all lumped together in the lowest ring of hell, dangled in boiling lead up to their eyeballs, handing from hooks through there flesh, for all eternety.

        It a good thing previous Popes have already clarified that God is just and merciful or some might think this was sort of harsh.  But, forewaned is forearmed.

        And please say hello to Christopher Hitchens for us when you'll get there.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:09:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's just about the size of it (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ExStr8, corvo, HoundDog, Williston Barrett

          We are supposed to be grateful that this enabler of child rape has given away an insignificant token on the "Universal" Church's perpetuation of human suffering? GMAFB.  (rant aimed at church, no offense to diarist intended)

          It is just beyond me why this group has the slightest claim on morality.

          Scientific Materialism debunked here

          by wilderness voice on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:01:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some might be prompted to wonder if it is (4+ / 0-)

            entirely coincidental that the same group that is so able to sustain such remarkable theological contortions and gymnastic without strain or cognitive dissonance, is also the group that has moved known pedophile priest around to knew locations, even in charge of children without any warning alerts to the police or congregation?

            Here, in eastern Massachusetts, after decades of jounalistic investigations showed Arch-Bishop Cardinal Law knowingly protected priests from prosecution, and replaced them in high risk enviroments, he was promoted to a cushy job in the Vatican.

            Ironically, this was just weeks before our Attorney Generals finally relented to decades of pressures from the families of abuse victims, and decided to supoena Law for a grand jury investigation.  I'm sure this promotion was just a coincidence.

            But, "some" more suspicious folks have thought, and even wondered out loud, and in writing, if this wasn't an attempt by the Vatican to keep evidence of secret Vatican complicity in enabling thousands of children to be subseqeuntly sexually abused by these same pedophile priests.

            In and further even more poignant irony, it was the current Pope who was the highest power in direct charge of the Vatican committee on theological purity, that promoted Law, and was in charge of Vatican policy on pediphilic priests during this sad period.  


            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:29:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Ahahah...did you read it? (12+ / 0-)

    It's ok for "gay men" because it's a step in "their recognition that they're doing something immoral."

    I'm sure the Anti-Christ prayed long and hard to receive that philosophical gem.

  •  Doesn't mean much really (10+ / 0-)

    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.

    There is so much wrong with this that I do not really know where to begin but I'll give it a try - There is no birth control issue in this example.

    Excuse me for not jumping up and down with excitement but this changes nothing.

    Just because they give you a seat at the table doesn't mean that they want to feed you.

    by stevej on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:04:31 AM PST

    •  Well, is it really fair to say this changes (0+ / 0-)

      nothing stevej.  

      Because, by implication, does it not clearly estalish and new rank order in the Circles of Hell in Dante's inferno?

      By virtue of these "first assumptions of responsibility" these gay male prostitute, now jump above hetero-sexual married couple who use condoms for birth control?

      Previously, as homo-sexuals they were destined not-just eternal damnation, but to hang in boiling lead up to their eyes in the lowest ring of hell.  I can only imagine what worse punishment God has in store for married couples practicing birth control?

      Rejoice, for God is, not only, truly merifull and just, but eternally thoughtful and open to small corrections of previous...."oversights" and misclassifications.

      (Well, I should say "clarifictions" because surely God knew in advance he would do this.  But, did not mention it in the bible only to avoid confusing those of "us" with marginally faith, with the burden of understanding latex condomns, 1800 years before the discover of petro-chemicals.)

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:30:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I meant "merciful" not "merifull" although (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm sure God is full of merriment as well.  I would defer on this question to the superior insight of the Pope.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:33:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does anyone really believe the Pope has (8+ / 0-)

    any credibility on an issue like this?  

  •  Tipped (5+ / 0-)

    because it's a brave diarist who braves the flame to tackle this subject - no matter what your take is on it.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:12:24 AM PST

    •  He left out most of the article... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't know if he did it on purpose or what, but the Pope's little condom lightbulb it's nothing but a smear against gay people.

      •  nothing but a smear against gay people (3+ / 0-)

        I think is a very legitimate conclusion to come to.  I left out most of the article because it seemed to just restate some of the reasoning behind the decision (which is anti-gay.  It is the catholic church are you surprised?)

        But, so what? If this means more people are using condoms, and potentially if this is the catalyst for the catholic church becoming more pro-condom in the future, then it is a good thing.  Even if the reasoning is homophobic.  

        Full NYT article here (also I linked to it in the diary...)

        Dan Jubelirer is a 2010 Netroots Fellow at Amplify, a youth-driven community dedicated to promoting sexual health and reproductive justice.

        by TeenAdvocateDan on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:19:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's a thought, David (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirkster42, wilderness voice

        I assume most diarists are people of good will, trying to share a thought or start a conversation on a topic which they find interesting and usually feeds into either a progressive agenda or community building.  So it's a rare diary where I don't tip the diarist for making the effort.  

        Not everything has to be framed with a presumption of malice on the part of the writer, you know.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:41:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes. After 2,000 years of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, lockewasright

    regressive thinking, the Catholic Church has taken a small step forward. A very, very, very small step.

    I'm in the I-fucking-love-this-guy wing of the Democratic Party!

    by doc2 on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:23:07 AM PST

  •  The Vatican has always been a reactionary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, wilderness voice, varii

    corporation, I mean, organization. I'll take any bit of hat tip to reality by Ratzinger to be a good thing, but I'd rather he was quickly replaced by someone with a bigger heart and brain. He was chosen as a right wing place holder until the anti-Christ can assume the throne (at least that what some evangelicals think). Seriously, I only expect moves to the right, so a putting a pinkytoe into the light is welcomed.

    Thanks for the diary.

    "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

    by the fan man on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:42:18 AM PST

  •  the church has become a parody of itself (8+ / 0-)


    of all the 9 million reasons to choose to endorse the use of condoms (sorta kinda) the church uses: male prostitution.

    ok. yeah.

    my husband who is/was catholic (and actually went for a period of time in seminary) said this about the news report: "Oh, I guess since kids are off limits now, the priests are turning to "professionals" and getting HIV in the process. It must be costing the church a fortune in treatment costs."

    yea, my husband is very cynical.

    but the man has a point.

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe. h/t MeteorBlades

    by mdmslle on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:45:30 AM PST

  •  The Catholic Church... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, corvo, wilderness voice

    ... is just finally realizing how irrelevant they are in the 21st century, and are doing damage control.

    That's pretty much it.

  •  Condoms are still a sin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, wilderness voice

    ...for priests who rape children, however.

    We would be just a little bit closer to world peace if everyone would just grow some f-ing skin!

    by Subversive on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 08:12:38 AM PST

  •  Step in the right direction ? (4+ / 0-)

    I admire your courage in writing this diary, but I think you settle for too little. This is a step in no direction, in my opinion. I think the Pope's view on sexuality/gays is simply pathetic.

  •  NEVER give the Catholic church praise for any of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, wilderness voice

    it's statements... they'll backtrack on them in a heartbeat.

  •  Great. Now let's hear about social justice. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, TeenAdvocateDan

    Benedict has made a tiny, miniscule baby step in the direction of sanity on a planet with more than 6 billion people, where we are already far outstripping sustainable resources. But you can bet it'll be non-stop antiabortion fundamentalism in the next paragraph.

    Now, how about a lot more emphasis on the need for social justice and an end to the greed-based rape and pillage of this planet for the benefit of a tiny minority? You know, the kind of stuff that occupies about 95% of the Gospels?

    ....Still waiting....

  •  So The Priests Won't Infect Male Prostitutes? nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, corvo
  •  score one for gay hookers!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The rest of you can just suck it!!

    ....wait..isn't that a job for the gay hooker?

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:09:50 AM PST

  •  Guess the Ratzinator just realized (0+ / 0-)

    that there's no shortage of Catholic clergy who use male prostitutes.

  •  If we think our gov't moves slowly, (0+ / 0-)

    we need only look at the glacial pace of change in the Church.  This isn't a huge deal in itself, but as a tiny sliver of light through that previous shut and bolted door, it's giant leap in the time-frame of the Church.  Remember, this is the group that took centuries to pardon Galileo, even after it had moved on to a heliocentric view and had its own scientists, etc.  

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 11:51:57 AM PST

  •  The idea that this can accurately be described as (0+ / 0-)

    a step in the right direction however tiny is why I have a difficult time stifling the laugh when people take the position that belief in the supernatural and in religious dogma is benign as long as the separation between church and state is respected (as if it ever is).

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 12:01:49 PM PST

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