Rorate Caeli

SSPX weighs in on the condom controversy

DICI has published a statement from the SSPX regarding the controversy over the Pope's remarks on condoms in "Light of the World":


The statement, unsurprisingly, concludes that the Pope's opinion departs from the teaching of his predecessors and "relativizes" the teaching of Humanae Vitae.

I leave it to the readers of the blog to analyze, and argue over, the statement. However, I think that all orthodox Catholics will agree and join their voices with the following passage in it:

Certainly, a book-length interview cannot be considered an act of the Magisterium [i.e. of the Church’s official teaching authority], a fortiori when it departs from what has been taught in a definitive, unchangeable way. Nonetheless the fact remains that the doctors and pharmacists who courageously refuse to prescribe and deliver condoms and contraceptives out of fidelity to their Catholic faith and morality, and in general all the many families devoted to Tradition, have an urgent and overriding need to hear that the perennial teaching of the Church could not change over time. They all await the firm reminder that the natural law, like human nature upon which it is engraved, is universal.

58 comments:

John L said...

Since the evil of condom use, as the SSPX commentary remarks, consists in their turning an act away from its natural end, I don't think that their criticism of the Pope's example is accurate in one respect; the only purpose for which a male prostitute (whose customers, it seems to be understood are other men) would use a condom is to prevent infection. Such use is not contraceptive, any more than using the condom to construct a slingshot would be, since the activities of the male prostitute are already incapable of generation. Where the criticism seems to have weight is in its saying that such an action cannot be a step towards responsibility. Doing a lesser rather than a greater evil does not make you more responsible or closer to moral action; it only lessens the degree to which you depart for morality. Every bad action as such increases your level of vice. If bad action A is not as bad as bad action B, then doing A rather than B will increase your level of vice less than doing A will. However, it will still increase your level of vice; all bad actions do that by their nature. So it cannot be any kind of step towards responsibility, except in the somewhat minimal sense of decelerating in your move towards evil.

Anonymous said...

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/11/fr-fessio-on-what-pope-benedict-really-said-useful-analogy-alert/

For the confused S.S.P.X., please use the above link to advance to Father Zuhlsdorf's blog.

At said blog, you will find the following by Father Fessio, who will make things clear for you.
-----------------------

Joseph Fessio, SJ, wrote a piece for Reuters which means that it will get a little visibility.

It begins:

Did the Pope “justify” condom use in some circumstances?

No.

And there was absolutely no change in Church teaching either.

Not only because an interview by the Pope does not constitute Church teaching, but because nothing that he said differs from previous Church teaching.

In sum, the Pope did not “justify” condom use in any circumstances.

And Church teaching remains the same as it has always been—both before and after the Pope’s statements.
---------------------

That was easy. Note to the S.S.P.X:

Case closed.

Anonymous said...

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/11/once-again-the-key-passage/

An additional link above for the confused S.S.P.X.
--------------------------------

Once again, the key passage

Posted on 28 November 2010

by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

"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 discovering 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.

Seewald: Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

Pope Benedict: [NB] She of course does not [not] regard it as a real or moral solution, [not moral] but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

The Pope used the phrase “first step” twice.

Anonymous said...

I agree with John L. and he puts the matter very well.

I wish only to add one point which has not been much discussed. Condom use is immoral even insofar as its purpose is solely to prevent the spread of disease. The reason is that it is an imperfect way to protect people, whereas a perfect way (in regard to our intents) is available. That perfect way is abstinence.

Let us suppose that a husband has AIDS. Let us suppose that his wife is sterile, so that the condom cannot have a contraceptive effect. Is he right to don the condom to reduce the possibility that his wife will contract AIDS? The answer is negative. The reason is that he has a positive duty to protect his wife as best he can. This can be achieved by abstinence. Therefore, the less perfect means, the condom, is illicit. If a man really loved his wife, would he risk transmitting AIDS to her by using condoms, which can leak and seep?

A parallel: Would it be right to fire a gun at your wife's head on the grounds that there was only one bullet in the chamber? Answer: negative, since you have the option of not firing the gun at all (not that it would be right in any event).

Every time soomeone who has AIDS uses a condom to prevent its transmission, he commits a fundamentally immoral act, over and above others committed at the same time: he risks infecting other people.

All those who have AIDS have a strict duty to abstain entirely from coition.


In regard to the Pope's remarks, it may be that he is not arguing in favour of using condoms but only observing that the use of a condom to protect others may be a sign of a step towards responsibility. But a sign of moral improvement does not, in itself, make the accompanying act licit.

The real problem in all of this is that the Pope's remarks have caused massive confusion and have given the pagan media the rope it needed to miscast the Church's position. The form of a book was not the right one for this sort of commentary.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

The SSPX offers the only voice of clarity, simplicity and supernatural truth in the midst of the madness into which the conciliar church has devolved. There is nothing stable, nothing unchanging, no position to which a Catholic can hold fast, in the post-Vatican II church. While the Pope holds intellectually stimulating interviews with journalists and shares his private opinions - which he invites the faithful to challenge - innumerable souls are lost.

Bento said...

The SSPX backpedalled on it: now it says the Pope didn't contradict the Magisterium:
http://blog.messainlatino.it/2010/11/per-la-fsspx-il-papa-sul-profilattico.html

Brian said...

"Doing a lesser rather than a greater evil does not make you more responsible or closer to moral action; it only lessens the degree to which you depart for morality."

Well said, John L. You have put your finger on a problem with the liberal hermeneutic of VC2.

That Clintonian method of interpretation states and agrees with Catholic Truth, but then flips it inside out and interprets it to mean the exact opposite.

Similary, the statement that "pagan beliefs exhibit greater degrees of error than do Muslim beliefs" morphs it into the claims that:

"Moslims are more inside the Church than are pagans" and;

"Lutherans are more inside the Church than Muslims" and

the Church fully "subsists in the Catholic Church" but elements of salvation exist in the other churches and outside the Church. (No salvation outside the Church all "depends on what the meaning of is, is")

Having flipped the Truth inside out, abra-ka-dabra, the moral thing to do would be for Catholic pharmacists to advertize condoms for prostitutes in order to support their moral awakening.

Let's not stop there, the invincibly ignorant prostitute's fidelity to conscience manifests his or her desire for salvation and, thereby, mysteriously brings them into communion with the Church.

Evil has become good.

The prostitute has become an anonymous brother or sister in Christ. The condom-selling pharmacist is an evangelist.

And, for pharmacists to refuse to sell condoms to prostitutes would deprive these invincibly ignorant souls of their moral awakening, of their very salvation.

Good has become evil.

The smiling Pope receives a blessing from the pagan witch-doctor.

Kum-ba-ya,
Brian

Brendon said...

Well said John L, except that I disagree with the last portion-- Pope Benedict never said that it was more responsible to wear a condom, rather, he said the following:

"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."

One of the major reasons for the inefficacy of condoms is that people don't like to use them, so often, even with the risk of pregnancy or infection, they will have sex anyway. What Benedict is saying here is that in the case of male prostitutes, who wouldn't be doing the act to contracept, but rather to prevent infection-- this would be a first step towards moral responsibility, not that it is a lesser evil.

He mentions male prostitutes specifically so as not to complicate the issue. Certainly, a couple using a condom in order to prevent infection could be a first step towards moral responsibility (not that the act is any less immoral), but in general, people don't.

Benedict here really seems to be emphasizing the intention of the act. Since the intention is to prevent infection, and not to contracept, then the act would be a first step towards moralization. Of course, the big problem here is that the act of premarital sex is in and of itself evil, and this is why Benedict never said that using the condoms would be good.

I think a lot of Catholics are afraid of the word "contraception" and therefore think that it is always wrong no matter what-- but there are individual cases where the Church allows it. For instance, She allows the use of the pill in order to regulate a woman's menstruation cycle for those who have ovarian cysts or the like. This scenario that Benedict provides is a similar case.

beng said...

Let us suppose that a husband has AIDS. Let us suppose that his wife is sterile, so that the condom cannot have a contraceptive effect. Is he right to don the condom to reduce the possibility that his wife will contract AIDS? The answer is negative. The reason is that he has a positive duty to protect his wife as best he can. This can be achieved by abstinence. Therefore, the less perfect means, the condom, is illicit. If a man really loved his wife, would he risk transmitting AIDS to her by using condoms, which can leak and seep?

This example is not comparable with the male prostitute case.

A sterile woman COULD get pregnant (Sarah, Abraham's wife). So using condom, in this case, would interfere the nature of sexual act.

However, in the case of male prostitute, using condom does not interfere the nature of sexual act. Homosexual relation would never produce an offspring or have the unitive nature of a true sexual act.

Homosexual using condom is like soldiers using condom to cover their rifles (or someone using condom as slingshot).

Picard said...

John L., P.K.T.P.:

John L.: well put!

A am suprised and ashamed that on DICI there is such a poor text. Such a bad text from the SSPX I did not exspect!

What they say on DICI is in many cases wrong, unclear, undifferentiated and/or unfair/unjust re the Pope and what He said. It´s full of perversions and presumptions of what the Pope really/allegedly said and intended.

And there is a great difference to the German press-release of the SSPX.
(http://www.piusbruderschaft.de/component/content/article/717-aktuell/4722-dpa-meldung-im-wortlaut)

The German one is much better, more differentiated and does not accuse the Pope of having said somthing wrong per se.

As P.K.T.P. put it correctly:

What the Pope said was imprudent (foolish) - but NOT wrong.

That´s what the German press release says.

But DICI says something different. What is wrong!

Papabile said...

This whole things annoys me.

1. The Pope's comments were not an official act of the Megisterium.

2. The Pope was not speaking about the moral licitness of the condom, but an evil act leading a person toward a first step in turning toward the good, because the evil (use of the condom) was done out of a desire to prevent injury to another.

3. This is the Pope saying that God can use evil to bring about a good.

4. In no way does it say the use of the condom, while "justified" (in the mind of the user) is actually moral or licit.

5. In fact, the Pope states the opposite, that this IS NOT a "moral act.

This is why these discussions always used to occur only in Latin prior to the Council..... because people with no training would confuse the issues.

I have personal criticism of the Holy Father here. I think this was inartful and poor judgement to raise the issue this way. But, he is, for the most part, an academic theologian, so I should not be so surprised.

William said...

We could chew on this forever, but the bottom line is that the Pope has unnecessarily muddied the moral waters. Although the Pope has condemned relativism over and over again, nevertheless he employs it in these remarks. What the Pope said was shocking and confusing. Using the example of a male prostitute could not have been worse.

William

Picard said...

beng:

Also well put!

That´s it (at least re the homosexual use. The matter of the steril woman is complicated I think...But here I also tend to say you are right)!

P.K.T.P.:

No, there is no strict duty to refrain from the matrimonial act if one of the matrimonial partners is infected with AIDS.

On contrary, the couples have the right to the matrimonial act also in this case - if both know it and both will it then there is no immorality in consuming the act.

(According to trad. moral theology --- because: the act is per se good [within matrimony], the disease is something accidential to it and you are not obliged to avoid all dangers of becoming ill; it´s a case of couble-effect: you intend the good of the act - and the effect of danger of getting ill is only accidential to it and not intended, neither as goal nor as means, so it is licit!)

Anonymous said...

"The SSPX backpedalled on it: now it says the Pope didn't contradict the Magisterium:
http://blog.messainlatino.it/2010/11/per-la-fsspx-il-papa-sul-profilattico.html"

I don't think you can call that 'backpedalling' since the original statement of November 26 from Menzingen is still on DICI (it is one of the first things you'll see on DICI's main page), and the essay of Fr. Gaudron has not yet been translated into English.

Anonymous said...

The part of this which is lost on me, as to the specific comment in the book is that the Pope is talking about a male prostitute--- he's assumedly one having relations with other males. His use of a condom is not against Catholic teaching is it? There is no contraceptive act here? The condom itself is not a sinful thing, unless used to frustrate the end of the marital act.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that any of the Novus Ordo hierarchy would have even considered the fact of Catholic chemists refusing to stock condoms. The point is a very valid one. Is the Pope suggesting that Catholic chemists should now provide condoms in order to prevent the greater evil of spreading AIDs? I own a pharmacy business (and I attend Mass in an SSPX priory). I don't allow my shops to stock condoms, and neither shall I. THis interview between the Pope and Seewald has no magisterial authority whatsoever. But what on earth does a Pope think he is doing causing such confussion?

Papabile said...

William:

the Pope muddied nothing. Some people just are incapable of understanding the theologiccal argument.

Brendon said...

"We could chew on this forever, but the bottom line is that the Pope has unnecessarily muddied the moral waters. Although the Pope has condemned relativism over and over again, nevertheless he employs it in these remarks. What the Pope said was shocking and confusing. Using the example of a male prostitute could not have been worse."

I disagree. It should be expected that the media will distort whatever the Pope says. We have seen this with the Ireland child abuse scandals. I think it's very important that Catholics, particularly us traditionalists, stop thinking of Aquinas as infallible doctrine, and start opening up, while not compromising, Church teaching. A hundred and fifty years ago, nobody ever thought that there would ever be moral issues such as in vitro fertilization, evolution, and cloning, and yet here we are dealing with these issues.

Historically, the Church in Her wisdom has addressed social issues as they appear. Only 30 years after the Communist Manifesto was published, Pope Leo addressed communism in Rerum Novarum. The Church dealt with scientism and relativism shortly after these ideas began increasing popularity.

The fact of the matter is, there are male prostitutes, and if by using condoms they are acting in order to prevent disease, it constitutes a step in the right direction.

But there are other issues here-- what about sex slaves in Thailand? Young women are sold and are raped by sometimes hundreds of men a week. In some extreme situations, women, in order to prevent disease, some women use grocery bags to act as condoms. Are these women committing an immoral act?

I believe in Humanae Vitae, but there are always grey areas.

Long-Skirts said...

Anon. 06:49 said:

"please use the above link to advance to Father Zuhlsdorf's blog.
At said blog, you will find the following by Father Fessio, who will make things clear for you"

What a wicked
Web all spiked
When we practice
To be liked.

Jordanes said...

(According to trad. moral theology --- because: the act is per se good [within matrimony], the disease is something accidential to it and you are not obliged to avoid all dangers of becoming ill; it´s a case of couble-effect: you intend the good of the act - and the effect of danger of getting ill is only accidential to it and not intended, neither as goal nor as means, so it is licit!)

However, someone infected with an incurable and fatal communicable disease is obliged not to harm the life of his spouse and of his child who may potentially be created. What he does with his own life is up to him, but there is no obligation of his spouse to agree to his request, because what she does with her own life is up to her -- her husband may never compell her to agree to be infected with a fatal disease. In such a case, charity teaches that he should not even ask her, though she may agree or may ask him. The good of conjugal union is less than, not greater than, the good of life itself.

Anonymous said...

Why can'y the Holy Father be as clear as the SSPX statement was?

Tacitus said...

Papabile said:

the Pope muddied nothing. Some people just are incapable of understanding the theologiccal argument.

Would you agree to the following formulation:

While the Pope did not contradict Catholic doctrine, he discussed an exceptional case of an illicit act constituting moral progress that was reasonably foreseeable to be misunderstood as allowing the licit use of condoms in certain cases, given the general public and the media's inability to understand theological arguments.

That seems true. Fr. Lombardi stated the Pope was aware his comments might cause confusion in the media. Thus, his comments "muddied the waters", not because of the comments themselves (properly interpreted), but because of the foreseeable confusion they would cause among the "theologically unsophisticated."

It is hard to see, as a matter of prudence, how the inevitable confusion caused by these comments is outweighed by the good in making them.

Bento said...

"I don't think you can call that 'backpedalling' since the original statement of November 26 from Menzingen is still on DICI (it is one of the first things you'll see on DICI's main page), and the essay of Fr. Gaudron has not yet been translated into English."

Oooh: all that is not in English, is not on Earth...
May I remember you that the semi-official language of the SSPX is French?

However, Fr. Gaudron SSPX, on DICI, the Society's site, explains in French and in German that the Pope didn't change anything in the traditional doctrine: he says, therefore, something completely different from the old (and outdated) communiqué.
I humbly suggest Rorate's post be updated.

David Joyce said...

Papabile said...

the Pope muddied nothing. Some people just are incapable of understanding the theologiccal argument.


The problem is that the Pope gave the interview to a journalist for publication in a book that would be available to the public. It was not a speech to the Pontifical Council for the Family. The public are not usually known for the depth of their theological training.

Moreover, the follow-up question to the Holy Father did not invite any theological nuances ("Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?") - it would have been more helpful to have given a simpler answer to such a direct question, without bringing in difficult examples.

Gideon Ertner said...

"The good of conjugal union is less than, not greater than, the good of life itself."

I'm sorry, Jordanes, I don't follow the logic of that statement at all.

Paul Haley said...

Private opinions of high ranking church officials, it seems, are destined to not only cause controversy but doubt in the minds of many. Whether the official is a bishop recently re-admitted to the Church or the Pope himself, "foot in the mouth disease" can be the end result. Prudence, please, gentlemen.

Saint Michael Come To Our Defense said...

Here is where the damage to souls resides:

Novus Ordo Modernists will be handing out condoms in the Church parking lots every Sunday with the Pope's picture on the package.

You can argue from here to doomsday, but the Novus Ordo has run with everything counter to the Faith it can run with.

The Holy Father knows what he has unleashed upon his Sheep.

*

Jordanes said...

"The good of conjugal union is less than, not greater than, the good of life itself."

I'm sorry, Jordanes, I don't follow the logic of that statement at all.


You have to be alive to be married, but just because you are alive it does not mean that you have to be married.

In the same way, just because you are married, it does not mean that you are obliged to (let alone permitted to) have sex with your spouse whenever you feel like it or have the opportunity. Nor does it mean that you are obliged to endanger your health, cause yourself serious injury, or cause you own death, just to satisfy your spouse's request for sex. That's not what "in sickness and in health" means.

It is wrong for a man to ask his wife to have sex when she is severely ill in such a way as to render the act an occasion of serious discomfort or pain for her, or if she is too weak, etc. -- so how much more wrong is it for a man who knows he has a deadly, incurable communicable disease to make such a request? It transgresses the law of charity even to ask, and his wife in that case has no obligation to agree to his request (though she may agree). Double effect or no, no one has a "right" to knowingly infect another person with a deadly disease, even if the act by which one spreads the infection is intrinsically good. (This is wholly apart from the question of the licitness of the conjugal act under such circumstances if both spouses agree.)

Anonymous said...

Interesting development from our Russian Orthodox brothers:

http://www.directionstoorthodoxy.org/n/russian_orthodox_church_okays_use_of_condoms.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RealClearReligion+%28Real+Clear+Religion%29

Xavier Rynne said...

The bottom line is that it was extremely improvident and imprudent to talk about these issues in an off the cuff manner, with a journalist writing a book. Can we imagine a Pius XII, say, sitting down to chat for his fourth book-long interview with a journalist, in which he opines about the morality of certain intentions sexual acts of "male prostitutes" (or transsexuals for that matter)? This episode illustrates the limits of the infallibility charism given to the papacy: it does not extend to every comment coming out of a pope's mouth.

Papabile said...

Tacitus and David Joyce:

to the extent that the Holy Father "muddied the waters" by stating a truth that the public doesn't understand, fine, I am critical of that.

In fact, I stated I was critical of that in my first post, when I stated: "I have personal criticism of the Holy Father here. I think this was inartful and poor judgement to raise the issue this way. But, he is, for the most part, an academic theologian, so I should not be so surprised."

With that said, he certainly did not expect L'Osservatore to violate a clear press embargo on the book. He likely expected the book to come out, read by a few, and then discussed in both theological journals and magazines like First Things before it ever hit the New York Times.

If that had happened, there would be SIGNIFICANTLY LESS confusion.

What I resent here are people who are so ready to do a drive by trashing of the Holy Father when many of them literally do not understand what he was saying.

Look, the Holy Father was deeply influenced by Augustine. This is a classic Augustinian approach to the theological issue. c.f Augustine, Enchiridion, 10, 11

Anonymous said...

"The Holy Father knows what he has unleashed upon his Sheep."

The clear implication being that he deliberately inflicted doubt, confusion and harm upon the Church? Can you sleep at night knowing you have calumniated Christ's Vicar in this way?

For shame.

--Benedict Ambrose

dcs said...

It is wrong for a man to ask his wife to have sex when she is severely ill in such a way as to render the act an occasion of serious discomfort or pain for her, or if she is too weak, etc. -- so how much more wrong is it for a man who knows he has a deadly, incurable communicable disease to make such a request?

I believe you are wrong about this. It is not wrong to request the debt in those circumstances. However the ill spouse (or, in cases of STDs, the non-infected spouse) is not obligated to render the debt. He or she can render the debt, but is not obligated.

There are circumstances in which it might be a sin to request the debt, but I don't think these are among them.

Jordanes said...

not obligated to render the debt

Because in such cases, there is no debt at all -- the debitum is "canceled" in such circumstances.

But I have to disagree with you about whether or not it accords with charity and true concern for one's beloved when a man makes a request of his wife when he knows full well that she cannot fulfill his request without serious pain or discomfort. It's selfish and uncaring even to ask. Charity puts the needs of others above one's own desires.

Anonymous said...

Beng:

It is possible that someone could be at least *thought* to be sterile, in which case a contraceptive effect might not be willed.

My point stands. Whether we are referring to homerastic relations or heterastic relations (with or without a contraceptive effect) it remains true that condom use is illicit for the same reason that Russian roulette is illict.

There is only one safe way to prevent the transmission of AIDS or another sexual disorder and that is abstinence. To engage in coition while using a condom in such circumstances is immoral because it risks transmitting the AIDS to another. This violates one the two Great Commandments: Love thy neighbour.

Of course, I agree that condom use can be immoral for other reasons but that does not affect my point.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

dcs:

The marriage debt presumes normal circumstances. One never has a right, let alone an obligation, to reder the debt at the risk of losing one's life. That is absurd. Moreover, a risk of death militates against the marriage debt itself, since dead wives can't render it. Always consider the end for which a norm was established. The marriage debt is meant to foster the creation of families and imperilling the life of one spouse undermines that completely.

Let's keep a bit sane on this.

P.K.T.P.

William said...

Papabile,

Having had four years of theology in the seminary, your assertion that I cannot see the theological issue presented is without basis. Why your precipitous judgment?

William

Christopher J. Paulitz said...

Can I also request from all the Annons to please stop posting what others are telling us to believe on this?

We have eyes to see and ears to hear. We know what the Pope said and the hell it has unleashed and how long it will take to repair the damage.

I don't need to have the links to the same people telling me over and over to suspend disbelief, ignore what I just read or heard, and believe something completely contrary to reality.

Gideon Ertner said...

Jordanes, I know what you were trying to argue.

My quibble with that particular statement was that it made no sense since "the good of conjugal union" is precisely ordered towards creation of new life, primarily at least.

I agree with you completely that the obligation to protect your spouse from harm normally should make you abstain from sexual relations with him/her if you are infected with a deadly, sexually transmittable disease.

However, since the creation of new immortal souls is such a supreme good in itself, I would argue that it is always permissible to seek this good end even at the risk of putting your own life in danger. If a person whose spouse is living with HIV is willing to potentially sacrifice his/her own life - not for the base end of mere sexual pleasure, but for the sake of bringing forth new life - this would seem closer to being an act of heroic virtue than an immoral act.

(Naturally, condoms are entirely irrelevant to this issue.)

Gideon Ertner said...

"I don't need to have the links to the same people telling me over and over to suspend disbelief, ignore what I just read or heard, and believe something completely contrary to reality."

If you don't mind me asking, Mr. Paulitz - what exactly did you read and hear that you found so scandalizing?

Apparently not the same that I read and heard.

Anonymous said...

"Can you sleep at night knowing you have calumniated Christ's Vicar in this way?"

I am not the poster you are referring to, but I feel very uncomfortable with this suggestion. We have repeated here that the release of those condom comments was foolish and confusing and brought an unnecessary commotion to the church. I know only one person answer that interview: Pope Benedict. So, yes, the Pope (nobody is "calumniating" him)made very foolish comments.

I don't know you, but I have trouble sleeping at night with all the confusion he brought in with his statements. I am a simple lay man, a simple person, a person that expects clarity and not confusion from the Pope. I cannot afford to learn years of moral theology in order to understand the complicated moral issues. If the Pope wants to discuss this matter with his clergy and learned theologians, good! but don't throw this issue in a book and in this way.

I am not afraid to back every single word that the FSSPX has put on this regard.h

Anonymous said...

This is CNN reporting this case

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/11/30/madigan.pope.condom/index.html?hpt=C2

the author is a jesuit priest.

I found it interesting.

Dan said...

I've read all the comments quite carefully, I believe, but I saw absolutely no reference to the sin of onanism, or the spilling of the seed, anywhere. The use of a condom for any reason, by anyone, constitutes these sins. And the great scandal is that the Holy Father never once once mentioned this either.

I've also read all the convoluted, Pollyannish, tortured explanations trying to connvince us that the Pope didn't say what he so obviously DID say, namely: that the use of a condom (by a male prostitute) MAY (Benedict's words, not mine) somehow lead him to a realization of living a better life. There you have it. He has opened the door. The world sees this; the media sees this; the Orthodox (tragically) see this; the only people who don't see this are good Catholics thinking they must defend every unfortunate utterance of the Pope.

We must look beyond the contraceptive discussion here, which is a red herring. Keep your eyes on the ball: read clearly what the Holy Father has said. He did, clearly and unequivocally, say that (under his bizarre example) the use of a condom MAY lead to an ultimate good. You can slice that and dice it any way you want, but there it is.

His other remarks in this book, particularly those which utterly reject converting the Jews to the Catholic Faith, are equally if not more scandalous than the condom remarks. How Benedict squares that belief with Christ's admonition to "teach all nations" is beyond me.

Pray for this man, for he has with this interview brought more burdens upon the Church than She can stand just now.

Jordanes said...

My quibble with that particular statement was that it made no sense since "the good of conjugal union" is precisely ordered towards creation of new life, primarily at least.

That fact does nothing to render nonsensical the statement that life is more to be valued than conjugal relations.

I agree with you completely that the obligation to protect your spouse from harm normally should make you abstain from sexual relations with him/her if you are infected with a deadly, sexually transmittable disease.

Okay.

However, since the creation of new immortal souls is such a supreme good in itself, I would argue that it is always permissible to seek this good end even at the risk of putting your own life in danger.

It is a very great good, but it's not that supreme a good, or else the Church would not esteem consecrated virginity and consecrated celibacy above marriage, nor would She honor the Holy Family as the model of the perfect family. Anyway, in the case of HIV, it's not just one's own life that one is putting in danger, but also the life of any child who might be conceived. In such a case, it is better to abstain. Not that it means one may not willingly undertake procreation despite the all-but-certainty that one will, and one's child will, contract a fatal disease, but it is better not to infect one's self and one's potential child with a fatal disease if one can easily prevent it through abstinence (which is another, even nobler form of heroic self-sacrifice).

Christopher J. Paulitz said...

Mr. Ertner, if you're asking me what the Pope said that I found so scandalizing, well, the whole thing. We've gone deep enough into this and I don't think it needs to be repeated.

If you're asking about why I asked for people not to continuously post the writings of neo cons in the comment boxes who tell Catholics not to be upset by the pope's words, it's because I'm frankly tired of being told, as I said, to suspend disbelief and not believe what I read or heard him say.

I like many of the neo con priests in the blogosphere. I think they're well-intended, even if misguided.

But I can't stomach the endless defense of the indefendable.

Until the mainstream neo cons, especially the popular priests with blogs, begin to hold the Roman officials accountable for the scandal they cause just as quickly as they pat them on the back for the good things they do, then we will never bring about the full restoration of the Faith.

Why can't we all just admit that the interview was a mistake, that the use of contraceptives in every and all cases is evil, that mortal sin results and that hell follows those who are unrepentent and leave it at that?

Anonymous said...

"However, since the creation of new immortal souls is such a supreme good in itself, I would argue that it is always permissible to seek this good end even at the risk of putting your own life in danger."

That is lousy moral theology. Period.

So you conceive a child which might suffer a horrible disease which you suffer from, and may die from yourself? And your spouse may suffer the same fate?

I would abstain. The marriage debt, it seems to me, doesn't mean I am obligated to risk my health or my life to conceive a child.

The goods of marriage always imply the good of each spouse, naturally, and supernaturally.

Anonymous said...

The Pope's statement is very problematic and will have great reprecussions in the Church and in the world in general. On one hand he seems to affirm the Church's teachings and then goes on further to contradict himself.

Wit regards to male prostitutes, a condom is not birth control, so it is not a problem in that area. However, the use of a condom can in no way make such an offensive act as theirs any less offensive. I fully and completely disagree with any line of thought that seems to say it does. When a male prostitute uses a condom, it is so he can sin without the effects of his sin. He does want to get aids, or he doesn't want to go to jail for spreading aids, so he uses a condom. That has nothing to do with morality or conversion or a greater awakening to his sin - it only makes it possible for him to sin without worry.

However, from the clarification, we now know the Pope did not just mean male prostitutes but all people. Again, this is just giving permission to sin without reprecussions. A condom use in female/male couples is contraception and not OK, whether you are married or not. Relations without marriage in these couples is also a sin and not OK. Using a condom to stop the spread of aids will not change that those things are sins. The use of a condom in this case only encourages people to be more free with sex because they do not have to worry about the consequences of their actions.

Male/Male relationships are sinful. Aids is the consequence of their sin. They are not entitled to have sex. They do not need to use a condom, they need to abstain! If they cannot control themselves, they will have to suffer the consequences - the punishment for their sin.

Male/Female relations without marriage is also a sin. Aids may result from such relatonships and again it is the consequence - the punishment - for that sin. They are not entitled to have sex. They should abstain. If they cannot, they will have to suffer the consequences.

Even in married couples, if one has contracted aids, they will have to abstain.

Lack of self control is no reason to give permission for another sin, or to help make it easier to sin.

Anonymous said...

Aside from whether the Holy Father's statement was correct or prudent, an interesting question is his motivation for making it.

We know he sees himself as a unifier, and his answer to Seewald's question about "madness" was couched in references to "the secular realm".

Methinks that just as he seeks to build bridges with Muslims and Jews by visiting their houses of worship, to bring SSPX back into the Church, and to make trads feel less alienated via Summorum Pontificum, so he wanted to say something -- anything -- that might be positive about condom use, to try to establish a common ground with secularists. And lo and behold, off the top of his head, he came up with this.

The result is a great occasion to restate traditional Church teaching.

Xavier Rynne said...

I think the French father sums it up nicely. The more the Church chases after the World trying to get it to like her, the less it does. It's like a man chasing a woman around like a puppy dog, the woman quickly loses interest.

Papabile said...

William:

No judgement on my part that YOU didn't understand the Holy Father's argument.

I think there are clearly several idiots who don't however.

Anonymous said...

Friendly Fire on Benedict XVI. And a Condom's to Blame
The pope's openness to the use of condoms is provoking lively reactions from some fervent "Ratzingerians." They include Jesuit Fr. Joseph Fessio, his publisher in America, and authoritative members of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Here are their criticisms

by Sandro Magister

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1345793?eng=y

Anonymous said...

Marriage and the Prophylactic use of Condoms

Luke Gormally FAITH Magazine March-April 2006

http://www.faith.org.uk/publications/Magazines/Mar06/Mar06%20Marriage%20and%20the%20Prophylactic%20use%20of%20Condoms.pdf

Anonymous said...

It Ad Thomam

The Pope's Condom Comment

http://iteadthomam.blogspot.com/2010/11/popes-condom-comment.html

"3) Now that, not only the media, but also theologians and even bishops, are proclaiming to the world the purported good news that the Church has finally opened her mind and reversed her teaching on contraception, and that condoms are now 'OK' in certain cases, we should take time to reflect on the fact that not everything that comes out of the mouth of the Holy Father is said with prudence. It was clearly imprudent of him to make such a statement. The Supreme Pontiff is infallible (and then again, only in certain, limited contexts), but not omni-prudent. This may sound like heresy to a neo-conservative, but the dogma of papal infallibility has nothing to do with prudence. Without detriment to his infallibility, the Holy Father is certainly capable of making errors in practical judgment, as has happened many times in history (e.g., Pope Honorius's case, the Avignon popes, the calling of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI's liturgical reforms, etc.). And this comment on condoms is another clear example of papal imprudence. As has happened with Pope John Paul II's Assisi meetings, papal apologies, kissing of the Qur'an, etc., now Catholic apologists, catechists, ethics professors, and moral theologians will have to work hard for years to undo the enormous damage that this new comment from the Pope is already causing in public opinion."

Anonymous said...

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Much ado about the latest Vatican gaffe

http://athanasiuscm.blogspot.com/2010/11/much-ado-about-latest-vatican-gaffe.html

"If that is true of spouses, how much more of those outside of marriage? Such as a prostitute. What is happening is the suggestion is being made that if one or the other thinks they can stop disease and enjoy their immoral behavior, that is a first step. As I noted, it may be altogether altruistic. In such a case, what is the point of suggesting someone is on the right course if their intention is different? Is there any benefit to the Church or to the world by making a case that cannot be verified empirically, that admittedly is hypothetical, not to mention unlikely, at the expense of giving the impression to the world that the Church has changed her teaching? Why was this even important? It could have been excised from the book with little difficulty.

In reality, these statements should simply never have been made public. Even though there is nothing magisterial about any of it, (as has been affirmed) they might as well have been, since that is the impression the media has been able to give to them. Frankly, I think this has set back every gain conservatives have made on moral issues since Humanae Vitae."

Anonymous said...

Unam Sanctam Catholicam

The Condom Debacle

http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2010/11/condom-debacle.html

"Many have suggested that the problem is just that nobody has read the pope's words "in context." I don't think the difficulty goes away by reading the statement "in context." Even in context, it is still a vague answer, and perhaps a question that never should have come up. It's as if one were to ask me whether it were more cruel to drown a puppy or drown a kitten. Even if it were possible to come up with an objective answer, it can be argued that the question should perhaps not have even been discussed because the very fact of discussing it makes you look bad and lends itself to misinterpretation. Janet Smith, in her apologia for the pope, says that it is like asking whether, when robbing a bank, it is better to use an empty gun rather than one that is loaded. I am not a moral theologian, nor even a theologian for that matter, but this sort of argumentation does tend to come off as hair-splitting. Granted, I may be too dumb to grasp the argument, which I readily admit, but it seems to me that prostitution is always intrinsically evil, and that whatever sub-actions one may do within or as part of that act do not lessen its gravity. Robbing a bank with an empty gun does not lessen the gravity of robbing the bank. I grant it may evidence a piece of emerging conscience on the part of the perpetrator, but since this is unable to render an intrinsically evil act good, why even make these distinctions, especially in print, especially when you are the pope and responsible for a billion souls, especially when you should know that the world at large is going to totally miss the point?"

Anonymous said...

"...Catholic apologists, catechists, ethics professors, and moral theologians will have to work hard for years to undo the enormous damage that this new comment from the Pope is already causing in public opinion."

But we've been informed that the Holy Father knew what he was doing as he he wished to "kick-start" a "debate"...what we are to "debate" remains elusive to me.

For better or worse, "enormous damage" to you is the beginning of the "debate" — whatever it is that we are to debate — initiated by Pope Benedict XVI.

Janet Baker said...

A poster wrote, "Is there any benefit to the Church or to the world by making a case that cannot be verified empirically, that admittedly is hypothetical, not to mention unlikely, at the expense of giving the impression to the world that the Church has changed her teaching?"

I don't want to hijack the thread, but still would like to point out a similar application of the "unverifiable behavior" criteria used by the Holy Father, and that is in the matter of homosexuality. If you read the present applicable post-Vatican II documents regarding homosexuality, one written by Seper and two by Joseph Ratzinger (they are on-line at the Vatican website or EWTN), an unverifiable behavior was made the exclusive kind that could (in a very small number of cases)be followed by legitimate discrimination from someone. I'm trying to say that only the sex act was admitted as the criteria for not giving a homosexual a job, or a benefit. Nothing was said about verifiable behaviors--dress, manner, even statements and actions short of the actual act of physical union. It made it, in practice, unacceptable--uncharitable--to ever 'discriminate' against an open homosexual for anything short of the sex act, and who knew when that occurred? It is usually an unverifiable criteria. This actually became an issue at a parish, I think in Canada, perhaps you remember it, I don't have the link, a gay adult altar server living with his partner but asserting his chastity was asked to resign his office by the parish, and the bishop intervened, and apologized, making reference to 'not knowing the circumstances, not charitable to judge, we don't know what goes on behind closed doors' argument. I just think the parallel is interesting and the effect of both 'unverfiables' to be absolutely devastating. (The official documents call for Catholics to not only support but initiate legislation that protects homosexuals from unjust discrimination.)

Anonymous said...

A defense of the harlot open to life: 1) Onan spilled his seed with Thamar, his wife, and God slew him. Juda did not spill his seed with the same Thamar, even while thinking her a prostitute, and thus begat Christ. 2) Jephthah, though the son of a prostitute, saved Israel from the Ammonites. 3) The children of the allegorical prostitutes Oholah and Oholibah were slain not on account of their origin, but for their mother's lack of repentance.

Surely, a woman who freely chooses to work as a prostitute (we're not talking about slaves), but with grave circumstances that require postponing childbearing, can choose NFP.

Why then should her situation be any different from that of the wife who doesn't "know", in a certain way, of her husband's health at any moment in time, but who willingly desires to engage in the marital act?

It is hard to see the female prostitute comment delivered through Lombardi to be anything other than a private theological error, which we know popes to be capable of.