Musings of the Week

Is it just me that is confused over the latest headlines on the Pope and Condoms? Only in 2009 the Vatican defended Pope Benedict's opposition to the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS as activists, doctors and politicians criticised it as unrealistic, unscientific and dangerous.

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The Church teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage and abstinence are the best ways to stop AIDS.

Asked about the criticism, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope was 'maintaining the position of his predecessors'.

The Vatican also says condoms can also lead to risky behaviour but many contest that view.

Even Kevin De Cock, director of the World Health Organisation's HIV/AIDS department, said: ... abstinence and reducing the number of partners were also needed and praised faith-based groups, noting that many Catholic charities provide treatment for people with the virus in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the world.

But even in 2009, there were Catholics in the Church who had a different opinion. 'Anyone who has AIDS and is sexually active, anyone who seeks multiple partners, must protect others and themselves,' said Hans-Jochen Jaschke, Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of Hamburg in the pope's native Germany.

'So, no taboo on the condom issue, but also no myths and trivialisation as if these put the world in order. Condoms can protect, but men often reject them,' the bishop added.

So even then, some Catholics were trying to give a moral solution to an immoral situation.

And so recently we have the Pope saying: Women as well as men can use condoms

- again applying a moral solution to an immoral situation. It's not something new - the Catechism states in many incidences of applying moral solutions to difficult and even immoral or health and life threatening situations.

The Pope has said for the first time that condoms may be used by women, but only in the fight against HIV.

The Vatican moved yesterday to clarify weekend reports that the Pope had said condom use was a lesser evil than transmitting HIV.

It was generally thought that he was referring only to condom use by HIV-positive male prostitutes.

But many, especially the Pro-Life, would think that the Pope would be better standing up for the ideals of abstinence and respect for life and maybe this is not something He should be commenting on - because also it looks like He has done an 'about turn' from last year's comments when He visited Africa. Abstinence and advocating living a healthy lifestyle should be promoted more. Valuing each other. Are there any absolute truths or is all truth relative? If the Pope is 'infallible' in matters of morals, should He be applying a moral solution to an immoral situation. Or is the fact that there are two seemingly opposing opinions from 2009 and 2010 mean that he is 'fallible'. I do wonder why society condemned the Pope so much last year in Africa because He didn't support condoms - when the society should really be directing their anger at the people who live immorally and spread the disease in the first place.

It is an immoral society that will bring itself down eventually and sow the seeds of its own destruction, including the United States or United Kingdom. Many civilisations have come and gone and these will be no different. The Native American Indians were told in prophecies of the 'White Man' coming but were also told that the land would return to the Indians one day. Maybe because every civilisation has the ability to self-destruct from the inside.

The Catholic Church seems to be doing a good job of that lately. Firstly with the sex abuse scandals, then the 'condom' issues and next year - a new Missal which is supposed to be a more literate translation of the Latin but which I fear will alienate those who are accustomed to the traditions of the last 40 years, The Catholic Church is all about tradition after all - Catholics don't like 'change' - and the congregations are quite happy that they have managed to learn this Order of Mass off by heart and may not wish to spend another 40 years learning the new responses. I can imagine it will be a bit like hymn singing in our Church with not everyone on the same verse at the same time or even in the same tune. It will be veryman for himself. And if it's to please the pre-Vatican II crowd, most of whom must now be in their retirement years, why not go back to the Latin - I believe the youth prefer it anyway. Et cum spiritu tuo


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