Pope’s surprise condom remarks fuel debate

Pope Benedict’s statement on the use of condoms appears to be a relaxation of a hitherto uncompromising Vatican ban on the use of artificial contraception.

A crack has opened in the Church’s ban on contraception because of the Aids epidemic, particularly in Africa.

Catholic moral theologians have been discussing for years the theory of what the Pope has now openly expressed in terms of accepting the lesser of two evils.

This means accepting the fact that condom use by prostitutes does lessen the risk of infection for both men and women.

There is some confusion about whether the Pope was referring to female or male prostitutes in his remarks – the word he used in the Italian version is ambiguous, but in English he talks about male prostitutes.

Unexpected

News of Pope Benedict’s headline-grabbing remarks, first published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, on the acceptability of condom use in certain cases dropped at a completely unexpected moment at the Vatican on Saturday evening.

The Pope’s remarks caught everyone by surprise.

Several thousand people were milling around reception rooms inside and outside the apostolic palace greeting 24 new cardinals to whom Pope Benedict had given their red hats earlier in the day.

It is an ancient tradition that the Pope throws open part of his palace inside the Vatican for two hours during the afternoon following a consistory to enable relatives and friends of the new princes of the Roman Catholic Church to exchange a few words with them as they stand proudly in their brand new red robes of office.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

In my opinion someone on the other side of the Tiber has made a big error”

End Quote Andrea Torielli Italian blogger

The news was so unexpected that seasoned Vatican observers are asking themselves whether there has not been yet another gaffe by Pope Benedict’s public relations advisers.

The words of the Pope were published in the form of selected extracts without any special fanfare in an expanded weekend edition of the Vatican newspaper.

Almost the entire newspaper was devoted to the consistory and to the gathering of old and new cardinals of the Church from around the world who had been summoned to Rome for a closed door meeting the previous day.

The brief papal reference to condoms was down column on the back page of the newspaper.

Accident or design?

The cardinals are still here in Rome. Many of them are reading the extensive Italian newspaper coverage of the Pope’s remarks with some surprise.

It had been agreed with the publishers of the new book of intimate thoughts of Pope Benedict entitled The Light of the World: the Pope, The Church and Signs of The Times by the German Catholic journalist Peter Seewald, that the text would be released only at a book launch scheduled to be held at the Vatican Press Office on Tuesday.

Was the breaking of the embargo of the text on the very day when the headquarters of the Catholic Church was in festive mood in the middle of celebrating the consistory a deliberate act, or was it a mistake on the part of Vatican?

Andrea Torielli, a well-informed Italian blogger on the Vatican has no doubt that it was the latter.

“Yesterday,” he writes, “was not an ordinary day at the Vatican. It was the day on which Benedict XVI celebrated his third consistory. He gave a beautiful, extraordinary homily, drawing attention once more to the fact that the ministry of the Church is one of service, not of power, and that authority is given in order that cardinals may serve, not as a prize, or to enable them to satisfy their ambitions… The Osservatore Romano is not a tabloid, nor a newspaper that seeks scoops. In my opinion someone on the other side of the Tiber has made a big error.”

Among other interesting topics that Pope Benedict touches on in the extracts of his long interview with Peter Seewald, are papal infallibility – he says he cannot continue to produce “infallible statements”; his attitude towards resignation – he would resign if he felt he lacked the physical and psychological strength to continue in office; and his “enormous shock” at the extent of the paedophile priest crisis which has shaken the Church in recent years.

But it is the Pope’s completely unprecedented remarks on condoms and prostitutes that have set tongues wagging not only inside the Vatican, but all over the world. BBC

  • JadM

    This is funny cause should’t he be more concerned about prostitution to begin with before talking about wether it is allowed to use a condom or not

    • Hannibal

      The pope is the highest authorities in catholicism and he bases his edict on the texts available to him from all the prophets. It is not his business to chase prostitutes. If you are interested in doing so and enjoy it much why don’t you?

      • JadM

        I have never heard about a prophet that banned the use of condoms?

        Adultary on the other hand has been banned in all three religions…that is my point. Henceforth; the focus should be more on prostitution than condoms.

        • Hannibal

          Take alcohol for instance, it is mu7arram in Islam, right? Now the worst thing a human being can do to himself is smoke. Yet smoking is not forbidden in Islam, Why? because 3ulamaa’ el Islam said if smoking’s effect mimics the effects of alcohol then it would have been. That was by deductions. When men spilled out their sperm in the Torah God according to those books was not happy about it and punished he who had done it. By the same deduction the Catholics said that condoms will have the same effect as spilling the sperm out. I am just explaining to you facts and way of thought. I do not subscribe to any of those dogmas. That being said I do not believe nor you or I can understand what those folks (religious figures) have to work with as constraints or what have you so it is too simplistic for an individual to understand specially if theology is not your field.
          Cheers!

    • Hannibal

      The pope is the highest authorities in catholicism and he bases his edict on the texts available to him from all the prophets. It is not his business to chase prostitutes. If you are interested in doing so and enjoy it much why don’t you?

      • JadM

        I have never heard about a prophet that banned the use of condoms?

        Adultary on the other hand has been banned in all three religions…that is my point. Henceforth; the focus should be more on prostitution than condoms.

        • Hannibal

          Take alcohol for instance, it is mu7arram in Islam, right? Now the worst thing a human being can do to himself is smoke. Yet smoking is not forbidden in Islam, Why? because 3ulamaa’ el Islam said if smoking’s effect mimics the effects of alcohol then it would have been. That was by deductions. When men spilled out their sperm in the Torah God according to those books was not happy about it and punished he who had done it. By the same deduction the Catholics said that condoms will have the same effect as spilling the sperm out. I am just explaining to you facts and way of thought. I do not subscribe to any of those dogmas. That being said I do not believe nor you or I can understand what those folks (religious figures) have to work with as constraints or what have you so it is too simplistic for an individual to understand specially if theology is not your field.
          Cheers!

  • JadM

    This is funny cause should’t he be more concerned about prostitution to begin with before talking about wether it is allowed to use a condom or not

    • The pope is the highest authorities in catholicism and he bases his edict on the texts available to him from all the prophets. It is not his business to chase prostitutes. If you are interested in doing so and enjoy it much why don’t you?

      • JadM

        I have never heard about a prophet that banned the use of condoms?

        Adultary on the other hand has been banned in all three religions…that is my point. Henceforth; the focus should be more on prostitution than condoms.

        • Take alcohol for instance, it is mu7arram in Islam, right? Now the worst thing a human being can do to himself is smoke. Yet smoking is not forbidden in Islam, Why? because 3ulamaa’ el Islam said if smoking’s effect mimics the effects of alcohol then it would have been. That was by deductions. When men spilled out their sperm in the Torah God according to those books was not happy about it and punished he who had done it. By the same deduction the Catholics said that condoms will have the same effect as spilling the sperm out. I am just explaining to you facts and way of thought. I do not subscribe to any of those dogmas. That being said I do not believe nor you or I can understand what those folks (religious figures) have to work with as constraints or what have you so it is too simplistic for an individual to understand specially if theology is not your field.
          Cheers!

  • JadM

    What is muharram in islam is very clear in most things. Some times muslim scholars argue against things like smoking and some other minor things whether it is haram or not, but the general view is clear.

    What does the pope suggest…. men should cum in a woman’s mouth instead so they don’t spill outside. Releigious figures should give solutions to people rather than say this is haram and just stop. The need to use a condomn is important for most people who are even married and faithful to their spouses. That is all

    • Hannibal

      I cannot believe you speak of a religious figure like that. You are a disgrace to your people. The pope is not suggesting anything. He is just interpreting the books. Practising coitus interruptus is what they used to do back then instead of condoms and it was looked upon it with frowns (makrooh) even by Prophet Muhammad (Hadith).

    • PROPHET.T

      JadM,
      I don’t know what faith you follow, if any, I don’t think you would appreciate it if someone said some thing disrespectful about the religious figure that represent your faith, or other faiths.
      This has nothing to do with being a believer or not, it has to do with respect and tolerance. Treat people like you wish to be treated. Respect people’s leaders like you wish you leaders to be respected.
      Your comment about the pope (or your interpretation of his views) is uncalled for, inappropriate, and way out of line. Whether you agree with the pope or not, you should show some respect since he represents millions of followers.
      As much as I personally oppose all religious institutions, and their leaders, I don’t think it is proper to be disrespectful to any religion, or any religious figure on a personal level.
      You have used some words that you would not want your teenage sister or teen age daughter to read. I know I won’t share this with my 15 year old daughter, who usually sits by me and reads some of the debates taking place a this forum.

      • JadM

        Prophet and Hannibal,

        My words were too blunt I agree but no disrespect was intended to begin with. Still none of you gave me an answer, what is the solution the pope is giving, or in other words what is the alternative?

  • JadM

    What is muharram in islam is very clear in most things. Some times muslim scholars argue against things like smoking and some other minor things whether it is haram or not, but the general view is clear.

    What does the pope suggest…. men should cum in a woman’s mouth instead so they don’t spill outside. Releigious figures should give solutions to people rather than say this is haram and just stop. The need to use a condomn is important for most people who are even married and faithful to their spouses. That is all

  • JadM

    What is muharram in islam is very clear in most things. Some times muslim scholars argue against things like smoking and some other minor things whether it is haram or not, but the general view is clear.

    What does the pope suggest…. men should cum in a woman’s mouth instead so they don’t spill outside. Releigious figures should give solutions to people rather than say this is haram and just stop. The need to use a condomn is important for most people who are even married and faithful to their spouses. That is all

    • I cannot believe you speak of a religious figure like that. You are a disgrace to your people. The pope is not suggesting anything. He is just interpreting the books. Practising coitus interruptus is what they used to do back then instead of condoms and it was looked upon it with frowns (makrooh) even by Prophet Muhammad (Hadith).

    • PROPHET.T

      JAD,I don’t know what religion you follow, if any, I don’t think you would appreciate it if some one ( and I know some have done so before at this forum) said some thing similar about the religious figure that represent your faith or the faith other readers follow.
      This has nothing to do with being a believer or not, it has to do with respect and tolerance. Treat people like you wish to be treated. Respect people’s leaders like you wish you leaders to be respected.
      Your comment about the pope is uncalled for, inappropriate, and way out of line. Whether you agree with the pope or not, you should show some respect since he represents millions of followers. It’s very insensitive of you to disrespect the pope and the people he represent. You can present your view on the issues being discussed without being offensive and disrespectful ,especially if it is a worldly religious figure you are referring to.
      As much as I personally oppose all religious institutions, I don’t think it is proper to attack any religion. or any religious figure on a personal level.
      You have used some words that you would not want your teenage sister or teen age daughter to read. I know I won’t share this with my 15 year old daughter.

      • JadM

        Prophet and Hannibal,

        My words were too blunt I agree but no disrespect was intended to begin with. Still none of you gave me an answer, what is the solution the pope is giving, or in other words what is the alternative?

  • Pro

    JadM, It was not intention to lecture you on how you present your views. How ever I still think your choice of words (you described it as blunt) was improper. You thought it was not disrespectful, I thought it was.
    Unfortunately, we live in world where secular, as well as, faithful people get offended when a religious figure of any particular faith, is criticized by any one,and especially from someone of another faith. Religion became an identity for most people, regardless of how faithful or unfaithful one is. Criticism of religious figures fuel unnecessary tensions, when less of that is really needed.
    I avoid discussing religious topics, and you can’t tempt me to do that now. I could careless what any religious authority say, so don’t expect an answer from me on the pope’s comment.
    Yahoo ID shows my username as pro, instead of PROPHET. T

    • JadM

      Why is everyone avoiding to give me an answer…what is the pope’s alternative for a condom?

      I don’t care if he was a Pope , a sheikh, a Rabay or a Mulla for crying out loud…he is a religious figure who represents more than 30% of the world’s population stating that a condom is not something he agrees on without giving an alternative…

      • PROPHET.T

        JadM,
        You are not abstaining from sexual activities until you get an answer,?Are you? Lol
        I’m confident that you can think of a “HANDY” alternative to sexual intercourse, UNTIL some one comes up with an answer that would satisfy you.
        Make sure you don’t grow hair between your fingers, which can be harmful to your health LOL.

        • Hannibal

          LOL Prophet. NO Religion says you should multiply like the stars.

    • JadM

      Why is everyone avoiding to give me an answer…what is the pope’s alternative for a condom?

      I don’t care if he was a Pope , a sheikh, a Rabay or a Mulla for crying out loud…he is a religious figure who represents more than 30% of the world’s population stating that a condom is not something he agrees on without giving an alternative…

      • PROPHET.T

        JadM,
        You are not abstaining from sexual activities until you get an answer,?Are you? Lol
        I’m confident that you can think of a “HANDY” alternative to sexual intercourse, UNTIL some one comes up with an answer that would satisfy you.
        Make sure you don’t grow hair between your fingers, which can be harmful to your health LOL.

  • Pro

    JadM,
    It was not intention to lecture you on how you present your views. How ever I still think your choice of words (you described it as blunt) was improper. You thought it was not disrespectful, I thought it was.
    Unfortunately, we live in world where secular, as well as, faithful people get offended when a religious figure of any particular faith, is criticized by someone from another faith. Religion became an identity for most people, regardless of how faithful or unfaithful one is. Criticism of religious figures fuel unnecessary tensions, when less of that is really needed.
    I avoid discussing religious topics, and you can’t tempt me to do that now. I could careless what any religious authority say, so don’t expect an answer from me on the pope’s comment.

    • JadM

      Why is everyone avoiding to give me an answer…what is the pope’s alternative for a condom?

      I don’t care if he was a Pope , a sheikh, a Rabay or a Mulla for crying out loud…he is a religious figure who represents more than 30% of the world’s population stating that a condom is not something he agrees on without giving an alternative…

      • PROPHET.T

        JadM,Are you abstaining from sexual activities until you get an answer? Lol I’m confident that you can think of a “HANDY” alternative to sexual intercourse, UNTIL some one comes up with an answer for you. Make sure you don’t grow hair between your fingers, which can be harmful to your health LOL

        • LOL Prophet. NO Religion says you should multiply like the stars.

  • Pro

    JadM,
    It was not intention to lecture you on how you present your views. How ever I still think your choice of words (you described it as blunt) was improper. You thought it was not disrespectful, I thought it was.
    Unfortunately, we live in world where secular, as well as, faithful people get offended when a religious figure of any particular faith, is criticized by someone from another faith. Religion became an identity for most people, regardless of how faithful or unfaithful one is. Criticism of religious figures fuel unnecessary tensions, when less of that is really needed.
    I avoid discussing religious topics, and you can’t tempt me to do that now. I could careless what any religious authority say, so don’t expect an answer from me on the pope’s comment.