Thursday, December 9, 2010
Catholic Church will never permit condoms
There has been much talk recently on a portion of the new book released based on an interview with Pope Benedict XVI. I have not read the book, but plan to purchase it this weekend. The media has grabbed a remark the Pope made about the use of condoms and taken it out of context. The media wants people to believe that the Pope is starting to alter the Church's stance on the use of condoms. Why? Because they do not understand that some people, such as Catholics, believe that marriage is sacred, that one should not have sex before marriage, that actively preventing pregnancy, and having an abortion are all wrong. It is totally contrary to the "norm" of the world (which is one of the sources of temptation: the world, the flesh, and the devil).
The Pope was using a scenario in which a possible conversion could occur. Here we have a male prostitute who uses a condom to stop the spread of HIV. The Church does not condone prostitution or the use of condoms. However, in this situation, we have an individual who is committing sins, yet there is some hope of conversion. He has a concern for his fellow man's well being (and his own), which could lead to a total transformation of his lifestyle if that initial, tiny concern for others is fostered. His use of a condom is still wrong, but it could be a sign that he is concerned about the welfare of others. Therefore, since he has somewhat of a concern for others, there is a possibility that he can change.
Take a different scenario. Say you have a "weekend alcoholic". This person does not drink during the week because it will interfere with work. However, once 5 pm Friday comes along, he is not sober again until 9 am Monday (with a hangover). During the weekend he is abusive to his family and drives drunk. The fact that he does not allow the alcohol interfere with his work shows that he has a concern. It might take a good friend to approach him and say something like, "Hey, you know that you cannot perform at work if you are drinking, so you do not drink during the week. Can you not also see is interfering with your family. You need help and I am willing to help you.” Same thing with the male prostitute. Somebody who knows him, but is concerned about his soul might say, "You use a condom because you are concerned about the spread of HIV. Do you not think the better choice would be to stop it completely?” Of course it would probably take more than that one statement.
The Pope is not permitting the use of condoms if it is to stop the spread of HIV. He is saying that the use of condom could be a signal that this person has a concern for the well being of others and the beginning of a change if fostered. The Church's teaching on sex is simple. It is between a married man and woman, open to the conception of a new life, and without using barriers to prevent conception.