Pope okays condom usage?!

I thought this was going to be a link to the Onion, but it’s real:

After decades of fierce opposition to the use of all contraception, the pontiff will end the Catholic Church’s absolute ban on the use of condoms. He will say that it is acceptable to use a prophylactic when the sole intention is to “reduce the risk of infection” from Aids.

While he will restate the Catholic Church’s staunch objections to contraception because it believes it interferes with the creation of life, he will argue that using a condom to preserve life and avoid death can be a responsible act – even outside marriage.

Asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms,” he replies: “It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution.

“In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality.”

He will stress that abstinence is the best policy in fighting the disease, but accept that in some circumstances it is better for a condom to be used if it protects human life.

Okay, so he still has a antiquated and judgemental view of human sexuality… hell, he is the Pope after all. But this is a huge step in the right direction. The Catholic Church is finally saying that the well-being of humans that are currently alive is more important that the potential human you’re stopping with a bit of rubber.

The theological logic is certainly screwy, like usual – it’s only okay because living gives you the potential to stop sinning later, not because living is more important than wasted sperm. But for right now, I don’t care. This will have a profound effect in AIDS ridden countries in Africa and potentially save many, many lives. Not to mention this basically greenlights all Catholic couples to use condoms. I can see the logic now – “Well, we’re primarily using them to stop AIDS, damn that no-baby side effect!”

Though the cynic in me thinks this is just a PR move to get people distracted from the whole child-molesting scandal. Sorry Pope, haven’t quite forgotten about that.


  1. Annie says

    I don’t think it has to do with PR, but rather marketing. This is the same pope that did away with the celestial body of Limbo, no? Why? Because African women, who have a very high infant mortality rate, did not want to join a church where they would be separated from their unbaptized babies for eternity. This is just one more move to grow the African flock. A good silver lining, no doubt, but still just a sneaky move.

  2. says

    Gah.. Great move on the RC Church’s part, but the whole ‘Having a choice regarding reproduction is still wrong wrong wrong.. but we’ll look the other way if you say that you’re doing it for this reason.’ It’s like the Pill all over again.. seems when it was first put on the market, the church for a while said it was okay as long as it was prescribed for ‘menstrual irregularities’. Stats started to show a high number of women with mestrual problems.It’s a step in the right direction, yes, but a step mired in the same old hypocritical doubletalk.

  3. says

    I can’t find my jaw… It fell on the floor somewhere……But then again this is not quite as surpricing as it should be, if the church had been concistent in their teachings in first place. Another example of secular morality dragging religion kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

  4. Guest says

    I don’t get the whole “wasted sperm” argument that so many people use. Abstinence wastes sperm cells just as much as masturbation/birth control does – they’re not eggs. They don’t just sit around in a guy’s testicles forever before ejaculation eventually occurs.

  5. Dragoon says

    “There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be … a first bit of responsibility, to redevelop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes.”But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection.”So he’s equating homosexuality with condom usage. So… they’re both wrong, but maybe if you live, you’ll change your evil ways?!? WTF.

  6. bob42 says

    I have a friend that is not only a recovering catholic, but spent months in Africa when she was planning to become a nun. Her experiences there changed her mind about that profession for a number of reasons. She tells me that many of the missionaries that are actually doing the work there don’t have a problem with condoms, and have been distributing them on the sly. Good.

  7. Erp says

    He is saying it is ok in rare cases. Remember the main reason for the Catholic opposition to condoms is it prevents conception and the one example the Pope gives where condoms are sort of ok is with male prostitution (and I assume he is only thinking of those with male customers) where conception is not possible in the first place. Prostitution itself is a sin but the participants in this case are not compounding the sin if they use condoms. When the relationship is male/female my guess is using condoms compounds the sin (or is sinful on its own if taking place within marriage) unless one of the partners is incapable of procreating and both partners know this. If he meant otherwise he would have given an example where conception would have been possible if condoms had not been used.

  8. JAFisher44 says

    Kicking, screaming, and clawing at the floor, the Catholic Church is dragged a little closer to modern secular morality. Bravo!

  9. Azkyroth says

    Since they’re produced continuously, they’d have to be reabsorbed after a while, I would think…

  10. says

    “He will stress that abstinence is the best policy…”The Virgin Mary: Biblical proof that abstinence is only 99% effective.

  11. RdeG says

    Note that he only refers to /male/ prostitutes? So it’s OK for a man to use a condom while buggering a rentboy, but apparently not while having sex with a wife, girlfriend, or female prostitute. I wonder if it’s acceptable to use a condom while screwing “other” boys as well?

  12. sal says

    it seems excessive to change traditional understandings just to “grow the africian flock” – i would say it is more a growing awareness and acceptance rather then marketing move

  13. says

    one of the most traditional things about the RCC is to change its mind to win more converts. It started with usurping Saturnalia, and this is just another minor change.

  14. Jon says

    The justification is interesting (theologically speaking) but Yay! This has to be a good thing, regardless of the thinking behind it.

  15. Valis says

    So what about all those people who have been sent to burn in hell for all eternity for using condoms (according to the RCC)? Do they get to go to heaven now, or is it just too bad for them? “Tough shit, you were using condoms before we changed our mind”. Jebus, I hate religion with every fibre of my being :(

  16. Brian says

    This whole thing is, I feel, an overstatement of what the Pope actually said. I don’t think he’s really changed his stance at all; the media is just choosing to emphasize this particular point.Also, it’s not at all clear that he referred specifically to a /male/ prostitute; this might well be a translation error. (And it’s not like the media is going out of their way to get the facts right.) See this post:http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.e

  17. Annie says

    Sal- Then you have a much higher opinion of the Catholic church than I do. It does seem excessive, to a normal person, but certainly it follows their MO. The RCC is all about how to gain more power and money… the religious aspect of it all is just a small tool to keep people in line. It’s a brilliant design, as it’s been working in their favor for centuries.

  18. guest says

    Considering that the Pope is German and the journalist who did the interview is also German I think it is reasonable to assume that the two probably spoke German, not Italian. Additionally, German media claimed that the Italian version is a translation and that the Pope did refer to male prostitutes in particular. I do not know if that is true, but at least it sounds reasonable.

  19. says

    Nah, the argument (as I understand it) is : Sex is a sin if you have it for any reason other than reproduction. Wasted cells are irrelevant.It goes to the whole “Enjoying yourself is bad” meme. Watch “In the Name of the Rose”. SPOILER: The priest was killing people who read humor because humor would make them happy and then they would no longer need God’s promise of heaven to make them happy.

  20. Pet Dave says

    There is no truth in what the media communication. This can not come out of the head of Prof: Joseph Ratzinger. This is another shame to media people.

  21. Pet Dave says

    Truth is a great tag to this generation. People want ready made answers. Hating religion is your option but you better rethink it objectively and metaphysically. You could be hating your own destiny!

  22. Pet Dave says

    It, by its own does not exist. I think Catholic Church is the most parked with high educated people including the Pope himself. Even on my dead body, I will not accept that PP Benedict XVI regalized condoms use. The contradiction on it is very plain. It only needs a common sense to find it out>

  23. Petdmkongwa says

    I think you sadly mistaken!You can’t be talking about Christianity without talking about the Catholic Church. No Catholic Church no Christianity. Period.The problem is people of this generation we worship want ready made answers. We want to prove the existence of God in laboratories.In some instances we behave lesser than dogs. A man to male a man. We don’t like to accept the responsibility of being super creatures.

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