Thursday, 27 January 2011

A March for Life in the UK ? Sure ! But we need an authentic 'Catholic Church for Life' first....

The Catholic Herald has proposed we start a British version of the US March for Life

A brilliant idea !
Something we should have been doing for decades

But alas it brings with it some home truths we MUST address:

{I'll post here what I commented on the Catholic Herald site - because I doubt it will last very long on there - I don't exactly blame the Herald - understanding they have a very narrow tightrope upon which to walk - but the distateful, awkward and uncomfortable does need to be said on occasion - and it's rather sad that it doesn't say it more...}

March for Life ?
Well ? How do you define 'for life' or 'Pro-Life' ?

In the US it's simple: it's a march against Roe vs Wade and all the other exigents trail along behind - embryonic experimentation, partial-birth abortions, the Terry Schiavo case etc - and the population [mainly religious] will declare that they're pro-Life - but usually this means they aren't really pro-Life - they're merely anti certain forms of the taking of human life. Take a look at many pro-Life websites and you'll discover that even when they're anti abortion-on-demand many advocate abortion in the case of rape or incest or a handicapped foetus or one infected with hiv or a drug-addiction or even one born to a drug addict/special needs mother...

How many of the vehemently professing pro-Life US citizens have no reservations in advocating Capital punishment and illegal unjust wars of aggression ?

But all this can be swept aside and they gather as one for a March for Life - and all credit to them!
ANYTHING which counters this culture of Death is to be jumped at...

But in this country ?
Things are a little more complicated...

Yes I can see the major pro-Life groups overcoming their differences - I can see a wide oecumenical force of evangelical Christians, Catholics, Muslims etc gathering together under the umbrella of being 'pro-Life' - even if what they mean by it has very different definitions and exemptions...

But as Catholics ?
We have a few hurdles:

a] The severe rupture in Catholic pro-Life activism - the 1998 debacle has never been resolved - and the pig-headed leaders on both sides are unforgiving and resolutely unwilling to accommodate each other - to the extent that by their antipathy they continue to breed dissent - thus those involved become partisan - and their young indoctrinated acolytes on both sides are following suit - bearing the grudges onto a second generation.
To the extent that some major pro-Life bloggers/commentators/advocates refuse to even acknowledge the existence or the activities of the other side unless they really have to....
It's scandalous - shameful - disgusting !
I don't care who's to blame - or who did what - or who disappointed whom or betrayed whom or acted shamefully...
At present - the fact that Right to Life and the SPUC are not a combined force utilising all talents and capabilities is an unmitigated SCANDAL upon us all.

To those who are involved : The price is too high to not get it sorted - NOW!

b] So-Called Pro-Life Politicians [including Catholic MPs]
need a list?


They're supposed to be Leading the political fight for the Pro-Life cause - but their version of Pro-Life is on occasion highly divergent from authentic Catholic teaching - and I'm sorry but it is the Apostolic duty of these people's Bishops to direct them to not cause public scandal by advocating anti-Catholic positions in a public forum.

Now yes - we do appreciate and value ANY support [however limited] to the Pro-Life cause - But we can't continue in this abject denial of reality that what is considered to be a politically pro-Life approach is definitely NOT the Catholic position. It's ridiculous for Nadine Dorries to publicly denounce the catholic hierarchy for their ineffectualness when her version of pro-Life is directly contrary to Catholic teaching at the most basic level...

c] The Bishops' Conference of England & Wales - irrespective of what it claims and teaches - is NOT PRO-LIFE!!!
It's a terrible accusation to make - one that fills me with shame, anger and sorrow : But it cannot be denied.

i] The CESEW has agreed with the Connexions programme to allow it access into every Catholic Secondary School - this involves sexual advice/counselling to the underage, the provision of contraceptives and referrals for abortions and the provision of abortifacients. Conference is fully aware of this - and at present that which knowingly involves the murder of the unborn is a stated policy position. Given that the CES also helped draft the last government's proposed health and sexual education bill , and appointed Greg Pope as deputy?
Conference has made it pretty clear that it cares very little for defending either the sexual safety, security and health of Catholic teenagers or the life of the Unborn.

ii] Conference has signed off on the Liverpool Care pathway [June 24 2010] which considers Clinical Nutrition and Hydration as medical treatment which can validly be removed - This can only be described - irrespective of the florid sentimental comments of those advocating this [e.g Fr James Mulligan in the Herald] - as euthanasia by starvation and dehydration.

Which directly contravenes CDF directive on the mandatory retention of all forms of normal care due to a dying patient:

iii] Conference's Department for Christian Responsbility and Citizenship formed the CEDAR initiative against domestic violence - a worthwhile cause one must admit until one sees the links and formal co-operation with specific pro-Euthanasia and pro-Abortion organisations.
iv] The Intervention of Conference's 'Ethics Spokesperson' - Chairman of the Christian Responsibility and Citizenship group - Archbishop Peter Smith in parliamentary bills dealing with major life issues such as the Mental Capacity Act and the HFE Bill - Archbishop Smith might feel proud of himself [as he stated in his interview in the Herald with Anna Arco] - but Catholics should be outraged!

Mental Capacity Act

[clarification by Prof Finnis over specific wording which inadvertently indicts Archbishop Smith even further] http://spuc-director.blogspot....

Now I'm sorry - But Conference truly needs to clean up its act - and please note I didn't even refer to all the dodgy environmentalist documentation advocating sustainablity [i.e. population control] - the links with CAFOD's far-from-Catholic positions on certain issues etc...but we can't ignore the fact that Conference has conspired and is conspiring with the Culture of Death.

I care less about a March for Life - and more for a Catholic Church in England and Wales that is incontrovertibly for Life!!!
Which is something at present to which none of us can attest.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Götterdämmerung (19/19) - Wagner, "Ring" Akt III - Finale Erlösungsmotiv...


Siegfried 12/19 - R. Wagner, "Ring" - Akt III Prelude, Vorspiel - Valenc...


Pope: mission work 'involves everyone, everything, always'

The work of evangelization “involves everyone, everything, always,” Pope Benedict XVI says in his message for the 85th World Mission Sunday.

The Pope underlines that the Church “is missionary by her very nature,” and the work of spreading the Gospel is a “joint responsibility of all.”

World Mission Sunday will be observed this year on October 23. But the papal message was released by the Vatican on January 25.

Stressing the urgent importance of evangelism, the Pope writes: “We cannot rest easy at the thought that, after two thousand, there are people who still do not know Christ, who have not yet heard His message of salvation.” Moreover, he continues, it is disturbing that many people, “having received the Gospel announcement, have forgotten or abandoned it and no longer identify themselves in the Church; and many environments, even in traditionally Christian societies, are reluctant to open themselves to the word of faith.”

All Christians should feel the pressing need for mission work, the Pope said. He observed that the work of evangelization should include careful attention to the human needs of one’s neighbors, and thus mission work cannot “overlook questions associated with human development, justice, and liberation from all forms of oppression.”

30 Seconds To Mars - Closer To The Edge

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Canon law & The Permanent Diaconate : The Problem that simply won't go away...Sex!

When Canon Law was being revised for the ultimate 1983 Code , His Holiness John Paul II was given a draft regarding Married Permanent Deacons:

It began as:
Canon 135, §2 of the Schema de populo Dei read as follows:

"Men of
mature age, promoted to the stable diaconate, who are living in marriage, are not bound to the prescription of §1; these, however, upon the loss of their wife, are bound to celibacy.

Then it even dropped the rule for celibacy and no re-marriage after becoming a widower

"Men promoted to the permanent diaconate, living in marriage, are not

bound to the prescription of §1."

Nevertheless by the time of the final draft this provision for an exemption to clerical continence [i.e. exemption from permanent abstinence] for Married Deacons - was removed !

The Law states:
1983 CIC 277.
§ 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.

§ 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful.

§ 3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.

Now this law makes it quite clear that in line with Church tradition, the provisions of the unchallenged 1917 Code and the reintroduction of Permanent Deacons [actuated by Pius XII for ex-Lutherans and continued by Paul VI's legislation]
that the rule for 'continence' remains.

Married men with consenting wives who wish to become Permanent deacons - upon ordination must refrain from sexual activity.

But - as we all know - this is NOT what's happening in the Western Church.

Worse in the 1998 Vatican directive on the permanent Diaconate , Cardinal Laghi appears to be under the misapprehension that married Deacons are indeed allowed to continue having sex.

He speaks of

[61]"a certain continence"

[why certain? it looks like he's alluding to 1Cor7 - where St Paul advises all married couples to intemittently abstain from sex for spiritual reasons - also to enhance appreciation of each other]

and worse- to
[68] 'welcoming children'

...and we can't infer His Eminence is solely referring to those children conceived before yet born after their father's ordination.

Now if Cardinal Laghi - writing on the diaconate - doesn't understand what canon 277 is saying - what hope is there for the rest of us ?

Especially when His Holiness of Blessed Memory John Paul II - in His Theology of the Body addresses - actually hijacks and alters the meaning of the word continence to fit into his pedagogical paradigm. For JPII marital continence does not mean continence!

Well what about the appeal to equal marital conjugal rights of canon 1135 ?
No - sorry that doesn't apply. Canon 277 applies to all clerics.

What about canon 4 which speaks of the rights which haven't been directly revoked?
Well there isn't anything to revoke - tradition and magisterial teaching and the law had remained consistent; there's no precedent to make.

Well what of the 1998 Vatican directive and the Pope's comments on the issue?


" In particular, the deacon and his wife must be a living example of fidelity and indissolubility in Christian marriage before a world which is in dire need of such signs. By facing in a spirit of faith the challenges of married life and the demands of daily living, they strengthen the family life not only of the Church community but of the whole of society. They also show how the obligations of family, work and ministry can be harmonized in the service of the Church’s mission. Deacons and their wives and children can be a great encouragement to all others who are working to promote"

Canon 33#1 makes it quite clear - it doesn't matter what's said by anyone - even the Pontiff - in regard to the pastoral understanding of the law - even if they teach something inadvertently directly contrary to the law - it doesn't set a precedent or alter a thing.
The law - as stated - remains the law.

Now Dr James Provost attempts to clarify regarding Canon 277

277. This is the canon which imposes perfect and perpetual continence on all clerics.
No exception is made for permanent deacons,
although one had been included in the earlier drafts of the canon.
Does this means
that married permanent deacons as of November 27, 1983 had to cease having marital relations with their wives?
The text of the law would seem to impose this "for the sake
of the kingdom of heaven".
However, through matrimony each of the spouses acquires

"equal obligations and rights to those things which pertain to the partnership of conjugal
life" (c. 1135), and sexual cooperation is part of the permanent consortium (c. 1096,
§ 1).
Since the new code does not take away acquired rights unless they are expressly

revoked by the code (c. 4), and since canon 277 does not explicitly state it is revoking
the acquired marital rights of married deacons, continence is not being imposed on them
even though the law reads that way.

Now yes - as there has been no informed consent requested from the wives of permanent deacons to disengage from conjugal activity - there is no obligation upon them ; but it doesn't mean that there is some invoked precedent which exempts permanent Deacons from the actual law itself.
Canon 4 does not apply - the law is there - it doesn't need to add any conditional that it is removing or revoking any 'privilege' - it's there - blatantly - married permanent deacons as clerics are canonically obliged to continence.

What about canon 277#3 ?

“The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter [i.e., the perfect and perpetual continence of clerics, per Canon 277 § 1]” and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.”

Surely this means that the exemption from continence is within the remit of the Bishop?
er no! Fr John Boyle reminds us that:

The dispensation from the obligation to celibacy, whether of a deacon or a presbyter, is reserved to the Roman Pontiff. Can. 291: "... loss of the clerical state does not entail a dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, which only the Roman Pontiff grants."

Now Dr Edward Peters []
[American Papist's dad!]
has written extensively on this and his 'In the Light of the law' blog is a must-read for anyone interested in this ; American Papist brought the issue to a head in the US - it's all over Twitter and Fr John Boyle has resurrected the issue on the blogosphere over here. There's been plenty opposition and dimissal.

Fr Ray Blake [in his wonderfully pastoral way which loathes the dusty, desiccated, clinical legalistic pharisaic hyper-pedantry in regard to a Code of Canon law in which the prime directive is the fulfilment of God's love, mercy and truth in the daily working of Holy Mother Church - not rigoristically rupturing people's lives] pushes it aside as a storm in a teacup and a misreading of the law. I really wish I could agree.

There's something deeply wrong here - that this situation could arise is ludicrous!

One feels compelled to ask "What the hell were the Papal canonical advisers playing at?" [follow the links]

But the whole Issue has now taken a nasty turn - and who is there ?

John W Martens doesn't exactly understand what Canon Law is - let alone what it says - and introduces all manner of obfuscations, dismissals, sneerings, fallacious appeals to praxis and authority, accusations that Dr Peters is reacting for all manner of ulterior motives, that his position is invalidated because he doesn't justify his position from biblical sources [I kid you not!!!???] and every other trick in the book .
He even makes the revisionist attempt to redefine the meaning of the word continence into something directly contrary to its canonical meaning.

Ed Peters easily trounces John W Martens's hatchet-job

...but this is beside the point - it's bad enough we have the reprobate Austen Ivereigh pontificating his 'new secularism/pastoral condoms/democratic debate is an enemy of democracy/anti-Catholic Taliban' hackeries in America - this is a ridiculous scenario. Martens is no canon lawyer - so argues using every other reason except the canon itself.
Did 'America"'s editorial team think it was effective and productive to have a non-Canonist sneeringly dismiss Ed Peters's sincere appeal that a Canonical/Praxis anomaly should be addressed?

Oh wait - they let Ivereigh comment on all things Catholic don't they? Silly me...

Now canon 277 needs to be addressed :

It states clearly and categorically that Married permanent deacons cannot continue to have sex - and consequently before ordination their wives had to sign up to this.

This hasn't happened - and in 2013 the thirty year rule of continual practise comes into effect - an appeal can be made to Rome that as it's been an ongoing custom and habit for ordained married deacons to continue having sexual relations in contravention of the law itself - an answer must be given in its regard - and Rome will have egg all over its face with either an embarrassing backdown - causing outrage - or an implementation of the actual law - causing even more outrage!

This can't be dismissed - Rome must act!

Friday, 14 January 2011

CES : Don't you DARE take credit when it most certainly isn't due....

It's what we guessed all along : Catholic Schools are fantastic at everything - except in being Catholic.

From the menacing caverns of the Ice Queen we're provided with the latest information:

New publications demonstrate that Catholic schools are rated consistently better than other schools

The Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CESEW) launched two new publications, Value Added: the Distinctive Contribution of Catholic Schools and Colleges in England and the CESEW Digest of 2009 Census Data for Schools and Colleges on Monday 10 January 2011.

Data from Value Added demonstrates that, according to Ofsted inspections, Catholic schools rated consistently better than average on all criteria. In terms of overall effectiveness, Ofsted judged 73% of Catholic secondary schools to be outstanding or good, compared to 60% of schools nationally. For primary schools, 74% of Catholic schools were judged outstanding or good compared to 66% nationally.

The Census Digest shows that these results are achieved with intakes of Catholic schools that are socially diverse. The data shows that Catholic schools have similar proportions of children eligible for free school meals as schools nationally have, and are more ethnically mixed than schools nationally.

Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Chairman of CESEW, said “These two publications make it very clear that Catholic education continues to make a very important contribution to the future of our society. Furthermore they show just how well taxpayers' money is spent when it is channelled into Catholic schools.”

Oona Stannard, Chief Executive and Director of CESEW, added, “These publications demonstrate that our high standards are not a flash in the pan but carefully sustained and nurtured over time. I am particularly pleased to note that our achievements are also matched by conspicuously high scores for personal development, including enjoyment of school. To have such happy and successful outcomes doesn’t just benefit the pupils- nearly 30% of whom are not Catholic - but also shows the Church making an investment in the future well being of society through Catholic schools.”

"Our achievements" eh Oona darling?

Exactly how many Catholic schools have closed this year?
How many Primary schools have but a handful applying for their reception class; forcing Head Teachers to alter their admissions policies to allow anyone of any faith or none through the doors ?
Wasn't it only a few weeks ago that Sacred Heart school in Blackburn - which was 90% Catholic only ten years ago - ceased to be a Catholic school and instead was handed over to the local mosque after its pupil ratio became 96% Muslim ?
Did the local Catholic community simply vanish?

What's the lapsation rate for Students in Catholic secondary schools Ms Stannard? Ninety er what percent?

When you helped compose the Sexual education government proposals - which would have forced Catholic schools to teach "impartial & objective" [euphemisms if ever there were] lessons on contraception, abortion, extramarital and gay sex - did you give any due concern for this being utterly contrary to your executive remit as head of the CES ; and your baptismal vows as a Catholic  ?

..and finally ma'am - Connexions !

Contraception provision , prescribing of the morning-after pill, abortion referrals, conspiracy with the sexual abuse of minors via sex and relationship advice and counselling for those under 16 - and giving them the contraception to act out what they're taught ?
All within the safe confines of a Catholic school - with the bitter irony that the school nurse has to ring a parent or guardian for permission to give a student an aspirin!!!

Don't you ever think we don't know what's happened to our Catholic schools throughout the land.
Don't think we don't know how your direct policies have disenfranchised and alienated Catholic children from their faith, their traditions, their heritage...

You want an award for all your hard work ?
Don't worry ma'am - I'm sure all we Catholic parents will have a whip round to give you just what you deserve....

On an unrelated topic : Anyone know where we can buy a millstone?

Fr Ray & Laurence England have a lot more to say...

Don't ask us to speak out - we're too scared....


British Embassy reflects on Pope Benedict's speech to diplomats

During his speech to the Diplomatic Corps on Monday, Pope Benedict spoke about religious freedom, and lamented the violence against Christians in many Muslim countries. He appealed to both political authorities and religious authorities to let their fellow-citizens live in security.

“He was trying to look at the world through the prism of religious freedom, and protecting religious freedom as a fundamental human right,” said Justin Bedford, the Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy to the Holy See.

The Pope’s words came just days after attacks on Christians in Iraq, Egypt, and Nigeria.

“We see increasingly, where we see [Islamic] extremists are gaining a foothold, attempts to divide those societies through attacks against the Christian minorities in those countries,” he told Vatican Radio.

Mr. Bedford urged caution when asked about requests for the European Union to be more directly involved in the protection of Christians in the Middle East.

“We need to be very careful as to how the West, and the EU as part of the ‘western construct’, approaches the question of religions,” he said.

He added there Is a danger in presenting Christianity as too closely associated with the West.

“That could, if the West took the concept of Christianity under its umbrella, provide a reason for extremists to continue to divide those societies…we would seek to avoid that, if possible,” he said. “If this question is discussed in the EU we would need to find an approach which did not divide societies, but sought to unite them and present solidarity between Christians and Muslims as they confront extremists.”

 British diplomat urges caution in EU defense of persecuted Christians RSS Facebook January 13, 2011

Justin Bedford, the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy to the Holy See, told Vatican Radio that the European Union needs to be cautious in defending the rights of persecuted Christians in Muslim societies.
“We see increasingly, where we see [Islamic] extremists are gaining a foothold, attempts to divide those societies through attacks against the Christian minorities in those countries,” he said.
In response to such extremism, “we need to be very careful as to how the West, and the EU as part of the ‘Western construct,’ approaches the question of religions,” Bedford stated.
“If the West took the concept of Christianity under its umbrella,” said Bedford, extremists could be given another reason “to continue to divide those societies … we would seek to avoid that, if possible,” he said. “If this question is discussed in the EU we would need to find an approach which did not divide societies, but sought to unite them and present solidarity between Christians and Muslims as they confront extremists.”

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Pope and Condoms - The misunderstandings continue...[Pt 2 in a series]

[Note : I was still refusing to comment on the issue - I was certain that everyone who thought the Pope was advocating condom-use was mistaken - that Damian had got the wrong end of the stick - and once a clarification came through  the issue would soon vanish - I sincerely thought there was no need to start a fight. Damian had made a simple mistake - it was a 'least said: soonest mended' scenario - and surely the misunderstanding wasn't going to last more than 48hrs???
Nevertheless - I'll provide you here with something similar to my thoughts while reading his article for the first time - but please note - I didn't say them! It may all seem highly uncharitable - and may look like I was being deliberately hostile  - but I absolutely adore this man [always will - he's a star!]- and I was so dumbstruck - then incredulous - then livid - that he should come out with this all this - I wanted to wring his bloody neck!!! But keep this is mind - even though he was wrong - he  was sincerely wrong - I'm relating this to ensure you understand where I'm coming from - and to make sure any reader realises that I was equally critical of friends as well as enemies ]
Pope Benedict's extraordinary comments about condoms and HIV reflect his charity and common sense

By Damian Thompson

The Pope will surprise this critics with these remarks [wonder if the 't' from 'this' or the 's' from 'critics' is the misprint?]

The news is confirmed:[It wasn't] Pope Benedict XVI is modifying[no - he's not - that would be impossible] the Catholic Church’s absolute ban[what's that?] on the use of condoms. In doing so, however, he is not radically[he would be if he was] departing from Church teaching but, rather, helping to clear up years of disastrous confusion [er..what is this confusion - pray tell?] relating to the specific area of condoms and Aids.[Ahhh! I get you now - you're referring to YOUR misunderstanding of Church teaching]

The Pope’s comments, in an interview to be published on Tuesday, are wise, humane[if you're going where I think you're going in this argument ? I think Pope Benedict and yourself have diammetrically opposing views as to what might be considered 'humane' in this regard ] , carefully balanced [doesn't it scare you when someone uses the word 'balanced' ? It usually it means someone's trying to sneakily get away with something] – and another reminder of the 83-year-old pontiff’s ability to surprise the world by refusing to conform to the stereotype of “hardline conservative”.[By hardline conservative I think Damian's referring to those few poor deluded misguided and lethally dangerous  African clerics who had  erroneously declared that if you're still going to have sex if you're hiv+ you must never use the evil condom! But moving on...]

Benedict XVI is not contradicting the teaching of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae [No - he's not - but he would be if he was saying what I think you think he's saying Damo] that the use of artificial birth control is wrong.[wrong?!! Perhaps a little bit more than that dude? decaffeinated coffee is wrong - wearing purple y-fronts is wrong - Cliff Richard trying to sing the Our Father to the tune of Auld lang syne is wrong - but wilfully denying God the opportunity to bring new human life into Creation? Let's say it's somewhat more grave than being a bit naughty]
But, on the basis of the reports published this afternoon, he is softening its application in circumstances that could not possibly have been anticipated in 1968. [Sigh! What has the hiv/AIDS issue to do with contraception?]

Contrary to media reports, it has never been entirely clear whether the Church forbids the use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV. [Now - that IS WRONG!!! Catholic teaching is absolutely clear!]

Is it a sin to use a condom where not using one would condemn one partner to the horrors of HIV infection?
[It's a sin to have sex if one is hiv+ dude - you should know that]
Statements by leading [???!] clergymen, including African archbishops [the few whack-jobs], have indicated that the Church’s answer was “yes” – but several cardinals strongly disagree. [Sigh! What about telling us what the Church teaches ? You don't really know do you dude? If you seriously think there's a major fight among Catholics over condom-use by those who are hiv+ and sexually active ? You're mistaken dude! The fight is that they shouldn't be having sex in the first place! ]

In a controversial interview en route to Africa in March 2009, the Pope appeared to sign with hardliners when he suggested that the use of condoms helped to spread Aids in the continent. [Actually he said 'reliance...aggravated the problem' - something distinctly different and more informed]
The science behind that claim is contested, to put it mildly, and the Vatican seemed shocked by the almost universally hostile response it produced. [You can't tell the world that the Emperor has no clothes: Ideologically it was impossible for the West to promote the only effective solution - abstinence! It was seen as too unreasonable - too ridiculous to contemplate - The last taboo is telling people they can't have sex whenever and however they want]

Actually, it was not certain even then that Benedict XVI had come to a fixed view on the subject [absolutely,irrefutably UNTRUE!!!] and the interview to be published on Tuesday indicates that he has been giving the matter deep thought. [In a word? Bollocks! Church teaching on the issue is easy enough for a child to understand : If you can kill by having sex - you MUST NOT have sex ; if you're defiantly going to gravely sin - you MUST mandatorily decrease the gravity of the sin - there's no 'deep thought' required !!!]

His comments to Peter Seewald reaffirm his belief that the use of condoms is not “the answer” to Aids – but he goes on to say that “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 was referring to the INTENTION 'in certain cases' - not the means of exercising that intention [i.e.condom-use] dude - unless you're saying he's wilfully contradicting himself and everything the Church has taught for millennia?]

He also 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.”

Arguably, the subtlety [???!!!!]of this moral judgment simultaneously pulls the rug from under the feet of certain Catholic conservatives [Does it?] (who oppose any softening of the line on condoms)
[what is this 'line on condoms? Damian - do you sincerely believe that 'conservative' Catholics are saying that anyone with hiv who is having sex must never use a condom ? It looks like you do ! Conservative Catholics are saying you must Abstain - only a few residual misguided African clerics maintain the position you seem to think the majority of conservative Catholics hold - news dude: They don'! ]
and liberals (who want Church teaching drastically changed to permit condoms within marriage).

We shall have to wait to see how the Pope expounds his views – but the common sense reading of these remarks is that he regards the use of a condom as a lesser evil than the transmission of an infection that he rightly describes as a “horror”. [Lesser evil ? Sorry dude - but you aren't getting this at all . The action - risking another's life - is already gravely evil - reduction of the risk by condom use is not 'lessening' the evil - it's simply not aggravating an already deplorable contravention of the fifth commandment. You seem to be under the impression that this is an innovative Church position to make this action 'permissible' or 'recommended' - instead of it being eternal MANDATORY Church teaching - if you're going to do something you are expressly commanded not to do - there is still the absolute obligation to not aggravate or compound one's grave sin - rather than the Church saying you should use a condom in such circumstances - it commands you MUST]

If that is Benedict’s considered opinion, then I suspect that only a small minority of the faithful will disagree with him.
The argument that it is better to infect someone with a deadly virus than to use a condom is a cruel misjudgment, [Who in the name of all sanity - apart from the odd misguided African nut-job - ever said that ?] particularly when it is backed up by pseudoscience claiming that the virus can jump through holes in the rubber.
[Yet again - Who said that ? Apart from the aforementioned rare misguided few ? Yes they've been widely reported with their exaggerated figures of condom failure - gravely irresponsible African archbishops declaring most condoms have holes etc...
....but Does Damian truly believe that the major proposed argument against the safety of condoms is microlesions ?
Does he think those who oppose condom use on safety grounds are so unscientific? 
This is the author of 'Counterknowledge' - Yes ?!!!
Why should anyone expressing grave concern over condoms appeal to microlesions rather than misapplication, cross-contamination, slippage and breakage ? 
When 12.9% of London gay men are hiv+ ; and 70% of them say they seroconverted while using condoms ? When the Cochrane report [2007] states that condoms are only 80% effective in the reduction of seroconversion among heterosexual couples.
Anyone who's using a condom thinking it will guarantee them safety and prophylaxis should be deeply concerned!!!]

The core of Catholic teaching on contraception – that artificial birth control interferes with God’s purpose – remains intact, as the Pope certainly intends it to. He upholds the teaching of Paul VI and John Paul II [Dude- actually it's 2000 yr old moral teaching of Christ, St Paul and the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church from its inception - and 1800yrs of Judaism before that] that sex should take place only between a married man and woman and must be free of artificial contraceptive devices.

But today’s news does raise one intriguing question. Would the Polish Pope, who consistently sounded a stern note on matters of sexuality [somebody hasn't read 'Theology of the Body' sic!], have adjusted the application of church teaching in this fashion?
[Adjusted what application ? Dude you're still not getting this are you ? and do you honestly think that Pope John Paul II thought and taught that sexually active people with hiv must never use a condom ? JPII would be outraged that any were continuing to have sex and potentially murder their partner - but just as outraged if they didn't use a condom while doing it]
It is, shall we say, hard to imagine him doing so. [No harder than imagining that you could think so many Catholics were so evil as to think that someone hiv+ using a condom was more sinful than someone not using one!]

PS: Several commenters on the thread below have accused me of misrepresenting the traditional position against condoms. So let me clarify: I’m not referring to the arguments for or against abstinence-based programmes of Aids prevention, but to crude advice given at local level to HIV positive people that essentially bans them from protecting themselves and others. [No - Sorry Damian : You can't get away with stating it's the Conservative [even previously Papal] and up-to-now pseudo-magisterial position to say 'no condoms for whatever reason at any time - even when you're violently assaulting another while infected with a deadly disease' - and then retreat to "well it's definitely the position of some in Africa" [which nobody will deny - but the majority of Conservative Catholics holding the same position????] - you've said one thing - either stand by it or retract it]
There are also plenty of unscientific claims about the ineffectiveness of condoms in preventing disease – and worse: in 2007, the Archbishop of Maputo said that western drug companies were infecting condoms with HIV. [Yes some terrible claims - shamefully lethal mendacious scandals - but I've yet to see you condemning Western health organisations and Gay men's medical advice websites that state a condom is 100% effective and it is impossible to get hiv from a correctly used condom - When the science says differently!! It's less than a year ago that it was reported in the Times that Spanish manufacturers of polyurethane condoms [the  'ultra-safe' variety - recommended for gay men and sexually active hiv+] were being produced with an acceptable safety limit of 95.5% !!!! A safety limit three times lower than for ordinary condoms ! Yes dude - we're perfectly willing to concede that a few African prelates have lied about condoms being unsafe - but what about the systemic Western misrepresentation [i.e. lie!] that condoms are absolutely safe! Play fair dude!]

Well? I didn't say anything on this thread - I tried to keep well away from the whole thing - It was certain it was all going to be resolved almost immediately. I was wrong!

Comment on Damian Thompson's blog by Joseph Yarbrough
 @HolySmoke, it sounds to me as though you never understood the argument behind the Pope's statement on the way to Africa. 
There's nothing pseudo-science about it: the use of condoms (and we're talking simple truths here) will increase promiscuity and lead, over time, to a greater number of new infections.
This is borne out by the reality in the field: where have condoms been successful in reversing AIDS? Abstinence, however, has worked.
The Pope was entirely right in what he said on his way to Africa: condoms are not a long-term solution to the problem, but they'll actually make things worse, as their availability will make sex "cheaper" and so more readily indulged in. 
And where do you get this nonsense about the virus jumping through the rubber?? What fool has ever said that?
The fact is that all contraceptives have a certain failure rate, and condoms among the highest. Used properly, of course they'll stop the disease; but there are lots of ways they can fail, and the substantive issue is what their availability and promotion does to promiscuous sex across population over time, not in a given instance of successful condom use.
But about this "change" in Church teaching; the Pope is gonna change Church teaching in an interview with Seewald? 
I'm skeptical. It seems more reasonable to say that the issue was never defined - has it been? 
No rulings from the CDF on this in response to dubia from bishops? 
Certainly, there really could be something interesting here: the issue is whether an infected spouse is required to abstain from intercourse or can use a condom to engage in "safe" sex with his spouse. For further reading.

Comment on Damian Thompson's blog by someone with the pseudonym "Starr"

I am going to be a little presumptious here.

While I understand your issue with African bishops I nevertheless don't think you can make the case that the Pope's comments indicate they should say it is better to use a condom then infect someone or whatever it is you would prefer them to say. Reading your posts and your comments here, I get the sense that you are running away a bit off course, and possibly creating a misconception.

For a start, have you read the book? Can you tell us the entire context of this extract?

Is it perhaps of any relevance that the example which he addressed here was of a male prostitute? Is that likely to be someone engaging in homosexual sex (given most male prostitutes offer male-male sex)?
If so, is it relevant that homosexual sex is not inherently procreative?
If contraception is intrinsically evil (if I understand current Catholic teaching right) is it intrinsically evil in homosexual sex as well?
Is he making a distinction between homosexual and heterosexual sex?
Is he now saying it is circumstantially evil only in the case of homosexual sex (which would be a bit radical maybe?) And well how, relevant are male prostitutes in Africa given most AIDs in Africa is transmitted by heterosexual sex?

If a male prostitute would ask a bishop now, in view of the Pope's statement, should I use a condom what do you think a bishop should say?
Would a Catholic be a prostitute in the first place?
Would a non-Catholic even care to ask such a question or care about a bishop's answer?
Would the church say go forth prostitutes and use condoms?
Will they now support campaigns to distribute condoms to prostitutes?
Perhaps the church get involved in such programs as well?

Somehow, I don't think so.

In fact IS the Pope saying anything about the use or non use of condoms or is he REALLY pointing to what their use in certain contexts may signifiy in terms of an awakening or formation of one's moral conscience which may guide one towards the proper view of sex, towards a 'humane' sex.

I am not claiming to know the answers myself, but I have read some commentary from various people who have read the book and will act as a sort of PR team/frontline for the press. Each and every one of them say that even in a few 'controversial' sections the Pope is entirely consistent with what he has always taught.

You however, seem to be suggest he has changed (can you reconcile this with his comments on the plane on his visit to Africa and elsewhere) or at the very least, you seem to have seized on this as the very club you have been seeking to bludgeon those African bishops and whoever else over the head.

I'm not a Catholic but you are, and you have a high profile which affords you the opportunity to influence others and/or disseminate a particular (perhaps erroneous, incomplete, misinformed) view particularly here on a blog where you can express a personal view. Given you have a deep love for the Church and have also made some pretty wild whacky guesses and predictions in the past, should you perhaps be treading a little more carefully on this? Maybe just lisen to what he was trying to say rather than try to mould it to fit into your agenda?

[later Peter Williams adds his four-penn'orth to the conversation]

As I remarked in the last post, and rather seriously, I do wonder what traditionalists like @OTSOTA and pharasaical conservatives like John Smeaton will make of this, especially given their smearing of anyone who even seems to affirm (whether they actually do or not) the 'double effect' argument on sex between a serodiscordant married couple, as 'dissenters'.

As Damian Thompson rightly points out, this is not yet a matter that has been decided by the Magisterium, and consequently faithful orthodox Catholics can disagree on this in good faith and conscience.

The Church has had the opportunity to clarify this question, but I reckon that it doesn't want to, due to the confusion this might cause. However, given that the Holy Father has now made this very humane and rational comment (which, as I have also stated, in no way liberalises the Church's fundamental opposition to Contraception, or its evidence-based policy on HIV prevention), despite the clear potential for confusion amongst lay-people on this point, perhaps this will pave the way for this very contentious bioethical issue to be settled?

In any case, let the crypto-Lefebvrists and liberals wail, but orthodox Catholics will recognise the humanity, rationality, and moral truth, of the Holy Father's position.

[...and yet again I will refrain from commenting on Peter Williams's statement  - but please keep it on a back-burner - because it's going to be important - very soon]

Here's Joseph Yarbrough's link

From Joseph Shaw's Philosophy Blog
The Pope on AIDS and condoms

My attention has been drawn to a very interesting article on Alligator online by Michael Webb, which goes into some detail about the research on the effectiveness of condoms. The Pope's claim that condoms 'make things worse' with the AIDS epidemic in Africa has overwhelming plausibility to those who have watched the failure of contraception to reduce so-called 'unwanted pregnancies', and, for that matter, ordinary sexually-transmitted diseases, in the West. If fire-hosing condoms at people doesn't reduce pregancies, it is not going to work with AIDS either. In fact we actually see an increase of pregnancies, and abortions, where contraceptives have been pushed at people; a similarly tragic consequence, one may infer, is likely to happen with AIDS. The fact that the advocates of condoms refuse to accept that this is happening, and insist the situation would be even worse without the condoms, just shows the blind attachment to ideology when you face ostracism and redundancy for dissent.

Why condoms might be counterproductive as preventers of pregnancies and AIDS is, intuitively, that promoting contraception promotes a culture of promiscuity, and the culture of promiscuity is actually not very friendly to putting those rubber things on just at the moment life is getting interesting. Webb, however, uncovers some very interesting research which not only supports the casual empiricism against condoms but gives a slightly different (though not conflicting) explanation, that of 'risk compensation'. When you make an activity safer, people performing the activity will take more risks with it: see 'The Pope was right' on the Cornell Society.

Everything we do is based on an assessment of benefit and risk. We have a certain appetite for risk (as they say in finance), and if something becomes safer, we'll tend to go for the extra benefits associated with taking on another slice of risk. This is really not controversial; the only question, in making things safer in any given situation, is whether the risk compensation will end up making the situation worse over all. It will depend on how much safer people are made to feel, and what the opportunities for greater risk-taking might be.

People in countries afflicted by AIDS are still willing to engage in promiscuous sex: hence AIDS continues to spread. Whatever the (perceived) risk they are running is, that is a level of risk they are happy to live with. If you give them condoms and they wear them 50% of the time, thinking that makes them 50% safer, they would rationally double their number of partners to get back up to the old level of risk. The reward of doing this, of course, is fantastic: twice as many partners! There may, of course, be other factors.

So much for the principle. But this is exactly what many researchers have found. Over to Michael Webb:

Dr Edward Green, Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at Harvard. “The best evidence we have”, he says, “supports the Pope’s comments. There is a consistent association shown by our best studies between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV infection rates.” He told me:

In epidemics that are population wide, where most HIV is found in the general population, for whatever reason we can't get people to use condoms consistently, and when they use them at all, that seems to have the effect of disinhibiting people's behaviours so they end up taking greater sexual risks and cancelling whatever risk reduction they have gotten from the technology they're using.

Webb points out that the studies making this point are fairly limited in number: no surprise there, since this is not a conclusion the AIDS industry wants to hear. He also points out that there is agreement accross the debate that IF condoms were used 'consistently and correctly', and IF behaviour didn't change, then condoms would help with AIDS: true, but irrelevant.

More interstingly, Webb makes the odd conclusion that 'the Pope should not make claims that can be interpreted as being scientific.' This is odd because he adds that the Pope's remarks were interpreted as making a claim not supported by the evidence. But the body of Webb's article has shown that it is perfectly scientifically respectable to hold that view; it may not be the view of the WHO but there is plenty of evidence for it, and the WHO is not infallible.

A deeper reason for Webb's criticism of the Pope, however, is that the Pope's position is, or ought to be, really a matter of moral teaching: against promiscuity, and against contraception. Webb seems to think that if this was made clearer, criticism of the Pope would have less traction.

It is true that the Pope's position is driven by moral concerns, and the moral teaching of the Church. But it is because voicing this moral teaching has been condemned as tantamount to mass murder - as Jon Snow gently put it, the Pope is responsible for 'millions of deaths' - that it become necessary to look into the claims being made about the effectiveness of condoms.

Catholic reseachers and all people of good will can and must refute the lies which are used to justify crimes. The Nazi genocide was unjustifiable, but people were persuaded to go along with it on the basis of grotesque lies about the Jews. The Church has had to contend with 'black legends' in every age; the work of the Bollandists on Church history is an example of her response. It is true that even if they were successful, condoms would not be justified, but the Pope in concerned to influence opinion and policy, and the lies must be opposed.

The idea that Catholics should leave the 'facts' in the hands of their opponents to distort at will only has to be stated to be rejected.

...and meanwhile other Orthodox commentators were also jumping into the fray.

Did the Pope “justify” condom use in some circumstances?
A close look at the text reveals no change to Church teaching.
By Father Joseph Fessio, S.J.

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.

Then why all the headlines saying that he “approves” or “permits” or “justifies” condom use in certain cases?

That’s a good question. So good that the interviewer himself asked virtually the same question during the interview.

The Pope made a statement in the interview, which statement has now been widely quoted in the worldwide media. Immediately, the interviewer, Peter Seewald, posed this question: “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?”

The Pope clarified and expanded on his previous statement.

So let’s look at the two statements.

After saying that

“we cannot solve the problem [of AIDS] by distributing condoms…”

and that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality…”

the Pope says: 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”.

That is a heavily qualified, very tentative statement. Nevertheless, it prompted Seewald’s question, quoted above.
But let’s first take a closer look at this statement.

The original German for “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals…” is “Es mag begründete Einzelfälle geben….” The English here is a faithful, accurate translation.“Begründete” comes from “Grund” = “ground,” and it means both the soil we stand on and a logical foundation.
There is some ambiguity because it could have the weak sense of “some basis for” or a strong sense of “a logical or ethical foundation for.” This is perhaps why Seewald asked the follow-up question, so we’ll turn to that in a moment.

It is important to note that there are two very serious mistranslations in the Italian version of the Pope’s remarks, upon which many early reports were based, since the embargo was broken by the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. (That’s another story.) First, the German speak of “ein Prostituierter,” which can only be a male prostitute. The normal German word for prostitute is “[eine] Prostituierte,” which is feminine and refers only to a woman. The Italian translation “una prostituta” simply reverses what the Pope says.

Equally problematically, “giustificati” = justified, was used in the Italian translation of “begründete,” and arbitrarily resolves the ambiguity one-sidedly.

The Pope responded: “She [the Church] does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality” (emphasis mine).

In the first place a solution which is not “moral” cannot be “justified.” That is a contradiction and would mean that something in itself morally evil could be “justified” to achieve a good end.

Note: the concept of the “lesser evil” is inapplicable here. One may tolerate a lesser evil; one cannot do something which is a lesser evil.

But the crucial distinction here is between the “intention” of the male prostitute, viz. avoiding infecting his client, and the act itself, viz. using a condom.

Since this distinction has been missed in almost every report I’ve read, it calls for some elaboration.

This distinction, in moral philosophy, is between the object of an act and the intent of an act. If a man steals in order to fornicate, the intent is to fornicate but the object is the act of theft. There is no necessary connection between stealing and fornicating.

In the case of the Pope’s remark, the intent is preventing infection and the object is use of a condom.

...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.

Well? So far things were looking ok - Sure the media had got it all wrong, a few commentators had misunderstood what was being said - but it was only a case of minor damage-limitation...
Little did I have any idea what would follow.....

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

First rumblings...

The Catholic Herald later made it a discussion point:

What was l'Osservatore Romano up to?

...nevertheless they broke the news - and immediately the global media misreported it - "Pope advocates condoms in certain circumstances" - and immediately some people jumped on the bandwagon:

Amazing report: Pope Benedict 'softens Catholic line on condoms to prevent HIV'
An astonishing claim from AFP: that, in a book of interviews to be published on Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI declares that the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV is acceptable in some circumstances. [Acceptable? Impossible! Surely Damian must know better than to think this?]
I am praying that this report is true, because the argument it attributes to the Pope is thoroughly humane and reasonable
[Humane & reasonable? - hang about, something's wrong here.
Why would Damian think that Catholic teaching of "absolute abstinence" is inhumane or unreasonable ? 
What does he think the Pope is saying ?
...and more importantly - What does he believe the Church teaches?] 

– and does not contradict the Church’s teaching against artificial birth control.
[Doesn't it ? Even if it hypothetically doesn't - does it contravene Catholic moral teaching in any other regard?]

Here is the report:
BERLIN (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI says that condom use is acceptable “in certain cases”, notably “to reduce the risk of infection” with HIV, in a book due out Tuesday, apparently softening his once hardline stance. [It Didn't -but that was yet to be revealed- moving on]
In a series of interviews published in his native German, the 83-year-old Benedict is asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms.”
“It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution,” the pope replies.
“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,” said the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics.
The new volume, entitled “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times”, is based on 20 hours of interviews conducted by German journalist Peter Seewald.
Until now, the Vatican had prohibited the use of any form of contraception — other than abstinence — even as a guard against sexually transmitted disease.
Benedict sparked international outcry in March 2009 on a visit to AIDS-ravaged Africa when he told reporters the disease was a tragedy “that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.”
To illustrate his apparent shift in position, Benedict offered the example of a male prostitute using a condom.
“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 re-develop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes,” Benedict was quoted as saying.
“But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection.”
Benedict reiterated that condom use alone would not solve the problem of HIV/AIDS. “More must happen,” he said.
“Becoming simply fixated on the issue of condoms makes sexuality more banal and exactly this is the reason why so many people no longer find sexuality to be an expression of their love, but a type of self-administered drug.” [Well it was all up in the air at this time - misquotations and mistranslations abound - and everything's being taken out of context - better to move on to the clarified real text in the book itself]

[As I was busy reading what was being reported elsewhere and scry some informed reportage/commentary - I was reticent to comment until it  became clear what the Pope had actually said - and in what context - the chinese whispers were everywhere on the internet - and the BBC was reporting a revolutionary change in Catholic teaching. This coudn't be happening - and I was absolutely certain it wasn't happening - this was all a misunderstanding  which would rapidly be cleared up]

Now before I move on to what happened next - one poster on Damian's original thread outraged me so much I felt I had to respond [apologies for the inappropriate language and belligerent demeanour - but it was late and I was very tired and even more enraged!]

Anthony Corner
The Pope did not make a "turn-around" in any Catholic teaching!!! (NO Pope can or have in the 2000+ years of this longest standing institution). What the Holy Father has stated in the Seewald book is simply what is called the "Lesser Evil" principle in Catholic Moral Theology (Catechism of the Catholic Church). For eg. if an expectant mother is medically confirmed to be in danger of death owing to a complication in her pregnancy and say, the family has a young child AND who it has been morally reasoned, needs the mother MORE than the family needs the gestating baby, it is RIGHT before God, to procure a medical abortion. In this case, the mother did not willfully seek to kill the baby, but in choosing the good of saving her life for the sake of the greater good of the family, simply was forced to allow the abortion as "lesser evil" in the face no other option.

The only people who have in the past said that the Catholic Church teaches prostitutes cant use condoms is those who have never read the CCC and understood it! In the example the Holy Father used this time in the book, the male prostitute has
already chosen the evil of prostitution. Having done that, he is now confronting the possibility of sleeping with various men and knows he is 50 times more likely than others to contract HIV - which leads to untimely death . So, choosing to use a condom is the "lesser evil" and a more responsible choice than to hasten his untimely death. BUT it doesn't make prostitution or artificial contraception right (like in the case of Abortion in the previous example).

 [...and here I enter into the fray  - not even able to confront the actual Pope-condoms issue head-on - instead  I have to attack someone promoting a 'Lesser Evil' position....]




This includes judicially murdering an innocent, healthy foetus merely because the mother might die in the process....

Maybe you're confusing it with this?
The removal of an life-threatening ectopic pregnancy is a different scenario in that the child is doomed to die anyway and a life is saved rather than two dying...that is where moral dilemma - recourse to an intrinsically morally disordered act [accelerating a baby's [already imminent] death to prevent an objective evil occurring [the death of both where one could be saved] is permissible.

The fact that the mother has other children or a devoted spouse or any other responsibility - IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE!!!
Catholicism is NOT utilitarian - it CANNOT condone anything deontologically evil irrespective of the outcome - the ends NEVER justify the means.
The foetus cannot be seen as an unjust aggressor - justifying abortion as recourse to killing in self-defence.
The foetus is not culpable - we have no right to murder it.

Lesser evil principle ?
Bollocks - an absolute unmitigated lie.

Fundamental Catholic Moral Theology has very distinct principles - such as compounding an already grave sin.
A prostitute who risks hiv contamination sins gravely and compounds the culpability with offences against the fifth commandment if they do not use a condom.
His Holiness is saying this 'non-compounding' of an already gravely intrinsically morally disordered situation - is a tiny step towards the moral - a human edging towards responsibility..nothing more.

This is not a 'lesser evil' - this is an already grave evil that is not aggravated with further gravity through irresponsibility.

I'm disgusted that you could dare to come on here and promote your murderous ideology and tell a bare-faced lie that it's Catholic teaching.

Posted on the Damian Thompson's original thread  by Catholic Voices member Peter D Williams

Ooh, I wonder what @OTSOTA and John Smeaton will think of this? ;)
In fact, the Holy Father has not approved of contraception used in the case of a serodiscordant married couple (where the principle of 'double effect' is invoked, the argument that 'ruralvirologist' refers [Ruralvirologist stated : The principle of double effect. Condoms are a legitimate means of preventing HIV; if conception is prevented as an unintented consequence, so be it. ])

, but has simply said, very common-sensically, that if someone is engaging in a sinful act, then to do so in such a way that it would not infect someone with a deadly disease is the "first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality".

Clearly, he is not liberalising the Church's fundamental position on Contraception, or on HIV prevention. Condom proliferation remains stunningly ineffective in reducing HIV infection rates, unlike the behavioural modification initiatives that the Church prescribes.

This is not, contrary to the inevitable spinning of crypto-Lefebvrists and liberals, a 'chink in the armour' of Catholic teaching on contraception. This does, however, represent a realistic and humane statement by the Holy Father, which is typical of his profound intellect and wisdom.

 {Now - it would be unfair of me to not allow Peter D Williams the opportunity to clarify, redress, explain or potentially retract what he's said given subsequent events - so I will refrain from commenting directly on what he said until he has either refused or accepted the opportunity to respond}

Meanwhile - elsewhere on the internet a certain lady was very quick of the blocks with a response to the Pope's comments: Professor Janet Smith in an interview with Zenit :

Q: What is Pope Benedict saying?

Smith: We must note that the example that Pope Benedict gives for the use of a condom is a male prostitute; thus, it is reasonable to assume that he is referring to a male prostitute engaged in homosexual acts. The Holy Father is simply observing that for some homosexual prostitutes the use of a condom may indicate an awakening of a moral sense; an awakening that sexual pleasure is not the highest value, but that we must take care that we harm no one with our choices.

He is not speaking to the morality of the use of a condom, but to something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature.

The Holy Father does not in any way think the use of condoms is a part of the solution to reducing the risk of AIDs. As he explicitly states, the true solution involves "humanizing sexuality." Anyone having sex that threatens to transmit HIV needs to grow in moral discernment. This is why Benedict focused on a "first step" in moral growth.

The Church is always going to be focused on moving people away from immoral acts towards love of Jesus, virtue, and holiness. We can say that the Holy Father clearly did not want to make a point about condoms, but wants to talk about growth in a moral sense, which should be a growth towards Jesus.

Q: So is the Holy Father saying it is morally good for male prostitutes to use condoms?

Smith: The Holy Father is not articulating a teaching of the Church about whether or not the use of a condom reduces the amount of evil in a homosexual sexual act that threatens to transmit HIV. The Church has no formal teaching about how to reduce the evil of intrinsically immoral action. We must note that what is intrinsically wrong in a homosexual sexual act in which a condom is used is not the moral wrong of contraception but the homosexual act itself.

In the case of homosexual sexual activity, a condom does not act as a contraceptive; it is not possible for homosexuals to contracept since their sexual activity has no procreative power that can be thwarted. But the Holy Father is not making a point about whether the use of a condom is contraceptive or even whether it reduces the evil of a homosexual sexual act; again, he is speaking about the psychological state of some who might use condoms. The intention behind the use of the condom (the desire not to harm another) may indicate some growth in a sense of moral responsibility.

In "Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World)," John Paul II spoke of the need for conversion, which often proceeds by gradual steps: "To the injustice originating from sin ... we must all set ourselves in opposition through a conversion of mind and heart, following Christ Crucified by denying our own selfishness: such a conversion cannot fail to have a beneficial and renewing influence even on the structures of society.

"What is needed is a continuous, permanent conversion which, while requiring an interior detachment from every evil and an adherence to good in its fullness, is brought about concretely in steps which lead us ever forward. Thus a dynamic process develops, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demands of His definitive and absolute love in the entire personal and social life of man. (9)"

Christ himself, of course, called for a turning away from sin. That is what the Holy Father is advocating here; not a turn towards condoms. Conversion, not condoms!

Q: Would it be proper to conclude that the Holy Father would support the distribution of condoms to male prostitutes?

Smith: Nothing he says here indicates that he would. Public programs of distribution of condoms run the risk of conveying approval for homosexual sexual acts. The task of the Church is to call individuals to conversion and to moral behavior; it is to help them understand the meaning and purpose of sexuality and to help them come to know Christ, who will provide the healing and graces that enable us to live in accord with the meaning and purpose of sexuality.

Q: Is Pope Benedict indicating that heterosexuals who have HIV could reduce the wrongness of their acts by using condoms?

Smith: No. In his second answer he says that the Church does not find condoms to be a "real or moral solution." That means the Church does not find condoms either to be moral or an effective way of fighting the transmission of HIV. As the Holy Father indicates in his fuller answer, the most effective portion of programs designed to reduce the transmission of HIV are calls to abstinence and fidelity.

The Holy Father, again, is saying that the intention to reduce the transmission of any infection is a "first step" in a movement towards a more human way of living sexuality. That more human way would be to do nothing that threatens to harm one's sexual partner, who should be one's beloved spouse. For an individual with HIV to have sexual intercourse with or without a condom is to risk transmitting a lethal disease.

An analogy: If someone was going to rob a bank and was determined to use a gun, it would better for that person to use a gun that had no bullets in it. It would reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. But it is not the task of the Church to instruct potential bank robbers how to rob banks more safely and certainly not the task of the Church to support programs of providing potential bank robbers with guns that could not use bullets.

Nonetheless, the intent of a bank robber to rob a bank in a way that is safer for the employees and customers of the bank may indicate an element of moral responsibility that could be a step towards eventual understanding of the immorality of bank robbing.

Message from the Save Cardinal Vaughan School group.

Update: Cristina Odone blogs on the issue :

Dear All,

Please take the time to read this. The Vaughan Parents Group has set up a website at the following address:
Please JOIN the group for regular updates.

As you may know, the appeal against placing Paul Barber, the man who want to change the Vaughan irrevocably, as a governor of our school, somehow failed. It is hoped that with your continued support the case can be heard - there is no clearer conflict of interest in my mind.

- There is NOT A SINGLE parent of a boy at the school on the governing body.

- The chairman of the governors is current chairman at another school in the diocese - how can he devote the time needed in the role to the Vaughan and act in the Vaughan's best interests?

The new governing body is a logic-defying daylight coup by the diocese who are determined to change the school rather than focus on other catholic schools which underperform hugely.

The next meeting of the Vaughan Governing Body will take place on 2ND FEBRUARY AT THE SCHOOL. The Vaughan Parents' Action Group is organising a Candlelit Vigil, beginning at 6.15 outside the School. The primary intention of the Vigil is to pray for the future of the School, but we also want to make the governors aware of the strength of feeling of parents, pupils, Old Vaughanians and others.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE turn out en masse to show your support for the school. This method has worked before when the diocese wanted to remove the sixth form and WITH YOUR SUPPORT - IT CAN WORK AGAIN.

This is a very dark time for the school we love and owe so much to. Please tell everyone you know about the vigil and make every effort to attend. The new governing body MUST be made aware of the strength of feeling against its new make up and this is our only chance to do it before the Diocese attempts to thrust a headmaster upon the school who will not be sympathetic to the schools ethos, catholic past, present and catholic future.


The Promise - Confronting Fr Martin Rhonheimer and his lethally erroneous 'prophylactic intent'

Here's the deal: I was on James Preece's blog "Catholic and Loving it" the other day - discussing the technicalities of the scandalous Rhonheimer/Ivereigh paradigm...

[regarding condom-use for prophylaxis being permissible if the intention is towards preventing transmission of infection rather while inadvertenly and unintentionally contraceptive]

...with Nicolas Bellord - the lawyer who has unswervingly campaigned against the conspiracy with the Culture of Death at the St John & St Elizabeth Hospital [provision of contraceptives, morning-after pill, abortion referrals etc - ongoing after direct orders from the present Pontiff for it to cease - alas +Cormac and +Vin have defiantly refused to exercise their Apostolic duty to prevent this - but that's another story]

I commented that if I were able to return to my blog I would definitely "Take on Rhonheimer" and disseminate his writings - but that would require a new computer as my present one wouldn't even permit me access to my blog without crashing...

Now God certainly has a sense of humour; for at that very instant on another side of town my partner Nicky and my elder son Jay were staring at a 'special offer p.c.' and conspired between themselves to buy it for me - irrespective of our having no money - they bought it on the credit card.

So - here I am!

...I've been challenged to actually 'put up or shut up'

But where does one start?

I've lost virtually all my blog-followers because of my long-term absence ; so who will ever read this ?

What right have I to challenge the 'great and good', the 'movers and shakers' in the modern Church ?

Well ?
I don't think I'd be able to look myself in the mirror if I didn't do this now - because this is important - and I've yet to see anyone delivering the authentic orthodox Catholic teaching on the issue in full - and that terrifies me !
The whole Church should be speaking with one voice on this issue - and frankly it isn't - the Faithful should be fully aware of the Catholic teaching - and it isn't!

Not only that: The faithful are being lied to : By Catholic journalists, commentators, priests, bloggers, the Catholic media...and the voices of orthodoxy [even prominent Princes of the Church] are being dismissed, suppressed, ignored or even misrepresented.

Now I've been on the online Catholic scene for over a decade - and never before have I witnesed such a travesty - such a distortion of reality - and it terrifies me - for this fiasco to occur less than a year after the systemic anti-papal witch hunt by the mainstream media over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse ?
It's deplorable !
A scandal upon us all.
...and there will be consequences for our failure.

So? This looks like it's going to be a long-term endeavour so I'd better hurry up about it and decide where to begin...
2004 and the Tablet article?
No : beginning at the beginning will only confuse the issue.
Tell you what - let's start at that fateful night when l'Osservatore Romano reported the Papal comments from 'Light of the World'.