Sunday, September 11, 2011

Good Catholics Use Condoms

From their website: "Condoms4Life is an unprecedented worldwide public education effort to raise awareness about the devastating effect of the bishops’ ban on condoms. The campaign was launched on World AIDS Day 2001 with the display of billboards and ads in subways and newspapers saying, “Banning Condoms Kills.”

I really like the idea of this campaign. In fact, I agree with every line of these posters - until the bit about thanking Pope Benedict, for anything. To state that the Pope really believes that condoms saves lives is giving him a little too much credit.

In 2009, on his way to Cameroon, the Pope said "HIV/AIDS is tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem".

Then, in 2010, the Pope made these comments: "She (the Church) of course does not regard it (use of condoms) 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."

A Catholic commenter, Austen Ivereigh, clarified the comments: "If the intention is to prevent transmission of the virus, rather than prevent contraception, moral theologians would say that was of a different moral order."

So, if your intention is to avoid spreading disease, not avoiding pregnancy, it is somehow a more humane sexuality. But it is not totally condoned either. None of this really makes me want to thank the Pope for expressing his opinions on condoms and HIV. It´s clear that he still holds the belief that all sex should be for procreation, and that is dangerous too.

In any case, I think the campaign is interesting as it tries to reassure Catholics that there isn´t actually anything wrong with using condoms - even if that isn´t exactly what the Pope said.

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