Pope/condoms II - some Catholic reactions

All over the Catholic blogosphere you will find Catholics defending the Holy Father's remarks regarding condoms and HIV/AIDS. It is rightly pointed out that the Holy Father reiterated his position, stated on the plane on the way to Cameroon, that "we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms". He also said that "the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality", that the condom "is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection", and that the Church does not regard the use of condoms as "a real or moral solution"

However, he also said that the use of a condom by a male prostitute may be "a first step in the direction of a moralisation" and that in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, there may be "a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."

There have indeed been some silly headlines and interpretations in the media but there have also been plenty of reports that have accurately made the distinction between the contraceptive use of condoms and the remarks of the Holy Father concerning the use of condoms as a prophylactic against HIV/AIDS. So I don't think this is really a story about media misrepresentation but about the essential point that the Holy Father was making in his interview with a journalist. To that extent, I agree with some of what Damian Thompson says in his post: Conservative Catholics blame media for condoms story – but are they secretly cross with the Pope?.

(Incidentally, some have raised the question of context - you can see the whole context here in the complete extract from the book "Light of the World". If you are suspicious about the translation, you can check the German text at Sandro Magister's Chiesa blog: The Pope on the Pope. A Preview.)

In my previous post, I put forward the case that we are allowed to disagree with the Pope here. Fr John Boyle has done so with great respect but also with courage and honesty in his post: Did the Pope say it's okay to use condoms?. Having pondered this question for more or less the whole of the last two days, I have to say that I am largely in agreement with Fr Boyle. Before I comment on that further with my own thoughts, I think we need to look at some of the background in another post.

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