Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Janet Smith responds to Fr Ronheimer

Recently, Fr Ronheimer had an article in Our Sunday Visitor regarding the Holy Father's remarks on condoms. Fr Ronheimer has written before on the prophylactic use of condoms.

Ethicist Janet Smith has offered a substantial reply to the arguments of Fr Romheimer. I think that she is quite right in arguing that whatever a person might advise in an individual case out of desperation when someone is determined to act in an immoral way, the translation of that advice into public (or ecclesiastical) policy will be harmful because it will inevitably be taken as an excuse or an encouragement for acting immorally. I agree with her also that the use of condoms by a couple (married or not) is always contraceptive by virtue of the nature of the act, whatever the intention might be.

Several times, Janet Smith argues that these subjects should be debated in professional journals rather than in popular media, so that moral theologians can thrash the matter out. I have some sympathy with this position although I suppose it is inevitable that these matters will be discussed everywhere nowadays. I don't suggest that it was her intention to do so, but her remarks would apply to the question of whether a Pope should be opening up related questions in a popular interview with a journalist before having the matter hammered out in the numerous departments that are at his disposal at the Holy See.
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