Conversion, Not Condoms

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November 22, 2010 6:04 pm

Pope Benedict on Condoms in the Light of the World (p. 119)

In Light of the World, these answers appear:

To the charge that “It is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms”, Pope Benedict replied (This paragraph is at the end of an extended answer on the help the Church is giving the Aids victims and the need to fight the banalization of sexuality.):

“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.”

Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

“She of course 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.”

Commentary:

What is Pope Benedict saying?

We must note that the example that Pope Benedict gives for the use of a condom is by a male prostitute; thus, it is a 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”.

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