Pope approves restricted use of condoms in battle against AIDS?

Saturday, November 20, 2010 \PM\.\Sat\.

That’s the early report based on Peter Seewald’s forthcoming book-length interview with Pope Benedict XVI, Light of the World. Given that these are early reports, one should be cautious until one can read the book for oneself. I’ll save my own thoughts on the matter itself for after I read the book, which is due out next week. However, given that the Pope seems to be talking about “intention,” it would be good to go back to Aquinas’ distinction between electio, intentio, and imperium for a basis for understanding how the Church uses the term “intention.”

From the Telegraph:

[Pope Benedict XVI] will say that it is acceptable to use a prophylactic when the sole intention is to “reduce the risk of infection” from Aids.

While he will restate the Catholic Church’s staunch objections to contraception because it believes it interferes with the creation of life, he will argue that using a condom to preserve life and avoid death can be a responsible act – even outside marriage.

Asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms,” he replies: “It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution.

“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 will stress that abstinence is the best policy in fighting the disease, but accept that in some circumstances it is better for a condom to be used if it protects human life.

“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.”

In the meantime, be sure to read this book excerpt from Catholic World Report. For an early take on this book excerpt (but not the full context of the Pope’s statements), see Janet Smith’s piece, “Pope Benedict on Condoms in ‘Light of the World‘.


We Are At the-american-catholic.com

Monday, November 15, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Dear readers,

If you have stumbled by our humble blog by accident, know that we are still around at the-american-catholic.com.

Just click on this link and you will get the best in politics and culture from a Catholic perspective!

In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

The TAC Editors


TAC Down Until Sunday Evening, November 14

Saturday, November 13, 2010 \PM\.\Sat\.

Dear TAC readers,

The American Catholic is going through an upgrade this next week in order to better serve our readers and engage the world.

This means we will be down for roughly a 24 hour period and will return tomorrow evening, November 14 around 6pm Central time.

Thank you for your patience!

TAC Editors


Profiles in Fecklessness

Saturday, November 13, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

By now most are familiar with the story of the boy whose school told him to remove the American flag from his bicycle.  If not, here is the story at Creative Minority Report. After the public outcry reached a fevered pitch the school reversed its decision.  But of course no decision to ultimately do right can be made without a lame explanation.

Ed Parraz, the Superintendent of the Denair School District told us a school supervisor asked Cody to take down the flag. The supervisor will not be fired or face repercussions. Parraz says the supervisor had information that Cody Alicea’s safety was at risk because of the flag. Some students had complained about it and had apparently made threats.

“The last thing we wanted was to deny Cody his rights,” said Parraz speaking about the boy’s wish to fly the American flag.

Parraz said national flags were banned from campus after a Cinco De Mayo incident when tensions escalated between students displaying the Mexican flag and those waving the Stars and Stripes.  Recently, several students complained and there was even one threat.

“I think it would be irresponsible of us if we kind of shined it on and let him have the flag and he got jumped or something like that and got hurt,” said Parraz.

So the proper way to respond to threats is to cave in to the people doing the bullying?  Is that really the lesson we ought to be imparting to our children?

Of course, this rationale is probably a poor attempt by the school to cover its, err, behind.


Rocky Top

Saturday, November 13, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  I have never been particularly fond of Country and Western music, a musical genre that my late parents perhaps overdosed me on as I was growing up.  However, I have always been fond of the rollicking Rocky Top.  The video at the beginning of this post melds the song with pictures from the Volunteer State. Read the rest of this entry »


A Question for Our Readers

Friday, November 12, 2010 \PM\.\Fri\.

This may seem somewhat ridiculous, but I’ll ask it anyway because I’m curious what people think. What is a reasonable amount of money to spend on a couch? At what point does the expense of the couch become an excess? How does the quality of the couch and the time that you will be able to use the couch affect the legitimate magnitude of the expense? Is it absurd to buy an all-leather sectional?

I ask because I want to know what Christian discipleship looks like in all things in life. And because honestly, I’m not sure. Sometimes, it’s easy to know what Christian discipleship looks like. For example, I know that willingness to die for the faith is very Christ-like. I know that prayer is an essential part of Christian discipleship. And I know that adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is our highest good as human beings. But these are high and holy actions for our faith life; what about things not as obviously related to our faith life, like putting furniture in a house or apartment?

I look forward to hearing what you may think, or not think if the question totally bores you. So please let me know – am I the only one who asks these types of questions? Should I just chill out? Or what? In the meantime I think I will try to ask God in prayer.


MacIntyre on Money

Friday, November 12, 2010 \AM\.\Fri\.

Alasdair MacIntyre, one of the greatest living Catholic thinkers, was featured last month in Prospect Magazine. The piece, entitled “MacIntyre on Money,” is well worth the read. Here’s a snippet:

MacIntyre has often given the impression of a robe-ripping Savonarola. He has lambasted the heirs to the principal western ethical schools: John Locke’s social contract, Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” Yet his is not a lone voice in the wilderness. He can claim connections with a trio of 20th-century intellectual heavyweights: the late Elizabeth Anscombe, her surviving husband, Peter Geach, and the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, winner in 2007 of the Templeton prize. What all four have in common is their Catholic faith, enthusiasm for Aristotle’s telos (life goals), and promotion of Thomism, the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas who married Christianity and Aristotle. Leo XIII (pope from 1878 to 1903), who revived Thomism while condemning communism and unfettered capitalism, is also an influence.

MacIntyre begins his Cambridge talk by asserting that the 2008 economic crisis was not due to a failure of business ethics. The opener is not a red herring. Ever since he published his key text After Virtue in 1981, he has argued that moral behaviour begins with the good practice of a profession, trade, or art: playing the violin, cutting hair, brick-laying, teaching philosophy. Through these everyday social practices, he maintains, people develop the appropriate virtues. In other words, the virtues necessary for human flourishing are not a result of the top-down application of abstract ethical principles, but the development of good character in everyday life. After Virtue, which is in essence an attack on the failings of the Enlightenment, has in its sights a catalogue of modern assumptions of beneficence: liberalism, humanism, individualism, capitalism. MacIntyre yearns for a single, shared view of the good life as opposed to modern pluralism’s assumption that there can be many competing views of how to live well.

This rift between economics and ethics, says MacIntyre, stems from the failure of our culture “to think coherently about money.” Instead, we should think like Aristotle and Aquinas, who saw the value of money “to be no more, no less than the value of the goods which can be exchanged, so there’s no reason for anyone to want money other than for the goods they buy.” Money affords more choices and choice is good. But when they are imposed by others whose interest is in getting us to spend, then money becomes the sole measure of human flourishing. “Goods are to be made and supplied, insofar as they can be turned into money… ultimately, money becomes the measure of all things, including itself.” Money can now be made “from the exchange of money for money… and trading in derivatives and in derivatives of derivatives.” And so those who work in the financial sector have become dislocated from the uses of money in everyday life. One symptom of this, MacIntyre contends, is gross inequality. In 2009, for instance, the chief executives of Britain’s 100 largest companies earned on average 81 times more than the average pay of a full-time worker.

MacIntyre’s After Virtue was a pivotal text for me, as I suspect it is for most. Its trenchant critiques of conservative and liberal liberalism, as well as of libertarianism, are as forceful now as they were 30 years ago. If you haven’t read any MacIntyre, get off the blogs, put away the computer, and do yourself the service of remedying that deficiency.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 143 other followers