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‘.


It’s About the Children. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

I must confess that today’s judicial ruling out of California which overturned Proposition 8 has riled me up, suprisingly so. I heard about the ruling while listening to the livestream of a tech podcast in which one of the three podcasters is a lesbian (previously “married” in CA) and the other two (middle-aged married men) evidently supported the decision. The ease with which they threw out bromides (“finally, equality!”) bothered me, primarily because it revealed two things: 1. a group of intelligent people couldn’t grasp that there might be real objections to same sex “marriage”, and 2. as I’ve noted previously, too many (probably most) Americans simply don’t understand the essential nature of marriage. Simply put, the state’s interest isn’t strong feelings or commitment… it’s children. And — to state the obvious — a homosexual relationship isn’t structured towards procreation the way marriage is.

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Happy Birthday The Pill

Monday, May 10, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Ironically, this Sunday was not only Mother’s Day but the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the first modern birth control pill, now granted proper noun status at The Pill.  Tributes and analyses have been written ad naseum over the weekend, but for a Catholic blog it is important to take a step back and realize that, despite our intense moral objections to this form of birth control, it more than any other person or thing may have been the most influential part of Catholicism in the last fifty years.

The Pill was “invented” by a then-Catholic doctor whose goal in creating the birth control option was to find a way to regulate women’s menstrual cycles that mirrored the traditional Catholic rhythm method.  As Church and American Catholic historians well know, Pope Pius VI created a committee to offer an advisory opinion, then allegedly went against the committee’s recommendation in Humana Vitae and lumped The Pill in with other forms of artificial contraception.

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Raquel Welch and CS Lewis

Sunday, May 9, 2010 \AM\.\Sun\.

When I was growing up in the late Sixties and early Seventies the number one sex symbol going away was the actress Raquel Welch.  What little I had heard of her opinions seemed to be those of a conventional Hollywood liberal.  Therefore I was shocked by this column she wrote for CNN on the anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill:

Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.

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The State’s Incentives

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

State funded health care necessarily incentivizes the state to increase the number of abortions, the practice of euthanasia, and the availability of contraceptives.  The state is also perhaps paradoxically incentivized to regulate with great precision the habits of its citizens with specific regard to food, alcohol, tobacco, and exercise. This brief commentary will explain why this is the case and some of the first order ramifications for our culture.

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A Second Victimization

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

Nicholas D. Kristof wrote another New York Times editorial condemning the Church. It’s not worth reading; it’s the same stuff about the Vatican is not the Church, but the real Church are the ones helping the needy (i.e. the ones doing what Kristof likes-except for obviously Mother Teresa b/c she didn’t like contraception) and the Church needs to expand its ideas on women and contraception in order to avoid the sex abuse crisis. For example

That story comes to mind as the Vatican wrestles with the consequences of a patriarchal premodern mind-set: scandal, cover-up and the clumsiest self-defense since Watergate. That’s what happens with old boys’ clubs

That’s not interesting. We’ve heard it before. What is interesting is his blog. He himself comments on the article.

One question that I’m still puzzling over is this: how much difference would it make if the Vatican did admit women as deacons, or ordain them? It’s certainly true that women can be abusers as well as men. The painful report of the Irish Commission of Inquiry last year made that clear, with accounts of nuns brutally mistreating children and in some cases raping them. Likewise, ordination of women is no guarantee of popular support: mainline Christian denominations have been ordaining women, and still losing ground to more conservative Evangelical denominations.

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Notre Dame: Where Intellectual Diversity is Dying

Thursday, March 4, 2010 \AM\.\Thu\.

Click above for book information.

Hattip to the Curt Jester. Dr. Charles E. Rice is a Professor Emeritus of Law of the University of Notre Dame.  (He is also a Marine, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, so you know he already has a warm spot in my heart.)  He has written 13 books and hundreds of articles.  He helped found the Conservative Party in New York.  He has been a champion of the pro-life cause.  In the old Notre Dame he fit right in.  The new Notre Dame, not so much.

Professor Rice writes a bi-weekly column in the student newspaper, The Notre Dame Observer, entitled Right or Wrong.  Here is a column he wrote recently remembering his late colleague Professor Ralph McInerny.

Recently Professor Rice wrote a column that you will not be reading in the student newspaper.  Here is the column:

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Sanger: “We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

“We Want To Exterminate The Negro Population”

— Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. [1]

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You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.

Friday, November 6, 2009 \PM\.\Fri\.

Okay, that’s a heckuva long title for a blog post, but it also happens to be almost perfect for the subject of this particular entry at The American Catholic.

On Tuesday, the voters of the state of Maine — surprisingly — rejected same sex marriage (SSM) and reaffirmed that marriage in Maine is between a man and a woman. Naturally, SSM supporters were shocked and outraged (the Catholic Church appears to be the early target), while supporters of traditional marriage were overjoyed with the results; Maine, after all, isn’t exactly in the Bible Belt.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), was typical of the latter: “Every time Americans vote on marriage, traditional marriage wins.” And she’s right: when it comes to ballot initiatives, SSM is 0-31.

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Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

[Updates at the bottom of this article as of 8:31pm CDT AD 9-30-2009 shows alternatives  –other than Komen– for fundraising activities related to Breast Cancer research that are Pro-Life in their outlook]

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen) is an organization that funds breast cancer research.  This noble effort by Komen to save the lives of both women and men who are afflicted with breast cancer is tainted by their funding of abortion via Planned Parenthood.

Each year Catholics and most other Christians raise their concerns about supporting Komen specifically because Komen donates money to Planned Parenthood.  Catholics and most other Christians unknowingly assist Komen in their fundraising efforts which goes against the teachings of Jesus as stated in the Fifth Commandment of “You shall not kill”.

Due to this criticism attributed to Komen in funding abortion, Komen released an open letter in March 2009 concerning their relationship with Planned Parenthood.  In this open letter they defended their donations to Planned Parenthood raising three (3) reasons why it is acceptable to continue to donate money to Komen even though they provide funding to abort innocent unborn children.

I will address their open letter with their three (3) reasons here:

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“Taken” Some Life Lessons

Saturday, July 18, 2009 \PM\.\Sat\.

I saw the movie with Liam Neeson entitled “Taken”, the other night. It is the ultimate ‘Dads protecting daughters’ fantasy. It plays on a whole lot of primal emotions- particularly the temptation to give oneself over to extreme violence to protect the lives and sanctity of one’s children. Every father wants to imagine himself capable of defending his beloved children from any and all threats- and the father in “Taken” was that ultimate fatherly force. He represented more of a divine Angelic father who slays spiritually evil forces, than a realistic earthly dad- and as such I was able to excuse the incredible violence as something of a parable of ultimate accountability for those humans who perpetrate the evils of human trafficking and slavery.

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Contraception: Why Not?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

One of the richest gifts we have received by the graces of the Holy Spirit as we embark into the third Christian millennium is what Pope John Paul II coined the “theology of the body.” Pope John Paul II in his Theology of the Body and Apostolic Exhortation on the Family articulated how the use of contraception is against the sacrament of marriage and more fundamentally contra-human nature. This reiterates what Pope Paul VI expressed in Humanae Vitae in the 1960s in the wake of the sexual revolution that was followed by shock and dismay that the Catholic Church had no intention of embracing the forward-moving sexual “liberation.”

The issue of contraception is one of the most difficult to argue with non-Catholic Christians and those of other faiths, or even no faith at all. However, it seems that it is an issue that we’re called to debate with other Catholics unsure of the Church’s teaching. In reading Peter Kreeft, I have found a way of talking about this issue – for Catholics – that is both helpful and very insightful. I have seen it change the mind of three people in my life. Therefore, I feel compelled by my conscience to share it, so that it may help any poor sinner that may need it.

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Childish Mentalities

Monday, March 9, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

Here’s a question.  If, when you were a teenager, your parents had taken you aside and explained that sex before marriage is wrong, sinful, against the Catholic faith, carries the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and might end in a pregnancy, but if you intend to do so, please protect yourself, what would your interpretation of that lecture be?  Let’s keep in mind that the intent behind this discussion is not to focus on the contraceptive aspect, but the (limited) protection that some contraceptives (namely condoms) afford against sexually transmitted diseases.

My wife had the fortune of having this lecture and, being the obedient child she was, she understood that to mean, “Okay, no sex before marriage.  No problem.”  Listening to her explain this, though, I realized that as a teenager, I would have interpreted the lecture much differently.  Maybe because I’m male, or because I was already fascinated by sex, I would have translated the lecture into saying, “We disapprove, but it’s okay to have sex as long as you use a condom.”

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Benedict XVI vs. Nancy Pelosi

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, renowned (by herself) as an “ardent, practicing Catholic” will be meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican tomorrow. Given her latest blunder during a press conference, stating that “500 million Americans lose their job every month” (talking about why the economic stimulus plan had to pass) despite the fact that there are only 300 Americans living in this country and less than 150 million of them working, if that, one might suspect that she’ll inform the Holy Father that “500 million clergyman will lose their jobs if abortion is not promoted worldwide.”

I have no doubt in my mind that the Holy Father is going to bring up abortion, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, gay marriage and attempt to correct her.

Thoughts? Will the Speaker of the House be formally excommunicated?


The AIDS Epidemic And Politics

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 \PM\.\Wed\.

Frequently in discourse with non-Catholics, or some Catholics even, when the issue of contraception and the AIDS epidemic arises, there is uneasiness about the Church’s teaching on dealing with this deeply troubling matter. One might argue that by maintaining opposition to the use of condoms, the Catholic Church contributes rather to the spread of AIDS in Africa, for if the “Vatican hierarchy” cared more about people’s lives than rigid doctrines that even most Catholics reject, they would change their view to prevent the spread of AIDS. Why? It is the more “pro-life” thing to do given that it would save millions from dying from unprotected sex.

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