When it comes to the Condom Conundrum the National Catholic Fishwrap‘s commentators are living down to our expectations.
To wit one Phyllis Zagano who is “senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University and author of several books in Catholic Studies. Her book Women & Catholicism will be published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2011.”
Phyllis, in the manner of one who hits something while driving and then wonders what the thud was as she heads into a ditch, misses the point of what the Pope said even as she mentions it.
But there is a very interesting bit which surprised me.
It’s not just about male prostitutes [No, Phyllis. It isn't.]
by Phyllis Zagano on Nov. 24, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI, a brilliant theologian, is becoming a public relations train wreck. The latest story: male prostitutes can use condoms to prevent transmission of AIDS. [That is not what the Pope said. What did the Pope actually say? When a male prostitute chooses to use a condom, that is a first step toward something more fully human.]
Male prostitutes don’t immediately come to mind when I am considering AIDS. In fact, male prostitutes don’t come to my mind at all. [Hey, Phyllis! AIDS is being spread by male prostitutes. This is a serious thing. I wonder at her irresponsible comment. Has she been duped by those who want to separate AIDS from homosexuality?] What was he thinking? It certainly took me a while to figure it out. [Don't stop thinking about it yet.]
Of course, the media dust-up and subsequent blogitis has lots of folks laughing (again) at the Catholic Church. [Although the conservative Catholic blogs (the great majority) seem to be understanding the arguments.] Now the Catholic idea seems to be: don’t get AIDS when you hire a male prostitute. [Watch this...] But who hires male prostitutes? Recall, please, there’s been a bit of a homosexual scandal involving Catholic priests over the past few years. [She managed to situate the "clerical sexual abuse of minors scandal" in the right category of dysfunction. A writer for the Fishwrap has made the clerical abuse crisis a matter of homosexuality.]
As if things weren’t bad enough, once the pope-condom-male prostitute story began flooding newsrooms, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi personally asked the pope if he meant anything specific about choosing male (as opposed to female?) prostitutes.
According to BBC-News, the answer was “no.” Lombardi continues, [Wait for it....] “The problem is this…It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship.”
Nice, but not exactly a sound bite. [But it was the point.] How about: “it is immoral to infect another person with a disease.” I mean, that has a certain ring to it not lost in the clouds. Wouldn’t the church look a little better saying “Pope aims to curb AIDS,” rather than have “pope” and “male prostitute” in the same headline? [And now that she is off on the wrong track, nothing goes right with the rest of her piece.]
That, folks, is another example of how people who should know better are getting this wrong.
It may be that Ms. Zagano is so fixed on one idea that she can’t interpret this story in any other way.