Hell’s Bible on the Pope’s statement about condoms

Hell’s Bible (aka The New York Times) had this story yesterday.  It is written by David Gibson, David Gibson, a writer for PoliticsDaily.com and author of “The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle With the Modern World” (which I have not read).

My friend Fr. Tim Finigan is quoted.

My emphases and comments.

The Catholic Church, Condoms and ‘Lesser Evils’

By DAVID GIBSON
Published: November 27, 2010

When Pope Benedict XVI said last week that using condoms could be justified in some cases, like preventing AIDS, his remarks caused an uproar because some thought they signaled a turnabout in longstanding church doctrine against artificial birth control. [Is that what the Pope really said?  Benedict said that condoms are neither a real nor a moral solution and described a narrow scenario in which the choice to use one was a step in the right direction.  That does not mean that the Pope "justified" the use the condoms.]

[But wait!  There's more!] But in an institution as old and windy as the church, what seems like a significant shift can also simply be reaching back to another long-held tradition. [That's not what we have been getting from the MSM, is it?] By allowing for exceptions for condom use, [That's not what he did, btw.] for example, the pope was not, as many of his unsettled allies on the Catholic right feared, capitulating to the very moral relativism that he himself has long decried. [A good point.  Does it even sound reasonable that the Pope would do that?] Instead, he was only espousing a tradition of Catholic moral reasoning based on ethical categories like the lesser evil and the principle of the double-effect, which says that you can undertake a “good” act even if it has a secondary “evil” but unintended effect. [YES.  But why does the writer say that the Pope said that the use of condoms is justified in some cases? A better word would be tolerated.]

Such formulations are associated with casuistry, or “case-based” moral thinking that Catholic philosophers elaborated in the 17th century to help believers make the best decision when faced with vexing options. This kind of thinking was often linked to highly educated priests of the influential Jesuit order and helped coin “Jesuitical” as a pejorative term for a brainy ethics that critics saw as a way to find loopholes to justify immoral actions.  [I think that puts a profoundly negative stamp on a thought process which deals with very difficult moral situations.  It is important to come up with answers to moral questions.]

That dislike remains strong among many Catholic conservatives, and may be sharper than ever because they fear that in a secularized, modern world, granting even a single concession to a church rule will lead to the dreaded “slippery slope.[Indeed, the Pope did not "grant a concession", did he.]

Hence the unusual dissent to Benedict’s comments, [It is wrong to introduce the word "dissent" into this context.  It implies that what Benedict told a guy with a microphone during a chat has something to do with Benedict's Magisterium.] which were prompted by a question from Peter Seewald, a German journalist, in a new book-length interview, “Light of the World.” He asked the pope about a controversy that arose last year during a trip to Africa when Benedict said the scourge of AIDS on the continent could not be resolved by condoms. “On the contrary, they increase the problem,” the pope said then. [Thus demonstrating that the Pope probably knows more about condoms that his critics.]

Critics responded loudly. The pope, they said, was placing the church’s teaching against contraception over the lives of Africans, especially sex workers and spouses of the infected. [B as in B.  S as in S.]

Speaking to Mr. Seewald, Benedict said the news media had misconstrued his remarks. Condoms are not the sole answer to the AIDS epidemic, he said, ["Sole" answer?  Grrr.  The Pope said that condoms are not a "real" solution.  In other words, they don't do what people say they do.  They fail.  They are not an effective way to halt the spread of HIV.] but, “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.”

Later, a Vatican spokesman said the pope’s words were meant to apply broadly — beyond gay sex workers. “This is if you’re a man, a woman or a transsexual,” the spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said. “The point is it’s a first step of taking responsibility, of avoiding passing a grave risk onto another.”  [I don't want to say "Ignore the papal spokesman", but Fr. Lombardi is not the Pope.]

And Vatican officials said that the pope was indeed invoking the principle of the “lesser evil,” though he did not use that exact phrase. Conservative critics were dismayed. “I’m sorry. I love the Holy Father very much; he is a deeply holy man and has done a great deal for the church,” Father Tim Finigan, a British priest, wrote on his blog. “On this particular issue, I disagree with him.” Another conservative Catholic blogger posted the title of the new book above a picture of Pandora opening a box and releasing all the world’s evils. [How boring and predictable.  A writer in the NYT quotes someone such as Fr. Finigan only because he says he disagrees with the Pope.  FLASH! "Conservative disagrees with Benedict!"  BOOOOORRRRRIIIIING.  On a deeper level of analysis, though I love Fr. Finigan and think he is a deeply holy man, I disagree with him.  I think Fr. Finigan has perhaps placed his foot wrong when he gently disagrees with the Holy Father's comment about a "first step in the direction of a moralization."]

A chief reason for the conservative distress — and the extended media coverage of the pope’s comments — is that Benedict himself, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and the longtime guardian of doctrine for the Vatican, had fought hard against any invoking of casuistical reasoning in dealing with the AIDS epidemic.

For instance, Cardinal Ratzinger strongly disapproved of a 2000 article published in America magazine, a Jesuit weekly, that argued that there was a “moral consensus” among Catholic theologians that condoms could be used to fight the spread of H.I.V[Therefore, we ought to return to what the Pope really said in the interview.]

[The piece goes off the rails from here on...]

When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope in April 2005, the editor of America, Father Thomas Reese, was forced to resign in part for publishing that piece. And just last year the Vatican acknowledged it had shelved a formal study on the morality of condom use to fight AIDS out of concern that issuing a pronouncement would cause more confusion than clarity.

The campaign against condoms by Cardinal Ratzinger and other conservatives gave the impression that the Vatican had barred condoms even for the prevention of AIDS — it never has — and that Rome formally disapproved of casuistry and related types of moral reasoning.

“The pope’s new statement blasts that idea out of the water,” as Father Reese wrote last week in The Washington Post. Indeed, Benedict has clearly changed course, if not church teaching. Father Martin Rhonheimer, a priest of the conservative Opus Dei order who raised some official hackles by writing in 2004 that church teaching allows that condoms could be used to prevent H.I.V. transmission, suggested that the pope’s trip to Africa last year, when the condom controversy erupted, may have been a conversion experience.

Vatican officials said the pope simply wanted to “kick-start a debate” on the topic.

“This pope gave this interview,” Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau, an expert on the Vatican’s bioethics advisory board, told The Associated Press. “He was not foolish. It was intentional. He thought that this was a way of bringing up many questions. Why? Because it’s true that the church sometimes has not been too clear.

Whether there will be greater clarity now, or more confusion, may depend on what the pope says next, if anything.

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28 Responses to Hell’s Bible on the Pope’s statement about condoms

  1. Faith says:

    AAaaarrrggghhhhh! I often breakfast with the 7:30 AM Mass crew. Today, I spent the time explaining what the Pope said and meant. But people hear what they want to hear! The entire theme of what I was saying was that the Pope was NOT JUSTIFYING condom usage. But rather he could see where somebody (male prostitute) using a condom would be doing so to protect another–and this is an indication of morality (thinking of another). And do you know what people came away from this conversation with? “It’s about time, the Pope changed his mind.”
    i give up

  2. spschultz says:

    Don’t give up! Jesus never, ever said following Him and taking on His command to make disciples of the world would be easy — in fact He said the exact opposite. If we want to follow Him we MUST take up our cross and walk with Him to Calvary. Without the pain of crucifixion, there is no joy of resurrection.

    We’re complaining because in our eyes the Pope made it more difficult for us to explain authentic Catholic teaching and we want to give up when we encounter resistance. Let’s pause for a moment to remember fellow Catholics around the globe are being martyred for the faith. The most “difficult” thing we have to do is explain authentic Church teaching in the light of media spin. Do we REALLY have it that hard? Is our cross more difficult to bear than those who are literally giving their lives for the faith? More importantly, are WE prepared to give OUR lives for the faith?

    Please, also see my other comments in Fr. Z’s post above.

  3. Mitchell NY says:

    “An Institution as old and windy as the Church”. Wait a minute, doesn’t the press remember that we threw open the windows some 40 years ago already and it should be by their accounts be fresh and warm by now. Or did aggiornamento not got far enough for them? How quickly they forget what has been done and refer to such a dated expression for the Church. These expressions are as old as their interpretive methods for what they Pope said. Why can’t they ever just write what he says? Do they really believe the Pope was changing its’ view on contraceptive devices? I doubt it. They rile people up and then bring them crashing down based on something that they misinterpret in the first place. Either the writers need to be better informed, which I doubt it because they probably know what they are doing, or they should really focus on another Faith for a while because with the Catholic Church they keep getting it wrong.

  4. Mike says:

    I am still uncertain as to whether Benedict was prudent in making these remarks.

    On the other hand, he has stated as Cardinal that some teaching regarding certain issues must “mature” before the Church can officially teach how to act in their regard, ie, whether hydration is beyond the “ordinary” means of keeping a very ill person alive (it’s not, we now know, partly from JPII’s example). So perhaps Benedict is assuming that the audiences that are listenin to him (in various degrees of attentiveness) are ACTUALLY adults, and he is speaking to them as such. In other words, while being clear–as Fr. Z has argued–he is also saying something that those with ears to hear will hear. And those who will not, won’t.

  5. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    In contrast, the Spectator, in its review of the week, is much better:

    “The Pope, in a book-length interview with Peter Seewald, said that the use of a condom, for example by a prostitute indenting to avoid transmission of HIV, could be a step towards moral responsibility”

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Only those who do not bother to see the Pope’s statement in light of hundreds of years of Church Teaching are upset, either conservative or liberal. The Church expects us to rationally approach all moral questions and form our conscience according to the Magisterium. The Pope’s comments are in keeping with that traditional teaching and maybe, some non-Catholics, will see that Faith and Reason are compatible through all of this.

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    I wonder if part of the Pope’s point isn’t that there are ex cathedra statements, papal teaching statements, papal opinions and then there is the papal dinner menu. They’re not all on the same level when it comes to the requirement for assent.

    It is increasingly difficult with the constant reporting on the internet to tell which is which.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    And you know, if you step back and look through your perspective lenses carefully, there is a pattern emerging. We are starting to talk about individual responsibility and freedom more clearly. We are starting to free up the structures of the church as we knew them in the 20th century. This is guaranteed to rile both sides up, but it’s happening anyway. Does anyone else see this too?

    And the pope appears to be speeding up. Perhaps he has a bucket list he wants to get done, and this was chosen as a fast way to get some things out there, regardless of risks? Perhaps that has shifted the perspective of prudence. I wonder how essential he thinks all this condom talk is from any point of view, off the record?

  9. benedetta says:

    So it amounts to causistry or being Jesuitical…and in the next breath he credits a Jesuit with being exactly that…however he was “martyred” for speaking this truth by being axed as the editor of a liberal Catholic weekly…spin, spin, spin! I am getting dizzy.
    The secular press turns to these guys continually for some explaining and they do not offer the full explanation, why, because of course that would require them to finally admit to the goodness of the Church’s teachings, Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, the catechism. Mr. Gibson, Fr. Reese, and Fr. Martin, from any reasonable reading of their critiques and commentary on the Vatican have at the end of the day a two fold agenda, one, to be deemed authorities on matters of the Church by the secular media, and, two, to lobby for changes to the magisterium. They omit the punchline from the interview because to do so would amount to a recognition that the Holy Father and the Church are right about human sexuality, that an advertisement and convenience-store permissive approach to sexuality is in fact banal, and this would destroy their careers essentially. It would have been much more efficient for the newspaper to merely excerpt the interview rather than getting bogged down in causistry and the unfortunate troubles of Fr. Reese. On the bright side, the secular audience will be bewildered by these kinds of opinion pieces and will look into the source text and there lies hope for the world.

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    Actually, benedetta, most of them won’t. But for most of them, this isn’t very important anyway. They’re not even Catholic! If they notice, it will come off as one of our (frequent) sideshows.

  11. Childermass says:

    Father Z,

    Fr. Lombardi speaks for the Holy Father. [No. The Pope speaks for the Pope. Don't be confused by the terms "spokesman" in this context.] He has his ear on a regular basis, [Actually, he hasn't. This is fairly common knowledge.] and if Fr. Lombardi were misrepresenting the Holy Father, Benedict would surely correct or replace him.

    So you can’t easily discount Fr. Lombardi’s words—he serves entirely at the pleasure of the Supreme Pontiff as his spokesman. [So what? Fr. Lombardi is not the Pope.]

  12. Tony Layne says:

    I realize that the interview doesn’t reach the issue of papal infallibility. Yet it’s one of those little ironies of our faith that infallibility is no guarantee of prudence.

    I’m not certain that public dialogue is even possible anymore. As Faith’s example so clearly points out, many people taken in by the myth of sexual liberation have been desperately looking for some sign that the Church is finally giving in, that the old fuddy-duddies of the hierarchy are at last “getting real” about sex. So it shouldn’t be surprising how many of them in the MSM have ripped B16′s words wildly out of context, and how many media consumers have chosen to believe the liberal spin even after explanation. On the other hand, there are plenty of more conservative Catholics who believe the Pope isn’t conservative enough, and who will read into his remarks a giving-in on the issue of prophylactics no matter how much he insists that they’re “neither a real nor a moral solution”. I don’t think the Pope has started a dialogue so much as an avalanche of knee-jerk reactions.

    I don’t know … is the Pope in such a position today that he can’t afford to relax and discuss a topic in broader terms, that even in a more casual atmosphere he must “stay on the message” to the point of sounding like a broken record (oh wow, what a dated cliché)? Or, as spschultz points out, are we just whining because such events make our job as everyday evangelists and apologists a little more difficult?

  13. wolfeken says:

    I’m with Father Finigan on this one. It was a poor choice of words on the part of the pope, and I would like to believe if he realized the spin that would naturally follow he would have never said it. Honestly, I don’t fault the liberal media for twisting the words. It’s what they do. Any world leader should realize words will be twisted as far as can be possibly stretched. Words should be chosen based on that knowledge. If you can’t do that, then say nothing.

    It’s not popular to oppose the pope, but on this I think it’s justified. His words, however couched he may have thought they were, are causing major damage to the Church. And the follow-up from his appointees at the Vatican have made a bad situation even worse. All one needs to do is ask your office mates or (gasp!) non-WDTPRS-reading friends what the take-home message from the pope’s words are and it is that condoms get a thumbs-up by the pope for prostitutes. It doesn’t matter what the spin from the right is — that is the take-home message out there. And it is the fault of the pope (sadly) for opening this can of worms.

    We may think it would be better for a murderer to kill someone using a clean hollow point bullet instead of a shotgun. But neither is right, even if the murderer is realizing a cleaner homicide is a move toward morality. And neither ought to be even talked about, let alone announced in public.

    Good for Fr. Finigan for being bold enough to say what he said. If all the pope sees are yes-men on his right he will never know the damage a few words can wreak in a 24 hour Internet news world.

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    “We may think it would be better for a murderer to kill someone using a clean hollow point bullet instead of a shotgun. But neither is right, even if the murderer is realizing a cleaner homicide is a move toward morality. And neither ought to be even talked about, let alone announced in public.”

    Good analogy, you humanitarian, you.

  15. anna 6 says:

    “Father Thomas Reese, was forced to resign in part for publishing that piece.”

    This sounds like an urban legend to me…perpetrated by those who want to advance the image of the pope as a ruthless “rottweiler”. I understand that the CDF wanted to reign in the excesses of America Mag.,but do we really think, with all of the problems in the church and world that one of the most urgent things on the brand new pope’s agenda was getting rid of a magazine editor…?! It seems to me that someone would have to have an exceptionally large ego to set that story in motion!

    Does anyone know the truth behind this story??

    BTW, David Gibson is famous for spinning papal stories to fit with his agenda… he is really unreliable if one is looking for fact-based stories….hence, a favorite of the NYT.

  16. anna 6 says:

    Also…The fact that the Holy Father has not even rid L’Osservatore Romano of THEIR controversial editor, is further evidence of this pope’s patience. (much to the chagrin of some readers of this blog!)

  17. Hugh says:

    I’m more convinced every day of Fr Fessio’s line that the Pope was making a very restricted point about a positive shift towards (but not attaining) morality in a hitherto totally selfish person to a less selfish position – notwithstanding his adopted solution – condoms – is (according to the Pope) immoral.

    But I’m thinking now that even this seemingly obvious point of the Pope’s is itself problematic. Bracketing all other considerations concerning the prudence of the Pope’s speculation (FWIW I’m convinced it was indeed imprudent) let’s look more closely at the substance of the claim, irrespective of who made it and in what context.

    There are three conditions for mortal sin: grave matter, full knowledge, and full consent of the will.

    Let’s focus on “full knowledge”.

    With an increase in moral awareness, and in proportion to that increase, there comes an increase in the culpability regarding the original act.

    So as the male prostitute (eg) comes around to thinking “hey, this is a human I’m dealing with here”, which prompts him to consider modifying his act so as not to pass on disease ( in itself, all other things being equal, a virtuous move, as the Pope points out) it also means that the “nevertheless I’ll go ahead with my sexual act” decision becomes more vicious.

    Now, granted no accurate commensuration is possible: but – in consequence – who can confidently say that, the “move towards responsibility” manifested in the determination of the prostitute not to pass on disease is not offset by the graver culpability involved in his resolution to proceed with the illicit sexual act with this newly-evaluated human?

  18. wolfeken: You may have failed to understand what is going on here.

    One question concerns whether or not the Pope should have said what he said in an interview. People can disagree about whether it was prudent to make that statement or give the interview at all, given the likelihood of misunderstanding. Another question is whether or not people have correctly come to know what the Pope actually said. There are varying translations floating around and some of them are wrong. Yet another question concerns whether or not people understand what the Pope actually said when they read the accurate text. This ties with that first question, above. Finally, the most important question is whether what the Pope said is right or not.

    Answer: The Pope was right in what he said. His answer is consistent with the Church’s traditional of moral distinctions.

    People seem to be more focused on what people are hearing and doing and whether or not the Pope should have said what he said. But then they confuse the issues and, thinking that the Pope shouldn’t have said it because many people are reacting in ridiculous ways, therefore the Pope was wrong in what he said rather than wrong in choosing to say it.

    Again, we can wrangle all day about whether or not the Pope should have said this, adding arguments that people take away the wrong ideas when they read the reports about the Pope’s words. But the fact that people misread the Pope does not change the fact that the Pope was right in what he said.

    Also, I do not think that this damage is causing “major damage to the Church”. It is causing confusion, to be sure. It is causing us to work hard to make distinctions. It will in the future require more people to bone up on the Church’s teachings and principles of moral theology. It is revving up the press and secularist groups who will distort the Pope’s words.

    The Church has far bigger problems than this dust up.

    I think this may prove eventually to have been a catalyst for making clearer what the Church teaches.

    Finally, your analogy of killing someone with a hollow point rather than a shotgun is not quite right. It might be better to say that a murderer accustomed to torturing his victims for a while, in at last choosing to shoot someone in the head with either a shotgun or some other weapon, thus takes a step in the right direction. Even then the analogy stumbles. This doesn’t condone the act of murder, of course. But I think you would agree that a quick death is not as horrible as being slowly tortured to death. Both are bad but one is less bad.

    Why is it so hard for people to get the point that some bad things are less bad than others, and that making such a distinction is not an approval of the lesser evil?

  19. danphunter1 says:

    “Why is it so hard for people to get the point that some bad things are less bad than others, and that making such a distinction is not an approval of the lesser evil?”

    Good question Father.
    Maybe they put to much stock in a particular interpretation of John 16:10.

  20. wolfeken says:

    Then we ought to be prepared to carry this line of logic into other areas. Clean needles for drug addicts. Birth control for teenagers. Neater ways of conducting assisted suicide so my subway isn’t late due to a jumper.

    All, by the way, are very popular in the public square. But does the Church now start favoring those approaches, recognizing the lesser of two evils in all of the hot issues of the day?

    Moreover, we haven’t even talked about logistics. Does Catholic Charities start passing out condoms to prostitutes? Look for that idea next.

    This is a huge can of worms opened — and it is indeed a game changer. Lesser evil arguments are nowadays accepted as permissions. I just don’t see how any of it helps the problem of over 90% of Catholic couples using birth control. If someone knows how this will change behavior TOWARD the Church’s positions, please share. Based on the other examples (teenage condoms, clean needles, etc.) I don’t see how this is at all helpful for an already confused and rebelious billion Catholics in 2010.

  21. Igne says:

    Excellent post, Fr. “Why is it so hard for people to get the point that some bad things are less bad than others, and that making such a distinction is not an approval of the lesser evil?” I have often thought this. I sometimes think that some people drawn to faith find it hard to reconcile it with charity. That they have little hope that sinners try in almost futile ways to make baby-steps out of the ditch. This wobbly movement towards conversion of heart is less impressive looking than being born-again, but it can truly result, given the right pastoral help, in renewal.

  22. benedetta says:

    Wolfeken,
    All the things you say “we better be prepared for” you also acknowledge are already happening. The Church, still, sees none of it in terms of “solution”. About those “90%”, the teaching of the Church has been amplified since Humanae Vitae in the States. That certain priests, bishops and lay people choose in their own hearts to pretend otherwise does not change that fact. The part about “not everything being permitted” and that “one cannot do whatever one wants” will ultimately be the take-home message from the Church to the hearts of believers. I don’t see the press, the mainstream media, the liberal Catholic analysts blasting away “Church changes magisterium: contraception/abortion morally fine!” today or anytime soon. Maybe we could put that question to Frs Reese and Martin or Mr. Gibson. If they can’t say in fact that this is what is happening then, no, it is certainly not a game changer. As far as what to tell folks I like how American Papist handled it in his funny video: do you have HIV? are you a prostitute? If you answer yes to these, perhaps this is a first step for you, but obviously not ok overall and not moral and not a solution but perhaps you will one day with this step make additional steps to appreciating the gift and sacredness of human sexuality. In other words, for this hypothetical situation, even if the answer is yes, well, would the Church still regard the step that would come after that to be confession, and also assuming, with the other points that you were a Catholic? Since there is no way, shape or form of that behavior not still considered sinful this will not be a game-changer. Will the majority of middle-class or affluent, non-HIV positive couples contracepting feel a big affinity for the hypothetical of the HIV infected prostitute such that they will consider themselves, what, even more permitted and entitled than they do now? Or, maybe this hypothetical will be just strange enough to wake up a dormant conscience.

  23. Thomist says:

    Thank you very much Fr Zuhlsdorf.
    Supertradmum says:
    “Only those who do not bother to see the Pope’s statement in light of hundreds of years of Church Teaching are upset, either conservative or liberal.”

    True as to fidelity. However I don’t know any conservative or liberal Catholics outside of politics – I know confused, poorly formed, malformed, unfaithful or dissenting Catholics.

    At http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/popes-publisher-defends-benedict-xvis-condom-remarks/ you can see clarity come through.
    All Fr Fessio:
    In the case of condom usage, the good of protecting against infection cannot justify the immoral sexual act, even though performing that act with a condom may be a lesser evil than performing it without one.

    The “may be” in that last sentence refers to what I said above: that condomized sex is in one sense a lesser evil. That is, in the case of a single individual act, the prevention of infection by condom usage makes that particular act less evil.

    So, as Fr Fessio emphasises, the Pope explained that even if the sexual act is not procreative, the Church still opposes condom use.

    Why? Because it has been shown (and it makes sense) that when there is widespread use of condoms, the sense of security against risk leads to greater promiscuity: more frequency; more partners. And this leads to overall greater risk of disease among the sexually active population. So in this sense, condom usage is the greater evil.

    So: Round One went to the Pope: no change in Church teaching, just “clarifying and deepening” the same old, unchanging, beautiful but difficult Catholic teaching about the true meaning of sexuality.

    Round Two goes to the Pope as well. Still no change in Church teaching. No broadening of exceptions (there are no exceptions in either case). Still the same old, unchanging, beautiful but difficult Catholic teaching about the true meaning of sexuality.

  24. benedetta says:

    In the part of the country where I am, even though the diocese does not emphasize the theology of the body or prolife, the number of NFP programs offered is currently increasing, and this is presumably to meet the demand for it, despite that the doctrine is low-keyed in general. Clearly the word is out and won’t be going away.

  25. Batjacboy says:

    Fr. Z,

    You wrote, “David Gibson, a writer for PoliticsDaily.com and author of “The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle With the Modern World” (which I have not read).”

    I have. Don’t bother. It tells far more about who Gibson is than who Pope Benedict is.

  26. Bender says:

    David Gibson has commented over at Commonweal.

    I must say that he is rather delusional. He writes, “I have been fisked by Father Z! . . . I don’t think he laid a glove on me, though maybe that wasn’t his intent, as he agrees with my lede, for example. Actually, he agrees with most of my points, as far as I can tell. More snark than facts.”

    Either he is delusional, seeing only what he wants to see, or he really does have a talent for twisting reality to fit his own agenda.

  27. benedetta says:

    Did he mention also that Fr. Z so sweetly refers to the paper as “Hell’s Bible?”

    Call me Snarky (just don’t call me Shirley…) but “snark” is an internet word essentially used to dismiss someone’s views ad hominem.

    Why didn’t Mr. Gibson go ahead and “fisk” Fr. Z’s fisking?