Remember: The Pope knew what he was doing

I posted this:

The Pope knew what he was setting off

His Hermeneuticalness has a good piece about this too.

Molotov cocktail of planetary magnitude

Consider two points.

The sharp repression of Modernism in the early 20th century probably lead the its resurgence later.  What might have happened had modernism been engaged and refuted rather than simply repressed?

The Pope has wanted a “new evanglization”.  That means engaging head to head.

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77 Responses to Remember: The Pope knew what he was doing

  1. cpaulitz says:

    I understand why people keep defending the Pope on this, as to not let the liberals win. Although the Pope talking in the forum he did, and saying what he said, were both the height of irresponsibility.

    But I can, with lots of effort, look past it as yet another bad mistake.

    However, you keep saying he meant to do this. Then that makes it all the more worse.

    All he had to say was “The use of artificial contraception is a moral evil and a mortal sin. Spreading aids is also a moral evil and a mortal sin. They both distance you from God and, if not properly confessed, will lead you to Hell. Don’r want to get aids? Don’t have sex before marriage.”

    The Pandora’s Box this has opened is frieghtening. And to think he did it on purpose, as you claim, is nothing less than infuriating.

  2. Athanasius says:

    Sorry Father I’m not buying it.

    If you read Pascendi, and the writings of theologians around that time such as Billot and LaGrange, they DID engage the modernists. The modernists took over the hierarchy and politely ignored their works (an easy thing to do since they’re in Latin).

    Secondly the Pope has set the pro-life movement back 30 years (not to mention made Thanksgiving a miserable affair for Catholics with hostile non-Catholic families). He may very well have thought it would spark debate, but he in reality underestimated the hostility of the press. Every newspaper, television station and talking pundit has made this into “Pope changes church teaching”. It should have been obvious that is what would happen, especially given that Lombardi acknowledged it has not been said for that reason up to this point. The remarks, in my opinion of dubious value anyway, should never have been said.

  3. Ceile De says:

    Hey – off topic but some god news: I must admit I am confused (a la Mother Angelica) but Cardinal Mahony now says he does believe in transubstantiation. Better late than never. Check out his Advent 2010 message posted on November 19 2010 at http://cardinalrogermahonyblogsla.blogspot.com/.

  4. Ceile De says:

    I meant good news, not god news; though it is, I suppose, God news.

  5. danphunter1 says:

    “What might have happened had modernism been engaged and refuted rather than simply repressed?”
    Father,
    Modernism was thouroughly engaged, confronted and refuted in Pope St Pius X monumental encyclical “Pascendi”.

  6. cpaulitz says:

    I have said this before and I will continue to say this: the Church will continue to be a mess until Neo Cons start questioning and stop defending everything a Pope does just because he’s Pope. Traditionals cannot bring about the restoration on our own — we need help to do this.

    I’m sick of being told to suspend disbelief and see something that isn’t there.

    This was a monumental mistake. Why can’t we just call it what it is and start to heal and move forward?

  7. Pete says:

    The AP wrote “Lombardi … praised Benedict for his ‘courage’ in confronting the problem.” This is clearly the ‘courage’ use the ‘Yes, Minister’ terms: “a courageous decision Minister.” – meaning crass stupidity.

    John Vennari has a good article:
    http://www.cfnews.org/b16bombshell.htm

    And here’s one of the results of His Holiness’ courageous decision:

    Confusion over Pope’s comments threatens campaign against Philippines repro health bill:
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/confusion-over-popes-comments-threaten-philippines-bishops-campaign-against/

  8. rfox2 says:

    Father Z-

    Apparently Father Tim Finegan disagrees with the substance of what the pope said, as well as pointing out how unwise the Holy Father’s comments were. See http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2010/11/pope-condoms-iv-do-you-think-thats-wise.html

    Cpaulitz and others: I couldn’t agree more with your comments.

  9. Moscatelli says:

    Is this the way to engage modernists in battle? By statements that make it look to the wide public as if the modernists are in fact right? It would be better to talk clearly, cpaulitz gives a wonderful example! The main rule has to be explained, not exceptions: discussions on extreme exceptional cases always give modernists the excuse to overturn the general rule. Clear rules in magisterial teaching, exceptions in the confessional. Here we have confusion world-wide through a definitively non-magisterial interview! Btw, if it is correct that His Holiness says in the book that he has nothing against Communion in the hand and links distribution on the tongue also to the need to stress the importance of the rite when there are many people around, do you think that will give ammo to those parish priests that distribute in the hand or not? I must admit that I see bricks, but I see no intention to rebuild the Church with them. One brick here and one brick there is not necessarily the beginning of construction works, it could also be the description of ruins.

  10. Seraphic Spouse says:

    I very much dislike the idea that the Holy Father anticipated this furor when he said what he said, let the book go to print unedited and sat back to watch the fun begin. It isn’t fun; there are distraught Catholics all over the blogosphere talking about their fidelity to Humanae Vitae despite repeated miscarriages, poverty, pressure, you name it, and the ribbing they are getting from anti-Catholic relations this week. The media are all very surprised and delighted; yesterday The Scotsman (The Scotsman!), substituting “use of condoms” in square brackets for what the Pope actually said, praised him. Those who have been hurt by the supposed Molotov cocktail are faithful Roman Catholics.

    It is not exactly a secret that thousands upon thousands of Catholics in America and western Europe use artificial contraception (and “disease prevention” when kicking across the traces); those who have resisted the pressure to use condoms, in fidelty to the Faith, are a–let’s face it–faithful remnant. Many are in anguish and confusion now. If they weren’t before Lombardi added his two cents, they are now.

    I refuse to believe that the Holy Father meant to cause this distress until he says so himself. It seems much more likely to me that he once again misunderestimated the Press’s preference of a punchy, screaming-headline story to the truth.

  11. catholicmidwest says:

    I can’t imagine either that the Holy Father did this on purpose, knowing that it would put who-knows-how-many-people through the proverbial wringer in coming weeks. IF he doesn’t know that this is full-frontal-attack season for those with non-Catholic relatives, someone should certainly tell him.

  12. QMJ says:

    Was St. Paul being unwise when he said that we are saved by faith apart from the works of the law? Millions of Protestants use this verse to support their erroneous doctrine of sola fide. They twist Paul’s words to proclaim that which is not true and to lead thousands/millions astray. It is clear from the context in which they appear that he does not mean what Protestants do and, yet, maybe he shouldn’t have said them and fully proclaimed the truth because if he hadn’t then the Protestants wouldn’t be able to twist what he said. Perhaps our Lord, Jesus Christ, was being very unwise when someone blessed his mother and he responded that the person who hears and listens to the word of God is his mother. How many people twist this to lead others away from devotion to our Blessed Mother. Even though it is clear from the context that Christ was not saying anything at all about devotion to His mother, maybe it would have been wiser of Him not to say this so that people couldn’t distort it. Perhaps the Old Testament writers should not have written what they did because so many people read the Old Testament and think that God is a God of wrath and anger and not of love, that, in fact, He is quite different from the God of the New Testament. Perhaps God Himself should have been more consistent (this is not to say that He isn’t consistent, but that to many He appears inconsistent) in His dealings with man so as not to drive so many away through confusion. A great many people including faithful Catholics are confused by His doing things like telling the Israelites (and really meaning it) to kill every man, woman, and child as they conquered the Promised Land. Maybe He just shouldn’t have told them to do that so that fools and malicious ones couldn’t lead others astray by using this as an example of how God is not loving.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Pope was crystal clear. He said absolutely nothing contrary to Church teaching. He did not promote the use of condoms. He was very careful in his wording: “a first step,” “toward a moralization,” “not a real or moral solution.” His comments actually affirm the fact that condoms are not effective and that their use (sexually speaking) is not moral. But the media and liberal Catholycs are twisting and distorting his words, so I guess He just shouldn’t have said anything at all.

    Oh, one other point: Whenever there has been controversy in the Church or a true engagement with the secular world nothing was ever accomplished through merely monotonously repeating formulas. While the formulas are important and should be frequently used, they cannot stand on their own. “Condoms bad.” “Sex outside of marriage bad.” Homosexual sex bad.” Simply repeating these has not once brought someone doing them to the light of truth. They require explanation, discussion, patient listening and answering, all of which means breaking outside the box of formulas.

    On another note, the fact that there are so many people who, with all of his experience with the press in the positions he has held for decades, think that he is naive and doesn’t get it is despicable. You may not like what he said, but give the man more credit than that. He’s not an idiot and he is doing a far better job than anyone here would.

  13. Shadow says:

    @Seraphic Spouse: I concur wholeheartedly with what you have said. You could not have said it better!

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    “But the media and liberal Catholics are twisting and distorting his words, so I guess He just shouldn’t have said anything at all. ”

    Well, yes. That’s right.

    Do you really believe that this has changed anyone’s sexual behavior? (Other than a few of those who were faithfully eschewing birth control because of Church teaching, I mean.)

    One of the big problems the Church has in evangelization is that people think the Church is the big powerful bad kingdom of NO. They don’t see anything good or beautiful about the Church for a reason. We don’t make a practice of showing them anything good or beautiful unless we can’t help it. We whitewash everything, even our own buildings, and act alternately grouchy and looney. Who can blame them?

  15. Mike says:

    QMJ–nice points.

    I think this Pope is aware of the firestorm, and willing to trust the Holy Spirit and the veritable sea of words that the Church has put out making clear what is good in regard to sexuality, and what is not. I am reading “Light of the World” now, and it’s very interesting how humble this man is, how gigantic the office of the Papacy is, and how ridiculous most of us are when we presume to tell Benedict what he should do…

    I am not saying everything a Pope does or says is 100% perfect, just saying his office is light-year beyond most of us.

  16. JP Borberg says:

    What the pope has done, weather intentionally or not, is given US an opportunity to teach.

    Catholic teaching on sexuality has always been misunderstood, not just by those outside the Church, but by many Catholics too. People have always known that the Church is an old fashioned bully trying to suppress women, and never needed to think of it again.

    Well, thanks to the Holy Father, people are talking about it now, and it’s up to you (and you, and YOU, and you hiding at the back there) to get involved in those conversations at work or with your family or in your parish. You have been gifted a rear opportunity to engage people who are now actually interested in what the Pope has just said, and this gives you an opportunity to set the record straight, not just on what the Pope said in this latest interview, but to introduce the idea that what the Church teaches about sex is not just loving and humane, but actually ROMANTIC.

    And that’s a good thing, right?

    Btw, who cares if the Pope’s words have been twisted? They always have and always will be. That gives us a weapon. Arm yourself with a copy of what he actually said, and you can show the media up for what they really are. Part of my own conversion come from realising how much of what I heard about the Church wasn’t true.

  17. LorrieRob says:

    Engagement with the culture is essential…on all the tough questions. If your interest is sparked, there are places to go to get deeper analysis and discussion thanks to the internet and the blog phenomena. But first your interest has to be sparked. I found this blog on a web search prompted by my curiosity about why the nun and a lay person leading my RCIA group were so worked up over sanctus bells which are beautiful and whether the priest faces the congregation or the altar while celebrating the eucharist. These issues have become symbolic for many people on both traditional and liberal sides. I think the Pope did know what he was doing and is less concerned with PR than sparking discussion of the underlying rationale for the church’s teaching that can lead to deeper understanding. A condom in and of itself is nothing. The church’s teaching on sexuality is very challenging in our culture but upholds the highest and most ideal view of man and woman. I did not previously understand this myself until I began my journey into the Catholic church several months ago. I was able to share that understanding with my nonCatholic family today at Thanksgiving dinner. I thank God for the Catholic Church and most especially Pope Benedict XVI…who knows who will read this book out of curiosity and have their heart begin to open to a deeper understanding of Truth.

  18. Jason Keener says:

    Cpaulitz,

    I agree with you. I have many neoconservative Catholic friends who see nothing wrong with the inorganic nature of the Novus Ordo, Communion in the hand, the Church’s abandonment of Gregorian Chant, Pope John Paul II’s Assisi Prayer Meetings, etc. The Church could be in a mode of self-destruction, which it sometimes seems that She still is, and the neoconservatives would continue to insist that this is some kind of new springtime. Unfortunately, even Pope Benedict XVI’s approach is heavily tied to the Council and its constant emphasis on the good side of man, on novelty, etc. In the conciliar mentality, there is little room for Thomistic clarity, the Pope to strongly condemn errors, or the Pope to call for non-Catholics to convert to the True Religion, etc. The Church has overestimated the value of what other religions and the world can contribute to the life of the Church. It is time for the Church to again serve as more of a bulwark to the world and the rampant errors of the world. In any event, the world is best served by a Catholic Church that is otherworldly.

    I think this video of a Solemn High Mass from 1941 with Bishop Fulton Sheen’s commentary serves as a visual and auditory example demonstrating just how completely different the Catholic approach to worship and to the world were not too, too long ago. It is time to recover that ethos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6AOvStZS64

  19. cpaulitz says:

    Jason, I love that video! Every time I see it, it’s just fantastic.

    The neocons sooner or later will start to understand lex orandi, lex credendi. And that when you surround yourself with the Novus Ordo, then your faith almost certainly reflect it.

    I have two eyes to see with and two ears to hear with. And what I read from the Holy Father wasn’t a condemnation of concraception — it was a modernistic, politically correct, do-no-harm murkey language which has scandalized the Faithful.

    And now being told it was on purpose makes it all the more devastating.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    JP,
    Sick of hearing about sex. The church isn’t all about sex. Part of it is, but not all of it. That’s all I hear though. Sick. Of. It. And not talking about it if I can help it.

  21. Joseph says:

    No, I really can’t believe the Holy Father set this up knowingly. The implications of it are too distressing to consider.
    On the other hand there is a very interesting essay of a Fr.Ronheimer over at Sandro magisters webpage (www.chiesa.espressoline.it), where he states: “Equally, a married man who is HIV-infected and uses the condom to protect his wife from infection is not acting to render procreation impossible, but to prevent infection. If conception is prevented, this will be an – unintentional – side-effect and will not therefore shape the moral meaning of the act as a contraceptive act. ”
    There are some other interesting points contained within this article and off hand it all seems to be plausibel, but I am no moral theologian to sort through it all.

  22. anna 6 says:

    Seraphic Spouse…
    As to your statement…
    “I very much dislike the idea that the Holy Father anticipated this furor when he said what he said, let the book go to print unedited and sat back to watch the fun begin.”

    I am concerned that your distortion of the event is as cynical and destructive as the AP headlines “Pope Approves Condoms”.
    I suggest that you read the book…the whole book, and I am convinced that you will find that this endeavor by Pope Benedict has the potential to bring many lost souls to Christ. It is a beautiful evangelical expression of a man who lives in the freedom and joy of one who has had a profound encounter with the Lord.

    I am sorry that you are suffering because of this…but I don’t think that you have anything to fear!
    God bless!

  23. dspecht says:

    People who know me by heart or read some older posts of me know that I am not a “Papalist” (or “neo-con”) that just defends all things the Pope does and says just because He´s the Pope.

    And also here I would agree that the phrases were to some degree unwise/imprudent and therefore caused some unnecessary trouble.

    But we should not be so harsh or even unjust, because it was not wrong in itselfe what His Holiness said.

    The use of artificial contraceptives is only insofar per se evil, insofar they impede/frustrate conception. Insofar they have some other effects, f.e. impede some infection with AIDS or other diseases, it is not.

    That makes the matter complicated (moral-theologically) and a seriouse theological discussion and differentiation eligible. [But if it is prudent to raise such complicated matters in a book-interview can be – as I admitted – challenged rightly of course].

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    You are a very clear thinker, despecht, and I could accept what you are saying. I think that prudence is the issue, and I think that with everything the church has to do, that this is a very minor point, and is being allowed to overshadow things that are much more important.

    Life is not all about sex. I know that’s a controversial statement with some people, but it’s true.

  25. JonM says:

    Sex outside of marriage bad.” Homosexual sex bad.” Simply repeating these has not once brought someone doing them to the light of truth.

    Actually, yes it has. I converted to the Faith because of the Church’s clear witness that pornography, sex outside of marriage, and masturbation are all seriously immoral.

    The glue that holds these together is the Grace offered by God, not least of which through the Mass and beautiful song.

    Convoluted hair splitting might be chic for some, but for most people we need need to be hit over the head with a board. Describing the nuance of the grain, subsituting balsa for pine, or just waving the wood so that I might feel the breeze will not shock me out of my otherwise sinful nature.

    I echo Seraphic Spouse’s candor. It is heart wrenching to read these stories of Catholics faithfully doing what the Church says is bare-bones, at an enormous cost. Then to have the rug ripped out from us is nothing short of intense betrayal.

    Here is my down-to-Earth practical story of life as a younger male in today’s environment.:
    Try to live a pure life? Try to court girls in a way we are supposed to? 9/10 you are interpretted as a freak, a weirdo, someone who has serious problems or secrets. And yes, I’m referring to Catholic girls who attend Mass. Once women realize I attempt to live according the Church teaching, they loose interest rapidly.

    The Church leadership does nothing about pornography, pornographic ads, intense sexualization of just about everything. It does nothing on a serious basis to instruct young adults on living chaste lives. It has FAILED in supposedly Catholic schools and colleges to encourage marriage.

    Here’s some cold hard facts. Many priests rather openly poo-poo sex out of marriage for young people as not so bad. Why? Because the many in the leadership have totally abandoned their roles as teachers.

    Marriage is the normative vocation and yet many of us faithful Catholics who are smart, feircely dedicated, handsome, and with money have about the same result of a camel trying to walk through a needle’s eye.

    And admid this crisis of plunging marriage rates, the Vatican is in blurred language indicating condoms can be acceptable in certain cases. This is maddness.

    To paraphrase WarGames, After very careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that this ‘new evangelism’ sucks.

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    What “new evangelism,” JonM? I haven’t seen anything. I’ve heard lots of talk, among Catholics and that’s all.

  27. QMJ says:

    “Actually, yes it has. I converted to the Faith because of the Church’s clear witness that pornography, sex outside of marriage, and masturbation are all seriously immoral.”

    JonM,

    I’ll give an example of what I meant. When I taught Morality at a Catholic high school I had a student who began taking seriously that abortion is wrong, even in the case of rape. She did this because of the in-class discussions that I had with her. I was always adament about abortion being evil and never permissable. I did use the typical formulas that come with pro-life arguments such as “Abortion stops a beating heart”, et. etc. If this was all I did she would have never taken me or the fact that abortion is always wrong seriously. All I would have been to her was a robot repeating what I had been told. What made the difference was that I actually listened to her, took seriously her arguments, and truly addressed them. I also worked very hard to help her recognize the real humanity of the child as well as the mother, and the demands of love in any situation in which a woman may be considering abortion. Not just the demands of love on the mother, but the demands of love on the people around her: her family, friends, and strangers she encounters. It was when I was doing this that she was prompted to say in front of the whole class that she might change her position. I don’t know if she ever did. The point is that she heard the arguments at a personal level, at a level that went beneath mere formulas, and she responded positively to that. I understand if you do not want to get too personal on a public forum, but didn’t this happen to you? Didn’t you discuss these moral issues and challenge the Church’s teaching? Didn’t someone even if in a written form like a book or article go beneath the surface of formulas with you? This is what I meant when I said that simply repeating formulas does not convert anyone. To say this more clearly (please forgive me for not being clearer earlier) is that formulas alone do not convert people.

  28. dspecht says:

    So I defend the Pope re his AIDS-comments to some degree (see above) because the Pope did not say something that was wrong (per se), he did not contradict (directly or clearly) some traditional teaching.
    But there is another answer in the same book that is really blameable and – theologically and objective – much more like a “Molotov cocktail of planetary magnitude” — although many of the contemporaries (including the Catholics and also the traditional- and conservative/neo-con-movement) did not take notice of it.

    It´s the interpretation and explication of/re the new formulated prayer of Good Friday in the Old Mass His Holiness has given.

    There is a piece (and discussion) on Rorate (discussion see: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=19978542&postID=7933701162348085292) about it.

    As I was saying from the beginning of the discussion after the changing of the prayer (and also here on wdtprs) it is CLEAR from the PRAYER ITSELFE that is does not pray anymore for the Jews here and now and for their conversion here and now but only for the Jews and their conversion at the very end of time, before doomsday.
    IT IS CLEAR (it is What The Prayer Realy Says!) – to repeat it!!

    But as I preached to deaf ears then I fear I will still preach to deaf ears now – although we have now the – also clear or even clearer – interpretation of the Supreme Pontiff Himselfe!

    + We had the words of the prayer itselfe (that are clear, but many did/do not agree with me re this, I know),
    + then the semi-official interpretation of Card. Kasper in the big and famouse German newspaper F.A.Z.
    + and now the interpretation of the Vicar of CHrist Himselfe

    – and each one expresses that the intention is NOT to pray for conversion of the now-living Jews (“directly missionary”) but only for their conversion at the very end of time [or aftertime…] (“the Lord might hasten the historic hour in which we will all be united”), “not directly missionary”.

    Well, perhaps now some people awake and admit that there is a real problem with this prayer – and see the molotov-explosive-force of this (perhaps there is a little hope that me or others will not preach to deaf ears anymore after this unambiguouse explication of the Pope Himselfe!!).

    So I hope not only F.Z. reads this, but also Rev. Fr. Michael-Mary(-Sim) and others of the TRANSALPINE REDEMPTORISTS and members and friends of the FSSP etc…..

  29. catholicmidwest says:

    Neither does going on and on with technical detail, labyrinthine arguments and case studies til nothing makes any sense anymore. You can argue and argue and argue and it can go nowhere. You said yourself that you don’t know if this girl ever changed her position. That doesn’t surprise me. You were the teacher and you won. But I don’t know what you won. It’s hard telling what she finally concluded.

    I read this stuff, and you know, I wonder, “Is this what Christianity is all about? Is this what it is to be Catholic, after all? Arguing about sex, all the while the rest of what I thought was the Church that I converted to lays in ruins?”

    Do you really think that people are converted one way or another by these battles? Especially when they walk into barren churches with bad music and even worse behavior? Do you?

    These battles are diverting for Catholics; they make money for the press; the rest of the world uses them as examples of why they don’t need religion at all. We fight all the time. “See how they love one another?” Indeed.

  30. dspecht says:

    Thanks, Catholicmidwest. :-) And I agree that there are more important things than the 6. commandment itselfe and a fortiori than imprudent statements re it which are not wrong in themselfes.
    For example one of the more important things – as I said above – is the new formulation and just-given interpretation of the Good Friday prayer by the Pope.

    Some of the same people that are so interested in the “AIDS-cond.-affaire” are not or less interested in this theologically much more important question of the Good-Friday-prayer (for the weight of the matter it should be vice versa).

    And, what is more important, some who now do blame the Pope (for His expressions re sex-morals) were or are not willing to blame Him re this new-formulation (and now explication/interpretation) of the Good-Friday-prayer — what really should be vice versa.

    The changing and now interpretation of the prayer is real theological explosive.

    Compared with the utterances of the Pope re AIDS the Good-Friday-prayer-matter is much more blameable and does – objectively – call much more for criticism.

  31. catholicmidwest says:

    That may be, dspecht, but that’s the kind of thing a person could be Catholic for a quarter of a century and still not notice.

    Look. When it comes to truth, it is what it is. What is the case is the case. Arguing over it doesn’t really change anything, whether it be the moral status of condoms or some prayer about converting Jews. God doesn’t need me out sparring viciously with the media or anyone else over any of this stuff. I don’t have to fight his battles for him. The truth always prevails because nothing else can be the case. You can warn people off, but you can’t control them if they don’t listen. Some people have to learn the hard way. That’s the way it’s always been and it’s not going to change. In the same vein, anyone who’d believe the media on anything over the the church isn’t going to be on the side of the church anyway.

    Catholics need to come down off the steeple and engage their brains once in a while. This whole topic is interesting. The pope says something. It gets misconstrued by the media. The Catholic world at both extremes starts muttering. [Odds are that the great middle goes, “ho hum, whatever.”] One wonders what the point is. If the point is:
    a) to enlighten homosexuals about to have a go at you know what with each other, I think they’re going to do what they’re going to do. Good luck with that.
    b) to enlighten the in-Church population in some way, oops, big miss. We’re either fighting, flummoxed entirely by the whole thing, or not paying any attention anyway. I mean have a look at the responses here….
    c) to evangelize anybody. What? What? Do you think that arguing about sex (or Jews) constantly will do it? HOW? Particularly when the would-be evangelized show up and get a load of our screechifying music, bad preaching and the rest of it. There are a million better ways, trust me.
    d) to ruminate about some theological point in a conversation. Sure, okay, whatever. But the subject matter wasn’t too prudent. Maybe some other example of the theological principle would have been better, yes?

    Now, I’m not a person who thinks we should sweep things under the rug for peace in the household. Far from it. But this incessant fighting is getting to me. What is the point of attacking the media just to score on them because they score on us? Does it really accomplish any of the Church’s goals? Really?

  32. JonM says:

    What “new evangelism,” JonM? I haven’t seen anything. I’ve heard lots of talk, among Catholics and that’s all.

    Exactly. Despite the weather report calling for 70 and clear skies, the on the ground reality is rather different.

    And I agree with your comments that there is a tendancy to focus the issue of sex to the detriment of the universe of Catholic belief, practice, and living.

    I accept that strictly interpreted the Pope’s comments on condom use being a ‘first step to moralization’ (in the extreme example he gave) probably do not conflict Catholic theology. But he did use other terms in this discussion like ‘exception.’ Exception means exception and is in large part the source of concern.

    But what truly worked many of us up were the amazing ‘clarification’ comments from the Vatican that enormously expanded the scope of this discusion. This, as well as enflaming passions with the admission that the Holy Father intended to ‘spark debate’ on this subject.

    Here is a slice of reality. In the West, real men are up against a Sex in the City/Desperate Housewife culture awash in pornography. We are facing the worst economy ever for men. Fighting each day our sinful nature is a struggle for many of us. Stats show that amongst practicing Catholics, marriage is a distant priority.

    First hand I can report that you can be handsome, alpha types and if you try to ‘court’ women (no sex, no ‘clubbing’, don’t play games of ignoring her, etc.) you end up rapidly in the dreaded nexus of FriendZone/Nice Guy or Freak. If sermons were clear, parochial schools clear, Catholic colleges clear, Baltimore Catechism universal, this would not be the case. Instead we hear about a whole bunch of nothing or on occassion vague contemnations of sinfulness (but no concrete, practical direction for parishioners.)

    I think therefore this leads to obvious frustration and a sort of feed back loop: our vocation is to marry but we need to follow the Gospel in so doing, but this is virtually impossible if we are to find someone to marry. For this reason, unfortunately sex becomes a topical issue.

    And for me, it would be one thing if bishops courageously took on Hollywood, the media, urged laws against pornography and no-fault divorce. Instead, getting a bishop to simply state basic Catholic morality is tougher than giving medicine to a four year old.

    Dspect also points out that this book is apparently rife with incredible tidbits ranging from dual covanent theology and bizzare fuzziness regarding reception of Communion. The bottom line, over the course of mere days it appears to honest observers that the Vatican is firmly modernistic or at the very least actively unclear in critical moral matters.

    Never before have I felt so confident in the horrible warnings from Our Lady of Fatima and Akita.

  33. Jerry says:

    @Joseph – ““Equally, a married man who is HIV-infected and uses the condom to protect his wife from infection is not acting to render procreation impossible, but to prevent infection. If conception is prevented, this will be an – unintentional – side-effect and will not therefore shape the moral meaning of the act as a contraceptive act. ””

    I see at least two problems with applying the principle of double effect to this situation: (1) there is a moral alternative to the immoral act (i.e., abstain from sexual relations), and (2) using a condom is nowhere near 100% effective at preventing transmission of HIV.

  34. JonM says:

    @QMJ,

    Yes, there were deeper aspects to these things, but they organically occured and were gradual.

    But the first step was accepting that there is one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. If I accept this, I must accept the magesterium. Period. Understanding the why is secondary and often difficult to articulate. We are to come to the Kingdom as children and submit to God’s laws.

    True approach to the Eucharist is critical. Part of this is drilling into the minds of Catholics that the Faith is the anchor of our lives, not something we visit from time to time or shoehorn into our lives.

  35. anna 6 says:

    Catholcmidwest…I really hope that you read this book! I believe that you will be very pleasantly surprised.
    Peace.

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    You are correct, Jerry. If a person had AIDS, and they thought it was a serious thing (which it is), then they wouldn’t WANT to pass it on to someone they loved, like a spouse. I would think that abstinence would actually be the best moral and practical choice. Therefore, the principle of double effect doesn’t really seem to apply here very well.

  37. catholicmidwest says:

    Not sure whether I will or not, Anna 6. So far, I don’t like any of this much.

  38. Athanasius says:

    On the other hand there is a very interesting essay of a Fr.Ronheimer over at Sandro magisters webpage (www.chiesa.espressoline.it), where he states: “Equally, a married man who is HIV-infected and uses the condom to protect his wife from infection is not acting to render procreation impossible, but to prevent infection. If conception is prevented, this will be an – unintentional – side-effect and will not therefore shape the moral meaning of the act as a contraceptive act. ”

    In the first place that is stupid, because the condom doesn’t really protect against AIDS, it can only lower the chances by a small percentage. The condom fails 1 in 5 times to prevent pregnancy which can only occur in a certain window of a woman’s cycle. AIDS can be transmitted every day

    Secondly it is morally incorrect and reflects modernist thinking, the principle of double effect does not apply because there is no moral imperative to engage in the sexual act. Double affect applies for things such as in war when you see non-combatants on an enemy vessel, and you have to destroy the ship to save the lives of your soldiers, or a case such as an ectopic pregnancy where failure to act will result in the death of the mother and the child but removing the fallopian tube is likely to kill the baby. It is not the end of the act. Using a condom to prevent infection is a) contraceptive in nature, its end is to eliminate the possibility of procreation, irrespective of the internal forum. If the use is intrinsically evil, that means always and in all circumstances it is evil. To use it is a mortal sin. b) Since there is no moral imperative to engage in conjugal relations, there can be no application of double effect. The solution is to sleep on the couch if he is really concerned for his wife’s welfare.

  39. Athanasius says:

    @Jerry,

    I didn’t see you made the same argument I did, or I would have saved the energy. Good points.

  40. catholicmidwest says:

    “But what truly worked many of us up were the amazing ‘clarification’ comments from the Vatican that enormously expanded the scope of this discussion. This, as well as enflaming passions with the admission that the Holy Father intended to ‘spark debate’ on this subject.”

    Yes, JonM, but the pampered darlings manning the Vatican press offices routinely spew gold-plated b*ll sh*t. The secular media may or may not be aware of that, but Catholics should be after all we’ve gone through in the past 40 years.

    It’s not the Assisi debacle, for pete’s sake. I’m still stewing over that one. That was far, far, incredibly far worse, in my view.

  41. Childermass says:

    A Latin American friend tells me that many women there are in marriages under domination by their husbands, who are often unfaithful, and they routinely catch HIV from them. They are not in a position to refuse to have sex with their husbands, fearing threats and violence. My friend claims that refusing to allow these women to get a measure of protection by using condoms condemns them to possibly catch HIV. He is a doctor and is very angry at the Church over this.

    How would I respond to this difficult case?

  42. Seraphic Spouse says:

    @Anna 6. If you reread my comment, you will see that I wasn’t criticizing the Holy Father but THE IDEA–which I do not believe–that he knew his remarks would cause this crisis and let them be published unedited. Meanwhile, I am not among those who have made great sacrifices for the sake of Humanae Vitae. I am suffering merely at secondhand, having been moved by the remarks of those who have. Having read the Holy Father’s actual comments and understood them, I don’t feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. But this is a feeling perhaps hundreds or thousands of Catholics are experiencing, and it irks me that some are saying our kindly Holy Father brought this about deliberately.

  43. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Childermass, you could say: “So, wait, the women are just supposed to lie there and be raped by disease-ridden, abusive husbands because a condom makes it all okay?” The problem doesn’t seem to be the HIV as much as the nasty, abusive, misogynist culture the women are trapped in. The doctor could work off his anger by getting together with the Church to put pressure on the men to stop abusing their wives and to help the wives and their children escape.

  44. Church doctrine has effectively always been refined through the debates. Notice how so many dogmas were only confirmed and defined only after they were denied or perverted with errors. This is nothing different. Turbulence in the short term? Sure. Truth in the long term? Absolutely. Heretics in all ages attempted to spin things their way, the only difference today is that the worldwide communication makes spinning much faster and all of us can see the spinning in real time.

    And another point. This comment by Pope Benedict XVI, who knows that it is difficult to make on big step from evil to good, is providing a smaller bite-sized means to get immoral souls to consider to take on some morality, that is some concern of the other person rather than total selfishness. Many souls are afraid of the big step all at once, so a smaller beginning step is offered. There aren’t many St. Pauls, St. Mary Magdelenes or St. Augustines, with the big massive conversion. In the spirit of this block, rather than step-by-step, it is a brick-by-brick approach.

  45. JonM says:

    A Latin American friend tells me that many women there are in marriages under domination by their husbands, who are often unfaithful, and they routinely catch HIV from them. They are not in a position to refuse to have sex with their husbands, fearing threats and violence. My friend claims that refusing to allow these women to get a measure of protection by using condoms condemns them to possibly catch HIV. He is a doctor and is very angry at the Church over this.

    How would I respond to this difficult case?

    I brought this up in a different thread and opined that this would be a subject of legitimate theological inquiry (but not announced to the world.)

    In this special circumstance, the person is (a) a woman, and usually physically incapable of frustrating a forceful husband (b) married a man who to her knowledge lacked HIV (c) cannot easily seek law enforcement as a remedy (d) lacks fully consent to the situation.

    But this should be handled privately, on a case by case basis, by a priest. There is no good reason to broadcast this for the sake of ‘sparking discussion’ because any out that exists will be exploited by our sinful nature. Furthermore, this would vary significantly in each situation so any blanket ‘policy’ is foolish.

    Let’s also keep in mind that any husband who is willing to cheat and force himself on his wife, thus likely giving her a deadly disease, probably won’t want to use a condom as it reduces aspects of the act. Use of the condom cannot be the goal ever and the best circumstance would be for bishops in Latin America to preach on the distinction between patriarchy (good, courgeous, self-giving, and natural) and chauvanism/machismo (horrible, abuse of power, disgusting.)

  46. cpaulitz says:

    Athanasious is, as usual, absolutely correct. An absolute evil like a condemn is always an evil. Not that we can expect a Pope to speak in those terms any more.

    And why is abstinence during marriage never broached? Because neocon perverts like Chris West have done as much damage as the pornographers to corrupt minds in thus country into thinking they could never live without sex. Homosexuals make the same argument, by the

  47. LorrieRob says:

    A brief comment to thank blogger cpaulitz for sharing(in an early post on this topic) the link to then Msgr Fulton Sheen’s narration of a Latin Mass at Easter in 1941. Just now had the chance to watch it…very interesting and instructive. I am glad that the Holy Father is encouraging an understanding of continuity in the tradition of the church. All of this other stuff-this and that-and opinions on all sides…is straw… as I think Thomas Aquinas observed…

  48. Salaam says:

    A few points:

    1. I think there are legitimately different points of view on whether this was handled properly by the Pope and Vatican. I for one am glad the Pope is speaking out openly and frankly without worrying about every little possible misinterpretation. However, I think he could have said what he said better. Or he could have said more to clarify.

    2. I firmly believe that speaking out openly and frankly and more in this age is necessary. Of course, the more he puts himself out there, the less it is possible for him and his PR machine to finely comb through everything he says. But I think that’s a risk that’s well worth taking.

    3. One benefit of this episode is that we have seen, if we needed to see, how poor the state of cathecesis on such issues is. Consider the following wrong ideas we’ve all heard that are now being fleshed out:

    a. The Pope is wrong. Thankfully, no one is saying this any more – the debate now has correctly shifted whether he should have said it or not.
    b. Catholic doctrine is that condoms in and of themselves are bad. Belies a misunderstanding of doctrine.
    c. Married people will resent others being a ‘free pass’. Imagine resenting sinners! Is this the state we’re in?! If so, better deal with it than sweep it under the rug.
    d. People don’t understand nuance, so we ought to keep quiet. This, in my opinion, is precisely what has given heresy a free pass in recent times.
    e. What the Pope has said implies the church ought to disseminate condoms. That’s of course wrong. The church knows that for many, condom availability increases the likelihood that they will fornicate and not only that, but that they will spend less time thinking about the moral aspects.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    “Let’s also keep in mind that any husband who is willing to cheat and force himself on his wife, thus likely giving her a deadly disease, ******probably won’t want to use a condom as it reduces aspects of the act.”******

    Bingo. This is putting a real aspect of condoms politely. Condoms are usually used for casual sex but often quickly dropped in on-going relationships because they’re generally highly unsatisfactory to the participants. There’s a reason they sell them in truck stops, folks.

  50. catholicmidwest says:

    “Because neocon perverts like Chris West have done as much damage as the pornographers to corrupt minds in thus country into thinking they could never live without sex.”

    I agree with this. I”m sick of hearing this tripe also. It’s just one more aspect of the on-going obsession with body parts in general, genitals in particular and sex at the expense of everything else. Enough.

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Salaam,
    You forget 2 things:
    1) Evil has no rights, so blathering off at the mouth about it accomplishes nothing.
    2) This is a technical theology problem, not something to be decided at the local McDonald’s during break time. Having everyone and his brother go on and on about the state of their genitals doesn’t solve the Church’s problems and this is NOT how theology is done.

  52. hicwat says:

    The Holy Father is setting an example for his bishops and priests. They are the ones who need to be engaging modernism head-on every day, and in large part have not been doing so. I’m sure he is much more concerned about setting this example, which will have long-term effects, than about some nasty headlines and unpleasant debates at Thanksgiving.

  53. catholicmidwest says:

    hicwat,
    Precisely what example? I have no idea what you are talking about. Explain.

  54. Athanasius says:

    To be clear, as I have seen this in other places and a few people here mentioning it as to bolster their argument, the Church does not teach that a condom, as a thing that exists, in se is not evil. She rather teaches that the use in the conjugal act is intrinsically evil.

  55. catholicmidwest says:

    Athanasius,
    I suspect that the great majority of people know that because they know what condoms are *for.* [Unless people are now using them for hats, bait for fishing, decorations for the Christmas tree or I-pod cozies etc and I don’t know that yet….. Are they doing any of those, do you think? ]

  56. catholicmidwest says:

    I mean, you could always use it to prevent disease, but that’s not its major function, you realize. And probably that goes double for anybody who’d step into a Catholic confessional.

  57. Jerry says:

    @Athanasius – “the Church does not teach that a condom, as a thing that exists, in se is not evil”

    Did you mean to say that the Church does not teach that a condom is evil?

  58. SarahM says:

    To be honest, whether he intended things to get this much press when he gave the interview or not matters little. It is getting the attention and has sparked interest in what we as Catholics believe which can be used to explain what we really and truly believe after all here’s the perfect option to tie all fornication/adultery up in a neat package with the 10 commandments for the bow. You’d be surprised how easy it is to walk the line of questions you need fellow Christians to answer to help them see how it works in God’s natural order. It’s a bit harder with humanist and the other atheist but still possible if you are really interested.

  59. hicwat says:

    @catholicmidwest
    The example of engaging modernism head-on. If they were doing this every day, then it wouldn’t be such big news every time the Pope addresses a controversial matter in an interview.

  60. catholicmidwest says:

    Perhaps, you are right on that, hicwat. Modernism is very seductive and nearly everyone is caught up in it in one way or another.

  61. Jason Keener says:

    catholicmidwest,

    A condom is not evil. A condom is just a piece of latex that could be used for good (to hold water on a camping trip) or bad purposes. The use of condoms with the intent to prevent conception is evil.

  62. catholicmidwest says:

    Yeah, but when you go camping, do you take along condoms to hold your water supply? Or do you get something CHEAPER by the ounce, more effective, less leaky and MORE APPETIZING? [They put spermicide in some of those things, you know. Not a good water additive.]

  63. Joseph says:

    @Jerry
    a thing can never be evil, only an intention or an act.
    The very same arcticle I mentioned originally, cites examples of moral use of otherwise contraceptive agents. I was not quite sure if indeed the principle of double effect applies in the case of a married couple. Ultimately the question of condom or not, is mute since it is a piece of “equipment” quite unreliable in the face of possibly deadly consequences. I am thinking here not only of physical death.

  64. JonM says:

    I”m sick of hearing this tripe also. It’s just one more aspect of the on-going obsession with body parts in general, genitals in particular and sex at the expense of everything else. Enough.

    And this is in so many ways at the heart of the matter. In the Before Time of Pope John Paul and prior, Popes were very cautious when discussing this sort of topic, including Paul VI. In post-Vatican II Chaosland, there is an obsession with sex. The Catholic response has saddly trended towards parlor room chats about a deeply intimate and personal topic that understandably makes most normal people squeamish when in mixed company (Yet to get married in the Church, during ‘marriage training’ couples are supposed to look at nude images and talk about sex with lay strangers?! Whisky Tango Foxtrot!!!)

    Meanwhile Bishops at best will condemn abortion, but not really consistantly advocate for public policy that will help heal our depraved culture (e.g., laws against pornography and indecency, laws reversing no fault divorce.)

    Indeed the Church let a devout Catholic candidate for Senate look stupid over Church teaching on masturbation. Not a single Bishop stood up and said, ‘well, this is Catholic teaching and binding therefore.’ Talk about abandoning your flock.

    Now, CatholicMidwest seems to touch on my argument that before we continue the failed ‘dialogue with the [fallen, warped, decaying] world,’ we need to clean our own house. As CM puts it, we are like a stamp group. To most of the world, we are somewhere above an afterschool bookclub and below Kiwanis International in terms of practical importance. Decades of Universalism or at least fuzzy teaching will cause this.

    We need a new Counter Reformation in the Church now, right now; certainly before we go off trying to ‘dialogue’ with Secularists. All of the arguments of letting things go off the rails for the sake of avoiding schism seem practically speaking moot when 17% of American Catholics even attend Mass (And while 2/3rds of 20-35 year olds who go to Mass regularly do not believe marriage is any priority and that the Eucharist is not actually the Body of Christ.)

    I’m a business guy and at the end of the day, you either are making sales and profit, or you are not. How many parish closings, priest-less churches, absurd remarks from hierarchs, declining marriage and baptism rates, open disregard amongst the faithful for basic barebones natural morality (let alone Catholic), etc. etc. will it take to realize things are not going well?

  65. catholicmidwest says:

    We’re not making a “profit,” JonM, and we haven’t for quite a while now. We’ve avoided the accountant for years, and we can’t avoid him anymore, so some changes have to be made. There are far fewer working & aligned than anyone imagined.

  66. anna 6 says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you…but I am 43 years old, and I have rarely missed Sunday Mass in all those years. I NEVER once heard a sermon on Humanae vitae…
    I hope that this makes priests take the pope’s lead in explaining plainly…but with charity…what the goal of Paul VI’s beautiful encyclical was.

  67. catholicmidwest says:

    I’ve seen a few, anna 6. Some people tend to walk out though during such homilies.

  68. Athanasius says:

    Athanasius,
    I suspect that the great majority of people know that because they know what condoms are *for.* [Unless people are now using them for hats, bait for fishing, decorations for the Christmas tree or I-pod cozies etc and I don’t know that yet….. Are they doing any of those, do you think? ]

    It goes back to clarity which is what this whole debacle is about. No thing which is created, or made by human hands is intrinsically evil. It is the use. That is not to say we should be using condoms for balloons or hats, that would be obscene. In reality they should not exist because they have no proportional use.

  69. Athanasius says:

    Perhaps, you are right on that, hicwat. Modernism is very seductive and nearly everyone is caught up in it in one way or another.

    The principle of immanence (that truth starts in the individual) is the essence of modernism, and it is the default position of our culture.

  70. Athanasius says:

    @Athanasius – “the Church does not teach that a condom, as a thing that exists, in se is not evil”

    Did you mean to say that the Church does not teach that a condom is evil?

    Jerry, that was a typo. I re-wrote it later and forgot to take out the other “not”.

  71. catholicmidwest says:

    I agree with you that condoms qua little pieces of latex are not evil. It’s only that we all know what they are used for, and arguing about the evilness of latex is academic and more than a little disingenuous. I’m telling you that when you find a condom, you will find someone who intends to use a condom at some time. This because condoms make lousy water carriers and party hats. No one uses them *for* anything else. There mere fact that they make lousy water carriers BECAUSE they’re sold greased with SPERMICIDE ought to tell you something.

  72. catholicmidwest says:

    Condoms are instruments of something, not just pieces of latex. The instrumentality they point to is evil.

    You sound like a teenaged boy who was just caught with a dirty magazine. An object can’t be evil. Yeah, that’s it.

    Right.

  73. catholicmidwest says:

    If objects can’t be evil, then why do they confiscate kilograms of pot when they find them on the freeway? They’re just varieties of grass.

    But they do. Because we all know what people do with pot.

  74. Athanasius says:

    Catholic midwest you are right and you are wrong.

    The argument that the condom is not intrinsically evil takes nothing away from the fact it has no legitimate use. It is obvious what it is intended for, true. Making the distinction takes nothing away from that, it is just good and proper metaphysics.

    Your pot example fails though, because for one it does have a just and proportionate use. If you are going to cut a guy’s leg off at battlefield surgery or something, it is proportionate and legitimate to give the guy something that will dull the pain or make him aware of it. However, the use is no longer just (even though it remains proportionate) if you are able to get to any kind of medical facility. The condom doesn’t even arise to this level, there is no proportionate use, is designed for the sexual act, and the use in the sexual act is always disordered.

    In moral theology it is necessary to make the correct distinctions about at thing to attain to its correct understanding. That is one of the main problems with the Church today, and frankly with this interview.

  75. catholicmidwest says:

    Except Athanasius,
    I’m not sure pot would make a very good anaesthetic. It’s supposed to have a use in relieving chronic pain, but I’m not sure I believe that either. I think that people are trying to legally smoke pot to get high and that’s the meaning of recent changes in law.

  76. Athanasius says:

    How is amputation to be taken as an endorsement for medical marijuana? You’re reading more into it than what is there. Whatever conditions people claim for medical marijuana is scarcely even proportionate to its use, and even if it was they are around medical treatment, which means again it lacks justification.

  77. catholicmidwest says:

    Athanasius, you said, “Your pot example fails though, because for one it does have a just and proportionate use. If you are going to cut a guy’s leg off at battlefield surgery or something, it is proportionate and legitimate to give the guy something that will dull the pain or make him aware of it.”

    I said I doubted that it had a just use because I don’t think it would work to make a person unaware of an amputation (ie be an anaesthetic). And then I commented that I believe that marijuana being used legally now had another function, which I don’t consider just either-ie getting legally high, whether on a pretense or not.