NCFishwrap: Getting it wrong about people who are getting it right.

When it comes to the Condom Conundrum the National Catholic Fishwrap is in full twit about the Pope’s comments concerning condoms.

A couple days ago I nicknamed this dust up the “Condom Conundrum”.  I see that this is being picked up, but I when I see by whom I start to wonder if it was a good idea.  In any even, there is nothing new about the phrase “condom conundrum”.  It has been used and used and used.

The follow is from Maureen “Copycat” Fiedler of the National Catholic Fishwrap.

The Condom Conundrum  [Imitation is the highest form of flattery.]
by Maureen Fiedler on Nov. 24, 2010

We’re seeing as good a sideshow as Catholicism produces. [Doesn’t that trivialize something which is rather important?] According to Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press, many “prominent conservative Roman Catholics in the U.S.” are questioning the Vatican’s own explanation of what Pope Benedict said about condoms in a new book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. [She needed Zoll to tell her that?]

As best anyone can decipher, the Pope approves of the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and thus save lives. (I’ve always thought that this is an obvious “pro-life” position).  [No Maureen.  In case you missed the explanations from people who actually understand what the Pope said, the Pope said that condoms are not… not… a moral solution.  That means that the Pope does not approve of condom use.  He said that their use is neither a real solution (they don’t work) or a moral solution (they are bad).   That said, should a male prostitute have an inkling that giving another person a really nasty disease is a bad thing, and decides to use a condom, then that is a step in the right direction. That doesn’t mean he approves of condom use even in that situation.  If you need another explanation, try this.] But apparently, several of the most orthodox Catholics who have been bad-mouthing condoms for any reason – even to save lives –await a formal papal statement. [Dear readers, think about how daft that last statement was.] Some have even questioned whether the Vatican spokesperson, Rev. Frederico Lombardi, accurately interpreted the papal position. [That is not an unreasonable thing to do.  Fr. Lombardi is not the Pope.  When we hear something from Fr. Lombardi, we are hearing Fr. Lombardi, which is not the same thing as hearing the Pope.]

In an ironic twist, Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Choice welcomed the statement. In fact, I think his statement is perhaps the first time I have ever seen his organization praise something the Pope has said!

But the conservatives are the most intriguing. After years of defending papal positions no matter what they say, some of these conservatives are obviously scrambling to find a plausible way to change their own public statements. [She hasn’t been paying attention.  “Conservatives”, who understand what Pope Benedict said, are defending this statement because it is right, not because this Pope said it.] Or maybe they are quietly lobbying the Vatican to modify its already modified position on condoms. Whew! Change can be really tough for some folks – maybe tougher than it is for Benedict XVI.  [I think that last line was supposed to be ironic.]

Again, “conservatives” are defending the Pope’s statement not because this Pope said it.  They are not defending the Pope.  They are defending the statement because it is right.

Whether he should have said it or not is another debate.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mike says:

    Very good, Fr. Z , thank you for these comments.

    I was watching the “Witness to Hope” documentary with my freshman students, and for a moment, watching JPII, became nostaligic for his masterful sense of control as to what he said. Aided by an excellent press officer, Dr. Valls. However, Benedict has so many plusses, that the mysterion that is the Church is surely, in the end, served well by him.

    That doesn’t change my mind about this: Benedict should call the Prelate of Opus Dei right now, and ask for another numerary for his spokesman. Clear the deck, start over. Today.

  2. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Excellent commentary on the French letter fracas.

  3. Hans says:

    She needed Zoll to tell her that?


    No, but it gives her the most valuable asset such people have: deniability.

  4. It just goes to show how modernists try and twist everything to support their heresies, so any little nuanced opening will have them jump on it. Reasoning and proper distinctions are not part of a modernist mindset, nor the modern culture. Rather it’s whatever can be used – or abused – to push an agenda. As Psalm 119:110 says; The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts.

  5. It’s not about whether the press “get” what the Pope was saying. This is all about journalistic bullying – the mainstream media trying to put their words into the Pope’s mouth. They’re not interested in investigating the story. The Holy Father could invite all of them for a Fanta and explain it all to them until the last one of them understands, and STILL the headline would be “Pope backtracks OK of Condoms”.

  6. The Cobbler says:

    I, for one, am not waiting for the papal statement that has already been given to the effect that contraception is still immoral even in the cases the Pope considers where it might be a step in the right direction. I’ve also given up worrying about people who say the obvious is inobvious and the untrue is obviously true, since they say that regardless of any fact.

    If one wanted to make interesting, if of questionable fairness, comments on the conservative Catholic reaction to this, it would be more worthwhile to note how many traditionalists are quite concerned with the prudence of the Pope’s words regardless of the truth or falsehood thereof, which is a contrast with an attitude some traditionalists (whether the same ones or not I am not sure) have espoused to the effect that we should never care whether we come off as charitable or whether we spread the good news about our Faith because the important thing is to stick to it fully and let it be accepted by those who see and are open to it and rejected by those who will reject it anyway.

    (For the record: I count myself a strong sympathizer to the traditionalist camps, or at least very interested in the Tradition, whether others would judge me to know the first thing about it or not; I think we should generally consider prudence in our conduct with an eye to not shoving people away from the Truth while never detracting from said Truth; and on the other hand on the matter of Benedict’s candid if egg-headed opinions and the media that will report what they want no matter what I don’t see where prudence can add anything save to be sure not to err in the matter of truthfulness in the first place.)

  7. dspecht says:

    “conservatives” are defending the Pope’s statement not because this Pope said it … They are defending the statement because it is right. Whether he should have said it or not is another debate.

    AMEN, F.Z.!
    (Well, I think He should not have said it or at least not the way He did — but yes, it is not wrong in itselfe, as the words stand.)

  8. We are in the world and the world is not our friend. What ever we say, we think, we do, they will always say bad things about us. Life, with its share of good things, is a climbing to the Calvary.
    Carrying our daily Cross is to go through the narrow gate and follow the stony path.
    So we climb, with our Cross. If we think in everything Our Lord went through, we have strength to endure all this anti-catholicism, even when it come from people that call themselves catholic.
    I’m tired of being atacked everyday. Each time the Pope and the Church is attacked, we are being attacked.
    Let them go, let them shout. We must be patient. Being persecuted everyday in our faith is a kind of martyrdom. It’s not easy. Mainly because it’s everyday. It will end, one day.

  9. irishgirl says:

    paula luckhurst-AMEN! What you said!

  10. LaudemGloriae says:

    “Whether he should have said it or not is another debate.”

    Actually I think this is the debate. The Pope’s words may be true in the most literal sense; however, I believe that it is reasonable to expect him to have the prudence not to speak them publically. Just because the statement is true does not mean the statement is good.

    I believe that there are more men struggling to resist same sex attraction who will fall to temptation weakened in resolve by the Pope’s statements than there are men who currently do not use condoms in homosexual acts because they believe the church forbids it. It is a theoretical statement which includes no one, yet begs to be applied and misapplied in a thousand ways.

    So ultimately, when I ask myself “who benefits from the Pope’s statement?” I find that the answer is no one, since the scenario as it is given to us is aimed at addressing a population that does not exist. And yet we say the Pope knew what he was doing in these pastoral concerns for the non-existant and felt strongly about releasing the statement. As such it is only natural for people to wonder what the Pope really meant say and to whom he intended to say it.

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