World Health Organization praises Pope’s approval of condoms

The misrepresentations of the Pope’s words in his book-interview are ricocheting around, developing their own buzz.

Get this:

WHO welcomes the Pope’s statement on condoms

MANILA, 25 November 2010—The World Health Organization (WHO) today welcomed a statement by Pope Benedict XVI that the use of condoms is acceptable in halting the spread of AIDS.

The Pope’s statement is in line with evidence that condoms are highly effective in preventing infection with the HIV virus,” said Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific.


The Pope said, explicitly, that condoms are neither a moral solution nor a REAL solution.

In fact, just as he did when he was on an airplane doing a presser, the Pope knows more about condoms than the World Health Organization.

What I find amazing is that an organization like this can simply make it up.

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  1. catholicmidwest says:

    Well, the proverbial rubber is out of the proverbial package. We might as well get used to it.

    When people show up for RCIA, this will be just one more thing to explain. OR not. Probably not, given the state of most RCIA programs. [All our problems don’t come from the likes of the UN, you realize. In fact, most of them don’t.]

  2. maynardus says:

    “What I find amazing is that an organization like this can simply make it up.”

    Me too, Pater, but we really shouldn’t be anymore. The MSM basically makes it up every day on stories like this. The whole world isn’t against us – yet – but really, most of the “powers and principalities” are and we’d better get used to it. The truth will never be suppressed, but they will make every effort to submerge it in a tide of lies; going forward it will require more and more of our efforts – for smaller and smaller return – to proclaim it to the world.

  3. Shadow says:

    From what I have been reading, it is my understanding that the UN similarly “approved” the Pope’s alleged statement on condoms. It is not just the WHO, it’s all over the place.

  4. JayneK says:

    I wrote a short summary of the Pope’s real position in a forum discussion:

    The context was the situation in Africa which many secular/liberal people claim is in need of condoms to save lives. They have criticized the Catholic position as lacking compassion and putting dogma before people’s lives. The Pope was explaining why those people are wrong. Condoms are not a solution to this problem; morality as taught by the Catholic Church is the solution. Sexual activity needs to be within marriage only. The “just give out condoms” solution is both immoral and ineffective in that it encourages high risk behaviours. It is not a solution at all. The only good thing there could possibly be about condoms might occur if there were a case in which using condoms meant that a person was taking the first step in developing proper sexual morality. Of course, a case like this is still objectively sinful and would be sinful regardless of the sex or sexual orientation of the people involved. That is what the Pope was saying.

    Now how do I get this to appear in newspapers all over the world?

  5. Lurker 59 says:

    At the bottom of the page, you can email them that the article contains inaccurate or missing information. It probably won’t do much good but it is a shot.

    Here is the direct link.

    Remember to fill in the URL of the press release

    Here is the link to the Fr. Fessio article

  6. catholicmidwest says:

    The part I really find astonishing is not that the WHO or the MSM might make up things to publish, like this.

    What I find amazing is that Catholics don’t get what this is really about.
    Look. 75% of the world couldn’t possibly care less what the Catholic church says about condoms. They’re not Catholic and they don’t think about us seriously even on a yearly basis. We’re like the girl scouts or some stamp collectors’ club to them, as far as they are concerned. To them condoms are a disgusting little piece of utility, a joke, but one that might contain a health epidemic they’d rather not think about morally. Now…..cradle catholics find all this impossible to process, I realize, but it’s true, absolutely true. Most of the people I work with are in this 75%.

    The other 25% consists of people with some kind of linkage to the Catholic church; people for whom this topic isn’t just a passing curiosity or a piece of ho hum detritus. That 25% includes ex-catholics, catholics in name only, confused catholics, two-timing catholics (go everywhere and nowhere to church) and some practicing catholics of various descriptions. *******The big media blasts on this topic are really directed at the part of this 25% who really give a damn and don’t totally regard it like the general population (the 75% described above). ****** (And at governmental organizations jonesing to get what they can out of the situation, of course, but that applies to every topic.)

    Therefore, the problem isn’t really outside the church. It’s inside! The Church is actually far smaller than nearly anyone guesses. Perhaps PBXVI has an inkling from his years in the CDF. I’m not sure.

    The statement a few years ago by this pope that the church of the future would be smaller and more faithful may have been more prescient than anyone realized because I don’t think there is to be any kind of giant cataclysmic upheaval. I think we’re already there. The boundaries just aren’t clear yet. I don’t know how the boundary clarifying is going to work and I don’t think any mortal does, but this picking away, however, may be part of it. Not sure whether that’s good or not.

  7. Jerry says:


    Excellent statement. I would suggest, as a first step, sending it to the contact for the WHO press release ( I just emailed a statement point out the errors in the opening paragraph of the press release and requesting that it be withdrawn immediately. The more email he receives the more likely he may do something.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    And since this clarifying is going to happen anyway, and the pope knows it because he hears evidence every day, there is possibly a sense of “damn the torpedoes” about the whole thing.

    This little snippet of the book, incidentally, has come out at an interesting time. The publish date for the book was 11/24/2010, day before yesterday. It’s brand new and just hit the bookstores. Coincidence? Have no idea.

  9. pattif says:

    Without having read the whole context, I can’t be sure, but I don’t think the Holy Father was talking about prostitutes (male or female), about condoms or even, specifically, about sexual behaviour. I think he was talking about a person being in an objectively sinful situation and seeking to do something to mitigate the full extent of the evil that necessarily flows from the objectively sinful situation. The action the person decides to take might also be objectively wrong, it need not even be effective, but the desire to mitigate evil can be seen as the first stirrings of thinking of the good of another. Since all sin starts from the prideful desire to put one’s own wants before the love of God and neighbour, this thought for the good of another can be seen as the first, halting step out of the objectively sinful situation, somewhat analagous to the Prodigal Son’s first step out of the pigsty towards the road to home.

    My guess is that the Holy Father chose the example of a male prostitute simply to avoid giving the impression that he was talking about contraception; this would explain his telling Fr Lombardi that what he said could be applied to females as well as males. I think reading Pope Benedict is like reading Augustine: when what he has written doesn’t seem to make sense, it pays to go back and read it again. Sadly, those who prefer to pontificate about what they wish he had said, or what someone else thinks he said, will rarely do that.

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    “Sadly, those who prefer to pontificate about what they wish he had said, or what someone else thinks he said, will rarely do that.”

    But you said you haven’t read it yet. I’m confused.

  11. There’s no hope. The world is unable to understand anything important.

  12. pattif says:

    Fair point. When I get to read the whole book, it might shed a different light on this excerpt. But I have actually read the excerpt, not merely someone else’s take on it. What I was referring to was the widespread assumption that, just because a few commentators start saying , “The Holy Father has changed the Church’s teaching on condom use”, the Holy Father has actually changed the Church’s teaching on condom use.

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    You sound like a hindu.

  14. frleo says:

    The sad part is that the AP and other news agencies will pick up the story from WHO and not check with the Church about the proper context. It would be nice if the AP would consult the Vatican with a simple question, “Does this article truly reflect what the book says.” If they spent any time researching for their stories and not simply taking the press release the gospel truth, they might be able to claim some credibility. If they only chose to print/report every story as presented to them there is no end to the spin that can be put across as news.

  15. anilwang says:


    Excellent point. If Catholics knew their faith, any attempt at distortion would be in vain. Most of the world wouldn’t care, except for the some true agnostic secularists who actually believe in religious freedom. Since most people wouldn’t care and Catholics couldn’t be snowed, distortion be as profitable as shaking your fist at an incoming hurracane. It may feel good, but it won’t do any good.

    But I don’t think that it’s all malice. It’s not an easy teaching, and years of sloppy thinking due to sound-bites, ambigious political equivication, the institutionization of proof-texting (the Bible can used to support any cause or philosophy), the culture of self-interest, relativism and the general disillusionment in all authority has taken its toll. By default, we can’t expect expect our culture to understand non-obvious ideas or even obvious ideas that go against the spirit of the age. But as faithful Catholics, whether lay or ordained, it’s our duty to keep trying until they do understand.

    And we will succeed. History has shown is that the Church triumphs in far more hostile environments than we’re living in. But history has also shown, success often takes several generations. Like Abraham, we have to keep the faith even though we won’t be able to live long enough to see the full fruit of that faithfulness.

  16. catholicmidwest says:


    I don’t think this is all malice coming from the world outside the church either. I am convinced that more than half of the people outside the church don’t care one iota about any of this, and better than half of those would have no idea what we’ve talking about if they ever heard about it at all. This is simply not important on the radar of most people.

    The people who are likely to get all lathered up about this are the extremes contained within the pool of people who know something about the church and have some stake in what happens. Now, mind you, most people in the Catholic church, particularly in the middle, have practices that are not going to be changed in any way whatsoever, no matter what the pope says. But this kind of discussion still matters in some way to them….whether they’ve been going out of their way to be good re birth control, or whether they have an axe to grind or are merely confused, etc etc. This kind of thing also might matter to people who have a Catholic relative or “friend” they like to harass the living hell out of.

    The press is interested because a) this kind of nonsense sells papers, b) they tend to side with the dissident wing because they’re all progressives anyway, and c) they think it gives them some kind of handle for understanding our political behavior which it most assuredly does not, but they hope against hope like a marooned bedbug on a park bench and you can’t stop them I guess.

  17. Torkay says:

    Not amazing at all, Father. WHO is part of the United Nations, the embryo of world government and the worldly seat of the anti-Christ. This is exactly what one would expect from such a source. (PS – I hope you don’t contribute to UNICEF on Hallowe’en).

  18. Microtouch says:

    See comment #50 in above poll concerning whether the Pope should grant interviews.

  19. JayneK says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I sent the email as suggested. I also sent a version to my local Catholic newspaper which had an editorial about how using condoms was now an acceptable option under some circumstances. AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!! It is bad enough to see it in secular sources.

  20. trespinos says:

    Since this very unfortunate incident has developed to the extent it has–and it was predictable that it would–I believe the Holy Father needs to get a restatement of Catholic teaching out there immediately. There is a convenient avenue he could use. The bishops of South Africa have issued their statement on the subject and it is probably the most problematic one. (I have not read the entire statement, only an excerpt, so if I am mischaracterizing it, someone correct me, please.) The Holy Father could send an apostolic letter to his fellow bishops of South Africa, in which he would restate what needs to be restated, in an official, magisterial document. He wouldn’t need to emphasize where the bishops went astray (or where he himself was a little imprudent to begin with)–the fact that he would be restating the Church’s teaching, in his usual affirmative way, should be enough to clear up the confusion for those bishops and for all the bishops of the world. I really hope he’s working on something like this–now, not next week, now.

  21. Lori Pieper says:


    You are right, I think. The time is ripe right now for the Pope to speak to clarify things. Or perhaps that Vatican committee or panel or whatever who has been considering the question of condom use for so long could put out their document on condoms now. But a papal text would be better.

    At times I wonder if the Holy Father didn’t have something like this in mind when he spoke – to prod that panel of theologians into action along somewhat the same lines he used – a signal to them, because they might have been considering something more liberal. Yet at the same time, I think there were a lot of theologians in Rome leaning toward the approval of some condom use seemed to be trying to use the Pope’s words to spin the whole thing their way.

    I have put up another post exploring the text – and have even included a short video I made.

  22. QMJ says:


    you are spot on.

  23. rfox2 says:

    If the pope’s statements are being so egregiously misunderstood, why doesn’t the Vatican simply issue a statement to clear up the issue? Why doesn’t the press secretary say in unequivocal language: “It is never morally acceptable, under any circumstances, to use artificial contraception.”? It’s abundantly clear that the world is not getting the message, or will distort the message at the earliest opportunity. Regarding moral issues, and a population that is not enlightened by sanctifying grace, it’s almost a certainty that people will misuse their reason to justify immoral viewpoints even based on the authority of the Catholic Church. Isn’t a quick statement from the Vatican press secretary called for at this point given that organizations like the WHO are pushing a statement that the pope never made?

  24. Prof. Basto says:

    In my view, the folks of Rorate Caeli are right this time.

    The pope’s comments were a disaster, and he displayed poor judgement in making them.

    Of course, the liberal mainstream media will now exploit this golden opportunity handed to them by the Pope to the maximum possible extent to further the cause of contraception. The pope should have known better. He should have maintained the clear moral teaching of the Church; he should have replied that the Church opposes condoms, even as a weapon in the fight against HIV, because the Church cannot condone extramarital sex or contraceptive sex within marital life.

    He should have reiterated that the Church opposes prostutition and the sexual libertinism now in vogue, that the Church stands firm against the modern hedonistic society, and that the only moral solution is adherence to the Church’s teaching that sex outside of wedlock is a mortal sin.

    Instead, he decided to make a complex and subtle point that will confuse the masses, the multitudes of those who are experts in moral philosophy or theology. This press coverage is the fruit of a disastrous papal decision.

  25. LaudemGloriae says:

    The Pope stated that *the intention* to use some means to reduce harm to another are a first step toward a more moral approach to sexuality. He further said that there may be “this case or that case” where the use could be justified. Now some argue about the translation of “justified” but WHO used a less forceful word: “acceptable”. The question is what groups of people might be included in the Pope’s musings about “this case or that case” beyond his example of a male prostitute. The Pope further said that condoms are not a solution to AIDS, but again, in fairness, WHO has said that the Pope’s comments are “in line with” their goals to control the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    Now, please understand that I thought the Pope’s comments were extraordinarily regrettable in every way, but if we are going to chastise the media for their glib treatment of his comments, we must be equally fair to their covereage. If the media-savvy Pope knew what he was setting off, I’m sure he knew what was coming, perhaps even desiring it, so I can’t take seriously the feigned outrage over the media reaction.

    I expect Kabuki theater in American politics, but not Holy Mother Church.

  26. Brad says:

    Rfox2: excellent comment! Thank you for refreshing our memory that many people in the world, Catholic or not, do not, at a given moment, or ever, possess sanctifying grace. While singing kumbaya, we often forget this teensy, and sad, factoid! When I am in a state of mortal sin, I feel like a wraith.

    Also, what you said about how the world “will distort the message at the earliest opportunity”: too true. I recall the Lazarus’s rich man in “pre-Easter hell” wanting to warn his brothers. But we know what Our Lord says about that vain hope.

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