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Pope Benedict needs to declare the fruitfulness and the multiplication as Mission Accomplished…

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Pope Benedict declares the multiplication of Catholics as Mission Accomplished

“Immediately after creating man, God told him, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). After the flood, God gave Noah and his sons a similar commission, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1).” from: Be Fruitful and Multiply

So the Catholic Church seems to think that birth control is a bad thing? Partly at least, because of this whole Be Fruitful and Multiply thing in the Bible? It seems like maybe the new Pope is stuck with this rule even if it puts a heavy burden on families, especially on his poorest followers. And if God said it, the Pope would have to do it, even if it requires mankind to overpopulate the Earth and cause widespread starvation and devastation by expanding beyond what the environment can support?

But maybe the Pope and his theologians just don’t see what God was getting at. When God said to Be Fruitful and Multiply, maybe God didn’t intend for it to be done FOREVER. Does he or she say “multiply ENDLESSLY”? I mean any religion needs a good amount of followers to thrive and after a devastating flood you would need to replenish it back up to a thriving amount. Any deity worth their salt would want its followers to multiply up to a good safe amount to keep their religion going, wouldn’t they? It seems to me this business of multiplying without end is an added assumption that God is not saying in these quotes. Thinking that God is commanding some endless reproduction is assuming that God does not have a lick of common sense.

These kinds of edicts may make sense to a bunch of elderly celibate people who live off the donations of others, but for those of us in the reproductive front lines, we can’t be blamed for thinking that God might be as interested in our having the ability to nurture and cherish our children as he or she would be in their mass production. It seems the Pope and his Cardinals are giving God very little credit in this issue by thinking that God meant ENDLESS reproduction.

If we don’t make these assumptions for God (that is a bit presumptuous eh?), than the question instead would be, how many Christians would it take to make God happy? Well I know there are issues with whom the Catholic Church considers real Christians, so let’s consider only the population of Catholics.

“Catholics worldwide numbered 1.07 billion in 2002, and half of them were in the Americas, says the 2004 Pontifical Yearbook” from: AMERICAS HAVE HALF THE WORLD’S 1.07 BILLION CATHOLICS.

Well perhaps a BILLION CATHOLICS is enough of the multiplying already? I think God might be proud and satisfied with the work Catholics have done in this area. If a billion Catholics is NOT a fruitful and multiplied amount, than the only other answer is to wait until all the available space on Earth is covered inch by inch with starving Catholics. By putting this idea upon God that he meant to multiply forever, the Catholic Church is forced into a struggle against a world that feels like it has enough children of God and wants to slow down the multiplying while those children can still be nourished and given the support that each child deserves.

Is there any way that the Pope and the Catholic Church can change their mind on this issue? Have they backed themselves into a theological and ecological corner?

I think there is a way out…

Maybe Pope Benedict can just take a page from the playbook of our American Man of God(George Bush). Maybe Pope Benedict can put an end to the Catholic Churches struggle against the world’s reality over birth control. Maybe all it would take is declaring the goal of being fruitful and multiplying as Mission Accomplished.

Big Time Patriot

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  • Eric Olsen

    excellent points: it is those who are least served by getting all fruitful and everything who are most susceptible to the message, and not just from Catholicism

  • NC

    I can just imagine Bush formally adopting BTP’s position and announcing that from now on, as a matter of national policy, poor people shouldn’t breed as much. That would go over like gangbusters with conscientious progressives like yourself, I’m sure.

    You do understand that a couple with two children has merely reproduced at replacement rate, right, BTP? No “multiplying” involved in those cases. Do you also understand that the problem for European Catholics, at least, is massive population decline? A little more multiplying in Italy and France won’t starve anyone; in fact, it might prevent starvation among Europe’s aging population a few decades down the road.

    Now, let’s pretend that your larger point was inspired by something other than simple anti-Catholic bias. Can we think of any other religion to which it might obviously be better applied? I’m envisioning a religion whose adherents live in crushing poverty, yet whose leaders place a fanatic emphasis on reproduction — even to the point of allowing polygamy.

    Do you see what I see?

  • Dawn

    Well, if I had to choose, I would rather see Catholics multiplying that some other religions. At least Catholics don’t as doctrine think it’s cool to blow themselves up, along with a few innocent people, on behalf of the Pope.

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    “You do understand that a couple with two children has merely reproduced at replacement rate, right, BTP? No “multiplying” involved in those cases.”

    But when a teenager is denied access or even knowledge of birth control, I think there is some unnecessary multiplying going on. I don’t have any problem with Catholics having children, I don’t care if some of them have 10 children, I just don’t think that a Church that prevents people from taking really effective steps against STD’s and unwanted births (and I’m only talking about birth control here, stopping pregnancy before it happens, we can leave Abortion for another discussion) is doing its constituents any favors, and as I mentioned here, must be assuming that God was frozen in place with the attitudes of humans from 2000 years ago..

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    A good point about Islam and its policies on reproduction. The Bible has no problem with polygamy, but for some reason the mainstream Christian sects have chosen to let that go while retaining the birth control fetish. It is true, I could easily have written this same piece featuring any of several Islamic leaders in place of the Pope.

    I am not an Islamic scholar either, but my impression from what I’ve seen of how it is carried out in practice in several countries, is that it is even worse than Catholics in terms of how they treat women in particular. (and I know that some of that is cultural and not religous, but closely related).

    So I bring up the Catholic version of the battle of ideology versus humanity here mostly because of the recent Catholic related news coverage. I will get around to questioning those other religions later (like, what is it with some of those Hindu sects and their cows?)

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    You should also keep Ganesha’s sacred rats in mind on that one, BTP.

    Dave

  • NC

    a Church that prevents people from taking really effective steps against STD’s and unwanted births

    Married Catholics are permitted to use “natural” birth control by practicing the rhythm method. Not as effective as condoms or the pill, admittedly, but if done right, you can have plenty of non-reproductive fun with the wife with Rome’s blessing. Just mark your calendar accordingly and plow away.

    With respect to unmarried couples, the Church’s policy is abstinence. Why is that not an “effective step” against STDs and unwanted births? Because it’s hard? It’s supposed to be hard. Resisting temptation always is; that’s the reason we have a Church. To say that the Pope should greenlight condoms in order to prevent disease is to approach the problem from its physical dimension while completely neglecting its spiritual dimension. Abstinence is the only form of BC that satisfies both ends.

    Let me add, since we’re on the subject, that I’ve never quite grasped the psychological logic of the pro-contraception crowd. Explain this to me: you have two horny Catholic teenagers who desperately want to screw. The Church says they should abstain. But it’s hard to think clearly when you’re feeling the urge, so the Church’s advice goes out the window. And yet, according to you, these same teenagers who are so gripped by lust that they can’t think straight are somehow able to remember that they should use a condom. Does that make sense to you? Do you think AIDS has become an epidemic in Africa because people there really want to use condoms but, at the moment of truth, they remember the Pope’s teaching and feel morally compelled to go bareback? That’s absurd.

    One other question. If the Church was really all about unfettered fruitfulness and explosive multiplication like you say, wouldn’t its policy be, “Fuck as many women as you can as often as you can”? Instead, they preach abstinence. Go figure.

  • NC

    Obvious point that I missed in my previous comment: In the example I gave of Africans supposedly feeling obliged not to wear condoms because the Pope says so, why don’t they similarly feel obliged to abstain from sex altogether? Since, y’know, the Pope says so? See the illogic here?

  • Eric Olsen

    my point was that throughout the world, it is the poorest, the least educated who are most prone to fruitfulness

  • NC

    That’s certainly true. 1.3 billion Muslims, 1 billion+ Hindus, etc.

    Solution: abstinence.

  • Dawn

    I think the main reason for AIDS in Africa has little to do with Catholic ideology and more to do with ignorance and misinformation.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    NC, married women in Africa are being hurt by the Catholic doctrine against birth control, condoms in particular. Those women do often practice abstinence until married, but their husbands don’t [and they often have sex outside of marriage], and so these women get AIDS and other STDs despite having followed the rules.

    So in this case, it seems to me that the Catholic church cares only for the spiritual and not a lick for the physical.

    The abstinence pledge works only if both sexes participate fully. If not, then one gets screwed, literally and figuratively.

    The Catholic church seems content to go down in history as abandoning these women to AIDs. Okie doke.

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    “With respect to unmarried couples, the Church’s policy is abstinence. Why is that not an “effective step” against STDs and unwanted births?”

    Oh yeah, it’s totally effective. Because Catholics (even their Priests) are known for the fact that they are totally abstinent when unmarried. Sex just doesn’t happen to unmarried Catholics. Yep, it’s working…

    Historically, even several Popes have had children out of wedlock. http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/renaissance1/section3.rhtml http://www.mmdtkw.org/VBorgias.html

    But let’s look at the bigger picture.
    “In 1960, 5 percent of America’s children were born illegitimately. Now the ratio is a third (32 percent).” http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.18864/pub_detail.asp.

    I wasn’t able to find a breakdown of Catholics in particular, this is the general population. And it is the spill over effect of Catholics and certain other Christian sects trying to enforce their reproductive beliefs on the rest of the world that seems most onerous to ne.

    Hey, at one level it is totally up to individual Catholics if they want to try these Church approved methods themselves, it would be nice if they got support from those old guys in Rome, but if not, what the heck.

    I just don’t want them or any other Religious group trying to put their superstitous mumbo jumbo anywhere near the American legal system or the funding priorities of our public health organizations.

  • http://www.shortstrangetrip.org Joe

    And it is the spill over effect of Catholics and certain other Christian sects trying to enforce their reproductive beliefs on the rest of the world that seems most onerous to ne.

    So then you’re chosing to ignore that the primary religious reproductive belief is abstinence outside of marriage? (And please, I say this as a hearty practicioner of pre-marital sex and a far lapsed-Catholic) But why is it the Church’s fault? It seems pretty obvious if someone’s not going to heed the church’s dictates with regard to abstinence there’s probably very little holding them to the prohibition of contraception.

  • Shark

    Dawn: “…Catholics don’t as doctrine think it’s cool to blow themselves up, along with a few innocent people, on behalf of the Pope…”

    pssst…

    Ire.

    Land.

  • NC

    NC, married women in Africa are being hurt by the Catholic doctrine against birth control, condoms in particular. Those women do often practice abstinence until married, but their husbands don’t

    These guys ignore the Church’s policy, infect their wives — and it’s the Church’s fault? That’s quite a piece of reasoning. If someone attacks me and I choose not to resist, should we blame my ass-whipping on the Pope for teaching me to turn the other cheek? Or should we blame the assailant for ignoring the Fifth Commandment? In a world where all evils flow from the Catholic Church or George Bush or the Catholic Church and George Bush, I can only hope there’s still a little blame left for fuckers who give their wives AIDS.

    I should add that while I don’t know what the teaching is regarding marital relations where one spouse has HIV (presumably it’s abstinence), I’d be shocked to an Andrew-Sullivan-esque degree if it turned out that the Vatican insists upon unprotected sex in such circumstances. There’s no “be fruitful and multiply, and also get AIDS” policy that I’ve ever heard of. But I could be wrong.

  • Shark

    BTP, I don’t know about the rest of the planet, but there are way too many people in my neighborhood.

    PS: Is it just me, or does Rat-Zinger look like a pederast?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Shark, they don’t blow things up because they’re Catholic, they do it because they’re Irish. That’s how the Irish have fun and always has been.

    Dave

  • Dawn

    How many actual Catholics are there in Africa anyway? I don’t remember Africa being a big Vatican strong hold last I checked.

    Sure a Catholic here, a Catholic there, but are there any real numbers to speak of.

    Remember, just because you are Christian doesn’t mean you are Catholic. Catholics are pretty snobby about that fact, us protestants are the heathen trash mucking around Jesus to hear the Catholics tell it.

  • NC

    There are 130 million Catholics in Africa. They make up 17% or so of the Church’s total membership.

  • Dawn

    Wow, those Catholics are pushier than I thought.

    Sheesh, that must make the Muslims pissed having so many going over to the “dark side.”

  • Dawn

    What’s even more disturbing is that Africa’s statistics for AIDS show:

    since the beginning of the epidemic two decades ago, more than 20 million
    Adult HIV Prevalence in frica:December 2001. In 12 countries,more than one-tenth of the adult population 15-49 years of age is infected with HIV.

    I wonder how much of that is related to the regional or religious politics?

    And why wouldn’t the Catholic Church want to protect its investment in the region by spending more resources to teach “abstinence” and preserve life.

    What is the Muslim teaching on birth control and AIDS?

  • Dawn

    Contraception may be used to prevent a woman becoming pregnant if pregnancy would harm either the woman or her unborn child. Permitted methods include the rhythm method and use of the Pill, although they must not be seen as a long-term solution. Discussions about contraception ought to include both husband and wife where possible. Any method of contraception that involves preventing the implantation of the fertilised egg (such as intrauterine devices or the ‘morning after pill’) is not allowed as it is considered to be a form of early infanticide.

    Well, that’s a score for the Muslims on the pregnancy issue, but it doesn’t do much to prevent AIDS.

    It’s a sad world when Catholics and Muslims see eye to eye on protecting the very lives of its followers through archaic practices.

    Abstain and all will be well.

    How’s that working for you?

  • NC

    Works fine for me.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    These guys ignore the Church’s policy, infect their wives — and it’s the Church’s fault? That’s quite a piece of reasoning.

    I’m not the one with bad reasoning skills, NC. It’s the church’s fault for not giving those women “God’s permission” to insist that their HIV-infected husbands use condoms when they have sex.

    I should add that while I don’t know what the teaching is regarding marital relations where one spouse has HIV (presumably it’s abstinence), I’d be shocked to an Andrew-Sullivan-esque degree if it turned out that the Vatican insists upon unprotected sex in such circumstances.

    Please prepare your best Andrew Sullivan impersonation. The Catholic position is to not use condoms at all, since, at least in Africa, they don’t prevent the spread of AIDS:

    The programme includes a Catholic nun advising her HIV-infected choir master not to use condoms with his wife because “the virus can pass through”.

    The Archbishop of Nairobi Raphael Ndingi Nzeki told Panaroma that condoms were helping to spread the virus.

    “Aids…has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms,” he said.

  • Dawn

    Wow, that some helpful Catholic advice for you. Really healthy also.

    Maybe it works fine for people not having sex, but when you are in a relationship like the ones stated by bhw, advocating abstinence and/or not using condoms doesn’t work so well for those people.

    But hey, why should the Catholic Church worrying about their African followers when they have fine folks like NC to do their bidding.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    My favorite part of the articles I read is the assertion that condom use “promotes promiscuity,” as if the absence of condom use has prevented it! It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so deadly.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I read the Panorama story. If what they say is true the Catholic chuch is effectively guilty of mass genocide. They make it sound very much like this ‘condoms spread aids’ position came down to the parishes from Rome, and if that’s the case it becomes a policy that kills people and someone should be held accountable.

    Dave

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    It’s really beyond disgraceful that preventing the spread of a deadly disease, particularly to innocents, has taken second place to some made-up “doctrine” that was put in place simply to grow the Catholic population.

    The Catholic church has not relented on its stance about condoms: under all circumstances, they are sinful to use. Better to get AIDs and have an HIV-infected child.

  • Dawn

    Didn’t you know BHW, the Catholic Church is not to blame for the fallibility of humans, since they (the Pope and friends) are themselves infallible?

    I can’t wait for the excellent argument as to why the Panorama story is completely reasonable and in line with the good works of the Catholic Church.

  • NC

    I have indeed reached a Sullivan-esque level of indignation, bhw … at how utterly disingenuous you are.

    Let’s start with the BBC article. Here’s the part you “forgot” to quote:

    However, the Catholic Church has consistently refused to back such calls. The Vatican is opposed to contraception and has advocated that people change their behaviour instead.

    You make it sound — particularly with that quote from the nun — like the Church is saying, “The condoms won’t stop you from getting AIDS, so go on — go bareback. You’re doomed anyway. Be fruitful and multiply.” In fact, what they’re is saying is “DON’T fuck. DON’T be fruitful and multiply. Abstain. It’s the only sure way to prevent infection.”

    And guess what? They’re absolutely right. From the US AID website:

    Abstinence from sexual intercourse or maintaining a mutually monogamous relationship between partners known to be uninfected is the surest way to avoid transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)…. Scientific studies of sexually active couples, where one partner is infected with HIV and the other partner is not, have demonstrated that the consistent use of latex condoms reduces the likelihood of HIV infection by 80 to 90 percent. However, failure to use condoms correctly with every act of intercourse, or to some extent slippage and breakage of the condom, has been shown to increase the risk of HIV transmission. In fact, some studies have shown that inconsistent condom users may face the same risks of HIV infection as non-users.

    The Church’s point is that it’s not only misleading but dangerous, given the horrendously high rate of infection in Africa, to go around making people think that they’re bulletproof just because they’re wearing a rubber. As the above makes clear, they’re not — especially if they don’t use the condom correctly. I literally cannot. fucking. believe. that you’re trying to play this off as callousness to AIDS when the Church has actually reversed its own reproductive agenda here in order to save lives by encouraging people not to engage in intercourse.

    Bottom line: there’d be more healthy people in Africa today if they followed the Church’s advice than the advice of people like you.

    Here’s the Vatican’s heavily footnoted reply to the BBC hatchet job, by the way. It’s long, but don’t miss paragraphs 6 and 15.

  • NC

    Also:

    If I were you, Dave, I wouldn’t be too quick to point fingers about indifference to human life. You were the guy who told me a few weeks ago that it would have been perfectly okay to dump Terri Schiavo into an oven and burn her alive, remember? Say what you will about the Church, it at least shies away from incinerating undesirables.

    As for you, Dawn, I do so appreciate that “fine folks” crack. Two days ago you told me that your remarks about Bush back in November weren’t meant to apply to me; and now you turn around and drop this. Lovely. The irony here, of course, is that if not for your knee-jerk anti-Catholicismm, you, as a mom, would almost certainly be on the Church’s side. How would you respond if one of your children came to you fifteen years from now and said, “Guess what, ma? I’m going to Africa for a year to fuck my brains out. No worries, though — I’m bringing condoms. They’re almost 100% effective.” Would you be cool with that? Or would your inclination be to lock them in a chastity belt instead? Knowing you as I do/did to be a good, protective mother, I think I can guess. And yet you turn right around here and slam away at Catholics for advocating the same thing. Unreal.

  • Dawn

    The point is that no matter how much you advocate abstinence, NOT everyone is going to do it – it’s not human nature to abstain.

    And how can women use abstinence as a method when they are married to men who are promiscuous.

    No one is doubting that abstinence is the only fool proof method to prevent pregnancy, STD’s and AIDS, but it’s not practical to imply that is the only alternative.

    As to your scenario about my own children, I would of course advocate abstinence above all else, but I would then give my children the real world advice and that would be to tell them that should they choose to ignore my advice, I STRONGLY suggest they use protective barriers to prevent infections and pregnancy. I would go into extensive details about these diseases and explain with graphs and pictures the dangers involved until they were scared to death to even talk to another person. I certainly wouldn’t hide behide the old “just don’t have sex” bullshit that doesn’t work.

    The key is these are humans and we live in a real world, not a made up one.

  • Dawn

    NC –

    Oh and for your personal reference, what good does it do to tell you anything about my intentions and motives when you have judged me in the most vicious, harshest and vilest light?

    At that this point, I haven’t the slightest clue why you even engage me as it is clear you would rather I wither and die under your scrutinizing gaze than merely exist and go about my life.

  • NC

    The point is that no matter how much you advocate abstinence, NOT everyone is going to do it – it’s not human nature to abstain.

    That’s true. But if they’re willing to ignore the Church’s advice on abstinence, then presumably they’re also going to ignore the Church’s prohibition on condoms and roll one on. You guys keep presenting me with these scenarios where you try to have it both ways, where the hypothetical couple supposedly says to each other, “Wait! The Church says we mustn’t do this. Oh well, screw the Church. Wait! The Church also says we mustn’t use condoms. We’d better obey.” Does that seem likely to you?

    I would go into extensive details about these diseases and explain with graphs and pictures the dangers involved until they were scared to death to even talk to another person.

    That’s what any good mother would do, and that’s what the Church is doing in telling people that condoms aren’t foolproof. They’re trying to scare the shit out of people so that they don’t risk sex at all, protected or not. If you think that’s unlikely to work, okay, but I hope you’ll at least acknowledge that (1) the Church isn’t trying to mislead people into higher-risk behavior, as bhw would have us believe, and (2) the Church is perfectly forthcoming about the fact that condoms do make sex a lot safer. See the Vatican piece I linked for numerous examples of that.

    Finally, I don’t know what you mean about “engaging” you. I haven’t addressed any of my comments in these Pope threads to you; you’ve jumped in and engaged me. If you want me to ignore you from now on, just say so.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    NC, can’t you discuss this topic without getting your panties in a wad?

    Responsible condom-use advocates always tell people that condoms do sometimes fail and therefore can’t prevent pregnancy or STD transmission 100% of the time. Those that don’t are being dangerously, willfully irresponsible and are indeed also responsible for their actions. But those who tell people that using a condom can prevent disease a whole lot better than not using one are telling the truth.

    Your Vatican link goes to great lengths to defend its stance on condom use, citing condom failure [from a variety of causes] as a main argument against their use. But then it adds, “the Church does not propose the development of condoms with better quality that would assure 100% effectiveness against the transmission of HIV and STD’s.”

    In other words, safety of condoms isn’t really the issue to them. Makes sense. So it would probably be better if they stopped trying to demonize condoms and stick to their moral position. That might be 100% effective at preventing so-called hatchet jobs [which really aren’t] in the press.

    The issue is that many, many millions of people in Africa are already infected. The Catholic church’s teachings on sexual chastity HAVEN’T BEEN WORKING FOR EONS — by the church’s own argument, AIDS is spread by promiscuity, not by chastity. So people in Africa are indeed having sex and they’re having unprotected sex. They’re not listening to the church, and it’s been that way for a looooong time.

    I literally cannot. fucking. believe. that you’re trying to play this off as callousness to AIDS when the Church has actually reversed its own reproductive agenda here in order to save lives by encouraging people not to engage in intercourse.

    [Love the drama with the extra periods in that first sentence.]

    I can’t find the money quote in the Vatican article that supports your argument: where exactly does it say that the church is reversing its position on married couples and sex? I honestly might have missed it, but I looked for it. I see a lot about pre-marital abstinence and marital fidelity, but nothing about what to do if you marry someone who’s already infected or who becomes infected.

    Bottom line: there’d be more healthy people in Africa today if they followed the Church’s advice than the advice of people like you.

    Funny thing is, I haven’t told anybody in Africa to do or not to do anything. But the Church has been in there preaching longer than I’ve been alive, and it seems their message about sexual chastity is falling on deaf ears.

  • http://darkeroticism.blogspot.com swingingpuss

    Weird how people think that sex is the primary cause of AIDS. It isnt as if all Africans are promiscious. AIDS can be caught in other ways too and I dont need to get into details about it.

    Sorry to say but I smell racism here, NC

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Swingpuss, in Africa, I believe it is sex that has spread HIV. One article said that in Kenya, 1 in 5 people are infected. That probably hasn’t happened because of bad blood transfusions or other forms of transmission.

  • http://darkeroticism.blogspot.com swingingpuss

    Do you have any data to back up the percentage spread via sex and other means?

    My point was that sex is not the primary cause for transmission – and education is much more important than abstinence.

  • NC

    Sorry for getting my panties in a wad over your suggestion that the Church is encouraging people to contract AIDS as part of its fruitfulness-and-multiplication agenda. You float one little genocidal conspiracy and I go flying off the handle.

    where exactly does it say that the church is reversing its position on married couples and sex?

    It doesn’t say it in the Vatican piece. I thought it was implied in the quote from the nun in the BBC article; she seemed to be encouraging the choir master’s wife not to have sex with her infected husband.

    So the reversal-of-agenda point was only an assumption on my part. And as it turns out, my assumption was correct. Behold:

    [T]the South African Catholic Bishops Conference made a … 2001 statement stating that condom use by married couples was a matter of conscience in cases where one partner had HIV.

    “The Church accepts that everyone has the right to defend one’s life against mortal danger. This would include using the appropriate means and course of action,” the statement said.

    Good enough? Turns out the Church isn’t a bunch of monsters, after all. How shocked my ex-friend Dawn must be.

    The Catholic church’s teachings on sexual chastity HAVEN’T BEEN WORKING FOR EONS — by the church’s own argument, AIDS is spread by promiscuity, not by chastity…. They’re not listening to the church, and it’s been that way for a looooong time.

    Then perhaps they should START LISTENING. And you should start answering the question I raised in my latest reply to Dawn: how is it that Africans are able to ignore the Church’s advice on abstinence but aren’t able to ignore the Church’s advice on not using condoms? They’re not stupid; I’m sure word’s gotten around that there’s an AIDS epidemic on the continent. If they’re going to defy the Pope and screw, it’s only logical to think that they’d defy him a little further by rolling one on. Seems to me like you’ve created a logical fallacy here designed to put the blame for the AIDS crisis in Africa squarely on the Church. It doesn’t wash.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    The title of that article, which YOU conveniently neglected to cite, is:

    “S. African Catholics Aren’t Practicing What Pope Preached”

    In other words, it ain’t Vatican protocol. But those particular bishops are doing what the Vatican should be doing: changing the rules to deal with the very serious situation at hand.

    Here’s a paragraph from early in the article; it shows how the local church officials are rationalizing what they’re doing:

    Ngonyama and other South African Catholics who support the use of condoms as a means of AIDS prevention — a group that includes priests, nuns and at least one bishop — contend their views do not necessarily contradict those of the late Pope John Paul II, who strenuously opposed artificial means of contraception. Instead, they see condoms as a tool to prevent the spread of a disease that is killing millions of people; any contraceptive effect is not a valid part of the debate.

    They’re playing with semantics. THESE condoms are being used for their disease prevention qualities, not their contraceptive qualities. They’ve caught the former pope on a technicality.

    Here’s one more you skipped over, the paragraph that precedes the ones you quoted:

    Yet faced with the extent of AIDS here, many Catholics acknowledge not enough people heed the church’s message on sexual morality to slow the spread of the disease. That forces a dilemma on church leaders: Some have concluded that they have no moral choice but to advocate condoms as the practical way to prevent infection.

    This is not approved by the Vatican. These people are re-interpreting church doctrine to deal with a real-life problem — they’re even recommending condom use for people who are having sex when they’re not married.

    Here’s Bishop Dowling’s statement to that Bishop’s meeting your article referenced:

    It is within that context of values that I am trying to situate the issue of the “use” of condoms. If we simply proclaim a message that condoms cannot be used under any circumstances, either directly or through not trying to articulate a proper response to the crisis we face, then I believe people will find difficulty in believing that we are committed as Church to a compassionate and caring response to people who are suffering, often in appalling living conditions. The fact that condoms are not 100% safe in every case cannot be advanced, in my view, as an argument that they should never be used in any circumstance. We live in an imperfect world, and sometimes even imperfect results at least can save some lives.

    This guy is clearly following his own conscience and not what JPII said.

    I think it’s great that the people in the trenches are dealing with reality in a responsible way. And I’m glad they’re doing the opposite of what the church officials were doing in the article I cited. But they are definitely not speaking for the Vatican — they’re doing all the things you’re arguing they shouldn’t be doing!

    Where is the Vatican statement about abstinence or condom use for married couples?

    [BTW, I don’t think abstinence for married couples will work, either.]

    And you should start answering the question I raised in my latest reply to Dawn: how is it that Africans are able to ignore the Church’s advice on abstinence but aren’t able to ignore the Church’s advice on not using condoms?

    Recent studies in the US have shown that kids who are raised on abstinence-only education are less likely to use condoms than kids who take sex ed courses. The abstinence-only kids have sex at about the same rate as the other kids, but they do delay having sex by about 2 years, I think. In other words, they’re afraid to go out and buy the condoms, because that would show that they were planning to have sex. So they don’t buy the condoms and they have sex anyway.

    If you “give permission” for people to use condoms, they’re more likely to buy them and use them.

    Also, there are big cultural issues to overcome in Africa. According to the Prime Minister of Mozambique, as quoted by Bishop Dowling:

    “HIV is transmitted through the most intimate and private human relationships, through sexual violence and commercial sex; it proliferates mostly because of women’s poverty and inequality…….In Mozambique the overall rate of HIV infection among girls and young women estimated at 15%, is twice that of boys their age, not because the girls are promiscuous, but because nearly 3 out of 5 are married by the age of 18, 40% of them to much older, sexually experienced men who may expose their wives to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases……Abstinence is not an option for these child brides. Those who try to negotiate condom use commonly face violence or rejection…….”

    “As a man, I know men’s behaviour must change, that we must raise boys differently, to have any hope of eradicating HIV and preventing the emergence of another such scourge……”

    …..”Most political leaders still view adolescent sex as a politically volatile subject to be avoided. Community and religious leaders wrongly believe that sexuality education promotes promiscuity. Health providers and teachers are ill-trained about sexuality and ill at ease with it. Parents know little about sexuality, contraception or sexually transmitted diseases, and many believe that early marriage will “protect” their daughters. They may themselves condone or perpetrate sexual violence as a legitimate expression of masculinity….”

    So there is a lot of work to do in some African countries. Both men and women need to be educated immediately. The Catholic church’s teachings don’t help the effort, they hurt it.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ok, NC. I didn’t say the Church had an active policy of spreading lies about condoms, the Panorama report seems to say it according to the article which was linked. Not my idea. Theirs. They suggested that it was suspicious that priests in both Africa and Asia are spreading the same rumors that condoms are permiable to HIV.

    And I do agree that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid AIDS, but telling people that condoms don’t work at all is still a lie and rather than encouraging them towards abstinence it is clearly encouraging them to just fornicate condom-free, and that’s the worst possible outcome.

    Dave

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Swingpuss, all the articles I’ve been reading aren’t really talking about curbing the spread of AIDS by any other means than dealing with sexual transmission. That leads me to believe that sexual transmission [and the resulting transmission to babies born to HIV-infected mothers] is the primary cause in Africa.

    I did also find one source that says it’s the primary cause:

    Africa is the only region of the world where more women than men are being infected with HIV and dying from AIDS-related causes. Fifty-five percent of HIV positive adults in Sub-Saharan Africa are women, and heterosexual activity is the principal mode of transmission.

  • NC

    In other words, it ain’t Vatican protocol. But those particular bishops are doing what the Vatican should be doing: changing the rules to deal with the very serious situation at hand.

    But they aren’t changing the rules. Here’s another part of the article which YOU neglected to cite:

    He and other Catholics who support condom use share the Vatican’s view that abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage are the best ways to prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. They also generally agree that the underlying cause of HIV’s rapid spread — one in five working-age adults in South Africa has the virus — is sexual promiscuity.

    In other words: Follow the Vatican’s teachings. But if you can’t, if the temptation overwhelms you and you resign yourself to sin, then by all means have the decency to minimize the consequences to yourself and your partner by wearing a condom. That’s only common sense. The fact that the South African bishops have authorized condom use for married couples where one spouse is infected shows that they’re willing to sacrifice the Church’s reproductive imperative to protect the life of the uninfected spouse. Why would you think they’d take a different tack when it comes to sex between unmarried people? Are you seriously suggesting that the Church would rather see fornicators contract AIDS than wear a Trojan? Actually, yeah, I guess you are; from one of your earlier comments:

    The Catholic church has not relented on its stance about condoms: under all circumstances, they are sinful to use. Better to get AIDs and have an HIV-infected child.

    Ready to retract that yet in light of the South African bishops’ policy on married couples? It won’t do to say that that’s just a bunch of bishops and not the Vatican, either; you can be sure that the Vatican heard about the bishops’ statement, and apparently no correction or admonition from Rome was forthcoming. If that’s not good enough for you, here’s an article from CBS explaining how the Vatican has no official position — yet — on condoms and AIDS. In such circumstances it’s no surprise that they’d defer to local Church authority on such matter. But do let me highlight a few quotes from the CBS piece just to disprove your assumption about what the Church thinks a bit more:

    A Vatican cardinal, Alfonso Lopez Trujillo of Colombia, made headlines last year when he said condoms don’t prevent AIDS and may help spread it because they create a false sense of security.

    But three months later another cardinal, Godfried Danneels of Belgium, told a Catholic TV program that if an HIV-positive person insists on having sex, “he has to use a condom. Otherwise he will commit a sin” by risking transmission of a potentially fatal virus.

    A third cardinal, Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, told The Associated Press recently that condoms could sometimes be condoned — such as when a woman can’t refuse her HIV-positive husband’s sexual advances — since preserving her life is paramount. “You can defend yourself with any means,” he said….

    The Rev. Angel Rodriguez Luno, professor of moral theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, offers two examples to show how complex the question is.

    A Catholic cannot discuss condom use with children in school, because “this is inciting them to use them.” But if he were a social worker telling prostitutes they risk getting AIDS unless they make their customers use condoms, “I am not doing anything bad. I am lessening the bad.”

    Each of these examples comes back to what I said above: it’s a sin to engage in premarital sex, but if you’re going to do it, at least “lessen the bad.” Even Lopez Trujillo admitted, repeatedly, in the Vatican piece I linked earlier that condoms make sex much safer (although not perfectly safe) than it is without protection. The fact remains, however, that the only means of protection available to unmarried people that’s truly safe and moral is abstinence.

    I’ll wait for that retraction.

    Now, a few things about the rest of your comment. I take your point about ab-only American kids not using condoms, but America isn’t suffering from a lethal AIDS pandemic. Isn’t it reasonable to expect that African kids would be less shy about asking for condoms considering that they’re under a much more lethal threat of HIV? Imagine it as a game of Russian Roulette. American kids are playing with a gun that has 99 empty chambers and one chamber with a bullet in it; African kids are playing with a gun that has one empty chamber and 99 bullets. Seems to me that the Africans will be much less likely to play than the Americans will.

    As for your point about cultural influences in Africa, I’m not sure what that bold-faced quote is supposed to prove. Obviously, an abstinence policy only works if both partners follow it. If the husbands of those child brides walked the straight and narrow, they wouldn’t infect their wives. Which brings us right back to where you and I first started this debate several hours ago. You blamed the Church for child brides being infected, I said it was the husbands’ fault for not following Church teachings, you replied that “It’s the church’s fault for not giving those women ‘God’s permission’ to insist that their HIV-infected husbands use condoms when they have sex,” and now we’ve discovered that the South African bishops have, in fact, given permission for condom use by infected couples. So let me ask you: After all this, what exactly is your point?

    One more quote from that article about the South African bishops:

    [S]ome Catholics who advocate the use of condoms in certain circumstances are wary of spreading the message too widely for fear that it could undercut the church’s teaching on sexual morality. They also say that years of condom distribution throughout southern Africa have barely made a dent in the spread of HIV.

    I know, I know — it’s the Church’s fault. It must be; it always is. Let me throw a radical theory out, though, and suggest that just maybe people who are in the heat of lust don’t give much of a shit what Catholicism thinks about condoms. Maybe they don’t want to wear condoms for the same reason most people don’t want to wear them: because they dull the sensation to the point where it’s almost not worth the effort. That’s very foolish given what’s been happening in Africa, but alas, it’s human nature. My question is simply this: if my theory is correct, why are you blaming the Church?

  • Shark

    I think we’re missing something: a good old-fashioned roll in the hay with oneself, ie. masturbation.

    Can’t these relentlessly rutting AIDS-infected Africans jerk off instead?

    What is the Catholic churches official opinion on *masturbation?

    *”sex with someone I love” — Woody Allen

    =============

    PS: Just to fuck with all of ya, check this out:

    Number of Roman Catholics in Mexico = 89.7% in 1990

    Contraceptive use (by married women) = “close to 53%” in 1995

    ie over half the Catholic married women in Mexico ignore Rome on this issue.

    ~ NEXT!

  • Dawn

    NC – yes, leave me alone FROM NOW ON.

  • Dawn

    sorry for the off topic comments folks, carry on, there won’t be anymore of these outbursts.

  • http://www.psychopundit.com Dave Nalle

    Masturbation is a venial sin, Shark. So you’re going to limbo instead of hell you lucky boy.

    Dave

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    “I\’ve never quite grasped the psychological logic of the pro-contraception crowd.”

    Well, now you are getting to the point. Condoms and other contraception are not “psychological” tools. They are “physical” tools.

    Some argue the Church is not to blame if people don’t follow ALL their precepts and SOME of their precepts lead to them getting std’s or having unwanted pregnancies…

    Hmmm, I might argue that the Church IS to blame for sacrificing those people who make errors to the sexual ideas required by a celibate old man living in a palace in Rome…

    People make errors, if you think that the Church can ignore that and ignore its own part in making those errors fatal ones instead of merely sins, you are pretty much saying the Church is just not responsible for anything.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    NC, I don’t have a whole lot of time right now, but suffice it to say that I won’t be making any retractions until we hear about that Vatican okay on condoms.

    The fact that the South African bishops have authorized condom use for married couples where one spouse is infected shows that they’re willing to sacrifice the Church’s reproductive imperative to protect the life of the uninfected spouse.

    Alrighty, we’ve checked the bishops of one country off the list. How many countries are there in Africa? What about those nuns telling people that condoms were themselves infected with HIV?

    And any word from the Vatican? Nope [from the CBS article you linked to]:

    So just what is the Roman Catholic Church’s position? It depends on whom you ask. Contrary to what some think, there is no official, authoritative Vatican policy on using condoms to protect against AIDS.

    In other words, the Vatican policy, as I stated above, has NOT changed. Until the Vatican says otherwise, the assumption is that the Vatican position remains: condoms = bad.

    Once again, I’m happy to hear that some lower level leaders in the trenches are making adjustments to the policy. Others aren’t.

    And what’s taking the Vatican so long to make a statement? AIDS has been a known problem since about 1979 or 1980.

  • Gabriel

    The Catholic Church and the Pope should not be looked upon as an entity that is trying to enforce rules on you. Nothing that it teaches does it force on you or anybody. The purpose of the magesterium and the Pope is to ensure that the teachings of christ be handed down through all the ages until his second coming.

    The Church is 200x older than you and it will continue to exist long after we are all dead and Christ has come again. The Church does not believe that non-christians or non-catholics are damned. The Church just ensures that which Christ has promised and which does not contradict a SINGLE biblical text. That is the purpose of the Catholic Church. TO make sure bozoos dont try to enterprate the word of God outside of Context. You should learn the History of the Church, because your lies are unbecoming of men of action.

  • Gabriel

    One more thing, for those of you who would say the church is hypocritical you are wrong. It is men in the weakness of the dark who have free will that make the church look hyprocritical, but the church simply teaches the truth of christ and the moral absolute truths of all mankind.

    For those of you who say there is no absolute truth. Stop because such a claim would mean that you who denies absolute universal truth is making a declaration of universal statement.
    And that is contridictory to what you claim.

    For those of you who hate the church, stop because the church does nothing wrong to you. She has provided all christians with the Bible completed in its entirety in 399 AD. For our protostent brothers that means we are responcible for everything they have been handed down. Dont critisize the church because that is a critisism on Christ who sent the Church. Who has learned theology from liberal media and not from the time of christ and the early church fathers.

    In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Lord, who is Truth, Help us to know You. From dust we came and to dust we shall return. May we all realize that God is everything and we are but a spec in the cosmos, but we thank you God because you love the spec. You created all things good and all the Good we need must come from you. For this we pray through the Intercession of the New Eve the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of Mercy, God. In the Name of the Father, SOn, and the HOly Spirit.Amen.

  • http://www.bigtimepatriot.com Big Time Patriot

    “The Church is 200x older than you” ?
    I’m assuming the Catholic Church can’t possibly be considered more than 2005 years old. 200 times older than me would actually be about 8000 years ago. If you can’t reason out simple math I’m not certain you should trust your own judgments on the big questions of life. Another questionable point you make, “The Catholic Church and the Pope should not be looked upon as an entity that is trying to enforce rules on you.” What do you call it when the Church tries to affect the voters of America through instructions on how to treat various candidates who might have different views on the rights of women to control their own bodies than the views of a certain 80 year old, supposedly celibate man?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    It is against dogma to spill one’s seed upon the ground, in the air or into a Kleenex. We won’t even go down the old sodomy path. FYI, sodomy isn’t only about back door sex, ask any follower of the Good Book. The seed of a male may only be deposited into the sacred female’s receptacle. Unless, of course, you need assistance from a fertility clinic. Then, all bets are off.

  • monco

    I have something to ad…sexual intercourse is considered the penis entering the vaginal cavity. With condom use, the penis enters a condom which enters the vagina…technically, it would not be sex (due to the milimeter of latex inbetween). So, this would suggest a few things. It would for one, suggest that all unmarried couples would HAVE to use a condom to get their rocks off; not be “spilling the seed upon the ground” because the sperm dies when it comes in contact with the spermicide; and also is a better way to prevent abortions. And also, what does an 80 year old dude who’s NEVER been laid know about sex?! No woman would want to get into bed with him, so of course he can say that and be alright with it, cause he ain’t getting none anyways. So all u unmarried couples, u better wear a condom if u want to be good christians. This is the 21st century, things are different then they were 2000 years ago! Thus, rules can change. Not everyone follows the diet rules of the bible, not everyone abstains from sex before marriage (yea, including ALL of u hypocrites who are against condoms and birth control, you did it too!), so WHY would u go and be all against birth control! You people need to get a life, and open your eyes to the new world…god let condoms and birth control come into existance, so be it…anything that is on this earth, is because of god letting it exist…we are his toys, if he creates the earth and heavens, then by his name JUST GO WITH THE FLOW! It’s not against the 10 original commandments! It’s not hurting anyone (unless an unwanted child comes to this world and is neglected, or someone gets AIDS…by supporting that, one would be a sinner!). I have nothing more to say….

  • Martin Lav

    1 year later, who needs to get a life?

  • David

    First of all, I am engaged and getting married this summer. My future bride and I are already using Natural Family Planning (NFP) and are not sexually active. We choose to follow the Church’s teachings, which apply to all persons, since all people, whether Catholic or not, have intrinsic value and dignity, and deserve to be treated with love and respect. It can be difficult at times, obviously, but it’s really not that hard, if you are accustomed to practicing virtue. I’ll try to anwer some questions.

    Dr. Janet E. Smith explains it on this FREE CD!!! Here’s a link to Dr. Janet Smith’s homepage.

    [Edited]

    And now, in my own words…

    The Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception are there for your benefit. The Church teaches that THE MEANING OF LIFE IS TO LOVE AS GOD LOVES. How does God love? He came to serve, not to be served, and gives himself totally and completely to us, with no selfish interests.

    Love gives of itself COMPLETELY, as we see in Christ on the Cross; not just when it’s convenient or feels good. Only this will bring you the happiness you search for.

    HUMAN BEINGS ARE MEANT FOR LOVE, never to be used as objects.

    SEX IS A GREAT GIFT! This was the original sacrament (sign) in the Garden of Eden, before sin. THIS IS THE ORIGINAL WAY IN WHICH WE ARE TO IMAGE GOD, and participate in his perfect, divine life.

    God is a trinity, a communion, a family, a relationship. GOD IS LIFE-GIVING LOVE! LOVE REQUIRES S-A-C-R-I-F-I-C-E!!! If you aren’t giving of yourself until it’s thoroughly painful, then you’re just another fair-weather friend. Love is not pragmatic.

    Contraception is not total self-giving, and is therefore CONTRACEPTION IS NOT LOVE. Abstinence requires self-control, virtue, respect for creation and for the body. Contraception is harmful psychologically, physically, and spritiually. You deserve better. You have more dignity and value than you realize.

    This doesn’t mean you should have a 50 kids. If you are in control of yourself (and you ought to be) then you have the freedom to CHOOSE whether to have sex, or whether to abstain. Both sex and abstinence can be expressions of Love and self-giving. (Choice? Interesting, Catholics believe in free will, but not in permitting the abuse of free will for selfish motives.)

    God is committed to you forever, and he chose you. ONLY A MONOGAMOUS MARRIAGE between one man and one woman, can image the love of Christ (the Bridegroom) for the Church (the Bride).

    In this analogy, God is always the initiator, and we are to open up to receive God’s love. We receive God into our hearts, and we receive his flesh into our bodies (the Eucharist) (John 6:51-55). The Mass is a wedding feast. Heaven is described as an eternal wedding feast.

    If you want to know if something is permitted or good, just ask yourself, “Does this image God?” “Is this life-giving, selfless, Love?” “Am I willing to humbly sacrifice my own desires and my own understanding, out of love for God and Man?”

    I hope this helps…

    p.s. check out the links at the top :) Have a full, joyful, life! ~David

  • David

    2 years later? Ha!