21 November 2010

The Pope Sees the Light...

Pope Benedict XVI has seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not Jesus. The Pope, God bless his soul, has finally worked out that abstinence, although the best solution, is not a reality that the Catholic Church can make happen. Well, not unless they start forcibly restraining unmarried or un-partnered couples.

Condoms, particularly the use of them, are not a 100% effective way of preventing the spread of STD or STI. However, they do significantly better than the option of taking a shower without a raincoat. In any event, the Pope's support is not blanket support for the idea that the Catholic Church facilitate a program of condom distribution through its parishes.

The Pope's support suggests that prostitutes, and in particular male prostitutes,would be beginning to act responsibly if they were to start using condoms. I might have to go out and get the book from which the Pope's comments are sourced: Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. And, the news story that I pilfered for this piece was quoting from excerpts that were published in The Vatican rag, L’Osservatore Romano.

The Catholic Church has adopted a position that is anti-condom use. It has maintained this position in the face of some intense and harsh criticism. So, is this statement by the Pope indicative of a softening in the position of the Catholic Church? No, it is not. The Pope was very explicit in restricting his comments to a very narrow range of condom use. His choice of male prostitutes was undoubtedly a conscious one that was sort to deflect any concerns about condoms being used as a contraceptive device. The position of the Catholic Church with respect to the use of condoms as a form of contraception remains unchanged.

Yet, when it is all said and done, there is an argument to be made that this may in fact be a first step in recognising that the issue of HIV / AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease and infection is an issue that transcends simple arguments of morality. It is an issue that has and will continue to be a measure of the times in which we live, particularly if you live in Africa or Asia.

Progress is progress even if it is in small and scripted steps.

No comments: