Do bears still shit in the woods?
November 20, 2010 12:27 PM   Subscribe

The Pope approves the use of condoms
posted by Artw (180 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
And in related news, Brazil, Mexico and Italy cave unilaterally called for a Thanksgiving of no less than three days of fucking.
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 PM on November 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


whoa...
posted by mad_little_monkey at 12:29 PM on November 20, 2010


But only for male prostitutes, for whom contraception isn’t an issue. Everyone else, keep making babies! You know, for God and everything.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:31 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was not expecting this.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:31 PM on November 20, 2010


Also: Do bears still shit in the woods? yes, and wipe their asses with rabbits.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Evil Fuck Approves Manifestly Sensible Thing
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:32 PM on November 20, 2010 [92 favorites]


He is still Catholic isn't he?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:33 PM on November 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


As long as gays don't use them.
posted by blucevalo at 12:34 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


They're getting better. Only thirty years behind the times instead of, oh, a hundred and twenty. (/bitter ex-catholic)
posted by cmyk at 12:34 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


'Cause, you know, they're intrinsically disordered and shit.
posted by blucevalo at 12:35 PM on November 20, 2010



But only for male prostitutes, for whom contraception isn’t an issue. Everyone else, keep making babies! You know, for God and everything.


TFA says he used that as an example, not that he said that was the only justifiable case.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:36 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


TFA says he used that as an example,

I imagine the topic comes up a lot.

*rim shot . job*
posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on November 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


As long as gays don't use them.

Except, you know, in the one specific example he names.
posted by griphus at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2010 [20 favorites]


Catholicism, now a little less evil.
posted by tiamat at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


Too bad this can't be retroactive. Better late than never, I guess.
posted by brundlefly at 12:38 PM on November 20, 2010


My Dad just read me this headline from his Internet Station and I was like "What, The Onion?" Apparently not.
posted by jessamyn at 12:39 PM on November 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


Well, it only took the Catholic Church 25-30 years to get with the program?

(Although that is still jackrabbit fast compared to the Geologic Pace of most changes in the Church.)
posted by MasonDixon at 12:42 PM on November 20, 2010


I understand that Catholic priests are still prohibited from marrying, and having sex out of wedlock, and from masturbating, so that after ordination they can never experience orgasm again. I certainly hope they are not driven to any immoral behavior.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:42 PM on November 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Except, you know, in the one specific example he names.

The one specific example he names is of a male prostitute. Male prostitute does not equal gay prostitute.

The other specific example he took the time to mention by name is AIDS, and he still says disapproves the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. So, well done there.
posted by kafziel at 12:43 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm experiencing this strange feeling. I think it's the abating of a small bit of my absolute loathing of the Catholic church. I had not expected that to be possible, but it's sorta nice.

Thanks for being less evil, guys. (You're not getting a pass on all the other stuff, but praise where it is due.)
posted by stoneweaver at 12:43 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can this be the thread where we celebrate everything that's awesome and commendable about catholicism?
posted by Jofus at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, you missed the golden opportunity to use "Holy Fuck" in the title of the post.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2010 [16 favorites]


This is pretty big fucking news. (literally?).

and I suspect all of the "FOOTNOTE: what I mean is that in certain very specific circumstances which you should discuss with your priest you won't go immediately to hell for using condoms" will be lost amongst the "POPE SAYS CONDOMS A-OK!" headlines.

And I suspect he knows that, too.
posted by the bricabrac man at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2010


"But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection."

So...the Pope says condom use might be okay, but isn't proper. Mixed signals much?
posted by lumensimus at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


*applause*
posted by krautland at 12:46 PM on November 20, 2010


Can this be the thread where we celebrate everything that's awesome and commendable about catholicism?

The fact that some self-identified Catholics do not follow or truly Catholic doctine? That is indeed something to celebrate.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


^ truly believe
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2010


So if I want to be able to use condoms, I have to become a male prostitute?

TBH, I have been toying with a career change...
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The proper way to deal with the horror of a virulent disease is to refrain from bathing, self-flagellation, and burning witches. Or have they updated the theories & procedures since the Black Plague?
posted by cmyk at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2010


Actually, this comment is kind of the one that nails this for me. Stories like this seem pretty common even with quite 'high church' Catholics and suggest that this is a bottom-up piece of pragmatism from the church leadership.

I will now repent my use of the expression 'bottom-up' at my leisure.
posted by Jofus at 12:49 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


....in some cases (BBC).
These reports are all a bit vague at the moment. It would be interesting to find out what was actually said, not what was reportedly said.
posted by adamvasco at 12:51 PM on November 20, 2010


I wondered how many HIV positive catholic priests there were when I read this.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:52 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some grad student needs to do a study to determine exactly how much Metafilter's average reading comprehension score drops when the topic is related to religion. I'm guessing at least 20%. It's like we read "Pope" and our brain's region of Hurf-Durfery swells so much that everything else has to shrink back to make room for the impending snarkgasm.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:53 PM on November 20, 2010 [82 favorites]


I find the path of change within the Catholic church really interesting to watch from the outside. It looks monolithic, but inside there are all these factions and pressure groups, and change really does happen. Neat.
posted by Forktine at 12:54 PM on November 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: Our brain's region of Hurf-Durfery

I completely agree with you, by the way.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


But only for male prostitutes...

Brings to mind this from earlier this year:
Vatican Hit by Gay Sex Scandal -- "Vatican chorister sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for papal gentleman-in-waiting."
posted by ericb at 12:55 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


He already has!
posted by Catblack at 12:59 PM on November 20, 2010


Someone must finally have sat down with the man and explained methodically how they actually work.
Like, they're a little stretchy and not holy.
posted by Namlit at 1:00 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The other specific example he took the time to mention by name is AIDS, and he still says disapproves the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. So, well done there.

No, you're misunderstanding the text. From the article:

"But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection."

Perhaps that's what you're confused about. I think this is saying that abstinence is still the 'proper' way, and isn't it? I mean, when it comes down to it, that's the only guarantee.

Or was it this, which he said last year:

The move by Pope Benedict is particularly surprising because he caused controversy last year by suggesting condom use could actually worsen the problem of Aids in Africa.

He described the epidemic in the continent as "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".


Or am I just completely misunderstanding what you've said?
posted by sunshinesky at 1:01 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will politely applaud this tiny step forward into the modern era by a somewhat oppressive globe-spanning religion.

Yay.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:03 PM on November 20, 2010


griphus: Except, you know, in the one specific example he names.

So all male prostitutes are gay?

In any case, gays are still intrinsically disordered, according to the Vatican, and the Pope says that condom use "can be ... a first bit of responsibility, to redevelop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes." Among those things that fall into the category of not doing "everything one wishes": having sex while gay, or doing anything else while gay, like having a relationship or a committed partner, or God forbid, a marriage.

So, yeah, whatever.

sunshinesky: I think this is saying that abstinence is still the 'proper' way, and isn't it? I mean, when it comes down to it, that's the only guarantee.

When it comes down to it, gays should be celibate all their lives, yes.
posted by blucevalo at 1:10 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would be interesting to find out what was actually said, not what was reportedly said.

The BBC article to which you link states that the quotes are verbatim excerpts from the new book:' Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times'.

"The Vatican newspaper ran excerpts on Saturday."
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on November 20, 2010


When it comes down to it, gays should be celibate all their lives, yes.

Excuse me? What does this have to do with what I said?
posted by sunshinesky at 1:14 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ok, so basically the pope hates condoms because of their contraceptive properties. Basically the pope has just explicitly acknowledged the reality that gay men can't have babies.

He still opposes condom usage among everyone else. So...I'm much less impressed than everyone else.
posted by triceryclops at 1:15 PM on November 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Last night, the French-Canadian guy announcing the next band that was going to play was saying that this was "the last time the venue would be used...[something... something]... condos." I guess I misheard because when the crowd started hissing and booing, I thought, wow, these people really don't like condoms.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:15 PM on November 20, 2010


German - Italian - English from a book not published until Tuesday. I think I'll wait a bit to see some clarity here. Something is changing but I'm not sure what.
posted by adamvasco at 1:16 PM on November 20, 2010


Well, it only took the Catholic Church 25-30 years to get with the program?

So much better than with evolution, which took them 100-ish years to catch on to (at least formally; obviously, Teilhard de Chardin didn't come from nowhere).

On the other hand, still way ahead of some other denominations on that front.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:18 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is Catholicism really the main reason people don't use condoms? Or even a significant reason at all?

The truth is that condoms make sex much much less pleasurable, and that's the real reason they can't fix things.
posted by melissam at 1:19 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ok, so basically the pope hates condoms because of their contraceptive properties. Basically the pope has just explicitly acknowledged the reality that gay men can't have babies.

He still opposes condom usage among everyone else. So...I'm much less impressed than everyone else.


Where on earth are you getting this? There are plenty of straight people who use it mostly as a way to prevent the spread of STIs. I know I'm not nearly as scared of babies as I am of getting sick.
posted by sunshinesky at 1:20 PM on November 20, 2010


It sounds like he's saying condoms are acceptable only when used with specific intentions (preventing HIV transmission). Using a condom with the intention of preventing conception would still be wrong, on this view. Using a condom with the intention of preventing HIV transmission, with the side effect of preventing conception, would presumably be okay -- assuming he endorses the doctrine of double effect which I believe is a generally accepted Catholic belief (could be wrong, happy to be corrected).

And maybe also using condoms is acceptable only under certain conditions (eg if you are already leading such a degraded lifestyle that condom use is the least of your sins?), but that the "proper" method of achieving the ok intentions is still abstinence... so maybe use of condoms is only acceptable by people who are in some sense "on their way" to the better lifestyle of abstinence? I wonder if he would allow condom use as a continuing routine practice -- eg to a married and otherwise not-very-sinful Catholic couple where one partner was HIV positive, or to a prostitute who was not going to give up prostitution.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:21 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Male prostitute does not equal gay prostitute.

So all male prostitutes are gay?

If you have anything to back up the fact that the spread of HIV via male prostitution is worse anywhere than the MSM community, or that the MSM community isn't the one specifically targeted here, I'd love to see it. The reason he brings up male prostitutes in the first place is because it is easier to sidestep the contraception angle as preventing contraception doesn't even come into play.
posted by griphus at 1:22 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The one specific example he names is of a male prostitute. Male prostitute does not equal gay prostitute.

This leads to an interesting question: what percentage of male prostitutes' clients are men versus women?
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on November 20, 2010


Preventing conception, rather.
posted by griphus at 1:25 PM on November 20, 2010


From a historical point of view, that's really news as in "new, not the same as before, but different and significantly so." Just sayin'.
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:25 PM on November 20, 2010


It sounds like he's saying condoms are acceptable only when used with specific intentions (preventing HIV transmission). Using a condom with the intention of preventing conception would still be wrong, on this view. Using a condom with the intention of preventing HIV transmission, with the side effect of preventing conception, would presumably be okay -- assuming he endorses the doctrine of double effect which I believe is a generally accepted Catholic belief (could be wrong, happy to be corrected).

And maybe also using condoms is acceptable only under certain conditions (eg if you are already leading such a degraded lifestyle that condom use is the least of your sins?), but that the "proper" method of achieving the ok intentions is still abstinence... so maybe use of condoms is only acceptable by people who are in some sense "on their way" to the better lifestyle of abstinence? I wonder if he would allow condom use as a continuing routine practice -- eg to a married and otherwise not-very-sinful Catholic couple where one partner was HIV positive, or to a prostitute who was not going to give up prostitution.


I came back here to say this, since it occured to me that contraception would still be a side-effect of using the condom... I read it as a matter of 'intent'.
posted by sunshinesky at 1:26 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think this announcement is directed outside the Catholic church. I think it's a peacemaking gesture for the civil war going on within the church.

The Catholic Church is being literally torn apart from the inside over the issue of AIDS in Africa. As other comments here on the blue indicate, faithful priests, nuns, bishops and lay Catholics have all begun to silently rebel against the church's (former?) hard-line attitude towards condoms.

The people on the ground -- the Catholics in the trenches, so to speak -- have seen the devastation that AIDS has caused and the inability of the Church's traditional teaching on sexuality to make a difference in the war on AIDS. In short, faithful Catholics have discovered that human beings like to fuck, and are going to continue fucking no matter what the church says about it. If the Church is serious about ameliorating human suffering then it's no use to wait until there is some kind of perfect world wherein everyone is Catholic and everyone follows Catholic teaching to the letter. It's time for Plan B.

This message is the Pope signaling a possible cease-fire between the traditionalists and the AIDS-fighters. He's opening the door, however slightly, for condom use. Naturally, there's going to be all kinds of qualifiers and asterisks and whatnot, but it doesn't matter. He's opening the door for faithful Catholics to interpret his words in such a way that will allow them to distribute condoms in good faith. He'd rather Catholics distribute condoms than have the AIDS Civil War tear the church apart. He may also sense the historical winds changing, although of course he would never admit that. The Church is supposed to stand above history -- athwart history, even -- but only Popes and Atheists know otherwise.

AIDS in Africa isn't going to stop overnight, of course. It's not going to disappear. But the Pope is tacitly acknowledging that something more needs to be done, and that Catholics lead the way. That, in my mind, is a good, practical move on behalf of an organization that I usually loathe. The Pope gets my reluctant, admiring gratitude for this one.
posted by Avenger at 1:29 PM on November 20, 2010 [45 favorites]


WOW! This is huge. Not huge enough for me to go to church, but still huge.
posted by yarly at 1:30 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wear condoms to make sex less pleasurable. Protecting me from social diseases and pregnancy is just a bonus.
posted by jtron at 1:30 PM on November 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


sunshinesky, I apologize for the snark, but the Vatican considers that gays should remain celibate if they are to conform with Church teaching. The Church also considers abstinence to be the only real guarantee of contraception.

I'm heartened that the head of the Catholic Church has finally come to realize that continuing to live in the 16th century in its stance toward contraception is a poor idea, especially in places where rates of HIV/AIDS are exploding (South Africa alone will see 5 million more cases of HIV/AIDS in the next 20 years, almost no matter how much money it is able to spend on prevention and treatment). I just wish that the Church would apply some of that perspicacity to its stance on homosexuality. I don't expect to see that happen in my lifetime.
posted by blucevalo at 1:33 PM on November 20, 2010


He still opposes condom usage among everyone else. So...I'm much less impressed than everyone else.

Yes. The church still holds what I consider a fundamentally immoral and evil opposition to non-procreative sex. This is a nice teeny weeny step towards doing good, but not particularly impressive.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:36 PM on November 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you have anything to back up the fact that the spread of HIV via male prostitution is worse anywhere than the MSM community, or that the MSM community isn't the one specifically targeted here, I'd love to see it.

I don't have any information about that point, but that wasn't what I was arguing, anyway.
posted by blucevalo at 1:37 PM on November 20, 2010


In other news, tonight an abusive husband failed to beat his wife for the first time in forty years, and is therefore a thing to be celebrated.

Fuck the Pope. But use a condom.
posted by Decani at 1:38 PM on November 20, 2010


Well, considering their stance on overpopulation has not changed at all, this fails to impress me much. Congratulations! The Catholic Church has taken a tiny step toward becoming a slightly less negative force in the world. Remaining distance until they arrive at neutrality - about a hundred times this far, I'd say. I'd probably try to keep moving.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:41 PM on November 20, 2010


clarification: pope approves use of pointy rubber hats
posted by victors at 1:45 PM on November 20, 2010


...but that wasn't what I was arguing, anyway.

You claimed that the Catholic Church stated it is okay to use condoms, "as long as gays don't use them." I stated that the example the Pope gave is, in the Church's terribly homophobix manner, metonymous for allowing the use of condoms in the MSM/gay community to prevent the spread of disease. So what are you arguing?
posted by griphus at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2010


I'm sad that this skit won't be funny anymore.
posted by cazoo at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2010


This is just damage control. He was probably captured on security camera at the local farmacia buying two jumbo packs of Trojan Roughriders and realized he needed to wag the tail, pronto.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:47 PM on November 20, 2010


The story, as it read in the Boston Globe, breaking off the wires, was bylined thusly:

"By Nicole Winfield and Frances D'Emilio Associated Press"

and marred by obviously hasty mistranslations. I, however, spotted this telling quote, some dozen or so paragraphs below the lede -

"William Portier, a Catholic theologian at the University of Dayton, a Marianist school in Ohio, said he had not read the report in the Vatican newspaper, but he said it would be wrong to conclude that the comments mean the pope has made a fundamental, broad change in church teaching on artificial contraception.

"'He's not going to do that in an offhand remark to a journalist in an interview,' Portier said."

Indeed.

As a one-time Catechized, Confirmed communicant here in the Archdioscese of Cardinal Sean, I would advise caution regarding this "ex cathedra" pronouncement. I have since fallen away from The Church (When hopefully asked by no less than the Sister Superior of my parish if I might be "feeling a vocation," I replied that I liked girls too much. That sunk it).

As Monseigneur used to lecture us lads, "The Catholic Church thinks in centuries." All well and good, but the flip side is that it sometimes takes the Holy Mother Church centuries to think, if it ever manages, on some subjects.

The process for this remark to become Doctrine has just begun. Resistance will be mighty. I'm not in the mix any more, if I ever was. Nothing I can do but continue to monitor what they say, but ignore the hortatory stuff.

The Catholic Church is not now, nor has it ever been a democracy. It does not apologize for that, and never will.

There will be no sex parties (at least, sanctioned ones) in Brazil, Mexico or Ireland tonight.

As we used to say behind their backs, "Keep it in your pants." Or, just leave. I still go to weddings and funerals. My family remains, for the most part, devout. But I won't be a "cafeteria Catholic," the subject of many derisive Homilies.

I have lived to see much change in the Church. But if it is "All or Nothing At All," (which it still officially is) I will take nothing, and adhere to my policy of hiding in the corners when the wafer is lifted and distributed at those weddings and funerals.

The lightning ain't got me,yet!
posted by hankercranker at 1:51 PM on November 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


Whoa. This a surprise.
Awesome.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:51 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the BBC article:

The pope says that the "sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalisation of sexuality" where sexuality is no longer an expression of love, "but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves”.

So something that started as an expression of a fundamental human desire to make and appreciate beauty in the world has become a meaningless, ritualised habit, empty of whatever sense of joy or wonder it once had? Yeah, that sounds like something the Catholic church should be able to recognise.
posted by him at 2:01 PM on November 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


You can see the entire excerpt which the media is drawing upon for these articles from "Light of the World" on CWR here:

from Light of the World:

----

"...As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."

----

Personally, I think (and this article from Janet Smith, a prominent moral theologian, also states) that to say that the Pope approves of condoms is a gross overstatement. Rather, he seems to be saying that for an individual, the use of condoms could be a first step towards a more moral way of living.
posted by Wavelet at 2:03 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I stated that the example the Pope gave is, in the Church's terribly homophobix manner, metonymous for allowing the use of condoms in the MSM/gay community to prevent the spread of disease. So what are you arguing?

That you're expressing a metonymy that isn't there, explicitly or implicitly. The Pope states that using a condom "can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality." That humane sexuality, in the view of the Vatican, does not accept the humanity of MSM/gay sex, period. The Vatican views homosexuality as intrinsically disordered.

If there has been an official change in that stance, I'll wait to hear from the Vatican officially about it before I jump to conclusions.
posted by blucevalo at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2010


As the Janet Smith article linked by Wavelet states:

The Holy Father is simply observing that for some homosexual prostitutes the use of a condom may indicate an awakening of a moral sense; an awakening that sexual pleasure is not the highest value, but that we must take care that we harm no one with our choices. He is not speaking to the morality of the use of a condom, but to something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature. The Holy Father does not in any way think the use of condoms is a part of the solution to reducing the risk of AIDs. As he explicitly states, the true solution involves “humanizing sexuality.”
posted by blucevalo at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's like we read "Pope" and our brain's region of Hurf-Durfery swells so much that everything else has to shrink back to make room for the impending snarkgasm.

Well, ya gotta admit, Ratzinger does lend himself to snark.
posted by ovvl at 2:12 PM on November 20, 2010


Fuck. I'm starting to drink early tonight. I want to watch the blue moon rise, the silhouettes of flying pigs while listening to the sound of crackling ice forming in hell.
posted by Splunge at 2:12 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


When it comes down to it, gays should be celibate all their lives, yes.

Gays should celebrate all their lives. Yes, everyone should.
posted by ovvl at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Before this statement, would a Catholic theologian really have said that gay sex using a condom is worse than gay sex without condoms? Or would s/he have said that they're equally bad? I'm trying to follow the logic here, not be snarky.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:16 PM on November 20, 2010


This is just damage control. He was probably captured on security camera at the local farmacia buying two jumbo packs of Trojan Roughriders and realized he needed to wag the tail, pronto.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:47 PM on November 20 [+] [!]
what a beautifully apt user name
posted by rubyrudy at 2:18 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


For some godforsaken reason this thread has really been making me want to run right out and buy some condoms. Now if only it wasn't snowing...
posted by The Lady is a designer at 2:21 PM on November 20, 2010


Thank you Jofus, that saves me having to repeat that story. Because I would have, at great length. Judith was very dear to me. Your own comment, and Avengers, also neatly sums up the level of diversity of approach to this that has, in my experience, been the case for a long while.

It's not just there are extensive internal debates about HIV prevention strategies within the church, and that there are many members of the clergy who are happy to (discreetly) promote condom use amongst vulnerable groups. It's also a simple fact that many many lay Catholics exercise considerable individual agency about what methods of STI and birth control they choose to use. If you know Catholics, you know Catholics who use barrier contraception. But often, they feel (I'm tempted to say guilty, but it's worse than that) perfectly shitty about it.

In that context, it doesn't matter whether the pope is playing this for PR, attempting to minimize internal conflict amongst the clergy, or genuinely seeking a new beginning. The simple fact that he's tossed it out there will allow members of the church in all places, and at all levels, to feel quite a lot better about making their own choices and advocating that others do the same.

For me, to use Avenger's terminology, it means that those of us who work in the trenches can stop feeling that we're biting the hand the feeds us just because we endeavor to provide the best possible survival strategies to the people we're trying to help.

And that is truly wonderful.
posted by Ahab at 2:22 PM on November 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Finally found one he likes, eh?
posted by klangklangston at 2:23 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wavelet and bluecevalo, that makes more sense. I wonder if he will issue an angry and regressive statement after this (it now seems likely) misinterpretation, or if underlings will just quietly clarify.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:24 PM on November 20, 2010


I'm frankly surprised that the normal level of vitriol against the Catholic Church is maintained in this thread. The prohibition against condom use in Africa is a perennial MetaFilter bitch in pretty much every thread that is even tangentially about Catholicism. I thought things would be more positive.

Granted, many here have applauded this news. I do see that, and I'm glad of it. I'm Catholic, and I think it's good news, and I hope it's the start of something, even if that something arrives at a glacial pace.
posted by Shohn at 2:28 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Before this statement, would a Catholic theologian really have said that gay sex using a condom is worse than gay sex without condoms? Or would s/he have said that they're equally bad? I'm trying to follow the logic here, not be snarky.

Any gay sex is bad, with or without condoms. Both are against human nature. Although it would seem from his comments that any gay sex that harms is worse than any gay sex that doesn't. But since gay sex is against human nature, and thus intrinsically harmful to all involved, the logic is lost on me, unless the point is indeed, as Janet Smith implies, that using a condom is the first step in a long spiritual journey toward an intrinsically disordered gay person embracing heterosexuality in the context of a matrimonial union, which is the only "human way" of expressing oneself sexually.
posted by blucevalo at 2:29 PM on November 20, 2010


let's wrap this one up.
posted by the aloha at 2:42 PM on November 20, 2010


Snarky indeed, Father, but this Pope has been a pedophile protecting bureaucrat since he became Benedict. He's been all mea culpa, mea culpa, but done it without managing to expose either the offending priests or their complicit bishops to secular consequences.

The only way I could imagine him embracing "harm reduction" would be to mitigate harm being done to the Hierarchy of the Church.

I see it has as related to the difficulties of celibacy. Women priests without effective birth control are a problem as "celibates". Men provide no proof of non-celibacy, and if they had sex outside of the Church, they could silence their partners with shame and the authority of the Church. I suspect it has been like this for two thousand years.

But if modern society were to provide a priest a way to have anonymous contact with so-called "male prostitutes", and if HIV were brought into the clergy, I have no trouble believing that the Pope would find a way to suggest that the use of a condom would be a "first step in the direction of a moralization..."

This is conjecture, and it remains to be seen if I have been too cynical this time.
posted by the Real Dan at 2:47 PM on November 20, 2010


Or the female priests could just get abortions.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:50 PM on November 20, 2010


Ahab - ta, its always been one of my favourite comments, though strangely I didn't actually favourite it until an hour or so ago.
posted by Jofus at 2:55 PM on November 20, 2010


I was really surprised to hear about this. I figured the Pope was giving the priests and cardinals some theological cover for barebacking ("I'd use a condom, my son, but it's a mortal sin to do that according to the Holy See"). I bet there will be some dirty looks at Mass tomorrow in Vatican City.
posted by mullingitover at 2:59 PM on November 20, 2010


Holy Fuck!

I never thought I'd see the day. And I wouldn't have if this had happened in the 70s.
posted by Elmore at 3:01 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the MSM community? I thought "MSM" was a vague term that stood for "whatever media older people like, or that we don't like for political/socioeconomic/whatever/we're feeling pissy reasons." There are two types of MSMs? Help!
posted by raysmj at 3:04 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


MSM = men who have sex with men
posted by lullaby at 3:06 PM on November 20, 2010


I'm frankly surprised that the normal level of vitriol against the Catholic Church is maintained in this thread. The prohibition against condom use in Africa is a perennial MetaFilter bitch in pretty much every thread that is even tangentially about Catholicism. I thought things would be more positive.

Well, temperatures in hell did indeed drop below freezing, but just for a few minutes. The Vatican, and the Pope, will have to do a hell of a lot more positive before I start thinking they actually joined the 21th century. Things like, oh, I don't know, getting pederast priests into jail?
posted by DreamerFi at 3:06 PM on November 20, 2010


Men who have sex with men, raysmj. When speaking about STI epidemiology, "gay" is really the wrong word to use as it denotes an identity rather than an activity.
posted by griphus at 3:08 PM on November 20, 2010


Any gay sex is bad, with or without condoms.

then you're not doing it right.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 3:09 PM on November 20, 2010


[please stop with the "boy rapist" stuff, and also please stop flagging every comment that is remotely critical of the Catholic Church. We have MetaTalk but it might be nice if people could just be somewhat reasonable here instead. thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:11 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


MSM = men who have sex with men

To expand on this slightly, the acronym is used because a lot of men who have sex with other men don't identify at all as gay or bisexual. Maybe it's just a job, or they sometimes help a friend out after a few beers, or they are so far on the down-low that even giving it a name is impossible, or whatever. If you target your HIV prevention at "gay men," all the men who are having sex with other men, but who don't call themselves gay, may get missed.

It's like talking about "drug addicts" rather than "intravenous drug users" -- using a purely descriptive term, rather than one that carries baggage and has big identity issues, is more effective.
posted by Forktine at 3:15 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm frankly surprised that the normal level of vitriol against the Catholic Church is maintained in this thread. The prohibition against condom use in Africa is a perennial MetaFilter bitch in pretty much every thread that is even tangentially about Catholicism. I thought things would be more positive.

you thought it would be more positive, though this demonstrates the arbitrariness with which the church suddenly decides something that wasn't okay yesterday is okay now, without a magical change in bible text or some miracle revelation, and that there's not really a reason this doesn't mean that every other way in which the church interjects itself into the lives of real people isn't just as arbitrary and wrong and will be as conveniently jettisoned for lucky future generations?

maybe it is fair to give credit where it is due: congratulations to the church for being 0.05% less assholish and invasive and dangerous to the well-being of the human family than it was before the pope gave his blessing on not unnecessarily risking one's life.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 3:16 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


People? People! Can we get a count of all the male prostitutes who care what the f'in Pope thinks? Hands?
posted by Twang at 3:36 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm frankly surprised that the normal level of vitriol against the Catholic Church is maintained in this thread. The prohibition against condom use in Africa is a perennial MetaFilter bitch in pretty much every thread that is even tangentially about Catholicism. I thought things would be more positive.

If you think that my attitude toward the Catholic Church could be non-vitriolic given the context of what I've stated above, then I'm not sure what to tell you.
posted by blucevalo at 3:38 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


In other news, the Pope renames his mitre a 'Jimmy Hat''.
posted by bwg at 3:41 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


To put this into perspective, it took the Catholic Church six popes to grant the Germans permission to make their Christstollen with butter instead of turnip oil.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I can see the marketing potential here. I was going to suggest a crucifix that would grow as your excitement does, but that's probably not going to go over well. Instead, each condom could have a few words on it which don't "appear" until you put it on, so you don't know what it's going to say ahead of time. Sort of like a fortune cookie! You could buy Vatican-approved condoms which say things like, "Confession time?" or "Not God-proof," or even, "Call your mother!"
posted by krinklyfig at 3:58 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other news

The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.
posted by Sailormom at 4:38 PM on November 20, 2010


It was Andy from the Yes Men in a pope suit, wasn't it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:39 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Marketing potential...hmmm.

Well, after Ratzinger got Poped (I hear that the Italians call him Papa-Razzi) the picturesque city of Altötting, close to where he was born, erupted in pope-ish presents.
I am looking as we speak at a present I got from someone in Altötting: a middle-brown square rubber eraser with a German text about natural rubber on one side, and a portrait of said Pope on the other, a halo around his head with the word Ratzefummel written on it. Ratzefummel is German slang for Radiergummi: eraser.

Point being, the idea of rubber products with his blessings is already there. What we need now is, er, expansion.
posted by Namlit at 4:43 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Damn, Pope. A few choice years of college would have been THAT MUCH CHOICER.

Then again, no time like the present.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:00 PM on November 20, 2010


From the Independent:

Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, the Vatican's long-time top official on bioethics and sexuality, elaborated on the pontiff's comments, stressing that it was imperative to "make certain that this is the only way to save a life". Cardinal Sgreccia said the condom question was one that "needed an answer for a long time," adding: "If Benedict XVI raised the question of exceptions, this exception must be accepted... and it must be verified that this is the only way to save life. This must be demonstrated."
posted by blucevalo at 5:01 PM on November 20, 2010


Because homosexual male prostitutes are the main cause of the AIDS epidemic, always and forever.
posted by erstwhile at 5:09 PM on November 20, 2010



posted by clavdivs at 5:10 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


what?
posted by clavdivs at 5:11 PM on November 20, 2010


Some grad student needs to do a study to determine exactly how much Metafilter's average reading comprehension score drops when the topic is related to religion. I'm guessing at least 20%. It's like we read "Pope" and our brain's region of Hurf-Durfery swells so much that everything else has to shrink back to make room for the impending snarkgasm.

Yes, those poor, poor religions. And of course telling detractors that they are stupid is the only righteous response to these, these snarky God hating condom lovers! Catholic dogma has suffered enough, hasn't it?! The Pope can only take so much abuse!

"She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."

Condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection".

These are completely lucid statements, you idiots! Sheesh.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:51 PM on November 20, 2010 [3 favorites]



Some grad student needs to do a study to determine exactly how much Metafilter's average reading comprehension score drops when the topic is related to religion. I'm guessing at least 20%. It's like we read "Pope" and our brain's region of Hurf-Durfery swells so much that everything else has to shrink back to make room for the impending snarkgasm.


I don't think anything changes, just your sensitivity via proximity to the subject.
posted by clearly at 6:02 PM on November 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


This leads to an interesting question: what percentage of male prostitutes' clients are men versus women?

My unscientific study undertaken with the credentials of being 40 years old and breathing and working in public health: about 98% to 2%.
posted by tristeza at 6:31 PM on November 20, 2010


Oh, damn. That was just me talking about the rubbers. I've been told I kinda look like the pope. Sorry for all the confusion.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:53 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It doesn't totally seem like the pope has actually said condoms are okay. He's intimated that maybe they're okay sometimes as a step towards the real way to handle a couple specific situations.
posted by snofoam at 7:11 PM on November 20, 2010


Also, the idea of the pope is pretty crazy. On one hand, it's as if Obama could say that global warming is happening and everyone else would be, like, "Okay, that's settled." On the other hand, it's like an 84 year old guy finally agreeing that, "Okay, The Beatles had a couple good songs."
posted by snofoam at 7:19 PM on November 20, 2010


Oh shit! The pope shit is crazy because: Who picks a 78 year-old guy to be in charge of everything?
posted by snofoam at 7:23 PM on November 20, 2010


erstwhile: "Because homosexual male prostitutes are the main cause of the AIDS epidemic, always and forever

Shohn: "I'm frankly surprised that the normal level of vitriol against the Catholic Church is maintained in this thread. The prohibition against condom use in Africa is a perennial MetaFilter bitch in pretty much every thread that is even tangentially about Catholicism. I thought things would be more positive.

Granted, many here have applauded this news. I do see that, and I'm glad of it. I'm Catholic, and I think it's good news, and I hope it's the start of something, even if that something arrives at a glacial pace
"

What I am surprised about is the level discussion that is in this thread. I guess that a lot of the priest pedophilia GRAR has been removed. And I don't mind that. What I mind though is the crap like this. Why should an institution that manipulates the minds of millions of people get a pass? The Catholic Church has demanded that people in under-developed countries should not protect themselves from deadly diseases. Now one, and only one, of its members has decided to get with reality.

So instead of calling them out on their bullshit, we should piss all over ourselves in happiness? Ooh, Callooh! Callay! The world is all rainbows and unicorns!

Fuck that shit.

The next thing the pope should do is sell all of the golden chalices and artwork that he has and feed the poor bastards for real. He's the vicar of christ, right? The be christlike and feed the poor. Heal the sick. Do your fucking job you old bastard. Instead of living in your palace and eating yummy veal, get out there and DO SOMETHING.

Until the pope is anything but the laughingstock of the rational world, the Catholic church looks really miserable. And the people that follow it are enablers of the worst kind.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings.

No, not really.
posted by Splunge at 7:31 PM on November 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is great news. Now, to the thread for a rewarding serving of misery, butthurt and bad vibes. It's not good for me but it won't give me AIDS.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:32 PM on November 20, 2010


Oh God, I can't keep reading. The raaage on display in a thread about a Good Thing Happening is too head assplody even for my entertainment needs.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:39 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here you go man. Relax.
posted by Splunge at 7:41 PM on November 20, 2010


And please don't use the Name of the Lord in vain.
posted by Splunge at 7:47 PM on November 20, 2010


Holy Fuck!

No, seriously... Holy Fuck!

Sorry to derail... I really love these guys...
posted by kinnakeet at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2010


this - via reddit
posted by the noob at 8:18 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


now, thanks to the pope, my dear, i can wear whatever i want on my john thomas

i can't believe no one said this
posted by pyramid termite at 8:24 PM on November 20, 2010


melissam Of course Catholicism influences people not to use condoms, especially in less developed parts of the world. People care about that stuff. I don't know why, it seems so preposterously silly that I constantly struggle to keep in mind that people really and honestly do take it seriously. But however incomprehensible it is, the fact remains that people (and especially poor and often deeply ignorant and superstitious people) take what the Church says very seriously indeed.

And, it should be mentioned, in Africa especially the Church does not merely blather about "sin" (whatever that is), but explicitly tells vile and evil lies to the effect that condoms laced with AIDS as part of a plot by Europeans to eradicate black people. Archbishop Francisco Chimoio said just that, and if an Archbishop is telling that sort of evil and murderous lie you can be certain that lower level members of the hierarchy are too.

Shohn Is Chimoio still an Archbishop? Yes? Then no amount of anti-Catholic rage can ever be too much.

This isn't rocket surgery, the Church is an authoritarian, top down, organization. If you say something that irritates the Pope you will be out on your ass amazingly fast. Look at any of the people who have dared to say that women can or should be ordained. The vengeance of the Pope is swift and merciless upon those who cross him.

Yet Chimoio is still an Archbishop despite spending years telling lies that have likely resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. That, right there, tells you everything you need to know about the Pope, AIDS, and his utter contempt for human life.

But please, lecture us more on how horrible and mean it is for us to dare to express displeasure with the evil, mass murdering, rapist enabling and protecting, former Nazi you have running your "holy" organization. Our tone is, I'm sure, vastly more important than the fact that a group you financially support is killing people and protecting rapists.
posted by sotonohito at 8:36 PM on November 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


I just can't help it. I'm sorry. An ancient celibate has decided that a massive backlash of intelligent people that are opposed to this,forced the shriveled old man to backpedal. So now we give him a high five and kiss him on the ass and call it well done?
posted by Splunge at 8:41 PM on November 20, 2010


I'm frankly surprised that the normal level of vitriol against the Catholic Church is maintained in this thread.

I'm not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 PM on November 20, 2010


I'd like to make one thing very clear. A while back I promised that I wouldn't debate the existence of God anymore. And so I'm not doing that here. Believe in whatever you wish. That's not the issue here. But the issue here is the power of a man like the Pope. It's just sad that a man, just a man, can influence so many people. Across national boundaries. Even into the homes of people that have, essentially, nothing. Such a man, with such power. Such a man with his word considered law. This man should have the morals of a saint. He should teach people that...

I don't know what he should teach. I don't have that ability. I can only say that to not teach health. To not teach care for your own body. To neglect people that are suffering. To me, that's wrong.

But to tell people that something that can help them is bad, to tell them that good things are bad for them. That is evil.

I was a Catholic once. Believe me I know Catholic sin. I was taught that even a thought could be a sin. To think of having sex with a girl I knew was a sin. To think of sinning was actually a sin. There were mortal sins and venial sins.

A mortal sin was this, and I never forgot it:

It has to be a grave matter. Serious shit. Masturbation is a venial sin. Murder is a mortal sin.
It has to be done with full knowledge, in other words it's like killing someone and thinking about it and planning it.
It has to be done with full consent. In other words you weren't forced to do it.

Think about condoms now. Can he backpedal on this. Not if his God is in charge.

Good night.
posted by Splunge at 9:06 PM on November 20, 2010


As my Catholic-schooled father would say (and very well could be from another vantage point) "Jesus Fucking Christ - it's about time!"
posted by dylanjames at 9:41 PM on November 20, 2010


I'm not lecturing anybody, sotonohito. I'm sorry if you can't see a different opinion as just that. It wasn't my intention to try to tell anyone how to think. And I know I'm not going to change anyone's mind here about the Catholic Church. That's very clear to me, and has been for some time, now.

I said I was surprised, and I was. I guess in retrospect I should have known better.
posted by Shohn at 9:48 PM on November 20, 2010


I'm frankly surprised that the normal level of vitriol against the Catholic Church is maintained in this thread. The prohibition against condom use in Africa is a perennial MetaFilter bitch in pretty much every thread that is even tangentially about Catholicism. I thought things would be more positive.
Imagine Richard Dawkins casually mentioning to a reporter that some religious people might not be complete rubes, that they might actually enjoy some benefits from their faith, even if it's a fundamentally destructive and exploitative lie foisted upon the populace like a symbiotic death-embrace between the powerless and the powerful.

Why would a churchgoin' person react badly to that? It's a real concession, after all.

I'm not suggesting that MeFi consists of "anti-churchgoers," just noting that this particular announcement is a pretty minor addendum when it comes to the doctrinal disagreements some of the angry and frustrated MeFites who've snarked in this thread have with the Catholic Church. It's regrettable that it had such snark, but this announcement is not by any means the dawn of a new day, as far as I can tell.
posted by verb at 10:53 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The pope blinked in the eye of moral imperatives. And if the church hands condoms out, no nuns and needles jokes because i have a vested interest.

former Nazi you have running your "holy" organization

I thought about this, he was a 'nazi' when taking the oath. I don't think he looks anything like Ian McDiarmid. Why him, is it forgiveness, PR, redemption, politics? If he is a nazi why is he being so liberal.
posted by clavdivs at 10:58 PM on November 20, 2010


> The people on the ground -- the Catholics in the trenches, so to speak -- have seen the devastation that AIDS has caused and the inability of the Church's traditional teaching on sexuality to make a difference in the war on AIDS.

Edward C. Green would like to have a word with you.

Also, please, can we please stop quoting the Pope as having said condom *use* worsens the problem in Africa? Because that's not what he said. He said condom *distribution* could worsen the problem in Africa by encouraging risky behavior.
In his first public comments on condom use, the pontiff told reporters en route to Cameroon that Aids "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".
Now, you may not agree with that either, but at least get the facts right when wagging the holy finger of righteousness on the Pope's face.
posted by falameufilho at 11:10 PM on November 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


But dairy and eggs are still out?
posted by thescientificmethhead at 11:20 PM on November 20, 2010


It should be mentioned, in Africa especially the Church does not merely blather about "sin" (whatever that is), but explicitly tells vile and evil lies to the effect that condoms laced with AIDS as part of a plot by Europeans to eradicate black people.

This isn't rocket surgery, the Church is an authoritarian, top down, organization, if you say something that irritates the Pope you will be out on your ass amazingly fast. Look at any of the people who have dared to say that women can or should be ordained. The vengeance of the Pope is swift and merciless upon those who cross him.


Here's a list of instances in which Catholic bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and national episcopal conferences have supported the use of condoms.

Most of the individuals concerned are still in the Church.
posted by Ahab at 11:47 PM on November 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register: "By 'a humanization of sexuality,' the Pope means recognizing the truth about human sexuality --that it must be exercised in a loving, faithful way between a man and a woman united in matrimony. That is the real solution, not putting on a condom and engaging in promiscuous sex with those infected with a deadly virus."
posted by blucevalo at 11:49 PM on November 20, 2010


I do not think a camel has gone through the eye of a needle as many here seem to.
This was a highly specific remark permittiting a tiny subset to engage in condom use.
Note that this has nothing to do with contraception or with women and men determing the right to do what they so wish with their own bodies.
The spinmeisters will now inflate this remark to the utmost to try and show the new enlightened Pontiff.
This thread seems to me to have been far from vitriolic. What has been shown is a large amount of scepticism about anything actually changing. As pointed out above the Roman Church thinks in centuries.
ahab. Thanks for your clarifications about Catholicism and Africa; This sort of description is not often heard outside of that continent which is probably the Church of Rome's largest and fastest growing area.
As also stated above I believe this is part of an internal civil war within the Vatican, and has little or nothing to do with the laity. There will be enormous sighs of relief that the the Church now "gets it" and beneath the fog and smokescreen very little will have changed. The heirarchy will continue eating off gold platters in their museums quality living quarters and the poor and the hungry with no clean water and eating from gargage dumps; well I guess they will still be poor and hungry. But remember this; thanks to the intervention of the most powerful man in the Roman Catholic Church, a world changing pronouncement has been made; male prostitutes can now wear their condoms and feel no guilt.
*Throws up in corner*.
posted by adamvasco at 1:06 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


So now we give him a high five and kiss him on the ass and call it well done?

The ring splunge, the ring. One kisses the pope on the ring
posted by the noob at 2:54 AM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Shohn My mind can be changed on any topic quite quickly, all it takes are facts.

Unfortunately, if you intend to change my mind about the Roman Catholic Church the facts do not appear to be on your side. Archbishop Chimimo said what he said and it is still the official position of the Church that the use of any contraception including condoms is sinful and wrong. And, apparently, still the policy of the Church that spreading evil and murderous lies about condoms is perfectly fine.

It would take two things to convince me that the Church is not, in fact, evil on the topic of condoms in Africa:

1) At the very least a public and through repudiation of Chimimo's evil lies followed either by Chimimo sincerely apologizing and beginning a campaign of education about the true value of condoms, or Chimimo being kicked out of the Church.

2) The Roman Catholic Church making a significant change in its religious dogma such that the use of condoms is encouraged and that as penance for its former evils the Church sells some of its massive bling collection and uses the funds to start a major condom distribution program in Africa.

Short of that, the Church is still evil on the topic of condoms in Africa. But my mind can be changed quite easily, it just requires that the Church actually stop being evil. I can also consider you to be a good person despite being Catholic, all that requires is your statement that you don't give one single penny to that evil bunch of murdering pedophile enablers.

And, yes, I think "evil bunch of murdering pedophile enablers" is perfectly accurate. My mind on that topic can be changed: present evidence that they have stopped enabling pedophiles (how many priests have been turned over to secular authorities for prosecution by the Church so far?), have stopped causing death by their words (has the "Holy Father" yet stopped Chimimo's lies? Has he yet stopped telling lies of his own about condoms?), and have, in general, stopped being evil (are they still excommunicating 9 year old rape victims if the little girl gets an abortion?)

You are even welcome to try and convince me that somehow those actions don't make the Church a bunch of evil, pedophile enabling, murderers. But you'll need some facts to do it. And no, a few soup kitchens don't make up for the evil in other areas. A serial killer who is kind do children and helps old ladies cross the street is still a serial killer.

I don't think it is possible for you to convince me that Ratzinger is not a former Nazi, the evidence there (his own statements to that effect) is pretty air tight. You can try to convince me that somehow that shouldn't matter because other kids were doing it too, but the Hitler Youth enrollment in Germany was not, in fact, 100%. Several young men made the right choice and refused to join despite the dire consequences of that action. The man your Church holds up as a paragon of morality, an ideal of humanity, the only person good and right enough to be the very Vicar of Christ on Earth was the sort of man who when offered the choice between joining the Hitler Youth and suffering dire consequences said "show me where to sign!" I consider that to be a much less than ringing endorsement of his moral rectitude.
posted by sotonohito at 5:24 AM on November 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


That's great, sotonohito. But I'm really not trying to change anyone's mind. I really thought the response to this would be more positive- that's all. You sound like you've got a real axe to grind on this one, and I'd prefer not to be your whetstone this time.
posted by Shohn at 6:34 AM on November 21, 2010


Yeah, geez, sotonohito, what's with all your caring about people getting mortally screwed over by one of the most powerful organizations in the world - an organization ostensibly dedicated to charity, poverty, and doing the Right Thing?

You have an axe to grind.
posted by jtron at 6:47 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's pretty clear that most people have some sort of axe to grind on this topic, it might be better if we keep this discussion topic-based and not go all attacky on each other. MetaTalk is always an option.
posted by jessamyn at 6:59 AM on November 21, 2010


Honest question: is it common for the Pope to make such proclamations in books that must be purchased (vs free pamphlets), which journalists must get pre-release copies to cite his profound words to the public at large? Should this post have a spoiler warning?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2010


Pope Benedict - Joe Ratzinger
Fish only on Fridays now! #edicts
2 minutes ago
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Free pamphlets? Didn't those go out with the cat o' nine tails?
posted by blucevalo at 9:34 AM on November 21, 2010


Ok, axe to grind set aside.

The reason, Shohn, that I and many other people don't see this as a positive development is because it isn't. The Church is still opposed to condoms, still states that they are sinful and evil, still states that they don't stop AIDS (and, in the person of Archbishop Chimimo states that condoms cause AIDS), and is still pushing the same evil lies that are causing millions to die of AIDS worldwide.

Ratzinger's comment is not a game changer, he still maintains the position that among heterosexuals condoms are evil. Maybe some people can see a tiny little incremental inch towards a sane Vatican policy on condoms here. But we can't afford tiny little incremental inching on this topic. People are dying. This isn't an issue of abstracts. When people's lives are at stake you don't praise an evil old man who should be in prison for obstruction of justice saying that maybe, under certain special circumstances, perhaps, the use of condoms might not damn you to eternal torture after all.

So, yay, I guess. The Church is 0.000001% less evil as a result of Ratzinger's comments. Whoopee.
posted by sotonohito at 9:39 AM on November 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Vatican's chief spokesman seeks to downplay the Pope's comments.
posted by ericb at 11:16 AM on November 21, 2010


What? He didn't say the word condom?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:21 AM on November 21, 2010


I guess he's trying to stop people from continually beating their bishops.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:24 AM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"While he will restate the Catholic Church's staunch objections to contraception because it believes it interferes with the creation of life..."

Do you know what else interferes with the creation of life? Menopause. Does the Catholic Church also preach abstinence to married couples after the wife has ceased to menstruate?

Does this mean that two people should never have sex unless the intent is to procreate? It seems like the Catholic Church wants all of us women to have as many babies as humanly possible until our uteruses fall out on the kitchen floor and we demurely mop them up and go back to fixing dinner for the fam.

It's easy for men to overlook the huge toll that pregnancy takes on a woman's body. By encouraging your wife to have endless numbers of pregnancies, you are essentially killing your wife by shortening her life span (not to mention all of the health risks that are associated with pregnancy, especially in the developing world). I wouldn't be surprised if that Duggar woman with the 19 kids drops dead tomorrow.

There are a limited number of resources on this planet. If none of us used contraception, our planet would be outrageously overpopulated (some might make a good argument that it already is) and the resulting lack of resources would only result in MORE DEATH. Where's the humanity in that?
posted by Surinam Toad at 12:56 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does the Catholic Church also preach abstinence to married couples after the wife has ceased to menstruate? Does this mean that two people should never have sex unless the intent is to procreate?

No and no. Nor does the Church frown on natural family planning (i.e., tracking one's fertile periods and not having penetrative sex on those days).

It isn't as simple a matter as "all sex is icky and all women are nothing more than babymaking machines". It's more a matter of: sex, within marriage, is a bonding opportunity for the couple, but once a month, while the woman is fertile, it is ALSO an opportunity for new life, should God want to get in on that. Contraception just stops that opportunity from happening, and that's why it's frowned on. But post-menopausal women can still have sex -- in theory, they could very well be fine with children, it's just their bodies can't any more, so oh well. And as for the rhythm method of contraception -- the theory is, "well, if we did have sex now, cool, but we're....just not doing that now, so what can you do? We'll do that next week -- timing's funny, ain't it?"

Mind you, I did leave the church, and I do have my own problems with the "no-contraception" issue. I just find it's better to object to what the policy ACTUALLY is rather than object to what others have told me it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:14 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does this mean that two people should never have sex unless the intent is to procreate?

I think that's the idea, yeah.
posted by brennen at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2010


> Does this mean that two people should never have sex unless the intent is to procreate?

I think that's the idea, yeah.


*looks at what I JUST POSTED, sighs, and wonders why I even bother*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:17 PM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


And I know I'm not going to change anyone's mind here about the Catholic Church.

Fair enough, but what does that conclusion entail if you extend us the courtesy of being epistemic peers instead of a being a bunch of irrational anti-Catholic bigots?

I say this as a former Catholic who got fed up with trying to argue that the Church was not, in fact, doing great evil in the world: consider that the inability to change peoples' minds may come from the fact that the arguments for your case are very bad.
posted by Marty Marx at 2:52 PM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


*looks at what I JUST POSTED, sighs, and wonders why I even bother*

Some people don't preview.
posted by jessamyn at 2:59 PM on November 21, 2010


Sometimes even if you preview someone's posted before you know it.
posted by blucevalo at 3:06 PM on November 21, 2010


I'm simply so very happy. :)
posted by ruelle at 3:20 PM on November 21, 2010


Anne Thompson, NBC News: "The Vatican is making clear today that Pope Benedict is not endorsing condom use. Today the Pope's chief spokesperson insisted that there is nothing 'revolutionary' in Pope Benedict's statement to a German journalist that in certain cases, such as when a male prostitute uses a condom, it could be the first step to accepting responsibility."
posted by blucevalo at 3:45 PM on November 21, 2010


By encouraging your wife to have endless numbers of pregnancies, you are essentially killing your wife by shortening her life span

Citation?

I'm not accusing you of lying, but I am legitimately curious
posted by sunshinesky at 6:01 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the African faithful, fear of Aids come second to fear of God:

Djoscky Bindusa Mongenda Tapo, Johannesburg: "Both sides are good but, as Christians, we are not afraid of sickness or to die, but we are afraid of the law of God. As God said one man is for one woman, we cannot go against God for other reasons. But if you are not Christian, you can use condoms if you have partners outside marriage."

Frank Lessaka, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo: "The medical side is right, but he is contradicting the religious side. Legally he must emphasise the religious side. The danger is that people will misunderstand what the pope is saying. He is trying to explain the use of condoms to stop HIV, but in a religious way he's wrong. Ask first of all why use a condom, who with, which moment? In a marriage, it is advisable if you are sick. But if the pope is urging people to use condoms outside a marriage, the pope is wrong. Abstinence and fidelity are the most advisable. Even a doctor in a hospital will tell you that."

Caroline Nenguke, Treatment Action Campaign: "Historically the Catholic church has been in denial with regard to condom use. For the pope to say they can be used in certain circumstances is a step in the right direction. But we still have thousands of steps before he stands on a proper platform and says condom use is an effective way of preventing HIV."
posted by blucevalo at 6:46 PM on November 21, 2010


Some people don't preview.

Guilty here. Actually, I sincerely apologize for having commented on this one at all; I'm going to go back to getting high and programming now.

posted by brennen at 9:09 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who cares. Why ask a guy who does not have sex for his opinion on how the rest of us have sex? This is like a pilot asking a blind guy how to fly a plane.

Seriously, it´s not like the guy is any closer to god than the rest of us.
posted by nucleus at 9:15 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos Well, yeah, their position is horribly inconsistent, we knew that already.

Basically their position is:

1) Only straight people can ever have sex.

2) Then only if they get a license to fuck from a priest.

3) And then only if they never, ever, use any means but periodic abstinence to attempt to avoid conception.

The idea that it is related to an "openness to children" is not consistent with the reality of what the Church demands. Which is why people bring up menopause and infertility. It isn't that they think the Church forbids sex for people in either of those categories, but rather that they're pointing out the utter irrationality of the position of the Church.

If the Church were consistent in its position that sex and reproduction were necessarily linked, that all sex must be "open to conception", they'd forbid sex between people for whom there is no chance of conception. But they don't.

To me that would indicate that the "celibate" men in funny hats are lying when they say that their position is one of openness to conception.

nucleus Yes, that is a perfectly rational position. But rationality self evidently does not play a large role in the lives of religious folk. Catholics believe that a pedophile in a funny hat can say magic words and turn a cracker into human flesh. They believe that this is not symbolic, but that the cracker literally becomes not just any human flesh, but specifically the muscle tissue of a rabble rousing Jewish rabbi who died around 2,000 years ago [1]. Given that one thing, the idea that they'd let supposedly celibate [2] dictate the terms of their sex lives isn't very surprising. Not, I should add, that other religions don't have equally silly beliefs and practices, but the topic of discussion here is "why would Catholics let crazy "celibate" old men dictate the terms of their sex lives". The answer is: when it comes to religious matters they toss reason out the window same as all other religious people.

[1] I always wondered: what part of Jesus' flesh are we talking about here? Shank? Spare ribs? Sirloins? Or does it change weekly? "Mmmmm, Jesus bacon! Better than last week's gristly shank meat." This question is not, oddly enough, answered by any discussions of transubstantiation I've ever seen.

[2] Not much on the actuality given that the Vatican was recently forced to admit that a large number of male prostitutes were on the Vatican staff.
posted by sotonohito at 4:53 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The idea that it is related to an "openness to children" is not consistent with the reality of what the Church demands. Which is why people bring up menopause and infertility. It isn't that they think the Church forbids sex for people in either of those categories, but rather that they're pointing out the utter irrationality of the position of the Church.

Umm, yeah, you'll actually have to make an argument to show how the position is inconsistent. The very term "openness to children" is used because of the question of menopause and infertility. You just don't understand what the position is; openness is not the same as actual real possibility.

you thought it would be more positive, though this demonstrates the arbitrariness with which the church suddenly decides something that wasn't okay yesterday is okay now, without a magical change in bible text or some miracle revelation, and that there's not really a reason this doesn't mean that every other way in which the church interjects itself into the lives of real people isn't just as arbitrary and wrong and will be as conveniently jettisoned for lucky future generations?

The fact that the Church isn't arbitrary is why the media shouldn't have read this as some big change in the Pope's position. In cases where contraception isn't an issue (e.g. male prostitutes having sex with men) there's no reason to object to the use of condoms. That seems to me a reasonable way to interpret the Pope's remarks that is compeltely consistent with everything else he's ever said on the subject and not at all surprising.

A mortal sin was this, and I never forgot it:

It has to be a grave matter. Serious shit. Masturbation is a venial sin. Murder is a mortal sin.
It has to be done with full knowledge, in other words it's like killing someone and thinking about it and planning it.
It has to be done with full consent. In other words you weren't forced to do it.


This is largely correct, but:

a) anything having to do with sexuality is usually grave matter, including masturbation.

b) knowledge generally refers not to premeditation in the limited legal sense, but to forseeable consequences of acts and to the knowledge that an act is sinful (though it is also sinful to do an act believing that it is likely to be wrong.)

c) Being forced to do something is only one kind of diminishment of consent, there are others.
posted by Jahaza at 9:42 AM on November 22, 2010


I picture a young man sitting on the edge of the bed, anguished look on his face. Next to him is a girl, looking up at him impatiently. Finally, the man rummages through the nightstand drawer and pulls out a package of condoms. As he looks out the window to the starry heavens, Pope Benedict's cadaverous visage slides into view, beaming a smile and giving an approving thumbs up. A look of relief comes over the young man's face as he applies the condom with one hand, returning the thumbs up with the other.

Also, the Pope-a, he's-a so nice!
posted by Eideteker at 9:56 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jahaza I rather assumed that it was self evident, but ok.

You can be "open" to impossibilities, but they're still impossibilities. I can be "open" to someone forcing me to adopt a child every time I eat chocolate, but it isn't going to happen. That's not "openness" that's willful self deception.

If, as Humanae Vitae proclaims, the only morally acceptable sex is sex that is a) licensed by the Church, and b) "open" to the possibility of reproduction, than self evidently sex between people who are infertile cannot be moral. There can't be "openness" to conception when one or both parties are physically incapable of conceiving. Anymore than I can be "open" to getting a free trip to the moon on the back of a magic unicorn when I jerk off. I can assert that I wouldn't turn down the trip if offered, but you and I and everyone else knows that it won't, can't, happen.

Here we have a fascinating example of absurdity from catholic.com on the topic:

"Similarly, sex after menopause or when suffering from other forms of infertility do not divide the unitive from the procreative. The couple's act is still ordered toward procreation; it is simply that procreation will not occur."

Right, they know, we know, everyone knows that procreation is impossible, but somehow by magic the unitive is not divided from the procreative. Even though procreation is physically impossible.

Here we have a very rare moment of honesty from the hierarchy on the topic:

"Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law."

That isn't from a random Catholic website, but from Pope Paul VI himself. And when we strip away the faux-compassionate language we find that his statement can be paraphrased thusly:

"If contraception were permitted than people might have sex in a way we don't like, therefore we must keep people fearful of punishment by unwanted children in order to coerce them into obeying out taboos on sex."

In the same speech Paul VI said that contraception might make men callous towards women. Yeah, because in the bad old days when contraception was illegal, and in the hellholes where it is still illegal, interactions between men and women were characterized by a deep respect bordering on reverence for women in general. And the Church itself, filled with all those Very Good, Moral, and Pure Men in Funny Hats have never ever been contemptuous towards women. The fact that women aren't good enough to be ordained has nothing to do with contempt towards those poor penisless freaks, its just that women and men have separate but equal value. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Yes, John Paul officially denied that the position of the Church was that women were to be baby machines churning out an endless stream of new Catholics. he said that sometimes, perhaps, maybe, it might be OK for women not to be eternally pregnant. But only if this is accomplished by not fucking. Which, of course, won't happen, which brings us back to poor women being forced by Church dogma to die early deaths due to constant pregnancy.
posted by sotonohito at 11:43 AM on November 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I maintain that this all really comes down to an opposition to pleasure that is not controlled (or punished) by the official culture.

Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon puts it better than I can.
posted by sotonohito at 11:48 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never been more grateful and pleased to be proven (tentatively) wrong in a thread anywhere on the web:

Breaking at the Boston Globe
posted by hankercranker at 1:19 PM on November 23, 2010


Hmmm. I still don't see it as a game changer, the Pope hasn't made any official anouncement, but rather some semi-cryptic comments to an interviewer for a book that can be "interpreted" to mean that sometimes, maybe, perhaps, using condoms won't send you to an eternity of torture.

Is it too much to ask for a simple, clear, statement?

I also wonder if this means he will ever discipline Archbishop Chimimo for his lies, or if the Archbishop is free to continue lying and saying that condoms cause AIDS? I get the feeling that for local priests what the Archbishop clearly and definitively stated is likely to be more important than what the Pope coyly hints at.

If this does really result in the Church encouraging condom use and distribution to combat AIDS that's good. But at this stage I'm wary because, again, the Pope hasn't actually said anything directly and clearly on the topic.
posted by sotonohito at 1:44 PM on November 23, 2010


Well, yeah, their position is horribly inconsistent, we knew that already.

What's inconsistent about it?...the injunction about contraception deals with fertility, not sexuality. The two are related, but not equated.

actually, let's back up before I go on -- I have a question; stonohito, have you ever been Catholic?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:30 PM on November 24, 2010


stonohito, have you ever been Catholic?

Please do not do this here. This sort of thing can go to email, and should.
posted by jessamyn at 3:50 PM on November 24, 2010


>Which brings us back to poor women being forced by Church dogma to die early deaths due to constant pregnancy.

All over the globe females have higher life expectancies than males. Everywhere. Muslim countries, christian countries, developing nations, developed nations, Europe, Middle East, Africa. Everywhere.

Where's this epidemic of women dying early deaths because of excess child bearing? Can you point out a single place? I'm curious.
posted by falameufilho at 8:47 PM on November 24, 2010


I'd guess anywhere where there isn't sophisticated medical care. There are plenty of complications that can be fatal to mother and/or baby.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:07 PM on November 24, 2010


"Maternal death" or "maternal mortality" are your search terms.

In 2003, the WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA produced a report with statistics gathered from 2000. The world average per 100,000 was 400, the average for developed regions was 20, and for developing regions 440. The worst countries were: Sierra Leone (2,000), Afghanistan (1,900), Malawi (1,800), Angola (1,700), Niger (1,600), Tanzania (1,500), Rwanda (1,400), Mali (1,200), Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau (1,100 each), Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Burundi, and Mauritania (1,000 each).
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:10 PM on November 24, 2010


falameufilho Afghanistan, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, etc. See the Wiki page on countries by life expectancy.

Pregnancy is harmful. Repeated, frequent, pregnancy is more harmful.

In Afghanistan, for example, the leading cause of death among women is childbirth. That, right there, indicates an epidemic of women dying early because of excess childbearing, no?

And that's leaving aside the whole issue of health problems as a result of early pregnancy, or pregnancy among women who have suffered early malnutrition. Obstetric fistula are depressingly common in nations where women are married young, and girls tend to be fed last. The combination of malnutrition, leading to a smaller, weaker body overall, and early pregnancy (before the girl is matured to the extent that malnutrition will allow her to mature) results in obstetric fistula. And generally the women who suffer from that problem are shunned. Delightful, no?
posted by sotonohito at 4:19 AM on November 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Afghanistan, for example, the leading cause of death among women is childbirth. That, right there, indicates an epidemic of women dying early because of excess childbearing, no?

...Afghanistan's a Catholic country?

Huh. News to me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:27 PM on November 25, 2010


Yeah, the Taliban are basically Opus Dei with beards.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:19 PM on November 25, 2010


I was replying to falameufilho's belief that nowhere on Earth were women dying of excess childbirth, a condition that certainly exists and is most observable in extremely poor nations where women have little or no access to healthcare, which puts Afghanistan at the top despite the fact that it is Muslim rather than Catholic.

I will observe that poor Catholic nations do tend to have a higher maternal mortality rate and, not coincidentally, a higher birth rate, than poor non-Catholic nations. See the Philippines vs. Guyana for an example. The people in richer Catholic nations seem more willing to ignore the Pope's evil lies about contraception.

And, while I certainly recognize the differences between Islam and Catholicism, both are united in their contempt for women.
posted by sotonohito at 5:11 AM on November 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


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