Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pope follows the Anglican lead on condoms

A few bishops and vicars might be jumping ship, but this ‘development’ in Roman Catholic teaching suggests that Rome is not as semper eadem as she likes to believe.

Pope Benedict XVI has ‘clarified’ the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which unequivocally prohibits of all forms of artificial contraception: abstinence and the rhythm method were the only means available to Roman Catholics of avoiding conception.

But Pope Benedict has decided that condoms may now be used ‘in certain cases’.

Cherie Blair will be delighted.

Whilst the Pope appears to have in mind the reduction of HIV infection, it is not clear why HIV should be preferred over any other sexually transmitted infection.

If one may wear a condom to reduce HIV, why may one not wear one to avoid catching chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, viral hepatitis, herpes… ?

The Pope reiterates that the Roman Catholic Church does not see condoms ‘as a real and moral solution’, but ‘in certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality’.

Humane sexuality?

That is a most interesting phrase, denoting benevolence, understanding and compassion.

Pope Benedict is essentially saying that condoms are the lesser evil.

This has been the Anglican position since the Lambeth Conference of 1930.

According to a book due out this week, the Pope offers the example of a male prostitute using a condom. He says: "There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be ... a first bit of responsibility, to re-develop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes."


A male prostitute using a condom?

What happened to ‘go and sin no more’?

If a male prostitute (of either sexuality?) may use a condom to earn a living while he is ‘redeveloping’ his understanding of responsibility, why may not any man who is developing his understanding of what it mean to be a sinner?

By curious coincidence, this story is breaking on the very day when His Grace was wondering (on Twitter) when an infallible teaching on faith and morals is, in fact, infallible.

Humanae Vitae is evidently conditional, provisional and partial.

While the immutable principle remains, namely that contraception nullifies the creation of life through the sexual act, Pope Benedict is arguing (boldly, in His Grace’s view) that condom use which preserves life and avoids death is a responsible act.

This is really is quite a revolution in the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

For if the death which would ensue is an aborted baby – from within or without of wedlock – why may one not use a condom to avoid the manifestly greater evil of abortion?

Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae is evidently not an infallible pronouncement on faith and morals because we now learn that condoms are permitted ‘in certain cases’. So unless a papal teaching on faith on morals is explicitly infallibly promulgated ‘ex cathedra’, it is evidently provisional.

John Paul II’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which decreed that women cannot be ordained, is similarly not of an ‘infallible’ status.

So might female priests be acceptable ‘in certain cases’?

Leo XIII's Apostolicae Curae, which decreed that Anglican orders are 'absolutely null and utterly void', was also not infallibly pronounced.

So might Anglican orders be valid and sufficient ‘in certain cases’?

Just wondering.


Anonymous Justin Hinchcliffe said...

"Whilst the Pope appears to have in mind the reduction of HIV infection, it is not clear why HIV should be preferred over any other sexually transmitted infection."

Is this a joke question, Your Grace? Surely, the answer is blindly obvious? HIV leads to AIDS, which can still kill - especially in poor countries.

I'm cross with you for being so naive...

20 November 2010 at 20:04  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Hinchcliffe,

Your knee-jerk rebuke is uncharacteristic.

In 'poor countries', any STI may kill.

Or do you naively believe they can all pop along to their GP and get a dose of antibiotics?

20 November 2010 at 20:08  
Anonymous philip walling said...

I'm baffled.
Is this what the Pope actually said?
It's one thing forgiving someone for sinning, quite another to say that an act previously sinful is now not so.
This drives a coach and horses through Roman Catholic doctrine and I can't believe the Holy Father has said this in the way you represent it.

20 November 2010 at 20:09  
Anonymous bluedog said...

'So might Anglican orders be valid and sufficient ‘in certain cases’?'

Anglican orders seem good enough for the English Ordinariate, despite Benedict's early explicit declaration that these orders are invalid. Something of a conflict between word and deed. Or is it just standard Roman demonology? Nobody does it better, of course.

20 November 2010 at 20:10  
Anonymous Orwellian Prophet said...

His Grace was wondering (on Twitter) when an infallible teaching on faith and morals is, in fact, infallible.

All papal pronouncements are infallible but some are more infallible than others.

So might female priests be acceptable ‘in certain cases’?

Only if one uses a condom.

20 November 2010 at 20:17  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Nice try Your Grace but you will have to come to terms with the inevitable death of the Anglican Church. It is splintered and fractioned beyond all recognisable perspective. It has become so obscure to the ordinary man that he no longer evens knows of its existence. The church has reduced its self to the playground of the elitist eccentric who ties himself in knots with complicated and idiosyncratic theology.

Remember, Jesus was a carpenter and the disciples were ordinary men like fishermen, and now look at what passes for the national church in this country >>see how obscure and warped it has become? Nothing less than terminal sickness, it has been practising unsafe sex with Caesar for far to long.

20 November 2010 at 21:06  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

You may think I am being callous Yor Grace, but I am not. I work amongst ordinary and simple folk and it pains me to have to admit that your church is considered a joke. I have one older brother and one younger, and an older sister. Both my older brother and sister were baptised and confirmed. I was baptised but not confirmed and attended Sunday school for a short while. My younger brother was not even baptised, by this time the rot had well and truly set in. These are not things which bring joy to my heart, they deeply sadden me. It is the story for the vast majority of the nation.

Mention the word church where I work and instant humiliation will follow. The flock was left unattended for far too long and is now running wild in the hills. This, I blame squarely on the type of people who have come to inhabit the pews. The values and ideology of the church have been warped all out of perspective. I am left feeling bitter and rejected with very few places to turn. I feel it's a sin, and you will be punished, are being punished for it.

20 November 2010 at 21:31  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I think on condoms for aids redcution his holiness has perhaps seen the lesser evil argument , the language is much better phrased this time from the secular community , who got it so wrong when they decided to send up the church as being out of touch . Sexual abstence and stopping intravenous drug shared needles was a clear understanding of the means of the majority of aids transmissons .The secular communites desire to overlook what they thought as natural human compulsions and nothing to do with the struggle of good and evil , and so make the church look unenlightend , is one of the many assaults that the church has had to endure and has sometimes not found a way through with any traction .

Imagine how much less trouble there would be if people lived a more morally thoughtfull life , however just to upset the secularists futher , you would of curse have to teach it ! or should I say preach it .

20 November 2010 at 22:05  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Ah for God's sake. I am glad that the Catholic church has stepped in with this Ordinariate thing because if someone doesn't start to kick some ass soon it will be too late, if it already isn't. If it's left to the bloody shirt lifters running the show at the moment then there will be free condoms and biscuits at Sunday school.

20 November 2010 at 22:25  
Blogger Vince said...

This is not as much of a revolution as you suppose, Archbishop. The Doctrine of Double Effect has been around in Thomist ethics for some time, and this is just one particular application of it.

20 November 2010 at 22:28  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Dr. Janet Smith (The Catholic World Report) explains what pope benedict is (and is not) saying about condoms

20 November 2010 at 22:43  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Contraception is a deliberate act to avoid pregnancy whatever the method. As pregnancy is impossible between consenting males, given the risk to human life condoms are common sense not contraception. Whether they sin is a different matter.

Reality may increase understanding that it is hypocritical to allow one method of contraception but to ban another which is the implication of Cherie Blair's disclosure. That is a human judgement as is Leo XIII's decree.

'Female priests' on the other hand are contrary to Christ's example so no change there.

20 November 2010 at 22:54  
Anonymous len said...

The idea promoted by the Catholic church that condoms are(or were) evil is a contentious one.
The idea possibly comes from Deuteronomy 25:5–6 (NIV)
If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother ...

Onan took on his dead brothers wife Tamar.
(Deuteronomy 25:5-6.) Onan did not want to split his inheritance with any child that he might produce on his brother's behalf, so he practiced the oldest form of birth control. Genesis 38:10 says, “What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so He put him to death .” Onan's motivation was selfish: he used Tamar for his own pleasure, but refused to perform his legal duty of creating an heir for his deceased brother. This passage is often used as evidence that God does not approve of birth control. However, it was not explicitly the act of contraception that caused the Lord to put Onan to death; it was Onan’s selfish motives behind the action.

20 November 2010 at 23:10  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

The idea of contraception being immoral is that it separates the sexual act from its purpose. In trivialising the sexual act you are making it a selfish act. Yes it was Onan's selfish motives behind the act that was the problem, and that is exactly the problem with contraception. You forget that one does not require a direct biblical quote to determine morality; you can logically deduce things as well. The Catholic church does not take discrete quotes from the Old Testament and draw dogmatic conclusions without first considering the interpretation and application of such a morality.

If I remember rightly, the Pope hasn't made any kind of deviation from traditional Catholic teaching. This announcement is miles away from the ridiculous compromise the Anglicans made when they decided that sex and procreation were two completely separable things. Jared Gaites' link sums it up perfectly.

Anglican lead? Don't make me laugh. I would despair if the Catholic church became the morally compromising laughing stock the Anglican church is today.

21 November 2010 at 01:09  
Anonymous Daffy Duck said...

I know I am on dodgy grounds with this, but it would seem that there is much evidence that would strongly suggest that the current Pope is.........,not entirely of a more normal sexual persuasion shall I say.

I mean apart from anything else, have any of you heard this man speak? He makes my 10 year old daughter sound positively butch.

Nothing wrong in itself with being profoundly homo-sexual by preference, or sounding less manly then a 12 year old girl, but the truth must still be told.

Of course it would seem reasonably self-apparent that a Roman Catholic priest could not possibly be entirely normal as far as their sexual habits are concerned, whatever their preferences may be.

Could this not be largely motivated by self-interest, nay self-preservation, if not by wholly selfish considerations, but for those regarding some of his closest friends or associates?

Why the seemingly sudden change of heart?

Has God himself, been whispering in his usually selectively inoperative shell-like?

Since when did the Pope give a tinkers, about reducing death and suffering around the world, unless there was an easy buck to be made from seeming to do so?

After all many or even some RC priests contracting HIV would raise some interesting questions, would it not?

Good old fashioned self-interest has had bestowed many benefits in the past. For example Georgian and Victorian drainage systems, keeping down the stench rising from the Great Unwashed.

Unfortunately for us, it is far easier for our ruling elites to live in Ivory towers, Papal Palaces or indeed far distant Pacific Islands then it was when Dickens was around.

Fatal disease as also death, the grand leveler of all human greatness, has also never been so easy to avoid.

Today it seems it is even more so, for some people at least. Shame that those that have already perished in their completely needless millions, will not be seeing any benefit from The Popes sudden conversion to reason.

Having said all that, we must remember this with regards to the issue of HIV in general and HIV among people of a more usual sexual preference in particular.

HIV is mainly propagated by POVERTY, and all of the immune system sapping things that go with it.

Which is why in the western world AIDS is still very largely confined within the male gay population.

This in spite of the many scare mongering nonsense and accusations of homophobia liberally spread around mainly by establishment controlled media outlets such as The BBC back in the 80's.

Many eminent doctors at the time however tried their level best to tell the truth about this so called monkey based disease, but were repeatedly branded by the BBC, in much the same way as so called MMGW deniers are today.

You will I hope note that The BBC dropped HIV as a serious issue concerning the greater British population many years ago, almost as if it never existed. Which of course it never actually did, in the first place.

Today as back then a healthy persons chances of contracting the HIV virus during the act of normal sexual intercourse is less then winning a smallish sized lottery jackpot.

It is still hundreds to one, even if your partner has HIV.

If you are a man then the chances of finding a women to have sex with who is not charging is small enough, finding one with HIV is therefore almost infinitely smaller.

21 November 2010 at 03:32  
Anonymous Adsense said...

Simply, one of the best article l have come across on this precious subject. I quite agree with your suppositions and will eagerly look forward to your forthcoming updates.

21 November 2010 at 05:59  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Some common sense from the Vatican? Is Benny shaping up to retro-jump the Tiber?

21 November 2010 at 08:35  
Anonymous Indigo said...

It appears that when the Pope said condoms are OK he meant only as a sensible anti-infection measure for people who are buggering each other.

Nothing about contraception.

21 November 2010 at 11:11  
Anonymous len said...

Seeing that a lot of Catholic Doctrine is not Biblical a little side -step on contraception should be a small matter.
Straining at gnats and swallowing Camels come to mind.

21 November 2010 at 11:50  
Blogger Jakian Thomist said...

Your Grace, your recent articles on Bishop Pete and Pope Benedict following the 'Anglican-lead' have been a source of great amusement for me this morning, and I thank you for that!

I admire your ability to turn a qualified example of Thomistic 'double-effect' into a quasi-endorsement of anglican orders. Hats off to you, good sir :)

21 November 2010 at 14:04  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

Jakian Thomist

Wow, thanks for that buddy. I no idea what the hell you just said up there so I had to google "Thomistic double effect". Very fascinating it is to.

For anyone else who is interested I have found two good places to start:

Thomistic Philosophy

Doctrine of Double Effect

Cheers mate. I like your style. Yes Cranmer is able to do that isn't he.

21 November 2010 at 15:25  
Anonymous len said...

A bit off thread but I feel very important.
Seems to me that'Christian' intellectuals have reversed the natural order that God created and have made it(Christianity )devoid of any power and rendered it unfit for purpose.
To speak of soul and body is in the 'Greek School 'of philosophical thinking which totally subordinates the Spirit to the (fallen )intellect.

The order God created was to be Spirit, Soul,and body.
The soul, including the intellect, was to be a vehicle to carry out the desires and wishes of the Spirit.

Christians ( particularly theologians have exalted the intellect and placed it above the Spirit much in the order of the 'Greek School'of Philosophy and to the detriment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The power and the energy of the original disciples has been largely lost and even Paul rejected his intellectualism.

21 November 2010 at 19:06  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

'Seeing that a lot of Catholic Doctrine is not Biblical a little side -step on contraception should be a small matter.
Straining at gnats and swallowing Camels come to mind.'

The Catholic Church has had 2000 years of deductive philosophical and theological thinking behind it. Just because you do not understand why something is true does not make it false. Change the record, it's boring. If you want to look at those who decided to change the Bible then look no further than Martin Luther; if he had had his way then he would have removed 9 books not 7, and you would be denouncing the RCs for their use of James and Revelation (Apocalypse). Bear in mind that even HE still followed Marian doctrine, infant baptism, transubstantiation and views on contraception. Jared Gaites has already provided the perfect link to show that the Pope hasn't said that condoms are justified at all. Follow it, read, and be enlightened. Also read Jakian Thomist's post, and the links Mr Gaites has provided on it.

21 November 2010 at 21:44  
Blogger Jody+ said...

In reply to Mr. Gaites' contention that the Anglican Church is finished, and that ordinary people consider it a joke: there are plenty of observers who believe that Christianity (including Roman Catholicism) is finished. Indeed, there are plenty of ordinary folk (increasing by the day) who believe most "organized religion" is a joke and is finished. Finding people who believe something to be so doesn't mean that it is the case.

Your Grace,

In response to your post, it reminds me of something one of my seminary professors passed along. He married into a Roman Catholic family and his wife's uncle was a Jesuit who taught at an RC university. The uncle used to joke that he knew the exact wording of the first line of the papal encyclical that would allow women's ordination: "As the Church has always taught, but some have misunderstood..." Granted, this was back in the 60's and 70's when such thoughts seemed more realistic, but the point is still made.

22 November 2010 at 05:25  
Blogger Caedmon's Cat said...


It's not my understanding of Martin Luther that he embraced either Marian doctrine or transubstantiation subsequent to his own experience of God through Scripture. He certainly adopted the doctrine of the 'real presence' in the eucharist - which is quite another thing from the transubstantiation teaching. As for Marian doctrines - he certainly renounced them. I haven't read his 'Table Talk', but I can't imagine that contraception was even a matter for debate in those days. They didn't have Durex then! Luther was far from perfect: his anti-semitic and anti-Catholic rantings were unreasonable and intemperate. He was also given to some wildly offbeam ideas - like removing James from the Scriptural canon, but nobody's perfect. I have reason to suspect more than a little RC anti-Luther propaganda in your comment.

22 November 2010 at 09:35  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Caedmon's Cat, All the quotes are post reformation (1517) Contraception has been around since ancient times, as has abortion actually (The Hippocratic oath specifically prohibits it actually). Ctrl F and Martin Luther for the appropriate section

Protestant acceptance of contraception and of having no real presence and that Mary was nothing more than a woman who came into special circumstances are all modern concepts; they are brought about by men who cannot see what those 2000 years ago could.

This is not propaganda more than it is expressing the truth. People idealise or condemn the past when it suits their current prejudice (I'm not referring to you btw). Try telling people that the middle ages weren't that bad and actually saw a wealth of scientific endeavour, or that the American revolution was unjustified. Try telling them that HIV is least prevalent in African nations where Catholicism is dominant, and abstinence is taught over contraception, try telling them that sex abuse in the church, whilst horrific, was (statistically) significantly less prevalent than in other similar child caring organisations.

People believe that Martin Luther held the same views that protestants hold now because they believe it somehow justifies them. He was the man who was outraged by corruption and took a stand. Surely he was the good guy? Sorry but history doesn't work that way; he was just another man: essentially good, but fallen.

22 November 2010 at 17:50  
Anonymous len said...

Lakester 91,

The Catholic church has made up and adopted so many doctrines that are not biblical that it is only out of respect of His Grace`s blog that I do not list them!

Catholicism has more in common with Babylonian religion than Christianity.

(This explains just a few)

22 November 2010 at 20:01  
Blogger Lakester91 said...


I'm only 19 and even at my age I can see how mis.. nay malinformed that website is. I got bored halfway through. The errors it makes in understanding Catholic doctrine can be explained with simple wilful ignorance, but the chronological/historical errors are outstanding. I don't trust it as an historical or ethical source more than I trust 'Braveheart' or the Koran. Even seculars and atheists are tiring of this nonsense and have posted several places online that give a fairer view (historically that is). I have heard and seen enough historical and biblical sources to be convinced.

Caustic vitriol is not enough to convince me that the Catholic Church is unbiblical. I need facts and well balanced arguments. Go away and come back with something better; try something well researched and less hysterical. I assume you failed to read the last few paragraphs.

22 November 2010 at 22:51  
Anonymous DerekS said...

As long as the Catholic birth rate is not affected by the use of condoms, as when they are used by homosexual prostitutes, the Pope can be relaxed about it. But active heterosexuals must not create barriers to their multiplying. The Roman Catholic Church's morality is determined largely by its well-developed survival instinct. Where now are those groups (eg Cathars, Shakers) whose concept of the good in sexual matters was derived from less worldly considerations?

23 November 2010 at 13:57  
Anonymous len said...

Lakerster 91,
I think you need to re read the article you still seem to be in denial.
You seem to be so entrenched in your Catholic traditions that no light can penetrate.
I am surprised you are 19 would have thought you were a lot younger.(arrogance of youth, etc)

23 November 2010 at 20:05  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

I think an article that essentially calls me deluded and uses insult rather than reason and uses distortion rather than clarity is worth forgetting as a reliable source. I've read it, and the stuff that isn't chronologically and theologically naive is simply just theologically naive. I've yet to see a better and well rounded source. Please provide; I'm asking nicely

23 November 2010 at 22:32  
Anonymous len said...

Lakerster 912,
Thank you for asking nicely,what I can do is point you to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who will lead you into all truth. John 16:12-15

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

This of course will set you at odds with Catholic doctrine but the choice of who you ultimately follow( Jesus Christ or Catholic doctrine) is your choice.

26 November 2010 at 19:07  
Anonymous len said...

Lakester 91,

'The Great Controversy' by Ellen G White is quite informative

26 November 2010 at 21:45  
Anonymous len said...

Lakester 91,
Alexander Hislop 'The Two Babylons' -

( every Catholic should read this, these two should do for a start if you need more just ask)

28 November 2010 at 08:16  

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