Why Is It Surprising

by Little Miss Attila on November 20, 2010

. . . that the Pope would support the use of condoms outside of marriage?

I mean, the previous pontiff’s views on sexuality within marriage weren’t supposed to apply to sex outside of a committed heterosexual relationship in the first place.

Especially given the context of prostitution–and male prostitution at that–I don’t see how anyone can be surprised by this.

Clearly, Roman Catholic doctrines about the role of sex within marriage weren’t meant to preclude taking precautions regarding the spread of disease.

I mean, we can probably argue about how-young-is-too-young to make condoms available in the school nurse’s office (I’m in favor of having them there, but having the nurse try to suss out when there might be a middle-aged man in a young girl’s life). But to suggest that they shouldn’t be available to populations who are at high risk of disease is really odd.

I remember when my husband and I had our “pre-Cana” training so we could get married in the Church. I was quite surprised when one of the anonymous “questions in the hat” had to do with one of the couples there practicing birth control–and I was gratified that someone on the panel pointed out that it was sort of a moot point once the couple was having sex outside of marriage.

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The Anchoress | A First Things Blog
November 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

progressive white liberal's punkass kid November 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Or, as Benedict put it: “Only YOU can prevent Protestants…

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Little Miss Attila November 21, 2010 at 6:43 am

Hey! I come from a family of Methodists, and my friends are all conservative evangelicals! Knock it off! ;)

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John November 21, 2010 at 10:20 am

It still comes across as if the Pope were wobbly on the issue. The Scriptures could not be more plain on sex outside of marriage: Don’t. The Pope’s message simply should have been that those who rebel against God incur a penalty, and that his advice for such is to repent.

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Little Miss Attila November 21, 2010 at 11:21 am

What’s wobbly is to suggest that people should receive the death penalty–via the transmission of AIDS–for engaging in sex outside of marriage.

I think we know where the Lord stood on THAT issue.

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John November 22, 2010 at 5:46 am

It is an abuse of words to employ the term death penalty to refer to the direct consequences of any act. It is not as if there were a Morality Police arresting fornicators and injecting them with the AIDS virus. The infection is a physical consequence of behavior.

In light of this fact, and the omnipotence of the Lord, His stance on the issue is clear.

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Little Miss Attila November 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

His stance was that He broke bread with these people, and had compassion on them. He helped them get out of the life. He would have supported them minimizing the damage they did to others before they extricated themselves.

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Maureen November 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Little Miss Attila, I find it hard to believe that you still have so much naive believer-of-newspapers in you. Sweetie, honey, baby, this is news about Catholic stuff right before Christmas! Of course it’s a big lie!

What the pope said was that if you’re someone completely morally depraved about sexuality, and it occurs to you that maybe you should try to protect your customers from your wang’s possibly disease-ridden state, that’s probably the first moral impulse about sexuality you’ve ever had. So people should be sensitive to that, even though the idea the guy has for acting morally is objectively an evil act also.

Re: compounding mortal sin — Of course it matters. If somebody’s stealing my car, I don’t want him to decide he’ll rape and murder me too, just because he’s already committed one felony. The less evil you do, the more chance that you will repent. The more evil you do, even if it’s just giving people papercuts as well as stealing their car, the more hardened in evil you become and the further you reject God. Even in Hell, there are some sins where we have good authority that it would have been better not to have been born than to have committed them and not repented. Rule 1: If you’re in a hole, don’t dig more holes!

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Foxfier November 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm

As usual, reports were dead wrong.

He said the DESIRE to protect people that would drive a male prostitute to use a condom, rather than give his Johns HIV, was one of those urges to good that humans have from time to time. (even if it is one of those paving the road to hell things)

Since screwing folks when you know you’re HIV positive is one of the Nazi level jackass things of our time…….

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Little Miss Attila November 21, 2010 at 11:23 pm

What I’m saying is that 1) once we are outside the context of a committed heterosexual relationship there is no reason to assume that Church teachings on birth control are really applicable. I confess that I have not read Humanae Vitae, but my understanding is that its discussion regarding human sexuality pertains to married life between a man and a woman. So people who think it’s less sinful to risk pregnancy during a premarital incident may well be mistaken.

More importantly, 2) beyond the dicey issue of premarital sexuality, where one can make the argument that the availability of birth control might increase temptations, particularly for the young, there was never any reason to believe that the use of condoms to prevent the spread of disease was sinful in and of itself. Again–I have not read Humanae Vitae, but I really really doubt that its message was: “la la la, who cares how many people in Africa die of AIDS?”

And the notion that Humanae Vitae was meant to somehow advocate unprotected sex between men–who, after all, cannot conceive–much less male prostitutes, is very odd.

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Foxfier November 21, 2010 at 11:28 pm

So people who think it’s less sinful to risk pregnancy during a premarital incident may well be mistaken.

As I understand it, no. To totally nuke it, it’s like murdering the gal you raped because that will stop pain.

there was never any reason to believe that the use of condoms to prevent the spread of disease was sinful in and of itself.

Again, as I understand it, but this time: totally right. Trying to stop the spread of disease is not bad, especially in a form that doesn’t do additional harm.

And the notion that Humanae Vitae was meant to somehow advocate unprotected sex between men–who, after all, cannot conceive–much less male prostitutes, is very odd.

I’ll place it slightly more odd than the notion that folks who utterly ignore the Church on the whole screwing-outside-of-marriage thing will listen when they say “don’t use condoms.”

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Little Miss Attila November 22, 2010 at 8:12 am

Go read the thread at The Anchoress. Apparently, that is very common, because Pope John Paul’s teachings have been so widely misunderstood. There are, apparently, plenty of people out having premarital sex with multiple partners and foregoing birth control “because it’s a sin.”

Which is absurd.

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Foxfier November 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

Unless it’s an established commenter, might want to take any comments there with a large grain of salt– she’s gotten fairly high profile, and has a comment format even simpler than yours. Very tempting for folks who like to screw with folks.

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Foxfier November 22, 2010 at 9:45 am

Hm, the only quote that’s there now about people actually saying something like “I screw around outside of marriage, but I don’t use a condom because that would be worse” is a friend says that during his volinteer time, that’s what they said, in Africa. (Given that we’re talking about a place where last time I knew, the biggest growing group of HIV positive folks is little girls, because they decided raping a virgin will cure AIDS, I’m less than charitable about the connection between their claims and their motives.)

Guessing there were more? They’ve been pretty good about keeping up with folks who post under a half-dozen names from the same IP address, “talking” to themselves. (I think that’s called sockpuppeting?)

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el polacko November 22, 2010 at 11:49 pm

the whole hang up the catholics have with condoms, masturbation, gay people, etc. is based on the same story of onan who “spilled his seed” on the ground rather than impregnating a woman with it…apparently, ‘god’ got pissed off and we don’t want to go around doing that lest we be smited..or smitten..or whatever.

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richard mcenroe November 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

“Hey! I come from a family of Methodists, and my friends are all conservative evangelicals! Knock it off!”

Quit nailin’ stuff on my door, ya rotten kids!

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