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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, March 30, 2009
What has been happening? The press have reported & supported various attacks upon the Pope, including from numerous heads of governments and even Catholics
.For instance? Just before last Christmas he was widely accused of attacking homosexuals
.What did he actually done? He hadn’t mentioned this group but had said that the complimentarit-y of male & female is important and is being undermined and obscured today in western culture. Certainly his speech was indirectly supporting traditional marriage – but then he is a Catholic.
Other e.g.s? Last month he was widely accused of trying to undermine Jewish-Christian respect.
What had he actually done? An act of charity, for Christian unity: He had made the first tentative step along the long road of reconciling four Bishops who were excommunicated from the Church in the 90’s. One of these Bishops had denied the Holocaust gas chambers. But many of the Pope’s statements show that he in no way supports such sentiments. Furthermore he has been a consistent defender of respectful Jewish-Christian dialogue. Jewish leaders defended him.
What’s the latest example?Recently he was accused of encouraging the AIDS epidemic in Africa
What had he actually done? He unsurprisingly repeated another well-known Catholic teaching.
Which teaching? That officially distributing condoms to those involved in promiscuous behaviour involves official support for this behaviour. This behaviour all acknowledge is at the heart of the AIDS epidemic. Officially aiding and abetting such behaviour will make it more frequent.
Why does the Church teach this? Catholic moral teaching and common law acknowledges that supporting a behaviour which is wrong makes you party to the act. You are responsible for the act. It encourages the act. It gives permission for it. Alone the Catholic Church teaches that officially giving out condoms will make the problems worse.
Is there any independent support for this? Yes. Whilst studies show that in a particular promiscuous act condoms significantly reduce the risk of passing on viruses (though never to close to zero) increasing amounts of academic studies show that in the population as a whole official condom promotion makes it worse. Promiscuity increases, condom failure increases, etc.
Is this borne out in practice? Uganda is one of the very few places where official support for condom use is played down. It is one of the v. few places in Africa where the prevalence of AIDS has been significantly reduced. HIV decreases wherever & only wherever abstinence increases.
What about our own country? For decades we have had an increase in (i) official support for condom use amongst promiscuous teenagers, & (ii) Teenage STD’s & unwanted pregnancies. Both these processes look set to continue. The latest initiative is to advertise condoms before the 9 pm threshold – so (i) continues apace. If Catholic teaching is right (ii) will continue.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:46 am