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Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Many are Broken-Hearted by the Pope's Imprudent Condom Remarks

A friend sent me the following email today:

Hi Mary Ann,

I understand and share your distress at the imprudence of the pope’s remarks to an interviewer re use of certain prophylactic devices: that stabbed-in-the-back feeling J. Don’t know if you saw Smeaton’s to-the-point remarks on the matter, at http://bit.ly/dX4j90 (John Smeaton is the head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in the U.K.):

This week especially, my heart breaks for my children and for my grandchildren; my heart breaks for the children of Britain and for children throughout the world. My heart breaks as I witness leading figures in the Vatican fomenting universal confusion on Catholic teaching on the use of condoms following Pope Benedict’s interview on that subject in the new publication: "Light of the World”. …
I address now the successors of the apostles, the Catholic bishops of the world. As the leader of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the oldest pro-life organization in the world, I especially address you, Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and through you, the bishops of the world.

“Countless children, perhaps my own grandchildren, will be deliberately corrupted as a result of the exploitation and misrepresentation of your interview about condoms by opponents of Catholic teaching within the Catholic Church. As a result of the worldwide media’s perception of your interview, and as a result of policies and legislation enacted on the basis of a false representation of Catholic teaching, the corruption of young children and the destruction of countless children in the womb will go hand in hand. Countless women will be exploited by selfish or insensitive or brutal husbands and boyfriends, as a result of the confusion generated in the mass media by opponents, within the Church, of Catholic teaching on the use of condoms."
Thanks to Jon for sending this. I'm posting a link to John Smeaton's blog (see blogroll on right). And may all our shepherds keep a more careful watch over their tongues with a sharp awareness of the potential to mislead and scandalize the flock.

6 comments:

Kindred Spirit said...

This is a heartbreaking post to read, but I agree with all that you've said in it. Blessed Jacinta's words are ringing in my ears: "Pray, pray much for the Holy Father." O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Anonymous said...

Catholics, just vanish. Vanish from the civilized world.

S. Petersen said...

Mary: the Pope has done nothing wrong. Fr. Fessio has provided a good analogy here (you can find it stated more clearly than I can from memory over on Fr. Z's blog): you've got thugs robbing people by striking them down with baseball bats. Commenting on the problem, the authority, in response to a specific question, states, yes, it would be better if they padded their bats, so that their victims were merely injured, rather than killed. The authority does not, by this, condone robbery or violence nor does he pardon those who engage in it. There is theology to support the idea of gradation of sin.
Moreover, for sensible people at least, the lesson out of this is that the Church's teaching about contraception is reaffirmed in the popular press throughout the world.
You're sometimes to quick to condemn. Surely you do not suppose youself to be a better judge of what public statements to make than the Holy Father.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Anonymous, that truly would be a tragedy. The Catholic Church has been at the forefront of defending the most innocent throughout history. It was Catholics who ministered to plague victims during the middle ages and began hospitals and homes to care for the sick and suffering. Today, it is Catholic schools in the inner cities that is saving at least some children from the disaster in the public schools.

Catholics are responsible for much of the culture of the "civilized world." If Catholics and everything they started "vanished" much of the great art, music, and architecture would vanish with them. But the anti-Catholics like you would remain looking for new targets.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

S. Petersen, I know I'm not as smart as the pope. Neither are most of the people in the world who are reading his words and the spin put on them by the media. The pope's remarks have sown confusion and I doubt many will begin a serious theological study to understand Fr. Fessio's argument.

The problem as I see it (as a mom and grandma) is that it provides new excuses for rationalization. Abortion is evil... but maybe it shows a move toward moral awakening to anesthetize the baby before killing him. Even better, use contraception so you won't have to face the greater moral evil of killing a baby at all. It's the argument that Planned Parenthood has used for years and the pope's remarks have given it new steam. "Even the pope says condoms are the moral decision in some cases...."

I know parents who have put their teen daughters on the pill to avoid a pregnancy. How many of them do you think are going to look deeply into the pope's remarks? It just gives them another reason to choose "the lesser of two evils."

How can this not be a justification for situational ethics? The fact that you say one is bad; the other is worse will be lost on most people. It's Joseph Fletcher for the 21st century.

And, yes, I'm broken-hearted for my children and grandchildren. It is hard enough to raise moral children these days. The pope did not help the situation.

S. Petersen said...

I've no kids. Nonetheless, it seems like a kid old enough to hear of this topic could be made to understand what the Pope meant and that it is his (and our) enemies that have made trouble.