There are plenty of difficult sexual situations that invite lowering the moral bar. Can the elderly married couple dealing with erectile dysfunction practice mutual masturbation? How about a married couple late in pregnancy? Obviously, there's no contraceptive intention in either case. What if the woman is still in her child-bearing years but her husband can't perform? Do they have to live in a Josephite marriage with no hands-on relations? I'm sure there are plenty of wounded vets who would like to know.
To be honest, I'm in mourning. I've spent most of my adult life defending Church teaching on Humanae Vitae, and I will continue to do so. But I feel like the pope just made it a lot harder. Here's what I said in a comment on an article at LifeSiteNews today. The author was "explaining" that the pope was talking about sodomy not normal sex, but it still left me scratching my head:
So let me get this straight. An AIDS infected homosexual engaging in gay prostitution is showing his moral concern for himself or his partner by using a condom while he commits sodomy; but a married couple where one is infected with AIDS is committing a mortal sin of contraception? Or is it only if the couple can potentially become pregnant? Are the post menopausal married woman and her husband allowed to use condoms to prevent spread of disease?The Vatican knows the pope's comment created a firestorm and they've gone into damage control mode. [See Vatican Rushes to Clarify Pope's Comments in Book ] What the fallout of this imprudent papal comment will be on the Church remains to be seen. Please pray for the pope and our poor suffering Church. And I'd appreciate a few prayers for myself as well. It's hard enough to fight those coming straight at you. But it's doubly hard when you have to watch your back.
It seems to me that the pope’s statement absolutely undermines the Church’s teaching on contraception. If the infected sodomite is to be seen as exercising concern for the other by using a condom, how can the infected married couple not be seen in the same light? Or is their marital act with a condom, because of the contraceptive aspect, now seen as more immoral than sodomy with a condom that shows the gay couple’s concern for one another. I’m baffled and heartbroken.
As someone who’s spent a lifetime defending Humanae Vitae, I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I feel like I’m on the wrong side of the looking glass at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.