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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The pope on condoms and a feminist theology blog

There's a furor over a quote on condom use from the pope in a new book .....

"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality." (In All Things)

Why does this seem to be a big deal? ... theologians from Karl Rahner to Charles Curran, and even clerics like Bishop Kevin Dowling (see my past post on him), have spoken for contraception use ... it's just that now the pope seems to have changed his mind a little (only in the restricted case of condoms for male prostitutes who have sexual diseases?). But even in this case of using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS: is there a person out there who is HIV positive and who cares about the health of their partner but who won't use a condom because the church says not to; is there a person out there who is HIV positive and who doesn't care about their partner but who will now use a condom because the pope has changed his mind? To me the pope's change of heart seems too little too late, but I suppose this might alter things for the better in Catholic-run health agencies dealing with AIDS victims.

Anyway, this brings me to a blog I've been recently visiting, Women in Theology/WIT. Who knew there'd be others besides me who read both In All Things and Feministing :). I assume they're mostly Catholics because they attend Catholic colleges, but also their latest post points that way too: Pope Benedict Changes His Mind on Condoms? - who but Catholics would expend the energy to discuss the use of condoms against AIDS as the principle of double effect?

You can read more about the book and what the pope said here at Reuters FaithWorld blog - Condoms, Pius XII, sex abuse and other main points in pope book.


Blogger Mark said...

Crystal, I just commented on another blog that the B16 move on condoms is no big deal. Our church is still stuck as the anti-sex church. And to be honest, most catholics, at least that I know, don't take papal teachings on sex seriously.

10:53 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, I'd agree.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Bridget said...

Hi, Crystal! This is Bridget from WIT -- thanks so much for the shoutout! That actually pretty well captures our reason for starting our blog -- that sense of "Is there anyone else out there who reads both of these?!" There's such horrible misinformation on the internet about feminist theology!

We have a majority of Catholic contributers, but I do need to say that we are actually an ecumenical group! (We've been getting mis-identified as a "Catholic feminist blog" in a few places lately, which is understandable, but false...) Anyway, I hope you continue to find us worth reading, and I really invite you to comment! And let us know if we start to veer too far in the obtusely academic direction (or overly confessional personal direction) -- we're trying to walk a line...

All my best!!

5:22 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


Thanks so much for the comment.

I was a little too intimidated to comment at WIT, given the combination of academic credentials, but now I'll do so if I can think of anything to say.

It's good to hear about the ecumenism - many of the blogs I visit are Protestant and I've learned a lot from them.

So good to know there are other women out there who care about some of the same things I do :)

5:42 PM  

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