Monday, 22 November 2010

The Pope and Condoms. An Interview with Dr. Janet Smith

Zenit has an excellent interview with Dr Janet Smith (a great Catholic lady!) regarding the Holy Father's comments about condoms.

I saw a dreadful and insulting comment on a "traditional" Catholic blog on which the Holy Father is called "Benedict-Ratzinger" also linking with a video with the title of, "Can Benedict be the Pope?" (or something similar). Some so-called traditional Catholic sites and blogs are pretty awful in my estimation, allowing no reasoned discussion and proposing a kind of "traditionalism" that is looking increasingly vituperative and hyper-critical. If any readers of such blogs see this, I advise you to read this interview with Dr. Smith and to look again at some of the writings of the Pope - perhaps starting with his "Introduction to Christianity". We have enough trouble outside the Church without Catholics attacking the Pope from what they claim to be a "traditional" standpoint.


  1. Dear Father: Yes the Dr Smith interview is excellent. Have you read Fr Hunwiicke on the latest brou-ha-ha? If not, I recommend it at:

    Couldn't agree with you more about these so-called 'traditionalists'. They give a totally unhelpful impression and make life more difficult for orthodox priests and laity.

  2. I agree with you about Fr. Hunwicke's piece. I have sent him the reference to the interview. What a joy it will be to welcome Fr. Hunwicke into full Communion with Peter!

  3. I think an argument of first step moralisation is true but using this in terms of a homosexual act knowing the opposition of gay groups to the Church's teaching has an impact which was highly predictable. Can't many people engaged in sexual activities with others perceive condoms as a source of protection against STDs etc. This is what schools have taught for years. I.e. so called safe sex. As a teacher I know how people interpret what I say and act accordingly. I do not feel convinced the comment was wise.

  4. Congratulations of the comment below that you placed on catholic and Loving it.

    Fr John Abberton said...
    This is frightening rubbish! You have NOT understood what the the Pope is saying at all! I am away giving a retreat at the moment so do not have time to say more just now. Please READ what he said, carefully and then think and pray about it.

    You were absolutely right father. These traditionalist blogs have taken the Pope's words totally out of context. This attitude does little but cause panic and confusion that will ultimately damage our faith.

  5. fidelisjoff - I believe that like some others you have missed a substantial part of the Pope's argument. First of all, by referring to the case of a male prostitue he took the question out of the debate about contraception. No one who understands this simple fact can possibly claim he is changing the teaching in that area. Secondly by using the example given he was treating the condom purely in relation to avoidance of aids etc - purely that and without reference to the morality of the homosexual sexual act (in relation to the condom, that is). It is also clear from his statment that he considers the homosexual act in itself disordered, but he places it in the context of prostitution thus allowing people to think rather than make a knee-jerk reaction. Thus, the Church's teaching remains intact, he makes a point regarding the pastoral application regarding condoms (only in specific cases etc and this is not new at all)whilst challenging people to think again, perhaps, about the homosexual act itself (having placed this at the forefront of infection - quite rightly according to sound social and medical knowledge)AND leaves the teaching on contraception intact. In my view it was a brilliant answer. No doubt now people will attack him for what he did NOT say, such as what about infection caused by blood transfusion and in heterosexual sex etc, but he was not there to answer all possible questions on this topic but to indicate the direction that our moral reasoning might take. Personally I think his reply was not only subtle but inspired.

  6. Thank you for your response Father.