Numerous bishops clarify pope did not approve condoms in any circumstances
VATICAN, December 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – From America to Africa and the Philippines to Australia, at least forty of the world’s bishops (that we are aware of), including four Cardinals, have spoken out publicly to affirm that Pope Benedict did not approve the use of condoms in the new book-length interview Light of the World. The massive media misrepresentation of the pope’s remarks on condoms in that book has created confusion amongst many, including some prominent Catholic leaders.
In the last few weeks seven American bishops, and all 26 bishops in Kenya, Africa, have joined bishops from the Vatican, Australia, Spain and the Philippines in attempting to set the record straight, stating plainly that the Pope did not justify the use of condoms under any circumstances.
LifeSiteNews has compiled the key statements made by some of these Catholic Church Bishops on the question.
(Interventions by Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke, Sydney Cardinal George Pell backing the statement of Australian Bishop Anthony Fischer, as well as Philippines Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the Archbishop of Cebu have previously been covered on LifeSiteNews.com)
Youngstown, Ohio Bishop George Murry
“A careful reading of (the Pope’s) remarks reveals, however, that Pope Benedict neither proposed any change to the teaching of the Church on the immorality of the use of contraceptives, nor does he justify condom use, or characterize their use as a lesser evil. … Pope Benedict was not justifying condom use for male prostitutes or for anyone else.”
Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin
“It’s still wrong. It’s still evil. But if a person uses condoms to prevent the spread of disease, at least there is some kind of humanity there, some kind of decency, that the pope referred to as the first step toward moralization,” Tobin said.
Denver Colorado Archbishop Charles Chaput Nov 21:
“But intense controversy—at least in Europe and the United States—has always surrounded the Catholic rejection of condom use in AIDS prevention. The Church holds that condom use is morally flawed by its nature, and that, equally important, condom use does not prevent AIDS and can actually enable its spread by creating a false sense of security.”
“In the context of the book’s later discussion of contraception and Catholic teaching on sexuality, the Pope’s comments are morally insightful. But taken out of context, they can easily be inferred as approving condoms under certain circumstances.”
Toledo, Ohio Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, said on December 11:
“In 2009 Pope Benedict made the claim that condom distribution is not helping, and may actually be worsening, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Now in 2010, he reaffirmed this claim in a recent book interview in which he repeats what he has said in the past, namely, that condoms are not the answer morally or otherwise to the scourge of AIDS.”
“All the pope did was to express a hope that maybe in the hypothetical situation he describes the use of a condom might be the first stirring of a conscience on the long road to conversion.”
Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
“(The Pope) does not say that the condom use is justifiable or acceptable, but only that it “can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.” That’s not saying much. That reminds me of the news reports a few years ago about the so-called “Gentleman Bandit” who was given that nickname because he was very courteous to the bank tellers during a hold-up. One could say that the thief’s courtesy “can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility,” but that does not justify his theft. He was still a crook!”
San Angelo, Texas Bishop Michael Pfeifer
“The pope has indicated he’s not providing any change in church teachings,” Pfeifer said Tuesday. “He’s trying to make a point that a person, like a known prostitute, if they were to use a condom to prevent passing on a disease like HIV, it could be the first step in the conversion of that person’s life.”
“In no way is he saying prostitution is acceptable. In no way is the use of a condom acceptable,” Pfeifer said.
Fargo, North Dakota Bishop Samuel Aquila said on Nov. 22:
“Despite recent news articles which falsely construe the words of Pope Benedict XVI to suggest otherwise, that teaching has not changed in any way.”
“The Holy Father is not condoning the use of condoms, but making an observation regarding the awakening of a sense of responsibility in the people who are caught up in the habitual sin of prostitution. He does not offer a new moral evaluation of the use of condoms, neither in principle nor practically in this circumstance, but is merely describing a psychological development as one, even in the grip of sin, can begin to acknowledge the safety and human dignity of another.”
Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, General Secretary of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference
Noted on Nov. 26, at the conclusion of the Spanish bishops’ 96th plenary assembly, that the use of condoms “always” takes place “within a context of immorality.” Thus, he continued, it “can never be recommended.”
Nairobi Kenya Cardinal John Njue and the 25 other Kenyan Bishops signed a statement Nov 29:
“We reiterate and reaffirm that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS infection has not changed and remains as always unacceptable.”
“The church and indeed the Holy Father reaffirms that “naturally the Church does not consider condoms as the “authentic and moral solution” to the problem of AIDS.”
“(The Pope) is not speaking on the morality of the use of condoms, but on something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature. This in no way condones the use of condoms in itself.”