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Random Question Of The Day No 20657…

Saturday, March 21, 2009
Posted in: random musings

question

Why do Catholics oppose the use of condoms so much?

Pope Benedict on Tuesday reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS as he started a visit to Africa, where more than 25 million people have died from the disease in recent decades…

“It (AIDS) cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem,” he said in response to a question about the Church’s widely contested position against the use of condoms.

Seriously?

Update:   With apologies to Karen. I am quite sorry, but K.Z. Snow’s comment just begged for this

31 Comments »


  • MB (Leah)
    March 21
    11:07 am

    Boggles the mind what the Pope said. I can’t even compute how illogical and irresponsible that statement is.

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  • Uh. Bwah?

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  • I think they think the availability of condoms keeps people from practicing abstinence. Ugh! They should be ashamed of themselves for taking such a stance.

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  • Steam came out of my ears when I read that. When I think about all the stories you hear of babies/infants/children being raped in Africa by grown men because of the persistent rumour that a virgin can ‘cure’ AIDS and the RC church thinks that abstinence is really a player in this game. Really? ugh.

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  • I grew up Catholic, something I’m NOT proud of (and I don’t call myself one anymore). The answer to your question is that the church is all about control. They want to control your sex life, your reproductive life, your married life. Why? So you’ll give them all your money.
    I mean seriously what can a bunch of old men who have all their needs paid for by the church tell ANYONE about the real world? Nothing. The RC church is still teaching the same nonsense it taught in the 1900’s. I doubt they’ll survive as a religon in the future.

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  • Recovering Catholic here too–and one with no answer to the question.

    I mean, really, it doesn’t compute on any level–look at what the ‘abstinence only’ has brought on over here, imagine what it does in other countries with less resources.

    Okay, I have an answer–the Catholic church’s upper echelons live somewhere in the sixteen century.

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  • M E 2
    March 21
    3:13 pm

    Maybe this is part of the whole abstinence thing but isn’t it also because the only reason anyone should be having sex (as far as the church is concerned) is to reproduce and (unless the condom breaks/is faulty) if you’re using/wearing a condom there will be no resulting pregnancy?

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  • Because the whole reason for sex in the Catholic religion is to procreate. If you use something to stop that, you are sinning. I will never forget the story my mother told about my grandmother and grandfather. Both were church going, god fearing Catholics. After their 5th child, they didn’t want anymore children and wanted to start using birth control. My grandmother goes to her priest and asks if she starts using birth control, what would happen? The priest said she and her husband would burn in hell. That was 1960. The last time my grandmother was in church was at her own funeral.
    Sad isn’t it?

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  • I’m not sure if you want an answer really, but

    The Catholic Church (as opposed to “Catholics” who vary widely in their beliefs and practices) has a very strict sexual ethic, based (self-consciously and overtly — other unconscious, historical motivating factors also operate) on natural law theory. It opposes any sex outside of the sacrament of marriage (hetero of course). Sexuality is primarily for procreation within the context of marriage, and must remain open to the possibility of conception, a gift form God. Hence, no active birth control, although passive methods, like avoiding sex during fertile times, have been allowed.

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  • Anon76
    March 21
    3:31 pm

    Yeah M E 2,

    I think you hit it on the head. The RC church stands by the position that sex is not for pleasure, only for reproduction. Therefore, IMHO, it would follow that they don’t care a lick about curbing disease. Boff only when you want a baby.

    And I could say something really rude as a followup to that thought, but I will respect the feelings of the decent catholics following this loop.

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  • Sam
    March 21
    3:38 pm

    I think the person that said ‘control’ got it right. What I don’t get is WHY they (the church) think people of other beliefs should give a rats ass what the catholics say.

    Sam

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  • Another former Catholic (and Christian) here. I feel the bottom line with church leaders is that they see it as tool of necessity to portray sex as sinful. Otherwise, someone, somewhere might just end up having sex for the sake of lovemaking, which is the ultimate affront to any god who claims turf rights on the human heart.

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  • Need anybody wonder why there are so many lapsed Catholics? (I’m raising my hand here.)

    The Church has always been solidly ANTI any form of birth control, save the “rhythm” method (ask my sister, six kids later, how reliable that is). Because, you see, every sperm is precious and heroic and could conceivably (no pun intended) result in the production of offspring. So preventing those precious, heroic little soldiers from doing their job is tantamount to killing babies. Besides, having sex simply for the joy of having sex is dirty bad.

    And don’t even get me started on Benedict’s attitude toward gays.

    This reactionary bullshit has made me ill for decades. Rather than attempting to revitalize an increasingly anachronistic religion, the College of Cardinals keeps electing ever more conservative popes who seem determined to throw it out of step with the modern world.

    If ya ask me, they all need to get laid.

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  • Millions of people are suffering and that suffering can be alleviated a huge amount if men would use condoms when they used prostitutes and came back home to wives. Infection rates are epic this way. In many situations where women don’t have the right or ability to say no to sex, or to leave.

    Telling people the chief mode of realistic HIV prevention is a sin won’t stop HIV transmission. As we’ve seen. I certainly don’t think telling lies along the lines of condom use increasing HIV transmission is helpful or very christ like.

    Minister to people and their souls. Comfort the afflicted. That’s on the menu. If your dogma gets in the way of doing these basic things, there’s something wrong with your dogma.

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  • Chris
    March 21
    5:41 pm

    Not every Catholic priest falls right into line and buys that crap. There are plenty of dedicated religious (priests, nuns, brothers, etc) who try to meet both their superiors’ demands and the needs of their parishioners.

    Take the whole sex-for-procreation-only thing one step further. Technically, if a couple comes to their priest and he knows physically they cannot procreate (woman has reproductive issues or the man got a vasectomy or whatever), he cannot marry them. WTF? If they answer the pre-marriage quiz and say no to having children, another red flag and no to the marriage.

    Technically, even though I went to church regularly and was actually their organist (so went to church MORE than normal), I shouldn’t have been allowed to be married in the church due to fertility issues. That was 10 yrs ago…I was happily married in the church by a very caring and understanding priest who bent the “rules” to minister to his congregation in a way I’m sure God or whatever higher power is out there would approve.

    I think a lot of the priests and religious mouth the words, then minister to their congregation as they see fit. ( And I don’t think they’re going to burn in hell for it…but that bishop dude in Africa or wherever who thinks the Holocaust never happened is )

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  • First off – I agree with Jessica – there is a huge difference methinks between Catholics and the Catholic Church.
    Their male dominated chauvinistic attitudes just confound me – totally and completely confound me.
    First off – if sex is only for procreation – then why does it feel so good?
    Second – I’m not Catholic – but is it my imagination or is this current pope even MORE out of touch with the ‘real’ world?
    And third – the Church’s stance in saying to a whole continent that is suffering from AIDS NOT to use something that will SAVE lives is so totally whacked I don’t see how any reasoning person could agree with this stance.
    Just as upsetting to me was the excommunication of the doctor and mother of the little girl who was raped and impregnated and became pregnant by her step father and aborted the twins she was carrying – a NINE year old – while no punishment for the father was given.
    The hypocrisy in their ideas is mind boggling.

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  • MichelleR
    March 21
    6:20 pm

    I think it was originally about wanting more Catholics. Some traditions remain even when the reasons — and the times — have changed.

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  • I was baptized Catholic when I was a baby, and then forced to go to Communion when I was a child. As soon as I was old enough to do it I excommunicated myself. It was a empowering moment.

    From what I can remember from church is that you should only have sex when you are trying to have a baby. To have sex with a condom means that you are doing it for pleasure which a no-no.

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  • Men in frocks making decisions about lives when they haven’t lived in the real world should take their frocks off and take a walk in the real world.

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  • Mom and I discussed this the other day. Currently, I’m a lapsed Catholic (like my siblings) but Mom remains devout. She actually converted to Catholicism and even teaches Catechism. Even so, she finds it incredibly difficult to merge the realities of the world with the teachings of the Church. Mom refused to teach her classes of seventh and eighth graders about homosexuality as a sin and struggles with the Church’s rules on safer sex and abstinence.

    In a perfect world of rainbows and ponies, we’d all wait until marriage to have sex but this is reality. And in this reality people die from AIDS. Young girls find themselves pregnant and alone. Men and teen boys become infected with all varieties of STDs.

    I don’t know if it’s even possible for the Church to find a way to relax their stances on birth control/safer sex and homosexuality. Since the Holy See is supposed to serve as the beacon of humanly perfection and complete adherence to the teachings of Christ, I doubt it’s possible for them to compromise. That’s sucky, of course, but there it is.

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  • I’ve been reading a lot about the long-term effects of a Catholic upbringing on the sex life of a modern woman at http://www.surprisinglysane.com/ It’s the blog of a friend. I can’t even begin to claim to understand the tenets of Catholicism, and truthfully, I don’t want to, but in reading her blog I have learned that it seems to be very invested in fighting against our own nature.

    It seems as though, through fighting the instincts God has inhabited in the body, we will be better people to the pope (the church), more worthy of redemption. If we don’t do what the body is designed to do – if we indeed deny the things we’re designed for – we’ve somehow fulfilled what God wants. Does that seem right? Did his grand design come out wrong?

    But God, like Mother Nature, wants his way. He’s put our bodies – and put the world – together in a certain way, and if we try and change or deny nature, it’s gonna come back and smack us in the head.

    The more we understand about ourselves and the world at large, the more we know that it doesn’t serve our best interest to try and get one over on Mother Nature. Build a house on a cliff, expect a landslide. Put one on a flood plane – even one that’s been dry for 20 years, expect a flood. Build a dam, know that it will fail.

    The same is true for the sexual instinct, the pleasure instinct of our bodies. It’s put there for a reason. Try to brick up that dam and there will be a catastrophic failure.

    I think the pope is dead wrong with his latest pronouncement. Excuse me, I don’t just think it, I know it. And he has done his station a disservice by uttering the lie. Not wanting believers to use a condom for religious reasons is one thing. It’s an attempt to dam up humans’ natural instincts so the church can control the flow. But to lie about something that puts the lives of millions of people at risk is appalling.

    The statement reads as if rolling on a condom will give you AIDS. If anyone other than the pope had said it, they’d be mocked and ridiculed and laughed right out of a press conference. That millions of people might believe him makes his words criminal.

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  • Karen Scott
    March 22
    8:54 am

    What Venus Vaughn said.

    When I was at school, we had a neighbouring high school that was known as the place to go to, if you wanted to become a teenage mother.

    It was a Catholic school, and there were more teen pregnancies there than any of the normal schools in my town.

    It seemed ironic that the girls and boys who were taught to fear sex for anything other than procreation, were the ones putting it about the most.

    The young people at that school were way more promiscuous than they should have been, and I totally blame the repressive catholic teachings for that status quo.

    I despise most organised religion anyway, but the Pope coming out with such idiotic and dangerous statements makes me want to smack him so hard, that he finally lands into the 21st Century.

    The world has changed and will keep changing, yet so many religious figures seem happy enough to stay in the dark ages.

    What the fuck is up with that?

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  • Karen Scott
    March 22
    9:10 am

    What Amarinda Jones said too.
    I have an ingrained distrust of men in frocks who aren’t allowed to have sex.

    Like Venus said, going against nature is bound to bite one in the ass, and judging from the number of sex scandals within the Catholic church, having to abstain from sex, tests even the most devout priests.

    If God had truly meant for us to abstain from sex, I’m pretty sure he/she/it wouldn’t have given us sexual organs, just like he wouldn’t have given us mouths if he didn’t want us to speak.

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  • I am not a lapsed Catholic. I still am a Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 13 years (k-12) and taught in Catholic school for six years.

    And I write sexy romances and have always had what I thought was a pretty healthy sex life. All that Catholicism and the Church’s outdated attitude about sex never got in my way. However, it did make me think long and hard about premarital sex and consider it with great seriousness. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, either. Looking back at my life, I have few regrets.

    I’ve remained within the Church by accepting that the Church is run by men…human men…so they are not infallible. And while Catholics are supposed to believe the Pope to be infallible…well, history proves otherwise. So I hold onto my faith and my belief in God’s love about rules and regulations of the organized church. Is this hypocritical? Not faithful? That’s for me and my soul to decide, thanks.

    BTW, John Paul II wrote a wonderful encyclical on love that included sexual love and it was quite lovely. It was within the context of a marriage, of course, but it celebrated the love between a husband and wife. I personally do not believe that marriage is the only union that can produce deep love, but I do respect that a marriage should, at the very least, be a place where two people can find great love. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t write romance novels, much less read them.

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  • Miki
    March 23
    3:21 am

    As an ex-Roman Catholic, it’s easy to want to jump in with the abuse, but it’s not a strictly RC belief. Other Christian (and probably some non-Christian) groups have similar beliefs – they just don’t get the “air time” that the Pope does.

    I have a Southern Baptist friend – and a nurse, for god’s sake! – who will go off for hours (if you let her) on the evils of birth control. Birth control is the cause of the increase of sexually transmitted disease, she says, because it’s taken the fear of pregnancy away from premarital sex. If you only have sex with one other person, and that person has only ever had sex with you, diseases wouldn’t get transmitted.

    It’s not untrue I suppose, but for a religion that stresses man’s basic sinfulness, it’s astounding that they don’t see the need for some protection against the consequences of that “sinfulness” when it comes to sex.

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  • My father is a Southern Baptist minister. Um, there is no global teaching in the SB church against birth control. I have used just about every method out there with my parent’s wholehearted approval.

    Personally, the Pope’s pronouncement appalled me. I seemed to be on the same line as those faith’s that reject medicine and surgery. I found it incredibly sad and criminally irresponsible. And as one of the other posters said, I question the lack of protests on the part of the press.

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  • Sorry. The edit thingy didn’t work. That should be “It seemed to be on the same line as those faiths who reject medicine and surgery.” And now I’ll go to bed.

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  • Baptized a Catholic, raised a Catholic, lapsed as a Catholic for five years…interestingly about the same time I started reading explicit erotic romance. Coincidence? Hmmmmm….

    The Catholic Church has always oppressed women and continues to do so in policy and practice. Is this different in individual parishes across the world and particularly in the United States? I can answer emphatically yes.

    However, control is the word of the day. This Pope won’t visit the U.S. he believes U.S. Catholics are going to hell. There has been strong opposition by U.S. Bishops to the conservatism and old world practices of the Church for about 10 years. Unfortunately not strong enough for the Catholic Church to survive in the U.S. The people filling our church here locally are people who have immigrated from 3rd world countries and the church provided a haven for them.

    The Pope’s comments were despicable imo. It’s devastating for women who already have no voice when a powerful political figure affirms the rights of a man to infect his wife with the Aids virus. Despicable.

    This isn’t about men who aren’t able to have sex. This is about oppression and power.

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  • As I Catholic I refuse to acknowledge Pope Benedict as one of ours. It’s not only because of his crazy eyes and questionable youthful indiscretion (if one can call being a Nazi a youthful indiscretion) it’s because he is absolutely clueless. The Church has progressed and he is determined to set it back 500 years.

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  • anon
    March 27
    4:17 pm

    *Funny* how this bit of “do as god intended” must be followed while the following seem to get passes.

    What about eyeglasses? God obviously intended you to be half-blind, who are you to presume to use artificial means to see.

    What about antibiotics? God obviously intended these organisms to invade your wounds, who are you to presume to kill them?

    What about fertility treatments? (one of my favorites). God obviously intended for you not to have children, who are you to presume to buck his will.

    What about plastic surgery, corrective surgery, and viagra? All of them “presume” to interfere with “god’s plan”.

    Funny how the one that involves making more catholics and turning women into broodmares is the inviolable one.

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  • To be fair, it’s not just the catholic church hierarchy that gets their undies tied over contraception–check out Dubbya’s era policies on sex-ed (which was reduced to “abstinence until marriage”)

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