Thy condom come, thy pill be done

“Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”—Lenny Bruce

POPE Benedict XVI made headlines when he said it’s okay to use condoms as a means to prevent HIV. Although a no-brainer to non-Catholics and Catholics who retain their common sense, Benedict’s statement matters to those who observe unquestioning obedience to anything the Pope says on matters of morals.

Consequently, Benedict’s bishops, among them Deogracias Yñiguez of the Philippines, made sure the faithful understood that the statement of His Holiness applied only to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, in particular HIV. He said, “If a condom is used as a contraceptive, certainly it will be condemned by the Church. But to use it to avoid a disease in specific circumstances, the Church can take another mindset.”

So the Church remains steadfast and absolute against artificial contraception? Not always.

During the civil wars in the Congo, the Vatican allowed nuns to take birth-control pills as a means to prevent unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape. The Vatican, I suppose, placed its position on artificial contraception on hold to avert what some may have viewed as a greater evil: nuns breastfeeding unwanted babies.

But there was a time when governments and the Church actually saw eye to eye in the matter of contraceptives. Up to the early 1960s, 18 states in America had laws prohibiting the sale of contraceptives except when sold purportedly “for the prevention of disease only” or as means of “intimate feminine hygiene.”  The same held true in Italy, where birth control was illegal but contraceptives could be sold under the guise of disease prevention.

Imagine what it must have been like for married couples in those dark ages. Couples who wanted to space their children were faced with only two choices:  abstinence or contraceptives, and breaking the law every time they had sexual intercourse. Pardon the pun but the past tense of the “F” word describes that choice.

Governments eventually saw the light and legalized artificial contraception. But the Church did not. And so today it faces a crisis.

Prof. Lesley Woodcock Tentler of the Catholic University of America recalled that prior to 1930, the Church rarely delivered sermons on contraception and many confessors were also silent on the subject, so much so that it allowed “the observant Catholic, if he chose, to remain in something approaching a state of ‘good faith ignorance’ with regard to contraception.”

That idyllic situation changed with Pius XI’s Casti Connubii. His encyclical “vigorously affirmed the absolute nature of the Catholic ban on contraception and summoned confessors to do battle against ‘good faith ignorance’ among the laity.”  Thus, with the stroke of a pen, Pius XI turned otherwise good Catholics into sinners.

Casti Connubii should have been the last word on contraception but Catholic couples could not live with it and confessors who were not completely sold on it began advising penitents to follow their conscience.

There was pressure on the Vatican to review its position on contraception. But it stood firm. Thirty years would pass before it would give in.

In 1963 Paul VI formed the Papal Birth Control Commission. It produced Humanae Vitae, an encyclical that only exacerbated the conflict between the Church and married couples.

American Catholicism, for example, declined precipitously after Humanae Vitae. Apologists of the Church blame modernity but the truth is the Church drove away its faithful because of its stubborn and unreasonable stand on contraception.

America’s experience will be repeated here if the native clergy insists on blocking the RH bill. They will be placing the Church’s moral authority on the line because their arguments are not persuasive and their mentality has not changed.

They have yet to accept the reality that the days of blind obedience are gone and threats of excommunication and eternal damnation over a debatable teaching do not frighten anyyone anymore. More important, they have to anticipate that the Vatican will, sooner rather than later, refine its position on artificial contraception.

More and more Catholics are beginning to believe that “the locus of moral authority is properly the conscience of the individual believer.” The Vatican, however, will never allow itself to be completely marginalized on matters relating to moral decisions, especially not when they involve sexual conduct. Thus it will do what it must to take God out of individual consciences and put Him back where He belongs: inside the Vatican.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • cool video for more on: http://ccompliquer.fr/video

  • GabbyD

    “The Pope did not give a dispensation. ”

    hay salamat! finally the truth comes out… thanks. feel free to correct your earlier blogpost.

    PS:

    you raised it in your blogpost. i, and another, asked a question. to remind u of what you urself wrote:

    “During the civil wars in the Congo, the Vatican allowed nuns to take birth-control pills as a means to prevent unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape. The Vatican, I suppose, placed its position on artificial contraception on hold to avert what some may have viewed as a greater evil: nuns breastfeeding unwanted babies.”

    • Bert

      “The Pope did not give a dispensation. ”

      “During the civil wars in the Congo, the Vatican allowed nuns to take birth-control pills as a means to prevent unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape.”

      The Pope did not give a dispensation, therefore the Vatican allowed nuns to take birth-control pills…..

      Is that a fair statement? I think it is.

      • GabbyD

        “fair” as in “did not give dispensation” is the OPPOSITE MEANING of “allowed”?

        • Bert

          yes, fair as in “did not give dispensation”, is the same as “allowed”. the Pope, by not objecting (did not give dispensation) to the ‘theologians and the bishop’s’ agreeing to allow Congo nuns to use condoms had “allowed” it.

          • GabbyD

            ” by not objecting (did not give dispensation)”

            please look up the meaning/definition of the word dispensation.

            clue: dispensation means “not allow”

          • GabbyD

            sorry,

            clue: dispensation means “ALLOW”

            THEREFORE, by the mathematical property of negativity — no dispensation == not allowed.

          • Bert

            okay, GabbyD, you erred, and I erred, heheh. sorry too.

            back to topic. the Pope, by not objecting to some theologians and a bishop on Congo nuns’ use of condom has condoned the use of condom. the Pope “allowed” it.

            I think that is a fairer statement now, :).

          • GabbyD

            hmmm, but if thats what “allow” means, thats weird.

            the fact is, theologians CAN come up with their own ideas. but that doesnt make it the official position.

            heck, WE can come up with our own ideas. none of that means its the official vatican stand.

          • Bert

            But the Catholic Church is one body, there’s the head, the hands, the eyes, the ears, the body, etc, etc….one body. If the head of the body did not object to what the hands has done, does it not imply that the head has given its consent, considering that what has been done is important to the welfare of the whole body?

            Are you arguing then by your statements that the bishops or the nuns can do what they want in their functions as part of the body and the Pope as head of the body should be unconcern?

          • GabbyD

            actually, u are misinterpreting the scripture. be careful of that.

            the point of the scripture u are referring 2 is that each member of the body of the church is important, even as we have different functions. the point is that, COMMUNITY is important.

            see —1 Corinthians 12:12-27 — for details.

            its dangerous and misleading to twist passages bert. atheists do it all the time. pls dont do it.

          • Bert

            Funny, your mentioning the scripture, gabbyD. It never entered my mind.

          • Bert

            maybe the problem, gabbyD, is that I think of the Catholic Church as a body and maybe, just maybe, you think of it as a COMMUNITY. Yes?

          • GabbyD

            well, when we’re talking about how the church works, its only natural to think of it using the stuff it finds important — like the bible.

            also, the organizational relationship seems like an aggresive dictator or cult leader that doesnt brook opposition.

            maybe thats the problem.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Gabby,

      You cheery pick in addition to splitting hairs.

      Here’s what I said in its entirety.

      The Pope did not give a dispensation.

      The Pope did not not forbid it either. (The second ‘not’ is a typo.)

      The Pope did not take anyone to task.

      If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a chicken.

      As to your PS:

      I raised the Congo thing. You raised the Bosnian Pill. The Bosnian Pill lent credence to my belief that the church is not as steadfast as it purports to be. It can and does make exceptions for the sake of expediency.

      • GabbyD

        i’m not cherry picking. i’m focusing on the point of disagreement.

        the point of disagreement is whether the pope “allowed” anything. the answer is NO.

        also also NOT TRUE that he didnt forbid it. i will assume that “forbid” means “advise not to do it”. if yes, then he has said so MANY TIMES. how many times does he have to say his position? its been the same!

        now if ur argument is — people dont follow the vatican ideas, while that is 100% obvious. its ALSO OBVIOUS that we are free to follow them or not. this is called FREE WILL. this is a BANAL ARGUMENT and does not tell us anything new, so if this IS ur argument — whats ur point?

        PS:

        i was ALWAYS talking about the congo-nuns thing. the link i posted was about the congo. i DID NOT RAISE the bosian pill. i have NO idea about the bosnian pill.

        i’m satisfied with your declaration that there was no dispensation. you can clarify this with your blog post if u want. this is THE TRUTH after all.

        so, whats the bosnian pill? any links?

        • Bert

          “the point of disagreement is whether the pope “allowed” anything. the answer is NO.”-GabbyD

          Disagree.

          Because, first, in the Congo thing the Pope did not object to it therefore he allowed it. Heheh, full circle now.

          Second, in the present thing, the Pope said it’s okay to use condom….therefore the Pope allowed the use of something.

          • GabbyD

            “also also NOT TRUE that he didnt forbid it. i will assume that “forbid” means “advise not to do it”. if yes, then he has said so MANY TIMES. how many times does he have to say his position? its been the same!”

            as for the condom remarks, he hasnt changed the moral status of using a condom. its not as simple as he allowed it “ie. no restrictions == allowed”

          • Bert

            if it’s nitpicking, then let’s nitpick.

            did the Pope allowed anything? the answer is yes.

            did the Pope ‘forbid’ the Congo nuns and the bishop not to do it? the answer is no.

            did the Pope allowed the use of condom against HIV? the answer is yes.

            if the the Pope did not forbid the Congo nuns from using condoms to avoid pregnancy, will the Pope forbid any person from using it for the same reason? if the answer is ‘yes’, will it not affect the Pope’s and the Catholic Church’s moral standing as the guardian of morality of the faithful?

          • Bert

            correction: “..Congo nuns from using birth control pills…”

          • GabbyD

            if ur interested in the actual position of the pope on this, u can ask.

            but if ur not interested, i’m not sure what to say.

            the relevant analogy is this: beating someone up is morally wrong.

            HOWEVER, IF u are in a position where u cannot stop from beating someone up, u are morally obligated to limited the negative effects. but the first/best thing u should do IS NOT BEAT SOMEONE UP.

            it would be disingeneous to say that he “allowed” beating someone up. di ba?

            now, under ur definition of “allow”, the POPE allowed me (for example) to use use contraceptives.
            this is a weak definition… its like there is a person that screams “dont go there!” and i dont listen and went there… did that person “allow” me to go there? ano ang gusto mo nyang gawin? chain me to the ground?

            what u are advocating is a CULT. in a cult, people do what leaders to, no questions asked.

            the church isnt a cult. its called freedom.

          • Bert

            “this is a weak definition… its like there is a person that screams “dont go there!” and i dont listen and went there… did that person “allow” me to go there? ano ang gusto mo nyang gawin? chain me to the ground?”-GabbyD

            the Pope allowed the use of condom against HIV. that means that you can “go there” if there’s danger. did the Pope allowed you to “go there? the answer is yes.

            were the Congo nuns in danger of getting pregnant? the answer is yes. did the Congo nuns “go there”? the answer is yes. did the Pope “forbid” the Congo nuns from “going there? the answer is no.

            do you think I should be interested still to know the actual position of the Pope when It’s very clear already what is the actual position of the Pope?

            can’t you not yet get the actual position of the Pope? then that’s your problem, not mine.

          • GabbyD

            well bert, if u feel u already KNOW it. then go ahead.

            i gave u the analogy. maybe that’ll help

            anyways, its called freewill. i can tell u all i want that u are wrong, but if ur not curious to know/to engage, then i cannot stop u.

            like the pope cant force people to do anything.

          • Bert

            “like the pope can’t force people to do anything.”-GabbyD

            Like the Pope/Catholic Church can ex-communicate people who won’t follow their rules. Freewill indeed.

          • Bert

            GabbyD,

            Have you heard of the church’s threat to ex-communicate Pres. Noynoy, and mind you, that’s just for trying to endorse the family planning bill?

            Yes, you can tell me all you want that I am wrong because you think there is free will. Yes, I can let you tell me that I am wrong because there is freewill. But, that does not make you right.

            The Congo nuns can use contraceptive pills, or they can use abortion if they want to and the Pope won’t care a bit, because the Congo nuns have “freewill” as you said, right?

            Wrong. And that’s not because I have freewill. That’s because the Catholic Church, as a body, has rules that has to be followed by the hierarchy, and by the faithful.

            The Pope, as the head of the body, has “freewill”. He can allow you to use contraceptive if he wants, and he won’t forbid the nuns from using pills if he wants. Or, he can opt to ex-communicate you if he wants.

            Yes, the Pope, like all heads of a body, has “freewill”.

          • Bert

            Even the God of the Catholic Church has “freewill”. He can give “freewill” to His creations if they’re good or bad if He wants. Or, he can kill them if they don’t follow His rules if He wants.

            O, ano, okay na?

          • GabbyD

            thats not how excommunication works. also the local church didnt threaten Pnoy either.

            also, i just realized.

            since the dispensation never happened, how do we know that the nuns actually took these alleged birthcontrol pills?

            again, i looked high and low on the internet. nadda! if u or manuel or anyone can find any article that investigates this thing, i’d love 2 read it.

      • GabbyD

        about that “bosnian thing” i looked at my comments…

        nope! i never wrote the word bosnian until now.

        u mentioned “BELGIAN” which i thought was CONGO. (they once had a colonial relationship).

        and then u said “BOSNIAN PIILL”.

        so, whats the bosnian pill?

  • GabbyD

    “The Pope did not give a dispensation. ”

    hay salamat! finally the truth comes out… thanks. feel free to correct your earlier blogpost.

    PS:

    you raised it in your blogpost. i, and another, asked a question. to remind u of what you urself wrote:

    “During the civil wars in the Congo, the Vatican allowed nuns to take birth-control pills as a means to prevent unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape. The Vatican, I suppose, placed its position on artificial contraception on hold to avert what some may have viewed as a greater evil: nuns breastfeeding unwanted babies.”

    • Bert

      “The Pope did not give a dispensation. ”

      “During the civil wars in the Congo, the Vatican allowed nuns to take birth-control pills as a means to prevent unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape.”

      The Pope did not give a dispensation, therefore the Vatican allowed nuns to take birth-control pills…..

      Is that a fair statement? I think it is.

      • GabbyD

        “fair” as in “did not give dispensation” is the OPPOSITE MEANING of “allowed”?

        • Bert

          yes, fair as in “did not give dispensation”, is the same as “allowed”. the Pope, by not objecting (did not give dispensation) to the ‘theologians and the bishop’s’ agreeing to allow Congo nuns to use condoms had “allowed” it.

          • GabbyD

            ” by not objecting (did not give dispensation)”

            please look up the meaning/definition of the word dispensation.

            clue: dispensation means “not allow”

          • GabbyD

            sorry,

            clue: dispensation means “ALLOW”

            THEREFORE, by the mathematical property of negativity — no dispensation == not allowed.

          • Bert

            okay, GabbyD, you erred, and I erred, heheh. sorry too.

            back to topic. the Pope, by not objecting to some theologians and a bishop on Congo nuns’ use of condom has condoned the use of condom. the Pope “allowed” it.

            I think that is a fairer statement now, :).

          • GabbyD

            hmmm, but if thats what “allow” means, thats weird.

            the fact is, theologians CAN come up with their own ideas. but that doesnt make it the official position.

            heck, WE can come up with our own ideas. none of that means its the official vatican stand.

          • Bert

            But the Catholic Church is one body, there’s the head, the hands, the eyes, the ears, the body, etc, etc….one body. If the head of the body did not object to what the hands has done, does it not imply that the head has given its consent, considering that what has been done is important to the welfare of the whole body?

            Are you arguing then by your statements that the bishops or the nuns can do what they want in their functions as part of the body and the Pope as head of the body should be unconcern?

          • GabbyD

            actually, u are misinterpreting the scripture. be careful of that.

            the point of the scripture u are referring 2 is that each member of the body of the church is important, even as we have different functions. the point is that, COMMUNITY is important.

            see —1 Corinthians 12:12-27 — for details.

            its dangerous and misleading to twist passages bert. atheists do it all the time. pls dont do it.

          • Bert

            Funny, your mentioning the scripture, gabbyD. It never entered my mind.

          • Bert

            maybe the problem, gabbyD, is that I think of the Catholic Church as a body and maybe, just maybe, you think of it as a COMMUNITY. Yes?

          • GabbyD

            well, when we’re talking about how the church works, its only natural to think of it using the stuff it finds important — like the bible.

            also, the organizational relationship seems like an aggresive dictator or cult leader that doesnt brook opposition.

            maybe thats the problem.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Gabby,

      You cheery pick in addition to splitting hairs.

      Here’s what I said in its entirety.

      The Pope did not give a dispensation.

      The Pope did not not forbid it either. (The second ‘not’ is a typo.)

      The Pope did not take anyone to task.

      If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a chicken.

      As to your PS:

      I raised the Congo thing. You raised the Bosnian Pill. The Bosnian Pill lent credence to my belief that the church is not as steadfast as it purports to be. It can and does make exceptions for the sake of expediency.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Gabby,

      You cheery pick in addition to splitting hairs.

      Here’s what I said in its entirety.

      The Pope did not give a dispensation.

      The Pope did not not forbid it either. (The second ‘not’ is a typo.)

      The Pope did not take anyone to task.

      If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a chicken.

      As to your PS:

      I raised the Congo thing. You raised the Bosnian Pill. The Bosnian Pill lent credence to my belief that the church is not as steadfast as it purports to be. It can and does make exceptions for the sake of expediency.

      • GabbyD

        i’m not cherry picking. i’m focusing on the point of disagreement.

        the point of disagreement is whether the pope “allowed” anything. the answer is NO.

        also also NOT TRUE that he didnt forbid it. i will assume that “forbid” means “advise not to do it”. if yes, then he has said so MANY TIMES. how many times does he have to say his position? its been the same!

        now if ur argument is — people dont follow the vatican ideas, while that is 100% obvious. its ALSO OBVIOUS that we are free to follow them or not. this is called FREE WILL. this is a BANAL ARGUMENT and does not tell us anything new, so if this IS ur argument — whats ur point?

        PS:

        i was ALWAYS talking about the congo-nuns thing. the link i posted was about the congo. i DID NOT RAISE the bosian pill. i have NO idea about the bosnian pill.

        i’m satisfied with your declaration that there was no dispensation. you can clarify this with your blog post if u want. this is THE TRUTH after all.

        so, whats the bosnian pill? any links?

        • Bert

          “the point of disagreement is whether the pope “allowed” anything. the answer is NO.”-GabbyD

          Disagree.

          Because, first, in the Congo thing the Pope did not object to it therefore he allowed it. Heheh, full circle now.

          Second, in the present thing, the Pope said it’s okay to use condom….therefore the Pope allowed the use of something.

          • GabbyD

            “also also NOT TRUE that he didnt forbid it. i will assume that “forbid” means “advise not to do it”. if yes, then he has said so MANY TIMES. how many times does he have to say his position? its been the same!”

            as for the condom remarks, he hasnt changed the moral status of using a condom. its not as simple as he allowed it “ie. no restrictions == allowed”

          • Bert

            if it’s nitpicking, then let’s nitpick.

            did the Pope allowed anything? the answer is yes.

            did the Pope ‘forbid’ the Congo nuns and the bishop not to do it? the answer is no.

            did the Pope allowed the use of condom against HIV? the answer is yes.

            if the the Pope did not forbid the Congo nuns from using condoms to avoid pregnancy, will the Pope forbid any person from using it for the same reason? if the answer is ‘yes’, will it not affect the Pope’s and the Catholic Church’s moral standing as the guardian of morality of the faithful?

          • Bert

            correction: “..Congo nuns from using birth control pills…”

          • GabbyD

            if ur interested in the actual position of the pope on this, u can ask.

            but if ur not interested, i’m not sure what to say.

            the relevant analogy is this: beating someone up is morally wrong.

            HOWEVER, IF u are in a position where u cannot stop from beating someone up, u are morally obligated to limited the negative effects. but the first/best thing u should do IS NOT BEAT SOMEONE UP.

            it would be disingeneous to say that he “allowed” beating someone up. di ba?

            now, under ur definition of “allow”, the POPE allowed me (for example) to use use contraceptives.
            this is a weak definition… its like there is a person that screams “dont go there!” and i dont listen and went there… did that person “allow” me to go there? ano ang gusto mo nyang gawin? chain me to the ground?

            what u are advocating is a CULT. in a cult, people do what leaders to, no questions asked.

            the church isnt a cult. its called freedom.

          • Bert

            “this is a weak definition… its like there is a person that screams “dont go there!” and i dont listen and went there… did that person “allow” me to go there? ano ang gusto mo nyang gawin? chain me to the ground?”-GabbyD

            the Pope allowed the use of condom against HIV. that means that you can “go there” if there’s danger. did the Pope allowed you to “go there? the answer is yes.

            were the Congo nuns in danger of getting pregnant? the answer is yes. did the Congo nuns “go there”? the answer is yes. did the Pope “forbid” the Congo nuns from “going there? the answer is no.

            do you think I should be interested still to know the actual position of the Pope when It’s very clear already what is the actual position of the Pope?

            can’t you not yet get the actual position of the Pope? then that’s your problem, not mine.

          • GabbyD

            well bert, if u feel u already KNOW it. then go ahead.

            i gave u the analogy. maybe that’ll help

            anyways, its called freewill. i can tell u all i want that u are wrong, but if ur not curious to know/to engage, then i cannot stop u.

            like the pope cant force people to do anything.

          • Bert

            “like the pope can’t force people to do anything.”-GabbyD

            Like the Pope/Catholic Church can ex-communicate people who won’t follow their rules. Freewill indeed.

          • Bert

            GabbyD,

            Have you heard of the church’s threat to ex-communicate Pres. Noynoy, and mind you, that’s just for trying to endorse the family planning bill?

            Yes, you can tell me all you want that I am wrong because you think there is free will. Yes, I can let you tell me that I am wrong because there is freewill. But, that does not make you right.

            The Congo nuns can use contraceptive pills, or they can use abortion if they want to and the Pope won’t care a bit, because the Congo nuns have “freewill” as you said, right?

            Wrong. And that’s not because I have freewill. That’s because the Catholic Church, as a body, has rules that has to be followed by the hierarchy, and by the faithful.

            The Pope, as the head of the body, has “freewill”. He can allow you to use contraceptive if he wants, and he won’t forbid the nuns from using pills if he wants. Or, he can opt to ex-communicate you if he wants.

            Yes, the Pope, like all heads of a body, has “freewill”.

          • Bert

            Even the God of the Catholic Church has “freewill”. He can give “freewill” to His creations if they’re good or bad if He wants. Or, he can kill them if they don’t follow His rules if He wants.

            O, ano, okay na?

          • Bert

            Even the God of the Catholic Church has “freewill”. He can give “freewill” to His creations if they’re good or bad if He wants. Or, he can kill them if they don’t follow His rules if He wants.

            O, ano, okay na?

          • GabbyD

            thats not how excommunication works. also the local church didnt threaten Pnoy either.

            also, i just realized.

            since the dispensation never happened, how do we know that the nuns actually took these alleged birthcontrol pills?

            again, i looked high and low on the internet. nadda! if u or manuel or anyone can find any article that investigates this thing, i’d love 2 read it.

      • GabbyD

        about that “bosnian thing” i looked at my comments…

        nope! i never wrote the word bosnian until now.

        u mentioned “BELGIAN” which i thought was CONGO. (they once had a colonial relationship).

        and then u said “BOSNIAN PIILL”.

        so, whats the bosnian pill?

  • Osond U. Uche

    I believe quite strongly that the real gainers from condom users are the condom manufacturers. Which is why flimsy promotional condoms are distributed freely to us in Africa, and the ‘real’ ones are sold for a small fortune.

    The actual locus of moral authority is properly the Profit and Loss Statement of the individual company.How long will it take educated people to realise that current social problems ultimately stem from the economic?

    Only then will Church bashing go out of fashion.

    • Bert

      Mr. Uche,

      Why do you consider this debate about the use of contraceptives Church bashing?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Mr Uche,

      there are many loci. the individual who uses a condom to avoid infecting his partner has his conscience as his locus. the couple who use a condom to space their children have their common conscience as locus. the believer who follows the moral teachings of his church has his church as locus. and the company has his P&L as its locus.

      Now getting into a discussion with the Church over an issue that has divided the Church itself is not church bashing. It is a search by good Catholics for a morality that harmonizes church teaching with today’s realities.

  • Osond U. Uche

    I believe quite strongly that the real gainers from condom users are the condom manufacturers. Which is why flimsy promotional condoms are distributed freely to us in Africa, and the ‘real’ ones are sold for a small fortune.

    The actual locus of moral authority is properly the Profit and Loss Statement of the individual company.How long will it take educated people to realise that current social problems ultimately stem from the economic?

    Only then will Church bashing go out of fashion.

    • Bert

      Mr. Uche,

      Why do you consider this debate about the use of contraceptives Church bashing?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Mr Uche,

      there are many loci. the individual who uses a condom to avoid infecting his partner has his conscience as his locus. the couple who use a condom to space their children have their common conscience as locus. the believer who follows the moral teachings of his church has his church as locus. and the company has his P&L as its locus.

      Now getting into a discussion with the Church over an issue that has divided the Church itself is not church bashing. It is a search by good Catholics for a morality that harmonizes church teaching with today’s realities.

  • Julio Meridio

    Are there readily-available documentation of the permission given by the Holy Office to the Congo nuns?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      mr meridio,

      I read your letter to AER re my column and I sent them my reply. I hope they post it along with your letter.

      Anyway, your long explanation on the Bosnian Pill makes farther documentation on the matter redundant. As you yourself pointed out, the church made an exception. I will not split hairs with you over whether it was the Magisterium as a body that allowed the Bosnian Pill or it was merely members of the Magisterium acting as individuals winking at the pill. Suffice it to say that the position of the Church on contraception is not as steadfast and absolute as we have been led to believe.

      • GabbyD

        this is not splitting hairs. this is a key distinction to make.

        • Manuelbuencamino

          Yes it is. It’s like when Joseph Estrada went to Malaysia and met with anwar ibrahim’s wife and when the Malaysian government expressed their displeasure, Estrada said he met with her in a personal capacity, as a friend, not as the President of the Philippines.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            some people call it splitting hairs and others call it making a key distinction.

          • GabbyD

            @MB

            the difference is between “magesterium as a body” and members of the magesterium.

            i cant believe you cant (wont) see the difference.

            individual theologians can say whatever they want. it takes more for it to be policy.

            works that way for the government too. individual politicians can say what they want. whether its policy or not is something else.

            key difference!

          • Manuelbuencamino

            @Gbdomingo

            gray hair, black hair, big difference, key difference, but both hair

          • GabbyD

            hahaha.. cmon, mb, thats the comeback?

            if u can win arguments with that kind of argument, the world is in trouble 🙂

            i was expecting/hoping for acknowledgement of nuance. i know u must be capable of this.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            I am sorry you didn’t get the nuance GB.

          • GabbyD

            i didnt get the nuance?

            i’m NOT the one with the “its all just hair” argument 🙂

          • Manuelbuencamino

            well, yes that;s why I said you were splitting hairs

          • GabbyD

            anyone reading this thread would be horribly confused by you:

            your statements:
            1. i (gbdomingo) argue splitting hairs and making key distinctions (nuance) are the same
            2. i (gbdomingo) didnt get the nuance
            3. i am back getting the nuance/splitting hairs

            hahaha… ano ba tlga kuya?! what is your point — is it nuance or hair splitting. i dare u to write in more than one sentence (i know u can do it!) 🙂

          • Bert

            If the Pope, being the head of a body the Catholic Church, has made a pronouncement about a matter important to the welfare of all the members of the body, then the member of the body does not object to the pronouncement of the head, does it not constitute the policy of the whole body?

          • GabbyD

            bert,

            we are talking about the “offiicial” permission to use birthcontrol in the congo

          • Bert

            gabbyD,

            I was responding to this and the exchanges that followed this:

            “I will not split hairs with you over whether it was the Magisterium as a body that allowed the Bosnian Pill or it was merely members of the Magisterium acting as individuals winking at the pill. Suffice it to say that the position of the Church on contraception is not as steadfast and absolute as we have been led to believe.”

          • Manuelbuencamino

            GBD,

            you were splitting hairs.
            you said it was a key difference
            So i said grey hair, black hair it’s all hair.
            you said i didn’t get the nuance.
            i said, i was sorry you didn’t get the nuance in my reply.
            you said I’m NOT the one etc.
            I said well yes that’s why i said you were splitting hairs.

            The Magisterium said don’t do it and then the members of the Magisterium said go ahead and do it. So the key difference there is that as a body they said no but as individuals they said yes. They’re the same people, aren’t they albeit wearing different clothes? So I say you’re talking about hair but that you are splitting it into greys and blacks.

            Still confused? Then read Bert’s comment.

          • GabbyD

            ” So the key difference there is that as a body they said no but as individuals they said yes. They’re the same people, aren’t they albeit wearing different clothes? ”

            thats the thing — individuals making decisions (by the way, in the article i read and posted here as a link but hasnt shown up yet, it was theologians and one bishop who said it was permissible) are NOT THE SAME as a group making decisions.

            in ALL ASPECTS OF SOCIETY this is true. right? individual politicians dont speak for the govt. individual justices dont speak for the court.

            the weird thing is: you know this! which makes this discussion so frustrating…

            here is the link:http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2001a/021601/021601j.htm

            and the money quote:
            “Media outlets around the world immediately began asking church officials for comment, in most cases eliciting dubious responses.

            A spokesperson for the Irish bishops, for example, told a reporter, “As far as we’re concerned, there has been no dispensation given by the Vatican. And until we hear differently, we’ll continue to follow the official line, which is the Catholic church officially forbids artificial contraception.”

          • Manuelbuencamino

            GBD,

            Let’s see if I get it straight now.

            Individual popes dont speak for the Church unless they say clearly that they are speaking for the Church. The pope’s spokesman is not speaking for the pope unless the pope says his spokesman is speaking for him. The president does not speak for his administration.

            I don’t know if I told you this story before so I’ll assume I didn’t. When Pres. Joseph Estrada visited Malaysia as a guest of the Malaysian government , he received, during his private time, the wife of Anwar Ibrahim the opposition leader, a personal friend of Estrada. That private event became an incident because it upset the Malaysian government. Our diplomats explained to the Malaysians that Pres. Estrada met with Mrs. Anwar in his private capacity and not as the President of the Philippines. Key difference we pointed out. Splitting hairs replied the Malaysians.

            So okay the Church, the Magisterium has not changed policy but it seems that the Pope, (or was it Ratzinger?) was trying provoke a debate on the Pope Paul’s controversial encyclical.

            Below are a couple of excerpts from an AP report filed by Nicole Winfield last nov 24 that might be of interest to you:

            “The Pope’s spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Benedict knew full well that his comments would provoke intense debate. Conservative Catholics have been trying to minimize the scope of what Benedict said since excerpts were published this weekend in the Vatican newspaper.

            Lombardi praised Benedict for his “courage” in confronting the problem.

            “He did it because he believed that it was a serious, important question in the world of today,” Lombardi said, adding that the pope wanted to give his perspective on the need for greater humanized, responsible sexuality.”

            “Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau, an expert on the Vatican’s bioethics advisory board, said the pope was articulating the theological idea that there are degrees of evil.

            “Contraception is not the worst evil. The Church does not see it as good, but the Church does not see it as the worst,” he told The Associated Press. “Abortion is far worse. Passing on HIV is criminal. That is absolute irresponsibility.”

            “He said the pope broached the topic because questions about condoms and AIDS persisted, and the Church’s teaching hadn’t been clear. There is no official Vatican policy about condoms and HIV, and Vatican officials in the past have insisted that condoms not only don’t help fight HIV transmission but make it worse because it gives users a false sense of security.

            “The late Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo famously said in 2003 that the HIV virus could “easily pass through” a condom—setting off furious criticism by AIDS activists.

            “This pope gave this interview. He was not foolish. It was intentional,” Suaudeau said. “He thought that this was a way of bringing up many questions. Why? Because it’s true that the Church sometimes has not been too clear.”

          • GabbyD

            dude, we are talking about the congo! u r changing the topic 🙂

            the POPE did not do anything(or we dont have written evidence of anything)!

            it was a bishop and a few theologians.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            u brought up the belgian pill, i didn’t mention that in my article. the pope gave an interview that’s what he did and that’s why we are having this back and forth.

            at any rate, the point of writing about the congo pill was to show that the Church does not always walk the talk!

          • GabbyD

            why are you talking past me? I brought it up? YOU wrote about it in your blog, thats why i and another asked about it.

            the point is: the church (as an institution) DOES WALK THE TALK.

            1. there is NO DISPENSATION IN THE CONGO. THE POPE NEVER SPOKE ABOUT IT.
            2. there is no change in the pope’s position about the morality of condoms.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            GBD

            I did not bring up the Bosnian Pill, you did. And thanks for that because I thought it was only in the Congo when the Church winked at the use of the pill.

            I’m tired of splitting hairs with you.

            The Pope did not give a dispensation. The Pope did not not forbid it either. The Pope did not take anyone to task. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a chicken.

  • Julio Meridio

    Are there readily-available documentation of the permission given by the Holy Office to the Congo nuns?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      mr meridio,

      I read your letter to AER re my column and I sent them my reply. I hope they post it along with your letter.

      Anyway, your long explanation on the Bosnian Pill makes farther documentation on the matter redundant. As you yourself pointed out, the church made an exception. I will not split hairs with you over whether it was the Magisterium as a body that allowed the Bosnian Pill or it was merely members of the Magisterium acting as individuals winking at the pill. Suffice it to say that the position of the Church on contraception is not as steadfast and absolute as we have been led to believe.

      • GabbyD

        this is not splitting hairs. this is a key distinction to make.

        • Manuelbuencamino

          Yes it is. It’s like when Joseph Estrada went to Malaysia and met with anwar ibrahim’s wife and when the Malaysian government expressed their displeasure, Estrada said he met with her in a personal capacity, as a friend, not as the President of the Philippines.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            some people call it splitting hairs and others call it making a key distinction.

          • GabbyD

            @MB

            the difference is between “magesterium as a body” and members of the magesterium.

            i cant believe you cant (wont) see the difference.

            individual theologians can say whatever they want. it takes more for it to be policy.

            works that way for the government too. individual politicians can say what they want. whether its policy or not is something else.

            key difference!

          • Manuelbuencamino

            @Gbdomingo

            gray hair, black hair, big difference, key difference, but both hair

          • GabbyD

            hahaha.. cmon, mb, thats the comeback?

            if u can win arguments with that kind of argument, the world is in trouble 🙂

            i was expecting/hoping for acknowledgement of nuance. i know u must be capable of this.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            I am sorry you didn’t get the nuance GB.

          • GabbyD

            i didnt get the nuance?

            i’m NOT the one with the “its all just hair” argument 🙂

          • Manuelbuencamino

            well, yes that;s why I said you were splitting hairs

          • GabbyD

            anyone reading this thread would be horribly confused by you:

            your statements:
            1. i (gbdomingo) argue splitting hairs and making key distinctions (nuance) are the same
            2. i (gbdomingo) didnt get the nuance
            3. i am back getting the nuance/splitting hairs

            hahaha… ano ba tlga kuya?! what is your point — is it nuance or hair splitting. i dare u to write in more than one sentence (i know u can do it!) 🙂

          • Bert

            If the Pope, being the head of a body the Catholic Church, has made a pronouncement about a matter important to the welfare of all the members of the body, then the member of the body does not object to the pronouncement of the head, does it not constitute the policy of the whole body?

          • GabbyD

            bert,

            we are talking about the “offiicial” permission to use birthcontrol in the congo

          • Bert

            gabbyD,

            I was responding to this and the exchanges that followed this:

            “I will not split hairs with you over whether it was the Magisterium as a body that allowed the Bosnian Pill or it was merely members of the Magisterium acting as individuals winking at the pill. Suffice it to say that the position of the Church on contraception is not as steadfast and absolute as we have been led to believe.”

          • Manuelbuencamino

            GBD,

            you were splitting hairs.
            you said it was a key difference
            So i said grey hair, black hair it’s all hair.
            you said i didn’t get the nuance.
            i said, i was sorry you didn’t get the nuance in my reply.
            you said I’m NOT the one etc.
            I said well yes that’s why i said you were splitting hairs.

            The Magisterium said don’t do it and then the members of the Magisterium said go ahead and do it. So the key difference there is that as a body they said no but as individuals they said yes. They’re the same people, aren’t they albeit wearing different clothes? So I say you’re talking about hair but that you are splitting it into greys and blacks.

            Still confused? Then read Bert’s comment.

          • GabbyD

            ” So the key difference there is that as a body they said no but as individuals they said yes. They’re the same people, aren’t they albeit wearing different clothes? ”

            thats the thing — individuals making decisions (by the way, in the article i read and posted here as a link but hasnt shown up yet, it was theologians and one bishop who said it was permissible) are NOT THE SAME as a group making decisions.

            in ALL ASPECTS OF SOCIETY this is true. right? individual politicians dont speak for the govt. individual justices dont speak for the court.

            the weird thing is: you know this! which makes this discussion so frustrating…

            here is the link:http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2001a/021601/021601j.htm

            and the money quote:
            “Media outlets around the world immediately began asking church officials for comment, in most cases eliciting dubious responses.

            A spokesperson for the Irish bishops, for example, told a reporter, “As far as we’re concerned, there has been no dispensation given by the Vatican. And until we hear differently, we’ll continue to follow the official line, which is the Catholic church officially forbids artificial contraception.”

          • Manuelbuencamino

            GBD,

            Let’s see if I get it straight now.

            Individual popes dont speak for the Church unless they say clearly that they are speaking for the Church. The pope’s spokesman is not speaking for the pope unless the pope says his spokesman is speaking for him. The president does not speak for his administration.

            I don’t know if I told you this story before so I’ll assume I didn’t. When Pres. Joseph Estrada visited Malaysia as a guest of the Malaysian government , he received, during his private time, the wife of Anwar Ibrahim the opposition leader, a personal friend of Estrada. That private event became an incident because it upset the Malaysian government. Our diplomats explained to the Malaysians that Pres. Estrada met with Mrs. Anwar in his private capacity and not as the President of the Philippines. Key difference we pointed out. Splitting hairs replied the Malaysians.

            So okay the Church, the Magisterium has not changed policy but it seems that the Pope, (or was it Ratzinger?) was trying provoke a debate on the Pope Paul’s controversial encyclical.

            Below are a couple of excerpts from an AP report filed by Nicole Winfield last nov 24 that might be of interest to you:

            “The Pope’s spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Benedict knew full well that his comments would provoke intense debate. Conservative Catholics have been trying to minimize the scope of what Benedict said since excerpts were published this weekend in the Vatican newspaper.

            Lombardi praised Benedict for his “courage” in confronting the problem.

            “He did it because he believed that it was a serious, important question in the world of today,” Lombardi said, adding that the pope wanted to give his perspective on the need for greater humanized, responsible sexuality.”

            “Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau, an expert on the Vatican’s bioethics advisory board, said the pope was articulating the theological idea that there are degrees of evil.

            “Contraception is not the worst evil. The Church does not see it as good, but the Church does not see it as the worst,” he told The Associated Press. “Abortion is far worse. Passing on HIV is criminal. That is absolute irresponsibility.”

            “He said the pope broached the topic because questions about condoms and AIDS persisted, and the Church’s teaching hadn’t been clear. There is no official Vatican policy about condoms and HIV, and Vatican officials in the past have insisted that condoms not only don’t help fight HIV transmission but make it worse because it gives users a false sense of security.

            “The late Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo famously said in 2003 that the HIV virus could “easily pass through” a condom—setting off furious criticism by AIDS activists.

            “This pope gave this interview. He was not foolish. It was intentional,” Suaudeau said. “He thought that this was a way of bringing up many questions. Why? Because it’s true that the Church sometimes has not been too clear.”

          • GabbyD

            dude, we are talking about the congo! u r changing the topic 🙂

            the POPE did not do anything(or we dont have written evidence of anything)!

            it was a bishop and a few theologians.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            u brought up the belgian pill, i didn’t mention that in my article. the pope gave an interview that’s what he did and that’s why we are having this back and forth.

            at any rate, the point of writing about the congo pill was to show that the Church does not always walk the talk!

          • GabbyD

            why are you talking past me? I brought it up? YOU wrote about it in your blog, thats why i and another asked about it.

            the point is: the church (as an institution) DOES WALK THE TALK.

            1. there is NO DISPENSATION IN THE CONGO. THE POPE NEVER SPOKE ABOUT IT.
            2. there is no change in the pope’s position about the morality of condoms.

          • Manuelbuencamino

            GBD

            I did not bring up the Bosnian Pill, you did. And thanks for that because I thought it was only in the Congo when the Church winked at the use of the pill.

            I’m tired of splitting hairs with you.

            The Pope did not give a dispensation. The Pope did not not forbid it either. The Pope did not take anyone to task. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a chicken.

  • The Anglican Church by 1930 allowed the use of contraceptives for ethical reasons, and in 1958 had decided that God wanted the responsibility for deciding on the number and frequency of having children to be placed squarely on the conscience of potential parents.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/christianethics/contraception_1.shtml#h4

    It is one of the great “what-ifs” in our history. Had the first Philippine Republic succeeded, the Philippine Independent Church (which is affiliated with the Anglican Communion) would have taken over from the Catholic Church as the predominant religion in the Philippines.

    There would have been a wider acceptance by the community of all forms of birth control under that scenario. We would not still be debating the issue and trying to come to a public policy consensus on the matter.

  • Gbdomingo

    can u share a link about that claim re the congo?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      look in the pdi story on the pope’s comment

      • GabbyD

        it appears that a few bishops have said this is possible, but that is a far cry from saying there was a papal dispensation:

        http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_16_37/ai_71250738/

        “A spokesperson for the Irish bishops, for example, told a reporter, “As far as we’re concerned, there has been no dispensation given by the Vatican. And until we hear differently, we’ll continue to follow the official line, which is the Catholic church officially forbids artificial contraception.”

        A spokesperson for the Vatican press office told the London Daily Telegraph that there is no “official dispensation” for nuns.”

      • GabbyD

        I posted a comment earlier, where i put a link that said the vatican didnt do it, but its a theological opinion only

    • nita

      i’m also interested.

  • Gbdomingo

    can u share a link about that claim re the congo?

    • Manuelbuencamino

      look in the pdi story on the pope’s comment

      • GabbyD

        I posted a comment earlier, where i put a link that said the vatican didnt do it, but its a theological opinion only

    • nita

      i’m also interested.