The Pope Said WHAT???

Funny you should ask.  Once again the secular media has jumped all over a comment made by Benedict XVI, twisted it, turned it upside down, and come to the totally wrong conclusion.

The source of all the controversy is a new book by Peter Seewald and Pope Benedict XVI called Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times.  The book is the result of a week-long series of interviews on a number of topics.  This is the third time the Holy Father has collaborated with Seewald in this interview format.

The book covers 256 pages, but all the media attention is focused on the Holy Father’s comments concerning the use of condoms in the prevention of the spread of aids.  Essentially what the Pope said was in certain rare circumstances there might be a good reason to use a condom.  He cites the following example:

A gay prostitute who knows he’s infected with the aids virus might use a condom to protect his partner from infection.  The prostitution is still a sin.  The homosexual sex act is still a sin.  The use of the condom is still a sin.  But, at least the man is showing concern for the fate of his partner which is a step in the right direction.

Here’s a sample of the headlines for some so-called “news” sources:

Conservative US Catholics question pope’s shift on condom use The Guardian

In case you missed it | Pope budges on rubbers Boulder Weekly.

God Relents: Condoms Cool for Sick Gay Prostitutes Dablog (Not mainstream media, but worth noting.)

Pope relaxes ban on condoms The Daily Telegraph

AIDS activists praise pope’s condom comments CNN

One reporter called the Pope’s statement a “seismic shift” in Vatican policy.  Noted theologian Jay Leno has chimed in as have any number of other “pundits.”

Granted, I haven’t read the book.  It was just released yesterday though someone leaked a copy to the press over the weekend.  But, it’s hard to imagine that in more than 250 pages the Holy Father didn’t have more to say than this one comment.  I know that he did say he would consider resigning if he ever felt he weren’t capable of performing his duties.  That elicited a few screaming headlines as well.

The sad fact is that most mainstream media (Notice I said most, not all. There must be an exception somewhere.) is diametrically opposed to everything the Church stands for and will grab any opportunity to paint the Church in a bad light.  Unfortunately, a highly educated man like Benedict often speaks at a level far beyond most reporters’ intellectual levels leading to gross misunderstandings and misstatements based on their built-in bias.

For the real scoop on the Holy Father’s remarks, here are a few links to legitimate coverage of this so-called “seismic shift.

Vatican spokesman: Pope not changing Church teaching on condom use

The Pope and Condoms

Cardinal Burke: What the Pope Really Meant

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Third Monday of Advent

William of Saint Theirry was a Cistercian monk who lived in the twelfth century.  One of the things that he’s known for is his writing on the subject of love.  Here are his words from today’s Divine Office.

“You first loved us so that we might love you–not because you needed our love, but because we could not be what you created us to be, except by loving you….This, Lord, is your word to us, this is your all-powerful message:  while all things were in midnight silence (that is, were in tepths of error), he (your Son) came from his royal throne, the stern conqueror of error, and the gentle Apostle of love.

“You are the one supremely good and ultimate goodness.  Your love is your goodness, the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the son!  From the beginning of creation it was he who hovered over the waters–that is, over the wavering minds of men, offering himself to all, drawing all things to himself.  By his inspiratiaon and holy breath, by keeping us from harm and providing for our needs, he unites God to us and us to God.”

Just two weeks ago, Pope Benedict XVI had this to say about William:

“The image of God present in man impels him towards resemblance; that is, towards an ever fuller identification between his will and the divine will.”

William calls this drive towards resemblance, towards perfection, “unity of spirit.” It cannot be achieved through individual effort, the Pope said. But it is done “by the action of the Holy Spirit which purifies and transforms into charity all the desire for love present in the human being.”

“In this way man becomes by grace what God is by nature,” the Holy Father concluded.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.