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A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Media Lies About the Pope

In an interview, Benedict XVI reaffirmed the immorality of using condoms, but the press have spread a lie claiming he did the exact opposite

Wow. Just wow. No matter how low my opinion of journalists and the media already is, they’ve proved that they still have the ability to astound by the depths of their depraved mendacity. The latest big giant whopper the media are dealing out is that Pope Benedict XVI has ‘changed church teaching’ by ‘lifting the absolute ban on condom use’. You should know by now that when the media report almost anything relating to the Pope or the Church, the reality is either A) the media have completely made it up, or B) the exact opposite of what the media say is true.

This one we can file under “B”: the Pope has reaffirmed the immorality of using condoms and the media have decided to claim the opposite. A new book, Light of the World is being published this week containing several interviews with the Pope by the German journalist and editor Peter Seewald.

When asked about the Church’s teaching on condoms, the Pope reaffirmed that the Church “of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution”. However, the Holy Father speculated about the intent of some condom users. He gave the example of male prostitutes and said that if they use condoms for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease, there is the possibility that their intent could be the first step in a process of trying to live morally, “on the way toward recovering an awareness,” the Pope said, “that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants”.

Notice the Pope has not said anything justifying being a male prostitute as moral or acceptable or just plain fine & dandy. Nor has he said likewise about the use of condoms. He merely speculated on the intent of a particular subset of condom users and posited that their intent could be the first step on the road to abandoning a sinful lifestyle.

The Pope’s point is that even immoral acts and immoral ways of living can have the silver lining of a virtuous intent. A good intention does not mean that an act is moral. If a poor man has the intention of wanting to feed his starving family, that is a good intent. If the action resulting from that intent is that he murders his parents for the inheritance, that is an immoral act.

There are just so many logical holes in the media’s proposition. If the Pope thinks condom use by male prostitutes is moral and acceptable (as the media claim), then why does the Pope suggest a route away from an immoral act or lifestyle? What immorality would the Pope be talking about if, as the media claim, condom use is moral?

Further, applying the ridiculous (non-)logic of the media, if the Pope is saying that condom use by male prostitutes is acceptable, then by extension he is saying that male prostitution is acceptable. Why haven’t the media led with the story that the Pope approves of male prostitution?

That the media did not follow that route is revealing of their intentions. Saying the Pope approves of male prostitution is so obviously incorrect that they likely knew their readers wouldn’t buy it and would dismiss it immediately. But a lie about the condom-use aspect instead, while none the less illogical, has more believability for the great unwashed masses the brave enlightened journalists look down upon.

So we can deduce that the media are not just ignorantly spreading falsehoods, but that they are actively and intentionally lying. Pure and simply, they are liars. This bears repeating: they are liars. Remember this always. Remember these liars: they are never to be trusted, they are your enemies, they lie about the Church and they will lie about you given the opportunity.

But these liars too should remember something important: you reap what you sow. The more lies they tell, the fewer people believe them, and yet they only seem more willing to lie. Take a look at those newspapers sales and circulation figures, media men. Your days are numbered, your day of reckoning will come. Many are the good, decent folk who will applaud your downfall. And remember that you did it all to yourself.

This post was published on Sunday, November 21st, 2010 10:02 pm. It has been categorised under Benedict XVI Church Vatican and been tagged under , .
22 Nov 2010 12:13 am

Well done. Good ripping apart of this latest propaganda from the MSM.

22 Nov 2010 5:30 am

Damien Thompson has been a disgrace on this issue. How can he deduce from this that the pope is allowing discordant couples to use condoms and put the uninfected partner in danger of infection? If the Vatican are going to move on this surely they say it though more official means than an informal interview.

Baron von Hetterscheidt
22 Nov 2010 10:06 am

1) Wynne Jones is clearly not very intelligent. Just look at his picture.
2) The Pope is wrong to give an interview. He must know (and if he doesn’t than someone must forcefully tell him) that the musings of a theologian and a cardinal are one thing, while the thoughts, however tentative, of a Pope will be given a weight (and a spin) they often will not have deserved.
So it is in this case. I am afraid that our beloved Holy Father is too much in love with his own thought processes.

Seraphic Spouse
22 Nov 2010 11:22 am

The whole thing makes me mad, and the more complicated fellow bloggers’ (not yours) explanations get, the more I wish everyone would shut up. Ordinary Catholics are freaking out all over the place and complicated forays into moral theology by amateurs is not helping.

L’Ossevatore Romano is greatly to blame for breaking the embargo, and I hope heads roll.

22 Nov 2010 11:49 am

I am most disappointed with the article in THE TELEGRAPH today where Cristina Odone writes a frivolous piece which does not quote one word of the Holy Father but which mentions aplenty “risotto rugola and Gavi di Gavi”.
First, this news item does not represent any authoritative change of teaching; it could not possibly do so. How does one know? Because popes set out such teaching in carefully worded encyclicals or other documents clearly conveying their status. This is a newspaper account of what a book is going to say, the book quoting an interview with the pope which has no authority. It is ironic, that those who have defied the clearly expressed teaching of the MAGISTERIUM, are now treating as “infallible” this half-baked story.

Next, the pope mentions only a case where condoms could not possibly be used as a contraceptive – homosexual intercourse. It may be news to some people, but two homosexuals having sexual relations cannot get pregnant thereby. So NONE OF THE CHURCH TEACHING OF CONTRACEPTION APPLIES. For homosexuals, the wrong is in the sexual act ( which the Catholic Church says is crying out to heaven for vengeance); whether they use a condom or not is irrelevant morally. It is like saying that it is not wrong for two lesbians to use the contraceptive pill for the same reason.

One final point: speaking as a married man, I cannot believe that any man who has AIDS and who loves a woman would have sexual relations with that woman, with or without a tiny piece of unreliable rubber.

22 Nov 2010 5:42 pm

Pope John Paul II gave a similar series of interviews at Castel Gandolfo which were published in book form (Crossing the Threshold of Hope), so it is nothing novel for Benedict to do so. And I simply see nothing at all to justify the claim that he is ‘in love with his own thought processes’. Nothing in his writing, his disposition, his general demeanour, or any other evidence that I have ever seen speak to any shred of pride existing in that saintly and sagacious man. It is not his fault that others will distort his words and take them egregiously out of context. Why should the Shepherd of the Church be intimidated into silence by mendacious media? Why should he not be able to give an interview, if for nothing else, then to speak to the flock that he guides, as is his mandate from Christ?

Andrew Cusack
22 Nov 2010 6:15 pm

I agree; it is simply that the Holy Father is too good-natured and too professorial to realise these hypothetical speculations will always be blown out of proportion and lied about by his enemies.

22 Nov 2010 7:23 pm

I basically agree with you too, Andrew. I think your piece is brilliant. My comment was directed at another comment; I’m sorry I did not make that clear.

Baron von Hetterscheidt
23 Nov 2010 3:52 pm

MWK: I do not accuse Pope Benedict of pride, but of infatuation. He likes to spin thoughts, and does it very well. Only: that is not the pope’s job. A book of papal musings, be they those of a Pius X, is not the same thing as an encyclical; it is not, therefore, an example of the Pope guiding his flock. To use such a vehicle to speak of prostitutes and their intentions is perhaps the best example I have ever read of something which is “offensive to pious ears”. By that phrase the Church wishes to say that the simple should be left in peace. There can be no objection to what Benedict says in itself, but quite a lot to his apparent desire to say it to the whole world.
Look around you. Read the press, both Catholic and lay. Can you seriously say that the world’s understanding of Catholic teaching on this matter is now clearer than it was a week ago? I very much fear that confusion has been sown, and doubt will now spring up, and forcefully.

23 Nov 2010 4:58 pm

Dear BvH,

I don’t think your characterisation of the book as a collection of ‘musings’ is entirely accurate. I have read part of Crossing the Threshold of Hope, and it is a very serious engagement with deep theological matters (e.g., comparative theology), informed by Church teaching, not mere ‘musings’. The parts that I read deal in a very systematic way with what the Church does and does not believe and why. I don’t see how it cannot, then, serve as a guide for the faithful, though of course the audience need not be limited to Catholics. Surely, an encyclical or some such formal written document is not the only manner in which the Holy Father guides the Church. But JPII was not simply offering his personal opinions for the sake of speculation. (Indeed, once one becomes Pope I’m not sure that one can even be said to speak outwith one’s authority as Pope, but I’m not sure about the theology on this. I note this because JPII drove his advisors mad because at times he spoke extemporaneously, which could have dangerous consequences if he made a mistake. Anyway, I’m not sure about this, but I recall a solid priest mentioning this in a Theology lecture.) However, since I suspect neither of us have read the whole text we should withhold serious judgement at the moment.

No of course the world’s understanding is not any clearer. But I did not argue that, and I think it is beside the point.

I think we agree that this issue was not prudent to address in such a way, or that it could have been handled much better at least. I don’t know if the Pope should not give interviews, full stop. But you have a good point with which I agree. It has caused much confusion amongst Catholics and non-Catholics. To whom to attribute blame, and for what, is a more complicated matter.

I am an admirer of Benedict in many ways, but unfortunately it seems like PR is not his speciality, to say the least. This should not be a harsh criticism, however. There is no requirement for a Pope to be media savvy. But I must admit that I am rather perplexed about this entire matter, and would really like to see the whole text and learn the full story. I’m sure that these questions were vetted in advance of the interviews, so I’m surprised that something like that would be asked. I think time will tell more of the tale.

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