Sunday, November 21, 2010

An issue of Infallability

The news reported today that Pope Benedict XVI condoned the use of condoms in certain circumstances...and I quote "There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants," the pope told Seewald."

I think there is a major flaw in this thought process. Saying that a male prostitute may use a condom implies condoning the action of a male prostitute: namely that he is selling his body for sex. This goes clearly against any sense of morality. Use of such a grossly erroneous example is tantamount to saying that a doctor that practices abortion ought to use gloves in the process to avoid infecting the woman / mother who is killing her baby. Clearly, the issue of abortion supersedes an issue of hygiene. It doesn't erase it, but it does supersedes it. And so that is also a very poor example. The Pope could have used a more current example: such as condoning the use of condoms when a husband or wife is HIV positive.

But the issue is bigger than a simple error. The Church teaches that the Pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals. It is clear that in this case, the Pope failed. We are left with one of two alternatives: either the Pope is NOT the true Pope or the Pope IS fallible or can make mistakes in matters of morals. I think the Pope is the true Pope. That leaves us with the alternative that many cannot accept; the Pope is subject to making mistakes just like the rest of us. As a matter of fact , this bring the Pope back to our level.. that of being a mere human being like the rest of us and humanizes him to the point of making him more endearing to his flock. Unfortunately, the clergy does not agree with this assessment and chooses to instead dispute the fact that (at least in this case) the "dogma" of infallibility FAILED. Lets admit it and correct what's wrong and move forward instead of holding on to old and erroneous theories. It is what it is.
Ah, but there is a caviat. Did the Pope speak "ex cathedra"...!!!! Apparently he didn't and so, he is "off the hook". But nevertheless this is a major error coming from a Pope who is also a Theologian. Maybe Popes ought to be either elected when younger or be able to retire so as to avoid embarrassing some of us Catholics who know a little more that our average Sunday Catechism Class...

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