from the Strange New Respect Dept.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has developed a sudden interest in the poor of the outback of El Salvador and Guatemala. Because he's fascinated by water purification? By problems of debt relief? By new methods of rural literacy education? Nope. What's important is that he's found Catholics who are defying Church teaching by handing out condoms. Kristof spoon-feeds the moral to his duller readers:
The Vatican is increasingly out of touch and exerts a reactionary -- even, in this world of AIDS, deadly -- influence on health policy in the developing world.
Too subtle? OK, let him make the point again:
The Vatican has consistently opposed condoms and safe-sex education, even claiming falsely that condoms don't protect against AIDS. That's on par with the church under Pope Urban VIII putting Galileo under house arrest -- except that this will have more deadly results.
So what about Vatican teachings? "Certainly, God does not want us to kill each other," responded Marlene Condon, who works with AIDS patients. "You've got to do something."
In Coatepeque, I spoke with Father Mario Adolfo Dominguez, who sighed as I grilled him on the theology of condoms. "We don't recommend the use of condoms, but we're not opposed to their use because we know they prevent AIDS," he said, looking nervous as I wrote down his words. "There is no contradiction between Christianity and a piece of rubber."
You musn't think Kristof is anti-Catholic. Bishop Kevin Dowling, Catholics for a Free Choice, and Catholic Relief Services all come in for congratulations in his column.
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Posted by: Brad -
Nov. 26, 2003 1:34 PM ET USA
Can someone let me know if Catholic Relief Services is involved in distribution condoms? I could not tell from the editiorial whether they were or Kristof was just saying they were a good organization and implying that they distribute them. This would be very unfortunate as they do help many very poor people.
Posted by: patriot6908 -
Nov. 26, 2003 9:51 AM ET USA
Is there nothing new under the sun? That we have two separate Catholic Churches in this worlld is a fact. One completely ignores the Vatican and Church authority, yet keeps the name for prestige and fundraising purposes. The other? Well, ask Rabbi Daniel Lapin how it feels to be a faithful Orthodox Jew in a sea of secular brethren.