Benedict the Assassin
PELL RIDES PAPAL BANDWAGON OF DEATH claims the Sydney Morning Herald's David Marr, registering his displeasure with the Cardinal's endorsement of Catholic teaching. "That's one hell of an Easter message," he adds, in a sniff. It would appear that Marr's paschal theology owes more to the Easter Bunny than to Saint Paul:
It's hardly news but in the face of this ridicule it has to be said again: Australia waged the world's most effective war on AIDS by ignoring the Catholic Church. We did not heed the demands of John Paul II and his successor, Benedict XVI. We encouraged people to use condoms, we distributed clean syringes and we saved thousands of lives.
How many people would contract AIDS (or any venereal disease) if Church teaching were followed? Zero. Yet when actions of those who hold her in contempt boomerang back upon them, she is blamed for the effects of their recklessness. As I've said before: other institutions are held responsible for hardships resulting from obedience to their teachings; the Church is held responsible for hardships resulting from defiance of hers. Marr is distressed that the Africans Pope Benedict encountered on his travels were insufficiently alert to the advantages of Australian sexual enlightenment:
But the papal death sentence wrapped in rhetoric about "spiritual human renewal" did not deter Africa's faithful. Millions turned up for the pontiff's Masses. Benedict could look out on a sea of exuberant faces endorsing, it would seem, the church's ancient taboo against contraception so that "each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life".
Marr claims the Pope not only got his biology wrong but his Christianity too:
Christ didn't lay down that rule. You won't find it anywhere in the Bible. It crept into church teaching in the second century via Clement of Alexandria who came up with a formula -- based as much as anything on Greek philosophy -- that the only sanctified sex was sex within marriage for the purpose of procreation.
Right, David, right. You're going to tell us Our Lord dismissed the woman caught in adultery only after coaching her in the techniques of coitus interruptus, but that John the Evangelist suppressed that part under pressure from the Vatican.
Just curious. I have no way of checking Marr's claim that Australia waged the world's most successful war on AIDS, but if his grasp of public health is as reliable as his history of Christian doctrine, one is -- how to put it? -- ill-advised to accept a clean syringe from his hands.
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