damned if you do

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 13, 2004

The Times (of London, in this instance), reviews John Cornwell's latest oeuvre, The Pope in Winter:

These days, people think less of John Paul's contribution to the ending of the cold war, and more of his dogmatism, narrow-mindedness and sheer wrong-headedness. At what point, Cornwell asks, did he stop being the white hope of the world, and start turning into the stubborn old martinet who won't allow his priests to fight the spread of Aids with condoms?

Now that paragraph, boys and girls, repays study. Does the author believe that a trendy Wojtyla was passing out prophylactics in the streets of Krakow in September of 1978 but has "turned stubborn" in his dotage? Of course not. Catholic doctrine is unchanging, and this man stood by the doctrine at the beginning of this pontificate and stands by it today. Well, if the Pope hasn't changed, what has? The vigorish on the wages of sin. The catastrophic consequences of defying Church teaching about chastity has led to a vastly increased temptation to ignore Church teaching about condoms, by employing this pathetic bit of 1940s technology as a defense against the lethal results of lust, folly, and intransigence.

If every human being of Wojtyla's age had followed the Church teaching on sexuality that he propounds -- viz., by remaining a virgin until marriage and staying faithful afterwards, how many people would be dead of AIDS today? Zero. Yet in fact, not only have millions laughed at this teaching, but for years have laughed at anyone who did not conduct himself as if the teaching were laughable. This miscalculation has racked up about 20 million corpses -- among them some wholly innocent children -- and counting.

So, who's inflexible, narrow-minded, wrong-headed?

(I won't spoil the surprise by giving away Cornwell's conclusion.)

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Dec. 14, 2004 12:54 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Diogenes. Cornwell needs to be put in his place. And maybe more than once. I saw his book in a bookstore recently and wanted to throw it in the trash... or put it to use as kindling.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2004 8:44 AM ET USA

    If Cornwell's conclusion is anything like the rest of his scandalous conclusions, thank you so much for spoiling the surprise.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2004 9:00 PM ET USA

    Of course AIDS is caused by excessive drug use. That being said, condoms do not protect against diseases nor against conception. In the 60's, it was said that rhythm was only 98% effective, so a "normal" couple, coupling at the rate of twice a week, would get pregnant once a year. They didn't mention that condoms are only 80% effective at best, which means a pregnancy only 20 times a year. But what else is abortion for? Condoms are only conducive for fornication for very weak minds.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2004 6:47 PM ET USA

    The Daily Telegraph (London) gave a scathing review of Cornwell's book. Sorry but I don't have a link to the article. If I find it I'll resubmit a comment.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2004 6:12 PM ET USA

    My, you are a bitter man, Diogenes. One can only wonder why. Let's let those immoral people die of AIDS! And let's feel good about it! Moral! Christian! Christlike! You should remember that some people fall from high places, even though they might claim doctrine as their defense.