South African Catechism

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 26, 2006

South African Bishop Kevin Dowling was invited to Washington to discuss the use of condoms...

... and you can already see what's coming, can't you?

You don't get invited to speak in Washington, and interviewed by the Washington Post, because you agree with traditional Catholic teaching.

Sure enough, Bishop Dowling doesn't.

It's not just that he, like several other prelates and theologians, sees a special problem for married couples coping with HIV infection. No, he wants to "rethink" the Church teaching entirely.

You should come up with a position which makes sense and which is in sync with the values we espouse, a nonjudgmental God and the infinite worth of a human being.

Inexplicably, my copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not include the part about a nonjudgmental God. Come to think of it, I wonder if I should capitalize the "g" here, since this doesn't sound like the God of Abraham and Isaac.

Sure enough, before the paragraph is ended, there's another clue that our hero is not completely "in sync" with the God of the Old Testament. He tells the Post:

Moral injunctions do not help people.

Too bad the bishop didn't tell God that, before Moses got to Mt. Sinai.

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 2:53 AM ET USA

    The 20-40 crowd is missing from today's Churches. Blessing condoms is no solution. These kids, smart and perceptive as they are, feel a certain sense of "fake" in the Mass itself ... the unnatural delivery of the Readings & Gospel, the awkward music, the sinful priests who can barely "preach" with a straight face. But as Dogma (good) disagrees with Secular Progressive pressures (bad), Churches will attract some by lowering standards, but the children to replace them won't be born to be 20-40.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 29, 2006 9:59 AM ET USA

    People sometimes demonize their ideological opponents because it is easier than addressing the facts. In my November letter to Bishop Dowling, I also made this observation: "If humans would confine their sexual activity to the marriage bed, AIDS would quickly die out." You must , of necessity, have other partners in order to spread the disease. Common sense, then, indicates that restricting sex to married partners is more effective than condoms. Please explain how this is "sanctimonious."

  • Posted by: - Apr. 28, 2006 10:44 PM ET USA

    All of us of course remember our Old Testament Book of Latex, where God leads Israel out of the desert and rewards them with fatted golden condoms. We are a latex people.

  • Posted by: jbrown629 - Apr. 28, 2006 3:03 PM ET USA

    TigerEye-a wheelchair assists the handicapped or injured where their normal physical function is impaired. A condom impairs a normal physical function, being the marital act. They are diametrically opposd instruments in their function and purpose. Also, according to your logic, we should encourage sterilization for AIDS patients or others who might transmit disease to offspring, and otherwise encourage various anti-conception practices to avoid needless suffering.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 28, 2006 2:02 PM ET USA

    Protestant liberal theology from Catholic clergy infected the western Jesuits after they closed their theologate at Alma and took up studies at Berkeley. They are coming from the same assembly line.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 28, 2006 10:01 AM ET USA

    Those who advocate condom use, for whatever reason, imply that condoms will keep you safe from AIDS. That is hardly the truth. If you love your spouse, would you want to take even a small risk of giving them the deadly disease that you have contracted? And how does condom use prevent children from getting AIDS, except of course by preventing them in the first place?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 28, 2006 8:02 AM ET USA

    Possibly we should all visit Africa before we become sanctimonious to be able to give an informed opinion. He is talking within marriage not for illicit pleasure. The old argument of where does medical and moral come into play here. If someone is injured in a fall and can't walk do we say he should never use a wheelchair to be able to go out again? And what about the suffering children? Have any of you witnessed one dying before your eyes? Something to be discussed here.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 5:48 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the good Bishop would do well to read the following: "And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." [Mt. 10:28] Who says Catholics don't read the Bible?

  • Posted by: rpp - Apr. 27, 2006 3:49 PM ET USA

    Corley, if people are suffering and dying, in part, because they are not following the Church's teachings, does that mean the church should change? To applied the word "santimonious" to those who seem to disagree with you. That strike me as a tad arrogant. To state that we Catholics have no compassion when we see people suffer and encourage them to behave in a way that will instantly HALT the scourge of AIDS is, at best, role reversal. The Cathoilc approach is working in Uganda right now.

  • Posted by: corquin - Apr. 27, 2006 3:15 PM ET USA

    Just so I understand, the meaning of sanctimonious is: recognizing that a culture in this current world is in dire straits and still not agreeing to change the teaching of the Church so those people will feel morally better about themselves. Perhaps the key word is teaching, which is never an easy task, but which has to be done! (And I can't imagine Father Dowling EVER saying what Bishop Dowling did.)

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 2:29 PM ET USA

    Cheri Blair must have something to say on this matter.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 12:03 PM ET USA

    I think we need to rethink this gravity thing. Each year millions are injured or killed due to falls. We should come up with a position which makes sense. Something less judgmental than "If you stand on the top rung of that ladder, you're going to get hurt." Lets reject this "Law of Gravity", float along and sing "Kumbaya."

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 11:49 AM ET USA

    Corley - I respect your compassion. But a true crisis like the AIDS epidemic is precisley the time to preach the way, the truth and the life. Dying the worst most painful isolated death is NOT, by a long shot, the worst thing that can happen to me...........losing my eternal salvation, losing my opportunity for the beatific vision, spending all eternity regretting my that IS the worst thing.

  • Posted by: Sir William - Apr. 27, 2006 11:42 AM ET USA

    "Catholics are not really Catholics" - and whose fault is that? Who should be taking responsibility for failing so terribly in passing on the beautiful messsage of the Gospel and instead keeping silent? Or worse, encouraging the 'not really catholics' by vomitus spewed by this so-called bishop? Funny enough, Uganda has a rapidly dropping rate of HIV and increasing social stability - Uganda chose to promote *chastity & marital fidelity* - and its citizens live.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 10:17 AM ET USA

    To those sanctimonious respondents, live in Africa for a while amidst the AIDS crisis and experience what’s going on. Convince infected married couples not to use condoms when in the first place and in the face of the AIDS crisis, they can’t see the dangers of sex outside of marriage let alone the moral implications. This includes CATHOLIC couples. Visit the hostels where thousands of children die from AIDS. Catholics are not really Catholic and historically share far different standards

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 10:04 AM ET USA

    Would this not come if confined to marital union under medical dispensation or use in the case of HIV rather than a moral issue? Out of marriage of course is would be against Church law. Just wondering as he is so convinced of his position on this.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 7:19 AM ET USA

    Its a Father Dowling mystery.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 27, 2006 1:06 AM ET USA

    re Bishop Dowling's remarks - too sad for words. Horrible might suit.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 26, 2006 8:16 PM ET USA

    I wrote to Bishop Dowling to gently and respectfully protest his support of condom usage for any reason on November 10th of last year. Not surprisingly, I got no answer. Among the other things I told him, I reminded him that Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy. Difficult circumstances does not make prostitution an acceptable alternative. Sin is still sin. I'd like to share the full contents of my letter, but space does not permit.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 26, 2006 6:46 PM ET USA

    Bishop Dowling, fitting well within the progressive wing of the Episcopalian church, found himself stranded and lost along with some other prelates in a Roman enclave. Hoping to be rescued, these men used progressive code words that beg for outside help so that they can, at last, find their true home, somewhere either in the general vicinity of L.A., or Berkeley, CA or Cambridge, MA. Let us hope that their voices are heard. Soon.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Apr. 26, 2006 6:39 PM ET USA

    where do you think the good bishop learned his theology? these thoughts don't grow on trees they are taught in Catholic schools of theology. That is where the new evangelization needs to begin.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 26, 2006 4:56 PM ET USA

    The same situation goes on and on. Nutty Bishops all over the place and no one telling them to "get lost". Some people rise to the surface because they are empty. Apparently this is one of them.

  • Posted by: Fr. Walter - Apr. 26, 2006 3:41 PM ET USA

    I have a sinking feeling that his colleague, the retired and disgraced auxiliary bishop Regie Cawcutt, would endorse his views on condoms, a "nonjudgmental God", and a world without moral injunctions, since they "do not help people." How do men like this get into the priesthood, into the episcopacy, and persevere with the sham? Never mind, I fear I know the answer. Would that some of their episcopal peers would take them aside and tell them, "Be a true Catholic, shut up, or go away!"

  • Posted by: - Apr. 26, 2006 3:29 PM ET USA

    "Moral injunctions do not help people." That's right. Whites slaughering blacks or using apartheid to keep them down did not respond to moral injunctions. Likewise, blacks slaughtering blacks in Darfur will not respond to moral injunctions. Disobedient prelates also do not respond to moral injunctions, which is why penal monasteries were invented. Perhaps the island of Papillon has a vacancy.