soft options

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 30, 2006

The Telegraph reports that most UK priests believe what they see on television:

Two-thirds of Roman Catholic priests in England and Wales believe that the use of condoms could be acceptable.

In a survey of clergy conducted by The Sunday Telegraph, 65 per cent of those questioned said that they thought it morally defensible to use condoms in order to curb the spread of HIV.

A further 43 per cent said that it was time for the Catholic Church to "rethink" its stance on contraception.

The reporters clearly intend to do the usual journalistic bump-and-run by feigning surprise at the finding that, on the tough issues, most Catholic priests aren't Catholic. No one who's been paying attention could expect it to be otherwise. Your Uncle Di was astonished for the opposite reason: the implausibly high number of hard-liners, which seems almost too good to be true. Where did the 34% of condom recusants come from? How do we explain the 57% who don't want to jump ship on contraception?

The two-thirds majority of the clergy in favor of Latex For Low-techs requires no explanation. If you're a piece of styrofoam, of course you blow where the wind carries you; of course you think what the media want you to think and sniffle at what the media want you to sniffle at; of course you consider sexual satisfaction to be a human need as basic as oxygen; of course you want to rubberize marital relations where the only alternatives are disease or discomfort. No surprise there.

It's the hold-outs that are truly noteworthy. However many (or few) the priests who oppose the easy option, they didn't drink in their opinions from the ambient culture. They didn't get them from their bishops. They didn't read them in The Tablet. Somehow they managed to find their way to Catholic teaching by means of the Resistance -- as always, an underground endeavor.

The journalists go on to report that most priests, including the heterodox, gave Pope Benedict a high rating on his first year (scoring him 8.9 on a 1-to-10 scale) and quote a respondent who, unconvincingly, chalks it up to careerism:

"We are such creeps," said one clergyman before giving the Pope a nine. "We're all thinking of our careers."

Sorry, pal, if you think an anonymous poll on the pope counts more toward promotion than a publicly permissive stance on condoms, you've got it backwards. The two most successful clerical careers in Britain are those of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Dominican Timothy Radcliffe. Next question?

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  • Posted by: - May. 01, 2006 9:56 PM ET USA

    Gil – thanks for the info that Diogenes is presenting his opinion only. New to this site, I find the format featuring him to be confusing so have guessed he is presenting the site’s view on “news”. (Still don’t understand his role. What is it?) Inquisition – what an assumption regarding my age. My birth pre-dates the Boomers and I respect those who are respectable of any age – with due allegiance to the command that we be “no respecter” of persons for their fame, wealth and such.

  • Posted by: - May. 01, 2006 1:49 PM ET USA

    Speaking as a Catholic health care provider, it is well known but rarely publicized (secular press) that condoms do little to nothing to protect against the transmission of HIV let alone ALL other STDs. That said, I thirst with the rest of you for CLEAR and un-apoligizing teaching/preaching on the virtue of PURITY. NO ONE has ever died from abstinence! If you count on a condom to keep you safe, you count on nothing.

  • Posted by: Fr T (UK) - Apr. 30, 2006 7:33 PM ET USA

    apologies for the typos in the last post - I was feeling a little indignant!

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 6:54 PM ET USA

    "catharina", a bit of respect for your Elders! Uncle Di can slip once in a while. He's earned it.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Apr. 30, 2006 5:43 PM ET USA

    catharina, I don't think Diogenes is aiming for credibility. He is offering opinion, not fact. We need only credit that his opinions are his opinions. Personally, I happen to share them virtually all the time (I think I have disagreed with him twice---maybe three times---in the years I have been reading him) and strongly concur in his view of the git-fiddle played during Mass. But the fact that you might not agree with an opinion is not sufficient for him not to hit the send button.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 2:33 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, whoever you are, you have the sassiest, funniest writing on the Catholic internet. Where do you come up with this stuff? "Latex for low techs"? Thank you for writing!

  • Posted by: Fr T (UK) - Apr. 30, 2006 2:30 PM ET USA

    Well condoms are not advocated, pastorally or otherwise, by this English priest who was not contacted by the Sunday Telegraph and would have happily gien Pope Benedict a 10. But I see Mrs Cherie "let me hold aloft an oh-so-wonderful condom for the press cameras" Blair QC (see "most likely to succeed"Diogenes,Mar. 21, 2006 ) has been receieved in private audience by His Holiness..... Ah, the rewards of fidelity to the Magisterium.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 11:54 AM ET USA

    Please consider the fact that when you present an important note like this one on the surveyed priests in Great Britain and yet still allow yourself to present a following note of sarcasm and scorn on an issue like 'guitars at Mass' you are severely underminding your own credibility. Maybe you will hold off on hitting the send button for 24 hours before sharing any submissions? Maybe some submissions will never be entered? That would be a sensible and very worthwhile practice.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 8:34 AM ET USA

    In Britain, the majority of priests can say, truly: "We are a Latex people."

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 4:54 AM ET USA

    There was a comment in the story that you omitted, that particularly concerned me, " "There's a difference between the official doctrine and what happens on a pastoral level." one priest was quoted as saying. I've never quite understood that line of argument. Surely 'pastoral' is all about being a 'good shepherd'? 'Doctrine', surely, is all about what the Church teaches is required for us to believe and do if we wish for salvation? How can they ever conflict? Confused.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 30, 2006 3:02 AM ET USA

    The anonymous respondent is, of course, correct about one thing: he and his ilk are, in fact, creeps.