Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

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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