REMARKS ON CONDOMS ATTRIBUTED TO THE HOLY FATHER, POPE BENEDICT XVI
We have witnessed recent reports on comments attributed to The Holy Father, that have been carried in the international and local media, that have misrepresented the remarks of Pope Benedict XVI on the issue of sexual morality and the struggle against the HIV and AIDS infection.
First we would like to clear the air and to clarify to all the people, and to the Catholics, regarding the position of the Church with regard to the use of condoms for the peace of mind and proper guidance.
1. We reiterate and reaffirm that the position of the Catholic Church as regards the use of condoms, both as a means of contraception and as a means of addressing the grave issue of HIV/AIDS infection has not changed and remains as always unacceptable.
2. The media reports have unfairly quoted the Pope out of context and banalized the deeply sensitive medical, moral and pastoral issues of HIV/AIDS and accompaniment of those infected or affected, reducing the discussion on the demands of sexual morality to a mere comment on condoms.
3. The book in question "Light of the World: the Pope, the Church and the Signs of Times. A conversation of Pope Benedict XVI with Peter Seewald" was the result of an interview. It was not written by the Pope even though it expresses his ideas, concerns and sufferings over these years, his pastoral projects and his hopes for the future.
4. To reduce "the entire interview to one phrase removed from its context and from the entirety of Pope Benedict XVI though would be an offence to the Pope's intelligence and a gratuitous manipulation of his words."
5. The pope was not speaking specifically on the morality of condom use, but more generally "about the great questions facing modern theology, the various political events that have always marked relations between States and finally, the themes that often occupy a large part of public debate."
6. It is important to explain that the morality of human actions always depends on the intentions of the person. It is the way we use things that make the action evil or good. The use of condoms is unacceptable because it is often an external manifestation of the wrong intention of the action, and a distorted view of sexuality.
7. The church and indeed the Holy Father reaffirms that "naturally the Church does not consider condoms as the "authentic and moral solution" to the problem of AIDS." Rather a true change of heart or conversion that will give the sexuality its human and even supernatural value. We need to appreciate better the gift of sexuality, that humanizes us and when well appreciated remains open to God's plan.
8. The situation referred to by the media, which quotes an interview made to the Pope by a German journalist, involves the Pope's judgment on the subjective moral journeying of subjects who are already involved in gravely immoral acts in themselves, specifically in acts of homosexuality and male prostitution, thankfully totally alien to our Kenyan society. HE is not speaking on the morality of the use of condoms, but on something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature. This in no way condones the use of condoms in itself.
9. The Holy Father brings out an important point, that even those who find themselves deeply entrenched in immoral life, can gradually journey towards a conversion, and acceptance of God's laws. This journey may have steps which may in themselves not yet include a total submission to God's law, but rather a step closer to accepting it. However, those acts still remain sinful.
10. The church is always going to be focused on moving people away from immoral acts towards love of Jesus, virtue, and holiness. We can say that the Holy Father clearly did not want to make a point about condoms, but wants to talk about growth in moral sense, which should be a growth towards Jesus. This also applies to those still living in seriously immoral lifestyles, we should strive more and more to focus on the morality of the human actions, and judge rather the action of the human person and not the object used for an immoral action.
11. The church urges those involved in prostitution and other gravely immoral acts or lifestyle to conversion. While understanding the many unfortunate reasons that often lead to this lifestyle, it does not condone it, and regards it as morally wrong.
12. The church is gravely concerned about the life, the health and the general welfare of those who find themselves in this difficult and painful situation of HIV/AIDS infection. In fact the amount of efforts and resource mobilization by the Catholic Church, both in partnerships with others and on her own, will always be aimed at a search for human and liberating solutions to the pandemic.
13. The problem is really more than just the condom debate. Rather a deeper interior healing, that gives people hope and helps them to rediscover the simplicity and radicalism of the Gospel and Christianity in accompanying to give and reaffirm hope to those infected and to those affected.
The church reaffirms her commitment to continue to urge all people to struggle to live good moral lives, which always means great sacrifices, for the "kingdom of God." The church reaffirms her solidarity with all those suffering from HIV/AIDS. There exists many ways to face up to this situation. Above all the church trusts in the power of Grace and the strength God gives, to positively face the challenges this new situation presents, and with Hope, journey together with all God's family towards our heavenly homeland.
WE EXPRESS OUR CONCERN AND SOLIDARITY WITH THESE OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND BLESS THEM.
Signed: [Järgnevad Keenia Piiskoppide Konverentsi liikmete allkirjad (25) eesotsas Tema Eminentsi Nairobi peapiiskopi ja Ngongi apostelliku administraatoriga, piiskoppide konverentsi eesistuja kardinal John Njue'ga]
Monday, November 29, 2010
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