Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

When is a condom not a condom?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-03-29

Reflecting on the discussion over at SkeptiClawyer about the Pontificator’s absolutism against the use of condoms, even when a spouse is infectious with HIV, I was struck by a way the Pope could encourage condom use to avoid HIV infections, even without compromising the Roman stance against contraception.

Consider: a brick wall is a chair when someone sits on it.

The RC church isn’t against condoms per se, but their use as a contraceptive device.  They object to anything that is a contraceptive device (except abstinence), so their objection is functional.

Therefore, using a condom as a balloon, with no contraceptive function, isn’t a problem.

Using a bible is immoral if you are not using it as a bible, but as a blunt instrument to bash someone.

Therefore, when a woman is not fertile, which is for most of the month, a condom is not a contraceptive device, and cannot reasonably be forbidden by the Roman Catholic church: it is functioning ONLY as a means of preventing infection, no different from a latex glove.

Therefore, rather than argue for abstinence if a partner is HIV positive, and NEVER use a condom, the best line for the Pope is to say "apart from a couple of days mid-cycle when the woman is fertile, when I urge abstinence, you should use a condom the rest of the time."

For those who grant the Pope any authority, such words would increase the number of abstinent days, because the prospect of a couple of days without jollies is much more likely to be acceptable.

The end result is that the Pope would not be the reason for people getting infected because his followers aren’t perfect, his (ludricous) stance on condoms and other contraceptives can remain intact.

The only downside is that by appearing more reasonable, more people might be prepared to accept the teachings of the church in other matters.

Personally, I’d prefer all catholics to be better catholics: becoming priests or nuns with lives of perfect chastity.

That would solve so many problems within a single lifetime.


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