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Old 11-23-2010, 12:15 AM   #46
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Watching the Pope tie himself into linguistic knots trying to say it's OK to use condoms under some circumstances without backing down from the church's stance that artificial birth control is never, ever OK is simply one more reason why I'm glad I left the Catholic Church.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:15 AM   #47
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:26 AM   #48
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My question is why is the Catholic Church being single outed? Other Christian denominations have the same point of view in regards to sexual morality and so do several Non-Christian faiths.

Evangelicals, Jews and Muslims are not dropping condoms out of helicopters either. In some circumstances their views may be more harsh. The Vatican doesn't rule the world. It is only suppose to be a guideline in which Catholics are trying to live their lives by. I may not believe in or choose to have multiple sexual partners. But, I don't judge anyone either. It's not my call. Aids can be a killer, we all know that. I would much rather see people have protected sex than to pass on this disease.
You need to consider the Catholic church's position in much of the developing world, such as sub-Saharan Africa or Latin and South America. For many people in those countries, who are Catholics, what the Pope says has much more weight than in the industrialized world. What he says is the law, and you don't go against it. So when Pope John Paul or Benedict said condoms are against God's will and never to be used, it had real impact in those countries, where at the same time the spread of HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest problems these people face.
This is what sets them apart from many other religions.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:19 PM   #49
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Thanks Vincent for your reply. I didn't think of it that way. Living in an industrialized country with excellent medical access gives me a different perspective. I do think that condoms are a good choice to help stop the spread of aids. Plus, of course sex education and better medical services. I don't judge anyone as I stated before. It goes against everything I believe in and I don't want to see another person loose their life to this horrible disease.

I attend a Catholic church for spiritual reasons only. I do think that this pope is way out of touch in regards to disease control. His job is to lead Catholics to a spiritual path they have chosen. He is not a doctor. Nor should he tell others what to do in regards to their own health issues.

Again, I thank you for you politeness and not ridiculing me for my spirituality.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:08 PM   #50
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A very well thought out and written post. It was a pleasure to read.
Thank you. Greetings
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:11 PM   #51
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melon made some valid points.

I´m not a fan of Pope Benedict, he´s far too conservative. Like so many other people, my opinion is that amongst popes of the 20th century two of them stand out: John XXIII (Roncalli) and Paul VI (Montini). You may agree with me on John XXIII but when you hear Paul VI, one might automatically tie him to Humanae Vitae and the birth control pill. It is such a pity that the mass media of our modern, oh so liberal world, reduced him to that single point when it was Paul VI. who did much to help the poor people and who worked for peace. After all, it was him who said:

"If you want peace work for justice."

"No more war! Never again war! If you wish to be brothers, drop your weapons."

"Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy."

As early as 1964, Paul VI created a Secretariat for non-Christian religions, renamed the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and a year later a new Secretariat for Non-Christian Believers. In 1971, he created a papal office for economic development and catastrophic assistance. To foster common bonds with all persons of good will, he decreed an annual peace day to be celebrated on January first. Trying to improve the condition of Christians behind the Iron Curtain, Paul engaged in dialogue with Communist authorities, receiving Foreign Minister Gromyko and Nikolai Podgorny, just like his predecessor Pope John XXIII who shocked the conservative Vatican circles by receiving Chrustschow (there was no problem with Kennedy). We also shouldn´t forget that John XXIII played a significant role in the Cuban crisis.

It is interesting to note that you all missed to comment this part of the interview with Pope Benedict XVI (Ratzinger): "..the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDS victims, especially children with AIDS."

Like I said, I´m not a fan of this conservative Pope, but this statement is true. To everyone who so strongly opposes the Catholic church, see what good work many of its organisations do to help the poor and the suffering.

Who else does this, except of some NGOs? The liberals, who are more concerned about spreading their views in the media and patting themselves on their shoulders, than about poverty? The politicians and statesmen who send young men to war? The Wall street bankers? Oprah? Give me a break. Apart from bloating out how great condoms are to prevent AIDS, have you personally done a single thing to help those suffering from that disease? Have you been to Africa or Asia to give condoms to the people? Have you helped young Peruvian prostitutes to get out of their trap? CNS STORY: In Peruvian jungle city, church works to help child prostitutes
Have you helped indigenous people in Brazil and seen your sister killed, like Bishop Krautler who helps the Xingu? Right Livelihood Award: 2010 - Erwin Kräutler "I'm convinced that another world is possible, in which indigenous and poor people finally shall live in dignity and peace." There are many more of them.

I don´t think the majority of us, me included, have done that. TALKING about it and feeling oh so great and liberal, but DOING nothing, is complete FAKE RUBBISH.

Folks, apart from all the true and necessary criticism directed towards conservative church circles (and it is necessary, I completely agree!) - if you are serious you also should note that the Catholic church nowadays does a lot to help people all around the globe. It hasn´t always been like this (see history of the Catholic church) so I´m rather grateful for the role the church often plays in our modern, industrial world where everything is about sales, economy, growth, more money, more money, but still you don´t know who you are.
I think that the Catholic Church likes poverty because there are more people to minister to and patronise (easy targets).
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:38 PM   #52
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My response to this =

Yes, progression may be slow (and at times not even progression at all) but I suppose THIS IS SOMETHING at the end of the day. No matter how much of a backhanded sort of concession it may've been (i.e. the reference to 'male prostitutes') - it's a move in the right, vague, general direction.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:33 PM   #53
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:59 PM   #54
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I'm not in much of a position to defend Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, but out of all the reasons to criticize him, I've always found this the weakest--a kind of "reductio ad Hitlerum" to avoid having to come up with a substantive argument against his theology, of which there are multitudes of avenues open to criticism.

Imagining living under a brutal single-party dictatorship, I can perhaps understand those families who were not willing to risk execution to defy military conscription. And by every report, he was conscripted into the Hitler Youth as were all German 14 year-old boys, and was also drafted into the German infantry as a 16 year-old while in seminary. Overall, he's seen as being a typical member of the "Flakhelfer generation," which, to German ears, meant being ripped out of your adolescence and forcefully thrown into strict military service, while being too young to be involved with the Nazi regime in any way beyond its youth organizations.
He's a former Nazi collaborationist who has called homosexuality a disease, 'an ideology of evil'. He was actively involved in covering up the crimes of child rapists and as far as I am concerned he should be in prison for this alone.

I don't understand why you and other intelligent and well-read people on here are giving any of his faith-based, irrational and in some cases, downright bigoted 'arguments' the time of day.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:02 PM   #55
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He's a former Nazi collaborationist who has called homosexuality a disease, 'an ideology of evil'. He was actively involved in covering up the crimes of child rapists and as far as I am concerned he should be in prison for this alone.

I don't understand why you and other intelligent and well-read people on here are giving any of his faith-based, irrational and in some cases, downright bigoted 'arguments' the time of day.
Note - The Pope is no Nazi collaborationist. For all the arguments you wish to level at him (the majority of which I'd agree with) this one simply isn't true. Yes, he was a member of the Hitler Youth but then you'll find that all boys of his age, at that time in Germany were - he had no choice in the matter and both he and his family were very much in opposition to the National Socialists. Now whether or not you're referring to him singularly, or the Vatican at large, is a different matter entirely.

I also think it's rather flippant and incorrect to lump 'faith-based' and 'irrational' in the same category of judgement.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:07 PM   #56
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I also think it's rather flippant and incorrect to lump 'faith-based' and 'irrational' in the same category of judgement.
What types of faith-based arguments do you think are reasonable?
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:07 PM   #57
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I also think it's rather flippant and incorrect to lump 'faith-based' and 'irrational' in the same category of judgement.
Why?
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:18 PM   #58
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He's a former Nazi collaborationist
Why would you start off with this? I mean, really makes you sound silly, especially when you actually have pertinent things to add to the discussion.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:01 PM   #59
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The Pope is not in charge of my faith.
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:57 PM   #60
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He's a former Nazi collaborationist who has called homosexuality a disease, 'an ideology of evil'. He was actively involved in covering up the crimes of child rapists and as far as I am concerned he should be in prison for this alone.

I don't understand why you and other intelligent and well-read people on here are giving any of his faith-based, irrational and in some cases, downright bigoted 'arguments' the time of day.
Speaking for myself only--

Heidegger was an (adult) Nazi Party member and influential public advocate of Nazism; I read and study his philosophical works anyhow, not just out of historical curiosity or professional duty, but also out of high personal regard for and interest in both his philosophical works (particularly Being and Time), and more generally the intellectual tradition he speaks from (existential phenomenology). I wouldn't particularly expect, say, my maternal grandparents to have understood this view. Not only because certain kinds of experiences can understandably lead even the most reasonable, fair-minded people to categorically reject anything associated with their enemies, but also because they lacked the relevant intellectual background to grasp what I'd mean in saying I find much of the worldview articulated in his works compelling, provocative and beautiful, in ways that defy easy dismissal on grounds of his personal (and, sometimes, intellectual) corruptions and disingenuities--which were many, and often disturbingly consequential.

Thomas Jefferson, a slaveholder who was deeply ambivalent about slavery but never "reformed," holds a somewhat similar place in my mind. It's a painful paradox in his writings on the topic that he understood so well how deeply rooted in our society that poison is; far more profoundly than many abolitionists of his day.

As for the Pope--not just Benedict, any Pope--he's not just another celebrity proselytizer peddling a schtick; he's the most prominent representative of a millennia-old intellectual tradition which decisively dominated Western philosophy (and aesthetics, and literature) for well more than half its existence, and to this day casts a long shadow over it. Not only by virtue of doctrinally underpinning by far the world's largest religious denomination, but also because its guiding metaphors, concepts, and discursive methods remain deeply embedded in our perceptions and fundamental assumptions, whether we're schooled enough in them to recognize their presence or not.

Now all the above rhapsodic schmoozle about worldviews, metaphors and traditions doesn't mean I don't also see the hypocritical, delusionally hypercerebral, unnaturally sheltered old man behind the "pronouncements"-- whom as I've already indicated I disagree with on most things, sexual morality included. But if nothing else, understanding the thought system sustaining his biases (negative and positive alike) is crucial to understanding the perspectives of the billion-plus people influenced by the worldview he speaks for to some degree. And while I personally hold a low opinion of Ratzinger as an institutional leader (reactionary; self-pitying; history of protecting predatory colleagues), I do have considerable regard for the intellectual tradition he speaks from, and thus can't help finding it a bit regrettable when "intelligent and well-read people" seem unable to interpret his doctrinal writings beyond vague notions of 'He thinks sexual pleasure is evil' or 'He's got weeeeeiiirrd hangups about birth control,' or even 'Well, at least he's finally realized preventing HIV transmission is good'--as if he ever thought otherwise, or for that matter as if he'd ever formally promote condom use to that end (I wish!). Nonetheless, I can sympathize with the impatient moral indignation his strongest critics feel, and I don't look down on them for that. All I'd ask is to be granted the same benefit of the doubt--that I'm not operating from some blind, emotional deference to his personal "authority," which as a Jew I'd hardly feel anyway.
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