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POPE SOFTENS ON THE USE OF CONDOMS.

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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At last, enlightenment seems to be creeping into the dark recesses of Roman Catholic dogma on the issue of human sexuality and sexual intercourse in general. The comments attributed this weekend to Pope Benedict XVI admitting that the use of condoms is acceptable “in certain circumstances” is bound to exercise the minds of Catholics everywhere, after the blanket ban on the devices by his predecessors, especially Pope Paul VI. It is no matter, though strange, that the Pope referred specifically to the use of condoms among male prostitutes — a tiny fraction of all prostitutes — and it does not matter that he fell short of acknowledging that the use of condoms is widespread among Catholics, even among priests. What does matter is that this is the first time any Pontiff has indicated that a condom can be useful in other ways than as a contraceptive. The Catholic church has been rigid in its opposition to contraception and abortion. Indeed, all the major religions of the world frown on artificial birth control. But these are changing times. With the onset of debilitating scourges like Aids, and the fact that no religion on earth has the wherewithal to outlaw sexual intercourse between consenting adults of the opposite sex, it does not make sense to continue condemning a prophylactic that has proved to be quite efficacious in saving lives. Abstinence and faithfulness to one’s spouse have become mere buzz-words in this brave new world. What matters is an individual’s faith. So, if a man were to use a condom to avoid infecting his partner, why should the church stand between them? The next step for the church now should be to acknowledge that people do have sex for other reasons than procreation. Then it will, perhaps, do the most logical thing — scuttle the doctrine of celibacy and allow priests to marry.

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