Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't take religious proclamations too seriously

The Catholic Church has proscribed the use of any birth control devices since the beginning, and has reaffirmed this doctrine in modern times.  According the Papal encyclical "Castii Connubii" of 1930:
...any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.
The 1966 Papal Commission on Birth Control voted 30 to 5 to allows some use, but Pope Paul VI vetoed this result.  His reasoning including, among others, that such a ruling would allow forced sterilization by governments, and would encourage the abuse and exploitation of women.   But the overriding reasons were simply moral. 

Now Pope Benedict XVI has stated  in an interview that, in some cases, condom use may not be prohibited.  A Church spokesperson is downplaying the significance of the change:
Lombardi noted that the pope emphasized the church's main advice in the fight against AIDS -- sexual abstinence and fidelity among married couples. He cited Benedict's words that the church "of course does not regard it (condom use) as a real or moral solution."
As for the idea that this use is not a "real" solution, this is an example of changing the facts to fit the conclusions.  Of course condom use is a real solution to lower the spread of AIDS and to reap the benefits, economic and otherwise, of limited family sizes.  The bottom line is to live your life as you see fit by rational principles.  Following rules that make little sense simple because someone says he had a vision can lead to regret.  As society changes, those visions tend to update as well.

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