Is Pope Francis finally recognizing reality? Not likely!
by: John Tyrrell
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A little over a year ago in Meditation 1181: Long overdue for a Pope to recognize reality, I criticized Pope Francis for using his visit to the Philippines to restate the Catholic Church's opposition to birth control while at the same time crying crocodile tears over people "breeding like rabbits." And as noted in a discussion item only a month later, the Pope restated his opposition to birth control with respect to a referendum on Slovakia.
And yet in February, only a year after he adamantly opposed contraception in Slovakia, Pope Francis suggested that contraceptives could be used to to prevent the zika virus from adversely affecting fetuses. He used, as a precedent, a little known ruling by Pope Paul VI that nuns could use contraceptives to avoid getting pregnant by rape.
(And one wonders why this obscure rule applied only to nuns. And as if a rape victim can turn to her attacker and say "Please wear this while you abuse me.")
Logically the Pope's support for contraception in those instances where the zika virus adversely affects a fetus should apply to a wide range of other situations including AIDS.
Indeed, in November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI talked about the possible acceptability of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. But by the time he let his Vatican spin doctors revise the message, the Pope was talking only about the use of condoms by men visiting male prostitutes (which of course was an area of which the celibate Pope Benedict would have had no first hand knowledge of).
So - are we to expect an official change in Vatican policy which will authorize the use of contraceptives "for the prevention of disease, only"? Or shall we expect the Vatican to simply bury the current Pope's musings about a change just as the Vatican buried the previous Pope's attempt to address the situation?
Don't hold your breath waiting for an official change in policy with clear direction to all archbishops, bishops and priests. I don't expect it to happen. Just be happy that nuns can still use birth control. In case of rape.
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