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Australian Bishop tempers media coverage on Pope Benedict’s comments about condoms

The following statement was released by Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, Bishop of Parramatta. Bishop Anthony is a prominent ethicist and formerly sat on the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s Committee for Family and Life:

In his forthcoming book-length interview Pope Benedict XVI re-emphasises Catholic teaching that fidelity within marriage and abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the only morally permissible approach to chaste living. It is also the only practicable solution to the HIV-AIDs epidemic.

The Holy Father calls on the faithful to “fight against the banalisation of sexuality” which treats sex as a mere recreational drug, and to seek instead “the humanisation of sexuality” as the expression of marital love.

Despite some misinterpretation in the international media, the Pope has not deviated from or altered in any way Catholic teaching on the intrinsic wrongness of contraception or on reserving sexual intercourse (‘the marital act’) to marriage, that is of a man and a woman.

Pastors have long recognised that in cases such as homosexual intercourse, conception and marital acts are not at issue. Using a condom in this situation is clearly not contraception. It is clear that even here the goal must be to move the individual to living a truly ‘humane’, that is a chaste and loving, sexual life.

The Pope suggests that sometimes “as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom” to protect his client from disease, this might be a sign of an awakening moral responsibility. But using condoms, the Pope insists, is still not “a real or moral solution”.
Released by the Diocese of Parramatta

November 22, 2010

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