A new book has been published in which Pope Benedict XVI discusses a full range of issues ranging from communion in the hand to global warming.
Entitled “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times,” this new book is a compilation of a series of interviews with German journalist Peter Seewald in which the Holy Father responds frankly to questions about church and state. Of course, the secular media ignored the entirety of the book, and rather than report its content accurately, it seized the opportunity to promote a sensational headline on the use of condoms.
One of the most sensitive issues addressed by Pope Benedict in the book is the question of AIDS in Africa and the use of condoms in preventing the spread of the disease. His comments were taken out of context by many in the secular press and soon the sensational headlines appeared across the globe declaring that the Holy Father had rejected Catholic Church teaching and was now endorsing the use of condoms. Of course, what the wise Pope Benedict actually did say was: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”
It was not meant to be, as it was freely and erroneously characterized by the secular media, an endorsement of condom use nor a rejection of church teaching by the Holy Father. The Holy Father went on to suggest that the AIDS epidemic has resulted in large measure from the irresponsible and selfish use of sexuality. Expressing hope of a conversion by a sinner, the Holy Father suggests that the use of a condom might be the beginning expression of the sinner’s concern for the “other.”
As usual, the secular press in their rush for a sensational story about the Holy Father and the Catholic Church got the story wrong. There was no endorsement of condoms nor rejection of Catholic teaching, but rather, The Holy Father reflecting on the moral state of the person who would use a condom with the hope that he or she might begin to assume their moral responsibility for immoral sexual activity.
The media’s treatment of this sensitive topic was shameful and sensational and certainly the cause of moral confusion and scandal for many Catholics. We urge all Catholics and people of good will to ignore the secular media coverage and the ill-informed editorials of even our local press. Instead, they should seek out the authentic and correct analysis offered by the Vatican in response to this story. We further suggest that Catholics in Rhode Island and across the globe buy a copy of Light of the World and read it accurately. This will help them to overcome the confusion caused by the ill-informed secular press. After all, the faithful just might be enlightened by the Holy Father’s commentaries, unlike those who sit in the editorial board rooms and occupy the press rooms of the secular world seeking only to advance their agenda of moral relativism with inaccurate headlines and morally misguided commentary. They will soon discover that the Light of the World shines with accuracy and truth!