Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Official CDF clarification "Regarding certain interpretations of 'Light of the World' "

Following the publication of the interview-book Light of the World by Benedict XVI, a number of erroneous interpretations have emerged which have caused confusion concerning the position of the Catholic Church regarding certain questions of sexual morality. The thought of the Pope has been repeatedly manipulated for ends and interests which are entirely foreign to the meaning of his words – a meaning which is evident to anyone who reads the entire chapters in which human sexuality is treated. The intention of the Holy Father is clear: to rediscover the beauty of the divine gift of human sexuality and, in this way, to avoid the cheapening of sexuality which is common today.

Read more at the Vatican website...

George Neumayr on "The mischievous debate over condoms"

George Neumayr writes in an editorial for Catholic World Report:
During his 2007 visit to the US, [Pope Benedict] sounded this warning again, lamenting as “particularly disturbing…the reduction of the precious and delicate area of education in sexuality to management of ‘risk,’ bereft of any reference to the beauty of conjugal love.”

And then, most recently in the interview-book Light of the World, he repeated that condom use is not a “moral solution.”

Yet the Catholic left claims confidently that the Church’s position on condom use has “changed.” Dissenters continue to point to the passage from Light of the World in which Benedict offers a narrow and nuanced observation about an intention behind (but not the act of) condom use and speculates that the flicker of consideration for another person’s safety contained within that intention might in some cases grow into a greater sense of morality: “[The Church] of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

A Select English Language Bibliography for Understanding the Benedict XVI/Condom Debate

Joe Trabbic has assembled a useful list that gives background to the debate about condom use, and the Pope's comments in Light of the World:
This is a very select (i.e., incomplete) bibliography, arranged in chronological order, to help those interested in understanding the Benedict XVI/condom debate, which, despite the note issued yesterday by the Holy Office, may still (for better or worse) have life left in it.

Not all the entries deal directly with the condom debate itself. Some provide the theoretical context, not always made explicit, in which much of the debate has been carried out. And not all the contributions are of equal quality.

I have also constructed the bibliography in such a way that readers will get a sense of some of the debate's historical development. The Pope's remarks in Light of the World only brought into a broader public view a debate that has been going on for a number of years among Catholic moral philosophers and theologians.


Jay Richards: The Pope and Climate Change

Jay Richards blogs at The American Enterprise Institute:

As part of my holiday reading, I’ve been working my way through the delightful new book on Pope Benedict XVI, Light of the World. The book is the result of a six-hour interview with the Pope by journalist Peter Seewald. Although it’s divided into topical chapters, the chapters consist of questions from Seewald and answers from the Pope.

The benefit of this format is that it gives readers the sense that they are listening in on an intelligent, personal conversation with Pope Benedict. You feel like you know him better for having read the book. I heartily recommend it for that reason.

The disadvantage of a Q and A format is that the Pope must answer questions framed by someone else. Even before the book was released, the media (led by the New York Times) misreported that, in the book, the Pope had changed the Church’s position on contraception. But the limits of the interview format are especially obvious on the subject of climate change and environmental stewardship. Without too much trouble, the New York Times could (mis)report that Pope Benedict fully agrees with left-wing environmentalists.

Read more....