November 30th, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Opinion: Why the pope said yes on condoms

Editor's note: Dan Madigan is an Australian Jesuit priest who teaches in the theology department of Georgetown University.

If you were to ask a group of Quakers or Mennonites whether it's OK for police or soldiers to use rubber bullets against rock-throwing children, you wouldn't be surprised if they said, "Absolutely not!" They are well-known for their commitment to pacifism.

But what if you were to put the question this way: "When soldiers are firing against demonstrators, would it be better if they used rubber bullets rather than metal?"

"Obviously it is," they would probably say, "But they shouldn't be firing at all in the first place!"

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Amukamara Ike Stanley

    If not God. How many will love his enemy? How many can stop fighting? How many can sacrifice they life and properties for other? How many will reap were he or she did not sow?How many can stop slander? How many can stop been jealous and envy? How many can try to control temper? How will love to fly on air at the same time? How many will love to be rich without knowledge? How many will be born on the same day? How many would be death for their sins? How many will love to eat from the same pot? How many will love to listening when others are speaking? How many can say sorry,even when right to be wrong? How many could love to get married? How many could love to share secret treasures with trust? How many could have died of diseases and infections? How many could be happy? How many could be many? What will you say to God Almighty?

    December 2, 2010 at 3:50 am |
  2. Amukamara Ike Stanley

    If not God?

    December 2, 2010 at 3:06 am |
  3. Reality

    Using Guttmacher Inst-itute data on birth control method failure rates, one is able to calculate the number of unplanned pregnancies resulting from the current use of male condoms. It is an horrific number of 1.2 million/yr. Even perfect use of would result in 138,000 unplanned pregnancies.

    (And what is the abortion rate in the USA? ~1,000,000/yr CDC data.)

    And B16 expects male condoms to prevent contracting AIDs?

    Conclusion: currently, a perfect barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one. In the meantime, mono-masturbation or mutual masturbation for heterose-xuals are highly recommended for those at risk. Abstinence is the another best-solution but obviously the se-x drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?

    December 1, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  4. Gary

    condoms ...of course less unwanted pregnancies. less population explosion, less mouths to feed by our taxed paid government. less abortions , condoms are a no brainer. too bad we live in a NO BRAIN society.

    November 30, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      But fewer future thumpers! The greatest increase in believers is due to birth – reduce the number of births and the number of believers will decline significantly. Why would a business (the rcc and other houses of tribal mythology) want to reduce the number of sheep, customers or victims available to them?

      December 1, 2010 at 3:19 am |
  5. CatholicMom

    All the more reason to read to book if you still don’t ‘get it’.

    November 30, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  6. JohnQuest

    I think it is because they are losing members and want to appear that their doctrines are becoming current.

    November 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • Peace2All


      True, I believe. It just seems that the RCC can sometimes be such a 'dinosaur' in terms of changing with the times. They take

      way, way too long to make the changes that are relevant to society.


      December 1, 2010 at 1:47 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Hi, Peace2All,

      This video might help clarify what the media is ‘putting out there’ about the Holy Father’s statements in the book.


      December 1, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  7. Reality

    Simply more theological double talk from said Jesuit priest!!!

    Back to basics of pregnancy and STD prevention:

    The numbers, the calculations and a "bottom liner":

    "Facts on Contraceptive Use

    January 2008


    • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]
    • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a contraceptive method.[2]
    • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use contraceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]


    • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had inte-rcourse have used at least one contraceptive method.[2](and men?)
    • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)
    • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inter-course; or are not s-exually active.[2]
    • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using contraceptives.[2] (and men?)
    • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing contraception.[2] (and men?)


    • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice contraception use reversible methods, such as oral contraceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]


    Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)
    Metho Typical
    Pill (combined) 8.7
    Tubal sterilization 0.7
    Male condom 17.4
    Vasectomy 0.2
    Periodic abstinence 25.3
    Calendar 9.0
    Ovulation Method 3.0
    Sympto-thermal 2.0
    Post-ovulation 1.0
    No method 85.0"
    (Abstinence) 0
    (Masturbation) 0

    More facts about contraceptives from


    Contraceptive method use among U.S. women who practice contraception, 2002
    Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users

    Pill 11,661 30.6
    Male condom 6,841 18.0 "

    The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).
    i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)

    x 62 million (# child bearing women)
    x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
    x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =
    1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
    during the first year of pill use.

    For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)
    1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

    The Guttmacher Insti-tute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
    (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).
    o Bottom Line: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and STDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and STDs.

    November 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Agreed – just more double talk. I especially liked the bits about condoms being ok for "sinners" (my summation of the various folks having s-ex out of marriage), but not ok for married folks.

      I think things are simpler than they appear – pope-a-dope wants to allow his priests to use condoms so that when they abuse innocent children, they are protected and guilty of one less sin.

      November 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • moribundman

      Someone needs to catch and round up all the renegade hyphens in the above, then pummel the writer with those hyphens.

      December 3, 2010 at 8:13 am |
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