Friday, November 26, 2010

The Pope's Condom Conundrum

An excerpt from Katha Pollitt's latest post on the Pope's comments that condoms can be used in some cases to prevent disease, but not to prevent pregnancy:

The doctrine of the secondary effect, whereby a Catholic may perform an immoral act if its primary effect is moral, permits a doctor to give a dying patient painkillers that may hasten death: the primary purpose is relief of suffering, not euthanasia. By the same logic, the church has always allowed for "just wars" and the deaths of innocents that inevitably take place in them. But, with the exception of those nuns in Congo, this reasoning is rejected when it comes to birth control.

If you ask me, the Pope's on a slippery slope. Katha points out that pregnancy is a deadly prospect in so much of the world. Will the Pope not recognize this as a hardship on women? What about STD prevention? The lives of young girls ruined by teen pregnancy? The doctrine of the double effect is a fine theoretical work. But it has little to do with a raped woman in Congo or a dying patient in Queens who just wants to pass without pain.

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