Girl Reading by Charles Edward Perugini
The title of this post is a T-shirt design slogan for one of the National Geographic Tees that local clothing brand Regatta is selling. Recently, the slogan has come to mean a new thing thanks to my friend Sunnyday, who says that we must really study and understand issues so that we can make sound conclusions. With these, we can help other people by explaining the issue well to help them understand too.
Regarding the big issue surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's comments on condoms in Peter Seewald's now (in)famous book Light of the World, it pays to know the whole story. What local media--slamming us with headlines like "Pope: Condom Use OK in AIDS Fight" or "Condom Use Acceptable in Certain Cases-Pope"--did was make noise over a portion of a quote taken out context and package it as The Greatest and Latest Church Teaching Ever.
For a clear analysis of what the Pope really said, go to Jimmy Akin's site. But here I'll aslo try to explain with my limited theological knowledge. Wehehe!
Yesterday, I was at a media forum listening to Fr. Joel Jason, a moral theologian in the San Carlos Seminary, explain that bit on condoms being the "first step to moralization." According to Fr. Jason, what the Holy Father meant by that was a consciousness and a concern on the part of the male prostitute (in his example) to wish that no harm comes to other people by his doing his "job." A male prostitute who is concerned about not infecting others with AIDS (and uses a condom to achieve it) is possibly taking the first step of assuming responsibility.
Fr. Jason continues: "With this first step, [Pope Benedict means that] hopefully, [this grain of responsibility] matures and grows into the other direction--that of the humanization of sexuality." The last means that sexuality is regarded as a positive, wholesome, and procreative gift to be shared in marriage--and not a drug that you can get high with just because "you have the right."
To this, Archbishop-Emeritus Oscar Cruz (who was also speaking at the forum) adds: "Ang karapatan at obligasyon, magkasama yan. Kapag condom ang pinag-uusapan, palagi na lang 'karapatan, karapatan!' Kinalimutan ang obligasyon." ("Rights and obligation go together. When it comes to condoms, all they shout for is 'rights, rights!' They've forgotten the obligation.")
Besides, why work harder on the aspect of showering the whole country with condoms when it's so obvious that condom use does not eliminate AIDS? Because if it's really, truly, infallibly potent at getting rid of AIDS, why is it that condom promotion comes hand in hand with rising HIV/AIDS cases?