Catholics handing out condoms

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Catholic Conservatives are huffing and puffing because a Catholic health agency is distributing condoms to prisoners because no one else will.

I’m no Biblical scholar, but one of Jesus’  fundamental teachings was to love thy neighbour. And to illustrate this he told the story of the good Samaritan, who at his own expense and safety, helped a complete stranger.


I love the this comment in response to outrage left on the website linked above:


The Pope issued a decree last year and approved the use of condoms as a far lesser evil than the spread of STDs. Read your recent history. Get yourselves up to date with the latest decrees on this issue.



I really don’t think anyone will be excommunicated because they acted to prevent people dying unnecessarily.

Personally, I suspect Pope Benedict is not as conservative as Conservatives say, Instead he’s just really, really smart, and knows the world is not perfect.



Coincidences are such strange things

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

just saw this on the Sacred Space website:


Thankfulness is a wonderful gift. It arises in people’s hearts when they can look back and see how their lives have been enriched, by parents, or children, a spouse or faithful friend, or other good people. Thankfulness may be delayed, indeed, and can only come after much darkness and struggle, when sunbeams and rays of light have shone through – when, despite what has been painful and difficult, I can now see those sunbeams,


It reminded me of my recent post reflections. Coincidences are such strange things.

What did Jesus actually say about gay people?

Sunday, July 17th, 2011


Hypocrisy was an issue that came up time and again during Jesus’ teaching.He really didn’t like it. Here’s a nice protestant overview of hypocrisy and what Jesus thought of it.

The only direct reference that Jesus made to homosexuality was in Matthew 19, where the disciples were wondering whether it would be better not to marry if you couldn’t divorce your wife. He explained reasonably and quite scientifically that  some men cannot marry a woman because they were born that way,others because men made them that way, and others do not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven (for example Catholic priests).

In some versions of the bible, the term eunuch is used, which is weird, because by definition,an eunuch is not born that way.(wakey wakey translators)

I’m no bible scholar or theologian, but it does appear that Jesus is saying if you’re a gay man, you’re not obliged to marry a woman, and therefore keep his teaching on divorce, which is very reasonable. Please note he didn’t take this opportunity to take a swipe at gay people.

When Jesus taught about loving your enemy he said If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? It would appear that Jesus viewed people who work for the tax office as far worse examples of poor  lifestyle  than gay people (little joke there, but my point is serious.) Also, I don’t recall any people being cured  for homosexuality, and let’s face since Jesus raised the dead, if homosexuality was something that needed to be cured, he do that at a glance, looking in the wrong direction.Since God gave us logic, it’s fair now to use some cold hard logic to look at Christians who persecute gay people.

As a hetero sexual I’ve never had to make a choice about being a heterosexual. No choice needed, that’s just how I am. I like it, I love my wife daughters, all good) I assume other heterosexuals have never needed to make that choice( it was never something that came up in personal development at high school– oooh – now is the time to make the choice between being straight or gay). The only scenario I can envisage  where one might have to make a choice about sexual orientation would be if one was  bisexual.Since many Christian bigots argue that gay people have made a choice to be gay, that can only mean that they themselves are bisexual and made the choice to be straight. However it also means if they’re heterosexual , and didn’t have to make a choice to be straight, and they then persecute gay people on the basis that those gay people made a choice, it makes those hetero sexual Christians, hypocrites. Now what would Jesus think about that?

Did Pope Pius XII do enough to help Jewish people during the Holocaust?

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Pope Pius XII

I started school in 1977, but the horror of the Holocaust 30 years earlier was still very much in the public consciousness. I remember as a child watching movies and documentaries, shocked and traumatised that the Nazis could unleash such terror and cruelty across Europe. The images of concentration camps,and  mass murder were deeply etched into my mind, and remain there to this day, As a secular Catholic I had this vague notion that The Church didn’t do its bit, and left it that, but when  I was called back into faith, the notion of The Church not being guided by one of its founding principles of loving thy neighbour, so beautifully explained in the parable of the Good Samaritan, made me feel very uncomfortable. I’m no historian, and this post is purely for myself, I pose the question to myself is it likely that Pope Pius XII did everything a reasonable pope could do to save lives during the Holocaust.  If you search the  web, you’ll find some who claim he saved up to 800,000 Jewish lives, and my aim isn’t to join the argument, but by using Jewish sources and cold hard logic, make call.

First, what was the Church’s position on the persecution of the Jewish People by the Nazis? For this I’m guided by this article (quoted below) from Time Magazine of December 1940:

More than 80% of the prisoners in the concentration camps are not Jews but Christians, and the best tribute to the spirit of Germany’s Christians comes from a Jew and agnostic (TIME, Sept. 23) — the world’s most famous scientist, Albert Einstein. Says he:

"Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . .

"Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly."

Based on the quote from Albert Einstein, it’s quite clear The Church was no friend of the Nazis

After attacking Pope Pius XII  Schoenberg, concedes

Privately, Pius did instruct Catholic institutions to take in Jews. The Vatican itself hid 477 Jews and another 4,238 Jews were protected in Roman monasteries and convents

For myself I’ve established that The Church was fiercely against the persecution of the Jewish people, according to Albert Einstein.

I’ve also established that Pope Pius did take action, and given that there were 477 Jewish people living at the Vatican, he would have been reminded daily of what was going across Europe.

Third, I’ll use logic to answer the third question – did he do enough?

Given that he did take some action, and assuming that he was sound of mind, you can justifiably extrapolate, that he would have taken every reasonable action to save Jewish lives. by reasonable I mean that, the action would likely lead to benefit rather than harm. An unreasonable action, for example, would be one that would likely provoke Nazis into retribution. An entire Czech village Llidice unfortunately found that out the hard way, through no fault of their own. Another way of asking the same question,is if Pope Pius XII was saving Jewish lives,why wouldn’t he save more if more benefit than harm would arise from his action?

Pope Pius XII was a man in a very difficult position, There was uncertainty with every move, and people’s lives were at stake. Personally I’m satisfied that he did take every action he believed reasonable to save Jewish lives.


I just did a Google New search on Pope Pius XII – it was interesting what it turned up:–case-for-second-world-war-era-pope-s-sainthood-bolstered-with-woman-s-claim-of-miracle-cure