Oct 26, 2007

The Right to Use a Condom

So the Christians spoke loudly against homosexuality, and Parliament decided to retain section 377A of the Penal Code, a law that can put homosexuals in jail.

Religion is part of society, and it is inevitable that the very existence of different religions in Singapore - whether Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or whatever else - will influence the way Singapore is run. However, it is interesting to consider how each religious group may seek to influence society according to its own beliefs.

We know for instance that the Catholic Church is strongly against the use of contraceptives. But we also know that the Ministry of Health provides health advice like
this, on its official website:
Persons who engage in high-risk behaviour i.e. multiple sexual partners, casual sex or sex with prostitutes, are strongly advised to use condoms to reduce their risk of HIV infection. Condoms should be used consistently during every sexual encounter ..... Persons who have unprotected sex while engaging in high-risk behaviour have a higher risk of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI).
What if tomorrow you opened your newspaper, and found that the Catholics in Singapore are now loudly telling Parliament that the Ministry of Health should remove such advice from its website? That such health advice (to use condoms) offends their religion and is immoral like homosexuality? That Singapore is "not ready" for such health advice to be stated in a public manner?

Does this scenario sound absurd or unlikely to you? Perhaps it is. Yet the Ministry of Health's advice is against Catholic teachings - quite unmistakeably so. In Catholic thinking, the use of contraceptives is wrong, even if by a married couple. Contraceptives are regarded as part of the
Culture of Death - a term coined by Pope John Paul II. Wikipedia tells us that the term:
"...... is used in contemporary political discourse in many countries, including the United States and Poland, to describe supportive positions on certain subjects, such as abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, poverty and capital punishment which adherents of opposing positions deem to be inconsistent with their concept of a "culture of life". Some commentators would add to that list homosexuality, contraception and other phenomena perceived to attack marriage and the family."
See what many Americans are worried about in the US right now - "Bush Family Planning Appointee Called Contraceptives Part Of The ‘Culture Of Death’".

What are the possible implications of the Catholic Church being against the use of contraceptives? We don't have to use our imagination here, for real-life examples are readily available. See this article from the
Guardian, which provides a somewhat international perspective "across four continents":
Vatican: condoms don't stop Aids
Steve Bradshaw, The Guardian
Thursday October 9, 2003

The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.

The church is making the claims across four continents despite a widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to HIV.

A senior Vatican spokesman backs the claims about permeable condoms, despite assurances by the World Health Organisation that they are untrue.

.... The WHO has condemned the Vatican's views, saying: "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

The organisation says "consistent and correct" condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90%. There may be breakage or slippage of condoms - but not, the WHO says, holes through which the virus can pass .

Thank goodness the World Health Organisation is doing what it can to correct this misinformation. Still it is a tough battle. From the Guardian article, we get a sense of the actual, day-to-day difficulties of combating such misinformation.

For example, the article relates how the director of an Aids testing centre was prevented from distributing condoms, because of church opposition.

A video produced by the Catholic Church (presumably an "educational" video) shows a nun advising her choirmaster (who was already infected with HIV) not to use condoms with his own wife because "the virus can pass through".

According to the Guardian article, the Church has been reiterating these sorts of claims (that condoms don't help to prevent AIDS) .... across "four continents", and "as far as apart as Asia and Latin America".

I don't know if such claims are being made here in Singapore, and if they are, to what extent. But if they are being made in Singapore, then this, in my opinion, would constitute a public health hazard.

Of course, the problem is that if you spoke up publicly on this issue, some Catholics might well say that you're being religiously offensive. But think of it this way - if you spoke up publicly on this issue and raised awareness of the importance of using condoms, you would be saving lives.

As opposed to contributing to death. I mean that literally .... I'm not just referring to the "culture" of it.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

I noticed your blog has always been attacking Christians.

I think it is time to report to the proper authority to close your blog

Anonymous said...

The "condom is ineffective" message is being spread right now in Singapore by certain churches and church affliated organisations. This is well known among many interested parties on HIV/AIDS prevention and also amongst educators of sex education.

I also understand that Bush jr basically linked all aid to developing country (mainly aid for HIV/AIDS prevention) to condom use. Essentially, he is saying that no funding will be available for any country that advocates condom use. This is done to please the Christian right in the US, which is his solid support base.

As for how far church doctrine can go and the cost involved, you can look at the Philippines with the strong influence of the Catholic church.

In the Philippines, it is not possible to get a divorce. You can onlly get an annulment. Needless to say, it is very rare to get an annulment. Theologically sound laws that please the church but they carry many problems and human cost such as:

(1) people who do not love each other unable to divorce and find other more suitable partners.

(2) many people simply do not get divorce but choose to set up alternate families, since it is difficult to get an annulment. This has created many issues with child support, inheritence, rights of the spouse and children of the second family etc. The family structure actually becomes weaker, IMO, as a result of this.

(3) If a couple is separated and not divorced, issues such as protection for women and alimony are more difficult to define and enforce. This leads to more inequality for women since it is usually the women who has to suffer more financially than the men.

The laws may be changed in the Philippines by now (doubt it, with a pro-church president Arroyo).

isaiah said...

mr wang,

i'm a big fan of your writing but your opening paragraph here is sadly, sensationalist.

the christians spoke loudly against the casinos too and that did not have any effect.

irrespective of religious beliefs, there is a strong streak of conservatism in this country.

still, your post is a good reminder, and not just for religious groups, that when groups start promoting ideas, it is important to examine the agenda behind those ideas.

Onlooker said...

Mr Wang is not attacking Christians but pointing out the obvious that Christians have been doing a lot of things lately that are quite outdated in current times.Beside the fact that the majority in Singapore is Buddhist,The Christian have been pushing for a lot of silly rules across here and the world.It is not right for people to impose their views on others especially when there are valid views around.The best to note is the discrimination of Muslims and some of my best friends are Muslim, It's those who pester me to join a church that I'm quite certain did not contact me after they failed to convince me to join.And I'm very certain that the "Crusade" in Iraqi have "absolutely nothing to" do with oil(sarcasm). The death toll(of american soldiers) is more then 911 now you know(to first Anonymous pastor).

Jimmy Mun said...

As a Catholic,

I understand and support JP2's position against condoms, but the message is poorly sold. I know of plenty of Catholics who have pre-marital sex without condoms, resulting in either shotgun weddings or abortions. Somehow, the message against condoms is drilled harder into the brains of some easily confused Catholics than the message against fornication . Morality is a delicate issue but the agenda is often hijacked by simpleminded people with a "either you are for us or against us" "morality clarity" people.

I think it is lie to claim Singapore is conservative in anyway. Singapore has one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, and yet the "conservative" "moral" "majority" does not dare to whisper a word against the government policy. This whole 377A saga only goes to show that these "conservative singaporeans" are little more than cowardly wimps who sway with the wind and dare to talk "values" only when it costs them nothing.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a religious group that prophesy the end of the world as their final destination? Of course they want to speed things up a little. ;p

Anonymous said...

I am not a Catholic but a Christian so I dun think your post is representative of Christian views. ANyway, my take on this.

I am not against using of condoms and I dun think the church is also. The reason why we are against it is the reason why condoms are used and that is "safer sex". Let me explain,

If condoms are used as a form of birth control, not to have too many children, I dun think any Christian, or at least not me is. But the promotion of condom usage seems to be a message of sex without responsibility. Have sex but no consequences. That is why Christians and some churches speak up against advocating condom usage. It is not the usage of condoms per se but the message behind it.

There will always be those who are ill informed and so on. Black sheep seems a bit extreme here. By the way, condoms promise safer sex, not safe sex. They reduce the risk of STD and others stuff but reduction is not the same as elimination.

In short, my opinion is that advocating condom usage seems to be advocating free and irresponsible sex. Thus, some opposition.

Perhaps a better teaching is that if you have HIV, dun have sex. Not go ahead and have sex with a condom because there is always that risk. I think no condom manufacturer claimed 100% protection anyway.

Philip
p/s I wrote the other long post to you also on homosexuality. My last line was the one where I thanked you for bearing with such a long post. Cos I dun have a blogger acount and I dun wish to remain anonymous.

Gerry said...

A dogmatic approach to religion simply means that we leave our logic and progress in science at the door.. and undo generations of scientific progress..

For the religious lot.. maybe you should consider why religion is institutionalised.. I believe, that at the very begining of human social life, there was great disorder, and to exert some form of social control, rules were made and enforced. What this did was create a power structure. There are many power structures in use today, be it government or institutional religions. The individual cedes his individual rights to conform to the "rules" of the group. To belong.

All the "Great Religions" are Not infallible (because they are run by "Man" and we are all too human, also, remember that God did not write all those wonderful accounts in the Holy book.. it was "Man").. What we have today is the result of great tribulation across generations. All have done terrible things in the name of their faith and even till today, none has taken the blame for all the wrongs that have been done. A weak apology is NOT an apology.. (It is just like the Japanese saying that their actions during WWII is "regretable". and that the "rape of Nanking" didn't happen.) .. Whatsmore, they being the Moral compass for so many.

In the scientific arena, rigorous testing and quatifiable tests, held up to our(human) highest standards are set.. Upon passing these, the finding are accepted and then published. BUT this is not the end-all and be-all of it. It goes on trial and finally to the general public.. Even then should problems come up years later, and the Science proves to be incorrect, this will be made know to all. That the Science was wrong.. unequivocally, not sometihing mumbled under the breath.

If an individual wishes to do so, it is his choice.. BUT to try to influence the choices of others is infringing on their rights. To do so as a group because you are a majority is simply to bully the "weak", just because you are strong.. That is simply just not right. I believe that the bibilical "Adam" was given a choice, to choose God or the Devil. He did make a choice.. The important thing was that he had a CHOICE..

I think WE are in a fortunate time and environment. Where we can use our all our senses and intellect to make informed decisions. why should be abdicate this Right.??..

Anonymous said...

I guess that there are a lot of things to report to the police nowadays. But, please fill in the necessary forms first before the police can consider if the cases can be logged into their databases. You do not want to affect their KPIs unnecessarily.

No crime filed (even if it's right in front of you), no crime existed.

Everybody want to sell something to you. Salesmen should just walk away when someone said no.

Why can't everybody look at each other as human beings.

I guess that everybody have an agenda.

Blogter said...

This post is instrumental in showing how certain religious dogma can really have detrimental effects on society. Not all false dogmas are harmless.

Mr Wang Says So said...

This Wikipedia entry provides useful information about the Catholic Church's views on contraceptives.

The use of condoms is considered "seriously evil", even when the use is by husband and wife, to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

That makes Mr & Mrs Wang seriously evil then. And Durex must be one of the most evil companies on planet earth.

PZ said...

Jimmy Mun said...

As a Catholic, I understand and support JP2's position against condoms,...

In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.

"Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (Humanae Vitae 14). This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill, and all other such methods."

Can you square this circle for us non-Catholics why the use of contraceptives is *evil* but the ovulation method - to avoid pregnancy - is acceptable for your Church?

If the intent is the same - to avoid pregnancy - why is the OM not "evil."

PZ

yuq said...

i dun see this post as an attack on christians. this is probably an example of how conflicting (religious and social) values can emerge in a multi-racial country like singapore.

as educated and informed individuals, however, i still believe that there's a need for freedom of choice, to choose between the apparent benefits of safety of health and the not-so-apparent perception of contraceptives as a culture of death. there is scientific evidence to prove that use of condoms reduces the risk of contracting HIV, but we shouldnt deride the religious belief that use of contraception is a "culture of death", even as the vatican claims that "condoms don't stop Aids". they are two different issues altogether.

likewise, they are merely opinions of a writer, with no intention to incite religious hatred against one another (or at least i dont perceive it to be so), so there's no need to report to the authorities. chill everyone!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Mr Wang's blog is not about being offensive to any religion like Christianity, but more importantly, highlighting how many conflicts between different religious opinions in Singapore often take place in against a global background.

Mr Wang's point could also well apply to the Tudung issue a few years back, when there was a debate whether to let girls wear headscarfs in schools. IMO, I feel that instead of covering these sensitive issues up in the name of "religious sensitivity", a healthy debate should be fostered, like the recent debate on 377A.

Being overly cautious and timid in approaching sensitive issues only adds uncertainty, distrust and ambiguity which is a perfect ground for radical fundermentalists to exploit and push their extremist agendas.

With regards to the Vatican's opposition to contraception, I guess most of their calls went unheeded. From the very same Wikipedia article that Mr Wang used, it already shows that the majority of Catholics do not follow the Pope's calling. In fact, the Vatican's stubborn stance on abortion and contraception has already cost it alot of support.

Yuez

Alan Wong said...

Mr. Wang,

IMHO, your blog together with the posted comments has provided me with a highly educating, thought-provoking and sometimes humourous channel of well written articles dealing with everyday issues and often sensibly presented with facts.

I do not really understand how your blog can be misconstrued as attacking a particular religion when it is merely presenting the hard facts as opposed to the unethical and dishonest methods used by religious fundametalists in pursuing their own agenda by spreading lies, half-truths in directing public hatred against a particular minority.

If this particular blogger is brave enough to report to the authority to close your blog, why is he/she acting like a coward by not revealing his/her actual name. Obviously he/she must have something to hide in not wanting to reveal his/her true self.

Or rather, there is actually nothing improper to report in first place.

Anonymous said...

The issue isnt about what the Bible, Quran or any other scriptures say. For sure its very important to their belivers... but by god/allah/jesus/buddha... its of bloody no iterest to me and to many others. And the the religious lot have no right to use public laws to impose their dogmas onto me or anyone, even their own co-religionist too.
In fact.. when people talk of the "conservative majority" WRT 377.. lets face it.. its just a sneaky way of saying "Christians".
Its time the church in particular stop interferring in politics. They are nothing but a noisy minority.

Bart JP said...

Mr Wang,

I am a Catholic. The inconsistences you point out are not incorrect, but they are superficial.

The Catholic Church exists not as a public health regulator. Its sole reason of existence is to preach the Gospel, and to uphold Christian values and morality.

There is really no point in asking the Church to make moral compromises and diulte its message of abstinence. It would simply be ridiculous for the Church to say, hey this act is not so sinful since so many people are doing it.

The reality is of course different, and it is up to the public health authorities to decide whether the use of condom is effective in halting HIV or not, or what kind of strategies it should use.

If you are so keen to point out these superficial inconsistencies, why not talk about abortion. The Church is loudly against abortion but it is legal in so many countries, even nominally Catholic ones.

As a Catholic, I consider abortion to be a greater affront to human values. I want my Church to take a strong anti-abortion line. However, as a Catholic, I also do not want abortion to be made illegal because I recognise that it is on balance probably better to keep abortion legal within certain remit than to drive it underground. Similarly, I want to see Section 377A repealed even though I am a Catholic. I believe many Christians struggle with these issues.

Your article did not cause offence. I have too much respect for you to believe that you cannot to see these contradictions in a more philosphical way. So it leaves me to conclude that you are just being sensationalist to provoke a debate.

Anonymous said...

I am bewildered by the first anonymous reply that accuses Mr Wang of attacking Christians.

THINK first before being defensive. If the Pope has the power to force 'no condom' on every Catholic, the social and health cost will be enormous. Here we are talking about protection which has been scientifically tested. I can tell you the whole Catholic world will be wiped out very soon if the Pope leads the Catholic in such an irresponsible and naive manner.

Believer-in-the-truth said...

" Anonymous said...

I noticed your blog has always been attacking Christians.

I think it is time to report to the proper authority to close your blog"

I think it is about time for the real "majority" to see the harm of a blind-faith religion who zealously think it is doing non-believers good by using all sorts of underhanded means to "convert" them, such as taking advantage of the old and frail, the sick and frail, the poor and frail, by instilling fear in old illiterate parents, who slogged so hard to bring up their children who became educated, wealthy and recruited into this faith, that no one would arrange for their funeral as they were not allowed to hold joss sticks and they would not be united in afterlife as non believers would be in hell and believers in heaven.
I think it such coercion of frail people that constitutes "abuse" and should be the ones reported to the proper authority!

Anonymous said...

"The use of condoms is considered "seriously evil", even when the use is by husband and wife, to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

That makes Mr & Mrs Wang seriously evil then."

Yep.

In the later encyclical, Veritatis Splendour, Pope John Paul II strengthened this to "intrinsically evil". BTW, homosexuality is considered "intrinsically disordered" by JP II.

2 Thessalonians 7-9 -

[7]"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
[8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
[9]Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power"

It's not too late to repent and change the error of your ways for there is only one TRUE church.

Anonymous said...

Hi PZ,

i believe what you term "OM" refers to natural family planning (NFP). i'm going to make this a short reply, and if you are genuinely interested in finding out more, it's out there, you just need to look for it.

Contraception = having sex without worrying if a baby will come along.
NFP = you don't have sex whe your wife is ovulating.

What's the difference? It is in how you view sexual intercourse.

It is upheld as an act between husband and wife that is open to new life at the same time, i.e. pregnancy. So if a couple wants to have sex, then they must not have any artificial means of preventing pregnancy. If the wife thinks she may get pregnant, then the couple refrains from sex.

Contraception separates pleasure from pregnancy, and sex takes place without the possibility of pregnancy.

The Catholic Church teaches that it's all in a package that the completes the union of husand and wife.

In a nutshell, if you think you might get pregnant, don't have sex. If you want to have sex, you must be open to the possiblity of pregnancy.

I hope I have somewhat squared the circle (although by using this term you have already believed that it is not possible). In the end, one will understand if one can see how the Church views sex, otherwise one will think this is silly and ridiculous, because the pleasure part of sex is all one cares about.

I'm not going to touch on the spread of AIDS here since it'll take longer and all the arguments i've seen are "my data" vs "your data" and really, Mr Wang has just chosen to follow one side's data cos he agrees with it.

The Catholic Church teaches fundamental values about human life and is asking the world to value human life, beyond just the surface issues. And they are studying how to fit the use of condoms to prevent AIDS into all this, so it's not like they are just playing a broken radio without any progress.

A Catholic passing by

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

We may as well cut to the chase and discuss this schism in the context of another divisive issue, that of abortion.

The Christians, the Catholic Church included, view abortion as essentially willful murder of the unborn fetus, of whatever age.

Others may debate the rights of the mother vs the child in a difficult pregnancy, or wonder about the larger ethical questions of forcing a mother to bring an unwanted child to term, and raising it, perhaps without adequate support, and/or resources, and/or of actual desire.

This is such a divisive issue in the US that any major political contender cannot possibly ignore it. This is one litmus test position must be declared for the contender and the campaign to be considered seriously in the running.

As far as I am aware, this is a non-issue here in Singapore, politically speaking. The Churches maintain their position with their faithful in the religious realm, but do not seem to be agitating for a ban on abortion in the secular sphere.

Perhaps it is because the abortion issue has long been fait accompli. But it is also interesting that our Government has also pushed through other legislation, like the legal licensing of casinos, despite objections from religious movements.

This makes me wonder why both sides cannot come to terms on other issues, including (but not exclusively) those of equitable treatment under the eyes of the law of gays, and also of heterosexual males and females.

In my view of the ideal world, the secular government makes pragmatic policy that benefits the greater good for the majority of the population. The religious groups remain free to preach to their faithful their notions of ethics, e.g. to not indulge in gambling, pre- or extra-marital sex, and sexual relations with one of the same sex. Or, even, to abort an unwanted pregnancy.

I don't see why policy in this regard should be inconsistent. Either we take the pragmatic decisions, or bow to religious sensitives. Why hum and haw, and pick and choose the issues?

To get back to point on your issue of condoms, I should point out that I am, in fact, Catholic since birth, but I have only now heard the notion, for the very first time, from your post, that the Catholic Church preaches that condoms are ineffective against AIDS, and that their use should be discouraged for this reason.

The Church's philosophy is that sex should be a natural act between man and woman. However, as another poster has pointed out, I have never been completely comfortable with proscriptions against the use of barrier methods (which includes condoms and diaphragms) to prevent conception, while the Rhythm and other related methods remain acceptable.

To me, the main point of contention is that birth control methods such as The Pill are undesirable, in as such that it denies new life a chance for taking form; for it does not prevent contraception from taking place, but rather, prevents a newly created embryo, with its own unique DNA, from a chance to attach to the walls of the uterus (or womb), and will so never see the light of day as a new being.

But this line of thought brings us right smack up against the same arguments for and against abortion.

Where do we go from here?

PZ said...

To - "Catholic passing through"

Contraception separates pleasure from pregnancy, and sex takes place without the possibility of pregnancy.

While it is true that the faithful Catholic abstains from sex at certain periods but he also engages in sex during other periods with a specific intent to AVOID pregnancy. This method IS a form of contraception*.

This is a pirouette applying pretzel logic that the Vatican adopts to try to square circles.

PZ

*"Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible"

playtime said...

regardless of what the church teaches about sex and contraception... or anything else, the question remains... of what interest is it to non church goers??

when will they learn to keep their unwanted teachings to themselves and not try to impose it on nonbelivers by trying to influence public policy? That is the issue at hand today.

Anonymous said...

there was a survey done sometime back which revealed that for every two american males you meet, one of them is a natural fornicator.

truth of the matter is, we are living a in lusts induced society. the use of condom is a desperate measure to curb social diseases from free sex, social sex or simply friendship sex whatever etc.

and the hypocrites, including religious organizations, are leading us to embrace lusts for prosperity and you expect our young( and old) not to go on a testosterone overdrive?

oh, please.

the wider acceptance of the use of condom is a prelude to a wider acceptance that your children is going to fuck around before marriage and even after marriage.

that's the deal!

soulgroove said...

watch boston legal season 4 episode 2. alan shore - emmy award winning best actor james spader, gives the closing argument about a case on AIDS, HIV, religion, condoms and sex educaiton. fantastic speech. will convince all.http

DK said...

Well said.

I always believed that religion and law shouldn't be mixed. The religion's believes and rules should be preached and maintained by the religion leaders themselves.

soulgroove said...

sorry my bad. it should be episode 3 not episode 2.

Anonymous said...

I think it is not a fair comparison - one deals with the Penal code whereas the other is only with respect to notice on a website. I'd think its implication is qutie different.

KiWeTO said...

Yawning bread had an interesting perspective on MoH's approach towards the spreading of the use of condoms in inhibiting the transmission of AIDS.

gist was " we should not offend the conservatives".

http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2004/yax-387.htm


interesting how many of the respondents cannot separate personal belief from secular society benefits.

In Germany, where in the railway station's bookstore's shelves - one side of it was books and games devoted to children, and the other side, porn magazines devoted to various fetishtists!
(I should have taken a short video!)

I wonder, which idealized Christian world these frog-in-the-well-SG-fundies are drawing their inspirations for a theocracy from?

The bible belt of the American south? "Aw, shucks, mah! Bubba doesn't do that"?

In any debate, remember NOT to fight with belief, but with logic. else, you've already lost.

Believe whatever one wants. Imposing it on others without valid logic, is tyranny of a mind.

Thank you commentators for stepping on the first step on the long road towards fascism/Nazism.

oh, please leave us atheists/agnostics alone please, in a true secular/pluralistic society.


E.o.M.

Anonymous said...

PZ,

You choose to take 1 paragraph and not consider its context. Again the spirit of using NFP is this:

In a nutshell, if you think you might get pregnant, don't have sex. If you want to have sex, you must be open to the possiblity of pregnancy.

Your "faithful catholic" does not engages in sex during other periods with a specific intent to AVOID pregnancy.

As you may or may not know, a woman can get pregnant even when she is not in the fertile period, there is no 100% infertile period.

Your "faithful catholic" knows there is a chance, however small, of the wife getting pregnant whenever sex takes place.

BUT his mindset is that he is open to this possibility.

This is a mindset that people using contraception do not have. They are not open to new life at any time.

Let me simplify what you copied and pasted from Humanae Vitae, since you do not seem to have understood it: "Contraception is any action which attempts to make procreation impossible before, during or after sex." i.e. sex still takes place.

A Catholic passing by

Anonymous said...

Globalisation has broken down many walls including the walls that separate you from your next intimate encounter. Since people are better 'connected' now than ever, rubbers may be a safe bet for your long term investment then merely relying on your cpf for retirement.

With rubbers, you may not even need to retire.

Anonymous said...

"oh, please leave us atheists/agnostics alone please, in a true secular/pluralistic society."

you take yourself too seriously. nobody really gives a damn other than their jobs.

the greater their pay packet, the louder they become.

top pay means one voice louder than the rests.

so it is your funeral really.

you wanna go jump off 44 floors is up to you really.

you can't get freer than that..:)

Shane said...

Interesting where you quote your sources. Ask anyone in the UK and he'll know that the Guardian is not known for being particularly right-wing nor for being a fervent papal supporter. Comments, analysis, and editorials frequently bash the Pope and the Vatican so you'll excuse me if I take what they say with a pinch of salt.

Get your sources right before you bash only one side of the argument. Using biased reports that present only one side of the story should not be used as FACT. There is NO official Church position deeming 'condoms dont stop AIDS' despite what the Guardian claims, so stop touting that as true based on questionable news sources. Would appreciate if you could correct this...

You mention... 'Some commentators would add to that list homosexuality, contraception and other phenomena perceived to attack marriage and the family'. Just WHO are these commentators?? As far as I understand, The culture of death was coined by JP2 abhorring the frequent and indiscriminate use of abortion these days, and its primary motive was to celebrate life. What is so wrong with that??

Sadly, the Church is under attack from overzealous fundamentalists...

JB said...

Bart JP said.."Mr. Wang, I am a Catholic. The inconsistences you point out are not incorrect, but they are superficial."

Life and death matters are superficial?

The message the RC Church sends is that using condoms is worse than getting AIDs. People are contracting and dying of AIDs because of the religious zeal and stupidity of the message.

"There is really no point in asking the Church to make moral compromises and diulte its message of abstinence. It would simply be ridiculous for the Church to say, hey this act is not so sinful since so many people are doing it."

Moral compromise? The RC Church is hardly an organisation to preach morals. It not only abets but protects child molesters.

A secret document - Crimen Sollicitationis - which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the Pope.

Sex Crimes and the Vatican

"It instructs them how to deal with priests who solicit sex from the confessional. It also deals with "any obscene external act ... with youths of either sex."

It imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses.

Breaking that oath means excommunication from the Catholic Church."


First, the priest sexually abuses the child. Then the Vatican ex-communicates the victim should he reveal the crime. The Vatican punishes the victims twice. How about that for your Catholic morals?

Nowhere in that document is there anything about helping the child victims, only protecting the reputation of the Church.

"Reporting for Panorama, Colm O'Gorman finds seven priests with child abuse allegations made against them living in and around the Vatican City.

One of the priests, Father Joseph Henn, had been indicted on 13 molestation charges brought by a grand jury in the United States.

During filming for Sex Crimes and the Vatican, Colm finds Father Henn is fighting extradition orders from inside the headquarters of this religious order in the Vatican.

The Vatican has not compelled him to return to America to face the charges against him."


Where is the outrage by the RC Catholic laity to demand that these molesters AND their protectors in the Vatican be brought to justice?

Oh wait, their sensitivity and morals are more outraged by what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms than getting child molesters behind bars and demanding justice for abused children.

Those interested can read more about child molesting priests and their criminal bishops at The Rogue's Gallery

And you dare talk about morals?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, I am the one who wrote about your blog attacking Christians.

If you want to be neutral, then you must reflect the views of Buddist, Muslim, Taoist, and the use of Condom. Do not reflect only the views of Christians.

So goes your other postings.

JB said...

2 Thessalonians 7-9 -

[7]"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
[8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
[9]Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power"


By any standard of morals, only a wicked and evil tyrant would say or do such things.

That believers can call such a person a *loving god* attests to the intellectually and morally corrupting force of FAITH.

"Contraception = having sex without worrying if a baby will come along. NFP = you don't have sex whe your wife is ovulating"

hope I have somewhat squared the circle


You are oblivious to the PLANNING aspect of NFP. Calling it natural, or family is the only positive spin about this hypocritical codswallop.

You are oblivious to that part of the "planning" to have sex during infertile periods thereby not making babies.

That Catholics such as you cannot see through the ridiculousness of this *explanation* that their Church gives them but instead repeat the dogma by dancing the jig of self-deception, helps confirm the idiocy and intellectually corrupting force of FAITH.

For that, all non-faith people of REASON should thank you.

random said...

"If you want to be neutral, then you must reflect the views of Buddist, Muslim, Taoist, and the use of Condom. Do not reflect only the views of Christians.

So goes your other postings."

That's right. Don't call Hitler evil unless you also call Stalin, Pol Pot, and Idi Amin evil in the same post.

In fact, the next time you think about criticising something, better write a post to obtain approval from your readers beforehand.

In fact, to make things even easier, don't bother writing anything until I give you permission to.

Or, to be truly neutral, don't even blog at all!

Anonymous said...

Did JP2 say that all non-catholics must not use condoms?

Was he addressing his directions to non-christians?

I do not think so. He was adressing it to catholics. So for you non-christians, who do not understand the Bible. Please do not make your comments.

You can go ahead an do what ever you want to do, after all who is stopping you. Unless you are feeling guilty. And your know you are doing something that is wrong. Are you in need to seek forgiveness, bcos you think you life is worthless.

There is still hope. Seek and you will find.

PZ said...

To "Catholic passing by"

Your "faithful catholic" knows there is a chance, however small, of the wife getting pregnant whenever sex takes place.

BUT his mindset is that he is open to this possibility.


Planning to avoid pregnancy using condoms is sinful. Condom use is evil.

Planning to avoid pregnancy using the NFP ovulation method is not sinful. NFP is good.

Why?

Because - "Your "faithful catholic" knows there is a chance, however small, of the wife getting pregnant whenever sex takes place.

Presumably this mindset is life affirming? That you wish to avoid making babies when having sex is not the point? Your careful monitoring of the wife's fertile and infertile period, when to have sex and when to avoid sex is just for the heck of it.

Pregnancies can and do occur with condom use. It isn't 100 percent fail-safe. So condom use - by your logic - is equally life affirming since there is always a possibility of pregnancies occurring.

Answer: "This is a mindset that people using contraception do not have. They are not open to new life at any time."

Wow. How can anyone argue against such pronouncements and bizarre *logic* of the truly FAITHFUL.

PZ

Mr Wang Says So said...

Anon said: "If you want to be neutral, then you must reflect the views of Buddist, Muslim, Taoist, and the use of Condom. Do not reflect only the views of Christians."

Oh, okay.

1. Buddhism has no objections to the use of condoms.

2. Taoism hardly has any views on the topic at all.

3. Islam's position is more mixed but certainly there is no absolute prohibition. Coitus interruptus was practised in the time of the Prophet Mohamed and he did not object, but he did impose the condition that this should be a decision jointly made by husband and wife.

PZ said...

To Shane ...

Interesting where you quote your sources. Ask anyone in the UK and he'll know that the Guardian is not known for being particularly right-wing nor for being a fervent papal supporter .. so you'll excuse me if I take what they say with a pinch of salt.

There is NO official Church position deeming 'condoms dont stop AIDS' despite what the Guardian claims,Would appreciate if you could correct this...


Cardinal López Trujillo: "In the case of the AIDS virus, which is around 450 times smaller than the sperm cell, the condom's latex material obviously gives much less security. Some studies reveal permeability of condoms in 15% or even up to 20% of cases.

Thus, to talk of condom as "safe sex" is a form of Russian roulette! And this is even without considering other possible reasons for condom failure, such as degradation of latex due to exposure to sunlight and heat, rupture and breakdown".


You can read the full transcript of this interview below at -

Catholic Online.

Also, similar reports at BBC -

Vatican in HIV Condom Row.

The Vatican's condom challenge

Sex and the Holy City

I trust you will not also accuse the BBC of Vatican bashing or that your own Catholic Online folks are lying too. Or perhaps in your state of denial you may wish to claim that your Cardinal López Trujillo - the man at the centre of this controversy - was delusional at the time he said it.

But why let facts get in the way of the truth since you have obviously made up your mind like a good Catholic.

PZ

Jimmy Mun said...

PZ,

I spent a few days thinking about the answer, because it is interesting at a personal level.

I have no experience using a condom, but I may have to consider doing so soon, because I have filled my quota of two kids and my wife has no predictable menstrual cycle whatsoever.

We have plotted my wife's ovulation cycle before, not to avoid, but to enhance the chances of pregnancy. Once you understand how it works, it is remarkably accurate. For eg, I was pretty sure my wife was pregnant even without a pregnancy kit when her basal temperature stayed high for two weeks post-ovulation. But it is nevertheless a lagging indicator, not to mention ovulation can occur outside regular intervals even for women with stable menstrual periods.

As a pragmatic person, I am not going to toe the line and say OM is the solution to all family planning problems, and that OM is any less child-hating at a mental level than using a condom.

But is the condom really problem-free? Does putting on a rubber really offer no discernable difference in intimacy, not just on a physical level, but also at a mental level? This may sound disgusting, but the exchange of bodily fluids is the ultimate expression of trust, acceptance and commitment in a relationship.

OTOH, my wife's menstrual cycle was non-existent prior to us having sex, and the cycle gradually got started with time. Would that still have happened if I put on a condom all this time? I dont know.

I have also read that the woman's immune system will stop attacking a man's sperm with familiarity - and I know this in our quest for a child, not in some Church seminar defending the Church's position.

Would I have to wait longer for my first child if I was using a condom prior to our decision to have a baby? I dont know. All I know is that every time mankind think we have mastered nature, nature has a nasty habit of biting back, hard. Take, for example, the health problems created by the Pill.

Anyway, I personally dont think that it is especially evil for a married couple to use a condom, and the Catholic Church is merely slow in catching up with the 20th century (nvm 21st), and may try putting on the raincoat one of these days just to see for myself what it is like...so, tough luck, Jimmy Mun might join you atheists in hell.

Anonymous said...

If we leave everything to God, then why condom or NFP? For both, the main idea is NOT TO HAVE BABY. (honestly, for those using NFP, ask yourself, do you want a baby?)
One who argues that "using NFP, there is still a possibility" is bullshitting as it just means the method is not as effective.

If we want to take "a little" control of our own life, e.g., to choose how many children we want, then why NFP and not condom? Both involves planning of a family.

You mean if God wants you to have another baby, a condom can stop HIM?

Alan Wong said...

What do you make of a particular religion that uses the following methods to spread its teachings :-

1) Trying to convert those who are still young or even those who are terminally ill by promising them Heaven.

2) Condemning other religions as mere idol worshippers when they themselves refers to a stone statue as God.

3) Likening others as stupid and naive for those who chose to pray to timber altars, ancestor worship, god statues, animal gods, etc.

4) Creating world disorders when they should know better than trying to convert non-believers like those in Afganistan.

5) Spread the teachings of the Ancient Book of Sins as the only truth and nothing but the truth.

If only they realise the FACT that their own beliefs are mere myths arising out of their own religious doctrines not unsimilar like any other religion, then please stop imposing your 'HOLIER THAN THOU' moralistic views on other non-believers.

freedomfromreligion said...

"Did JP2 say that all non-catholics must not use condoms?

Was he addressing his directions to non-christians?

I do not think so. He was adressing it to catholics. So for you non-christians, who do not understand the Bible. Please do not make your comments. "

Its not really about JP2 is it?
The churches have been actively trying to influence public policy to cater to their relgious doctine. One must be blind and deaf not to know.
If the churches kept their noses out of public politics/policy, dont try to impose their "teachings" on non-belivers, non-belivers will not bother with what they want to say.

What on earth am I here for? said...

For he chose us in him before creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sos through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Eph 1:4-5

The chosen ones have been predestined to enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, no matter what a Christian could try to convert others, a Christian must know that they will be many that are not chosen and that there is no point trying to impose your views on the others. All Chritian teaching and the words of the Bible are for the Christians and therefore you must never impose your believe on non-Christians. As conversion must only be done by a person's free will, it can be force.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, maybe you should be clearer. It's painfully obvious that you are NOT pointing to the doctrine of Christianity, the bible or whatever religious thingy, but the bigots and idiots who currently populate these religions thinking they are true and pious by selectively quoting things out of context.

It's sad, that civilisation, has become a competitive quoting exercise. Minus the understanding.

Anonymous said...

An interesting read on homophobia..

http://www.trueu.org/Academics/ProfsOffice/OfficeHours/A000000311.cfm

Robert L said...

Dear Mr Wang

I support your article. Sadly, many readers have failed to read your article properly, and made false accusations that your article is "attacking Christians" or attacking Christianity. I will now help those misguided readers to see their mistakes.

Your article is attacking the specific group of Christians who want to impose their Christian beliefs on the rest of us non-Christians. That, dear readers, is a vast distance from attacking Christians! For the great majority of Christians who are willing to leave us non-Christians alone, there is nothing in your article attacking them.

Don't believe me? Here are sprinklings of proof.

Mr Wang said, "So the Christians spoke loudly against homosexuality, and Parliament decided to retain section 377A of the Penal Code, a law that can put homosexuals in jail."
Dear readers, right from the start, Mr Wang was speaking about a group of vocal Christians who succeeded in imposing their Christian morals on the whole of Singapore population. Q.E.D.

Mr Wang said, "What if tomorrow you opened your newspaper, and found that the Catholics in Singapore are now loudly telling Parliament that the Ministry of Health should remove such advice from its website?"
Dear readers, this is clearly an illustration of a scenario where the Christians may once again try to impose their Christian laws on the rest of the Singapore population. Q.E.D.

Mr Wang quoted a news article, "The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk."
Dear readers, this is a real-live occasion where the Catholic Church tried to impose Christian laws on non-Christian countries. I do not see any attack on Christianity, instead I see an attack on a group of Christians who wanted to force non-Christian countries to obey their Christian laws. The majority of moderate Christians do not have any reason to feel under attack. Q.E.D.

I have extracted snippets from the leads of various parts of Mr Wang's article. All the rest of his article should come under the contexts of these leads.

This proves that Mr Wang's article is not an attack against Christianity. It's an attack on an insidious group of Christians who continuously impose their Christian laws on the rest of us non-Christians. Q.E.D.

All we ask is that these extremists leave us non-Christians alone and not force us to live under their laws. Ordinary Christians who are not imposing their Christian laws on us should have no valid reason to feel that this article is against them.