Pope Benedict XVI has changed the tone of the Papacy and condom discussions.

Congratulations Catholics, you can now use condoms.
Well, only if you are a male prostitute. Or ish.
Last week Pope Benedict XVI released his new book and interview,in it making the most revolutionary change in a Pope’s viewing of sexual condom policy ever.And at least the good news is that the Pope has decided that condoms can actually prevent HIV .The bad news is that it took the Papacy this long to actually acknowledge that.
My main problem, however, and at the expense of forever alienating myself from the Catholic right, is a fear of just how many people were actually waiting for this and not using condoms to protect themselves and their partners. I’m not even going to tackle using condoms as a means of birth control here, I’m going to stick strictly to the transmission of disease. And frankly, regardless of who is telling me what, if I have anything that is potentially deadly, I do not want to pass it on to somebody whom I love.
So, I’m proposing no to blind faith. Especially in people. Blind faith in God is something that people have to reach on a personal level, but blind faith in an institution and in mankind can often lead to bad things (such as, you know, passing on HIV). Of course, if you were putting blind faith in the Church to begin with, you probably wouldn’t be having sex in the first place. But if you are going to break from the Church, you might as well be smart about it.
And while I as a Catholic, do have full respect for Papal authority, the Pope is still human and can make mistakes like the rest of us — and it isn’t like the Papacy has been free of mistakes throughout the Church’s history.
On the other side, conservatives might find that they have to disagree with the Pope on his current stance, putting an interesting conflict of religion and morals into play. That doesn’t change some things, however, and of course I am going to look to the Church and its teachings for guidance. But a lot of the times, especially in the world we live in today, I have to make these moral calls myself. And that builds moral character, and also allows me to at least somewhat think for myself. I have to decide if the video games I play are evil. I have to decide if I am going to attend church or not. I have to decide if I want to actually kill that annoying person who takes up the middle of the hallway and walks really, really slowly
And for the most part, I think I’ve made the decisions that were right for me at the time. They aren’t right for everybody, and I know that plenty of decisions my peers make aren’t yet right for me. But discovering yourself is part of life rather than being told who you are.
But if I did have HIV, the Pope telling me I could or couldn’t use condoms wasn’t going to change anything: I would have been able to figure out for myself that passing on a deadly disease was not the morally correct thing to do.
And if you were irresponsible enough to not use condoms and instead passed on HIV to your partner, then perhaps there is something to survival of the fittest: you’re practically committing murder. It’s not a matter of questioning your faith in God or religion, but your faith in yourself to make smart decisions in a time period where organized religion has been unable to keep up with the demands and needs of modern society.
And that’s what is important about the individuality of spirituality and morality. It allows me to dwell and reach my own conclusions, while keeping my Catholic upbringing as a guide to help me make those decisions. For example, even if the Church were to, for some reason, decide that killing people was OK, I’m going to bet that I’m still not going to go out and make Charles Manson proud.
So no, I don’t expect myself to support every decision the Vatican makes (as many conservative Catholics are now disagreeing with the new stance), but I can look at it as a moral authority.
But at the end of the day I have to think for myself and take responsibility for my own actions. So, try to think for yourself. Develop your own since of morality and spirituality in a way that works for you. Pray to God, Allah, Buddah or don’t pray at all. Religion can’t account for everybody’s needs on a personal level, and the most important thing is that you find a way to deal with life that works for you.
And not just because somebody tells you what you have to believe or how you have to act, but because that’s what you decide brings you closer to being a better person and whatever you believe in. And if the whole sex thing has you stuck, I can always recommend celibacy. And sure, some of you may gawk at the idea, but at least I don’t have AIDS. Amen.



A lively, local-run night at Montage Music Hall

 The performances at Montage made for a very memorable Saturday night, with Hamwey’s long saxophone solos the true highlight of the evening.

During midterm season, prioritize UR health in advance

It’s been three weeks since classes started, and if you’re like us here at the Campus Times, you’re sick and tired.

K-pop, anime, and ignorance

It’s sad that things that are so normalized in other countries are considered weird in America – a country full of so many diverse cultures and ethnicities.