Nov 222010

by Anura Guruge

Nov. 21, post on the pope’s related comment about his inability to continue making infallible statements.

The media frenzy on the pope’s comments about condom usage possibly being permissible in certain instances, as in the case of use by a  ‘male prostitute,’ continues, with ALL of the attention being focused, lasciviously,  ‘condoms.’

But, ALAS, this ignores 3 other very significant issues also embroiled within that one statement by the pope, viz. gigolos, prostitution in general and homosexuality.

Yes, there is already debate whether the pope, speaking in his native German, specifically referred to MALE PROSTITUTES, or whether he was using the ‘masculine’ sense to apply to all prostitutes.

Yes, there are those that say that the pope’s exception to the use of condoms, in this case, has to do with it not interfering with the creation of life, i.e., sex between two males cannot result in a birth, and as such wearing a condom does not violate the Church’s fundamental precept against interfering with the possible creation of life.

We have a problem. Despite the demeanor he projects, this European pope, who spent a lot of time in academia, is more worldly than he would like us believe. He has to know that the clients of male prostitutes does not necessarily always have to be other men! From what I can see, following a quick Google, there is no shortage of gigolos in Rome.

So, assuming, the pope really did mean just male prostitutes, was he also saying that condom usage is only permissible if their clients are other males? So, is the pope giving an ‘OK’ to homosexual sex? This seems very incongruous given the continuing clergy sex abuse scandal — with much of the abuse, coincidentally or otherwise, being of against boys. What gives here?

Irrespective of the translation, isn’t the pope’s statement also an acknowledgment, some cynics could even say endorsement, of prostitution?

Sixtus IV taxed Roman brothels and clerics with mistresses to pay for the Sistine etc.

Sixtus IV taxed Roman brothels and clerics with mistresses to pay for the Sistine etc.

This pope, by no means, is the only pope to have ‘acknowledged’ prostitution.
Sixtus IV (#213), who had the eponymous Sistine built, is famous for imposing a tax on Roman brothels to pay for his ambitious building projects. He also, inspired, taxed clergy that kept mistresses (the ultimate in a sin tax)! Maybe, the Vatican should reinstitute this tax to help pay for a good PR firm to handle Vatican spin. John (‘Octavian’) ‘boy pope’ XII (#131), who is said to have become pope when he was around 18, was repeatedly excused of running a brothel in the Apostolic Palace — catering for both genders.

So, lets not lose sight of the other issues raised by the pope’s condom statement. Is the pope, indirectly, also commenting on prostitution and homosexuality? I do not know. But, I wonder. What was the pope thinking?


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