Impeach the Pope

By Robert S. McElvaineProfessor of Arts & Letters, Millsaps College Enough! No–Too much! Amid all the justified outrage we all … Continued

By Robert S. McElvaine
Professor of Arts & Letters, Millsaps College

Enough! No–Too much!

Amid all the justified outrage we all feel at Bernie Madoff and the AIG bandits, let us save some intense outrage for Pope Benedict XVI.

After insulting Muslims by declaring in 2006 that Muhammad had brought “things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,” after reiterating (through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) in 2008 that the subject of the ordination of women is not even open for discussion and declaring that anyone involved with the ordination of women will be automatically excommunicated, after lifting in January of this year the excommunication of Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson, now Benedict XVI opens a visit to Africa by telling the people of a continent decimated by AIDS that the distribution of condoms “increases the problem” of the spread of AIDS.

I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.

There are, of course, no provisions in the hierarchical institution set up, not by Jesus but by men who hijacked his name and in many cases perverted his teachings, for impeaching a pope and removing him from office. But there ought to be.

As I detail in my latest book, “Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America” (Crown), the cardinal sin of the Catholic Church — a literally deadly sin, if ever there was one — is its opposition to birth control. Far from being, as the Church contends, part of its moral doctrine, this policy is, plainly, the immoral doctrine of the Church. The use of condoms is a pro-life position.

Why does the Church persist in such a manifestly immoral doctrine? One suspects that it must be the usual twisted thinking about sex and women. The Church’s opposition to birth control is largely an outgrowth of its all-male composition and those males’ attempts to degrade women’s physical powers by asserting that women and the intercourse into which they supposedly tempt men are necessary evils (“It is well for a man not to touch a woman,” Paul instructed the Christians of Corinth), the only purpose of which is procreation.

Misogyny may not be “the Church’s one foundation,” but it is a major part of the base on which it was constructed.

It should be obvious that the sin in an over-populated world is not attempting to control birth, but attempting to control birth control.

And now for the pope to go so far as to indicate that condom use worsens the spread of AIDS — there’s an outrage that tops Madoff and AIG!

Let’s start a movement within the Catholic Church to impeach Pope Benedict XVI and remove him from office. While we’re at it, let’s replace him with a woman.

He reversed the excommunication of a Holocaust denier. Will he excommunicate me for pointing out that he is a misogyny denier?

If this be heresy, make the most of it.

Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College. His latest book is Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America (Crown).

  • diggyzazz

    “I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.”Hmmm… and this doesn’t suggest anything to you?

  • jortega

    Too bad we can’t impeach you from Catholic Church … nevermind… you are already doing a great job. You may call yourself “catholic”, but the truth is that you don’t agree with the Church’s teachings.

  • preterist

    What a stupid editorial. Totally lacking in content. Condemns will not stop AIDs in Africa, abstinence and Christian morality will. I am not Catholic, but approve the Pope’s comments.

  • bruno8852

    No matter what he claims, he is NOT a Catholic.

  • fishcrow

    Yeah – Jortega has a point. It’s clear McElvaine has not read any of the Church writings. Or if he has, he is choosing to ignore them. Ranting like this makes one wonder if the ranter is truly trying to regain the faith, or just someone who likes to complain. No one cares if you don’t agree, but pretending to remain Catholic is just silly. Such a waste of energy. My, you must be wound up!

  • walman

    The Pope is totally correct! A comdom is poor protection against desease and people know this. Would you have relations with an infected person? Why not? Here’s a condom, you’ll be fine! Go ahead! What’s the matter? Hmmm, You’d rather ABSTAIN? There’s your answer. Nobody really has any confinence in a condom when it comes to their life. It is but a thin piece of latex and can leak and break. Better than nothing? No, since telling the uneducated it will keep them safe is a falsehood they’ll beleive and never change their behavior. Keeping it zipped and knowing your partner are the best protections. Why is the worlds LEFT giving the people of Africa false hope? A comdom here, a mosquito net there. No help really but we all feel better. Anyone for Chablis?

  • Lynn18

    The Pope indicated he want to protect the traditional values of the African. If there are no Africans left since they are dropping like flies what will be there be to protect? Are people of color even represented at the Vatican? The Pope and the Vatican appear to do more harm than good. They want to promote the aids epidemic and they also feel that it is okay for priest to be child molesters, since their way of dealing with the problem was to relocate them to molest a new group of children. Since they cannot have families do they really care about what is happening to the families in Africa?

  • Orestes1

    You are not much of a Catholic at all and not much of a journalist either. You quote things out of context. You omit important points. You distort the teachings of the Church and the Pope.

  • logcabin1836

    Unfortunately it seems the Catholic Church has not guite recovered from the Black Plague of the 13th century when half of Europes population was killed off. The greatest threat to the 21st century is overpopulation, depletion of our natural resources, and pandemic diseases such as AIDS. Its too bad the Church is still in the 13th century. George Bush spent $1 Billion dollars on abstinence programs which were an absolute failure. Just ask Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol how that program is working. If the Catholic Church believes abstinence programs in Africa will save millions from HIV they are not in the 21st or even the 13th century, they’re living in fantasyland.

  • maryamt1

    Benedict should go live in Africa (Preferrably Rawanda, Nigeria, Liberia or Somalia). He should not were a condom and should try hard at abstinence. After he returns to his comfy Vatican then he can preach! Until then he should zip it.

  • accountableaaron

    Walman wrote, “Would you have relations with an infected person? Why not?”I wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of your rant, but unprotected sex with infected people happens frequently in Africa.”A comdom here, a mosquito net there.”A life saved here, a life saved there. Funny how the simple solutions are often the best.

  • everyone

    Um, you probably shouldn’t call yourself Catholic if you are in disagreement with the Church’s long held teaching that the purpose of sex is procreation, not pleasure. If you also might recall, the overwhelming majority of AIDS cases come from sex outside of marriage, something else that the Church has always opposed. If you don’t agree with this, then please cease calling yourself a Catholic, because you wouldn’t be. There are plenty of religions out there that share your beliefs, and you are free to join them, but the Catholic church has never, does not, and will not agree with your stance

  • capaneus1

    What do you expect from a medieval institution like the Church? Medieval thinking. The papacy is a relic from a time when it was believed the sun revolved around the earth. It perpetuates itself by denying its adherents the ability to stop multiplying themselves into poverty. Good luck selling your claptrap in the next millennium.

  • poster28870

    First off, I appreciate a Catholic’s stance against what he believes is a false teaching of his church. That said, I’d like to make a few comments.To start, let’s clarify that “the Church” as you use the phrase refers ONLY to the Roman Catholic church. Other orthodox Christian churches (i.e. protestant) use and support the use of contraceptives as there are no direct or indirect teachings against the use of any form of contraception found in the Bible. Also, I’d like to point out that Christianity is not anti-women. In fact, it went against the teaching of its time in being pro-women. The teachers of the Bible who lived in a male dominant society may have interpreted the Bible according to their convenience, but Bible is in fact pro-women. For example, the Ten Commandments say, “Honor your father and mother (or parents).” It doesn’t exclude the significance of the mother. Moreover, women were among the first to discover Jesus’ empty tomb. Back in those days, women’s testimony was invalid in a court of law. The fact that the New Testament writers included the women’s sighting of the empty to shows 1)It was in fact true (if they wanted to make up a valid story, they would have used men) and 2) They respected women enough to include them in the story. There are numerous examples, such as Jesus talking to the women at the well. Again, Jews didn’t associate with Samarians back then and a Rabbi certainly wouldn’t be talking to a women, especially alone. Sorry to go off topic, but I thought I’d clarify those points. Thanks for the article!

  • BrianK299

    Maybe it is time that the Pope and all Catholics re-read the New Testament. Oh, all of you have “the law” of the old testament down… But you have all missed the most important message in the Bible. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

  • majalee13

    As the moral state of the world continues to decline, the Roman Catholic church as represented by the Pope, continues to uphold morality and maintain a steadfast approach to the teachings. Just because the world changes, doesn’t mean the doctrines of the Church change. Sex is supposed to be for procreation and sex before marriage is/and always has been immoral, according to the church. No need for condoms…

  • provonelsens

    I’m not Catholic, but am religious and applaud the Pope for standing up for what is right!

  • mstarr404

    What a great editorial. I am Catholic and I approve this message. The thing that most of you are ignoring is that in Africa, the people there aren’t as sophisticated as we are. They will continue to spread AIDS despite abstinence only programs. Condoms are not absolute, but they will protect women and their unborn children.

  • edwardvirtually

    preterist: there is nothing stupid about the editorial, which is more than i can say about those who claim that it is.

  • mario56

    Prof. McElwaine – What a breath of fresh air!

  • poster28870

    One more thing. The Bible never says that sex is only for procreation. Have you read the Song of Songs(one of the books of the Bible)? It’s filled with sexual languages (clean and between a husband and wife). God created sex. Therefore it’s good in the right context. The thought that sex is only for procreation is probably owed to St. Augustin. He did a lot of good thigns for the church, but he was definitely not perfect. His past sexual sins probably drove him to take the stance that sex is only for making babies. :)

  • Anthanasius

    The Catholic church have had a history of ignoring scientific facts in order to maintain their own ideology. I guess the church just hasn’t learned that much from its past mistakes.

  • trishsanford

    It is fine to be Christian and pro-birth control (as long as they are not abortificiants, which many are). It is called being Protestant. If this writer has so many issues with long standing beliefs in the Catholic Church – he should change religions! I am sick of the suggestion that individual opinions should control God’s Church. Pope Benedict has made mistakes and has had large shoes to fill, but he is the Pope and I believe is doing his best. No Pope has ever been able to corrupt the dogmas of the Catholic Church, even the most corrupted Popes in the Middle Ages. Self centered, liberal Americans who don’t truly want to follow the faith they profess are not going to be able to do it either.

  • smuttynose

    Papal comments like today’s are not only embarrassing to sensible Catholics, they are harmful to at-risk populations. Can’t you just see some husband using the Pope’s words against a wife who wants him to use a condom? The idea that condoms increase promiscuity is outdated and harmful. Telling people not to use condoms because they aren’t 100% foolproof is like telling people not to use umbrellas because they might leak or get turned inside out. Total nonsense. As for the author of this piece not being “Catholic enough,” I’d like to remind readers that Jesus never advocated for a papal hierarchy like the kind we have today. The Catholic faith is about the people who practice it – NOT just the religious bureaucrats in Vatican City.Thanks for this piece! It exactly reflects my thoughts and feelings on the matter.

  • logcabin1836

    In light of the 10,000 kids in the US who were sexually abused by their priests. I would suggest the Church first focus their abstinence programs on their own priests, before preaching to those poor suffering souls in Africa.

  • toolwizard

    Catholic? Pretty much sounds like your human evaluation of the spiritual has divine wisdom. Where did you study theology? You may want to review in His words, Matthew 16:19: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven.” This is core to the Catholic belief in the Pope’s infallibility in matters concerning the Church.

  • mybagwell

    I am not a Catholic and this article and some of these comments tell me why I never could and never would be a member of this church.

  • Laurita77

    I, personally, LOVE this editorial!I comend the author for being a Catholic who thinks logically. The Catholic church needs to wake up to the realities of the 21st century instead of still trying to live in past centuries. The world is a changing place and Catholicism, along with every religion, should be adapting to those changes.I am not Catholic, I am agnostic but I love to study religion. Catholicism and all of Christendom do great things and help a lot of people, but you can’t live in the past forever. No one can. I want to see your religions thrive and push forward…but the past is not the way to try to move. I truly can not believe that the Pope said that to the continent of Africa. Absolutely astonishing, but not at all surprising for someone who does not believe that the word of the Pope is infallible (another logical thought that all Catholics should think long and hard about).Anyway, great editorial! I look forward to checking out your book.

  • AnonyMs

    God Bless You Robert McElvaine! The church knows that their US congregations do not follow the birth control teachings.In fact, they guess close to 80-90 percent of their followers do not by simple reasoning and acknowledging Guttmacher statistics. Call up the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and ask. I did, and that’s the response I got. The chasm between clergy and their flock has deepened to a dangerous point in the church. Look at what’s going on in Boston!! People occupying a church so it’s not closed down. The Bishop halts Catholic-backed adoption services because he doesn’t like following a state law about gay couples’ rights — a moot point anyway since they make up a minuscule amount of couples seeking children. How can you lead when you’ve put such blinders on to people’s LIVES — personal lives with birth control and physical ones for AIDS orphans in Africa! Amen brother.

  • SMB-IL

    I’m always amused when I see that the people commenting with the most backward, medieval views are always the ones who can’t spell, can’t write and should probably never leave the trailer park. ON topic: this pope is a despot and should be not only impeached, but excommunicated for all of his lies and hypocrisies. Unfortunately, popes declared themselves infallible a long time ago, so they can’t be wrong. I am no longer a catholic, Roman or otherwise, for these kinds of reasons. Great editorial!

  • everyone

    While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the author saying what he is, there is something wrong with him saying that he is a Catholic, as his beliefs are contrary to millenia-old Catholic teaching.

  • icewater1

    Any man that sets thier self up as God or say that they are a spokeman for God has a mental problem. God does not need anybody, and the catholic church has used the name of God as an excuse to do what they want, and the sad part is “stupid” people will follow anything. if they want to help people than give all their millon’s of dollars to the ones who need it. the pope is just another well planned scam.

  • nana4

    I know what the Catholic Church teaches: against pre marital sex, against birth control other than abstinence, against divorce, against abortion. What they teach is widely preached. I also know that they do nothing else but preach about what is not allowed. If Catholic teen aged girls and boys are having sex and children in America, and the Church is silent about that and, in effect, enables it with nods of approval because the pregnancy was brought to term, how can they expect the population of Africa to adhere to abstinence? The Catholic Church should have massive social programs of education, instruction, moral and physical support of human beings as well as the preaching of their laws to put some substance and reality to what they preach. The infants and children of these teen pregnancies belong, then, to unmarried child mothers, and the infant mortality rate from physical abuse and neglect indicates that, once born into the world, they are pretty much “on their own”. The teachings on morality are noble. The resources to back it up are non existent.

  • catholicranger

    “If this be heresy, make the most of it.”You are not a Catholic but a heretic!It is not heresy to disagree with the Pope when he is not teaching from the seat of Peter, but it is heresy to reject the authority of the office of the Vicar of Christ. It is also heresy to publically reject and preach against the infallable teaching of the Church on human sexuality.Jesus did not give the Keys to the Kingdom (his authority) to you but to the Apostolic College of Bishops. Your obstinate refusal to accept the Church’s teaching on sexuality puts you in defiance of Christ himself.Get behind me Satan!

  • frank36

    Religion, as all mythology, is man’s attempt to explain natural phenomena and behaviors. We now have science to do this, with fact instead of fiction. The continued attention paid to the pope, church and their books is destroying mankind.Luckily, only a small minority in Africa will listen to the pope.Please just ignore the churches and their puppeteers; you will find your strings will disappear and you can find your own beliefs and (hopefully) science. Once you free your mind, the universe is yours!

  • benighse

    Thank Gawd this Pope is celibate. We most certainly wouldn’t want him to procreate this lunacy. So the Pope says, Don’t let condoms stand in the way of the AIDS epidemic….Probably says, Don’t let medicine be discovered and provided to help either….Killing them with kindness….Still leaves you dead….The Pope obviously believes the use of condoms is BIRTH CONTROL and not DISEASE CONTROL….Can’t have no BIRTH CONTROL (except Vatican Roulette), but he is effectively participating in DEATH CONTROL, and not in a positive way….Give me condoms or give me death….and the Pope chooses death….GO FIGURE!!!DO GOOD, BE FAIR, PLAY NICE AND SHARE….

  • tshea1

    If you do not want to play for the team, take off our jersey and go wear someone else’s.

  • RobMc1

    Do you remember Jesus saying…refrain from using plastic and go infect your ignorant love so he/she shall die a brutal and painful death? How many millions are dying of AIDS in the world? God’s spokesperson? lol Why do you think there are more atheists in the US than every before? So many dumb sheep following an old cremudgen.

  • SupermansVoice

    “Why does the Church persist in such a manifestly immoral doctrine? One SUSPECTS that it must be the usual twisted thinking about sex and women.”Suspects?! You’re going to go on a national rant about a Catholic teaching you know nothing about? You wrote a BOOK on a similar topic, having proven that you have done NO research? How dare you insult the Body of Christ this way?! “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”You, author, need it.Please also note:”Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”In Christ,SV

  • rleng616

    1) Everyone has a right to their opinion2) The Catholic book writer should leave the Catholic Church and find one that meets his “High Standards”3) To those who aren’t Catholic and post negative comments – This is Church business – Not yours – mind your own business!

  • frank36

    catholicranger: LOL, man!!! That is funny!

  • cfoote1

    First let me say I am not Catholic, but the idea of impeaching the Pope is interesting only because the flock is upset at what he has said and done. Let review. As biblical insight suggests, the idea of a Pope came from the Apostle Paul and all subsequent Popes were to be his direct decendants. So how has this process been so misdirected? Electing a Pope was never God’s decision or direction only mans. The flock is upset at ordaining women. Here the Pope does follow the Word of God for as Christ is the head of the Church as man is head of the household, these are the great mysteries of the Church, and it also written that a woman should not ursurp the position of the man as head. Now there were many great woman of the Bible and God used them wisely but he said none should be in power. Therefore I agree with him that the subject of ordaining woman is not open for discussion. Impeaching him will do really nothing, as I see it. What power does he really have? Is he God’s emmesery on earth? No. just merely a man,elected to a position, can he absolve sin? No. The Word of God says No man commeth to the Father yet by Me. (Christ) So again what power does he have compared to God’s ultimate power and grace.

  • ArgotMay

    Abstinence has been the way in the poorest counties in Washington State. The kids raised this way by various Christians have the highest s.t.d. rates. That is why Okanogan County is having sex education in the schools for the first time ever. As far as abstinence in Africa, it’s the same for Washington D.C.: 3% of the population has H.I.V. Three out of every hundred God-given children of ours has this disease there as well. Probably most of their parents don’t even know- That would be you and your snarling, blindfolded, judgmental ilk.

  • PtheR

    Since HIV/AIDS is spread largely by activity which violates the Church’s teachings on sexual behavior, why do all these people give so much weight to the impact of the Church’s teaching on condom use?Do they actually believe that all those people who act contrary to the Church’s teachings on sexual conduct are somehow being held bound by the Church’s policy against using condoms?I think there’s something else going on.

  • chauffeurkp

    This guy is Catholic in name only – to suit his own purposes. At best, he’s a cafeteria catholic, picking and choosing what he likes. The Catholic Church is the toughest Church to live in, but the best Church to die in. Thanks to Medjugorje and Garabandal, this guy will soon see the errors of his way. And so I accept his apology in advance.

  • gbear1966

    The Pope’s words are a death sentence to thousands of Sub-Sahara Africans. People will senselessly die because of his words yesterday. It makes me incredibly mad (and sad) to hear such senseless and callous words from a so-called religious “leader”. There is no “moral” excuse for this. Wake up folks, people have sex. In many cases in this part of the world the sex may be unwelcome. How many so-called “Catholics” use birth control throughout the modern world? Why is it OK to kill the people on “moral” grounds. The pope makes me sick with disgust…

  • anakinkaid

    Even if one sets aside the religious/moral aspect of the Pope’s suggestion, has the man never attended a science class?Are his advisers as poorly educated/connected to reality and the 21st Century as he seems to be?Truly, for any organization to be led by someone so ignorant in so many areas is very, very sad…and dangerous!Beware false prophets!

  • inyourjase

    Anyone who believes anything any church teaches is in absolute denial about how the world works. Gods were created as a way to explain the inexplicable, but most if not all of those things have been explained. There is no longer any need for a god or for a funny-hat wearing, homophobic pope for that matter. Religion has always brayed the most absurd ideas and the catholic church is the worst of the bunch. They breed child molesters and fear. I hope that all stupid god-fearing religions crumble, seen as the perverted anachronisms they are, by the end of my children’s lifetime. I doubt it will happen in mine but I can hope.God is not dead; It never exsted.

  • rannrann

    I have been saying it for years the Catholic Church’s leadership should have charges brought against them for their stance on birth control and condom use. This is criminal ignorance, it is an ignorance that causes unnecessary suffering to millions of Catholics who cannot differentiate between God’s word and the words of an ignornant and sexually immature, very, human man, who, happens to be the Church’s leader.Yep, handcuff him and make him attend sex education classes like all the rest of the teen population.

  • Balabanto

    The outrage here is that the Pope has the nerve to say this when the primary reason AIDS developed in the first place was sex with chimpanzees and tribally justified incest. Homosexuality only entered into the mix later. Pope Darth Benedict, and I do not use this term lightly, is channeling the dark side of the Force so that millions of people will die. That will be the end result of his actions. The responsible thing to do would be to say “We of the Catholic Church would prefer it if you stopped (BLEEP)ing Monkeys. We of the Catholic Church would prefer it if you stopped (BLEEP)ing your relatives. We of the Catholic Church encourage a policy of abstinence. If you cannot abstain, there is a process called confession by which we absolve you of sins. Use a condom! Don’t spread diseases.”The real issue here is that faith is not a substitute for scientifically proven medicine. No matter how hard people try to say that faith in God will fix everything, it still boils down to open heart surgery and whether or not the doctor is good enough to keep the patient alive. But homeopathic remedies, most of the time, really don’t work, and primitive social advice from the last millennium in a world of dangerously adaptive viruses that attack your immune system isn’t just irresponsible.It’s insane.

  • jbrt

    C’mon, give him a break. He is a distinguished member of Millsaps College-Never heard of Millsaps College-well either has anyone else!! So obviously he has loads of credibility. Go to his personal page-his opinions and complete misunderstanding of Catholicism will tie nicely to his choice of profession. Whatever happened to the Catholic men that used to put dandies like these guys in their place? What goes on in the mind of a young man in this guy’s class? I have to think they cannot respect this character as a functioning adult. Oh yeah, and be sure to review his top 50 albums-Nora Jones-Greatest Album of All Time-seriously?

  • chasbee

    Either you buy into the religion or you don’t. Another hack shilling a book. No such thing as a liberal Catholic.

  • sharks17

    Funny how you quote Paul / but leave off the rest of the scripture which reads:Now concerning the things about which YOU wrote, it is well for a man not to touch a woman; 2 yet, because of prevalence of fornication, let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband. This scripture is not saying that men shouldnt touch women, its saying a man shouldnt touch a woman unless its his own wife. . .

  • MagicP

    Screw the pope… he’s as stupid as George Bush and Dick-less Chaney, and all of them are impotent, micro-penis little boys.

  • buddecj

    This article is nonsense, as much or more so than the Pope’s comments. Benedict is not introducing new policy. All birth control or what used to be called pessaries are forbidden. All Muslims specifically and all non-Catholics are going straight to hell. Many Catholics have taken their cue from the idiot wing of Islam and want to sulk back into the Middle-Ages. To each his own. My problem is with the pea brains that expect violence and verbal malice to convert those otherwise inclined. Benedict’s a priori notion is that the Catholic church is the one and only mouth of God and he is the tongue. He believes this. He speaks from this delusion.

  • DownstateIllinoisan

    you negate your arguments by misquoting, then you attack a position you create in your misquote. Then it goes down hill from there.Wow, what a shock, the Pope goes to Africa and repeats the moral stand the Catholic church has stood for over centuries, and you think it is a news story.Bottom line, if all lived truly christian lives, including the clergy you referred to there would be no HIV – Aids that would hound mankind as a serious problem. Have you seen the article about the growth of AIDS in Washington DC, reported by this newspaper about a week ago?? Are there no condoms in DC?? Point is that people make choices every day that have consequences, as do you when you write an article like this – trying to convince the world that the church is out of touch to sin, or just your spin of righteousness!! Doesn’t the Pope have the right of free speech without being impeached in your court?

  • cmhmp10sd

    Perhaps this guy needs to retake his ethics classes, or re-read the catechism taught to 5th graders. Birth control is indeed a pro-life stance. The Church defines life as beginning from the moment of conception in the womb, not after the child is born. Therefore, to stop conception (using birth control) is to stop life from being created. Promoting contraception whether married or unmarried is to prevent the life of a child. And yes, I prefer the Church to define when life starts, rather than a lawyer. All your doing is spreading your ignorance, and will probably become rich doing it with your book.

  • eoconnor

    I am no longer Catholic and do not usually agree with the statutes of the Catholic church. But on this subject I have to agree with the Pope.Condoms will decrease but not stop the spread of HIV and other related diseases, while abstinence from multiple sexual partners will stop it dead in it’s tracks. Condoms may give people a false sense of security and, in the Pope’s opinion, may lead to further inappropriate sexual behavior.Education and single partner relationships are our best weapons. Condoms are a band-aid, they simple cover up the root of the problem.

  • rickyrab

    First of all, the HIV virus was made by God, and so was rubber, and so was the human mind. If you put two and two together, you’d notice that God made possible a means to prevent the spread of God’s own creation – a means which the Pope denies. Doesn’t that make the Pope a kind of fact-denier, a heretic maybe? **Disclaimer: I do not profess to be a Catholic. Nonetheless, if a Pope says the earth is flat when it is clearly round, then Catholics ought to look at the evidence of the earth being round before just following the pope willy-nilly. So what if that makes them “cafeteria Catholics”? Sometimes cafeteriaism leads one closer to the truth than merely following your bishop.**

  • evolx10

    Their lack of general intelligence, and their need to believe something, allows them to be manipulated by other more seemingly powerful humans. The Vatican is highly secretive, therefore it falls into the rule that: if there is secrecy–there is manipulation. When this is a huge institution with millions of followers were talking major manipulation, and major power held in their hands.

  • x176z45

    More immorality, deceit, fraud, torture, abuse, war, destruction, and death has been perpetrated over the Millenia by the Catholic Church than any other organized religion there has ever been. That the Pope somehow knows God’s will, letting the rest of us in on it as he sees fit is an absurd and cruel fantasy. God bless those who speak out against this nonsense.

  • nekamalek

    YES!!! Impeach this pope. I am all for it. Great idea, keep up the good work.Pass it around,to as many people as possible, and as soon as possible, before he infects the whole world with his poisonous mind. This is an evil pope, he used to be the Grand Inquisitor before he became pope, and he has the mind of an inquisitor. HE NEEDS TO GO!

  • rickyrab

    The prevention of the creation of life is not murder. It is the destruction of life that is murder.

  • Bcamp55

    I am not religious at all and I am not Catholic. I have not attended church in almost 40 years. However, with that said; I find it preposterous that you imbeciles on the left think you have any right to dictate the position of the church.If you don’t like their policies, practices, viewpoints, etc – don’t go; but don’t be the type of moron who thinks you’re entitled to one grain of input.That’s like moving to Alaska and then b*tching about the cold or worse yet, doing it from your home in Florida.

  • frank36

    “3) To those who aren’t Catholic and post negative comments – This is Church business – Not yours – mind your own business! “Ha Ha Ha!Anyone who pretends to speak for a god of some sort also pretends to be surrogate ruler of Earth. So, it is everyone’s business. Never, ever make that mistake again.P.S. Born, raise, and confirmed-in, and then rejected the catholic church. Please no comments on Jesus (Horus) or hell, as neither exist.

  • DocRico

    I’m not a Catholic, but I respect the Church’s firm stand. Their position on the sanctity of life is consistent with Biblical principals. Sticking to an unpopular view comes up in the Biblical book of Matthew: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”In the Pope’s defense, he has enjoyed papal infallibility since the 1880′s. Therefore, he cannot be wrong and should never consider resignation. Unless he wants to do away with infallibility and open a whole other can of worms.

  • qazwsx123

    McElvaine is the best argument for abolishing tenure.

  • reginalein

    I do not believe Robert to be Catholic or he wouldn’t be so outraged. I would suggest that he get in touch with a priest to reaquaint him with the teachings of the church and what it all means. From this article, it is clear he either did not learn or does not remember. Would Africa even be in the news about AIDS if they were following the Pope’s teachings? I don’t believe AIDS is spread using abstinence from sex and drugs. And most likely it is not spread by fidelity in marriage either.Condoms are thin plastic and can break, there will never be 100% guarentee this prevents any diseases. Birth Control does only tempts people to have unprotected sex, and sex with two or more partners since they feel safe from pregnancy which leads us right back to the problem of spreading AIDS. Hmmm – doesn’t really sound like the answer either.And whatever happened to the tolerance of others ideas??????

  • GaiasChild

    Now now, the Pope’s just doing what Pope’s have always done, presenting Roman Catholic guilt and sin controls over anything natural, human, feminine and, yes, sacred. The Church is ossified to comic book proportions. I am grateful to the Divine that I didn’t have to grow up in that original sin guilt redemption dogma and I am sorry for what it has done to the Mother Earth and her feminine wisdom and natural beauty. What we really need tellling us what to do is some dried up old celibate Latin scholar who goes around swinging incense which the church only used to protect the priests from the cooties of the mob in the first place. All those incense herbs protect against contagion. Too bad they don’t disable controlling doctrines and dogmas.

  • Leo3

    Every time the pope comes out with some new outrage or stupidity (not to mention the sex abuse scandals and the complicity of so many bishops therein) I feel correct in having left the catholic church a long time ago. When I visited the Vatican a couple years ago, the strangle-hold that the deep past has on the church was quite palpable. I wonder if they’ll make it into the 20th century before the 21st is over?

  • pelifleming

    I thought your point is partial when you only quote what the Pope said but miss the point of Roman Catholic church, which is “marital fidelity and sexual abstinence are the best way to prevent the spread of HIV” which is indisputably true.While freedom of sex and birth control in Europe and America is obvious and the use of condom is necessary, in Africa and Asia, distributing condoms is like promoting casual sex. And once people get into it, it’s hard to stop. We all know that. So who will make sure those Africans will buy condoms for themselves for the next intercourses, given their destitute? That’s what the Pope meant by “condoms increase the spread of HIV”, in developing countries, not America or Europe.

  • WandaE1

    It just goes to show – any moron can be published in a book these days.I frankly don’t understand how you can call yourself a Catholic when you clearly don’t agree with or follow the teachings of the church. Clearly, you are one of the new breed of so-called “Catholics” that seem to think modernism and humanism should prevail in our religion. God doesn’t change, and He never intended for changes to be made to accommodate man’s selfish nature. People who did not want to follow the Catholic religion – which, may I remind you is the religion which God Himself started while on this earth – have started their own religions. That’s why we have all of the “johnny-come latelys” such as the Lutherans, Protestants, Baptists, etc. These religions were founded to appease man and accommodate his human desires. St. Peter was selected by God to head his church and was the first Pope.Perhaps you need to brush up on the true aspects of the Church and stop disrespecting it with your uneducated comments.I am a proud Catholic and will continue to fully support our church even though purported Catholics like yourself continue to desecrate it. You should be ashamed of yourself. And, in case you’re not, don’t worry. I’m ashamed for you.

  • mburton325

    Finally a good debate.Since I am not Catholic I will not profess to know all about the Catholic church. However some of the things I have witnessed in the Catholic church and have been informed of from Catholics do baffle me as they do not go along with the teachings of Christ. I would love some logical answers as to how the Catholic Church came to some of the beliefs. Especially those that go against what Christ taught us. Like prayer and the confession of sins. As far as the Pope’s statements on Condoms, I wonder why people are getting so upset? It is the same message in a different form.

  • reginalein

    The author obviously did not research both sides of the topic and this is purely opinion. He also cannot be Catholic and for birth control, etc. You do not need me to tell you why. He needs to got to a priest and have it explained – clearly from this article he did not.

  • Catholicus

    Dear Professor McElvaine,

  • airer61266

    Can’t you people see what is going on here? This guy is just trying to sell his book. Free marketing.

  • techidaho

    “To those who aren’t Catholic and post negative comments – This is Church business – Not yours – mind your own business! ” As Posted by: rleng616 Dearest rleng616, We will be glad to mind our own business just as soon as you and yours get out of the business of extending your religious dogma via government legislation.

  • msgr

    All those angry people!!! While you are handling your rage, why not go find a god that you like and who doesn’t ask much of you. In the meantime, let the Pope be the Pope. There’s a billion plus Catholics that are proud of him and pray for him all the time.

  • emcauley3

    Dear Mr. McElvaine,I too am Catholic. Funny isn’t it, how we are all so different at different times in our lives (depending on our wants and desires)?You are taking Peter’s statements completely out of material context. You are implying material things that are not and have not been implied by Peter. You are specifically omitting additional material thoughts and ideas offered by Peter in support of his statements. In court, each of these three is categorized as a lie. Why do you think that is?On the other hand, maybe you are suggesting that you know better and that Peter should listen to you? One problem with that: Peter is probably too busy listening to someone else. You know? That guy whose Word you seem to be in disagreement with?Just because people are selfish and self-indulgent (of which I am the first), doesn’t mean there isn’t a higher truth to which we should aspire. Can we agree on that?Salacious posturing, does not good content make, and you seem to be marketing to the angry little troll in all of us. Regardless of your attempts to appear sincere, your words betray your true intent.Good luck with that.P.S. I’ll get a good chuckle each time I pass up your book, as knowing already where you stand, I am certain there nothing in it that would compel me to spend money on it. However, I will consider putting the cost of it into the Poor Box to cause me to be more aware of my sin of sarcasm toward you.

  • SFhairyArabaolcom

    I AM a Catholic.I do NOT agree with much that the Prada pump wearing prick in Rome says or does.He means NOTHING to me or to most Catholics in the USA.He is a EVIL man& has been for years he can excommunicate if he has the balls to but I am sure he is too busy playing with the “boys” to do that.KARMA has a way of getting men like him.

  • bboyno

    I am a cradle Catholic and left The Church because of its ignorance of science and how the adherence to facts might better the world; this is just another confirmation of my decision. I was taught that the Pope was infallible?

  • bnoe

    Since the author knows that the church leadership of the catholic church is not ordained by God, thus sinful in and of itself, why do you still call yourself catholic? There was never a promise that the true church would always have a decendent of Paul as its head. The only head of God’s church is Christ. Only those who love Christ and follow his will have any inheritance from him. You are so right that the pope is NOT God’s spokesman on earth. He is only a sinful man like the rest of us, but he, in his usurping Christ’s place as head, condemns himself to hell. READ the bible. How many catholics are encouraged to read and study for themselves? If you know what Christ has said through the bible, you would not call yourself catholic.

  • itisIvan

    This article an absurd ad hominem and baseless attack. I suggest the article “the will to disbelieve,” by Mary Eberstadt, that contains actual facts and figures, not cherry picked phrases taken out of context. This piece of garbage is nothing more than a sensationalized childish temper tantrum. I feel bad for this guy!

  • fliptrx

    As I grow older, I find it harder and harder to understand the ignorance that surrounds me every day, especially concerning matters of great importance…with this book the author has hit the nail on the head!Thanks for saying it!

  • riguna

    Thank you, Robert S. McElvaine. Human beings question authority, sheep will follow any leader, even a dog. The idea that one can’t disagree with Catholic dogma and still call oneself a Catholic is preposterous. Unless you have been excommunicated, you are still a Catholic regardless of the opinion of your detractors. What will these feverishly obedient followers say when their leader is eventually succeeded and dogma changes? Will they feel like fools? I wonder…

  • mksylvia

    Birth control encourages promiscuity. The Catholic Church is humanist and teaches what is good for people. Educate yourself about *why* it teaches what it does and you may be surprised to find that it does make sense. The condom mind-set is one of easy sex without consequences, which destroys the sanctity of sexuality and of the other person involved. People in loving monogamous relationships do not need condoms; there are other methods of natural family planning, including periodic abstinence, which in fact encourages couples to become emotionally and spiritually closer, rather than basing the bonds of their relationships exclusively on sex.I work on a college campus and I see first-hand the damage that the birth-control mindset has done to young women and men, and the way they approach relationships. The Pope will stand fast in this teaching, despite that hate being spewed from anti-Catholic sectors. If you don’t agree with him on this, then you don’t have to be Catholic. I and many others are extrememly proud to be part of this venerable tradition which believes in eternal truths, not relative ones.People today, particularly Americans, want easy answers, and they want to do what feels good. Ease and feeling good do not a rewarding life make, however.

  • samelson1

    The Catholics have been stupid enough to pay for this man’s extracurricular activities; it is their responsibility to deal with him. May be he got HIV after using condom and his experience may be what he is talking about.

  • rainbowosmondfan

    As a Catholic, I’m totally disgusted and enraged by this article. I emailed the auther personally to tell him so. I think the one who needs to leave the Church is the author of this article. The Pope is right on (when he’s quoted correctly, which is not here) and a wonderful leader for the Church. Viva Il Papa.

  • jmk55

    Maybe they sell only used condoms in the jungle that don’t always guarantee the full protection. Just like the ones in Washington.

  • kiwicafe

    First off let me say, I am no catholic, I am no protestant, Jew, Muslim, whatever. No church, nothing, nada, zip. But I do have a dialogue, a daily, moment by moment, healthy robust dialogue with God. The God of MY understanding. When I read of the Popes denoument on Condoms I thought, sheesh! There they go again. Then I thought what a silly man, a little man, what an ignorant man. Then I thought well, he is a human being , he does have a right to his views and then I thought, yeah! However he speaks for millions and millions around the world. The world has a problem. We are a finite commodity, we are procreating far too fast and far too often. And then I read the comments on this page and became saddened at the unwillingness of people, all people, to think outside the box. Healthy open debate, is simply healthy open debate. There are no right or wrongs, simply shades of color. The author has as much right as the Pope to express his views. As I do, as you do and that right is protected in America. To consider that the Pope is God’s exclusive voice on earth is simply narrow and arrogant. Pompous even and surely not at all humble. God help us indeed!

  • nofearpsalm23

    Prof McElvaine can be excused now, the adults need to talk. The Washinton Post doesn’t have to indulge tier 3 college professors with ink. They are to blame for exploiting this submission. The audience Prof. M is talking to is not an informed one – the Post must know this. It is fine if the Post WANTS to foment the rabble and indulge in shallow doctrinal distortions, as long as they don’t defend this type of attack as anything resembling scholarship. It is pure fallacy and misrepresentation.The teaching in the church has to do with self-love and the suffocation of virtue in the indulgence of lust, not a boot on the neck of women and their “powers.” Women are, in fact, essential in God’s expressions of love. In both the normative world, and, especially, in the development of spiritual perfection of His love.

  • jmj1459

    Mr. McElvaine,What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? Mt. 16:26Good luck with your book sales. If your book is anything like this article I am not interested. My nine-month-old forms more coherent thoughts.

  • nonoyd

    i am catholic, and i’m an atheist. and still i am catholic. crazy? well, catholics know the “diversity of nature” and its followers are so diverse. like me and mother teresa are the atheist ones vs. the pelosi/biden/giuliani as the pro-choice ones. catholics are just as crazy as the human race.

  • rainbowosmondfan

    Just saw a a comment and wanted to respond. It was asked ‘how many Catholics are encouraged to read the Bible?’ Uh… all of us, maybe?

  • zbiegnu18

    Let me add my two cents worth. All religions and gods are out of man’s imagination, albeit a very fertile one!In the olden days, ecstasy” and mystical experience resulted often from “drugs,” i.e., what is considered controlled substances in the modern society.So, any time someone says, “I spoke with God,” or “God said such and such,” or “God told me to do …,” should always be doubted, discarded even, unless it is for the good of the people.The Catholic church has built itself into a monolithic power, and without realizing its vast reach and its consequences, is acting from a caveman’s mindset!Moreover, the Pope and the Catholic church should be more concerned about the pedophile priests, poverty, etc., and not make asinine statements as if the Pope were a doctor!! Really! Does he even think before opening his mouth? Unless he has a hidden agenda to wipe out the African people! Egads!!If Christ came to town today, (1)he would not recognize the simple, basic humanitarian ideas he taught, and (2) he would be driven out of town as a crazy man!If you trust the middleman, i.e. the Pope, and not exercise your own personal relationship with a/the Supreme Power/Ultimate Reality, you lost the battle. Worse, you deserve what you hear!!!

  • eyecare

    A good post but unfair in some ways. The Pope as the leader of the Catholic Church is responsible for its dogma. I believe the current Catholic dogma is against birth control so the Pope is not doing wrong in this regard, at least as far as “good” Catholics are concerned. Isn’t the Pope’s word supposed to be God’s word? The rest of us know that the Vatican has been wrong in the past and in more than one occasion so nothing is new here. One then has to wonder what the purpose of this article was? Perhaps to show that not all Catholics believe as the Pope says they should? We also know that there are Catholics who believe that the teaching of the Church are not traditional enough (e.g., Society of St. Pius). So there will always be those who think they know more or better that their elected leader. I don’t believe that impeachment is a viable option. Those who believe strongly enough in their opposition to religious doctrine and are unable to effect change from within probably would do better to find a different religion that is more in line with their views. As an aside, I personally do not take issue with the Pope’s views on the Muslim religion. He’s a well studied theologian and there is truth to what was quoted when taken in the context of his entire lecture. Most moderate Muslims will cringe at this and rightly so. Unfortunately these same moderates are the very ones who should be but fail to keep in check the more extreme elements of their religion. If they do nothing then they tend to be guilty by association.

  • firefamily2000

    Real Catholics love babies – all of them.

  • JRobin2

    Sure-fire formula to earn money and the fawning attention of the media:1) Present Yourself as Catholic.By some quirk of human nature, most people will just eat this up.

  • piaknow1

    Quite simply- I feel so terribly bad that you call yourself a Catholic. Do you even know what the 10 commandments are? Have you ever read Aquinas? Do you know that it is not an “option” to believe in Church teaching if you want to call yourself a Catholic? “The use of condoms is a pro-life position” – you fool.The Church has indeed been hijacked. By evil men who have failed to teach their flock what is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

  • piaknow1

    Quite simply- I feel so terribly bad that you call yourself a Catholic. Do you even know what the 10 commandments are? Have you ever read Aquinas? Do you know that it is not an “option” to believe in Church teaching if you want to call yourself a Catholic? “The use of condoms is a pro-life position” – you fool.The Church has indeed been hijacked. By evil men who have failed to teach their flock what is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

  • knese2

    One thing most catholics don’t realize is that the catholic church was no founded till decades after Jesus left earth. Read your history there were numerious denominations before catholism. The catholic church merely form its own bible pieced together from the many different churches’ bible that were around back then. It took what it wanted and said everything else is evil. The dead sea scrolls are proof of this things like the gospel of mary were cut because they impowered women and free thought. Also the Orothodox church is just as old as the catholic church. Before you go saying your the original research your own history and know what your talking about.You are all correct in bashing this author though he is not catholic and is merely pretending to be for publishing purposes. He is a fraud and a heretic i think he wants excommunication.

  • piaknow1

    Quite simply- I feel so terribly bad that you call yourself a Catholic. Do you even know what the 10 commandments are? Have you ever read Aquinas? Do you know that it is not an “option” to believe in Church teaching if you want to call yourself a Catholic? “The use of condoms is a pro-life position” – you fool.The Church has indeed been hijacked. By evil men who have failed to teach their flock what is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

  • castel

    Hey – do any of you know how I can become excommunicated? Do I file for it or something? I’ve been trying to get off the Catholic list for years. My parents signed me up for a club that I don’t want to have any part of.

  • emcauley3

    mburton325″I would love some logical answers as to how the Catholic Church came to some of the beliefs. Especially those that go against what Christ taught us. Like prayer and the confession of sins.”Confession is called “Penance” and “Reconciliation.” It is a sacrament and a process of continuously reconciling one’s self to God, as we continuously sin against one another and against God. We consider our sins in prayer with God. We recognize the impact they have on us and on others , as well as the impact they have on our relationships with God and others. We ask forgiveness. We confess our sins to our brother (Priest) and request absolution. Our priest offers absolution not by his hand but in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We perform acts of contrition to God, to those whom we may have harmed and to ourselves and work hard to become a better person.No need to be baffled; it’s pretty straight-forward christian belief. Here’s a resource for you, so you can get it straight from the horse’s mouth:

  • Jazzgasm

    *sigh* Yet ANOTHER way in which the Catholic Church has done more harm than good… not a huge surprise from the people who brought you the Spanish Inquisition and Vatican-approved child molestation. Who better than an elderly celibate ex-Hitler Youth to understand the needs of Sub-Saharan Africa, right? The Vatican’s genocidal stupidity in regard to the AIDS crisis is just one of many reasons that their religion is dying among the vast majority of educated people. It makes me wonder, is the pope really this blind or does he simply not care about millions of dead Africans?

  • piaknow1

    Quite simply- I feel so terribly bad that you call yourself a Catholic. Do you know that it is not an “option” to believe in Church dogma if you want to call yourself a Catholic? “The use of condoms is a pro-life position” – oh, Robert, you fool.The Church has indeed been hijacked. By evil men who have failed to teach their flock what is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

  • piaknow1

    Quite simply- I feel so terribly bad that you call yourself a Catholic. Do you know that it is not an “option” to believe in Church dogma if you want to call yourself a Catholic? “The use of condoms is a pro-life position” – oh, Robert, you fool.The Church has indeed been hijacked. By evil men who have failed to teach their flock what is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

  • EFREN95

    Dear Robert:As a former Jesuit student and theology “expert”, I’m with you on this one.One after another, the Pope has been alienating Muslims, Jews, Protestants and now Catholics like myself.If an impeachment could really be accomplished, I, without hesitation, would send the Pope, like a simple clergyman, to Germany.It would mean a blessing for the church and for his [email protected]

  • rick43

    Mr. McElvaine is not a knowledgable Catholic. Every Catholic knows that the pope is God’s spokesman only on issues of faith and morals. The pope is St. Peter’s direct successor; that is history, not dogma.

  • ericthered1

    So the pope is supposed to check in with this writer before speaking his papal opinion? And if what the pope says does not coincide with what this writer cosiders logical he should perhaps be impeached?? Hmmm. I mean truly, what would one expect the pope of the Catholic Church to say. By the way I don’t think I or anyone else is forcing this guy Mcalwayney or whatever his name is to be a Catholic, or even to not have unprotected sex for that matter. Just do what you think is right all things considered and stop freaking out.

  • JRobin2

    This screed is worthy of publication by a purportedly respected publisher? How the great have fallen!How about some SERIOUS discourse on the Pope’s position? McElvaine’s frothing diatribe contributes nothing of value.Can’t the Post find someone able to write a coherent analysis and commentary on the Catholic Church’s position on contraception? My high school daughter could do a far better job than this petulant prof from …what school was that?

  • piaknow1

    Quite simply- I feel so terribly bad that you call yourself a Catholic. Do you know that it is not an “option” to believe in Church dogma if you want to call yourself a Catholic? “The use of condoms is a pro-life position” – oh, Robert, you fool.The Church has indeed been hijacked. By evil men who have failed to teach their flock what is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

  • jaakkowallenius

    The core problem here is that Catholic Church really has the power to stop its followers from using condoms, but unfortunately in real life they do not really have the power for stamping out all extramarital sex among even their followers, as abstaining from using condoms is a far easier thing to do than abstaining from sex. Extramarital sex is in fact as common among Catholic population as with other people.

  • epguth

    I am sure this author speaks for many catholics who are dismayed that the Vatican has remained in the dark ages and cares more about it’s real estate than it’s desire to really help the down trodden. Abstinence was added to the church’s doctrine years after the bible was written. Priests were free to marry and….gasp!…..have sexual intercourse for the purpose of….gasp!…..PLEASURE. Where is the sin in that? Way too many people are dying from this containable disease and to tell them to abstain from sex is like asking the Pope to understand that it’s ok to be proactive in trying to end needless deaths. I guess if the Holocaust didn’t do the trick for the Vatican, AIDS never will. Any one who has the power to do good, and refuses to act because of self interest, should be labeled as evil.

  • allenpat

    I love the article.True and to the point.But the church wields more power than it deserves.To think in my 57th year I would still be considered subservient or evil.Really!.Just where do they think they came from? The loins of a MAN ? HIV is a serious problem everywhere.Africa surly doesn’t need words of wisdom from a hypocrite.Lets get started Impeach !!!

  • piaknow1

    Quite simply- I feel so terribly bad that you call yourself a Catholic. Do you know that it is not an “option” to believe in Church dogma if you want to call yourself a Catholic? “The use of condoms is a pro-life position” – oh, Robert, you fool.The Church has indeed been hijacked. By evil men who have failed to teach their flock what is the Way, the Light and the Truth.

  • michaeljmcfadden1

    I have news for you, chuckles: you are not a Catholic. Premise 1: A person is a member of Group X if and only if they believe articles 1-5.In case you haven’t figured it out, group X is the Catholic Church, and Person X is you. Don’t be such an amateur – apostatize already.

  • DeeKaye

    Dear Professor Knucklevaine…

  • sammysouth

    First a disclaimer – I am not a Catholic.I understand Robert McElvaine’s anger and dissent but I also see his short-sightedness in his comments. Just because he is an author of a book on Christ, it does not give the privilege from Christ, to write his mind’s language in denigration of a person, who though a simple mortal, has been chosen by a group, to be the head of its group. It behoves well to respect the Pope and to decently accept or disregard his views.Second, Mr. McElvaine should understand there is a small fact hidden in the Pope’s comment scientifically too. While the condom itself was invented to avoid unwanted pregnancies and not to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (for which it was later used, as for other medical purposes, such as condom catheterization), Mr.Robert McElvaine should understand that the condom itself has only a 92% success rate for the initial purpose that it was invented. This is because it has the propensity to tear or slip off during a sexual act. On that basis itself what the Pope said is scientifically true. One needs to analyze it in all aspects before expressing sentimentality on it.At the same time, I also do not understand why the church involves itself in issues such as these, when Christ Himself avoided these when He preached. The church’s role is to strengthen Christ’s teachings among people and get them closer to Him, instead of becoming a controversy on matters such as these.

  • yallips1

    Some of you Catholics argue here that “Catholics love Babies” and therefore they should be allowed to have as many as babies as they like. Instead of reproducing like pigs forever and making this process a burden on society, the Catholics could do a favor to everyone by adopting the million of unwanted babies now in this world.

  • DamonHastings

    I would argue that contraception and abortion are morally equivalent, and that it is inconsistent to ban one without banning the other. Think about this: what is the difference between a zygote and a skin cell, really? Both are single cells. Both contain the complete DNA of a unique human being. Both are incapable of surviving by themselves. It seems to me that the chief difference between them is their future potential: a zygote has the *potential* to become a full human, while a skin cell has the potential to be, well, a skin cell. But if the whole and entire reason that a zygote is sacrosanct is because of its *potential*, then this same sanctity must also extend to a sperm and egg pair which are about to unite into a zygote. By preventing that union, you condemn each to death, and along with them the potential human that would have been. Of course, you might argue that there is no guarantee a sperm and egg will unite — but likewise there is no guarantee that a zygote will “unite” with the uterine lining. A lot of uniting has to happen for a pregnancy to be viable, and only time can tell (unless a human hand presumes to interrupt the natural process.) And if you have used contraception very many times, then you may be assured that you have prevented at least one pair of sperm and egg from uniting, and thus extinguished their potential just as surely as if you had first waited for them to unite into a zygote.

  • accountableaaron

    A quick summary of positions from professed Catholics:1. If you are not a Catholic, you have no right to question the Pope, Catholic dogma, or its teachings.If would be a better world if we could all agree just to ignore the Pope, but since he sees fit to discuss topics of which he has no experience, e.g. sex, we’ll go ahead and do the same.

  • damiller89

    It seems inherently obvious that people will always have sex, even the pope. It is as human as breathing. It also seems obvious that preventing unprotected sex, the main way that HIV is spread, is the simplest way to slow the spread of the disease.Just kill yourselves, you fools.

  • epguth

    I am sure this author speaks for many catholics who are dismayed that the Vatican has remained in the dark ages and cares more about it’s real estate than it’s desire to really help the down trodden. Abstinence was added to the church’s doctrine years after the bible was written. Priests were free to marry and….gasp!…..have sexual intercourse for the purpose of….gasp!…..PLEASURE. Where is the sin in that? Way too many people are dying from this containable disease and to tell them to abstain from sex is like asking the Pope to understand that it’s ok to be proactive in trying to end needless deaths. I guess if the Holocaust didn’t do the trick for the Vatican, AIDS never will. Any one who has the power to do good, and refuses to act because of self interest, should be labeled as evil.

  • sammysouth

    Arguments of potentially preventing the sperm to unite with an egg, in other words, wasting the sperm’s capability is taking matters too far. If that is true, almost all humans (Catholics and Non-Catholics) waste it regularly by masturbating. There is no logic in that approach.

  • DamonHastings

    I would argue that contraception and abortion are morally equivalent, and that it is inconsistent to ban one without banning the other. Think about this: what is the difference between a zygote and a skin cell, really? Both are single cells. Both contain the complete DNA of a unique human being. Both are incapable of surviving by themselves. It seems to me that the chief difference between them is their future potential: a zygote has the *potential* to become a full human, while a skin cell has the potential to be, well, a skin cell. But if the whole and entire reason that a zygote is sacrosanct is because of its *potential*, then this same sanctity must also extend to a sperm and egg pair which are about to unite into a zygote. By preventing that union, you condemn each to death, and along with them the potential human that would have been. Of course, you might argue that there is no guarantee a sperm and egg will unite — but likewise there is no guarantee that a zygote will “unite” with the uterine lining. A lot of uniting has to happen for a pregnancy to be viable, and only time can tell (unless a human hand presumes to interrupt the natural process.) And if you have used contraception very many times, then you may be assured that you have prevented at least one pair of sperm and egg from uniting, and thus extinguished their potential just as surely as if you had first waited for them to unite into a zygote.

  • emcauley3

    yallips1:For instance the phrase: “Instead of reproducing like pigs forever and making this process a burden on society, the Catholics could do a favor to everyone by adopting the million of unwanted babies now in this world.” is a rhetorical device intended to attack, objectify, marginalize and alienate Catholics from the perception by others that they are interested in the the well-being of the human race, while at the same time claiming they are purely selfish. This is clear alienation of affection.You are very Hitler-esque in your ad hominem condemnation, not to mention quite out of touch with most people; you appear to lack a sense of normalcy and connectedness to the world.Most of the world love Catholics; we are nice people. That seems to bother you, which begs a question.

  • jaypf

    Darn Robert,I thought my post was intelligent, coherent and thought provoking…What was wrong? Did it not promote the contention that you are trying to create?Too bad, I guess there is no point in adding to this discussion when you are editing out thoughtful posts. Never had this happen before…

  • thomascanada

    Like Sheep to the slaughter, this Pope has asked Catholiocs surviving on beleaguered contintents to commit suicide. Oh well! At least the people can say they had one last good fling before rotting before their family memebers eyes.

  • vgehall

    Thank you Robert S. McElvaine, for stating so much better than I the truth that the Bible was compiled as a means of control, particularly control of women.The church’s assertion “that women and the intercourse into which they supposedly tempt men are necessary evils (“It is well for a man not to touch a woman,” Paul instructed the Christians of Corinth), the only purpose of which is procreation,” is something I have long understood. Y’all can argue the finer points of Catholicism all you want; the greater truth is all about control, control of the greater population, but particularly the control of women.

  • Torquemada1

    I’m not Catholic, but the reason the Pope opposes the use of condoms is because the Catholic Church opposes the use of ANY birth control, other than the “rhythm method.” That prohibition is in turn based on basic Catholic beliefs in “natural theology.”Of course, the Pope IS a complete nutter, just as is anyone who bases his/her existence on beliefs in sky-gods, devils, virgin births, praying to dead people, and assorted other craziness. But I don’t think his condemnation of condoms has anything to do with hatred of the distaff side.

  • sd-mouth

    This article infuriates me too and convinces me that leaving the church long time ago was the best for me. Maybe these doctrines only confirm that this religion is regressing back in the 14th century, at least with this Pope. To allow the spread of misery because of misinterpreted teachings that are the work of mortals is destroying it. Ironically the Taliban have similar motivations. By the way the Pope WAS right about how Islam was spread. Followers of Mohamed slit the throats of anyone who didn’t succumb to Islam’s enlightenment and there are those who still do it today. The Pope also exhibits, and it explains why, the church is loosing so many members. It comes to attitudes toward AIDS, population control for an over populated planet, hypocrisy and perverts in the cloth that are the rejections for have seen it. And now I am not a practicing Catholic because it (Catholicism) has become so out of date and out of touch. Hijacked indeed!

  • m-walters

    To the Pope, It is hard to write this in civil terms.There is people dying that are not informed of the dangers of unprotected sex. There is men raping small children in Africa.You have male leaders in your church raping small children.There is people having one retarded ,sick,de formed,child after another. I know catholic people that do not approve of this so it is not all catholic’s. By saying what you did you are really killing off a lot of people.It would be more humane to shoot them.Now you know if you ever read this.

  • Seneca32

    This papal pronouncement re: condoms/Aids/Africa is just one of the many reasons I am an ex-Catholic rather than a Catholic.One. Just one. Of the many.One poster writes here: “I would argue that contraception and abortion are morally equivalent.”You just can’t haven’t an intelligent – or even a reasonable – conversation with someone like this, any more than you could with a marble bust.Another reason I am an ex-Catholic rather than a Catholic.One. Just one. Of the many.

  • scooterlibre

    I think people who hated the Pope for whatever reasons intentionally misinterpreted or used his comment out of context to create more hate. Everyone herein needs to know exactly what the Pope said. Aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde, the Pope said “You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

  • NWNative

    Kudos to Mr. McElvaine for raising this concern and idea. Why do so many people feel the need to condemn this man for voicing his opinion? I prefer to live in a world where each individual is responsible for their own choices, and is held accountable on judgement day, BY GOD, rather than in a world where choices are made for us – to the degree that we have no choices – and be judged by everyone else, don’t you? I challenge all of you posters who’ve bashed the author, to take stock of your own life – have you seriously done NOTHING in your life that is contrary to the Catholic law? No premarital sex? No birth control – EVER? Never taken the Lord’s name in vain? Never dropped an F-bomb? If you are free of all sin, then by all means, voice your opinion too, and then we don’t have to wade thru so many emotional, knee-jerk, waste-of-space comments, because there will truly be only a few. But, “Judge not…” for those of you posters who have seen the inside of a confessional, as most Catholics have (yes, even the ‘good’ ones sin, don’t you?) I was raised Catholic, and as I become older and wiser, I have a progressively more difficult time calling myself Catholic because it pains me to be affiliated with a “religious” group that tops them all when it comes to hypocrisy and judgement of others. Many of the positions that Benedict is taking are irresponsible, not to mention damaging to the Catholic faith. Provide the condoms already, help save innocent lives instead of condemning those who have been indescretionate, and let God do the condemning on judgement day. SHAME on you for calling yourselves Christian!

  • lynnman1

    Robert McElvaine as a writer on the Faith page and a Catholic you should show a more professional approach your column. As a Catholic you can question and disagree on the road to seeking the truth. Your peice is not only superficial but misleading and almost hateful. The Pope is presenting a Church belief that sex is intended for marriage since it is tied to BOTH procreation and such an intimate and sacramental bond. The couple is engaging in an act that God intended to be open to life. Obvious if you think about what is happening biologically. The use of a condom underminds God’s design.

  • boardercjh

    I think you’re about to be excommunicated. Good for you!

  • nekamalek

    This Pope keeps backtracking, apologizing for his mistakes. He is becoming a laughingstock. So much for papal infallibility; he is proving beyond of a doubt that the papacy is a creation of the human mind and as fallible as can be. This religion is a joke! But beyond that, this particular pope is an evil Nazi and HE MUST GO.

  • panamacanalzone

    I recently watched a documentary where an African women was viciously beaten by her husband when she asked him–presumably because she was aware of his infidelity–to wear a condom. Women in Africa are typically in no position to demand that the men in their lives use protection. I never hear any acknowledgement of this key issue in discussions about the spread of HIV infections. In order to slow the rate of infections, women need something–perhaps a gel that kills the virus–that they can both use discretely and have control over when and how it is used.

  • paulc2

    This website is predictably anti-religion and specifically anti-catholic. When they bring in “Catholic” writers, they employ ones that actively oppose Church practices and are not afraid to spread misinformation to support their position. My hat is off to those few Catholics who venture onto this site to dispell that misinformation.

  • abby0802

    The Catholic Church teaches against birth control and condoms and yet covered up for pedophile priests….So, the CC wants rejects birth control in an overpopulated world even though there are people without resources to feed, clothe, educate, and care for them….The CC doesn’t want people to have protected sex so people can be infected with a deadly virus…..The CC moved their priests from one parish to another and protected them as they sexually abused children….Does anyone wonder….What would Jesus do???

  • nofearpsalm23

    Prof. McLame can be excused now, the adults in the room need to talk.It is not the fault of this Professor that his submission is being used to benchmark the Pope’s views instead of steady, well sourced, knowledgable reporting. The Washington Post did not have to publish this opinion above, we may suspect, other submissions offering more academically sound arguments. The teaching the Pope is supporting is based on the inevitable loss and suffering due to the indulgence of self-love. The influence of which is borne in lust. It is a great evil to exploit the great gift and mysteries of romantic love. It clouds the mind, body and spirit from experiencing the expressions of Divine love that are abundant in life through grace. It is not a condemnation of the “powers” of women and a boot on the neck of their value. Women are, in fact, the only way God’s full expression of love can be perfected on earth. St. Paul was not denouncing romantic love as evil, but as a distraction for many which is better left untested if not consciously controled.The normative life and the spiritual life both embed the feminine force in developing a fulfilling and sustainable path in the love of God. The path to Agape.The professor ignores the first rule of Catholic Christianity, love first and truth will follow.

  • nofearpsalm23

    Prof. McLame can be excused now, the adults in the room need to talk.It is not the fault of this Professor that his submission is being used to benchmark the Pope’s views instead of steady, well sourced, knowledgable reporting. The Washington Post did not have to publish this opinion above, we may suspect, other submissions offering more academically sound arguments. The teaching the Pope is supporting is based on the inevitable loss and suffering due to the indulgence of self-love. The influence of which is borne in lust. It is a great evil to exploit the great gift and mysteries of romantic love. It clouds the mind, body and spirit from experiencing the expressions of Divine love that are abundant in life through grace. It is not a condemnation of the “powers” of women and a boot on the neck of their value. Women are, in fact, the only way God’s full expression of love can be perfected on earth. St. Paul was not denouncing romantic love as evil, but as a distraction for many which is better left untested if not consciously controled.The normative life and the spiritual life both embed the feminine force in developing a fulfilling and sustainable path in the love of God. The path to Agape.The professor ignores the first rule of Catholic Christianity, love first and truth will follow.

  • sd-mouth

    After reading so many varied responses I simply find it almost humorous, if it were not for the tragedy, that a super religious person, as in Pope, who has vowed “chastity” should give so many people advice on how to conduct their sex lives. But, this comes from a religious order who have more pedophiles and perverts because some Mid Evil time Pope declared that church members not par take in sex. This is without going off about women in the church too. Catholicism is a patriarchal religion where it seems women are tolerated.

  • Chagrined

    Many people came to the Colonies in the 1600s to get away from organized religion, especially Catholic. There was not a Catholic Church in America when during the founding. When Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “Democracy in America,” he wrote about a democracy for Protestants and Deists by Protestants and Deists.

  • DCguy6

    Just another left-wing crank hoping to gin up enough controversy to sell copies of his crappy, not-so-new book.

  • emcauley3

    NWNative,Yes, I call myself a christian AND, I do not have to use a lot of empty, ill informed hyperbole to do it.There’s no more shame on anyone here than there is on Mr. McElvaine. He expressed his opinion and now people are expressing theirs. Who are you to pronounce shame on people for speaking their minds, while in the same breath you shout your opinions at the top of your lungs?!Are we to now accept you and your hysterical rhetoric as some moral authority, even as you defend an admitted apostate who has attacked a world recognized and widely respected moral voice?The Pope has a billion and a half followers and another 2 billion admirers.What do you have, some pissy little myspace page with a few disgruntled followers?Get over yourself Mr. Self Righteous 0. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  • ThishowIseeit

    Prof. McElvaine,

  • 1klfzd

    Hitler Youth, head of the Holy Inquisition, he picks fights with Muslims, supports Holocaust-deniers, and goes from one controversy to another. No pope in recent memory has probably done more to free people from the bondage of the Catholic church and Catholic dogma than him–by exposing what an immoral institution the Vatican actually is and driving Catholics away in large numbers.

  • Reader32

    The errors in this article are numerous, hard to believe the Post would publish something that was vetted so poorly. To wit:1. Pope Benedict didn’t declare “things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,”. It was a quote of someone else in his Regensburg Address.2. He implies Richard Williamson was ex-communicated for supporting the ordination of women, which is absolutely not even close to the truth;3. He quotes Benedict as saying distribution of condoms “increases the problem” of the spread of AIDS.” If he went to the trouble of QUOTING him, get it right – he said “condoms risk making the problem worse.”This is irresponsible journalism, and there are plenty of other highly debatable things said as well. But the Post should get the facts right, or it risks being seen as just another rag pushing an agenda.

  • orcurrentresident

    >How nice it is to read this stated so plainly. Good for you, Professor McElvaine.

  • orcurrentresident

    In my last comment… I tried to quote this part of the article but it god messed up:Misogyny may not be “the Church’s one foundation,” but it is a major part of the base on which it was constructed.

  • fsmkedu

    //I am a Catholic//“Last year, Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, wrote that ‘In every African country in which HIV infections declined, this decline has been associated with a decrease in the proportion of men and women reporting more than one sex partner over the course of a year—which is exactly what fidelity programs promote.’ As for condom use, Green said, ‘Many countries that have not seen declines in HIV have seen increases in condom use, but in every country worldwide in which HIV has declined there have been increases in levels of faithfulness and usually abstinence as well.’ The Catholic Church, it is well known, has been at the forefront of such programs. It also operates more hospitals and related medical centers for AIDS patients than any other private institution in the world.“If condoms were the answer, then why is it that New York City, which under Mayor Michael Bloomberg has given away tens of millions of free condoms, has an HIV rate three times the national average? Furthermore, the promiscuous distribution of condoms in New York has coincided with a spike in sexually transmitted diseases of all sorts. Isn’t it time we learned that condom worship is irrational?“Anyone who thinks that condom distribution, education and/or research is going to solve a problem which is mostly a function of behavioral recklessness is positively clueless. Not only that, such persons unwittingly contribute to the problem by diverting attention and resources away from that which works.”

  • Ahsay

    The Pope only represents one religion of all religions that are made to manipulate and control the politics and free will of man. Going against all of sciences research and painful study, this single individual, who dresses like a woman and faints over Gucci shoes is telling the world that wearing a protection device is wrong. Don’t call it a condom, call it a disease barrier, call it protection, like so many other cultures. But don’t discourage it’s use. Africans have this one inexpensive defense against this horrific disease and it is inhuman, sadistic and irresponsible for someone to discourage its use. This man is not a holy man he is an evil tyrant determined to erase a race from the face of the earth.

  • fsmkedu

    Mr. Robert S. McElvaine,If you are not happy to be a Catholic and feel bad about the Pope, you are free to leave. No one is bothering you to remain as a Catholic. People like you are encouraged to leave the Church so that it will be cleansed. You guys are the bye-products of the second vatican council which spoiled most of the faith in the church.

  • RandomThoughts2

    michaeljmcfadden1 | March 18, 2009 5:35 PM:Unfortunately, your attempt to inject logical structure to your argument was sorely misguided. What you presented was a common invalid argument termed ‘denying the antecedent’ and is characterized by the following structure:Premise 1: If A then BTransposed to your argument:Premise 1: If a person believes articles 1-5 (i.e. A), then a person is Catholic (i.e. B).A logical argument could have been structured in the format of modus ponens, modus tollens, or chain reasoning. Your invalid argument does not support your assertion that Professor McElvaine is not a Catholic.

  • 10emlet

    I find the Catholic church’s stance is highly irresponsible and very destructive for the future of our planet. An idea conceived (no pun intended) by some latter day man with no thought whatsoever for the betterment of mankind. Unless a rampant idiot, most agree that we suffer from gross over-population and need to reign in our over-productivity if our descendants are to have any sort of decent life. I’m afraid the catholic church has become a dinosaur, and has been for a very long time.

  • jm917

    Sorry, impeaching the popes was tried back in the Middle Ages, and it didn’t exactly work out. As a consequence of the Great Schism of the late fourteenth century, the Catholic church had two rival popes, each damning the other and all his supporters. (If those maledictions registered with God, then all of Western Christendom would have wound up in hell.) A church council (constiting mostly of bishops and professors) tried to impeach both popes–that is, it deposed them–and named a third one. None of these Holy Fathers felt like stepping down, of course. So another council ended up deposing them all, and put one of them on trial for such crimes as murder, incest, and black magic. Oh, and they also burned at the stake the Czech reformer Jan Hus, who had been saying too many critical things about churchly corruption.The pope who finally emerged out of all this, Eugenius IV, condemned the conciliar movement as another damnable heresy, and made his condemnation stick. Presumably that’s all still in effect. The last whimper of conciliarism was snuffed out in the early sixteenth century, not long before Martin Luther appeared on the scene.Impeach the pope? Fugedaboutit. There’s an easier way. Follow Luther and Henry VIII out the door. Or, as Voltaire once urged: Ecrassez l’infame!

  • forestflyer

    This Guest Voice is speaking truth, a truth that will be self-evident in another hundred years. Thank you for allowing such a voice to be heard.At that time, they will certainly look back at ours with amusement and sadness, as we do at times past. They will see how narrow-minded, exclusionary, and backwards our institutions, such as the Catholic Church are. The right-wing angry froth here is predictable–it is the same voice and sentiment that resisted science and observation and which shouted down Copernicus, Galileo, and a whole host of others over time who only spoke the obvious. Happily, the Pope has no real moral authority at all. History is very clear as to the actions of the Papacy; one only has to study it. It has been and will continue a very human institution, and most often a force for repression in the world. For most it gets in the way of spirituality. It appeals to authoritarian and submissive personalities. It thinks far to highly of itself. It is convinced it is the *only* way to God, and so, like other religions which it declares blasphemous, it has and continues to stunt people’s lives.There is great beauty in Church history and ritual. I know that there is a way to have a spiritual life and call oneself a Catholic, but one cannot take the Pope and bishops as seriously as they do themselves. They suffer from an extraordinary lack of humility. To follow their dicta would be to ignore the past 2000 years of their results in human affairs. I don’t at all obsess about the Church, but I follow its doings. When a Pope so clearly impacts the health and welfare of so many, though, it is time to speak up.The Papacy’s place in the world will evolve (there’s that word!) into a ceremonial figurehead, a cultural touchstone and link to our earlier, less-informed eras as a Civilization, not to be taken very seriously when speaking of matters of life and death. Like the Queen of England, only with bigger hats. And that will be a good thing.- A very happily-lapsed Catholic

  • jmat2

    The Catholic church is nothing if not consistent. Humanity is by its nature challenged by dire situations but the Pope spouts strict dogma, terrified to make a real contribution in our dangerous changing world. He could at the drop of a hat spend the money needed to stop AIDS in Africa but is content to live surrounded in splendor as a God on earth. He has now signed death warrants for millions and added to the subjugation of women in Africa. The Popes religion is all about guilt and suffering, he spreads those around oh so graciously.

  • shotsy22

    “Even as late as 2000, a study conducted in Sao Paulo found that just under half of all new AIDS cases among women were reported in women who were both married and monogamous (Inciadardi, et al. 2000).” Most importantly, we are forgetting the most obvious reason monogamy may not save Africa. We are thinking of Africans as if they are Americans. As if they have the same resources, education, and lifestyle as us. Every country and culture varies in their gender roles, understanding of marriage, and whats considered socially acceptable sexual behavior. For example: in rural areas of Brazil a woman is considered pure even after marriage (and sex with her husband) as long as she only has sex with her husband. However, it is a normal behavior for the husband to have extra-marital affairs with prostitutes. Fact is, you can preach all you want, but people will still label themselves Catholic then behave in the manner to which they are accustomed. There is no reason for the Pope to make them feel guilty. If I were Catholic, I would rather feel guilty then waste away from a horrible disease (or worse accidentally spread it to someone I love, say a baby?). Can we please just educate everyone enough so that they can protect themselves?! That goes for our children too (Go comprehensive sex ed, because abstinence only clearly is not working! Thank you Bristol)!!!

  • jaycee5

    This makes it perfectly clear that a celibate male cannot run a church. His mind is warped by his myopic view of the world. He obviously does not care about his congregants, esp. the women. As a man of the cloth, his grasp on reality is gone. He is probably suffering from dementia & his celibate Vatican handlers have kept it from us.

  • ecglotfelty

    Mr. McIlvane wants to impeach a pope. That would be OK, if the Catholic Church were a democracy. Which it isn’t.Surely Mr. McIlvane realizes that there are numerous Christian denominations other than the Catholic Church. If he disagrees with the stance of Pope Benedict, which is probably the official stance of the Catholic Church, then find a better church. Might I suggest a Baptist church, who elects their leaders in a democratic fashion. Just a suggestion. I’m not Catholic so the Pope doesn’t speak for me. If you want a true authority, try following Jesus Christ.

  • funinthesun1

    the whole article is disingenuous, the author is a methodist and last time i checked they have the same bs views. let him renounce his own church and then move on to others or better yet mind his own business. The whole storybook and all like it is crap and a crutch for tools.

  • fsmkedu

    In this world of post modernism where materialism is the basis of everything, Catholic spiritualism is purposely made as a laughing stock by the leftist media. That’s why the nasty scribblings of every Robert McElvaine and Dan Brown is getting its way to the top of fame. These leftists talk big about the medieval church. But they will not bother to talk about the current attrocities against humanity which happens in the middle eastern countries where people other than a specific religious caste cannot even own a piece of land; cannot become a citizen of their countries irrespective of how long they live there. The leftists don’t care about the bombings and beheadings which happen in the name of religion. These ideologists only care about what happened in the medieval church even though none of them have the ability to travel back in time to see exactly what happened.

  • love234america

    Why would the Post print such an article? Newspapers across the country are going under and it is no wonder. This man has no right to say “Impeach The Pope”. If he is a Catholic as he says, he needs to immediately leave the Catholic Church as he has no business being in the Church. As one reader said, the Church is not a democracy…you can’t pick and choose. You must adhere to the laws of God and the Church. Look at what has happened in our democracy…..greed, sin, rape, killings, corporate stealing, etc. Go away Professor, far away….you belong with the A.I.G. crowd.

  • Terrorfied

    Another antiquated religious philosophy regurgitated by an old man that is irrelevant to the times we currently live in?? HOW SHOCKING!! Why didn’t you ask me if I was sitting down before telling me this?But I do have a question for whoever wrote:”Condemns will not stop AIDs in Africa, abstinence and Christian morality will.” Are you stupid or something?

  • Emilt

    It is clear that Robert S. McElvaine a) has limited knowledge of the Catholic religion of which he claims to be a member; and/or, b) has an axe to grind with the institution. His ignorance is scandalous.The world and the Pope exist on two different planes. The world, as Mr. McElvaine illustrates, is concerned with itself over God, and the Pope seeks to advance love of God and Chrisitian charity over all else.Yet many people don’t like genuine goodness. I know because I after I quit living by the rules of this world and embraced Catholicism — which is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and the only one against which he promised the gates of hell would not prevail — defenders of “human rights” and relativism, such as Mr. McElvaine have turned their backs on me simply because I’ve become religious — although I don’t make a habit of preaching.The only thing I learned here is that I wouldn’t want this bitter and confused man to ever teach a child of mine. Jesus Christ and his shepherd on earth are much better teachers.

  • Chops2

    The popes comments represent nothing more than criminal stupidity

  • UnitedStatesofAmerica

    You somehow claim to be Catholic? You mean a “cafeteria catholic”? Pick and choose what you want to agree with, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience you, in your selfish, self centered pursuits of carnal pleasure? Maybe you should start your own church and preach to yourself – “If it feels good – do it.” You will have a large following on your path below….

  • t_golstch

    the pope is an anachronism of the previous dark ages. this forum illustrates that – self-acclaimed special catholics have a special secret knowledge of what this halfwit is supposedly saying that is different then what he is quoted as saying.

  • PtheR

    Let me see if I have this straight:First, the author (and many commenters) identify themselves as Catholics and at the same time militantly refuse to accept Catholic beliefs and the authority of the Pope.Second, like it or hate it, the Catholic Church is second to none when it comes to feeding the hungry, providing material needs for the poor, giving medical treatment to the sick, ministering to those in prison, providing for adoptions, and welcoming the alien.Third, we are apparently supposed to be outraged that the visible leader of the Catholic Church consistently reiterates and defends the 2,000 year old teachings of that same Church.Fourth, HIV/AIDS is a 100% preventable disease, if you don’t engage in sexual intercourse except within a faithful, monogamous (heterosexual) marriage — which, no matter how much we may disagree with it, is the 2,000 year old teaching of the Church. The commenter who said most cases in women in Brazil are in monogamous marriages apparently does not understand how the virus works. Unless they are IV drug users, if both partners avoid fornication before they get married and are faithfully monogamous (i.e., obey the way the Catholic Church says we should behave) then it is impossible for them to contract HIV/AIDS. Sorry.Fifth, we are supposed to believe the Catholic Church is powerless to stop people from violating the teachings against fornication and for faithfulness in marriage mentioned above, which people are required to violate in order to spread HIV/AIDS, yet it is somehow all powerful in forcing people to adhere to the teaching against using condoms. It is therefore responsible for the death toll of HIV/AIDS.Sixth, those of us who review this situation are supposed to see how obviously the Pope is inconsistent and Catholics are mindless sheep.Is that about right?Oh yeah, I forgot, and we’re all supposed to run out and buy this guy’s book.

  • athelstane

    There are, of course, very clear provisions (Can. 1371, 1374) in the hierarchical institution set up, not entirely by Jesus but by the apostles he named and who follow and transmit his teachings, for excommunicating contumaciously heterodox Catholics who give grave scandal to the faithful.And sadly, it seems we have a candidate who has identified himself. And I’m quite serious, Mr. McElvaine.It’s apparent that you did not take the time to actually read what Pope Benedict said, or take the time to understand the Church’s teaching on birth control. But it’s likewise apparent that the truth is not what you’re interested in – but polemics. I was tempted to say that there’s a name for what you are, and it’s called “Protestant.” But that would be a great insult to the many devout Protestants across the land, all of whom are honest enough to call themselves what they are, and many of whom still honor and respect St. Paul as something a bit more than a mindless misogynist who “perverted” Christ’s teachings.

  • GoFigger

    Africa’s troubles started long before there was a Catholic church. That benighted continent can’t be helped or hurt by anything the Pope says.

  • jacob2

    The Catholic Church’s position is that, for sex to be healthy, life-giving, and moral, it must be comprised of two equally important aspects: the unitive and the procreative. Contraception of any kind is specifically designed as an obstacle to the procreative implications of sex. Artificial contraception especially is seen by the church as an unnatural and potentially harmful barrier between two individuals engaged in a very serious act.The Church’s position on sex itself is well-intentioned, well-reasoned, and well-meaning. Sex that is honestly open to and considerate of the act’s unitive and procreative responsibilities will always strengthen a relationship. With that said, it is obvious that strict adherence to the Church’s teaching on contraception could have disastrous consequences for many people, and such adherence might be considered far more irresponsible than practicing dissent.The role of the Church, and the Pope, however, is to give “voice” (obviously a decidedly human and flawed one) to God on Earth, which means standing for consistent and unchanging ideals, even if their application can be muddied by human realities. For the Church, and the Pope, the ends never justify the means, and rightfully so. The Church remains relevant and important precisely because it seldom compromises on thoughtful positions and because it is slow to change. The Church must take the extreme position because no else will, and no one else should. At the same time, the role of the laity is to discern how to best apply the teachings of the Church to the necessities of everyday life. To argue that the Pope should be impeached for failing to compromise on a sound social and sexual philosophy is inane; the Pope is not Barack or Bono, nor does he have the same responsibilities as the normal globe-trotting activist or political leader. The Pope provides moral bedrock – we as a Church must decide what homes we will build for ourselves upon the foundation.The editorial seeks to disparage the Pope but instead comes across as condescending to the intelligence and agency of the real Body of Christ, the dissenting Church at large.(As an aside to the Post, fatuous editorial screeds like this one reflect poorly on the newspapers that run them, and while this kind of sensationalist and populist tripe can drive up views and comments in the short term, it can never replicate or replace the long term benefits of a quality product.)

  • tlum

    Look on the bright side… at least we don’t burn witches any more.

  • hjmcmaster

    he’s obviously not catholic. The Pope was impeached a long time ago, it was called the “Reformation” to which the author is clearly a party.I’m happy to see TWP is still publishing crap as it reaffirms our decision to no longer subscribe.

  • dreed3d3

    “I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.” What an asinine comment.With all due respect, it is time to find a new religion! Why do you continue to participate in a broken, corrupt institution? As if these words are the most egregious offenses of the Catholic Church. PUH-LEEZE!If you continue to call yourself a “Catholic,” in my mind you are as much to blame for the Pope’s words as the Pope himself. Stop calling yourself a Catholic and quit the church. In doing so you might prove to be half as dimwitted as you initially come off.

  • jonny2

    This article is a spouting of ignorance and misuse of commonly known words which are already well-defined. This is a joke. TLUM: People like you and your sarcasm don’t help the ignorant state of affairs. Not burning witches at the stake is not an advancement of morals, but an advancement in knowledge of the truth. If there were people in this world which were known beyond a doubt to be: controlled by devils, to purposefully will to kill their neighbors and cast spells upon them, to hurt the health of all, could you think of anyone more deserving of death? The reason witchs are no longer burned at the stake is because we in fact know them to not exist. Your ignorance is noted in the fact that you attempt to impue that the church and its moral laws is at fault for such acts.

  • markinirvine

    The Roman prohibition on contraception is the invention of the same papal infallibility which condemned and punished Galileo for teaching the heresy that the earth orbited the sun. The Catholic condemnation of birth-control (1930′s “Casti conubii”) is not even 100 years old and certainly is not biblical; the doctrine of papal infallibility is not even 200 years old (1871, First Vatican Council). Benedict’s latest pronouncement on condom use as sinful will be the cause of the deaths of many African women who have the misfortune to be married to AIDS-infected philandering husbands. To contend that this pronouncement bears the cloak of papal infallibility is ludicrous, and requires a “faith” that is more about political submission than divine revelation. The article’s criticism of Benedict is more than justified.

  • jcaroleclarke

    As head of the Roman Catholic church the Pope is responsible for providing new membership in his church which is why contraception is forbidden. More babies equals more souls for the church, simple math. Urging abstinence on people is just talk, nobody is going to stop having sex. Husbands WILL have unprotected sex with infected women and transmit the virus to their unsuspecting wives. In Africa the virus is rampant among heterosexuals, many of whom are uneducated and don’t even understand the connection between sex and pregnancy never mind the transmission of a virus. Some still believe in witchdoctors and wear amulets and believe in magic spells that can cure them. How can you explain the larger concept to uneducated villagers? We need to find a vaccine against this damn virus NOW. If we don’t, hordes of Africans will continue to die, whole generations will die.

  • qwerty8

    THe pope doesn’t like condoms because he looses sensations when he has his pecker in little boys bums.

  • apn3206

    MSGR writes: “…let the Pope be the Pope.”===============================As soon as his church stops trying to legislate its dogma, I’ll be happy to do so.

  • markinirvine

    jm917 wrote: “Follow … Henry VIII out the door.”Henry VIII is probably the last person I would propose as a leading light out of the darkness of papal arrogance and idiocy.

  • 10emlet

    2,000 year old teachings? Please, learn about this church. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t too long ago that these same priests could be married. Even the bible isn’t that old, my friend.

  • jonny2

    How on earth has it been forgotten that if two people continue to have sexual relations together, one of whom is HIV positive, and perform these acts “protected” (with a condom) the clean person will in fact over time contract the virus??? It blows my mind that people have been brainwashed to forget that the interstitial spaces in the condom material physically are limited to being larger than a virus. In plain English to you uneducated out-of-work liberals, that means condoms DON’T WORK all the time. unbelievable.

  • rkhan2mexico

    while we are at it, lets ban all organized religions or put them all in one place so that they can kill each other. They are all corporations. no different than AIG, designed to intimidate and cheat innocent people. They should be all taxed. None of them are the true representaions of what original

  • jonny2

    The Dead Sea Scrolls in fact prove that many portions of the Old Testament are older than 2,000 years. The earliest book of the New Testament (Mark) was written roughly 1,940 years ago (supported by countless independent historians of the time through cross-referencing), so yes, you are correct, the New Testament is not “quite” 2,000 years old. Don’t talk without facts.

  • jonny2

    ahh, the kind of person who throws somebody a life preserver in the midst of a tidal wave. People nowadays aren’t just very occasionally having sex; it’s an addiction that condom use will promote more by creating a false sense of security. Try reading NIH studies and scientific research on the topic instead of throwing useless data at me. Statistically over time, only a zero percent chance is 100% dependable.

  • Reason12

    The church isn’t to blame- it’s the gullible people who buy into religious claims giving it credibility and then by following dogma undermine their own self-interest.When you let insanity reign the result is an ignorant overpopulated region making their situation worse with a continuation of starvation, violence, and AIDS.Thank goodness there are people like Bill Gates (Atheist) who are also quiet powerful and use their power for good (i.e. the Gates Foundation). So between the Pope and Gates it’s like Yin and Yang, if you believe in that stuff.

  • usapdx

    HOW MANY CATHOLICS ARE BAPTIZE BY THEIR CHOICE? HOW MANY AGREE WITH ALL , 100% OF THE CHURCH TEACHINGS? HOW MANY EVER ASK A RELIGIOUS A RELIGION QUESTION IF YOU CAN FIND A RELIGIOUS TO ASK? AT MASS, WHY DO THEY NOT SAY THAT SINS WILL BE FORGIVEN INSTEAD OF MAY? WHY IS THERE NOT A GENERAL CONFESSTION SERVICE AS PART OF THE MASS? WHAT RIGHT DOES A HUMAN HAVE TO MAKE A RELIGIOUS RULE AND FOR IT’S VIOLATION, IT IS SIN? HOW MANY KNOW THE HISTORY OF CHRISTANITY? DO YOU EVER GET THE FEELING THAT THE MEMBERSHIP IS BEING CONTROLED? WHY ARE SO MANY VOTEING WITH THEIR FEET IN EUROPE? SINCE THE FALL OF ROME TO DATE THERE HAS BEEN PROBLEMS WITH THE LEADERSHIP, NOT THE RELIGION. ROMA NEEDS ANOTHER JOHN 23rd.

  • citizenx1

    I read at the end of the article;”Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm…” and if that is the truth, then why the hypocrisy? It is sad when one compromises the truth for personal gains and further more when we provoke religion out of desperation! Arts & Letters & condoms don’t mix together.Please leave the Pope alone to accomplish his mission and you take care of your self.

  • apn3206

    @JONNY2: Information on the CDC and WHO websites is based on scientific research. In fact, those sites provide references to studies published in peer-reviewed journals. The NIH, by the way, released a report in 2001, “Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention”, stating that “‘always’ users of the male condom significantly reduced the risk of HIV infection in men and women.” In that context, I don’t understand your post.Just because something is not 100% effective does not mean it’s of no use.I’d also like to see references to peer-reviewed studies for your claim that “People nowadays aren’t just very occasionally having sex; it’s an addiction that condom use will promote more”.

  • richard_b

    HERETIC!!!!!!!!!

  • azrebel

    In dealing with any religion or religious organization, we need to put REALITY back into reality. The disease and birth control subject is most serious, however, I must include and add my own humour of reality to this dialogue.If you see someone wearing funny clothes or a funny outfit, doesn’t it make you wonder if their “thinking” is also kinda funny?Take a look at the funny clothes and funny outfits the pope wears. Face the reality, it’s really all we have.

  • jmat2

    @citizenx1Where do we send the dead bodies of African AIDS victims? To the Vatican, or to u citizenx1? The man is head of one of the largest corporate entities in the world. Lets have him do something other than spread guilt and suffering.

  • mzafrullah

    Could it be that the Pope meant that if he forbade the use of condoms the Catholics would abstain from illicit sex? If that is so, then he wants to turn promiscuous folks into thinking caring human beings. That is no ground for impeachment.

  • truthisselfevident

    Sometimes doing the right thing is more important than pleasing the liberal media. Firstly, the Pope must follow strict church doctrine. For you to ask the Pope to say condom use is OK is like asking a conservative Jew to eat pork and not keep the sabbath. The Pope has to teach abstinence because that is part of the foundation of the religion. Whether it is “realistic” or not is irrelevant. The purpose of religion is higher than earthly problems and thus must be consistent with it’s fundamental doctrines which includes the concept of the after life. The Jewish-dominated media loves to attack the Catholic church buy using pseudo-Catholics as a proxy for their aims. The author of this article is nothing but a sell out. To compare the Pope to the crooks at AIG and the like of Madoff is the most disproportionate comparison I have ever seen. It’s actually like comparing Israel’s massacre of over 1,000 innocent Palestinians to the killing of 5 Israelis by primitive rocket attacks. Get the picture? Are you reading between the lines? Good.

  • patrick3

    I’m a Catholic and I also believe in virtually nothing the Catholic Church teaches. Therefore I’d be all for impeaching the Pope and replacing him with someone who knows what in the hell he — or she — is doing.But why stop there? Nobody is irreplaceable if you know what I mean.

  • rolfpeterwille

    “peach” and “Pope” is a wonderful alliteration! So poetic! Maybe “Impope the Peach” wold be even more original…

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    When Jesus comes back will he be dressed like that? God leads the Pope impedes.

  • davideconnollyjr

    Robert S. McElvaine,

  • dennisinkiev

    This has gotten way out of hand. Why don’t we take a look at what the pope actually said? He was responding to a question about the Church’s position on against AIDS, stating that it “is often considered unrealistic and ineffective.” The pope responded:”I would say the opposite. I think that the reality that is most effective, the most present and the strongest in the fight against AIDS, is precisely that of the Catholic Church, with its programs and its diversity. I think of the Sant’Egidio Community, which does so much visibly and invisibly in the fight against AIDS … and of all the sisters at the service of the sick.”I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money — which is important, but if there is no soul, no people who know how to use it, (money) doesn’t help.”One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.”The solution can only be … first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship even and especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering. And these are factors that help and that result in real and visible progress.”Therefore I would say this is our double strength — to renew the human being from the inside, to give him spiritual human strength for proper behavior regarding one’s own body and toward the other person, and the capacity to suffer with the suffering.”It is not that condoms do not have effectiveness in the biological/public health sense. The problem is that we are more than simply physical biological beings. We are soul and spirit and life. When we reduce human life to only the material, I agree with the pope, we will only “increase the problem.”

  • mcat_bioscience

    jonny2 are you a condom researcher? You sound somewhat educated until you stated that “Statistically over time, only a zero percent chance is 100% dependable”. Buddy, if you knew anything about statistics you would know that there is nothing that is 0% or 100%. Only way you have 0% chance of contracting the HIV virus, is if you die right now. Now about the pores in latex, try putting water in a condom and look if it seeps through. Sure a badly produced condom will leak, but that is different. If what you say is true, then surgeons would not operate on people with HIV because of the pores in their latex gloves. Sure you can read, but don’t try to pass your opinions as right by citing any science, it just makes you look dumb. One more thing, do you have any credible research that comes to the conclusion that condoms promote sex????

  • DanV

    When I was born I literally popped out of the womb and into the arms of one upright, righteous nun. From that day forward, I received one of the most “Catholic” as well as “religious” of educations: I memorized the Ten Commandments, I spouted Latin, I was taught the Pentateuch for three years, I knew who Tertullian was as well as Augustine and I was taught to read the Bible to be a great metaphor. But I also found out that THE most important thing in all of Christendom was this: hypocrisy. The comments to this article were wrought of the most venomous and hateful statements I’ve seen in a long time. Sometimes the hate (being what it is – man’s most stupid emotion) was so ridiculous and palpable as to be nauseous:“Yet many people don’t like genuine goodness. I know because I after I quit living by the rules of this world and embraced Catholicism — which is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and the only one against which he promised the gates of hell would not prevail — defenders of “human rights” and relativism, such as Mr. McElvaine have turned their backs on me simply because I’ve become religious — although I don’t make a habit of preaching.Righteous arrogance is always sickening. Benedict XVI is steeped in righteous arrogance. The man who presided over the child of the Inquisition (Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) knows nothing about the people he lauds or condemns. His colleague, Hans Kung, agrees that Benedict’s theology is banal in its patriarchal madness: “They are defending a patriarchal church with a patriarchal God. We must fight the patriarchal misunderstanding of God.”Thank you, Mr. McElvaine, for voicing an opinion which needed to be heard, but which will be viciously oppressed by the so-called “righteous.”

  • GrahamDavis

    During his current visit the pope has once again told millions of African catholics that if they use condoms they will go to hell. As most are poor and ignorant they believe this fallacy and so continue to have unprotected sex. But this time the catholic church has gone even further claiming the condom use does not protect against HIV/Aids.Denial of the Holocaust is illegal in some countries. Perhaps claiming condom use does not protect against HIV/Aids should be regarded as Contraception Denial. The pope is responsible for this doctrine and he can change it; that he refuses to do so should be regarded as a crime against humanity. He knows that in the developed world most catholics ignore this doctrine and so is guilty of exploiting ignorance and poverty in order to enforce his will in the only region where he knows he will be obeyed. In any other sphere such behaviour would be regarded as deeply immoral and yet to a large extent it goes unchallenged. Add to this its attitude towards homosexuality and one must conclude that the catholic church is bankrupt of any moral authority.

  • talykin

    What has been happening with Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religions throughout history is an absolutely logical outcome of the whole monotheistic teaching. It had destroyed all hope for tolerance.

  • swade84

    “Excommunicate Robert S. McElvaine.”I think that should be the headline for today’s Washington Post. “Terms and regulation for Posting a Comment?” Professor, its seems your the one who needs these the most (pun absolutely intended). It’s difficult how to be charitable when somebody’s wits collapse into utter rottenness. You call comparing Pope Benedict XVI initiatives to those rotten scoundrels in AIG and Bernard Madoff a “justified outrage?” If I had to diagnose you professor, it will be like this Rx: Severe Terminal Cognitive Dissonance. Treatment:Hospice Mental Care. I bet your next article will be Obama’s failure to predict AIG’s predictable greed “Historic” Take that Ph.d off you name.

  • t-l-m

    Everyday some media outlet, somewhere, levels a new attack on the Holy Father and Holy Mother Church.Make no mistake about it. This is nothing short of a declaration of war.This war has a simple goal for the modernist fascists: to silence the Catholic Church, to destroy the Catholic Church. What is happening in India could very well become a reality worldwide. There’s very little fear of God or respect for true religion outside traditional Catholic circles, and those who would have a mind to defend the truth of our religion become weaker every day.The economic collapse is flaming anxieties, and civil unrest is becoming a reality throughout the world. The mobs will, no doubt, look for someone to blame, and forces in the media and in Catholic progressivist circles are fanning the flames of hatred toward traditional Catholics. The mechanization of the mass media stifles rational thought among the masses, and secularism is dominating western democracies to the extent that they are now teetering on the verge of despotism. Prelates of the Church, some modernists in Catholic clothing, others useful idiots of those who seek the destruction of the Church, are at the throats of other prelates. Some even in the Vatican plot the demise of the Holy Father.Faithful Catholics who will stand by the Holy Father should prepare themselves for what will inevitably come. Above all, it is time to increase our prayer lives, practice our religion to the fullest, and inflame our charity toward our neighbor, especially those who persecute the Holy Father and us. In the most disparate times God tests the metal of His children.Also, take a moment to write your Congressmen and local newspapers and television and radio stations, and voice your concern about the increasing vindictive rhetoric of the media against the Catholic faith and our Church leaders. Tell your local representatives and Congressmen not to support anti-Catholic legislation, and to protect the freedom of Catholics to practice their religion and have a voice in the public square.

  • uche05

    Hey, what do you expect from the head of the church that brought us the Inquisition, pedophile priests, and demands for belief in a geocentric university? The same church whose local hierarchy told me in no uncertain terms while in parochial school that my family and I should not be seeing our family doctor because he is Jewish. And they preach “moral conduct”! The unsubstantiated nonsense that “condoms increase the problem” is on par with a comment that listening to these guy will cause your IQ to drop 10 points.

  • seadog1946

    Dear Robert, You are not a catholic, you are a screaming poof.

  • Chaotician

    The whole concept of the so-called Christian religions is ridiculus on its face and even more absurd with even a minimum amount of study! You could really say that the only thing that gives Christianity any credibility is its basic stupidity; ala noyhing this crazy could be made up by mere humans! But of course that is the basic facts; after 2000 years of tweaking and fiddling we have the mess now called Christian!Do Christians really believe:As the saying goes: You couldn’t make this up….but we did!!

  • samelson1

    This pompous Nazi being worshipped as a leader is a bit hard to swallow. The so-called Catholics on this discussion pages are the stupid sheep he is harvesting hid billions from. The Catholic hierarchy has turned the nunneries into brothels. A recent book by a nun from Kerala, India attests to this new revelation. This same church is also responsible for abusing children throughout the world. In the U. S. alone, they have paid out 2.6 billion dollars as court-mandated penalties for past sins and there is more to come. The ability of people to ignore all these in everyday news cycle and cling on to a heathen, as leader is just nauseating!

  • themutant

    Hmmm. Even if I weren’t Catholic, why should I listen to the rants of someone too ignorant to realize he is not a Catholic? Or are you just lying about that to give your article “credibility?”

  • cintronlourdes

    The Zionists have succeeded in Germany in bashing and sending to prison any holocaust ‘denier’.They are trying to do the same in Canada and in the USA.The Pope knelled in front of the Zionists because…well, they probably made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse, a al The God Father.Zionists are a danger for Americans, our freedom of speech is at stake.So called holocaust denying should be like any other issue, free for discussion.The only ones that should be sent to prison are the Zionists that insist in eliminating our freedom of speech.

  • bobmoses

    Typical liberal tripe from “OnFaith”. Based on the comments the article was a big hit with their audience of anti-religious bigots.

  • Prx7Y

    In order to be Catholic one must believe in the official Church teaching, it is not enough to say that I am a Catholic, yet I do not accept the official teaching of the Catholic Church. If one does not accept what the church teaches one should have the honesty to leave the church. Church positions are not something that are arrived at through some political process. We are so used to determining what is legal and illegal by pressure groups and popularity that many want to run the Church this way. And there is so much misinformation about the church. The Pope encouraged Galileo, and invited Galileo to lecture on heliocentrism in the Vatican. The church only requested that Galileo teach heliocentrism as an hypothesis unless he could prove it. Galileo claimed to have a proof, but it was faulty. Galileo was never condemned for heresy, rather for suspect of heresy, and this decision was not signed by 3 of the 10 Cardinals judging, one of the nonsigners was the Pope’s brother. And the Inquisition never had jurisdiction over Jews and Moslems. Further anyone brought before the Inquisition was asked to write a list of their enemies, and then the testimony of anyone on this list was thrown out. The number of people executed by the Inquisition does not compare with the number killed during the reign of terror which we now celebrate as a liberation, nor the killings of the communists or the atheistic Nazi reign, yet the Inquisition is always ritually invoked as an example of unparalleled horror. It is part of the black legend put forth by England after splitting with the Church.

  • dem4life1

    Does the pope remind anyone elese of ronald reagan? Same rediculious stick your head in the sand mentality. The death and suffering caused by reagan’s ignorance are legend…Unfortunately, we have this old nazi in a dress, pointy shoes and tiara running around spewing the same crap reagan did. What a disgraceful performance from “gods” representative. If God is truely as evil as his representative, it’s little wonder they hung his son on a cross.

  • kmernsti

    This is utterly sophmoric. I agree with the canon law expert who posted this link about your column which amounts to a silly and yet still very malicious attack on a person and an institution which you apparently know nothing about. See:

  • furtdw

    Impeach the Pope?I have a much better idea. Impeach Ms. McElvaine.My Pope and the entire Magesterium have my fullest support.

  • pgr88

    Ms. McElvaine claims “I am a Catholic” yet then proceeds to trash the church, the Pope and any idea of self-control or morality the Church teaches.Stop with your PC hypocracy, McElvaine. Claiming to be a Catholic does not suddenly give you moral equivalency with the Pope.

  • rd3

    The pope should be condemned for his stance on denying condoms in Africa. The one thing the church left out in defending this radical policy is the word responsible. Be fruitful and multiply responsibly. That’s what any god worth his salt would have said. Of course, it’s all bunk anyway.

  • flyangler

    I would suggest that all who think they know the Catholic Church’s teaching about sex read any number of references to the “Theology of the Body”- a series of audiences given by Pope John Paul II that clearly explain the subject.I feel bad for this writer being so mis-informed. I feel worse that he’s trying to spread that ignorance. But I feel hopeful that the truth will shine through to you sometime in your life so that you can return fully and peacefully to the Church.

  • deapol12

    The secular world hates the pope. So whatelse is new? The jews hung GOD on the cross. The first pope, Peter, hung on the cross, and subsequently all pontiffs have been persecuted even to this day. Everybody seems to want to play pope, but Jesus Christ chose one, and that earthly leadership role was passed on, and so remains today. The conflict of today, however is of the 21 sacred councils of the Church, Vatican II remains only a pastoral council, colored as a doctrinal council, which it isn’t. As a result the Church is wounded by having, since 1962 a period of antipopes teaching falsely to the world. Once the falsity of vatican II is exposed by its errors in relation to Sacred Tradition right minded thinking will once again prevail, as it should, and those needing salvation will enter the Church knowing that faith, hope and charity will lead our souls heavenward.

  • spolifemo

    What a misinformed article. The writer reveals a complete ignorance of the official documents of the Curch, which give the right context to the teachings he is criticizing. I am not saying he should necessarily agree with them, but there is a smart and informed way to question the teachings, and a ranting, dramatizing, misinformed way. It is disappointing to see how the quality of articles on the Washington Post is so volatile. And I am one of those readers who loves to read the points of those I disagree with.

  • mstephenson99

    Don’t blame us. We didn’t vote for him.

  • mmchale

    Mr. McElvaine, what you meant to say is you WERE catholic. Your comments,assuming you are aware of the Church’s teachings you critiqued, render you guilty of heresy at least materially,if not formally. If the latter, you don’t need the pope to declare you excommunicated because you already are LATEA SENTENTIAE under canon law.If you don’t like what the Church teaches,take your ball and go play in some false church until you see the error of your ways,confess your sins, and return humbly to the Arc of Salvation–P.S. dealpol 12 is spot on in castigating the deplorable Vatican Council II

  • katavo

    nah, leave the man “in office”. He’s doing more to free humanity from religion than any of those communists. I applaud his efforts.

  • arosscpa

    Mr. McElvaine, you seem to have missed a few years in CCD. The fundamental act of a Catholic believer is the intellectual and moral assent “to all the Catholic Church believes and teaches,” to quote the various rituals of initiation. If you were baptized as an infant, your parents and godparents did this on your behalf. If you were received as an adult, you took this obligation on yourself, as the youth do in confirmation. On Easter Sunday, and throughout the year, we reaffirm that commitment in the renewal of baptismal vows.So it seems that either 1) you have repudiated those promises, severing yourself from the body of the Church, apparently for the sake of royalties and a reputation as an academic gadfly, or 2) you will trudge into eternal life with that vast throng under the banner of invincible ignorance.

  • GrahamDavis

    Reading many of these posts it amazes me that otherwise intelligent folks try to rationalize faith based on entirely irrational beliefs. There is no god. The “great faiths” have accumulated the trappings of authenticity because they have been around for so long. But as they have no more validity than reading the spots on a toadstool (I don’t believe in fairies either) why don’t you all join the real world and help solve the real problems?

  • DemVets

    Aids notwithstanding

  • grashnak

    I don’t condemn the pope for believing certain things that are consistent with his role as leader of the Catholic church. Of course he is a reactionary conservative – that is his job.It is perfectly legitimate for the pope to say, “The Catholic church believes that using condoms is wrong because it is contrary to what god wants”. This is a statement about how the church thinks people should behave.It is indefensible, on the other hand, for the pope to make ridiculous statements that deliberately mislead or outright deceive people as to actual scientific facts. Saying that using condoms increases your chances of getting aids is not only asinine and stupid – its outright dishonest. He is lying and his lies have the potential to harm a lot of people.

  • ElDirque

    The effect of the Pope’s comments can be quantified in lives. Take the number of HIV deaths in a nation, multiply by the percentage of faithful Catholics in that nation, and subtract from that number the percent of faithful Catholics in that nation who are able to lead sin-free sexual lifetimes, and you might get a ballpark figure.

  • GaryEMasters

    I do not know where to start. Most of this screed violates the posting policy’s intent, if not the letter of the rules.Just read it over. That ought to discredit it.

  • GrahamDavis

    Lets use some good old biblical language, the pope is “evil”. Why because he knows that you, yes I mean you, use birth control, you can bend the rules and still get a ticket to the next life. But ignorant, ill educated, frightened Africans can be bullied and intimidated into a course of action that continues to kill millions of them. And you refer to this man as “holy father”. What kind of father treats his children with such heinous contempt and cruelty? Are you so brainwashed that you cannot recognize this or perhaps it is that your own cozy little world is threatened by the truth!

  • john16

    What most troubles me about the Pope’s comments and much of what has been shared in the commments is the black and white sense of the issue — either you are deeply spiritual and therefore have no need for condoms (or scientific understanding for that matter), or you are secular (and trust nothing but science) and see sex only as a mechanistic physical desire and therefore need to use condoms. Why the either or? Why can’t the deeply spiritual have vibrant and loving sexual lives that take into account the best we know about protecting our bodies from disease? Why divorce spirituality from sexuality from scientific understanding? Sadly much of the heirarchy of the Catholic Church continues to insist that these things cannot be integrated. For so much of its history it has fought (ultimately unsuccessfully) to deny scientific progress. Here again the same happens with a stance against condoms that flies in the face of unversal public health understandings. We desperately need an enlightened Catholic Church that can see what so many other religions already see — faith and human sexuality and scientific understand all flow from the creator and make up who we are and the Kingdom on Earth. We pry them apart and deny them at our own peril and to God’s great sadness.

  • ashleybone

    The plain and simple truth here, despite all the shrill and hysterical accusations of anti-Catholic bias, is that the pope told an outright lie that condom use increases the spread of AIDS. This lie will likely have deadly consequences among Catholic populations worldwide.Remind me: in Christian theology, which entity is the father of lies? Since Ratzinger is spreading lies, who is he really serving?

  • practica1

    The mistake has been to equate all contraception with all abortion – that has resulted in a preposterous elision of what are two separate issues. A further mistake has been the equation of homosexuality with abortion, which has been seen as a perverse response to sexual predation by the clergy.The Vatican’s toehold will be in Africa and Asian countries in which male dominance of the het persuasion remains a pervasive ethos. The result of this in the developed world will be more abortion, increasing hostility toward the vulnerable aged and young – and this evil is a result of the hubris that was so well understood by the Pagans and the early Church. Christians will be united in the damage we do to the vulnerable, whether we be a Falwell or Robertson or Pope.

  • agapn9

    Dear Bob,Doing the right thing isn’t always the popular thing the easy thing or the pleasurable or fun thing – too bad Bob – you don’t seem to understand that.But if you look at the woman with 14 children who did en vitro twice in California and realize her actions went directly against catholic teaching then you might realize the church’s teaching can be correct at times.Even though church teaching might bother you because of its inherently restrictive message about the relation of sex to marriage and childbirth, it just might be true.

  • with-a-z

    You, Mr. McElvaine, are NO Catholic.

  • Fate1

    DamonHastings wrote: “And if you have used contraception very many times, then you may be assured that you have prevented at least one pair of sperm and egg from uniting, and thus extinguished their potential just as surely as if you had first waited for them to unite into a zygote.”Your logic is very flawed. By your logic we should begin having sex at age 12 and no woman should ever have a period since that means an egg did not get fertilized. Oh the humanity! When you use that sort of logic on teens they use their brains and get mixed messages. Have sex to make children but don’t have sex. Don’t use contraception but don’t get pregnant. Abstain from sex but pregnancy is a gift from God. No wonder kids brought up in christian households have a higher level of teen pregnancy. I’m over 50 years old and I cannot understand the logic behind your views. How can a teenager? As for condoms, the pope is completely wrong. You cannot pray a disease to go away, you cannot change culture with a statement or edict. His statement that condoms will not help deter AIDS is medically inaccurate. He is doing what the church always has done, envoke dogma over reality and science. No one should listen to him over what the medical community is saying. Use condoms or don’t have sex. Unprotected sex can be deadly.

  • GodsGadfly

    You are not a Catholic. You are an agent of Satan. Pope Benedict is the leader that real Catholics have been praying for for 40 years.You’ve probably never even *read* _Casti Connubii_, _Humanae Vitae_–or _Mater et Magistra_, for that matter (Pope John XXIII long ago prediicted that contraception would cause the economic mess we’re in now). That anyone could deny contraception is a fundamental assult on human dignity baffles me. I think it’s laughable to see liberals talk about offending Muslims, especially in the same article as opposing a tenet of the Natural Law which is also held sacred by Islam.

  • Dieterman

    Seadog1946 wrote ” Dear Robert, You are not a Catholic. You are a screaming poof.” Spoken like a true old-fashioned Catholic. If a man differs from you in his religious beliefs then just impugn his sexuality. Christian love in action. You weren’t one of my high school teachers at St. Benedict, by any chance?

  • BlueIguana

    For those who are interested in facts as opposed to uniformed rants, here’s a quote from Edward C. Green, Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project Center at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.“We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working. The pope is correct, or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments. Condoms have been proven to not be effective at the ‘level of population.” “There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.”“I also noticed that the pope said ‘monogamy’ was the best single answer to African AIDS, rather than ‘abstinence.’ The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates (the other major factor is male circumcision).”

  • MikeL4

    Guys like Bob here gets his jollies by making headlines. I’m guessing he was baptized Catholic, so he thinks that makes him “Catholic”. As a professor you would think he would be more intelligent. If you don’t believe what a religion espouses, then you are not a member of that religion. Pretty simple, no?Okay, so Bob is trying to sell a book on the back of Catholic haters. Go for it Bob. Reap your reward.

  • jdroberto

    I much preferred the pre-Vatican II RCC, which focused on the teachings of Jesus Christ instead of endlessly (and in most cases, pointlessly) involving itself with issues such as birth control, marriage for priests, female priests, gay rights etc. The harder the church tries to shove us back to the 19th Century, the faster they’re driving themselves out of business. For its intended purposes (charitable work, worship of God etc) this is a incalculable loss for the world.

  • yallips1

    The Pope and his minions need some sex education and stop their breeding frenzy. Here is what U. S. FDA says:Life-Saving BarrierA male condom, sometimes called a “rubber” or “prophylactic,” is a sheath that fits snugly over a man’s erect penis, with a closed end to catch the sperm and stop them from entering the woman’s vagina. No prescription is needed to buy a condom.Data show that if a condom is used correctly with every act of sexual intercourse for one year, about three out of every 100 women are expected to get pregnant.Besides sperm, latex condoms act as a barrier to a wide variety of viruses, bacteria, and other infectious particles. By preventing contact with many sores and minimizing the exchange of infectious fluids, condoms can help prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, herpes infection, and genital ulcers. Even though sperm are enormous compared to HIV (see illustration), both are much too small to see. But even HIV, which is among the tiniest of STD organisms, cannot pass through a latex condom.See

  • Mary_Cunningham

    His Holiness said: “One cannot overcome the problem with Do condoms prevent AIDS?Yes they do, but only if you use them.IMHO the Holy Father was speaking the truth when he queried their effectiveness. What prevents the spread of AIDS amongst homosexuals in the rich West does not work amidst married heterosexuals in sub-Sahara Africa. Using a condom with your wife (or, worse, having your wife insist you use a condom with her) is tantamount to a confession of adultery. And while Africans have sexual relationships with multiple partners simultaneously, they do not like to admit their sins so publicly (or privately) to their spouses. So you could distribute billions of condoms and they wouldn’t work because I think the Holy Father has a good point here, and remember, he has the input of thousands of Church workers ministering to AIDS-stricken Africans. But he could really use some help in the PR department, especially with the liberal press like McElvaine(surely he can’t be Catholic) and the folks at WaPo out to lynch him.

  • lennyjazz

    Doesn’t it occur to the hierarchy in the Church that God, who was poweful enough to have created everything, might be able to fashion a pinhole in a condom we She/He to really want the lady to get pregnant?Even more dramatic: Mary, presumably with God’s assistance, even conceived “immaculately”….Holy smoke!

  • DoTheRightThing

    Milsaps College has at least ONE faculty member not fully in possession of all his faculties. I am actively refraining from demeaning through a pun the college that would have him as a faculty member. I suggest that Robert S. McElvaine – Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College and book author – ponder WHY he considers himself a Catholic, and then make changes in his life to render it more consistent.

  • jmcmd

    Another psuedo-intellectual assault on Catholicism by someone pretending to be Catholic. The degree of hostility and moral relativism displayed in this piece may be deemed admirable in secularist circles but it only serves as a de facto ex-communication of the author if he were indeed a practicing Catholic (highly doubtful). Unfortunately, this type of hyperbole gets great coverage but masks the true fact which is that the moral teachings of the Catholic church in its traditional form are a soulution to much of the worlds problems and not a source of them. It is pointless to try and refute someone who doesn’t believe. One can, however, pray that this hardness of heart is softened at some point.

  • BlueIguana

    yallips1Facts, they’re a pesky thing, aren’t they?

  • mhoust

    Point to remember.The Catholic Church is an organization composed of members that run the range from priests to bishops to cardinals to the pope. They are the only ones with decision making capability in the Church. Non-ordained members, i.e. the rest of us who may be baptised, confirmed, etc. are ASSOCIATE members. We don’t get a vote. Our desires, wishes, knowledge, learning, reasoning have none to very little impact on the decisions of the Church. Yeah, parishioners may have local councils to run the parish, but only on the sufference of the parish priest who can take back the control, or override decisions, at will.What it comes down to is that I do not trust the Catholic Church to have the best interests of the laiety as their primary goal. If the organization exists for itself, and not us, then they deserve neither our loyalty or support.

  • grouse1

    Condoms have been used and are not working. The facts are there. The Pope remains true to the Catholic teachings and doctrine. Educate yourself. It is attitudes, not the machinery that needs to be fixed. The author is just another baptized but not practicing Catholic who is not content to just leave. If you disagree with one of the most basic tenets of the faith, the respect for life and the proper role of sexual activities in God’s plan for mankind, you may as well say you do not believe in the Eucharist as being the real presence of Christ. Simply put, the author is just not Roman Catholic. He fraudulently claims such affiliation. Move on.

  • GrahamDavis

    The catholic church has always concerned itself with propagation – propagating itself. The pope does not appear to care how many dead and dying of HIV/Aids he leaves in his wake as long as his immoral teachings are adhered to. Wake up catholics, can you not see how obscene this is?

  • BrianX9

    .In what sense is the author “Catholic,” if he rejects those teachings that define the Church ?

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Dear Mr McElvaine,Why do you say you’re Catholic, when you’re anything but? Are you sure you’re not Susan Jacoby in disguise? A good effort, rantwise, but if you want to write a serious piece maybe you should read what His Holiness said. He said And anger is bad for you, y’know. Freud did us all a great disservice when he wrote (completely unsubstantiated by any research)that repressing anger led to neurosis. To alleviate Yours hoping that the next time we meet you will be a happily engaged Episcopalian,Mary C.

  • GrahamDavis

    “The Pope remains true to the Catholic teachings and doctrine” so says Grouse1, as if that is more important than it’s effect on the dead and dying of HIV/Aids. Where is your morality? You all hide behind dogma, not one of you is brave enough to stand up and repent!

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Oh for goodness’ sake, graham davis, in South Africa the Church runs more hospices for those afflicted with AIDS than the gov’t. Condoms are freely available in South Africa. In some places they are also distributed free of charge. The Church has done nothing to prevent this.But

  • ejgallagher1

    A review of the history of the Papacy will show that many of the popes had children, both with and without the benefit of matrimony. Condoms probably would have changed a lot of Church history and limited nepotism to real nephews as opposed to jobs for sons and grandsons. As noted by a prior poster, infallibility came out of the first Vatican Council in 1870 and had its opponents. One of the better opposition quotes was that of the English Catholic Lord Acton: :”Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely>” As far as cafeteria Catholicism goes I think it can be said that a lot of non essentials have been put on the table since the days of St. Peter. The Pope is the Servant of the Servants of God but all too often in the course of hisory like the Roman Emperors or Pharaohs of Egypt thinks he is God. I would add that this is a problem with quite a few religious leaders from time immemorial. I am glad to see that the Church through the Council of Catholic Bishops was active in helping to get New Mexico out of the dark ages by that State’s repeal of capital punishment.

  • GrahamDavis

    MARY_CUNNINGHAM And if condoms were proved to be effective I assume that you would sanction them even against the churches teaching, I don’t think so.

  • irae

    Who was it, again, who put aged men in dresses and fabulous hats in charge of our sexuality? Do not want.

  • John_Keats

    DiggyZazz hit the nail on the head:”In what sense is the author “Catholic,” if he rejects those teachings that define the Church ?”It would be sad if the opposition of condoms, holocaust-denial, and misogyny defined the Catholic Church. Maybe in your Catholicism they do. I like to think that transubstantiation, liturgical ritual, and the belief in Saints, among other things, are what defines the Catholic church…

  • John_Keats

    Questioning someone’s Catholic faith because they question the legitimacy of the Pope is like questioning someone’s patriotism for disagreeing with the President. It’s foolish and self-righteous.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Oh, you are a silly toddle, graham davis. You didn’t read what I wrote, did you? I said insofar as the spread of AIDS is concerned condoms are effective*–if you use them. And since married heterosexuals in Africa * although there is some research that seems to show condoms are not so useful as previously thought

  • jclarkebis

    We’ll take it for granted that the Pope is a mountebank although PRIMUS INTER PARES if one considers his protestant counterparts. When can we expect his decision as to the condom exchange: priest/ altar boy variety?What fools these mortals be!

  • GrahamDavis

    As MARY_CUNNINGHAM has not responded to this question I challenge any catholic here to do so.If condoms were proved to be effective against the spread of HIV/Aids would you encourage their use even though it is against the teaching of the catholic church?

  • Dieterman

    The Catholic church has been making up doctrine all along throughout the centuries and dressing it up in Latin to wow the masses while excommunicating those of genuine and profound spiritual insight like the medieval German priest and seer, Meister Eckhart. It’s a religion far more based on Aristotle and his wayward teleology (one organ – one purpose and, hence, sex can rightly only be about procreation) than the fleeting enigmatic figure of Jesus. Pope John Paul’s last words were reported to be “Sum totus tuus” – I’m all yours. Was he referring to Jesus? No. To Mary. What basis does that have in the Bible? Excommunicate me, dear Ratzinger. I’m ready. Africa, et Africa sola, est tota tua.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    The Church does not deny the Holocaust, John Keats, and you know it. Why don’t you, graham davis, and Mr McElvaine have a nice gab session. You could get to know eachother, reinforce prejudices, do some male bonding and all that. You deserve each other!

  • atqueamamus

    “The idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me. . . .the hierarchical institution set up, not by Jesus but by men who hijacked his name and in many cases perverted his teachings. . .”Hmm, let’s see. . . What did Jesus say? Jesus to Peter: “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” “. . .[T]hou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And to the Apostles as a group: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” “. . .[W]hen he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. . .” “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”So NO, dimwit, the Church is not, never has been and never will be a democracy. Thanks for the book promotion, though. But take your impeachment movement elsewhere.

  • themutant

    To GrahamDavis, No. Even if they were effective, it is not as effective as not sleeping around. Taking religion out of it, I would only advocate the most effective method. Besides, EVERY country in Africa where they have been successful in widely distributing condoms has seen dramatic increases in AIDS and other STDs. They aren’t effective at all. For all the rants about the claimed lies the Catholic Church is supposed to have made, the lie about condoms helping to prevent the spread of AIDS is the only one relevant to the article – and the Church is right on this one; both doctrinally and scientifically.

  • John_Keats

    Mary C, Maybe I will. It would be a far more enlightened conversation without your vitriol.

  • schaeffz

    So, my first wife (now deceased) and I were both infertile. Knowing we could not procreate, should we have abstained from sex? Sorry, but sex has a more important function than making babies. It is God’s wonderful way to make the “two one”, to bond husband and wife into a blessed partnership. We adopted and raised two daughters, who were miracles of God. Our bonding which included enjoyable sex was vital to our successful parenting. I am now 59 years old and remarried. Do I refrain from sex now? Sorry again, because in my new partnership with my new wife, again sex is vital to our partnership as we receive and give God’s blessings in our jobs, families, and church. How can anyone who has a proper God-given marriage ever say that sex is not meant for pleasure? I would guess that your marriage ain’t all that good! Or that you are a priest or cardinal or pope that never has experienced God’s blessing of marriage. I would think that a vow of celebacy is counter to God’s Will for marriage. We all know about past popes and their extra-marital affairs!

  • atqueamamus

    “The idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me. . . .the hierarchical institution set up, not by Jesus but by men who hijacked his name and in many cases perverted his teachings. . .” I guess you know nothing about your supposed religion.Hmm, let’s see. . . What did Jesus say? Jesus to Peter: “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” “. . .[T]hou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And to the Apostles as a group: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” “. . .[W]hen he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. . .” “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”So NO, dimwit, the Church is not, never has been and never will be a democracy. Hey, thanks for the book promotion. But take your impeachment movement elsewhere.

  • GrahamDavis

    Themutant has responded in to my challenge. He is prepared to allow people to die of HIV/Aids in Africa as he considers sexual abstinence is an alternative. What breathtaking arrogance! He seeks to impose his sexual mores on a culture that is very different. He does this in the name of his faith and expects that to unburden him of the responsibility.

  • herealongtime

    Why do you people even take him seriously? He dresses like a pimp. Pay him no mind and one day he’ll go away. What grown man wears satin.

  • GrahamDavis

    Don’t worry MARY_CUNNINGHAM I am thick skinned and didn’t complain

  • Mary_Cunningham

    :=)

  • jp81

    Sad that so many people feel the need to comment on subjects they are woefully misinformed on. While I disagree with the Pope’s position on condoms in Africa (afterall, those spreading AIDS aren’t good Catholics, following the church’s teachings on when and with whom it is appropriate to have sex…if they’re going to live sinfully, might as well reduce its negative impact on others), the church does not say sex is only for procreation, nor does it say trying to avoid pregnancy is sinful. It merely teaches that as part of God’s plan, sex has two sides, a unative and a procreative side, and to artificially exclude one, is to interfer with God’s plan, and thus sinful. If you are naturally infertile, there is nothing wrong with having all the sex you want. You have taken no action to change the natural order of things. It is the physical interference with the process that the church condemns (on the opposite side of the coin, artificial insemination, and many fertility treatments are condemned because they remove the unitive portion, ie the sex, from teh equation). It is not misogynistic to say that a couple must take responsiblity for their urges, and learn enough to know when she most likely fertile, an avoid sex during that time(and no, I’m not talking about the “rhythm method”). So while I agree condoms are part of the solution of the AIDS problem in Africa, the use of condoms are only hitting a symptom of the problem, not the root problem, which is failure of morality, which the church rightfully condemns.

  • bgreen2224

    Condoms don’t kill people, Popes kill people.

  • pgk4usa

    This is undoubtedly the most ignorant, uninformed opinion I have ever seen printed in the WP. He apparently has made no attempt to understand the teachings that he criticizes. I am embarassed for him and for the Post.

  • formerheap

    The Pontiff is entitled to his opinions just like any other human being and to use a political term to refer to a process that is religious only adds to the ignorance of noncatholics. Excommunication is the proper term and as a catholic woman it outrages me that there are so many complainers and naysayers.The religoun of the culture of people which the United Nations has backed in a time of war is Muslim.There are articles written by people in that faith and that culture who article their desire to kill others, to allow children of any age to marry, and encourage violence. Since the Pontiff is no longer of the Polish culture and makes a comment that offends the polish culture will there be the outpouring of bit****** that goes on any time that culture of people can’t be the center of attention, can’t make others believe or behave the way they have been allowed to in and out of the catholic church for decades? Polish people are a culture of people who have been forgotten, never got the attention which they thought they deserved or the money that they feel they are entitled to for doing nothing but complaining about others. Review the history of the countries and the cultures then try to get the religious preferences of these people straight, it might actually be an enlightening experience. Excommunicate some of these “good Polish” families who for decades have blamed others and see how fast the Pontiff can run the Vatican without the ignorance and misinformation.

  • wadowia

    >There is no god.You are entitled to your beliefs. But for God’s sake don’t try to trash others based on your beliefs!

  • roscym1

    The idea that Jesus’ comment to Peter about being the rock upon which he would build his community (the Greek word meant community then) means the totalitarian male dominated bureaucracy posing as a church is reading the scriptures with the blinders of people who think dogma should be an excuse not to think for yourself.

  • poorrichard

    Prof McElvaineYou should know better than to throw out a statement like that on a forum like this.Authors get ‘gang tackled’ by the shrinking number of people who still occupy pew space on Sundays.While some of your points are correctly noted as being not being specifically cited (this is not a legal brief after all, though), the door is opened to silly ad hominem attacks, and allows those posters to evade a defense of the often, untenable positions, you point out.Just like the ‘Scandal…no one in the Hierarchy is willing to address issues, and they are supported by an unquestioning flock.The way the Hierarchy feels its should be.I feel sorry for the good guys (your local parish priests) on the front lines who have to defend Rome’s myopia.

  • bronxilla

    Hey Professor, thanks for helping me whittle down the college choices for my children.

  • HaveItYourWay

    “You are my disciples if you keep my commandments” … does not mean consensus by majority vote. People who do not accept the Church’s teachings de facto are not “Catholics” (even though they may call themselves whatever they choose …)

  • justillthen

    Hello GrahamDavis, I was born and raised Catholic, though not practicing now. That may or may not rate me for your poll, but I will put a vote in anyway. You distribute condoms, and teach their use, and advocate their use, if it is effective saving lives. It is effective saving lives, and that is shown in Africa at least as clearly as anywhere. More than lack of condoms resources, and more than a suggested “failure of morality”, it is ignorance that is the most destructive force in Africa. Knowledge, and the tools to use that knowledge, will combat ignorance and death the most effectively. It is a long held stance of the Catholic Church to affirm and support Life, in a non-violent way. This teaching is fundamental. It supersedes the positions on birth control, in my view. It is the clear moral choice for a religion that holds life as sacred.

  • briehl

    “I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.” Well I am a Catholic and the idea that someone like you would write this piece of drivel is absurd to me. I must have missed the part of RC instruction that said God would be calling you for approval of who was picked as the Pope. But why should it suprise anyone when a “cafeteria” Catholic trashes the part of their religion that inconveniences them. If you disagree with the basic premises of the Church that’s your right – go find a religion that hands out condoms along with Communion.

  • snews52

    To the overheated Catholics out there…stop saying this writer is not Catholic. It’s not true. Catholics have a right to disagree with the Church’s doctrine. If you were baptized Catholic, you remain Catholic forever. Even excommunication does not strip you from membership in the Church. The pope is right that abstinence is the only sure way to prevent the spread of aids through sexual contact. But you can still get aids through dirty needles and blood transfusions. Why isn’t the pope saying anything about drug abuse and aids? He should.Condoms do not prevent aids, nor do they prevent pregnancy in all cases. But they can offer some protection. For this reason, condoms should be one part of the strategy to reduce aids. Another part should be abstinence.

  • justillthen

    Hello HaveItYourWay,”You are my disciples if you keep my commandments” … does not mean consensus by majority vote. People who do not accept the Church’s teachings de facto are not “Catholics” (even though they may call themselves whatever they choose …)You make the common, (for a Catholic anyway) assumption that the Catholic Church IS THE extension of Jesus and His Teachings. It does not follow suit, however, that staying true to Jesus by keeping his commandments requires following the dictates and directions of the Church. Yes, if people do not follow the Churchs’ dictates they may not be proper Catholics, but it does not automatically delete them from the list of those that are “disciples of Christ”. It is arrogant to suggest they are connected. To be Catholic is NOT the only way to be a disciple of Jesus.

  • jcaroleclarke

    Despite the religious questions of this article, the PROBLEM is not religion, or the Pope or the Catholic Church. The massive problem is the spread of HIV/AIDS globally. No religion can help there because it’s a medical and sociological problem. The best any religion can do is secondary moral compassion. Only science can stop this PLAGUE. Condoms help but they are not 100% effective. Abstinence is just not logical. Education can make the population aware of how the virus is transmitted and how people can help themselves. But the only thing that can stop this epidemic is a vaccine. It’s how we stopped smallpox, polio, cholera, typhoid, typus, you name it. We can treat syphilis and gohnorrea to prevent its spread and this is what must be done with HIV/Aids. The Pope can’t do anything but pray. We’ve recently learned that it has re-exploded among the black, gay populations of eastern cities. People got tired of being careful and practical, they just wanted their fun. Some even thought that the current treatments which can prolong life for many years was a “cure”. THERE IS NO CURE!!! And there won’t be if everyone gets off track arguing about things that cannot fix the problem. Let the Holy Father keep the roof on our souls, let our troops keep the roof over our heads, and help the researchers develop that vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS. We won’t be able to do anything except provide compassionate treatment for those already infected, but we can prevent it from marching into the future.

  • bronxilla

    SNEWS52: You may be right technically, but there comes a point that a person is vehemently against so many core teachings of the Church that in practice they are no longer Catholic, and the right thing to do is as Luther did – go away.Another point: anti-Catholics accuse Catholics of marching in lockstep with the Vatican. In actuality, that is far from true: the divorce rate amomng American Catholics is the same as the general population; almost no one ever goes to confession regularly; for the most part, I think most Catholics use condoms anyway. Therefore to assume that a public pronouncement by the Pope will result in some mass behavior reflecting his views is silly. If Catholics truly followed every edict which came from Rome, and which has been taught by the Church, the world would be a very different place.And, oh yeah, go away.

  • kevin1231

    As someone who has been agnostic but turning into an athiest, I find amusing the whole notion of God and His spokesperson on earth. Can anything be more ludicrous than that. Furthermore, given the bloody history of christianity, for it claim now the pillar of humanity is even funnier.

  • vigor

    whatever happened to the “Infallability of the Pope”?My Dog is closer to God than this fool.

  • mhr614

    An alleged Catholic who spends his waking hours criticizing the Pope and defending Islam is strongly reminiscent of an alleged American who criticizes the United States of America and excuses the excesses of Islam. What both these creatures have in common is the fact that they are liberals.

  • DRPrice

    Wow–you got a book deal? And at this level of reasoning and argumentation. What a country!What part of town do I have to drive through to get an advance tossed through the window?

  • bronxilla

    Hey Kevin1321, check out the bloody history of atheism: see Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. 100′s of millions killed. Not too shabby.

  • MikeL4

    SNEWS52:Actually, you are incorrect. Being baptized in the Catholic faith does not make you a Catholic for life. Being baptized lays a claim on your soul for Christ. In the Catholic faith, if you are baptized as a baby, your parents agree to raise you in the Catholic faith. Obviously, some do a better job than others. The rest is up to the individual Christian.As you probably do not know, any baptism of water by a Christian Church in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is recognized as valid by the Catholic Church and the Church does not rebaptize converts. So you see, baptism doesn’t make you Catholic. That is up to you and whether you choose to live by the Catholic Church’s teachings as they understand them from Christ and His Word.

  • bronxilla

    Hey, I just saw this headline in the New York Times: “Obscure Professor from Obscure College in Mississipi Changes the Doctrine of the Catholic Church”. Ah, the power of the Internet.

  • PtheR

    Oh man, you got me; I just realized this is a parody!A guy who rejects the beliefs of the Catholic Church and calls himself Catholic is being truthful.The leader of the Catholic Church who accurately gives the Catholic view of the HIV/AIDS issue is a hypocrite.Finally, like 200 comments later, I realize this piece is satirical!Believe it or not, I actually thought this was a serious position. I fell for it; well done.

  • justillthen

    Hello jcaroleclarke’I believe that your defense is admirable but faulty. Certainly HIV/AIDS is a problem for science, and finding a cure is a scientific and not a religious issue. Unless we can pray the cure into being, which though to some theoretically possible it is beyond the skills of any that have shown themselves. So, along with prayer for a cure it will require good scientific work. The author of this article has an issue with the Pope and his leadership. He is not the only one to express disagreement with Benedicts direction and choices. It is Mr. McElvaines right to voice his opposition to choices of the Pope. He is still a Catholic even as he disagrees. Secondarily, the Church can do plenty to help, not the least of which is to assist in curtailing the easy spread of AIDS in Africa by getting behind sex education and the distribution of condoms. The Church has a lot of influence with the people of Africa. They could EASILY make a difference. They do not because of church doctrine regarding birth control. I disagree with that doctrine. But it is clear that the position of authority that the Church enjoys in Africa will not be used to stop the growth of AIDS, at least in this way.Comments that the Pope has made regarding HIV in Africa are ill conceived. It does not assist. And positions like yours support maintaining this form of status quo. I support the Church moving toward the inevitable liberalizing of pre-Rennaisance mind. Heirarchy looks out for it’s own. Been that way. Fundamentalism is just resistance to evolution of thought and practice. What would Jesus do, in Africa?

  • ECarolynT

    Perhaps as a Catholic, Professor McElvaine should try to “think with the Church”, as St. Ignatius Loyola counsels, by reading the actual documents–Pastoral Letters, Encyclicals, and more–that profoundly and lovingly answer to angry ignorance with respect and encouragement of the deepest needs, and the highest aspirations, of humanity. As G.K. Chesterton wrote (in paraphrase) ‘When you stop arguing against the Church, you’ll soon start arguing for the Church, and when you begin arguing for the Church, you’ll find yourself involved in the greatest romance of your life.’ This could be a turning point for you, Professor McElvaine.

  • atqueamamus

    “The idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me. . . .the hierarchical institution set up, not by Jesus but by men who hijacked his name and in many cases perverted his teachings. . .” I guess you know nothing about your supposed religion.Hmm, let’s see. . . What did Jesus say? Jesus to Peter: “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” “. . .[T]hou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And to the Apostles as a group: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” “. . .[W]hen he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. . .” “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”So NO, dimwit, the Church is not, never has been and never will be a democracy. Hey, thanks for the book promotion. But take your impeachment movement elsewhere.

  • Skowronek

    “Hey – do any of you know how I can become excommunicated? Do I file for it or something? I’ve been trying to get off the Catholic list for years. My parents signed me up for a club that I don’t want to have any part of.Posted by: castel Provide an abortion to a 9 yo girl who was raped by her stepfather and impregnated with twins. Merely raping and impregnating her isn’t ‘good enough’ to get you tossed out.

  • elife1975

    It’s true, abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent the spread of AIDS (sexually, anyway). I’ve also found that the only way to eliminate spelling errors, discrimination, hypocrisy, ignorance, and true sin is to abstain from religion. Unfortunately my solution only works 98% of the time. Maybe they’ll come up with a mental condom that will protect the wearer from the BS spewed by the theocratic masses? Speaking of random thoughts; if aids is bad, and the church is against infection, why doesn’t god eliminate it? Or childhood cancer, or rape, or murder, or genocide? And why do god’s priests keep boinking our little boys when there’s no chance of procreation? And why do catholic’s keep giving money to a church that uses it to cover attorney’s fees for the subsequent lawsuits? Theoretically, wouldn’t that make them accessories to rape? Because I think it does. So many question…

  • GrahamDavis

    I guess that the real issue here is the divide between those of any religion and those of us who uphold humanist morality. All religions demand that a set of house rules be met regardless of any objective evaluation of their consequences. Humanism simply states that that our respect for and love of our fellow human beings is enough to provide a moral blueprint for our lives. I am a humanist. I have often failed in my attempt to be a good person. I have attempted to atone for the mistakes that I know I have made and regret those of which I am not aware. I despise religion because it removes from the individual the necessity for self evaluation. In this forum I have criticised one aspect of Catholicism but when I look at Islam the situation is even worse. The awful certainty that religion encourages is simply totalitarianism.I don’t doubt that most catholics posting here are sincere but your ability to justify such inhuman practices makes me angry, so I will continue to harangue and ridicule your beliefs in the hope that one day you will abandon them.

  • patricksarsfield

    Mcelvaine writes:”I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.”WRONG. Catholics accept the role of the Pope as God’s spokesperson on Earth. If McElvaine doesn’t accept that, he is not a (Roman) Catholic. That is what Irenaeus said way back in 180 AD in Adversus Haereses 3:3:2. Maybe McElvaine is an Anglican manque??

  • bronxilla

    “I will continue to harangue and ridicule your beliefs in the hope that one day you will abandon them.”What’s the matter, you couldn’t come up with a less effective tactic? If our faith were that weak we would have let it go a long time ago.How about if we pray for you and reason with you in the hopes that grace will touch you and bring you into the fold?

  • ease99

    The horrors visited on all of us by the Catholic church are too gruesome to contemplate, they have been wrong in every undertaking, witness Galileo, they have ever had a hand in. They have slaughtered more people than the mind can imagine and yet we all still bow down to some pompous blowhard that has the nerve to call himself pope. He should be shunned by every civilized person on the planet for they are truly barbarians who think they speak for God, How dare they.

  • elife1975

    Africa is susceptible to religious doctrine. It’s an easily observable phenomenon supported by numerous surveys and studies that anywhere education is lacking, religion will find favorable support. It’s natural for humans to have questions. If they’re not educated enough to understand the answer or partake in the discussion, the easy out is through god, as demonstrated many times in this thread.

  • patricksarsfield

    McElvaine writes:WRONG. The Catholic Church has always had significant roles for women. E.g., Hildegard von Bingen, Catherine of Siena; generations of abbesses, nuns, etc. When Protestantism came along, it eliminated any role for women in the Protestant churches except for sexual partner to the ministers for hundreds of years (e.g., Katherine von Bora). With the exception of entrepreneurial new Protestant religion founders (e.g., Aimee Semple Mcpherson or Mary Baker Eddy), it has only been in the last forty or fifty years that most protestant sects have permitted female ministers. Or consider the way that almost all protestant sects have downgraded and even denigrated the role of the Mother of God in the life of the Church. Misogyny? Protestantism is thy name.

  • bronxilla

    EASE99:Do you prefer the horrors perpretrated by atheism, like the 100 million or so killed by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, and those being allowed to die today by North Korea? You buy every lie told about the church because ultimately you do not want to be held accountable for your actions.

  • GrahamDavis

    BRONXILLA You repeats platitudes rather than address my argument. Your blindness is tragic.

  • GrahamDavis

    ASE99 Read what I say. I hold myself solely accountable for my actions.

  • GrahamDavis

    BRONXILLA Read what I say. I hold myself solely accountable for my actions.

  • bronxilla

    Graham Davis:We Catholics have what is called an examination of conscience, a list of questions that delve into how we have behaved morally each day. This is a very personal evaluation of our actions.We also have confession, which allows us to bring our faults before God and ask for forgiveness. We make and act of contrition and try not to sin again.It’s too bad that you don’t believe in God becuase He’s there and not believing in Him doesn’t make Him go away.I will keep you in my prayers and look forward to the day you come home.

  • GrahamDavis

    BRONXILLA you say “If our faith were that weak we would have let it go a long time ago” This is a constant theme amongst believers as if it were a virtue. Perhaps you think it a virtue to maintain an opinion against all reasoned argument. You cling to your faith like a drowning man to a piece of flotsam. Let go of it. You are no longer a child, have courage and strike out and take responsibility for your actions.

  • chuck8

    The Catholic Church evidently still believes that theology is created in the little head, rather than in the big head — so women can;t do theology.

  • GrahamDavis

    BRONXILLA Our approach is not so different except that you need validation from a supernatural being. I too need validation but mine comes from the people that I love, my family and friends and the wider community most of whom I have not and shall never meet. I know when I have done wrong and I attempt to atone for it, not always successfully. Our forefathers used to worship many gods now it is just a few. When those are finally abandoned humankind will have at long last grown up. When you and I die that will be the end of us, we may be remembered for a while and then forgotten so let’s make our time alive worthwhile and not imagine that we will have another crack at it.

  • muehlbau

    I hope the Vatican takes you up on your challenge that they excommunicate you McElvaine. It’s clear from your rejection of several Church teachings that you left the Church a long time ago. What? Can’t you find the door?

  • tboyer33

    Judging by the reactions of some of the self-described Catholics here, 1) McElvaine is courageous and 2) Catholicism may be losing its great intellectual tradition. Reform of all great institutions, including the Church, almost never comes from the top; it comes from questions and free thinking of clergy and laity. Any Catholic who believes those who disagree with the Pope should leave the Church is kicking out half of the Saints!

  • Rational4

    The obvious answer is to quit the church. Let the church die; better yet, kill it. Catholicism is in the dark ages and Protestantism is only slightly ahead of that. No one needs such a church.

  • terminator_x

    I won’t comment as to who or what is Catholic. But I am baffled by Prof. McElvaine’s premise; he declares himself a Catholic and then proceeds to ridicule the Pope, the centuries-old structure of the Church hierarchy, and the Church’s centuries-old stances on issues (e.g., ordination of women). We live in a free country, and he is free to join a Protestant church, such as UCC, that shares his views and has a more democratic structure.

  • ravitchn

    The only reason the bishops of Rome were able to assume imperial power in the church was that the western Roman Empire fell. These men are no more authoritative in church matters than the bishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem or anywhere else.

  • jay4811

    Well that’s a rant if I ever read one. The Catholic Church is much more complex than it is portrayed. If you want to know about the Church, read the Catechism. I don’t think the author has.

  • stpetric

    Professor McElvaine, The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

  • briehl

    Interesting that so many people who appear to have no faith seem to think they are reasonable participants of a discussion regarding the faith of others in a column entitled “On Faith.”If you have none why should anyone be interested in your non-belief.

  • catholic-citizen

    I actually enjoyed Mr. McElvaine’s shameless plug for his books. He also represents the typical academic. Smug, smarmy, self-promoting, elitist, and condescending. Where is the substance of your argument, sir? The Pope explained the remarks you labeled as anti-Islamic. Church teachings and practice are pretty firm about ordaining women – this is no new controversy. Of course your big gun argument is the condom issue. Of course, it becomes an issue of misogyny….I don’t see that, actually. Condoms combating AIDS. Not according to Dr. Hearst in a study commissioned by UNAIDs in 2003. In it, he concluded “…oncluded that although condoms were about 80% to 90 percent effective as a public health strategy in halting the spread of AIDS in some concentrated epidemics (epidemics affecting Men who have Sex with Men, Injecting Drug Users and Commercial Sex Workers) in places like Thailand and Cambodia, condoms were seen as ineffective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in generalized epidemics like those taking place in eastern and southern Africa.”Maybe the Holy Father is more widely read than you are, professor.To be blunt, here’s something to consider. The Catholic Church is NOT a democracy. If you don’t like the Magisterium, there are plenty of other religions out there to choose from. Part of being a Catholic is being in communion with the Holy See. If you are not in accord with the teachings of the Church, you are not in communion – and you shouldn’t be receiving Communion until you rectify that situation. (That means you too, Speaker Pelosi – just in case you’re reading this). I would rather see the Catholic church lose members then to compromise. Matthew 16:18-19 establishes Peter as the man chosen to ‘hold the Keys of Heaven’. This is the Petrine Doctrine and is the foundation of the concept of Apostolic Succession. If you were a good Catholic or a half-way decent historian, you would understand this concept- really, it’s not that hard to follow. This is a core tenet of the faith – once again, if you don’t like it, May I recommend the UCC?Finally, a note to the editors of this section – do you have ANY commentaries that aren’t penned by people who like to bash religion? Why not give the many brilliant writers who actually understand religion a little more space here?

  • truthmakesfree1

    It appears that old religions never die, they just fade away. Perhaps that is because, having lost touch with the social circumstances that gave them birth, they no longer understand their own teachings–and certainly no longer understand the new social circumstances in which they are attempting to survive. Out of touch with the current realities of nature in its current conditions, they mouth away at their more and more meaningless intellectual abstractions (attempting more and more ridiculous applications to current life) while their replacements are being born all around them. Will they wake up and smell the coffee? No. Just forget about them and move on, just as the newly born Christian god did so long ago over the littered bones of the ancient gods of the religions that preceded Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Christianity has already gotten beyond the stage at which its leaders tried to impose their views by vicious bloody violence. Islam seems to be just now getting fully into that phase. But violence won’t work for that religion either, after which they can look forward to the same long, slow foolish death by irrelevance being experienced by Christianity. Religions come and religions go, but LIFE goes on.

  • mathi_l

    Obviously Robert S. McElvaine is not Catholic and proved that he did not even read any of the documents he cited. I think I will use his book “Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America” in classes as an example of bad journalism. He certaintly gives an example of it.

  • patricksarsfield

    “Rational4″ writes:”The obvious answer is to quit the church. Let the church die; better yet, kill it. Catholicism is in the dark ages and Protestantism is only slightly ahead of that. No one needs such a church.”Sure, the Catholic Church is going to die. Hardly. That is the kind of nonsense that Nero used to spout, and Julian the Apostate and all those emperors and kings and Protestant reformers and Deists and philosophes and Communists and Masons throughout the centuries. “Ecrasez l’infame” was Voltaire’s formulation. Yet it ain’t happened yet. Nor will it.

  • patricksarsfield

    Ravitchn writes:WRONG. The Western Empire fell in 476 AD. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lugdunum (Lyons, FR) had written Adversus Haereses almost 300 years before (in 180 AD). It notes the need for Catholic to be in Union with the Church of Rome and to hold to the teachings of the Holy Roman Church. The First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (almost 100 years before the Fall of Rome) also recognized the Roman See’s primacy over the other patriarchies.

  • wadowia

    >Humanism simply states that that our respect >for and love of our fellow human beings is >enough to provide a moral blueprint for our >livesI heard this before. Humanism was proclaimed during French Revolution and was combined with terror and mass executions. Then it was echoed in the Soviet Union and killing fields of Cambodia. The problem is that “love of our fellow human beings” was stolen from Christianity and then perverted.

  • stadtbear

    The pope is a self-made eunuch. He, and all his eunuch bishops and priests have defied the will of God by refusing to ‘be fruitful and multiply’. They have refused to accept the responsibility for wife/children/family. They have the temerity to suggest to others how they should live family lives, and to harass those who practice birth control with the empty threat of excommunication. Thank god Protestantism has shown the way! Catholics are little more than superstitious, bead-fumbling vultures. And now this “intellectual” pope has decided that the use of condoms actually increases the risk of HIV/AIDS. More poop from the pope! No wonder the catholic church is becoming irrelevant in the United States, as it already has in Europe. It is attractive only to mindless, superstitious natives of third-world countries who have no idea how they are being abused, led/misled and manipulated. Thank god for Martin Luther!

  • markinirvine

    Those of you here who consider yourself to be “catholics” but see no room to question anything pronounced by the Vatican: read Hans Küng’s short books « The Catholic Church – A Short History » and « Why an I still a Catholic » to see how one can question the Vatican and still be a Catholic.

  • wadowia

    “It is attractive only to mindless, superstitious natives of third-world countries who have no idea how they are being abused, led/misled and manipulated.”This sounds pretty mindless and superstitious to me.Condoms dehumanize human relationships and do not protect from AIDS if consistently used in risky situations. And the Church doctrine doesn’t apply to non-Christians, or those frequenting prostitutes or entertaining other disorderly conduct. Let Catholics follow the teachings of the pope, and don’t teach them that they are mindless and superstitious. You lose credibility.

  • Chops2

    preterist:You live in a delusional fantasyland. PEOPLE HAVE SEX! deal with it. The issue is to do it safely and not spread lies as the Pope did. Abstinence is unrealistic, wake up and be part of the solutions not part of the problem. Just ask Sarah Palin or better yet, Bristol, who comes from a house of “Christian morality”.

  • muehlbau

    “The pope is a self-made eunuch. He, and all his eunuch bishops and priests have defied the will of God by refusing to ‘be fruitful and multiply’.”By your logic, St. Paul and Jesus Christ were also defying the will of God, then. As I recall, St. Paul preached that making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven was a higher calling for a select few.

  • GrahamDavis

    Wadowia people do not kill in the name of Humanism, if they kill they have rejected humanism. People do not kill in the name of atheism as atheism is simply an absence of belief in god, it is not a philosophy and has no doctrine. That tyrants can be atheists is beyond doubt but their deeds are not done in the name of atheism. However tyrants can and are driven by religious zeal, history is littered with their revolting deeds, I won’t make a list, it would be too long.So for a catholic to lecture a humanist about morality is preposterous. You base your morality on doctrine devised without reference to its effect on humanity and yet you claim its virtue.The psychology of faith is interesting. Most religions including your own have a single USP, they offer live after death if you play by their rules. For most of human existence this was seductive proposition. People endured short miserable lives and were ignorant of the forces that controlled their lives. But we are now enlightened and have explanations for most phenomena so why does superstitious belief persist?All religions rely on a continuous supply of believers so they entrap the young with the willing connivance of their parents who of course had undergone the same process. You Wadowia are the result of this process. You are trapped in a redundant faith because, as often the case with kidnap victims, your oppressor assumed control over you without you realising it.

  • muehlbau

    Here’s an idea. Why don’t those of you who claim to be Catholic but prefer the teachings of Hans Kung, Crossan, Garry Wills, McElvaine, et al, to the Pope’s start your own church. There are many more Catholics who prefer the traditional Church (i.e., the Catholic Church) so from a practical standpoint it only seems right that you find a new home.

  • stadtbear

    >By your logic, St. Paul and Jesus Christ were also defying the will of God, then. As I recall, St. Paul preached that making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven was a higher calling for a select few.Yes.What, exactly, is your point? Are you saying that the pope is the equivalent of Jesus Christ? Paul thought the “kingdom” was a rapidly approaching reality and that “christians” should devote their energies to securing a place in that “kingdom” rather than getting married and starting families. He was wrong about this, and about many other things. Paul was a troubled man. Naturally, catholicism has twisted many of his bizarre ideas into superstitious beliefs for controlling its followers.

  • stadtbear

    >And the Church doctrine doesn’t apply to non-Christians, or those frequenting prostitutes or entertaining other disorderly conduct. Let Catholics follow the teachings of the pope, and don’t teach them that they are mindless and superstitious. You lose credibility.Do not presume to teach me about catholicism. I am a recovering catholic, having spent the first 35 years of my life in that pseudo-christian institution. It IS mindless and superstitious. Don’t look now, but I think you are the one who has lost credibility.

  • rwheeler1

    Saddest of all was the recent excommunication of the Brazilian mother and doctors of a nine-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated by her own father and was carrying twin fetuses. The mother and doctors chose to abort the fetuses rather than to let the child die in agony, along with the fetuses, because her little child’s body couldn’t sustain a pregnancy. So for choosing life and mercy for the poor child, the church condemned those responsible, saying it was defending the “innocents” in the womb. The case caused an uproar in Brazil, with most siding with the merciful parent and doctors.

  • gla1946

    This person is no Catholic. The Pope has very bravely tried to bring the true word of God to people. Most seed does not grow because the pride of man keeps him in sin.

  • prisca

    I’m so tired of hearing these voices of these supposed “Catholic” journalists who are completely ignorant on church teachings. They fill the pews and go through the motions and have a constant chip on their shoulder. When they hear something from their church that they do not agree with what is their next step? You would think they would delve into study on the topic to see why it is their church teaches what it does, but that is not the case. Instead they rant and rave about it completely clueless of the details surrounding the teaching. For those Catholics who have studied these topics and uncovered the genius of these doctrines we hear your uneducated rantings and roll our eyes for your irresponsible deficiency of knowledge on these most important teachings. Why are you so ignorant? The information is so very easily accessed yet you have not reviewed it. I would suspect it is your arrogance. Pope Benedict is simply upholding the Catholic Church’s teachings. Doctrines are not changeable by any pope. Be responsible and look into the details surrounding these beliefs. Investigate the pope’s understanding of these issues. He is a very intelligent man and to ignore that is foolish. There is a treasure chest of knowledge in the Catholic Church’s teachings and unfortunately most Catholics have never opened the chest to see what is inside. Irresponsible Catholics like this author who are Catholic in name only have no right speaking for the laity and as a member of the laity I call on you to impeach your true pope, which is yourself.

  • masonjahr

    Professor McElvaine has made a fine fool of himself with this screed. Please, Sir, leave this Church you find so abhorrent.

  • liseux

    This column is ludicrous.The man claims to be a Catholic- yea right.Viva el papa!The Catholic Church is correct on the condom issue- that’s why the countries throwing out condoms STILL have an AIDS epidemic.It’s also why New York City- the condom capital of America, as three times the STD rate as the rest of America.Keep talking Pope.They persecuted Jesus too.

  • grashnak

    Here is where I find the Pope’s position to be indefensible – he is abandoning millions of people who can’t live up to his perception of the perfect “godly” life.Certainly it is true that if you never have sex, you will not get AIDS from having sex. You will also not need a condom.However, since the history of humanity clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of people cannot or will not abstain from sex, why does he think it is okay to deny them access to something that will prevent almost all of them from getting AIDS?Its as if he is saying, “I don’t care about sinners who won’t abstain”. Not a very compassionate or forgiving stance for the leader of the church of a “loving” god.Just because someone isn’t perfect, we should not abandon them to disease and death.

  • MaryAnnV

    First of all Robert, you cannot impeach a Pope. That to me, speaks volume, and I pray that you venture to embrace your Catholic Faith more fully, and learn the True Teachings of the Church. I am Catholic and I am so thrilled with our Holy Father for speaking the Truth! I understand how you feel threatened by his view, as I too, did not always understand the Magisterium. However, it causes great sorrow to see those in the Church, such as yourself, speak badly of our Shepherd. With that we must reflect on our Lord’s life as they crucified Him when He came to speak the Truth, we can expect the same persecutions as we strive to embrace the Magisterium and follow our Lord. It is very rare that anyone has so much courage in the World in which we live. Robert, ask Jesus to give you a heart to understand the Truth and then you will understand what Pope Benedict is saying, is what needs to be said. By the way, in Uganda where they are practicing abstinence, the AIDS virus is declining. Praise God! Holy Father, we love you and pray everyday for your continued strength!

  • jaf1961

    “Impeach the Pope”What an idiot. You can claim to be Catholic, but that may also be in name only. For a professor, he surely does not know Catholic teaching.As for the one on here that wrote he wanted to be excommunicated. Our doors are not locked. Those who wish to enter are welcome, those who wish to leave are free to do so!This article is just a waist of space and time!

  • GrahamDavis

    Question for all catholics!Your defence of the pope is astonishing. He is a man who in his short reign has offended many people inside as well as outside the catholic faith. Is there any circumstance that you would be prepared to disagree with him, he is only a man after all?

  • familyhomebuilders

    It is hard for me to understand why an otherwise respected news source like the Washington Post would waste its space and expense to publish something so shallow, self-serving and foolish as McElvaine’s comments claiming Pope Benedict should be “impeached”. The Pope’s biggest fault here was in violating several of McElvaine’s pet dogmas of political correctness, not in standing up for the Church’s positions on faith matters or even making an observation on history. [If I remember corectly, certain Muslim clerics called for Benedict's condemnation for his historical remarks, which quoted a writer from the Middle Ages, therefore proving what Pope Benedict referred to.]

  • Shellac

    To “schaeffz” –and et al. who would like to be intellectually honest and find out what the Church REALLY teaches)

  • wadowia

    “However, since the history of humanity clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of people cannot or will not abstain from sex, why does he think it is okay to deny them access to something that will prevent almost all of them from getting AIDS?”Here is logical error in your thinking: before you reach the condom stage, you must first violate Church teaching on sexual morality. Pope has no power to deny anybody access to condoms. Do you think that somebody going to a prostitute will obey pope’s teaching on condoms? Please!!!! It is an insult to human intelligence.Church is teaching about sin, yet most people sin. So either they sin consistently and leave the Church or follow the rules.

  • cl00bie

    “Do not presume to teach me about catholicism. I am a recovering catholic, having spent the first 35 years of my life in that pseudo-christian institution. It IS mindless and superstitious.”So do you still find yourself being drawn to Mass and have to fight the urge with all your being? Do you hide rosaries in different hidey holes around the house after telling all your friends you’ve given up that “superstitious nonsense”? Do you find yourself praying to Saints and can’t seem to stop yourself?If not, you’re not “recovering” from anything. Cut the drama and just leave.

  • KatrinaWB

    I am sick to death of “Catholics” who do nothing but whine and complain about the Catholic Church, and criticize the Pope, and the doctrines of the Church. Why do you stay? Is someone holding a gun to your head? It is simply ludicrous that someone would continue to call themselves Catholic when they have such disdain for the Pope and the teachings of the Church.

  • Shellac

    Continued—-Keys to Success

  • Shellac

    Here are some real and cogent thoughts from the Church andCatholics,on the epidemic in Africa– read on and be educated. (In 3 parts)Ethics and Medics

  • Shellac

    —-Continued Part 3

  • MorningGlory7

    Know thy faith! Sex outside of marriage is a grave sin and that means ALL KINDS OF SEX including self gratification. That road into heaven is narrow! You are discontent with the teachings of the Catholic Church because it is too difficult for you and you have decided to agree with Satan and his lies. You are choosing the wide road to hell. We true Catholics love Pope Benedict XVI and applaud him for standing firm on the teachings of Christ and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Please do not sin by complaining, just move on. We will pray for you. The Pope is here to stay. God bless the Pope!

  • mir131

    I detect so much anger in the comments of those who bash our pope. Can these people really be Catholic? You subscribe to everything that Christ spoke against. Gee whiz, I guess I answered my own question, your not. Just a closing thought, God loves you regardless of your opinion, but you have the opportunity to condemn your soul despite His love.

  • DeusCaritasEst

    Oh, my mistake. I thought I was reading an article “On Faith” but I’ve somehow stumbled into the lost pages of The Screwtape Letters. There must be a bug in my browser. Anyone have some incense to burn in here? It reeks of sulphur for some reason…

  • louneca

    Not only is the Pope and the Catholic Church right from the point of morality, but also from the scientific FACTS as listed below. You people in favor of condoms, contraception and abortion are whistling past the graveyard.”24 sets of condoms tested and all failed” and almost 71% failed “In respect of one or more of the physical requirements of the specification, notably freedom from pinholes.” SABS report April 89.”The rubber comprising latex condom has intrinsic voids about 5 microns in size.” The HIV virus is 0.1 micron. Roland, Rubber World. June 1993. Roland and Sobieski, Rubber Chemistry and Technology. Vol. 62, 1989. Condoms reduce the risk of HIV infection by about 70% if they are used “consistently and correctly” IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) Medical Bulletin Feb. 1997. “It is not established whether the condom is as effective at preventing heterosexual transmission of HIV as it is for preventing conception.” “The level of protection approximates 87%, with a range depending upon the incidence (of HIV) among condom nonusers. Thus the condom’s efficacy at reducing heterosexual transmission may be comparable to or slightly lower than its effectiveness at preventing pregnancy.” Family Planning Perspectives, 1999. The failure rate for condoms in preventing pregnancy is 10%. K. Niswander. Manual of Obstetrics 1980. The ISO standard for condoms allows 2 per 350 to be defective (about six defects per thousand.) (Tough luck if you happen to be one of those six) “Increased condom use will increase the number of [HIV/AIDS] transmissions that result from condom failure” and “a vigorous condom promotion policy could increase rather than decrease unprotected sexual exposure if it has the unintended effect of encouraging a greater overall level of sexual activity.” “Condoms and seat belts: the parallels and the lessons” The Lancet, 29 Jan 2000 In one test, 33% of latex condoms leaked HIV sized particles. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. vol.19. 1992 Ontario Ministry of Health campaign to promote condoms by means of televised AIDS messages made respondents more inclined to use condoms but less inclined to avoid casual sexual partners. Wilde, Target Risk, PDE Publications, 1994.The only sure ways to avoid sexual transmission of diseases (including AIDS, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, and syphilis) are not to have sex at all or to limit sex to one uninfected partner who is also monogamous. Food and Drug Administrationc (USA) Consumer Magazine Sep 1990.

  • ElsyMonroy

    This intellectual ninny I am sure does not enjoy sports of any kind since if you play them you have to play by the rules. Here he wants to impeach the Pope!! The outrage of such a statement is mind boggling. Really, this person has only exhibited his own ignorance and lack of common sense: to criticize the Pope and the Church that has allowed for civilization to have come this far … and as we draw away from the Catholic Church we see the lack of outright honesty in even the highest places of government and the highest minds in education and the highest developed writers who use words to twist the truth. I am Catholic and well schooled in its history and dogma and as I explore it intellectually, and spiritually, the more I know I know nothing. No wonder Socrates was “impeached” by his government who did not want truth to be taught to the youth because “it corrupted”. Maybe this wordcrafter is concerned that the Church might instill on a few the truth: that we are here to live to Love God as ourselves and love our neighbor and make the world a better place and not a place full of lost souls collecting their welfare checks from a socialist construct that only leads to despair. If the Pope is not doing his job as the manager of his Catholic Team by calling evil what it is then we should “impeach”. As it is we should “impeach” wordcrafters who only know of subject and verb and simple sentences and knows nothing about what he is criticizing. We should “impeach” a number of our government officials too who talk about helping the poor and all they are doing is making more people poor and helping themselves while talking from their pulpits.

  • ElsyMonroy

    In addition I would like to add that Millsap college employs “saps”. I’ll make sure not to send my kid there.

  • louneca

    “Counting on condoms is flirting with death.”

  • prayerwarrior4Jesus

    The Church continues to be persecuted since the time Jesus walked this earth. He said so himself. That is comes from so-called Catholics is no surprise, but they are not truly Catholic. They use their religious affiliation, as does Robert McElvaine (an embarassment to all true Catholics and Irish people as well) as a bully pulpit, crutch, or whatever is needed at the moment to bash, to defile, to poison thoughts and minds. He is to be pitied and prayed for, asking God for mercy and to give Mr. McEkvaine not what he truly deserves, but what he really needs–repentance and conversion. Those who agree with him are also very misguided and in need of healing. There is so much hatred in them, that it makes one wonder why they don’t just call on Jesus to help them. No, instead they lash out and insult and make matters worse. God help us all.

  • dougkunz

    Robert,

  • sk8away423

    “LOL” at the liberals posing as Catholics. Go create your own religion. I know you’re jealous, but can’t we all get along? Stop trying to attack the Church and go volunteer with all your extra time.

  • markinva1

    This is just another example of why I don’t subscribe to the the print version of the WP. They are anti-Catholic and always make room for their anti-Catholic drivel.

  • ProLife

    The Pope is correct: Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has said that the evidence confirms that the Pope is correct in his assessment that condom distribution exacerbates the problem of AIDS. “The pope is correct,” Green told National Review Online Wednesday, “or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments.” “There is,” Green added, “a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.” ( see the full interview with Green here:

  • domfonseca24

    You are not much of a Catholic at all and not much of a journalist either.As a Catholic where is your support for our priest because whatever the title they are priest, they need our prayers. I must say you are on the threshold of losing your faith if you continue in attacking your priest. Don’t run with the world for every word, thought and feelings will be reviewed in front of God when you die.

  • mathildamiller

    As Dr. Kaplan says, counting on condoms is flirting with death. Another says, you are whistling yourself pass the graveyard. The maker of condoms, manufacturer of abortifacient, contraceptives are making a lot of money. AIDS is forever. Somebody has to say something. I do not have any respect on an idea that permits me to do anything like an animal. There is a difference between an animal and a human being. One can’t continue to do an experimentation on a human being without something good that’s crying out of that person.

  • danritosa

    Robert, you will probably never read this, but i used to be like you. I though birth control was good, the church was out of touch, and we needed change. The person who really needed change was me. The church is right and I was running from God. Only when we let ourselves go to His Love can we experieicne true freedom. Only when we can stop looking at women as objects of pleasure and sex as only a physical expression will we see true freedom. People feel we need birth control for population and disease control. What we really need is His Love and Mercy and only then will we be free. Unless we realize these truths we will always be in bondage to something much lower.There is a story in the bible of how Easu gives his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. We unfortunately do the same thing every day when we give into unfaithfulness to God. We give our birthright for a bowl of false promises. Viva Cristo Re!Dan Ritosa, Chardon, Ohio

  • Cassiegirl

    Mr. McElvaine is one of many who claim to be Catholic, yet fail to be a true follower of Christ. His article is based merely on his own self righteous opinions. Period. Jesus Christ established His church on earth almost 2,000 years ago. He did this in order to have something in place to carry on his teachings after He left this earth. He knew what He was doing. He doesn’t make mistakes. He was well aware that he was putting the church in the hands of mere mortals. That being said, He knew that people would try to change things, that people would attack His church and so on. For almost 2,000 years people have tried to bring down His church, the Catholic church. Did He not say, “I will not let the fires of hell prevail against My church?” As we all know, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is still standing. Mr. McElvaine is just another small voice throwing spit balls at a battle ship.

  • VivatJesu

    Please pray for Robert S. McElvaine and all in a position of influence including our “catholic” politicians in office.Prayer to St. BenedictSanctissime Confessor Domini, monachorum Pater et dux, Benedicte, intercede pro nostra omniumque salute.Vivat Jesu!

  • SusannaC

    There is NEVER EVER a reason to get upset with the pope. If he says something blasphemous, then cite the scripture and catechesis, and then have pity on him, because he has the greatest burden of responsibility of any human being on earth. Jesus said, “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48).

  • TOBODYLOVER

    To smithjohnson748:

  • stadtbear

    Susannac wrote:More catholic hypocracy! Come into the real world, you mindless bead fumbler!Priests (and therefore Popes) were not required to be celibate until the eleventh century, and some took full advantage. John XII-a bisexual pope who held orgies in the papal palace. Benedict IX-a homosexual pope who also enjoyed hosting orgies. Alexander VI-a bisexual pope who was not going to let his fun be spoiled just because he became pope after celibacy became mandatory. He fathered at least 8 children and had many male lovers. Julius III-a homosexual pope who respected his vow of celibacy, but had a male lover before taking that vow. Paul II-Possible transsexual pope? His tendency to wear lavish and feminine clothing earned him the nickname “Our Lady of Pity.”I don’t imagine it is necessary to comment on the centuries of abuse of young men, by popes, bishops, priests and monks. Celibacy promotes homosexual behavior. Period.

  • Gloria_Deo

    Since you are concerned about the ecosystem, smithjohnson748, what are you going to do about the fact that hormonal contraceptives are poisoning the environment? Our nation’s waterways are being polluted and fish are being threatened by birth control hormones that get flushed down the toilet and into our streams and rivers. Estrogen is even in our drinking water. In frogs, river otters and fish, scientists are “finding the presence of female hormones making the male species less male.” So, what are you going to do to save the ecosystem from birth control pills?

  • sageandella

    I am frightened by the comments posted here. It makes me afraid that so many people lack the ability, no, the desire, to think critically and make choices for themselves. It is easier for them to take their direction from an organization than to make a choice for themselves. Facts support the choice that millions of women and men make everyday, and that is to keep themselves healthy and safe by using birth control. That is their choice. Let’s remember that god gave us all free will. Facts support the extreme tragedy that was the Holocaust. How can a church that is supposed to show compassion for all allow a man who has no compassion to be reinstated? It does not shock me that the Pope would speak out about birth control. The church has taken a backwards stance on this for years. However, to support a denial of the Holocaust, to me, as a catholic is outrageous. All good organizations need the ability to remove a leader who is inaffective. If the church wants to survive, it should look at this policy first. Look around at your catholic church on Sunday, how many attendees are younger than forty? Not too many. The church is out of touch with its followers.

  • TOBODYLOVER

    To Sageandella:

  • allandan500

    The good Professor Robert S. McElvaine, that bastion of of all things Catholic, appears to have forgotten his catechism. McElvaine seems to understand nothing of Catholic teachings. The “church” he belongs to is populated by one member: the good professor. I’d love to take the time to instruct him, but I am a strong believer that one ought not cast pearls before swine.

  • AgentBrez

    you are obviously lacking in your faith formation and do not fully comprehend certain positions of the Catholic Church. be sure to check out your catechism and the Bible and you will find all the answers you need. i will pray for you.

  • danonwaveland

    To the author: The Anglican Church of America welcomes you with open arms! Please go there.More importantly, to mburton325, re: your questions re: Catholic teachings. Go to catholic.com and do a search. There are many articles that can explain the teachings of the church and the myths that the rest of the world has spread about them. As the late Bishop Sheen said: “There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church….As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.”

  • hamspam11-bo

    Mr. McElvaine and other critics of the pope’s comments on condom use and AIDS should really inform themselves before engaging in reactionary rhetoric. I recommend all of those who say the pope was out of line or out of touch when he suggested that focusing on condom use could exacerbate the problem of AIDS should check out the work of the AIDS Prevention REsearch Project at Harvard. In fact, Professor Green (director of this research group) has come out supporting what the pope said. His own research has found that condom advocacy is far less effective than focusing on monogamy and abstinance. Hmmm…sounds like stuff the Catholics and evangelicals have been saying for years. Anyways, check out the harvard groups website…

  • SusannaC

    StadTBear wrote: “Come into the real world, you mindless bead fumbler!” “I don’t imagine it is necessary to comment on the centuries of abuse of young men, by popes, bishops, priests and monks. Celibacy promotes homosexual behavior. Period.”I don’t pray the rosary, because I’m married to a fundamentalist who finds it offensive. Also, I wasn’t commenting on priestly celibacy. Maybe you’re wrong and maybe you’re right about priestly celibacy being a bad thing. All I know is that every deceased pope, bishop, priest, and monk who abused young men, or covered up for those who did, without a serious repentance are spending eternity in hell, because the inspired apostle Paul warned us not to be deceived into thinking sodomites can enter into the kingdom of God (1st Corinthians 6:9-10).That’s why we should have pity on their souls, even when they engage in such heinous deeds. According to Leviticus 20:13, the Vatican can enforce the death penalty on clergy who engage in such conduct. Sometimes, a society has to resort to capital punishment even though nobody wants to. Those clergy would still have one final chance to go to heaven, by acknowledging that they deserve the death penalty just as the thief on the cross did (Luke 23:39-43).

  • 711wolfman

    Abolish the POPE! This is an old dude that wears dress’s along with all of his other rump rangers who likes little boys instead of women. Face it Popie! Without man and women there would be no more humans.Religions are nothing more than cults to gain tax free money and control the mass’s. No Condoms! Give me a break! He’s taking a human act of procreation and trying to demonize it. Get a life you dress wearing freak!!!!

  • NAVYMOO

    You are, to quote Shakespeare, “a ass.” You CANNOT call yourself a Roman Catholic and not support the pope. I don’t mean blindly – God did give us reason and expects us to use it. But whenever the pope says something you don’t like or agree with, you crucify him and it’s not right. Instead of reacting emotionally to the condom “controversy,” why not stop and THINK about it. And if you THINK about it, you’ll find he’s right. Condoms break. Condoms may not always be placed properly. Now if you keep your fly zippered, you won’t have the problem of “Oh, God, will she or he get AIDS” or “will she get pregnant?”

  • NAVYMOO

    711Wolfman is an ignorant ass. The “dress” is called a cassock and it’s part of the priest’s “uniform,” although he’s not required to wear it. If you hate the church so much, why do you bother reading about the Pope, who, by the way, has more smarts in his little finger than you’ll ever have in your pea-sized brain!

  • ArchangelChuck

    Mr. McElvaine,It must be discouraging to be called a bad Catholic. On a lighter note, I’m happy to see that there are at least a few voices of reason within the Catholic community who realize that the Pope’s statement is detached from reality, and most of all, morally reprehensible. Many of the comments here are, indeed, very telling about just how much damage the Pope can do with his statements. It shows that his offensive disregard for the weight on his shoulders holds the very real potential for disaster, especially in AIDS-ridden Africa. Keep up the good work.

  • miesque

    While we’re in the process of dragging The Pope into the 21st Century, I strongly suggest two things: 1) that the Catholic Church, and any other church that dabbles in politics, PAY TAXES; and 2) that Bishop John D’Arcy of the Ft. Wayne – South Bend Indiana Diocese, take a refresher course in what his job is and what it isn’t. His job is to minister to the sick and the poor. It is NOT to deliberately draw attention to himself and his personal opinions.

  • ArchangelChuck

    “What? Here are the voices of reason, from Harvard: they agree with the Pope!!!”Fallacious: appeal to authority. Of course, that “authority” is shaky at best. The source you cite was based on studies funded by the Templeton Foundation. If you’re not aware, the Templeton Foundation is hardly respected in the scientific community, as it is

  • wadowia

    “Of course, that “authority” is shaky at best. The source you cite was based on studies funded by the Templeton Foundation.”Clearly you have no clue how Harvard works. Do you? No matter who pays for studies, the standards at Harvard are always the same. Nobody would get a tenure or promotion for shaky studies. Forget it!. I would rather doubt the overblown propaganda spread in newspapers and strongly supported by those with ideological agenda.

  • ArchangelChuck

    Wadowia: When one considers the controversies surrounding the Templeton Foundation, his first reaction to research funded it should be suspicion.”Hello?! We’re talking about Harvard here!” isn’t an argument. Once again, you’ve opted to appeal to the authority of a name, and again, you’ve failed to say anything even remotely substantial.

  • ArchangelChuck

    Wadowia: Addendum. The difference between Dr. Green and the Pope is that Dr. Green did not causally link condom availability or usage with an increase in the problem. The Pope did. That’s why we’re angry.

  • riverqueen

    Not only is the Pope’s latest statement about condems and aids appalling,it is ignorant.

  • wadowia

    “Not only is the Pope’s latest statement about condems and aids appalling,it is ignorant.”I cannot discuss at this level with the person who doesn’t have his facts straight, full of hate, unable to follow logical arguments, and even unable to spell the word “condom.” Such persons claim to be most affected by Pope’s teachings on condoms.

  • wadowia

    “Hello?! We’re talking about Harvard here!” isn’t an argument.”We are talking about facts listed by the researcher from Harvard. He claims that decline in HIV infections in Uganda stopped in 2004 after emphasis on fidelity was replaced by emphasis on condoms.In Lesotho, where the rate of new HIV infections and the condom use is very high, no dent was made until new policy against multiple partners was implemented.THESE ARE FACTS!!! Too bad that some people ingnore facts and prefer hateful nonsense.

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