Father FESSIO: …in which he said that the pope has not changed the in-church teaching. He expressed very carefully something about the use of condoms in which the intention might reflect a movement towards a more moral way of life.
What the pope is saying is it’s immoral to use condoms under any circumstances. However, if someone is using them because he’s trying to prevent disease in his partner, that may be the first stirrings of a moral consciousness which can lead him to a more moral way of life.
KELLY: Are you saying that the pope was perhaps using some sort of sliding scale here? That while not condoning contraception, not condoning homosexuality, he’s signaling that they are not the worst evils, and that passing on HIV is worse?
Father FESSIO: He’s not giving a scale of evil or good here. But let me give you a pretty simple example. Let’s suppose we’ve got a bunch of muggers who like to use steel pipes when they mug people. But some muggers say, gosh, you know, we don’t need to hurt them that badly to rob them. Let’s put foam pads on our pipes. Then we’ll just stun them for a while, rob them and go away. So if the pope then said, well, yes, I think that using padded pipes is actually a little step in a moral direction there, that doesn’t mean he’s justifying using padded pipes to mug people. He’s just saying, well, they did something terrible, but while they were doing that, they had a little flicker of conscience there that led them in the right direction. That may grow further, so they stop mugging people completely.
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