Fr. James Martin either doesn’t understand the intricacies of the Pope’s comments about condoms (a highly dubious prospect) or he’s being disingenuous.
The problem is that disingenuousness will foster confusion among Catholics and ultimately lead to sin.
The National Post reports on what Fr. James Martin of America Magazine said about the controversy:
“It’s a step forward, because it is at the highest level the recognition that a pastoral approach in certain some particular cases is necessary where as before the use of a condom was always seen as intrinsically wrong,” he said.
“We should praise him for this. It shows that the Pope is a nuanced thinker. It also shows his awesome intellect.”…
“It’s the first admission from a pope that a condom can be used for a good intention,” said Father James Martin from New York. “Just a few years ago, the Vatican would have rejected these ideas outright, even though they had great currency among theologians. Clearly, something has changed.”
Good intention? Hmmm….where does that road lead that’s paved with good intentions?
Now I am fairly sure that Fr. Martin, a smart guy, knows that nothing has really changed. The question is, why does Fr. Martin want people to THINK something has changed?
Compare and contrast…
Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J. is doing the job other Jesuits won’t do. Check out how he dismantles the controversy over the Pope’s comments about condoms with an absurd metaphor:
Here’s an example of this distinction that parallels what the Pope said. Muggers are using steel pipes to attack people and the injuries are severe. Some muggers use padded pipes to reduce the injuries, while still disabling the victim enough for the mugging. The Pope says that the intention of reducing injury (in the act of mugging) could be a first step toward greater moral responsibility. This would not justify the following headlines: “Pope Approves Padded Pipes for Mugging” “Pope Says Use of Padded Pipes Justified in Some Circumstances”, Pope Permits Use of Padded Pipes in Some Cases”.
Of course, one may morally use padded pipes in some circumstances, e.g., as insulated pipes so that hot water flowing through them doesn’t cool as fast. And one may use condoms morally in some cases, e.g. as water balloons. But that also would not justify the headline “Pope Approves Condom Use”, though in this case it could be true. But it would be intentionally misleading.
Fr. Fessio clearly prefers clarity over…nuance.