What a maelstrom of media discussion one confused AP reporter provoked this week!

Media stories have claimed– among other things– that “Pontiff blesses condom use ”-Boston Herald.  Most of the commotion stems from one Associated Press story repeated by numerous news sources.  A bad choice was made by the Associated Press reporter regarding what to highlight from a 256-page book interviewing the Pope.  The results were pretty striking and misleading.

The Pope did NOT say that condom use is approved by the Catholic Church.

The original AP article seriously misrepresented the Pope’s position on condoms, and most copies of that original article have been pulled off the web – a cached copy is available online .

There would have been no story, no need for clarification, and no media Catholic-bashing fest if the AP reporter had reported the Pope’s statements accurately and had done some minimal homework in order to represent the Pope’s statements correctly.

Read what the Pope said in the book for yourself: Light of the World

Read a responsible, Catholic, in-context discussion of the actual meaning of the condom statement: Catholic World Report

The list of topics the AP reporter passed over and discounted (256 pages) in favor of one out-of-context condom reference include:

  • What caused the clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?
  • Was there a “cover up”?
  • Have you considered resigning?
  • Does affirming the goodness of the human body mean a plea for “better sex”?
  • Can there be a genuine dialogue with Islam?
  • Should the Church rethink Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, women priests, contraception, and same-sex relationships?
  • Holy Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics?
  • Is there a schism in the Catholic Church?
  • Should there be a Third Vatican Council?
  • Is there any hope for Christian unity?
  • Is Christianity the only truth?
  • Can the Pope really speak for Jesus Christ?                             Light of the World
  • How can the Pope claim to be “infallible”?
  • Is there a “dictatorship of relativism” today?

Yet one more example of media misrepresentation of the Catholic Church.

So many common false urban myths about Catholicism seem to surface in online discussions every time Catholicism is discussed, and this week is no exception:

1. The suggestion that the Catholic Church is synonymous with pedophilia is completely false—in fact, the Catholic Church is the LEAST offender in this area —  .

2. Most people misunderstand the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality. They presume wrongly that the Church’s opposition to promiscuity implies the hate of homosexuals. The Catholic Church opposes promiscuity in any situation, heterosexual or homosexual – promiscuity results in STD’s, as well as emotional and psychological damage to individuals, to the family, and to society . Homosexual promiscuity is equally as damaging as is heterosexual promiscuity.

3. Additional Catholic-bashing references to false urban myths include obtuse incorrect references to the Inquisition, claims that the Catholic Church is losing membership, and insulting references to liturgical vestments.

  • “ the kinds and degrees of punishments inflicted by the Spanish Inquisition were similar to (actually, even lighter than) those meted out by secular courts. It is equally true that, despite what we consider the Spanish Inquisition’s lamentable procedures, many people preferred to have their cases tried by ecclesiastical courts because the secular courts had even fewer safeguards. In fact, historians have found records of people blaspheming in secular courts of the period so they could have their case transferred to an ecclesiastical court, where they would get a better hearing.” – Catholic Answers.
  • Catholic Church membership is actually INCREASING, at a rate slightly higher than the rate of population increase –Wikipedia.
  • References to Catholic vestments can be compared with the British Monarchy — and with our modern customary wedding garb . Is God worthy of fewer honors than human monarchs, or our own wedding ceremonies?