Letters to the Editors

Pope and condoms

Re: “Condoms get Papal nod” (November 26 2010)

Dear Editors,

The Catholic Church’s teachings on extra-marital sex and contraception have not changed. 

The Pope’s comments regarding condom use in the prevention of the spread of AIDS have been widely misrepresented by the media as a “move” towards advocating contraception.

Pope Benedict XVI, in union with the teachings of the Church, maintains that sexual intercourse ought to be an expression of total and sincere love with an openness to procreation.

The Church has always taught that this can only be truly and properly expressed in marriage.

An individual who is aware that they are HIV positive has a moral responsibility to avoid transmitting the disease to others.

The extreme case that has been so misconstrued by the media at large (and by the editorial in question) is the use of condoms by prostitutes. 

Prostitution is a degradation of the sexual act, reducing it from an act of love to a commercial object.  

The introduction of a condom in this circumstance does not remove the fault. Its only positive effect, if there is any to be found, is that it may indicate the beginning of an individual’s recognition of the humanity of the other. 

The Church is in no way stating that condom usage is a necessary step in the progression towards a moral solution to the problem of AIDS.  It should be made clear that the only 100 per cent effective way to stop the spread of this disease is abstinence.

A prostitute’s use of a condom, then, is a step that should be followed up by a departure from engaging in prostitution and sexual intercourse, as concern for others grows into a more moral understanding of human love.

In this way, the initiative of the Church can lead to the only truly effective way of preventing the spread of AIDS.

The example which Pope Benedict used presumably involved sex between two men, meaning that pregnancy is not a possibility.  Contraception, then, is not the issue at hand. The conclusion drawn in “Condoms get Papal nod,” that the Pope’s statements show a move by the Church towards a more secular attitude regarding contraception, has no basis in anything actually said by the Pope and the Church. 

The Pope is reaffirming the dignity of the human person, the potential of human freedom and the capacity for moral virtue, something long forgotten by those who see condoms as the only and ultimate solution to the problem of AIDS. 

Claire Brown, Nurs ’12

Good for the mind, body and spirit

Re: “Can you handle the heat?” (November 26, 2010)

Dear Editors, 

I was thrilled to see Pamela Mullins’ piece on Bikram yoga in the Nov. 26 issue of the Journal. Many elements of my life have been dramatically improved since I began regularly committing to the practice.

Bikram yoga has helped ease my physical ailments and has strengthened my mental health conditions. It’s contributed to my increased flexibility and improved posture. I leave each class feeling energized, cleansed and truly uplifted.

A yoga instructor once told me that yoga is the “most unselfish thing you can do for the people around you and in your life.” I’m devoted to this phrase and encourage other individuals to invest in themselves.

I believe that taking time each day to relax and reflect—be it a walk in the woods, trying a new recipe or the practice of Bikram yoga—ensures that you are physically, mentally and spiritually healthy and able to engage with and love those around you. 

Leah Timmermann, ArtsSci ’11

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