I dismissed the first email I got on this yesterday as malarkey. Then more links to more articles with more seemingly impossible headlines started coming in…

Such a compromise on sexual morality by the Catholic Church would be devastating, and again, in my mind impossible.

And as far as I can tell, the Pope has proposed no such compromise. Read this explanation of the Pope’s statement – complete and in context – in the National Catholic Register. It is very helpful, particularly good friend Janet Smith’s analogy:

If someone was going to rob a bank and was determined to use a gun, it would better for that person to use a gun that had no bullets in it.  It would reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. But it is not the task of the Church to instruct potential bank robbers how to rob banks more safely and certainly not the task of the Church to support programs of providing potential bank robbers with guns that could not use bullets.  Nonetheless, the intent of a bank robber to rob a bank in a way that is safer for the employees and customers of the bank may indicate an element of moral responsibility that could be a step towards eventual understanding of the immorality of bank robbing.

My analogy might have stated the robber was using a gun he thought had no bullets in it, because condoms are by no means foolproof.

But that’s quibbling past the major point. The Pope was actually expressing a profound, charitable thought, if I understand him correctly, while not conceding on this critical topic at all. Of course the world won’t (want to) understand what he was saying.

The author of the NCR “expect(s) the Vatican will be issuing a clarification quite soon.” Me, too. Hold tight.

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