Pope’s remarks sow widespread confusion among church leaders
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some Roman Catholics are confused. Some are angry. Others just don’t believe the pope meant what it seems he said. Days after the release of Pope Benedict XVI’s comments that condoms can be justified to prevent the spread of HIV, there is widespread confusion about exactly what he was trying to say. The remarks have put some of the strictest defenders of church teachings in the awkward position of potentially disagreeing with the pontiff.
Many church officials worldwide have been conspicuously silent. Some bishops are even seeking clarification from the Vatican.
“It’s a mess,” said John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, which advises church leaders, hospitals and Vatican offices. “I’m not ready to say that the pope said what (papal spokesman Rev. Frederico) Lombardi said.”
On a practical level, most Catholic-affiliated charities that minister to people at high risk of contracting AIDS are unlikely to make changes anytime soon.
Haas, also a moral theologian, said he fielded calls all day Tuesday from confused bishops. Benedict’s comments come at a time when American bishops are focused on upholding Catholic orthodoxy on marriage and sexuality.