Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Pope did NOT say child porn is normal

At times it seems like the media indeed goes out of its way to distort the pope's words.

A news article from the Belfast Times quoted him out of context, suggesting that he thinks child porn is normal and no big deal.

Quite the contrary. The article left out the significant fact that the pope was actually condemning this view. He was trying to explain why some people justified it (and still do, for example, NAMBLA). When the Pope says, "Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances," you know he is simply stating a false view that he will go on to correct. It's like the objections St. Thomas puts in the Summa; you know he's going to refute those positions.

And refute them Benedict did. Read the whole thing for yourself. He quotes a very somber vision of Hildegard of Bingen regarding evil infiltrating the church.

Here's a larger excert from the Pope's address:

We were all the more dismayed, then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime….

We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times….

In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a “better than” and a “worse than”. Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today. Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, indicated with prophetic force in the great rational tradition of Christian ethos the essential and permanent foundations of moral action. Today, attention must be focused anew on this text as a path in the formation of conscience. It is our responsibility to make these criteria audible and intelligible once more for people today as paths of true humanity, in the context of our paramount concern for mankind.

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