4 Retirement Plans for Pope Benedict XVI after Resignation – 15 Feb 13

It is now already old news that Pope Benedict XVI resigned from his job as the head of the Catholic Church. With 85 he decided that he does no longer want to be the leader of one of the biggest religious institutions of the world. While all articles that I saw concentrated on the question what would happen to the post of the Pope after this sudden resignation, I had a very different question in mind: what would happen with the retired Pope? I would have some suggestions for him…

  1. The boring Option: Become a Monk

    A very plain and thus also boring idea is that he could go and do what people normally do after retiring – relax at home and work in the garden. Be a normal monk again and get your mind free of all the responsibilities you had as a Pope. You won’t need to wear your business costume anymore either. But: you will have to give back the company car, too! Unfortunately this is what is most likely going to happen – he will just retire from public life in order to peacefully and boringly eat, pray and love until the end of his life.

  2. The modern Option: Become an Internet Guru

    Maybe I can convince the current pontiff of this retirement plan. It would certainly be more diversified and more interesting for him and the rest of the world. Benedict has already started taking interest in modern media – he joined twitter and has already more than one-and-a-half million followers. He tweets, people respond and retweet – there is potential for more social networking once he has more time for it and I am sure he would be successful! Who would be able to give better tips than him, the former leader of a world religion, having witnessed intrigues and power plays, controversies and the influence of the media, old traditions clashing with new ways?

  3. The other Faith Option: Become a Hindu Guru

    If the role as an Internet Guru does not appeal to him, I would have another idea with much more practical involvement! He could convert to Hinduism! It is in fashion at the moment – he could ask Julia Roberts for advice on how to. Once converted, I am sure he would be successful in establishing a guru business of his own. He knows all the basics already – the guidelines for behavior of religious leaders are the same in all religions – he would just need to read or listen to a few Hindu scriptures, that’s all. The reason for his resignation is that he doesn’t feel up to the challenges of his post. As a Hindu guru, his disciples will take care of the tasks, so it is less exhausting and better for the health! I would just suggest to skip the bath in the Ganges… maybe the Tiber might be an adequate alternative?

  4. The non-celibate Option: Become a Husband and Father

    The last possibility I can think of – and actually my favourite one – is that he could resign not only from his job as a Pope but also from his life as a monk altogether. Why not try something completely different? Many people in retirement want to make experiences they never made before, the last time of your life is to completely enjoy whatever you have not enjoyed until that day.

    I think it is obvious: he should find himself a young lady! I am not saying he should become an ex-Pope version of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, of course, although I think he is still quite handsome for his 85 years and could attract some young women who like the idea of powerful men with a nice amount of pension fund! But if he doesn’t feel that active, I would suggest finding just one woman to marry. As he doesn’t like condoms anyway, the consequences would be a few children and he would have a happy retirement life, surrounded by his children and family. Yes, that is the idea that I like the most.

What do you think?

Converted Native American Saint refuses helping Non-Catholics – 8 Nov 12

Some weeks ago I heard that the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church has announced the canonization of seven new saints. In that time I did not actually pay much attention on the news but then Ramona told me about one of these brand new saints who was special: she was the fourth saint of Native American origin. Yes, she was a Christian Canadian aboriginal woman who has been worshipped by many people for ages and is now finally a saint. Sounds funny but that is one of the strange ways religion can go.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was a girl born in 1665 to a Mohawk chief and a Roman Catholic Algonquin who had herself been baptized by French missionaries. It was however not her Christian mother due to whom Kateri became Christian. After her parents died of smallpox, an illness gave her scars in the face and damaged her eyesight, she was brought up by her uncle in the traditional Mohawk ways. When the French attacked the Mohawk and defeated them however, the Mohawks were forced to accept a peace treaty that allowed Jesuit missionaries in their villages. So that is how Christian missionaries forced their way into Native American tribes and spread their own message.

This girl was one of them who was interested in the Christian stories of Jesus, heaven and so on. Her uncle and her tribe were opposing her conversion – which seems rather understandable – and she fled to a mission where she died at the age of 24.

Now why is this young woman, who is also called Lilly of the Mohawks, now a saint and people are allowed to worship her as one? She was, for one, very religious: she vowed that she would remain a virgin until her death, she encouraged others in her faith and she even practiced mortification. This was something she and some of her friends did even though discouraged from the clergymen around them. They wanted to go the path of religious and thought they were not allowed by the Jesuits to do it all! So she slept on a bed with thorns, flogged herself and even burned herself with hot coals.

After her death however, the miracles started. Her face had been covered with scars of smallpox but the people present at her death claimed it all vanished once she died. Three people, her mentor, her friend and her priest told of apparitions, that they had seen or heard her even after her death. And then of course there are those people who, since only a few years after her death, have attributed healing powers to her relics. The latest one was finally the one that convinced the Catholic Church that she should be canonized.

I wrote about the ridiculous and superstitious process of canonization last year already and there is not much to add to my general opinion but in this case I need to address a few more points.

It is striking that this was a Native American woman who was converted to Christianity. Many people would say that Native Americans have seen too much blood in their history to be really happy about this. It seems ironic – at first you kill thousands of us and force many of us to give up their traditional beliefs, thinking we are barbarians and uncivilized, and then you make one of our women a saint to worship? Of course many Catholics of Native American origin will be happy about this symbolic action but I just find it absurd, especially with the Pope’s words: ‘May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are’ – did Christians really help people not denying who they were?

If you read about the missionaries in Canada in that time you can read that those women were not always following the advice of the priests who were supposed to guide them. They wanted more and form convents on their own but were not allowed to. They were told about sins and Kateri herself started overdoing it – just as you hear about Martin Luther when he was a young monk. They were very obviously embracing the idea of Jesus, the person of love, but were confused and could not cope with the whole religious idea of sin and punishment around it. That is the work of religion, and in this case Christianity, when they go out to convert people of other belief.

What I really had to wonder about though was the description of one of those miracles that were attributed to her: a Protestant boy who had caught smallpox was treated by the Jesuits. They told him that they would use her relics to help him recover if he became a Roman Catholic. When he agreed, they allegedly healed him with a piece of her coffin! So what does this say about this new saint? She, herself a converted woman, only helps those of the correct faith? What a nice message to give to others, especially Native Americans who would consider praying to this woman, simply because of her origins and alleged healing abilities. But the Catholic Church does not want to give this healing benefit to people of other faith! They want to get as many followers themselves, so if you are sick, you will only be healed by a Catholic Saint if you are Catholic!

People sometimes think Christianity is much more modern than Hinduism simply because they have refused the Roman and Greek multitude of Gods. This kinds of stories show again however that it is all the same nonsense – and now the Catholic Church has a Native American Saint to show off with!

Conference of Jesus, Krishna and Mohammed – Decision: Religion to be finished – 15 Nov 11

Krishna, Mohammed and Jesus are sitting around a round table. It is one of those new computer tables where the whole table top is a big touchscreen. It shows the world. The three of them look at it and in their faces you can see concern and resignation.

Mohammed looks around in the faces of the other two and asks them in a low voice ‘So?’

Krishna looks up and answers ‘It did not really work out the way I wanted it to work out!’ He taps on the globe displayed in front of him and turns it until the Indian subcontinent comes into view. With a longer tap of his finger, the screen starts showing different, colourful scenes. There are women and men at a river, putting their hands in and pouring water over their heads, obviously in bliss and happiness.

‘That doesn’t look too bad to me!’ Jesus comments, casting a questioning glance at Krishna, who is obviously not at all happy about what he sees. Instead of answering, he taps on a timeline displayed below the scene. He shifts the arrow forward until it comes to a stop in the year 2011. What you see now looks nearly the same but you can see that the water is darker and it seems that there are many more people around. ‘I started the rituals to worship the nature so that they would keep the rivers and forests clean and treat the world with respect. But what did they do? They just kept the rituals like an empty shell without understanding what I wanted them to do! Now they pour milk into the rivers while polluting them at the same time! They throw garbage into them but then go to take their holy baths at their banks, too. At the same time there are children dying of hunger just next to them! And all those Gurus don’t tell others about love and peace anymore but cheat them to get richer and richer. They have big amounts of gold and they sit on thrones while their followers lie in front of them and have hardly enough to feed themselves. I don’t know how the followers of Hinduism misunderstood my message!’ With a sigh he taps on the screen again, where you now see men with yellow-painted faces pour big pots of milk into a dark river that hardly flows and in the background a thin child in a desert-like area. The scene ends and they look again onto the planet earth.

Jesus clears his throat and tells ‘Well, if it makes you feel any better, Christianity didn’t develop in a very great way, either…’ He puts his fingers on the screen and turns the globe a bit so that Europe is in the center. With a tap on the shoe-formed country of Italy, another scene opens and the three bend a bit closer over the table. They see a man in white and red clothes lifting his hand in front of a big crowd of people. ‘They call him the Pope or Holy Father.’ Corners of the Mouths around the table twitch and quick glances are exchanged. ‘After I left they could not just go on following the love that I had taught them but they needed someone to follow. Now you have this man and millions believe whatever he says is right!’ Looking at Krishna he adds ‘Not very different from your Gurus…’ and with a few quick taps on the screen he changes the scene.

Two scenes follow upon each other: people going one by one into small cabinets where a grill separates them from a man clothed in simple clothes, talking, crying and leaving again. Then a man with the top of his head shaved in front of a young boy. He closes the door of the room. They are alone. ‘They all started believing so much in the institution that is called church and its priests that they believe to be sinners and that they need to confess. They even send their children to the priests to learn a good life. Unfortunately some priests misuse this trust and abuse little boys and girls!’ He sadly shakes his head, looking at the table. With a slow motion and a look at Mohammed he turns the timeline back for more than 500 years. ‘And of course I cannot forget the holy wars or crusades! What a catastrophe!’ Pictures of massacres and armies waving flags with crosses show upon the screen.

Mohammed looks at him in concern. ‘That is an old matter. Don’t believe I am happy with what is happening with Islam today!’ It is his turn now to tap on the screen and you see two planes flying directly into two tall skyscrapers, one after the other. A change of scene and there is a man with a big, bulky jacket in a busy subway. He pulls a small rope and it looks like the whole room explodes. Mohammed exclaims ‘They are doing this all in my name! Thousands of people are dying! But not only that, see what they do with their wives!’ He turns the globe, taps on Iran and shakes his head in sadness and disbelief while the three of them watch how a woman is buried until the head in sand, men surrounding her, stones in their hands.

At this point Krishna reaches out, closes the screen and stares down on the screen. Both, Jesus and Mohammad also put their hands onto the table. Suddenly the screen under their fingers starts flickering and at each point where their fingers touch the screen pictures and scenes appear. The three of them watch in amazement how people are laughing, some playing with animals on meadows, others feeding children in a village place, some people running along a beach, a few others planting trees in a forest.

With a smile on his face Mohammed says ‘Well, I guess there is another side to it, too. These people understand the importance of nature, of plants and animals.’ Jesus adds ‘Yes, they love each other and try to finish conflicts in a peaceful way.’ With a little concern Krishna says ‘Some of these people are older but many more young and they don’t believe in any religion anymore. The importance of religion seems to be getting less and less.’ They all watch in silence for a while thinking about the question what that means for them. Will we get unimportant now?

Finally Krishna concludes his contemplations: ‘It is fine without any religion, too. Hinduism, Christianity and Islam anyway started after we had gone there. We don’t need religions.’ Mohammed agrees ‘Yes, if all those wars and other bad things stop because religions come to their end, it is good. We don’t need to be worshipped.’ Krishna nods ‘We will always be there, in each of them, in every plant they water and in every animal they feed.’ And Jesus adds ‘If they live in love and peace, happy and free, we will be happy and present in each laugh, each hug and each loving gesture.’

Christian Worship of the Pope is also Human Worship – 6 Sep 11

I have written a lot about Hinduism and have condemned the worship of humans many times. Friends who grew up in Christian culture told me that they have always learned as Christians not to worship any person and not to worship any statue. For them there is only one God and He does not have any image. This is why, they said, they don’t have God statues or murtis, as they are called here, in their churches. Although I have repeatedly been told that there is a big difference between Hinduism and Christianity, I see a lot of similarities, even in this point.

I cannot know as much about Christianity as I know about Hinduism but I have also heard about Moses who brought the people of Israel out of Egypt as a kind of messenger of God. When the people there started worshipping a cow out of cold, he got angry and God gave them the message that they should not worship any statues. When he himself claimed to have helped the people, God made him aware that he was not the one with the power, that he was not God and should not want people to believe this.

These stories make it very clear that whoever wrote it wanted to have a very different religion than the ones existing in that time, the Roman Gods, the Greek Gods, the Celtic Gods and maybe they had even heard of the Hindu Gods. They did not want statues and did not want to worship any person pretending to be God. In the end however I do not see much difference in between today’s Hinduism and the Christianity that I have seen and heard of.

Both religions have such scriptures, that is anyway the very first thing. Many people believe in them word by word although they are also only stories, nicely told for people to understand the basic rules of religion. And although Christianity says in their Bible that nobody should worship any statue, I again and again see the crucifix, the statue of Jesus, hanging at the cross, blood running down his sides. People stand in front of that statue and pray to it. What is that? Well, it is not a statue of God himself, I am told. It is a statue of God’s son. But it is a statue! Then there is mother Mary with the baby Jesus. She resembles hope, everything good, soft and loving. Isn’t that as though you are praying to the statue of the goddess Parvati, Lakshmi or Saraswati? Where really is the difference? You ask her, you pray to her and you make a wish. Isn’t it the same thing, praying to a statue? This is why it was easy for Christian missionaries in South India to convert people to Christianity. They just change the statue, it does not make much difference! When we were in Kerala earlier this year, we noticed this. If you see the statues there, they look pretty much as the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, colourful, adorned, flowers spread around them. In its basics it is the same.

The main point that I wanted to make though is that Catholic Christians say that they don’t do any human worship but when I talk against human worship, I also consider their main priest like any of our Hindu gurus: the Pope. What do you do if not worship him? Have you ever seen how those masses of people come together to see him and maybe even be touched by him when he comes out to speak the Easter blessing? Or how many people gather to have a look at him when he comes to their town or anywhere close-by? How many of those believers long for just a single touch, just one word or a look of him? It is the same thing again! How can that not be human worship? He even has the attribute of being impeccable. What he says and writes has to be accepted as the truth, just like the words of any guru!

Again, there is really not any big difference in between the religions. I grew up here in India, in Hinduism and that is why I obviously know much more about it than about any other religion. When anybody tells me anything from other religions though, there are always things that strike me as same. So it doesn’t matter which religion, when I talk against human worship, I speak of human worship in any religion and culture. It is always wrong.

Christianity searches Miracles to Create Saints such as Pope John Paul II – 3 May 11

After reading news online on Sunday, Ramona told me something which made us both smile and laugh. The news was that on Sunday the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II took place. As I did not understand what this really meant, Ramona explained it and while she did we both were amazed that in these modern times so many people believe in this way of ‘creating saints’. Let me write down a few points of her basic explanation of what is going on.

First of all, a beatification is a canonization or sanctification on a smaller level. This means that a person who was beatified is only worshipped locally, for example in the area where he lived. After his canonization however he is a real and proper saint.

It is actually pretty much a systematic way of making sure whether a dead person is a saint and can be called for by everybody who has a problem. They have certain criteria that have to be met and if you are planning on becoming a saint, you should better start working on these while you are still alive:

– Christian Life

You must have led a virtuous life according to Christian values and that not only normally like everybody else but especially good so that you can be an ideal for others.

– Reputation of Holiness

This point, too, can be achieved while you are alive, as is the case with the last Pope.

– Miracles

This is something that you cannot really work on a lot but it probably comes with your reputation of being holy.

If all of these are found and one miracle is proved, the person can get beatified. After that one miracle more is needed to get the honour of being canonized.

Especially the last point made me look at Ramona with wonder and ask her what kind of miracle was needed. She read out that there was a French nun who had had Parkinson’s and who had directed a prayer to the dead Pope John Paul II, who must have forwarded her request to God because the next morning she woke up and was healed.

So now we are just waiting for another person to stand up and say “He did another miracle!”, then the late Pope will be an official saint. Of course they have the rule that those miracles have to be proved. This they do by finding doctors who say that such a recovery was inexplicable from medical point of view. If you pay attention in your daily life, you will find many such things that are inexplicable with the methods that we know today. How can you say that the late Pope caused them? Do you think he talked to God for you and then God did it because this special person asked for it?

I am truly amazed. If Parkinson’s and other diseases can be healed like this, why don’t we just stop all research, close hospitals and pray to John Paul II? The whole medical system would not be necessary anymore! Such things happen not only in small Indian village but also here in Europe! They are just simply handled on a very large scale and systematically, as is normal in the civilized and developed European countries.

It is the same thing that happens in Hinduism and Islam, too: they want to make people believe in such miracles and that there are persons who have a lot more powers than we others. It is causing superstition, it makes some people stand higher than others and encourages people to claim that they have done miracles. Here you see again that all religions in the end are the same and all over the world the same things happen.

In my opinion, we don’t need saints, living or dead. If you feel like praying, pray to God directly. You are worth just as much as every other human being on this world. If there is a God that does miracles, He will listen to all of us or to nobody, but not only to a few people whom you have declared saints.

Pope says Child Abuse was normal because of Society – 30 Dec 10

Still before Christmas I read a website article about a statement of the Pope in front of his officials. In his speech to them he asked them to reflect on the church’s culpability in the child sex-abuse scandal which was discovered in the last years. Hundreds or thousands of young girls and boys have been sexually abused by priests whom the parents trusted with the religious education of their children. Victims and their relatives have been waiting for a long time for a reaction of society and church. When the society reacted with an outcry of protest, it still took the Catholic Church a long time to admit their guilt, to find those who did those crimes to innocent children and to take small and hesitating steps to approach the public again.

What the Pope said on 20th December to his officials however was more like an attempt to explain why those priests abused children. He actually blames the society around them! Benedict XVI said “In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children”. It was thus just normal to touch children and have sex with them? Does he mean that the society in the seventies knew about that and accepted it and just nowadays people make a too big deal about it? I don’t really believe in this theory! Does he mean that priests abused children because everybody was doing? I think I stay with my previous statement: when you suppress a natural feeling of sexuality by religious restrictions and limits, the sexual urge will find another way – a sick and unnatural way that hurts people and harms young minds and hearts.

Another thing he said was “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.” I heartily disagree with this opinion or theory. This would justify whatever action you take. For me it is good to help a child and support him or her for a better future. And it is definitely bad to mistreat and abuse a child. You show yourself unworthy of the parents’ trust, you break a child’s trust and love and you may even ruin his or her mental situation forever. It is a crime and that’s it.


If Contraception Kills Life, Abstinence and Celibacy Do, Too! – 25 Nov 10

Pope Benedict XVI now allowed Catholics to use condoms in very special circumstances. These circumstances are very limited and don’t include using a condom only as a contraceptive. You can use it if you want to save life, if you have AIDS and don’t want to spread it. If you use it as a contraceptive, the Catholic Church believes that it is a sin because you actually kill a life in the process of creation, you are acting against God’s purpose – so they say. The problem thus is killing life before it happened.

With this explanation I had to wonder about the church’s general stand on sex. Sex is okay between a married man and woman as long as they don’t use contraceptives. But life can actually only really be created when the woman is ovulating, when she is in the fertile period of her cycle. Only then, the egg can be fertilized. If a married couple has sex on any of the other approximately 25 days of the month, all this precious sperm gets killed! Is that against God’s purpose, too? Should a couple that is strictly following the Pope’s suggestions only have sex five to six days a month?

Following this thought, it is a really bad thing that even if you have sex in ovulation time, only one of those millions of little guys has to reach the goal, all others are destined to die! Oh, but wait a second – didn’t God destine them to die? All except one who makes the run and actually starts the real creation of life.

Let’s stay with the idea that the Pope gave us for solving all problems – celibacy or abstinence. Okay, if someone is even abstinent from women but needs some relief and does hand-practice in the bathroom? Then, also all sperm will die. If someone very strictly follows the Pope’s rules and never masturbates but has wet dreams? Then, too, all the sperm comes out and dies. This happens naturally, you can ask any teenage boy. But maybe the solution for this would simply be to go to church and confess. What can you do about this anyway?

If this is the theory however, what should women do? If the egg that their body produces is not used, if conception does not take place, the egg will also die and it will be discarded. Even celibacy is not a solution then! Each nun kills one egg each month. She is doing this by not having sex and not getting pregnant. As a conclusion women should try to become pregnant each time they ovulate. Is this what the Catholic Church wants to tell us?

I think we leave this topic with these thoughts, everybody has his own opinion and I think I made mine clear.

If you had a close look at the picture already, you may have noticed that we are now in Germany. You may be surprised because I did not mention it before. This time it is going to be a short trip only and I will let you know the reason for this tomorrow.

God is not against Condoms and Contraceptives – 24 Nov 10

While writing yesterday’s diary, I had another thought. Doctors here in India also let people know that a woman’s risk of cervical cancer gets higher with each birth. A woman with seven children is thus a lot more likely to get cervical cancer than a mother of one. It thus increases the risk of dying. The Holy Father said it is okay to use a condom to prevent spreading of HIV, it is okay if you use a condom in order to save life instead of preventing life from coming into existence. So would it be fine to use a condom to prevent cervical cancer, too?

Well, I guess not, if you think of his model solution for preventing AIDS infections altogether: celibacy! Yes, if you don’t want more children, just don’t have sex, don’t waste your sperm and don’t kill unborn – and un-conceived – life through birth control. As I said yesterday, this might also be the solution to India’s population problem wouldn’t it be such an impossible thing to do. You just cannot teach celibacy to people who sign with fingerprints and couldn’t care less about how many people there are in their country. What about the relation of an educated Western couple who got married, has two children and doesn’t want to have more? Again, the answer would be abstinence, right?

Apart from the fact that I see celibacy as a fully wrong concept that suppresses a very natural urge, I have to say that I strongly oppose the idea that God would not like us to use birth control. Do you really oppose God’s creation if you use condoms or the birth control pill? I don’t want to go into the discussion if those hormones are good for your body or which contraceptive is most natural. I want to ask the Pope, the Catholic Church or just everybody who is of that opinion, do you really think that you can oppose God’s creation? If He wants life to come to this world, do you think you can do anything against that? How powerful do you think you are?

Isn’t that an extreme over-estimation of yourself? God is the one who gives and takes life, not you. Even if you use a condom perfectly, it is only a 98% guarantee that you don’t get pregnant. Most people even only get a 85% guarantee because they don’t use it really properly. So what do you think, if God wanted a life to come, He would not find a way? After all He is the one who is behind the idea that we should reproduce. By the way, He is also the one behind the invention of birth control measurements, so don’t believe that He didn’t want people to start using them.

No, you cannot convince me in this way and you cannot convince millions of people who would like to enjoy the natural sexual urge of their body in a healthy and safe way.

Population of India Blasts and Pope Bans Contraceptives – 23 Nov 10

I had to think a little bit more about the Pope’s idea of using condoms for preventing HIV from spreading but not as a contraceptive. The Catholic Church with the Pope as its head says that people should not use birth control. Anyway, sex before marriage is completely unthinkable and comes close to a mortal sin, so they are not talking about one-night-stands, single sex or partners who did not decide to unite in the holy bond of matrimony. That is anyway evil, so let’s keep discussing intercourse in a marriage, absolutely legal intercourse according to Catholicism.

Why exactly are you not supposed to use condoms? Their answer is that you are trying to prevent life, you are practically opposing creation. Each time that you have sex and each time that the man has an orgasm could be one more life on this earth and you practically kill that life before it even started if you use condoms or birth control pills.

If we follow this thought it means that the Catholic Church wants a couple to get married and as soon as possible have children. When one child is born, don’t control anything, let the second one happen! And another one, and another one… wait, is that really the idea? Living here in India we hear many doctors telling illiterate and uneducated families not to produce a lot of offspring, and that for several cogent reasons.

India is a country with a population growing so fast, that it could in 15 to 20 years outgrow the population of China. Five or more children in a family are not a rarity. Uneducated farmers like the thought of having many sons who can work on their fields. Additionally the business would stay in family, you can trust them and you don’t need to pay anybody from outside. They don’t realize that feeding seven children may be even more costly than paying salary to extra workers. In their eyes their children are the provision for their old age. Everybody wants to have many children although they sometimes don’t even have the money to feed themselves. What should their children live from?

There are many grievances in India and charity workers from India and all over the world try to tell people that they should only have one or two children. The government tried to lower the birth rate in many ways. They spent millions of Rupees educating people on family planning and paying money to those who have sterilizations and vasectomies done. This all for a reason: if India’s population keeps on growing, the poverty in the country will take overhand, there are not enough schools even today, there is a big shortage of doctors and so many people live and die in situations of extremely poor hygiene simply because they don’t have enough space.

So if it is a sin to use birth control methods such as condoms, India will just keep on growing. To educated people, the idea of not using birth control seems old-fashioned, outdated and simply irresponsible. The Holy Father’s answer to this would probably be celibacy again. Just don’t have sex if you don’t want to have children. But you cannot teach people abstinence if you have difficulties teaching them the alphabet! Is it really a sin to use condoms in this country? Would the Pope make an exception and allow Indian Christians to use artificial birth control? Or is India just not a place for Catholics?

Pope allows Condoms to Prevent AIDS from Spreading – 22 Nov 10

After the child abuse scandals and sex scandals of the Catholic Church that have been uncovered in the last years, the world has been waiting for a reaction by Pope Benedict XVI. Something. An apology, a call to action against it, any reaction! But no, even on his Easter speech to the world it seemed like this topic was not enough of an issue to bother the Holy Father. Next week however the world will finally be able to read about how stunned he was about the scandals… better late than never?

Next week the Vatican will publish a book based on the first interview given face to face by a Pope and everybody can look forward to get some interesting new statements. One of the most surprising ones is that he finally accepts that condoms might be a good thing!

Well, he didn’t quite say it like that. He moved only a tiny little bit away from the conservative statement that condemns condom use overall: “In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality.” He right away makes clear that although you may use it to prevent AIDS from spreading, it is not the ‘proper way’ to deal with HIV and for sure you should not use contraceptives when you are married and both you and your partner do not suffer from AIDS.

So he actually only admits that men may use condoms if they know that they are HIV positive so that they don’t infect another person. He gives an example: “There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be … a first bit of responsibility, to redevelop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes.” He does not leave the opinion that you should not use birth control or that you should not have sex before marrying – God beware! No, but it seems that after decades of protests, debates and discussions, the pontiff finally realized that even the Catholic Church cannot stay that much backward to believe it is better to infect another person with a deadly virus than to use a condom! Many cardinals, bishops and priests who obviously live more in reality are already of the opinion that birth control may even be a good idea and much better than the solution of the pope who still suggests abstinence.

Nevertheless I guess we have to thank his holiness for granting all HIV infected men to have sex with their wives using condoms and all male prostitutes to use condoms in their profession. Should he himself ever get the joy of having sex, I think he should try it without a condom to be able to get full pleasure.

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