Opinion makers, please stop spreading the lie

By Jean Paul L. Zialcita

IN her article, “Condoms in the spotlight” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 November 2010), Rina Jimenez-David asks:

And if the Holy Father, in his compassion, sees fit to abjure the sin of a prostitute (male or female) using a condom, why can’t he find the same compassion in his heart for men and women seeking a balance between responsible parenthood and fulfilled couple-hood? Why can’t he give them a break?

No, Ms. David, the Pope has not abjured anything of the sort. I suggest you read the Pope’s words again in Light of the World (assuming you’ve already read them, of course; we cannot just rely on second-hand data from AP, Reuters, and BBC). You must have misunderstood something somewhere.

All the Pope said is that when an HIV-infected prostitute (male or female—it doesn’t matter) uses a condom so as not to spread the virus, the act of using the condom could be interpreted as a sign that the prostitute’s sense of good and evil isn’t entirely dead. The concern not to spread the virus on the part of the condom-using, HIV-infected prostitute could, therefore, be construed as a first step in the direction of taking responsibility for immoral acts committed.

So, no, Ms. David, this is not about the Pope showing compassion for prostitutes and withholding it from married couples. He is compassionate towards everyone, especially towards those who need to realize their dignity but whose weaknesses impede such a realization.

Mr. Zialcita is an Assistant Professor at the Political Science Department of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy of the University of the Philippines – Diliman.

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