In 1266 as Thomas Aquinas continued writing his masterpiece, Summa Theologiae, some of the reservations against him were how he could use Aristotelian principles to discern the theological needs of their time; Aristotle being a pagan believed to be unilluminated by God. By 1879, Pope Leo XIII in the bull Aeterni Patris endorsed Aquinas works as the authentic and definite exposition of catholic theology.
The problem we have with the current Pope and his earlier incarnation as Cardinal Ratzinger is that for the past thirty years as a ÔÇśdecided Augustinian,' he has tipped the theological balance of the Church too much away from the scholasticism of Thomism to the dogmatism of St Augustine. City of God, St Augustine's masterpiece, was written as a response to the fall of Rome in year 410. He asserted the superiority of the Church to any other human institution, her teaching and methods superior to any other. Also, Augustine doesn't believe the human intellect unaided by direct divine illumination can reach the fullness of understanding. St Thomas Aquinas 800 years later did not think so. Aquinas believed that most human beings left to apply human reason to morally complex situations would make the appropriate judgement whereas Augustine thinks we are all fallen humanity and we need absolutes as a kind of insurance policy against moral weakness. 1600 years later, the current pope still takes such a dim view of humanity, and no matter the complex challenges that warrant resolution he sees the possibility of errors first and the fall of Rome. Only an Augustinian extremist can pathologize the modern condition and call it ÔÇśDictatorship of Relativism' as he has done again in his new book Light of the World. Whereas, like women's bra, one size should not fit all.
Granted the Pope has issued a denial that he made an exception on the use of condoms in the book, I think we should let the matter die there since the problem is bigger than that. The problem, as I hinted in my letter to the editor (Sunday, Dec 12, 2010) which Fr Paul Adaja did not grasp properly in his Condom and the Catholic Church(Wednesday, December 15, 2010), is the historical weirdness of Roman Catholic Church's attitude to sex that made the proscription of condoms inevitable in the first place. Sexual intercourse combines procreative duties and pleasure principles. And like the legislature, the procreative duties of sex must always be married to the pleasure function because if a government is without the legislature, the executive may turn into a dictatorship of disastrous scope and power. And this according to Rome is what condoms and other contraceptives do.
Besides the fact that many of the Church Fathers from Clement in 35AD to St John Damascus in 749AD, have loaded Catholic doctrines with the idea that all forms of contraception is comparable to Onanism(Genesis 38) and so they are evil, they have continually loaded the Church with the conclusions that lust and sex are dirt and corruption. Clement of Alexandria said in 191 "To have sex other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature." It is the reason why Catholic priests and sisters do not marry. It is the reason why 99% those dead canonised as saints are virgins or those who abandoned their marriages for religious monasteries. It is the reason why in year 248, Origen another reputable Church Father wrote to the pagan Celus: "the more our people obey Christian doctrine, the more they love purity, abstaining from even lawful sex-pleasure that they may the more purely worship God."
It is the same reason why the Church is so vociferous in defending the concept of Virginity of Mary. Even when she was properly married to St Joseph, what is wrong in both slugging it out together? This would have impugned on her purity so apostolic tradition and heritage of faith continue to defend her as Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Queen of Purity. And because of this her husband too is made pure even when historical or archaeological evidence is lean in that direction. That is why it is believed that while Mary was in labour in the manger at Bethlehem, Joseph had to go out and the angels had to come down to midwife the baby Jesus because St Joseph would have seen her private parts and that would have compromised his famous purity. So when the Catholic Church is condemning this and that about sexuality and condoms it is important to know where she is coming from.
And when Fr Adaja wrote that the Damola Awoyokun of December 2005 is different from the one of today, it was because that strange Damola was blindly at one with the curia's quaestio iuris, arguing sentire cum ecclesia. Limited experience and insufficient self-criticism denied him the means of grasping the broader quaestio facti of the issue at stake. Why is it that a postconciliar encyclical like Humanae Vitae(1968), unembarrassed by the fresh reformative progressivism of Vatican II still went ahead to sustain the thousands-years misreading of human sexuality whereas all other centuries-old misreadings and practices were being reformed? If a couple has been "open to life" as the encyclical charged, and have had all the children they can cater for, why is it still a mortal sin, i.e., a hell-going offence, if they still make love using condoms? And remember that St Augustine, bishop of Hippo, in his letter to the Manicheans in year 388AD even prescribed stiff canonical penalties for anyone caught taking advantage of the so-called natural rhythm method.
And with the way Rome is energetically militating against the use of condoms for HIV prevention because it would not encourage people to be faithful or chaste, what would she do to the medicine that would eventually cure AIDS in the future? Call down air strikes like in Sodom and Gomorrah? The corollary of this is that the Church, even though she claims she has vast hospitals and hospices all over the world genuinely taking care of AIDS patients, is reaping profit from the current incurability of AIDS. Because it is giving her grounds to evangelise and demonstrate that her millennia-old position on sex have always being right. This are some of the things which the defenders of the Church's immoral morality do not know.
Dear Fr Adaja, you and I together with Bishop Badejo and any other party interested can work together to dismantle the odious underpinnings of the church's teaching on sex and condoms. We can turn it into a mere "theological opinion that gained popularity among the faithful" as you noted about the discredited Limbo which of course shows you are unaware that Popes Zosimus(417), Gregory the Great(604), Innocent III(1216), and Pius X (1905) have taught Limbo. Moreover, you are unaware of the motu proprio, Ad Tuendam Fidem(1998). You are unaware of Ratzinger's doctrinal commentary on it. You're even unaware of Archbishop Bertone (Ratzinger's secretary then)'s article in L'Osservatore Romano (December 2006) stating the Pope doesn't have to speak ex cathedra before he warrants our obsequium religiosum. Pope John Paul II nicely summed it: "the Catholic Church is not a grocery store where you are free to pick and choose." We have to swallow everything she passes out whether divinely revealed or definitively proposed or not. But that era is over. We are no longer sheep. We are now genuine 21st century non serviam goats with big horns on our heads like any Church Father but unaided by any dogmatic divine illumination to achieve full understanding.