Sunday, 21 November 2010

The illusion of control

Great news everybody - the Pope has come to his senses and told the world to 'rubber up'. No longer will poverty-stricken people in the third world be condemned to the uncontrolled transmission of disease, or ever-growing broods of kids they're incapable of feeding. It's finally OK to snap on a prophylactic. Well, kind of. 

Everyone's favourite one-time Nazi has participated in the writing of a new book. And excerpts from the forthcoming bestseller have suggested that the Catholic Church is on the verge of softening its hardline stance of contraception. 

But it's probably be going to be some time before the Pope advocates widespread non-procreative fuckery. For the moment, the only people allowed to pick-up something for the weekend are rent-boys.

Responding to a question about the church's condemnation of safe sex practices, the Pontiff said: "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." Admittedly, 'humane' and 'sexuality' aren't words one might automatically associate with the Pope, so perhaps things are changing for the better.

Asked about which 'certain cases' he had in mind, Benedict explained: "There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility." 

I'm sure street-corners around the world are crammed with young men in short-shorts currently gripping their rosaries in relief that they can finally take responsibility for their own sexual health. Unless of course it's a case of too little too late. By the time someone's embraced their homosexuality and decided to charge elderly priests for it, they're probably not holding out for Papal approval. 

As well as this remarkable u-turn on the issue of condoms, it's also nice to see what passes for authorship these days. After the CD, DVDs, tour souvenirs, and now an 'interview-based' book, it's clear that the Pope is out to rival Katie Price for multi-media ubiquity. Let's see if he turns out at our local Waterstones to promote Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times in a see-though body stocking and candy pink wig...

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