by Jay Richards
In the last few days, The New York Times has participated in a misinformation campaign about Pope Benedict's comments from a recent book based on a reporter's interview with the Pontiff. I don't know if it's the result of ignorance or malice. In either case, it's misinformation.
The New York Times trope is that the Pope has changed longstanding "policy" on the morality of condom use--as if the Catholic Church had policies analogous to the platform of a political party. This is nonsense, as many commentators, from George Weigel to Jonah Goldberg, have explained. Weigel is a Catholic theologian who wrote the foreword for the book, so one would think that The New York Times could manage to fix the error, or at least stop perpetuating it.
But no. They're still at it. This morning (November 24), they have another installment, by Rachel Donadio and Laurie Goodstein. Now they're reporting on the controversy that ensued in large measure because of the perverse articles in The New York Times itself.
Anyone with a basic grasp of moral reasoning could understand Benedict's point: While condom use is wrong as a form of contraception, it could be less bad for a male prostitute with HIV to use a condom than not to use one, since he would at least be trying to avoid the spread of the virus. Apparently such distinctions are too fine for the Times.
I can't resist mentioning that the co-author of today's story, Laurie Goodstein, has also written on intelligent design, with a similar unwillingness to report a position as its proponent holds it. Hmm.