Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I know that it has been a long time since I last posted, but wow, moving is apparently more difficult than I thought. Our apartment is a mess...I am also taking my niece Alyssa with me, so she can meet up with her mom for the summer. She's a good traveler, so it should be kinda fun! So far, the biggest news is this: we bought a couch's really cool, and green, and I am extremely excited! I can't believe how much fun it is to share expenses, despite being poor, of course. I really dig the was so totally unlike my ex-husband to be that way, but that's another blog. Sara and Brad, congratulations again!!!! I will talk to all of you later, when life is less hectic and I will be in IOWA! Moving is still scary, even though I do have family close by. Maybe it's cause I will miss out on some stuff that normally I wouldn't, plus it's a new state..and I have to find a job and get settled. I am nervous! I will really miss the family I have here...and I think some of my nervousness stems from feelings that only my dad, sister, and stepmom really care that I'm leaving. I kinda get the feeling that Rick and Charlene have kinda written me off...but maybe that's cause we haven't really settled anything. I am really gonna miss my niece and nephews! Well, it's the last packing and loading day. Gotta go!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Well, lately life is hectic. I worked out for 2 hours yesterday to relieve stress and of course, get my nice body back the one that is less dumpy and more toned. Oh, and we're moving next Thursday. We already have our address and phone number so whoever wants it email me! I will probably send out a mass email anyway! Packing is hectic! Our apartment is a mess. I am spending time with the families, and that's fun. Oh, and of course, thesis research. Wow! That is dragging for right now, cause all I'm really doing is copying microfilm so that later I can analyze it. Tedious work, but it will be worth it. Anyway, not much else going on. I went to the zoo with my sister and niece yesterday - Taylor's field trip. What a fun group! Kay - remember hanging out with parents or whatever and singing whenever we felt like it without being embarrassed..the girls did cheers! In the middle of the zoo. They were so excited and wound up, I don't know if they actually saw any of the animals. Ahh, the zoo. Penguins next summer!!!! Anyway, that's all.

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Editorial

I know it's another editorial, but some people took offense that it was a Planned Parenthood editorial the last time, so here is one from the St. Petersburg Times. Has the Pope actually commissioned a study? I will find out, but I think Kristi, you would know this? I will try to find out. I merely find it interesting, since AIDS is such a huge problem in Africa, and this would at least allow partners, in MARRIAGE I mean, to protect themselves.

Vatican shift on condoms
With millions of AIDS deaths in Africa, a change in policy would be welcome.
By Times editorial
Published May 7, 2006


It is too early to tell whether Pope Benedict XVI is prepared to relax Roman Catholic doctrine and sanction the use of condoms to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. Benedict has asked the Vatican to study whether condoms are acceptable for married couples as a means to prevent the transmission of HIV. Such a move would carve away long-held Catholic teaching that artificial contraception violates the dignity of human life. It also could save countless lives, especially in Africa, where the United Nations classifies HIV as "the single greatest threat" to security and economic development.

Many Africans implored Benedict, on his election last year as pope, to find a middle ground to ease a pandemic devastating the church's fastest-growing region. Since the 1980s, the United Nations reports, 50-million in Africa have been infected with HIV and 20-million have died. AIDS has deprived Africa of parents, an able-bodied work force and much of the means to grow economically or even feed itself. Of the 5-million new infections reported worldwide last year, according to U.N. figures, 64 percent were in sub-Saharan Africa. In June, speaking to African bishops, the pope recognized the "epidemic" but said the "contraception mentality" should not unhinge the tradition of abstinence. It is unclear whether this study signals a change or hardening of Benedict's position.

Either way, having senior Catholic clergy refer to the practice as "a lesser evil" brings the debate forward from only several years ago, when the Vatican condemned condoms as ineffective against HIV. It also shows Benedict capable of opening the church to freewheeling public controversy, a confidence detractors did not expect from the conservative German cardinal. Benedict may have focused the issue narrowly on whether condoms should spare spouses a deadly disease. But any doctrinal change would surely be seen as a broader retreat on contraception. Likewise, Benedict forced a more honest debate about the many factors, apart from condoms, that contribute to the spread of HIV in Africa, from the weaknesses in the continent's health care system to societal attitudes toward women that encourage high-risk sex.

By calling attention to its own role in shaping prevention efforts, the church has raised the stakes for itself to do more to help governments and people worldwide make responsible decisions. As many as 80-million people could die from AIDS in Africa by 2025. That makes condoms a life issue. It is good the church sees it so, enough to wade through moral distinctions that could make a difference.

[Last modified May 7, 2006, 09:33:46]

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What do you think?

The Church and Condom Sense

by Laura Lambert

Will the Roman Catholic Church lift its ban on condoms?

The Vatican has been steadfast in its official opposition to condoms, as part of its overall stance against contraception. The use of condoms, the Vatican has said, is immoral. But in the wake of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and amidst growing outcry within certain ranks of the church, the Vatican has been pushed to reexamine the issue. Pope Benedict XVI himself recently commissioned a council to study the acceptability of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS — though through a narrow lens, focusing on the issue of HIV/AIDS within heterosexual marriage.

While conflicting reports make it unclear whether such a study presages a formal change in the Vatican's stance, or merely an internal exploration, it has brought the issue of the church and condoms to the forefront.

"Abstinence is fine as an ideal, but it does not work in all circumstances. What about the vulnerable women who don't have that option?"
What happens when the church's "culture of life" and the death toll of HIV/AIDS collide? Can condoms be considered an acceptable "lesser evil" in the time of HIV/AIDS? Which will prevail — disease or doctrine? It is, as stated in a recent New York Times article, "one of the most complicated and delicate [issues] facing the church."

Humanae Vitae

The modern history of the Catholic Church and its stance on condoms can be traced to the 1968 encyclical letter of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, subtitled "On the Regulation of Birth." In it, Pope Paul VI prohibits all means of artificial contraception — reaffirming the church's age-old teachings.

Humanae Vitae emerged in the early days of the birth control pill and changing notions about sex and sexuality. According to polls from that era, an increasing number of Catholics believed the Vatican should sanction birth control — by 1965, the rate was 63 percent. And there were signs of change within the church, as well.

An internal study carried out in the mid-1960s by Vatican-appointed theologians and laymen overwhelmingly found that birth control was not, in and of itself, evil. The commission agreed that Catholics could be allowed to choose for themselves whether and when to use birth control. Nevertheless, Pope Paul VI rejected the majority opinion and cemented the church's official ban with his 1968 decree.

Straight away, Catholic bishops throughout the world — from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States — spoke out, stating that circumstances existed in which a Catholic's conscience could prevail against the ban on contraception — if a woman's life were in danger, for instance.

But the beliefs set out in Humanae Vitae held — and it has remained the official prevailing doctrine since. Then, in the 1980s, HIV/AIDS began to change the world, and many Catholic leaders began to see condoms in a different light.

Catholic Leaders on Condoms

Catholic leaders began to speak out about condoms and HIV/AIDS as early as 1989. That year, the French Bishops Council encouraged widespread HIV/AIDS education, stating decisively, "Prophylactic measures exist." Cardinal Archbishop of Paris Jean-Marie Lustiger recognized that those with HIV/AIDS infections who could not live in chastity should use means to "prevent infection of others."

Four years later, the German Bishops Conference agreed that condoms could be appropriate within a marriage touched by HIV/AIDS, saying "The church ... has to respect responsible decision-making by couples." And in 1996, the French Bishops Council condoned condom use for individuals at risk for HIV "for whom sexual activity is an ingrained part of their lifestyle."

In 2000, Bishop Eugenio Rixen of Goias, Brazil, stated that the Catholic principle of "the lesser of two evils" justified the use of condoms, deeming it "less serious, morally speaking, than getting infected or infecting other people with the AIDS virus." Then, in 2001, Bishop Kevin Dowling, of Rustenburg, South Africa, challenged the Vatican's ban outright, having seen, firsthand, the plight of women and men stricken with HIV/AIDS in a poor mining town in South Africa.

And yet, even as these views bubbled to the surface, other church leaders sought to drown them out. Some went so far as to blame condoms for the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Archbishop of Nairobi Raphael Ndingi Nzeki has called condoms "a licence [sic] for sexuality" and suggested that HIV/AIDS had spread so quickly and so far because of the availability of condoms. And, in 2003, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, falsely suggested that condoms were not reliable for safer sex, alleging that the HIV virus could pass through "pores" in the latex — despite consistent scientific findings to the contrary. In his 2003 document, "Family Values Versus Safe Sex," Trujillo states that condoms, instead of inhibiting the spread of HIV/AIDS, promote it.

In lieu of acknowledging that condoms can prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, the church has emphasized abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage. Just last year, Pope Benedict XVI underscored that point in a speech to African bishops, claiming that abstinence and fidelity were the only "fail-safe" ways to prevent HIV/AIDS.

But what about when abstinence and fidelity fail — as they so often do? "Abstinence is fine as an ideal, but it does not work in all circumstances," said Bishop Dowling, in an interview with The Washington Post. "What about the vulnerable women who don't have that option?" he asked. "What about realizing that the official church in circumstances of human living does not respond to that reality?"

Between Doctrine and Disease

The issue now at hand at the Vatican is not contraception, but disease prevention. As certain leaders, such as the Brazilian Bishop Rixen, and, more recently, former Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, have suggested, condoms could be seen as a "lesser evil." "Certainly the use of prophylactics can, in some situations, constitute a lesser evil," Cardinal Martini said, in the Italian newsweekly L'Espresso. "There is, then, the particular situation of spouses, one of whom is affected by AIDS."

Others who have publicly spoken in favor of condom use in cases where one partner in a marriage is HIV-positive include Swiss Cardinal George Cottier, Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster, England.

Both the public and Catholic priests seem to be in favor — not just of condom use in light of HIV/AIDS, but also of birth control in general. In a recent poll of Catholic priests in England and Wales, 65 percent of those surveyed believed condom use to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS was acceptable. Forty-three percent said it was time for the church to reexamine its view on contraception as a whole. And a 2005 Harris poll found that 90 percent of Catholics — and 93 percent of Americans — support contraception.

The actions and voices of the public, church leaders, and the pope himself, taken as a whole, seem to suggest that the lifesaving potential of condoms may soon be officially recognized by the Catholic Church. For many, this kind of "condom sense" has been a long time coming.

Laura Lambert is a writer and editor in the PPFA Editorial Services Department.



Well, Nick and i spent one day in Iowa. We found an apartment - it takes cats..but, it is 100 feet less than ours, no balcony (it's groundlevel) and doesn't have a fireplace. Plus, it's about 140 dollars more. Good times. Anyway, we will be moving in 2 weeks - on June 1! I am nervous and excited. Also, I applied to a bunch of places for work, so keep your fingers crossed everybody...cause I really need a job. In other news, ummm...the DaVinci Code comes out tomorrow - Jacks, Nick and I are going to see it. I am hoping for wacky Christian protesters. YAY! I guess that's all. Judy - I'll probably see you in a month! You know, two weeks til we move, then a few weeks to get settled. Yay. Oh, and I need my hair cut hehehehe :-)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I passed my comps. Yay me! Yay me! Sorry it's been so long since I posted...I will do better. Anyway, been busy - graduation was Friday and we all got together. I didn't walk or anything, since technically I graduate in December, but Nick and I went to cheer on all of our friends who did walk. Then, we ate Mediterranean food at a party, had everyone come over to our place and I proceeded to get drunk on Amaretto sours and beer. Yum! Oh, and Saturday was awesome despite the hangover..the RiverFest is going on and they had the book sale, I got tons of books including, Kay: The Berenstein Bears! I love those. I read the six or so that I got yesterday in 10 minutes or something. Anyway, gotta go. Talk to you later.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Well, it is about the time that I will be taking my comprehensive exams. I have reviewed what I hope will be is an impossible exam to study for, and I hope I am ready. Nerves! Aggh! Nick passed his foreign language equivalency exam so that is good news and if I pass, we will celebrate. Oh, and my older sister passed her exams too! Congrats! People are just passing things left and right and therefore I must pass as well. Also, I recommend seeing the movie Hard Candy if you want a stressful, yet thought-provoking afternoon/evening. Don't go alone. Oh, and be prepared for some major heart attack type moments. Good movie. Not exactly cheerful though. Anyway, gotta go.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Well, it's the end of the semester. My last true semester at WSU. I am glad to be going to Iowa, studying Native American issues, maybe getting a teaching certificate..maybe a phd..whatever. However, I'm a little sad. I will be leaving my favorite professors, friends, students I care about..a department that is friendly and small. Plus, I will be leaving Jerry. I told you all about Jerry Shaw, the instructor I have been working for since my second semester here. Today, he showed his appreciation for all I've done (which I don't feel is that much, considering what he gave me: confidence, a friend, new things to think about, study, etc.) and gave me a very beautiful, BLUE!, Pendleton blanket. I now have two - he gave me one for the wedding last year, and that is something special I actually was able to keep. And now, I have this one. To tell you the truth, I actually felt honored, like I'd made a difference. The students clapped and thanked me for helping them..etc. I will really miss SI and Jerry especially (although we will definitely stay in contact and visit and such). Well, that's about all.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Not as interesting but...

Everyone really liked hearing about that talk from yesterday..I wish I had more interesting things like that to post. I think that Jerry (he's the instructor of Native American studies that I've been an SI leader for, for like 5 years) is planning something like a going away party for me. Yesterday one of my acquaintances that also knows him asked me what my favorite color was. I replied of course, "blue" and she was all relieved and was like, that's what I told him. She said not to worry about it, don't think, etc. So something is up..I just don't know what. Oh and I was working on my biographical paper on Elaine Goodale Eastman, but sadly, the middle part of her life, because she got married, is all about her husband and so I'm having trouble finishing's due today so my last 4 pages are gonna be really rough. I hate it when I don't have time to edit. Also, does anyone want to start a truth game? We could email each other questions and answers..but it won't be nearly s fun, now that I think about it. I guess we'll just have to wait for summer, eh girls?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ernst Michel

The breakfast/talk was so very enlightening and interesting. I hated to miss class, but Ernst Michel was friendly, nice..etc. He managed to survive Auschwitz and covered the Nuremberg Trial as a journalist. He even had a chance to meet Goering, but said that he couldn't do it, come face to face with him. It's good that he is able to talk about his experiences in the Holocaust. Not many people can, I think, and those that can, are dying out. Witnesses are getting old and dying. On NPR today, they reported that the German govt. is actually opening up ALL documents from WWII. How cool is that! Maybe even more history will be found, and some questions answered a bit more. Anyway, it was exciting and sad to hear him speak, but I am so glad I went.

Monday, May 01, 2006

So, I have officially decided that I will have to have a new blog, because no one else does. So, um...I have a paper due on Wednesday that I have barely started, par for the course I suppose, because the topic is broad and I have to narrow it down and I just don't really care. Tomorrow morning I get to have breakfast with a man visiting the history department - he's a holocause survivor. It should be really fascinating, plus the breakfast is free. Oh, gosh, let's see...went to see the movie Stick It! with Nick and my sister Jackie - it was stupid and cute and he thinks he killed brain cells. The theatre was covered with preteens, so that was a lot of fun ...making fun of them. Remember being 13 girls? we were so stupid and yet had so much fun. :-) Well, that's all for now, I really just wanted to be able to say that I had blogged and no one else had. Heehehe