Thoughts on the Boston College condom controversy.

You may have heard the news:

A bunch of Boston College students might be disciplined by administration at the Catholic university for passing out condoms on campus. The controversial move, made by school officials and supported by Catholicism, sparks the sort of debate that kind of makes my blood boil.

This is for reasons including but not limited to the following (in very random order).


2. Fact: The Catholic Church is opposed to contraception. Awhile ago, I watched a set of Catholic college students (that is, students who attend Catholic colleges, not college students who are Catholic) give impassioned speeches about lack of access to contraception at Catholic colleges on C-Span. One student said what she expects is access to free contraception on her Catholic campus. To quote a woman who recently wrote an op-ed about Boston College’s current debate, I can’t believe “this is even a thing,” (although she and I can’t believe it for different reasons).

3. I saw a news clip earlier in which a woman all but said that Boston College’s policy — which I haven’t seen in print, but assume says students can’t widely distribute condoms on campus — implies students of Boston College can’t use condoms. But there is no such rule. This is not about a Catholic campus saying you can’t use a condom on a Catholic campus (a Catholic campus would be silly to try). It’s about a Catholic campus saying condoms can’t be distributed on a Catholic campus. Which makes sense, because it’s Catholic. (Refer to line one of point 2.)

4. I see a lot of “being mad at the Church” because it doesn’t validate definitions of love or sex that don’t align with what it says about them. But I promise: the Church isn’t mad at you for doing the same thing.

5. What bothers me most about the debate is the presumption that because “86, or 99, or whatever percent” of Catholic women use contraception, the Catholic Church’s teaching on it is bad, and the Church ought to change what it teaches (God forbid being part of the Church changes you). This is evidence of the Church misunderstood. Of the misinformed expectation that the size of a faction of the Church determines whether the Church alters what it teaches.

The Church is what it is. You love it or you don’t (but that you don’t isn’t going to change the Church).

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lauren

    Love it! It probably is time for the church to change its position on this. Even god updated his own rules with the new testament. Really a good scholarly look at the bible with the section about spilling seed is due. It’s very possible that the original interpretation was incorrect.

  • Great stuff lady!

  • Anonymous

    You know… I think you hit the nail on the head, Arleen, with your 4th point. This is something people really seem to not understand. You are an adult. You can make decisions. You turn to a 2000 y.o. institution for guidance on how to live your life. Ultimately, they are not the boss of your life. It would truly behoove you, however, to do what they say. But if you don’t want to, fine. There are consequences to not doing things, both good and bad. So don’t get your panties in a bunch when they support an idea that, when you dig down through the foundational principles to that particular idea, you discover has nothing to do with control. It has everything to do with our relationship with a God who created us in a very specific manner. We do what we do, you do what you do. If you are bothered by what we do, then fine, you don’t have to join our club.

    I hope that makes sense, I haven’t had my coffee yet. 😉