Responding to the flap about the Pope’s new stance on condom use by male protsitutes, Rev. Joseph Fessio, editor in chief of Ignatius Press which published the book in which the Pope is quoted provides this clarification:
But let me give you a pretty simple example. Let’s suppose we’ve got a bunch of muggers who like to use steel pipes when they mug people. But some muggers say, gosh, you know, we don’t need to hurt them that badly to rob them. Let’s put foam pads on our pipes. Then we’ll just stun them for a while, rob them and go away. So if the pope then said, well, yes, I think that using padded pipes is actually a little step in a moral direction there, that doesn’t mean he’s justifying using padded pipes to mug people. He’s just saying, well, they did something terrible, but while they were doing that, they had a little flicker of conscience there that led them in the right direction. That may grow further, so they stop mugging people completely.
Side topic: is the Catholic Church revealing that sin is a problem of moral hazard or adverse selection?