A bit more on condoms and double-effect:
Johnstone believes the case of married couples where one partner has AIDS is a classic example. The couple does not intend to prevent pregnancy, he said, merely to block the disease, and the preservation of life is an obvious good.
Other theologians, however, argue that using condoms violates the first condition, i.e., that the act must not be intrinsically immoral.
"Condomistic intercourse cannot be conjugal intercourse," said Fr. Robert Gahl of Rome's Opus Dei-sponsored Santa Croce University. "Since that's the only licit kind, condomistic intercourse cannot be an affirmation of the love between a man and a woman."
Gahl said that if intercourse between husband and wife poses a risk, then "they ought to express their affection in another way."
Johnstone noted there is at least one precedent for the Vatican considering the intent behind the use of artificial birth control, rather than focusing exclusively on the physical character of the act.
In the early 1960s, Johnstone said, the Holy Office (today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) gave permission for religious women in the Belgian Congo to use contraceptives as a defense against rape.
"It was seen as a protection against pregnancy arising from unwanted, unfree sexual intercourse," Johnstone said
More on yesterday's Sant'Egidio gathering in DC, speculation on a new Secretary of State (for the Vatican), and an account of a panel in which Allen participated, with, among others, Peggy Noonan:
Noonan asked me to clarify whether John Paul II had specifically condemned the U.S.-led war in Iraq. I said that it's true the pope never made a direct statement saying "this conflict by these people is immoral," because popes never use that kind of language, but there was no doubt about his disapproval. His most senior aides did specifically condemn the war on several occasions, and taken in context, the pope's own language was unambiguous.
What John Paul and the people around him were concerned about was that their opposition not be confused with the ideological criticism from secular European leftists, who bore images of the pope alongside Che Guevara in their protest marches. As soon as the war was a reality, Vatican efforts shifted to trying to work with the United States to make the best out of the transition.