Tag Archives: controversy

Pope clarifies position on condom usage

by Kirsty Tobin

Pope pictured during March papal visit to Africa

The Vatican has clarified comments regarding condom usage in the fight against AIDS.

Controversy and confusion arose after the pope made comments which were subject to varying translations from the original German. The English translation referred to condoms being a responsible choice for male prostitutes, while the Italian translation used language which implied that their usage was also permitted for female prostitutes.

The pope’s spokesperson, Fr Federico Lombardi, has clarified the issue, stating: “if it is a man, a woman or a transsexual who does it, we are always at the same point, which is the first step in responsibly avoiding passing on a grave risk to the other.”

On Sunday, Fr Federico Lombardi released a statement explaining that the comment neither indicates a reform in the teachings of the Catholic Church nor does it indicate that condom usage is now permissible without restrictions. It explains that condoms should only be used in extreme circumstances: “abstinence and fidelity are much more decisive and fundamental in the struggle against AIDS, while the condom appears as a last resort when the other two are lacking.”

“The pope takes into consideration an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality may represent a real risk to the life of another person,” he continues.

The initial quote came under fire after an extract from ‘Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and the Signs of the Times’ was leaked this weekend. The book, set to be released this coming week, contains a series of interviews with the pope carried out by Peter Seewald.

In the interview in question, the pope reacts to remarks he made during a papal visit to Africa in March of this year. These remarks alluded to a continuation of the church’s staunch opposition to birth control, intimating that use of condoms was wrong in every circumstance.

When the subject is broached by Seewald, the pope further clarifies his position. His response generated the quote which caused so much controversy: ‘there may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step on the way in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility.”

The announcement has garnered approval from AIDS/HIV organisations. UNAIDS called the comments a “significant and positive step forward.”

Medal of Honor game released today despite Taliban furore


The latest release in the long-running Medal of Honor series
One of the "Opposing Force" soldiers that caused controversy


By Euan Black

Medal of Honor is available in stores today despite a wave of controversy surrounding its release.

The game, which is set in modern-day Afghanistan, has attracted anger because of the decision to name one of the teams in the multiplayer mode as “the Taliban”.

Under pressure from the armed forces, politicians and tabloid newspapers, Electronic Arts (EA) decided at the last-minute to change the Taliban to “Opposing Force”.

Despite anger at the move, it does not seem to be affecting sales of the game. The manager of a local GAME store in Edinburgh has said:

“Medal of Honor is the only thing we’ve sold this morning. Everyone who has come in has bought that. I think the Taliban thing isn’t much of an issue. No-one has mentioned it when buying the game.”

However, Ken Fee, a lecturer in Computer Games Education at Abertay University in Dundee, has warned that issues like this are becoming more prevalent for videogame developers.

He said: “In general, controversy should probably best be avoided as now that the costs and profile of games are so much higher. If the wrong folk are offended or misdirected through apparent or real controversy, the economic – and personal – effects can be devastating.”

When EA released the demo of the game this summer, the fact that one side has to play as the Taliban angered politicians, the armed forces, servicemen’s families and tabloid newspapers.

Liam Fox MP issued a statement saying: “It’s shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban.

“I am disgusted and angry. It’s hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game.”

EA retaliated, claiming: “If someone’s the cop, someone’s got to be the robber, someone’s got to be the pirate, somebody’s got to be the alien. In Medal of Honor multiplayer, someone has to be the Taliban.”

Despite the government distancing themselves from Mr Fox’s comments, it seemed to sting EA, who claimed the development team were upset at the furore and changed the name to Opposing Force out of respect for the servicemen currently in Afghanistan and their families.

Mr Fee feels that the decision to change the name wasn’t a clear-cut one. He explained: “Censorship or editing rarely if ever reflects categorical right or wrongs – just subjective interpretations based on personal, political or economic judgements.

“There is no sliding scale of value that can result in determining ‘how’ right such a decision may be.

“It is for the viewer or buyer to determine whether they find the content offensive and make any purchasing based on that.”

EA’s latest Medal of Honor, which currently has a Metacritic rating of 75, is a franchise reboot, their attempt to answer the massive success of Call of Duty, one of the best-selling video game of 2009. That particular series hasn’t been without controversy itself: Modern Warfare 2 has a level where you play as terrorists attacking an airport, and this also caused outrage when it was first released.

Prince Phillip for a new generation

By James Bradley
Prince Edward has caused controversy after commenting on the death of a teenage hiker in Australia this week. After being asked for a comment, rather than just stating his sympathy and sending his wishes to the family, the royal decided that he should go one step further and make a comment that would make his father shed a tear in pride.

Prince Edward stated that the risk of death is appealing to teenagers and young people when it comes to hiking and other activities. Though in my experience teenagers with an interest in death don’t usually spend their time hiking mountains or white water-rafting.

However when it comes to gaffes there is one man, nay hero, in the UK that is somehow able to get away with flagrantly absurd comments without raising much more than a chuckle from the public.

Prince Phillip is this man; somehow he has been able to get away with more gaffes than a Big Brother contestant. Everyone has their own favourite Prince Phillip quotes; I myself am quite fond of: “If it doesn’t fart or eat, she isn’t interested.” A comment on his own daughter Anne, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the Queen’s hubby.

However, there are a few differences between Prince Phillip and a Big Brother contestant. A Big Brother is only in the spotlight until we get bored of them or their sex tape has poor production values; Prince Phillip is there for life.

And bizarrely enough some of these comments do spark controversy and even anger from certain groups; for the most part his eccentric, almost fantastical views on the world are embraced by the people of the UK.

Why is this though, for what reason do we love these streams of consciousness emanating from what can only be called a true member of the aristocracy? (Mainly because it’s more polite than saying ‘a complete nutter’)

For those against the aristocracy it seems to be an affirmation that people born with blue blood are so completely separated from reality that they are unable to fathom that anything they say could be anything other than completely right and utterly hilarious. And not what those on the receiving end of these statements probably believe i.e. a complete berk.

Those for the aristocracy seem to believe that it’s right for someone with such status to be able to say what he feels, and not be restricted by so called ‘political correctness’. However it should be said that there is a definite difference between being politically correct and having common sense.

However as the years pass and this pillar of respect and solidarity grows older, who will take his place when the unfortunate day comes and he is laid to rest? Who can take the place of the man who once gave his wisdom to several visitors to the orient warning them of the risk that their faces may transform to fit into the society they were now staying: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”

There can be only one man who can take his place, and that is Prince Edward his son. A man who said that the British media “hates anyone who succeeds”, and spent most of his time trying to create television shows that frankly nobody wanted. This is the man to be the pride of Britain, and our representative to the world, though hopefully not to any country that has an army which is more than five men with a spear.

But why do we need someone who can say these things? Why do we need someone who acts as though he has been pulled straight out of the 1920’s, given a suit and pushed in front of a bunch of foreign dignitaries and given free reign? Well in my opinion, it’s just a bit of a laugh really.