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John Wayne's Holster: Pope to Consider Condoms to Halt AIDS? Not Really!
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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pope to Consider Condoms to Halt AIDS? Not Really!

Is the Pope going to give his blessing to the use condoms to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS? The New York Times would like to think so. Or at least they would like to stir up some controversy to put pressure on the Catholic Church.

The Times is trying to paint a picture wherein the Catholic Church is unsure if its current policies regarding condoms and other moral issues rest on solid ethical foundations. For example, the Times states, “Even at the Vatican, not all sacred beliefs are absolute: Thou shalt not kill, but war can be just. Now, behind the quiet walls, a clash is shaping up involving two poles of near certainty: the church's long-held ban on condoms and its advocacy of human life.

The article goes on to state that a Vatican official has confirmed the Pope Benedict XVI has requested a study be taken on "whether it might be acceptable for Catholics to use condoms in one narrow circumstance: to protect life inside a marriage when one partner is infected with H.I.V. or is sick with AIDS."

I think the Times is misleading its readers! There is absolutely no chance that the Pope will sanction the use of condoms under these circumstances. The Church's position on contraception is firmly stated in Pius VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. HV states, “it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infecund and so is intrinsically dishonest could be made honest and right…

If this is the case, why the would the Pope request a report on the issue? Most likely, it is to clarify and solidify the Chruch’s position. It would also have the effect of putting an end to the public debate started last month between Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (former Archbishop of Milan) and Ignazio Marino (an Italian bioethicist). Cardinal Martini, speaking about married couples where one parter is suffering with HIV/AIDS, stated that "…the use of prophylactics can, in some situations, constitute a lesser evil."

With all due respect, the Archbishop is gravely mistaken!

This whole “lesser evil” argument is being taken out of context. According to Church teachings, “it is sometimes licit to tolerate a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil to promote a greater good, it is not licit, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom; that is to make into the object of a positive act of the will something which is intrinsically disorder, and hence unworthy of the human person, even when the intention is to safeguard or promote individual, family or social well-being.

What does all this mean as far as condoms, AIDS and married couples are concerned? If you want to follow Church teachings, it essentially means that the married couple should abstain from sex if one partner has HIV/AIDS. If there were only two choices, either to use or not use condoms, then I suppose to use condoms would be the lesser evil. But this is not the case. There is, in fact, a third choice here - to abstain from sexual relations. According to Humanae Vitae, it is the only way to safeguard the unitive and procreative aspects of the conjugal act - which are intrinsically inseparable. It is also the only way to be sure to safeguard one’s spouse from becoming infected.


At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Roy said...

The old lie is that there is two sides to every story. Usually there are many more options and choices available. By presenting only two options the NYT is hoping to fool its readers into thinking they know what they are talking about.

On the flip side, I am a strong believer in birth control. At least so far as I am concerned. I am not ready to have children nor am I ready to give up my girlfriends company.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous HIV+DaveyBoy said...

Seeking other HIV+ & AIDS people (PWHA) to chat about dealing with being "POZ", please drop in and visit me on ;)


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