A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

AIDS, and an Update.

Sorry for the slow posting as of late, ladies and gents, but it's been a busy few weeks for Danté and I. Here's a short one to tide you over 'til we get back to regularly providing you with mirthful wisdom and sharp witticisms.*

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - The Vatican "health ministry" has completed a report on condoms requested by Pope Benedict XVI and handed it over to doctrinal authorities, a top cardinal said.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, head of the Pontifical Council for Health, said the 100-page document gathers all of the Roman Catholic Church's positions on the subject, from the most liberal to the most conservative.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will study the document and convey its opinion to the pope to help him make a final decision on whether to maintain or modify the Church's absolute ban on using condoms.

The Vatican is opposed to all forms of contraception besides abstinence -- total or temporary -- and rejects condom use even to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV-AIDS.

Some prelates argue that condom use could be condoned in certain specific cases such as for sex between a married couple in which one partner has been contaminated with the HIV virus through a blood transfusion.

Cardinal Barragan announced in April that Benedict had requested "a study on the specific problem of the use of the condom by people contaminated with AIDS and those suffering from an infectious disease."

At a news conference on Tuesday, Barragan presented the program of a three-day international conference on "pastoral aspects of treating infectious diseases" opening Thursday at the Vatican.

I'm not going to rush to the defense of the Vatican's position on prophylactic usage, although I would like to say that I fully understand the reasoning behind it. The Church holds that abstinence is the only moral method of contraception and fully disapproves of all pre-marital sex. If the Church were to relax its rules on condom usage (okay in one situation, but not in the next) Its vacillation would result in confusion and a lack of understanding regarding Its position on abstinence and sexual morality. If the Church is permissive towards condom usage, then it is tacitly acknowledging that it must also be permissive of pre-marital sex. It doesn't matter if that isn't the Church's intention, nor does it matter that that reasoning is on shaky ground; It is the message that many people will come away with. As pre-marital chastity is considered a tenet of the Church, this is not an issue that it can afford to be seen wavering on.

It is indeed true that increased, proper condom usage prevents unwanted pregnancies, STI's and reduces abortions. The article above also postulates whether condom use could be condoned for married couples wishing to prevent the spread of HIV from one partner to another. Perhaps this is one situation in which the Church could change Its position without losing moral clarity on the issue of pre-marital sex, but I cannot speculate as to how the Church's position on marriage and procreation might affect any decision made; Personally, I'd prefer to see the Church leadership okay the usage of prophylactics in such cases.

I'd like to get down to a point i really wanted to discuss here, and that is the continual unfounded blame laid at the Church's feet for the AIDS crisis in Africa. The reasoning goes something like this:

"The Catholic Church prohibits condom usage and as a result African Christians abstain from using them for fear of facing eternal punishment. This results in sexual partners passing HIV to each other unchecked, contributing to the AIDS crisis in Africa".

This argument is patently ridiculous, and even the most torpid dullard should be able to spot the gaping hole in it:

The Catholic Church is against condom usage. The Catholic Church is also against pre-marital and adulterous sexual relations. If these people are not concerned about the Church's position on pre-marital sex, what makes anyone think they'll be fretting over what the Church has to say about condoms?

*Okay, maybe not either of those but at least you can leave here saying you learned something.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

0 Old Comments: