(CNSNews.com) – In a Dec. 1 op-ed in the Washington Post, First Lady Laura Bush said Americans need to “practice safe sex,” use condoms “every time,” and get tested for HIV/AIDS. Her spokeswoman repeated the message to Cybercast News Service this week. However, it is a message that is contrary to the Bush administration’s policy position on abstinence education as the best way to fight HIV/AIDS.
In her commentary, “Let’s Unite Against HIV-AIDS,”
Mrs. Bush wrote that Americans “should know our HIV status” and provided the Web site to find “the testing center closest to you.” She went on to write: “Practice Safe Sex. Let’s take a cue from our African counterparts and follow the ABC method of prevention: Abstinence, Be Faithful and the Correct and Consistent Use of Condoms. That means not just occasionally, but every time.”
To the First Lady’s message just say no. Though I would ask of her if you are abstinent or faithful why would you need to wear a condom every time? But I guess it is perfectly consistent within Church teaching for abstinent people to wear condoms. Heck anybody can wear a condom if they want – just not while having sex.
I submit to the Church’s teaching without reservation, but I would add that testing, in and of itself, is morally neutral, at worst. As was noted on a very liberal website, those of us least susceptable to the virus should let others know that we are willing to get tested. Don’t know that the odds are high, but maybe once folks get tested positive, maybe their behavior will change. The statistics may not play that out, but if your dr. asks, say yes, just to let people know that the test doesn’t imply anything, necessarily, about your behavior.
Same old. To paraphrase:
“Don’t drink and drive. But if you do, wear a seat belt.”
The Church has not decided on 1) whether unmarried people gravitate their sin by using contraceptives or 2) whether it is permissible for married couples to use condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, justifying this by the principle of double effect.
Theologians are divided, and good Catholics are free to act as their consciences dictates.
I believe fornicators should use condoms, and that married people are permitted to do so to prevent the spread of AIDS.
“If you’re going to play Russian Roulette, make sure you use an eight-cylinder gun and not a five-cylinder.”
The problem with your argument is that contraception facilitates fornication. Using condoms only increases the likelihood of someone committing the grave sin of fornication. They are less likely to stop their behavior.
For a married couple using a condom blocks both the unitive and procreative aspect of marriage. There might be a double-effect argument in the procreative aspect, but not for the unitive. Besides considering that condoms are not 100 percent you are risking the life of the other. You would not walk into a gas chamber with nerve gas if you had a gas mask only as effective as condoms and yet someone would risk their partners life on this? Love is willing the good for the other.
See Jimmy Akin’s excellent discussion on this topic.
It is the magisterium of the Church,
not theologians, who determine the
teachings of the Church. Whether
theologians are divided over contraception
is beside the point. Catholics aren’t
free to do what they wish on this matter,
but are obliged to follow the teachings
of the magisterium.
I’m not saying you should drink and drive, but if you do you should drive a little slower or at least with your seat belt and your doors locked.
And I believe that Eric G is sadly very wrong. How’s that?
“Let’s take a cue from our African counterparts”
Okay, which countries promote “safe sex” and which promote abstinence? What are there respective infection rates?
Driving more slowly because you’re drunk doesn’t even gain you a reprieve from the secular authorities. In fact, that’s how a lot of drunk drivers are caught.
The Catholic Church is not in the business of “safe sin,” particularly when there is an option to not sin at all. That is the case with sexually transmitted diseases and condoms. It’s not a sin to abstain from sex if you have AIDS and you’re married. Abstinence provides 100 percent protection against AIDS. Using a condom during the sex act is a sin and condoms are not 100% against AIDS. The most moral choice is obvious. Why would I need a ruling on how to make an immoral choice less damaging, the mere fact that I choose a lesser good over a greater good is a sin.
You’re free to disagree with me and with the Magisterium (which considers many of these to be open questions), but you have no right to state your OPINIONS on these matters dogmatically, and burden the consciences of ignorant Catholics who might believe you’re giving the official teaching (which in these specific matters is absolutely silent).
ABC is the name of a highly effective program in several African countries. The First Lady doesn’t seem to understand how it works. ABC means: 1) If you are not married, abstain. 2) If you are married, be faithful. And 3) If you refuse to abstain or be faithful, use a condom. The latter group includes people such as prostitutes.
The program is aimed at young Africans, and its purpose it to cut down on nonmarital sex. The designers realized, after working among Africans (rather than dreaming up things in America) that sex outside of marriage is where most people were catching AIDS. You can read all about it at http://www.insidecatholic.com, under “special reports.”
Eric G., you’re correct that the Magisterium hasn’t ruled on the situations you describe in points 1 and 2. But I don’t think the Magisterium is absolutely silent as you say.
It’s easy to extrapolate from Catholic teaching that if a person’s intent for using contraception during fornication is to allow them to participate in more fornication, then they’re adding to their sin.
For married couples with HIV, using a condom is not a treatment for the disease which causes sterility like say a cancer treatment might. Instead a condom is a preventative measure to keep one party from getting the disease, and it’s a less preventative measure than abstinence. Surely they have some moral decision making to do to justify putting their family’s well being at risk.
So while you’re right that Catholics can use their consciences on these issues, I wouldn’t exactly use the term that their free to do so – as in they can reach any conclusions they want. Especially if you’re worried about the so-called ignorant Catholics you mentioned. I think the better advice is that on these two topics they have a very narrow window in which they can follow their extremely well-formed and rigorously examined consciences.
OK. Let me see if I understand this correctly. If I have active TB, is it morally alright to kiss my wife as long as I use a dental dam?
A lot of young prepubescent girls in Africa catch AIDS from being raped. (Their rapists pick virgins on purpose, as they wish to practice “safe rape”.)
But I’m sure that a condom will make everything all right for these girls. I mean, why should rapists abstain from rape? God forbid they should practice self-control.
Talk about double standard! Stop giving YOUR opinion yourself, For crying out loud! Yes your opinion. You don’t speak for the Magisterium either, and the evidence so far disproves you. The fact is people like you like to lower the bar because they’re afraid of our weakness… Nobody here is trying to burden people in such situations, we’re trying to be honest and keep the bar where Jesus put it (remember the whole take up your cross thing??)
That doesn’t mean that they will always succeed in behaving admirably, but at least we should encourage them, instead of saying ” oh well… Who can abstain from sex for the rest of our married life? It can’t be sinful!”.
Sad how so many people are quick to scream “pharisee!” because they’re afraid of the hard decisions that will have to be made to follow Christ…
I really need to get the version of the Bible that you’re reading. Mine says something about correcting your brother with love. I guess the improved version has a clause that says, “Unless your brother is ignorant or his conscience might be burdened with the knowledge”.