Responses to Martini

Responses to Martini

Following up on the story about Cardinal Martini’s interview in which he said condom use by HIV-positive couples is okay, that legalization of abortion is good in some cases, and that life doesn’t begin at conception, Thomas at American Papist received permission from the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly to post copies of articles from the magazine specifically address Catholic moral teaching regarding condom use for HIV-positive married couples.

This should be timely based on the debate raging in my combox over the principle of double effect and related matters. If people could stop and read those before continuing the debate, it might shed more light on the matter. (Hey, I’m an optimist.)

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  • I was taking the Martini side of the argument based on double effect but Daniel’s comment convinced me that I was wrong.  Mea culpa!  I apologize if my erroneous conclusions misled anyone.

    It still appears to me that double effect WOULD apply if condom use were wrong only because it is contraceptive.  (Dr. William May appears to concede this in his letter, too.)  But condom use is primarily wrong because it is masturbatory in nature—one is, as it were, substituting an artificial reservoir for a woman’s sexual organs and so one is engaging in an unnatural act.  Therefore, even if your wife had had a hysterectomy and was completely sterile, you couldn’t use a condom.  Not because it’s a contraceptive, though, but because condom use is wrong on other grounds!

    It was fascinating to figure all this out with help from Daniel and others and then look at the American Papist link and read William May’s succinct letter on the subject.  Thanks to him and to Dom for providing the material.

    Thanks too for all who tried to set me straight in the previous thread.  Even if your arguments didn’t always convince me, your instincts were right and got you to the right place.  And they got me there too in the end!

  • Correct, Matt.  Doesn’t the naive cardinal know that condoms occasionally fail?  Maybe he thinks that this is some kind of parlor game and he can just toss out idiotic comments like this with no consequences…

    Somebody put a muzzle on this cardinal.  What a loser.