Super-Pope: Able to stop small viruses with a single encyclical

Super-Pope: Able to stop small viruses with a single encyclical

I knew the Pope was powerful, but I didn’t know he was “superhero” powerful. Apparently, he is because London’s The Telegraph says in an editorial that “The Pope should slow the spread of AIDS.” Wow, singlehandedly slowing down the spread of a deadly pandemic! That’s the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters.

Seriously, you know the drill by now. The Church teaches that the use of contraceptives, including condoms, is a violation of the sanctity of the marital act, and that premarital sex is a violation of chastity. Thus, while the rest of the world touts “safe sex” using condoms (which are themselves porous to small bacteria, if not to sperm), the Church says that abstinence is the only safe alternative, both logically and morally.

For years the Church has been attacked for her teaching with some claiming incredibly that while thousands of people will ignore the Church’s teaching on chastity, they slavishly adhere to her teaching on the use of condoms, thus putting themselves at risk of AIDS. This is patent nonsense. Still, it doesn’t prevent the advocates of sexual license and anti-Catholics from attacking the Church, just like this Telegraph editorial.

A quarter of the world’s Aids treatment centres are run by the Roman Catholic Church, whose ban on condoms as a form of contraception has until now ruled out their use to block the transmission of HIV. (To the fury of the World Health Organisation, some senior Vatican officials are spreading the message that condoms are useless because the virus passes through the rubber, a claim dismissed as nonsense by most experts.)

Gee, I’m sorry that the WHO is infuriated, but it isn’t just Vatican officials who are questioning the safety of condoms. There are plenty of good old-fashioned medical scientists who do so too, and many of them aren’t Catholic and aren’t basing their theories on Catholic moral teaching.

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  • Excellent arguments. Well stated.

    1. Those lambasting the Church on this subject are, it seems to me, really expressing frustration at their own lack of influence. I.e., why isn’t the Telegraph able to effect the change it wants?

    2. Likewise, what they really want out of this is moral validation from the Church, since it is absurd, as you say, to suppose folks who disregard Church teaching will suddenly start listening.

    3. As to the “lesser evil” argument: this is hardly the sort of thing one enshrines in formal teaching. Rather, it is the sort of point all of us might make, when we can’t get someone to do the true right thing.

  • But the fact remains that this remains an issue about which good, faithful, and orthodox Catholics may be in disagreement.

    No, you’re wrong. And since you’re not interested in a debate, I won’t bother explicating why you’re wrong.

    Until the Church settles this matter, which she hasn’t.

    Yes, she has.

  • For one thing, this isn’t “my” teaching or “our” teaching. It’s the Church’s teaching and so whatever I say about the matter has no bearing on whether it becomes the “Limbo doctrine”, whatever that means.

    Second, you’re right: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is studying the implications of AIDS for married couples, but right now standard Church teaching applies until told otherwise. And there is little expectation that the teaching will change. Studying the question doesn’t mean a change is likely (as with the original birth control debates in the 60s) and the fact that it is being studied doesn’t make it a free-for-all for the rest of us.

    Third: The Telegraph’s editorial wasn’t about condom use for married couples with AIDS, but about condom use in general.

    Fourth: The fornicator-condom question is so silly, I won’t even address it.

    Fifth: The Tablet? Right.

  • Until the Magisterium decides otherwise, the presumption should remain that using condoms is sinful.

    I’m not convinced that the so-called “reversal” on Limbo has scandalized anybody.

  • A condom is a contraceptive. The Church has definitively stated that the use of contraceptives is grave matter. We’re talking about exceptions to the rule. Until the Church says that the principle of double effect applies here, the presumption should be that using a condom is sinful.

    Equiprobalism does not apply here.