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A Can of Worms for the Weekend

February 12, 2010

Though I have absolutely no desire to rehash all of the arguments that inevitably arise about the Church’s position on condoms and the AIDS crisis in Africa, I thought this article makes some important distinctions that many of our readers would appreciate:

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/2284

Please restrict your comments to the interesting distinctions in Father Rhonheimer’s article.

Of related interest is this post over at America Magazine’s “In All Things”:

http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&id=27944603-3048-741E-6720211751000482

Again, it is interesting to talk about the dilemma raised by Mr. Ivereigh and to recommend possible solutions to it.  It is dreary to spend all our time arguing about the Church’s view on contraception generally.

Brett Salkeld is a doctoral student in theology at Regis College in Toronto.  He is a father of two (so far) and husband of one.

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10 Comments
  1. Nate Wildermuth permalink
    February 12, 2010 4:30 pm

    This case is trickier than I thought.

  2. Pinky permalink
    February 12, 2010 4:39 pm

    The articles seem to make two arguments. One is a double-effect argument, that for an HIV-infected husband, using a condom during sex is a moral act, with the secondary effect of preventing conception. That ignores the choice of abstaining. People have been arguing about this subject for a while.

    The second argument is that a condom used in the commission of a sin is morally acceptable if the alternative would result in death. For example, the prostitute sinning against God and nature is morally superior to the prostitute who sins against God and nature and spreads lethal disease. Technically, yes, the second prostitute is committing a more multilayered sin. But for the Church to come out in support of condom use for prostitutes is equivalent to approving of Baal-worship over Paganism because Baal-worship is monotheistic.

  3. phosphorious permalink
    February 12, 2010 4:49 pm

    But for the Church to come out in support of condom use for prostitutes is equivalent to approving of Baal-worship over Paganism because Baal-worship is monotheistic.

    Poor analogy. A better one would be the church preferring a kind of paganism that doesn’t practice human sacrifice over one that does.

  4. Pinky permalink
    February 12, 2010 6:26 pm

    Phos, how about asking the Vatican to point out that waterboarding is better than putting a person’s head underwater until they die?

  5. phosphorious permalink
    February 12, 2010 6:48 pm

    Phos, how about asking the Vatican to point out that waterboarding is better than putting a person’s head underwater until they die?

    Because the intent of torture is to degrade the human person. That’s intrinsically wrong.

    Worshipping a false God, or taking pleasure in sexual relations are not intrinsically wrong.

    “Intrinsically wrong” in the Catholic sense, not the republican sense.

  6. Dcn. Brian Carroll permalink
    February 12, 2010 7:05 pm

    Is it not an element of Catholic moral teaching that even if a person is determined to commit an immoral act they still have a moral obligation to minimize the evil that results? I would say that use of a condom would be obligatory for a person with any STD contemplating sexual intercourse with anyone.

  7. brettsalkeld permalink*
    February 12, 2010 7:32 pm

    Just so everyone knows, this will not be turned into a debate about torture. There are other posts for that.

  8. phosphorious permalink
    February 12, 2010 7:58 pm

    Actually, I was hoping it would turn into a debate about paganism.

  9. Mike J. permalink
    February 14, 2010 11:53 pm

    The solution to the problem is probably better instruction on the *norms* of the teaching. Once those are understood by the faithful, then the exceptions can be brought out without (as much) fear of misunderstanding.

  10. Ellie permalink
    March 12, 2010 9:45 pm

    So for you pro-condom people, how do you suggest condoms are going to stop HIV infected men from believing that raping a baby (sex with a virgin) will cure them of AIDS? Its a Catch-22. The HIV epidemic in Africa is neither about abstinence or using condoms.

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