Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

'Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.' ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Condoms Packets Tell the Truth About Condoms

Here is what it says on the back of a packet of condoms:

'No method of contraception can give you 100% protection against pregnancy, HIV or sexually transmitted infections.'

That is why Durex is never sued because, despite condom use, HIV has been transmitted to sexual partners in some incidences, the number of which is not known.

Therefore, even if a married man who is HIV positive were to use a condom, he still places the future health of his wife at some considerable risk, despite the fact that the risk is difficult to quantify.

Therefore, even if the Holy Father were to have suggested that condom use in marriage, where one partner is infected with HIV, was justified (something that His Holiness definitively did not say), Durex themselves advertise on their product that their condoms are not 100% effective and that no contraceptive method can provide 100% protection.

What loving husband would be willing to 'reduce' the risk of transmitting HIV to his wife by using a condom? A loving husband would ensure that the risk of transmitting HIV to his wife was zero.

Anyway, back to that article. Fr Frederico Lombardi has released a clarification:

Clarification on remarks on AIDS and condoms
The head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, has issued a statement clarifying passages of the book Light of the World, in which Pope Benedict discusses AIDS and condom use.
The statement says Pope Benedict states that AIDs cannot be solved only by the distribution of condoms, and, in fact, concentrating on condoms just trivializes sexuality, which loses its meaning as an expression of love and becomes like a drug.
At the same time, the Pope considered an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality represents a real risk to the lives of others. In this case, the Pope does not morally justify the exercise of disordered sexuality (in other words, yes, such an act still constitutes a grave sin), but believes that the use of condoms to reduce the risk of infection is a "first step on the road to a more human sexuality”, rather than not to use it and risking the lives of others.
Father Lombardi’s statement clarifies Pope Benedict XVI has not reformed or changed the Church's teaching, but by putting it in perspective reaffirms the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of love and responsibility."

Theresa of the Villa. I don't know who you are, but your battle, if it is indeed a battle, is a battle with Catholic Truth expressed through the Magisterium of the One True Church. Fornication and all sexual acts outside of the married state are still matters for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Condom use within Holy Matrimony is still a matter for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. On a purely human level, the use of a condom in marriage where one partner is HIV positive is understandable but is still considered by the Church to be illicit. We, the Faithful, are bound by Conscience to believe that even in these circumstances, it is still a matter for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and to consider this, as well as all the aforementioned examples cited, as matters which are gravely sinful, in accordance with the Teaching of Holy Mother Church as explained in Pope Paul VI's encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

9 comments:

Theresa of the Villa said...

I speak as a loving wife, I would not want to forego sex with my husband, even if he became infected. It is a huge part of our intimacy and bond together. Have you ever even had sex? Did you use a condom??

What loving Catholic would repeatedly hammer on about a, if you'll excuse the expression, dead rubber. Even the pope no longer agrees with you. We now have proof. You lost the argument. Go back to bashing the gays or the Muslims (until he tells you to shut up about that). I'm honestly so happy your lot lost the war - the Pope is great!

Laurence England said...

Have you ever even had sex? Did you use a condom??

Yes and yes.

Have you never been to Confession or something?

santoeusebio said...

The Pope is reported as saying:

"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."

Father Lombardi is then reported in your post as saying:

In this case, the Pope does not morally justify the exercise of disordered sexuality (in other words, yes, such an act still constitutes a grave sin), but believes that the use of condoms to reduce the risk of infection is a "first step on the road to a more human sexuality”, rather than not to use it and risking the lives of others.

I wonder if that second quote is entirely accurate. My reason for asking that is that there are two possible contradictory interpretations one could put on the Pope's words:

1. That the use of a condom is licit as a first step. The quote about what Fr Lombardi said seems to support that view in particular by adding the words rather than not to use it and risking the lives of others.. However if that is the correct interpretation then the Pope seems to be contradicting himself by saying at the end of his quoted passage:

But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."

2. The prostitute who uses a condom is exhibiting a desire not to spread infection. This in itself is a good intention. But having a good intention does not make a sinful act - using a condom - any less sinful - although it may be relevant to moral culpability for the sin.

I incline to this second interpretation.

Is there not some truth in the saying that the way to hell is paved with good intentions?

Where can one find what Fr Lombardi actually said?

Also I wonder whether the reference to a male prostitute is accurate. In an inflected language such as French using the male gender can be interpreted as referring to any prostitute whether male or female. What about the original German?

Nicolas Bellord

Theresa of the villa said...

Hi Nicolas, these issues are covered by Reuters (see link):

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2010/11/21/grammar-experts-needed-for-pope-comment-on-condoms/

Catholic pragmatist said...

There you go lozza, making huge assuumptions again not backed up by the scientic evidence.

A hiv-positive person (male or female) will be on medication for their infection suppressing the virus in their blood to undetectable levels. Studies show there is a negligable risk of infection with almost all long-term discordant couples folowed found not to be infected after being together many decades. The use of a condom in these circumstances is an additional highly-effective level of protection although some of the couples studied did not always use condoms ever or sometimes. Therefore the use of HIV-medications in combination with condom use is a highly safe way for sero-discordant couples to have sex and avoid infection.

It is also possible for HIV sero-discordant couples to have sex without using condoms eg in order to conceive - in highly safe ways. For example, the HIV-negative partner can take HIV-medications a week before the sexual act, or post-exposure prolaxsis (hiv-medications taken for a month after possible infection). Sperm washing is also possible. Where the mother is hiv-positive, she may need to take medications during breast feeding. Many HIV sero-discordant couples have conceived children in this way.

For HIV sero-discordant couples, the use of condoms is an important part of preventing cross infection to their partners. It is only one factor (eg use of medications) but it is an integral part. I am glad that the pope has publically recognised the nuance of catholic teaching in this regard and stated that the use of condoms in certain circumstances (such as those above) is morally preferable, and therefore morally acceptable and hence morally permissable.

Mike said...

“A hiv-positive person (male or female) will be on medication for their infection suppressing the virus in their blood to undetectable levels.”
Notice: Undetectable not non-existent.

“Studies show there is a negligable risk of infection…”
Notice: “negligible”, not non-existent.

“The use of a condom in these circumstances is an additional highly-effective level of protection.”
Notice: “highly-effective”, not totally effective.

"a highly safe way for sero-discordant couples to have sex and avoid infection…"
Notice: “highly safe”, not totally safe.

None of this contradicts what Laurence has said. Condoms are not 100% safe full stop. Saying that people with HIV don’t always pass on the virus is like saying that people who smoke do not always get cancer. Does that encourage people to take up smoking?

“I am glad that the Pope has publicly recognised the nuance of Catholic teaching in this regard and stated that the use of condoms in certain circumstances (such as those above) is morally preferable, and therefore morally acceptable and hence morally permissible.” Where does he say any of those things?

santoeusebio said...

Theresa of the Villa: Many thanks for that link to a very useful discussion of the grammatical issues involved.

On reflection it seems to me that IF the Pope was referring to male prostitutes only and
IF he was referring only to homosexual activities only by male prostitutes then the use of a condom is morally neutral as it is not interfering with a potentially procreative act. That surely has always been the position?

However they are two somewhat important IFs and it is a pity that the Vatican has not made it clear as to whether these two conditions apply.

Nicolas Bellord

santoeusebio said...

I think you will find on Fr Blake's blog ample reasoning that the doctrine of double effect does not apply to a couple where one of them is HIV positive. In particular there is a quote from Humanae Vitae which knocks the argument on the head viz: To justify conjugal acts made intentionally infecund, one cannot invoke as valid reasons the lesser evil, or the fact that such acts would constitute a whole together with the fecund acts already performed or to follow later, and hence would share in one and the same moral goodness. In truth, if it is sometimes licit to tolerate a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil or to promote a greater good, it is not licit, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil so that good may follow therefrom;18 that is, to make into the object of a positive act of the will something which is intrinsically disorder, and hence unworthy of the human person, even when the intention is to safeguard or promote individual, family or social well-being. Consequently it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infecund and so is intrinsically dishonest could be made honest and right by the ensemble of a fecund conjugal life.

See para 14 of Humanae Vitae.

Nicolas Bellord

Laurence England said...

Thank you.

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