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Reflections on Ethics 15
"For the prevention of disease only"

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While channel surfing, I came across an AIDS documentary in progress. A Catholic cardinal was expressing his views on the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

We should do everything theologically and scientifically possible to halt this plague.

Of course, this does not include condoms. We cannot change a commandment.

No-one has ever died of chastity.

Clearly, the cardinal is reading from a different Christian bible. I don't know of any commandment that specifically forbids the use of condoms. Or one that opposes disease prevention.

Unfortunately, the Catholic church has a lot of influence in Africa, and in too many countries condoms are not available. And in those countries, AIDS is a plague.

In theory, the cardinal is correct that chastity would inhibit the spreading of sexually transmitted AIDS, but in practice, the human species is neither chaste nor monogamous.

In every society, at least some members will seek out sexual contact outside of the bonds of matrimony. There will always be some, even among Catholics, that will break the seventh commandment. And if they are going to commit that sin, then they should be encouraged to add a lesser sin to the list, and use protection.

Use of a condom is far better than to bring a murderous disease home and infect an innocent spouse, along with future unborn children.

But, to the church it is theologically preferable that the innocent suffer and die, than that someone who is already committing a sin in the Church's eyes should use protection against sexually transmitted disease.

When theological reasoning leads to evil, then the theology is wrong. It's time the pope had a chat with his god on this issue.

Enough advice for the pope. He won't follow it. For everyone else, my advice is "use protection." And I hope you do follow it. It is the moral thing to do. It is the ethical thing to do.


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