Thursday, December 01, 2005

Catholics and World AIDS day

If it's December 1, it must be world AIDS day, which is always "celebrated" by the never-ending calls for more money for more research. Inevitably, someone mentions the Vatican and Catholicism and how the Church's view on condoms is antiquated or "not enlightened" (again!). And it happened this year, in various places--just read some reports of AIDS day, and see how, once again, we're being told that condoms are the answer!

But the problem is we don't think it's the answer. The answer is getting societies to realize the virtues of mongamy and attempting to instill it in their culture. The answer is making sure that people aren't doing drugs, not just giving them clean needles so they can blithely continue their habit "safely" (what an oxymoron!). The Church is right to say that using birth control is a grave sin. It's not something that we can just change to try to prevent the spread of AIDS. If you're a good Catholic who follows Church teaching, AIDS is a non-issue. I know I'm not going to get it because I don't engage in casual sex. In most states a blood test is required before you get married, so you'd know before you had sex with an infected partner, but I plan on only marrying a virgin, anyway. The chance of getting AIDS from a blood transfusion is practically non-existent in the U.S. and in many other developed countries.

What about Africa? What about the children who contract the virus from their mothers? That's a tragedy, but a condom wouldn't have prevented their getting AIDS--it would have prevented them from being born. Not the same thing. One is a tragedy, but the other is a sin. We can try to help these children with new medications and treatments, but at least they're here to be helped.

On World AIDS day it seems that the best Catholics can do is pray for those with AIDS and work to find a solution to the disease that doesn't involve sacrificing our religious principles. Because once you sacrifice principle, you begin the walk down that long slope that leads to moral relativism, and I, for one, am not in favor of that.

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