Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Prize....

...I was going to offer a prize to the reader who could send me the first mention of the words HIV, Pope, condoms and Africa in the same article or report over the next couple of days. Then I checked the BBC website for a link to a story. The BBC got there first.

Utterly predictable.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Ruth Gledhill at the Times

5:43 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Do they just not get it? Catholic teaching is not a 'policy' that can be reversed.

6:05 PM  
Blogger madame evangelista said...

Hi Paulinus, I've been reading Humanae Vitae and am wondering - couldn't this section (15) allow for the use of condoms in a marriage to prevent a spouse infecting the other with HIV?

"But the Church in no way regards as unlawful therapeutic means considered necessary to cure organic diseases, even though they also have a contraceptive effect, and this is foreseen - provided that this contraceptive effect is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever"

If the motive isn't contraception but the prevention of passing on the virus to a spouse, would that be alright?

9:45 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

I'm no moral theologian, nor am I a pastor in the confessional. The instance you give, on first reading - a faithful marriage and the intention to prevent life-threatening illness would seem reasonable (but I would stress I am no expert and would welcome expert guidanec from any reader with greater knowledge than me)

I guess the wider point is whether reversing the Catholic Church's teaching on condoms would prevent HIV spread. The available demographics would seem to show the reverse (in areas of Africa with large Catholic populations, the rate of HIV infection is lower - though the trend is not statistically significant. That would seem to confound the hypothesis that Catholic teaching encourages the spread of HIV)

Abstinence is proven - no shadow of a doubt. But if a Catholic is going to shun the Church's teaching on sex, they are hardly likely to be hung up about the use of condoms.

When you see the words 'Pope' 'Africa''Condom' and 'HIV' in the same sentence in the MSM, look for a strawman.

10:31 PM  
Blogger madame evangelista said...

Thanks Paulinus. I know you're not a theologian or pastor so I do appreciate your answers. There's such a diversity of opinion amongst Catholics (including Priests and catechists) over various things that sometimes I find it helpful to sound out the opinions of the more conservative.

11:38 PM  
Blogger berenike said...

ME - nope. The example you give is not curing disease, but is a an attempt to lessen the risk of an inherently risky act. I have no idea what HV had in mind in that paragraph, mind you.

The thing that always gets me is - given the rate of failure of condoms in preventing pregnancy, and bearing in mind that women can only conceive during a few days each month, but can catch diseases 365 days a year (as can men) - hardly an expression of conjugal love, exposing your spouse to that risk, is it?

Yes, I have considered all the "what about teenage virgins married off to dirty old men?" sort of cases - I am not answering the question "what should be done?", and am hugely grateful that it is in no practical way my problem, I am just anwering your question.

5:32 AM  
Blogger madame evangelista said...

Thanks Berenike.

I suppose the only other main thought I have about the issue is that although abstinence is obviously 100% effective against sexual transmission, I don't believe that people in Africa are having more promiscuous sex than anywhere else on the planet, so there must be other reasons for its spread.

I suppose there being other significant methods of infection might also indicate why there is apparently no statistically significant difference in the rate of infection between Catholic and non-Catholic populations (assuming that the difference between them is that the Catholics are abstaining and the non-Catholics are using condoms or having unsafe sex, which is not necessarily the case).

11:13 AM  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Certain people might consider applying some journalistic or scientific objectivity to the question of where in Africa the condom use relentlessly promoted by Western NGOs and compliant governments has ever arrested, never mind reversed, the rate of HIV infection. There is nowhere.

However, such a reversal is under way in Uganda, where the government's message is the same as the Catholic Church's: "Change Your Behaviour". Huge numbers of condoms have been distributed in Botswana, and the result has been for President Festus Mogae to declare, "Abstain or die".

Who, exactly, is incapable of fidelity within a monogamous marriage and abstinence outside such a marriage? Women? Black people? Poor people? Developing-world people? Or just poor black women in the developing world?

3:56 PM  

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