Friday, March 20, 2009

Prophylactic Problems

The Pope has quite rightly said that condoms are not the answer to the scourge of AIDS, and in fact exacerbate the problem.

The sinful world of course stands astonished and aggrieved - missing the point entirely.

AIDS is, is it not, a sexually transmitted disease (for the moment restricting one's view to Africa, where unnatural vice and contaminated blood are not the main forms of transmission)?  Is not faithfulness to one's likewise faithful spouse, or else holy continence - as ought be the aim of all Christians - the only sure defence against it therefore?  Do not condoms, under the pretext of cutting down on transmission (and yet, they do break - potentially leading to infection and death), help perpetuate the risk-taking and more importantly sinful promiscuity that is precisely the reason for the spread of any sexually transmitted disease?  And is not the Church meant to focus not solely nor mainly on this-worldly concerns, but with the right eye to look toward heaven, with the left upon affairs of earth?  Do not the Ten Commandments and sundry other precepts of the Old and New Testaments, not to mention the unbroken witness of tradition, point to the grave sinfulness of every sort of sexual vice?  And to wink at vice by encouraging rather than condemning the use of prophylactics - directly defeating the very aim of intercourse, the propagation of the species (to which good the other benefits of bonding and joy are united) - would that not be to entirely apostatize from the true mission of the Church, which is to guide souls to heaven and save them from falling into hell?

The world advocates only the limited and natural good of allegedly cutting down on the transmission of disease, by whatever method however base, since it has no eyes for heaven nor for supernatural virtue - the sort of virtue that wins by changing the way of life for the better (conversio morum, as St Benedict termed it).  By the same argument it would turn aside the very eyes of justice and establish places where needles are doled out to the addicted that they may fill themselves full of illegal substances under supervision... there is no thought to curb vice and liberate folk from their slavery, no; only to the better keep them mired in it.  It is the same with abuses of sexual capacity.  (It ought go without saying that a faithful spouse whose partner has been unfaithful and is infected has every right to refuse the polluted intercourse that would be a grave and proximate risk of serious, potentially lethal infection.)

The Church cares for more sufferers of AIDS than any other organization; she also stands firm in her prohibition of any and all sinful means of supposedly stemming it and any other afflictions of humanity - because all sin is poison.  Newman, I think, pointed out that in religious eyes it were better the whole world perish in utmost misery than a single sin be allowed to stand.  To the world, this is stark raving lunacy.  To those who have faith, it reminds one at once of the Good News, that rather than let the world perish in its sin and misery, God sent His Son to redeem man, teach him the precepts that save, lead him away from vice and crime, and by the Cross above all teach what charity is, and offer the sacrifice that delivers man - but to which man must cling, and not return to the mire, lest his last state be worse than his first.

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