L’Osservatore Romano: Condom campaigns not a solution to AIDS
ROME, May 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Reiterating Pope Benedict’s statement in 2009 that condoms are not the solution to the problem of AIDS, a moral theologian writing in L’Osservatore Romano on May 24 said that campaigns to encourage condom use increase the risk of HIV infection by proposing the false idea of “safe sex.”
“The numerous campaigns that invite people to use the condom indiscriminately have instead demonstrated the contrary,” said Father Juan Perez-Soba of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome. “By feeding the false belief that there is no danger, they have increased the possibility of infection.”
“To present the condom as a solution to the problem is a grave error; to choose it simply as a habitual practice is to show a lack of responsibility in regard to the other person,” he added.
Father Perez-Soba also wrote that the use of a condom in marriage violates the church’s teaching on conjugal love given by Pope Paul VI in the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
“A sexual act carried out with a condom cannot be considered a fully conjugal act” because it deprives the act of both the unitive and the procreative aspect central to the self-giving gift of each spouse to the other, he said.
“An act is not truly unitive when it intentionally impedes the communication of the sperm and excludes the possibility of its reception in the mutual gift of the bodies of the spouses,” he said.
Father Perez-Soba went on to say that sexual abstinence is the proper response for a married couple in which one spouse is infected with HIV.
“Faced with the insuperable possibility of infection, they can agree to adopt the decision to abstain from having sexual relations for reasons of health, as happens with other pathologies,” he said.
The article was written in anticipation of a Vatican conference to be held this weekend that will focus on church teaching on AIDS and the “centrality of care” in preventing and treating the disease.
Msgr. Jean-Marie Mpendawatu, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, said the conference would take a “global” approach to the AIDS question, and not focus on condoms. However, he said the condom issue would be addressed.
Two dozen speakers from across the globe are scheduled to appear at the conference, including Edward C. Green, former director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, who in March 2009 defended Pope Benedict’s statement that condoms actually “increase the problem” of AIDS in Africa.
While embarking on his first trip to Africa as pope on March 17, Benedict XVI said that condoms are not the solution to the problem of AIDS in Africa and, in fact, they create more problems.
“I would say that one cannot overcome this problem of AIDS only with money—which is important, but if there is no soul, no people who know how to use it, (money) doesn’t help.
“One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem,” the pontiff said to reporters aboard the papal plane.
Reiterating the Catholic Church’s stand against the predominating worldview that the AIDS epidemic can be solved by inundating developing countries with condoms, Pope Benedict said the solution lies in a “spiritual human renewal” and “friendship with those who suffer.”
“The pope is correct,” Prof. Green told the National Review Online, “or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments.”
“There is,” Green explained, “a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates.”