Faithful wives are needlessly being infected by their HIV-positive husbands as a result of the
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) cares for one-quarter of all HIV/AIDS victims regardless of their religious affiliation but is powerless to help prevent HIV and the suffering and deaths from AIDS because the Vatican has yet to demonstrate the compassion of Christ for these innocent women by allowing CRS to provide condoms to HIV-positive husbands who are unwilling to forego sexual relations with their spouses. Thus CRS is guaranteed an inexhaustible supply of women suffering and dying from AIDS to care for – a morally indefensible scenario. Sadly, availability to the millions of at-risk women of an effective microbicide to prevent transmission of HIV during sex is years off and antiretroviral medicine to prevent HIV from developing into AIDS must be taken lifelong.
HIV prevention programs typically promote ABC – (1) Abstinence before marriage. (2) Be Faithful in Marriage and (3) Condoms if A & B are not feasible. The
Unfortunately, African women are victims of their male-dominated cultures. A married woman living in sub- Saharan
The African national conferences of Catholic bishops and the
On the other hand, representatives of several national conferences of bishops of non-African nations and a number of individual cardinals and bishops, relying on established principles of pastoral moral theology, viz. double effect, the right to self-defense and lesser evil, have urged the use of condoms to save lives. Here is what some of these Catholic prelates have publicly stated:
In 2006, Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow, pledged his support for the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers' recent decision to conduct and release a study on condom use to fight AIDS and contended that using condoms to stop transmission of the disease from one spouse to another is "common sense”. (Sadly, that study was aborted and since then several million more women have been infected)
In 2006 Bishop Antonio Moreira, vice president of the Portuguese Episcopal conference, said "In a context of marriage where one or both are infected, the use of a condom is a clear case of a lesser evil."
Bishop Gilles Cote of the Diocese in Papua New Guinea, speaking to the Vatican’s ban on contraception, said, “We also have a law—you should not kill…so there is a moral responsibility that those with a partner who is infected are protected.”
One of less than a handful of bishops in
Mexican Bishop Felipe Arizmendi in January 2005 argued that condoms may be appropriate for those who cannot abstain. "They should use whatever is necessary in order not to infect others and not to infect themselves. There is no other alternative."
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, a Mexican who heads the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, said he finds the use of condoms acceptable when abstinence is not an option. He said "If an infected husband wants to have sex with his wife who isn't infected, then she must defend herself by whatever means necessary. This position is consistent with the tenets of Catholic moral theology, which teaches that acts of self-defense can extend to killing in order to not be killed”.
Cardinal Georges Cottier, theologian of the pontifical household in February 2005 stated that while condoms cannot be condoned as a contraceptive, "the use of condoms in some situations can be considered morally legitimate to prevent the spread of HIV. That is where the commandment 'thou shalt not kill' is valid."
The German Bishops Conference in 1997 noted “We must make people understand that sexual intercourse has its legitimate place within the space of lasting partnership that is protected by faithfulness and confidence. In the face of the effective life threat that results from HIV/AIDS, everything needs to be done to avoid an infection.”
Following Pope Benedict’s controversial statements regarding condoms during his visit to
The World Health Organization has stated "The correct and consistent use of good quality condoms confers a level of protection as high as 85 to 95 percent against HIV transmission. Male and female condoms, when properly kept, stored, handled, and used, are the only scientifically proven barrier products currently available against HIV and other STDs". The USCCB, by not urging the
WHAT MUST WE DO TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH THESE INNOCENT VICTIMS
We must strongly urge the USCCB to join the other national conferences of bishops who have had the courage to stand up for the victims of HIV and AIDS notwithstanding the morally-unsupportable position of the Vatican against the use of condoms in battle against AIDS. Christ in his brief time on earth preached what is now characterized as “the preferential option for the poor” and urged his disciples and those who would follow to emulate his compassion for the poor. What more fundamental preferential option for the poor could there be than saving of the lives of these innocent women? We as true Christians need to speak up in loud and certain terms to our
We urge all who profess to be Catholic to phone, fax or e-mail Bishop Dewane at the diocesan chancery and urge him to prevail on his fellow bishops in the USCCB (1) to authorize Catholic Relief Services to provide condoms to couples where one spouse is HIV-positive and to instruct them that their proper and consistent use is a moral imperative and (2) to insist that the Vatican be guided by established principles of Catholic pastoral moral theology and relax its prohibition on the use of condoms where one spouse is HIV-positive. Request that he publish in the next issue of the diocesan newspaper his commitment to actively lobby his fellow bishops for support of this initiative. Then deposit this flyer in the collection plate plus your next regular Sunday offering. Your pastor should be pleased that you care about these innocent women and were moved to speak to the Bishop about their plight.
CONTINUE TO CONTACT BISHOP DEWANE until his commitment appears in the diocesan newspaper.
Bishop Dewane’s contact information : Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, 1000 Pinebrook Rd. Venice, FL 34285
Phone: (941) 484 9543 Fax: (941) 484 1121; Email: email@example.com