Monday, 30 July, 2001

The Catholic Church versus AIDS

I usually stay out of religious discussions, and avoid expressing opinions on topics related to religion.  Buttoday's news that the South African Catholic Bishops Conference, with full support of the Vatican, has strongly denounced the use of condoms is just too much.  In a statement issued after the conference, the Bishops said:  "The Bishops regard the widespread and indiscriminate promotion of condoms as an immoral and misguided weapon in our battle against HIV/AIDS."

I realize that the Roman Catholic Church's position on sex is simple:  abstinence prior to marriage,  monogamy after marriage, and no artificial means of contraception.  It looks nice on paper, I guess, but it's entirely unrealistic and impracticable.  It would seem to me that maintaining their insupportable position on condom use is "immoral and misguided," if not downright criminal.  And the assertion that "Condoms may even be one of the main reasons for the spread of HIV/AIDS. Apart from the possibility of condoms being faulty or wrongly used they contribute to the breaking down of self-control and mutual trust,'' just makes the Church  look stupid.  Would the Bishops really rather wipe out a majority of the population?  "Let the Heathens die," they seem to say, "if they'd follow our teachings, this wouldn't happen."  Is it any wonder that the Church has steadily been losing clergy and parishioners over the past 30 years?

Before you accuse me of spewing anti-Catholic propaganda, you should know that I was brought up Catholic and was married in the Catholic Church.  But the Church's unrealistic stance on marriage, divorce, sex, and women, among other things, has driven me away--most likely never to return.  At least not to the Roman Catholic Church.  My friend Jeff Duntemann has written more than once about the Old Catholic movement, which might possibly bring me back to the fold.