Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Just when you thought it was safe to have sex ...
The Catholic Church in Spain backtracked late Wednesday from a leading bishop's groundbreaking statement in support of condom use to fight the spread of AIDS, saying instead the church still believes artificial contraception is immoral.
Pity the poor Catholic heterosexual. Pity the poor baby. The Church has a very strong position about any kind of artificial contraception, so it is the moral judgment of the Church that it is better to have an HIV-positive baby born than to prevent that conception. The baby will go to Paradise anyway after leaving this Vale of Tears.
I don't agree, but I can at least understand the logic of the dictate since I am somewhat used to following the thought of madmen.
But what about gay people? Gay people are not using condoms as contraception, artificial or otherwise. So is it the position of the Catholic Church that gay people should not use condoms? Or in the simplest terms—if the Catholic Church had the power, would it forbid the manufacture and distribution of condoms because they would be protecting against the consequence of sin, or some such rationale?
Of the traditional Seven Deadly Sins, Pride is always said to be the fundamental sin, and after observing George Bush for four years, I can be easily brought to that view. But I'm not aware of any preference for, say, Gluttony over Lust.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, for instance, says of Gluttony—
Gluttony is in general a venial sin in so far forth as it is an undue indulgence in a thing which is in itself neither good nor bad. Of course it is obvious that a different estimate would have to be given of one so wedded to the pleasures of the table as to absolutely and without qualification live merely to eat and drink, so minded as to be of the number of those, described by the Apostle St. Paul, "whose god is their belly" (Phil., iii, 19). Such a one would be guilty of mortal sin. Likewise a person who, by excesses in eating and drinking, would have greatly impaired his health, or unfitted himself for duties for the performance of which he has a grave obligation, would be justly chargeable with
So while the gluttonous person might be "justly chargeable with mortal sin," should he or she also die of it? Would stomach stapling be prohibited, requiring instead abstinence from food? While no doctor recommends gorging oneself after this surgery, there's no denying that stomach reduction is an enabler of vice, perhaps even more than the condom. In fact, this surgery has no other use so far as I'm aware. And it is certainly no cure for Gluttony.
1 A mortal sin is, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a sin that "averts us from our true ultimate end." In other words, you won't get to be with God. Mortal sins must be distinguished from venial sins "in as much as venial sin is in a manner contrary to the Divine law, although not averting us from our last end." [back]