31 October 2011

Sin and Sex

In consideration of Catholic opposition to the use of condoms in the fight against the spread of Aids, what are the arguments being used and do they hold water?

1. The use of condoms will encourage promiscuous casual sex and thus actually increase the spread of Aids.

That's an empirical question and can be tested. My bet is, it won't, but I suggest that that is not the main focus of the churches viewpoint nor reason for the position they take on this.

2. The God given purpose of sex is procreative and generative and therefore anything that interferes with either of those natural ends is sinful.

So, if you have a married couple who are knowingly infertile where the man is HIV positive and the woman isn't, and the man uses a condom to prevent his wife getting aids, would that be sinful?

If you have a married couple, this time not infertile, but still HIV discordant as above, who practice the rhythm method with the aim of preventing a pregnancy and who also use a condom with the intention to protect the wife from getting aids, would that be considered sinful?

The intent in the use of the condom is solely to prevent disease transmission, not to prevent pregnancy. This brings us to the principle of double effect, which even catholic doctrine will allow to operate without moral condemnation in certain circumstances. For example, the use of the contraceptive pill is allowed for medical purposes so long as the primary intent in its use is not the prevention of pregnancy. A pregnant woman diagnosed with uterine cancer where the prognosis is death before term will be allowed a hysterectomy even though the outcome will be the death of the fetus. The death of the fetus is a secondary effect, it is not the prime motivation of the surgeon performing the operation.

So, if that is the case, even considered from within catholic doctrine, if the intent in the use of the condom is medical, (prevention of disease), and the secondary effect of this is interference with the (assumed) natural purposes of sex, whence then the moral teaching against the use of condoms?

Leave the mind reading to your supposed God and instruct every HIV positive person to use protection.

You know it makes sense.

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