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Author Topic: Spanish Catholic Bishops Endorse Condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS.  (Read 2134 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« on: January 19, 2005, 11:26:56 AM »

Hmmmm.... But if you are married and have sex only with your spouse -- why would you need this "protection" from AIDS?

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Spanish Catholic Bishops Endorse Condoms

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

MADRID, Spain  — In a substantial shift from traditional policy, the Catholic Church in Spain has said it supports the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS.

"Condoms have a place in the global prevention of AIDS," Juan Antonio Martinez Campos, spokesman for the Spanish Bishops Conference (search), told reporters after a meeting Tuesday with Health Minister Elena Salgado to discuss ways of fighting the disease.

The Catholic Church has repeatedly rebuffed campaigns for it to endorse the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS. The Vatican states that condoms, because it is a form of artificial birth control, cannot be used to help prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Martinez Campos said the church's stance was backed by the scientific world. He cited a recent study by experts in the medical magazine Lancet that supported the so-called "ABC" approach of abstinence, being faithful to partners and using condoms.

"The Church is very worried and interested by this problem," he said.

The change in view was welcomed by the Spanish Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (search).

"I think it was absolutely inevitable that the Church would change its stance," said federation president Beatriz Gimeno.

The leading daily El Pais pointed out that as recently as November the Spanish Bishops Conference had vehemently opposed the Health Ministry's campaign to promote the use of condoms. The paper quoted Martinez Campos as saying then that it was "gravely false" to maintain that contraceptives prevented the spread of HIV.

In June, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family (search), Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, said condom use was "a form of Russian roulette" in fighting AIDS, El Pais said. The remark was roundly condemned by the Spanish government, the World Health Organization and other organizations involved in fighting AIDS, the papers said.

The United Left parliamentary coalition described the change in stance as "a historic advance."

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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2005, 12:39:27 PM »

I have to agree with you, Tom.
I surely hope that no Orthodox expounds that sort of thing.
How to prevent AIDS/HIV?
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2005, 12:56:14 PM »

Its been my understanding that the Orthodox Church does not make the same blanket condemnations of artificial birth control as does the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps I was misinformed, but that's the impression I received from talking about this with my priest.

In any event, I fully agree with you, Tom. It seems to me that advocating promiscuity (which condoms always promote) is a poor way to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but abstinence seems like the best answer to all our sexual problems: abortion, HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and on down the list.
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2005, 01:26:56 PM »


In any event, I fully agree with you, Tom. It seems to me that advocating promiscuity (which condoms always promote) is a poor way to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but abstinence seems like the best answer to all our sexual problems: abortion, HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and on down the list.

 But since we are dealing with fallen human beings, it may be a bit unrealistic?
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2005, 01:37:17 PM »

amnesiac,

Quote
Its been my understanding that the Orthodox Church does not make the same blanket condemnations of artificial birth control as does the Roman Catholic Church

But we should.

Contraception (in all forms, includin NFP) should be clearly defined as being wrong. After that, it is up to individual pastors to make exceptions. When those exceptions are made it should not be publicized. In that context, the rest of the Church should not stick it's nose in other people's business on the issue. And if by chance someone is said to be using contraception, it is our duty to not judge them, and to rather assume they are allowed to do so, and in fact to try and forget that we heard anything about it. But all this springs from the first thing: it must be clearly said to be wrong. If you don't do the first thing, and then work through the established order, chaos follows. And that's what we have in regards to the issue of contraception today, where anyone who researches the subject can clearly see what the Fathers taught, and can also clearly see that most Orthodox pastors teach and practice something which is different than the traditional teaching on the matter.

These are the strongly held opinions of Paradosis. Please feel free to throw an egg at him now. Smiley
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 01:52:41 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2005, 06:48:25 PM »

Some of my understanding about the official Catholic position is that condoms do not prevent the spread of HIV in an effective manner, and should not be used since birthcontrol is a sin and they do not actually protect. While I admit that they are not foolproof, to deny that they are useful in controlling the spread of this epidemic disease(and to teach this in Africa, which the Catholic Church actively does) is to condemn a lot of people to a rather horrible earthly death.

Hypothetical: A couple decides to get married, knowing that one partner is HIV positive. Or, an already married couple discovers that one partner has HIV. Past errors are affecting the innocent partner now. What is their solution? Abstinence for as long as the partner will live?

These situations aren't only hypothetical. Many people in Africa are being infected (ie. wives) because of the extremely poor choices of their spouses in situations such as the above. Should the church teach them there is no way to try to protect themselves and still have a "normal" relationship with their spouse, should they wish it?
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2005, 12:04:53 AM »

IC XC NIKA
My personal opinion is that some contraception is okay, as long as it isn't unhealthy (such as the pill), and it is used in marriage, for the greater glory of God.  St. John Chrystotom seemed to have a very positive view of sexuality between a man and woman that are married, not the negative view of Augustine.  But, as I often am, I might be wrong, but hey, it is alright to be wrong and corrected, or is it?   Huh
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2005, 01:39:51 AM »

AIDS has taken over the headlines re: being a deadly disease.  And, yes, it is, though there are effective treatments now.  Condoms do help prevent transmission.  However, the real crisis for women, especially college age women, in the USA, is HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer.  The statistics I read a couple of years ago was that nearly 20 times as many women die of cervical cancer as opposed to AIDS in the USA.  Yet, condoms have absolutely NO effectiveness in preventing transmission of HPV.  Literally, the only guarantee is abstinence.   It is not deadly for men, but they carry it to women.  Some surveys have shown as many as 6 out of 10 sexually active college-aged women have HPV.  It is extremely infectious, and if the stats are similar to those of 2 or 3 years ago, HPV is far more threatening to US women than AIDS.  I am NOT underestimating the devastation of Aids in someone's life, I'm  just explaining that young women are winding up with cancer, sterile, or dead, because of ignorance --- they believe they are "protected" if condoms are used, and condoms are virtually useless against the spread of HPV.  And young women are much less likely to be getting tested (pap smear).
I welcome any information that updates what I learned a couple of years ago.
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2005, 07:30:11 AM »

Does anyone have a link to an official statement from the Spanish bishops? I'd rather get this from the horses mouth.

John.
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2005, 01:04:30 PM »

http://www.ewtn.com/news/index.asp
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2005, 09:05:00 PM »

Quote
St. John Chrystotom seemed to have a very positive view of sexuality between a man and woman that are married, not the negative view of Augustine.

I'm going to pull my hair out if I hear/read this sentiment again!

While it's undoubtedly true that St.John Chrysostom had more to say about marriage in terms of pastoral advice, this idea that St.Augustine was uniquely "anti-sex" (which isn't exactly true of itself, but that's another thread) as some choose to understand it, is nonsense.  None of the Church Fathers that I've read on this topic held the view that "marital relations" were for any purpose but the begetting of offspring.  Whatever one's personal opinion on the matter, that's the "damned fact" so to speak.

This is why I'm agreed with Paradosis, that even the official Roman Catholic/NFP position is false (Patristically speaking), in the sense that it treats the practice of NFP as morally neutral (or worse, as some kind of ascesis, which is how I've heard many "conservative Catholics" portray it; raising a gaggle of children with patience and love is an ascesis, not timing one's ruts so as to beat mother nature's "conspiracy" for coitus to equal "baby making").  It is (by Patristic standards) a condescension to weakness, just as methods of "conception prevention" involving gadgets or pills are.

What I find equally interesting (and connected to this topic) is the official "romanticization" of married sexual acts by conservative elements in the Roman Catholic Church, with comparisons of the dynamics of sexual activity with the divine economy, God's relationship to the creation, etc.  While I've yet to find any Patristic witness for these views, there is one "Christian" body of ancient times which did espouse such views - gnosticism.  While some gnostic sects were rabidly anti sex & anti procreation, there were those who practiced various forms of "sexual magic" or "sex rituals", with the idea that the sexual act reflected the inner workings of God.  Such practices live on to the present day, via the occultic/"magickal" societies of the 19th-early 20th century, and in such new age phenomenon as "Wicca", etc.

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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2005, 09:56:25 PM »

I didn't want push things since this is such a sensitive topic, but I am of course in agreement with you Seraphim. I've often--because of my passions--wanted to write an apologetic to some of the Orthodox works out there on sexuality. But how is that, the neophyte correcting the scholars? Not right. Yet, in that Orthodox literature, unfortunately, is where I think most people are getting this stuff; it is Orthodox theologians who are saying these things: talking about sexual intercourse as a spiritual experience, saying that the Fathers never spoke of contraception, etc. God forgive me for saying it (I do not say that flippantly), but they should know better.

I was once told be a priest who has done some research and published some materials on contraception, that a very moderate and well known theologian had once told him that everyone he (the theologian) knew who had researched the subject had come to the same conclusions as this priest: namely, that contraception wasn't allowed until the mid-20th century in the Orthodox Church. Nonetheless, this theologian, in spite of knowing what the Fathers taught, did not accept the traditional Orthodox position. Now I do not mean to judge him here (whatever justification he has in his mind for doing this, it is not for me to judge), I bring it up simply because it speaks to the fact that this stuff really is nothing more than creative theology divorced from the teachings of our Church.

I hate to say that because it sounds judgmental, but what else can one say when there are established beliefs and one decides not only to not follow those beliefs, but to actually say things that the Fathers never said and sometimes even spoke against? If there is some justification for these new thoughts, I wish they would explain them more clearly--why the need now? How are we any worse off today than Roman society, where sex with slave boys was common, mistresses and adultery were indirectly promoted by unfortunate laws (e.g., the woman took on the status of the husband in Roman society, so if the woman was sleeping with a slave, she obviously would never marry him, since that would maker her too a slave), prostitution legal and rampant in many places, etc.?

The crazy thing is that works from outside the Church, like the liberal Catholic John Noonan's book, as terrible as it is (claiming that the early Church Fathers got their beliefs partially from a bias towards stoicism and so forth), are just as good as sources for Orthodox information as most Orthodox material on the subject. What I mean is, at least you know that what Noonan is saying--in his premises and conclusions--is schlock; but at least he gives a ton of references from the early Church, and from all sorts of different views. With much of the Orthodox material out there, it's not schlock, but things which are contrary to the faith of our Fathers are stated authoritatively, quotes of St. John Chrysostom are given, a straw man with Augustine's face is beaten apart, and normally those minsconceptions are given as all that need be said about the subject. The Orthodox Christian who hasn't looked into the subject is left with the impression: West (especially Augustine), bad; East (especially Chrysostom), good.

I don't have a huge problem with something like the MP said (The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, 12, 12), though I would prefer something a bit more tradition. But the bad part is, most of the stuff out there just really pushes the limits, IMO. I mean, if they are going to say this stuff, then that's fine, they certainly have a right to do so, but they should discuss why they are leaving the traditional position, and adopting a new course. What is their justification? It is a theology of love and toleration: but it is an artificial theology for which an apolgetic is completely absent. I'd be willing to plop down some serious money for a monograph that systematically looks at what Chrysostom really taught on the subject.

I hope this post will not offend anyone. As I said in my last post, I have strong opinions on this subject, if for no other reason that people like Dave Armstrong and other Catholics use the position of some Orthodox Christians on this subject to be Catholic, and not Orthodox. And I have to admit that they're right, the Catholic Church is more consistent (though IMO not totally consistent) on this subject. I don't think it is an issue large enough to keep someone from being Orthodox (I think their concept of marriage/divorce/annulments is a much stickier and stranger web), but why give them the excuse if we can help it? Ok, I'm not being totally honest--I also have a person reason for being so attracted to the subject. Smiley Again, I apologize if this doesn't sit well with people, please tell me if my polemics are ticking you off--or tell me why my argumentation is flawed.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2005, 10:02:33 PM by Paradosis » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2005, 02:53:03 AM »

Quote
VATICAN CITY - Education, chastity and sexual fidelity are the responsible methods to combat AIDS, Pope John Paul II said Saturday, reiterating Vatican policy days after Spanish bishops supported condom use to fight the disease but then quickly reversed their position... . .

Pope Advocates Education to Prevent AIDS
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