Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

a failure of hope

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 29, 2010

The Diocese of Albany, New York, is not giving out condoms. After reading today's top CWN headline story, I don't know why not. 

The argument for distributing clean syringes is essentially the same as the argument for distributing condoms: It's no use arguing against pre-marital sex or illegal drug use; people are going to do these things anyway. We might as well help them stay alive.

By giving out needles (or condoms), we give people a superficial sense of security while they engage in acts that are demeaning, destructive, and gravely sinful. We're sending the message that we doubt they can help themselves-- and thereby discouraging them from trying. We're telling them that we don't think they're capable of overcoming their impulses or their addictions. We're saying that the die is cast; they are-- for now, at least-- beyond the point at which they can turn their lives around. It's bad enough when this message comes from the government. But when it comes from the Church-- the institution that exists solely to offer people the prospect of redemption-- it's especially deadly.

Everyone knows that the Catholic Church disapproves of fornication and drug abuse. By giving people the means to engage in these activities with a bit less physical risk, we're telling them, essentially: "We've given up on you. We know you can't make the right choice. We're just trying to keep your body sound, because spiritually you're a lost cause." 

If this is charity, I want no part of it. To me it seems more like the sin against the Holy Spirit: the decision that there are some situations in which no virtuous act is possible, or some souls that are beyond salvation. 

 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our September expenses ($33,416 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,584.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: geardoid - Jan. 29, 2010 5:58 PM ET USA

    The Church distributing condoms is even worse than giving out clean needles, since sexuality is always a matter of moral choices (while drug addictions may not be). The fault is in the ethic of ends justifying means. It's not even as if the 'justification' of prophylaxis from STDs is well established over and above the tendency of 'safe sex' messages to promote STD spread. But even if it were, disordered means which are intrinsically contraceptive are unjustified.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO 20 hours ago
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29
Frustrating the Moral Law August 29
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8