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Safe Sin

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 15, 2004

One morning you meet Red Eye, the HIV-positive Rastafarian and male prostitute who works out of the Irving Park El station, on his way over to beat up the parish priest for giving him a bad check. You demur, citing perhaps Inter Mirifica, but he persists. What's the morally appropriate Christian response? Well, if you're Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, you tell Red Eye he needs to don latex gloves before punching Father's teeth down his throat. Failure to do so would risk AIDS transmission and be a sin against the Fifth Commandment ("want anders voegt hij aan een zonde ... tegen het vijfde"). At least that's how I understand the interview His Eminence gave last Sunday.

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 15, 2004 7:58 PM ET USA

    Basically he's compromised his faith and in so doing has lost the faith of the people in the bargain. Except of course the "faith" of those who have no consciences or morals.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 15, 2004 10:03 AM ET USA

    Humanae Vitae nº14 states that: "..it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it — [i.e.] to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual.." (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html Fr.Torquemada call your office.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jan. 15, 2004 9:51 AM ET USA

    Isn't this the classic loaded or complex question? Such as, How often do you beat your wife? "Hi Father, assuming that sodomy isn't a mortal sin, don't you think its better that I don a condom rather than go au naturel?" "Hi Father, I'm about to rob a bank, and may, inadvertently, kill someone; don't you think a pistol is more humane than an assault rifle?"

  • Posted by: - Jan. 15, 2004 8:18 AM ET USA

    There is confusion on this question, seems to me. Although condoms vs fertility or vs disease are different, the Church is not in the business of advising how to commit mortal sin. That's someone elses problem (if they don't mind going to Hell) but post facto the Church might be able to say that HIV positive sodomy or contraception without one is worse than with one. To say more is to give comfort to those who want a broader comfort in the use of condoms.

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