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CONDOM USE AS LESSER EVIL-- BUT STILL AN EVIL April 03, 1996

VIENNA (CWN) -- Archbishop Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna told an Austrian television audience conceded that someone suffering from AIDS might use a condom as a "lesser evil," but he quickly cautioned, "no one could affirm that the use of a condom is the ideal in sexual relations."

Speaking on a weekly television program at the conclusion of a meeting of the Austrian bishops, the Vienna prelate made this comment in answer to a question about AIDS. "It should be evident," he said, "that no one can put a partner in danger." In that regard, he said, "There are situations in which classic Catholic doctrine might look upon the use of a condom as the lesser evil."

However, Archbishop Schoenborn quickly added that no one should make the mistake of "confusing the lesser evil with an ideal." In Catholic moral teaching, it is never permissible to choose an evil action. The "lesser evil" is still an evil, and a moral actor must choose another route.