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carried away

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 05, 2006

With its ban on condoms the Church has caused the death of millions of Catholics and others in areas dominated by Catholic missionaries, in Africa and right across the world. -- Polly Toynbee, UK Guardian

How does papal teaching on marriage increase the spread of AIDS, as so many of our betters would have us believe? Simple: it's only natural -- in the view of Toynbees -- that people who habitually put their souls in jeopardy by mortally sinful sex are going to be seized in mediis rebus by scruples and -- in obedience to Vatican directives -- put their lives at risk as well, i.e., by refusing a condom. The conversation transcribed below (recorded in a tin shack in Soweto at the behest of the Rockefeller Foundation) concisely and clearly illustrates the chain of reasoning that so worries public health experts and makes them so critical of the Catholic Church:

Amos: Andrew darling, as a fellow unlettered sub-Saharan African labourer with limited socio-cultural horizons who is tangled in the throes of ignoble passion, would you consider joining me in an act of unnatural vice before dinner?

Andy: Only too pleased, my dear chap. You realize of course this contravenes every canon of human decency?

Amos: Quite. Would you prefer to bat or bowl?

Andy: The latter, thank you for asking. I say, you don't mind my donning a latex prophylactic device -- having first checked the expiry date and inspected the integrity of the wrapper -- do you? I entertained some Namibian truckers last week who were indefatigably sportifs, and, to be truthful, I don't feel entirely good about my auto-immune system.

Amos: Andrew, how could you even suggest such a thing! You know perfectly well condom use is reprobated by Casti Connubii. I mean it's one thing to damn oneself or expose oneself to a painful death by infection, and quite another to disobey the Holy See. One has one's standards, after all.

Andy: Indeed, indeed! In the transports of lust I momentarily forgot myself, my dear Amos, please believe me. Not to be a bore about it, but you won't mention this prophylactic business to my wife, will you? She's a Free Church Presbyterian and quite impossibly pedantic about adhering to the Vatican line in these matters.

Amos: Wouldn't dream of it, old boy.

If you make the effort strenuously enough, you can eventually come to take it seriously, in the manner of Lewis Carroll's famous character who coached herself to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Here too, I admit, it helps to be a White Queen.

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  • Posted by: - May. 06, 2006 6:26 AM ET USA

    Suggest the New York Times Magazine on 5/7/06: Multipage article on how the pro-life community is moving to overturn Griswold v. Conn, ala their incremental success with Roe v. Wade. Leading the charge are the Evangelicals with the conservative Catholics riding on their coattails and organizing skills. AMDG

  • Posted by: - May. 05, 2006 8:22 PM ET USA

    Di, It may not have been your intent, but Amos and Andy's diction bears a striking resemblance to the send up of Disney's Chip and Dale that Warner Brothers did many years back. The insufferably polite British chipmunks with the exquisite en passant table manners. I believe they were terrorizing Daffy Duck in one episode. They, apparently, lived together as bachelors. I'm crushed at the revelation.

  • Posted by: Fr T (UK) - May. 05, 2006 6:59 PM ET USA

    Poo, poor Polly. She was churning out this same tired, uninformed and untought -out stuff when Pope John Paul died (he was responsible then, said she)..... Seems she has only one tune to her fiddle and she persists in dragging her tired, balding old bow accross it - even when the strings are slack and the pegs loose.

  • Posted by: SentimentalGent - May. 05, 2006 12:47 PM ET USA

    Millions of people around the world are not dying of AIDS because of the Catholic Church banning the use of condoms. They are dying because they are not following Catholic (and Christian) Church teachings on morality, chastity, virtue, the marital covenant, and that pesky little Sixth Commandment that says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." And since condoms inevitably fail at one time or another, it's probably safer playing Russian Roulette than having sex with someone with AIDS.

  • Posted by: Sir William - May. 05, 2006 11:28 AM ET USA

    Oh, Uncle Di --- There is so much to say about this! Brilliant....!

  • Posted by: - May. 05, 2006 9:50 AM ET USA

    Diogenes should get his own Dicastery!