if you can't be good, be careful

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 09, 2007

"Since they're going to do it anyway, they might as well do it safely."

You might not be edified by that argument, but you shouldn't be surprised. It is, essentially, the argument for the distribution of condoms to teenagers, or clean syringes to drug addicts. You can hear similar arguments made for the legalization of marijuana. And now a Bishop bishop has advanced the cause, endorsing a proposal to license brothels. He calls it the "pragmatic view," and stresses that he does not approve of prostitution. Which is reassuring.

Now let's see: If the government is licensing prostitutes, there will have to be regulations, and perhaps inspections, and certainly taxes, and... The comic potential here is enormous, but not appropriate for a family-oriented site. But I digress. My main point was the moral argument.

It's true; we're not likely to eradicate prostitution-- or drug abuse or fornication or drunkenness. "Temptations to sin are sure to come," we read in St. Luke's Gospel. It's the rest of the line-- "but woe to him by whom they come!"-- and the next verse-- 17:2-- that makes me question the "pragmatic" approach.

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 10, 2007 12:55 PM ET USA

    Good for surewish's granddaughter, that she has a wonderful Mom with faith, fear of the Lord, and common sense!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2007 5:48 PM ET USA

    My friend had a good remark when she heard the argument about "doing it safely." She said, "If it can send you body and soul into the flames of Hell, how is it 'safe?'"

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2007 2:42 PM ET USA

    "Admonisher", there is a lot of difference between toleration and authorization/licensing. More relevant I think : My Daughter In Law to Catholic Grade school teacher who was pushing Diocesan sex ed classes to Grand daughter. Teacher, "You don't want her to be shocked when she hears this some day, do you?" DIL, "YES ! That's exactly what I want. She should be shocked that someone would behave that way." Why would a Bishop propose such a thing?

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2007 1:22 PM ET USA

    You think that's good...? Check out Luke 19; the ten gold coins...and glance at the 27th verse. That's the real Jesus.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2007 12:50 PM ET USA

    In Bishop Hollis' defense, such towering luminaries of the Church as Sts. Augustine ("If you expel prostitution from society, you will unsettle everything on account of lusts") and Aquinas ("Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain evils be incurred") have taken explicitly pro-government-tolerance positions on prostitution. They may all be wrong, naturally; but this line of reasoning is far from novel.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2007 9:59 AM ET USA

    "Now let's see: If the government is licensing prostitutes, there will have to be regulations, and perhaps inspections, and certainly taxes...." Shhh. Taxes! Do you want the Democrats to catch wind of this new potential for increasing their bloated bureaucracies? Especially here in Cook County where there's a tax on hangnails and hair clippings. Besides, the CHD collection is soon upon us and we don't want the bishops to learn of yet another program to alleviate poverty as they imagine it.