Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
December 25, 2006
WCR Letters to the Editor
Fight AIDS on the frontline
The appeal for Catholics to support the Vatican's Good Samaritan Foundation (WCR, Dec. 18) is misleading and unfortunate. Is there any guarantee that all or even a majority of the donations sent would actually be spent to alleviate the suffering of persons already infected by the AIDS virus?
Sending donations to the Vatican is like sending money directly to the U.N. with the hope that some of the contribution will trickle through the bureaucracy.
More important for Catholics is to recognize the complicity of the Catholic Church - from the Vatican to the local African churches - in the spread of this pandemic. It is true that condoms are not the solution to the problem but the use of such a simple device could undoubtedly save many thousands of lives.
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo orchestrating the Vatican obfuscation of the complexity of this situation is quoted as saying "The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom." This is simply not true.
This Vatican canard is repeated by local Church leaders such as the archbishop of Nairobi, Raphael Ndingi Nzeki, who said: "AIDS . . . has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms." This is total nonsense.
These views are refuted by Catholic bishops such as Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg in South Africa, one of the most affected regions ravaged by this pandemic. In rejecting the official rhetoric of the Vatican, Bishop Dowling has said that the Vatican's ban on the use of condoms is "morally unacceptable".
Even Cardinal Lozano Barragon has suggested that the pope is looking for a way to permit the use of condoms looking at the complexity of bioethical issues. Many Catholic moral theologians have argued that the use of condoms, especially in relationships where one partner is already infected with AIDS, is simply "the lesser of two evils."
If Catholics really wish to help people in Africa fight the AIDS pandemic I would suggest that they give generously to the Stephen Lewis Foundation (www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/) and that they get involved in real action such as the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign.
It is about time that Catholic people demonstrate to Church leaders that sensus fidelium is sometimes just "common sense."
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