Nov 21, 2010

Pope allows condoms? Morality behind cooperation with evil.

Pope cites specific cases when condom use is justifiable.  It could be under the lesser evil approach to cooperation with evil.  If you know that an AIDS infected person cannot stop impregnating others, then it is a lesser evil to counsel that person to at least use a condom.  That doesn't mean that condom use is moral.  It is just a way to stop him for infecting others since he does not have the discipline to stop engaging in sex.  It's cutting a finger to save a hand.

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Excerpt below from here with fuller context and background.

From Chapter 11, "The Journeys of a Shepherd," pages 117-119:
On the occasion of your trip to Africa in March 2009, the Vatican’s policy on AIDs once again became the target of media criticism.Twenty-five percent of all AIDs victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent. In Africa you
stated that the Church’s traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.
The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on AIDs. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDs victims, especially children with AIDs.

"Catholic moral tradition elaborates four basic principles that help us navigate a morally complex world. Each of these principles involves varying degrees of cooperation with evil. The principles are (1) double effect, in which a single action has two foreseen effects—one “good” and intended, the other “evil” and tolerated, such as the removal of the fetus in an ectopic pregnancy to save the life of the mother; (2) tolerance, in which we judge, following the Gospel principle of the wheat and the tares, that certain evils must be endured for the time being lest a greater evil ensue from our efforts to weed out the malefactors, such as tolerating legal abortion even if we disagree that this should be the case; (3) compromise, in which we in some way actively participate in actions or sinful social structures that have a clear morally evil component, such as purchasing goods made under exploitative labor conditions in foreign sweatshops; and (4) the lesser of two evils, such as counseling the use of clean needles among drug addicts." (1)


Subvet said...

"It's cutting a finger to save a hand."

Well put.

I'm really looking forward (about as much as I look forward to a colonoscopy) to Thursday when my prochoice mother-in-law will be here. Chances are that this will be brought up.

This is the same woman that pantomined aiming a gun and shooting me as I stood in a Life Chain one year.

Nothing like getting along with the inlaws. Nope, nothing like it at all.

Rick said...

That is why my prenups was two words: No in-laws. (One can add expletives more color and style, but the substance is there.

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