Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Missing What Vatican II Tells Us About AIDS

Fr. Anthony Egan recently published an article in the South African Catholic newspaper, The Southern Cross, titled “What Vatican II tells us about Aids”. I was quite excited and was looking forward to some useful insights into what Vatican II has to tell us about HIV/AIDS. I was however soon disappointed when I found the article, as it sadly so often seems to happen, quickly digressed into a discussion about the controversy and moral dilemma caused by the Church’s teaching in Humanae Vitae. (To read Fr. Egan's article click on the link above.)

Here are a few comments that I made at the end of the article in The Southern Cross:

I get the sense that this article got hijacked along the way and, instead of telling us, what Vatican II has to say about HIV/AIDS, became an article focussed on the controversy and moral dilemmas created by Humanae Vitae.

To end by writing that, “The condom controversy should not, however, be overstressed at the cost of the fundamental principle at work in Catholic response to HIV/Aids” [sic] seems quite pointless, since 9 of the 15 paragraphs have already been devoted to the matter.

Vatican II says much more to us that is useful to know in our response to HIV/AIDS. Stressing moral dilemmas and controversy seems to me to indicate that we may have lost our supernatural outlook as Christians.

We don’t have all the answers to the challenges of this world. But immoral behaviour is never the answer to the world’s challenges. We need to learn again that there is a time when we hand it to God and admit we are helpless. To adopt a position of trying to justify immoral behaviour, in certain circumstances, sounds to me like despair.

In any case, condoms have been distributed widely for years already, despite the Church’s teaching on this matter. Yet HIV/AIDS has not shown any decline, neither have teen pregnancies and neither have the number of abortions. If anything, I read recently, they have in fact increased. Condoms are not the answer, no matter how desperately we want to find a practical solution. Just as has been the case with embryonic stem cell research, we are flogging a dead horse here.

The answer is a renewed focus on the “universal call to holiness” of all people and what the implications of a genuine response to this call to holiness will have on the world in which we live. God is the answer and it is time to let him take control again.

What is exceptionally sad is that when Catholic articles like this are published, by a priest as well, they do little to support the message of the Church. Instead they, along with the secular world, attack and ridicule the message of the Church. Do not be fooled for one minute. 

The Church is the only organisation telling us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The solution to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is morality. It is striving for holiness that will lead to a better world for all people. 

All people, despite what Fr. Egan claims moral theologians may say on the inability of all people to freely abstain, are capable of this morality because of the actual graces that God gives to us when we need them.

Here is a link to the site from which I extracted the cartoon above titled "Obama vs AIDS: Throwing Gasoline on the fire". It is worth reading too.

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