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World AIDs epidemic, condoms, Catholic Church
Aug 27, 2000

Is it the present position of the Catholic Church to prohibit or discourage the use of condoms in regions of the world such as Africa, Brazil, and the Philippines which are experiencing a very significant increase of HIV infection and AIDS related deaths? Is it correct that the French Catholic hierarchy dissent from this view? Would you compare and contrast the differing points of view?

Response from Father DeMartini

Dear Friend, Thank you for your very thought provoking inquiry. Personally, I have always believed and taught that the Church has an important role in both care for infected and affected individuals as well as a vital role in presenting facts and practices which help to prevent the spread of AIDS. I think that it is both important to be clear and factual about how to prevent/reduce HIV infection as well as to be clear about moral teachings and disciplines that can contribute to this same end. I suggest that you may want to read the a newly published book of essays called 'Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention" edited by James Keenan, SJ with Jon Fuller, SJ, MD. published by Continuum. I know both of these individuals and have found the book challenging and encouraging in revealing the very rich tradition of Catholic moral teaching which can and does help to reduce the spread of HIV. I hope that you find it helpful. Blessings and peace, Fr. Rod

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