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Argument: Church contraception policy undermines moral obligation to protect life

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Supporting quotations

Evangelium vitae. The Gospel of Life. Pope John Paul II. 1995 - It is from the blood of Christ that all draw the strength to commit themselves to promoting life. It is precisely this blood that is the most powerful source of hope, indeed it is the foundation of the absolute certitude that in God's plan life will be victorious. "And death shall be no more", exclaims the powerful voice which comes from the throne of God in the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:4). And Saint Paul assures us that the present victory over sin is a sign and anticipation of the definitive victory over death, when there "shall come to pass the saying that is written: ?Death is swallowed up in victory'. ?O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' " (1 Cor 15:54-55).

Marcella Alsan. "Catholic Church condom prohibition comes face to face with reality of AIDS in Africa". 24 April 2006 - At least, this is the view of many Catholics at the front lines of the global HIV battle. Catholic organizations mercifully provide around 25 percent of the care AIDS victims receive worldwide. Many of the clergy and laity involved in treating people with AIDS, who otherwise fully ascribe to the church’s teachings on sexual ethics and the sanctity of marriage, nevertheless endorse the use of condoms. They argue that the preservation of human life is paramount.

Father Valeriano Paitoni, working in São Paulo, Brazil, summarized this perspective: “AIDS is a world epidemic, a public-health problem that must be confronted with scientific advances and methods that have proven effective,” he said. “Rejecting condom use is to oppose the fight for life.”

Bishop Kevin Dowling of South Africa has also been imploring the Vatican to view condom use as curtailing the transmission of death rather than precluding the transmission of life. In South Africa, 5.3 million people are infected with HIV and 25 percent of all pregnant women test positive for the virus.

Bishop Dowling prays that the Holy Spirit will intervene to change minds in Rome. He believes Pope Benedict XVI’s view on the use of condoms would change, “if his visits to poor countries were done in such a way that he could sit in a shack and see a young mother dying of AIDS with her baby.”

Not long ago, Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels stated on Dutch television that although sex with a person infected with HIV is to be avoided, “if it should take place, the person must use a condom in order not to disobey the commandment condemning murder, in addition to breaking the commandment which forbids adultery.” He added: “Protecting oneself against sickness or death is an act of prevention. Morally, it cannot be judged on the same level as when a condom is used to reduce the number of births.”

Novelist and former Catholic priest James Carroll [“Dismantling the Church’s Structure of Death.” Boston Globe. 24 Jul. 2004] - “Death control is the issue, not birth control. The African bishops should speak this truth not to save the soul of Catholicism, nor to redeem a generation of lost Catholics—although they would—but simply to save the lives of the people with whom they have been entrusted by God.”[1]

Gunnar Staalseth, a member of the Nobel Peace Prize committee and a bishop in Norway’s Lutheran church [“Nobel committee member criticizes pope over AIDS.” Reuters. 21 Aug. 2001] - “I challenge the Vatican to redefine its attitude to condoms. The current Roman Catholic theology is one that favors death rather than life.”

Theologian Daniel C. Maguire [“Vaticanology”. Religious Consultation Report. November 2000]. - “The current Roman Catholic theology is one that favors death rather than life. [The Vatican’s] ‘better-dead-than-condomed’ position has not been blessed by any of the world’s religions or by common sense. It is flat-earth embarrassing.”

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