theologian explains how theology allows for condom use against HIV
report source: Philippine Daily Inquirer via
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8, 9,August 2001
via IPPF website
Fr. James Keenan, an American Jesuit
theologian, told a media forum sponsored by the AIDS Society of the Philippines
that it is morally acceptable for sexual partners to use condoms if it
is only to prevent HIV transmission.
Keenan, who teaches moral theology
at Ateneo de Manila University's Loyola School of Theology and has edited
a soon-to-be-released book, "Catholic Ethics on HIV/AIDS Prevention," told
the forum that the principles of double effect and lesser evil support
the use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission. "Condoms for HIV are the
same condoms for contraception. Here we can see the principle of double
effect," he said, adding that the same principle is used to justify civilian
deaths when bombing military targets. "If a husband violates his marital
vows and sleeps with other women he must make sure that he does not transmit
the virus to his wife, else he would be violating the principle of justice.
This is where the principle of lesser evil comes in," he explained. "If
a husband is violating his marital vows, he might as well keep his wife
from getting the virus when they engage in sexual intercourse through the
use of condoms."
Keenan said he was arguing for condom
use not to convince the Catholic
Church to relax its strict rule
against the use of prophylactics but to
contribute to a healthy dialogue
on the subject.
The South African Bishops Conference
issued a statement last month outlining the narrowest of exceptions on
condom use to aid the country in combatting its AIDS epidemic. The SACBC
said married couples could use condoms if one or both partners are infected
and if they abstained from sex when the woman was ovulating.
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